<p>The &quot;Sparkle&quot; soundtrack</p>

The "Sparkle" soundtrack

Credit: RCA

Review: Whitney Houston and Jordin Sparks lead 'Sparkle' soundtrack

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A remake, a tribute, spiritual, profane, a labor of many masters

The remake of the 1976 musical film “Sparkle” isn’t intended to serve as a historical document, but it does attempt to invoke the sounds and feel of the Motown era along with race relations in 1960s Detroit. It’s “American Idol” winner Jordin Sparks’ first significant film appearance as its title role, and was to be the late Whitney Houston’s return to the big screen (and now it serves as her swan song). It gets further wattage from freshly penned contemporary R&B songs from R. Kelly, as well as an ample opportunity reintroduce Curtis Mayfield classics like “Something He Can Feel.” It's got the sacred, the profane, and some soul.

Thus, the soundtrack to “Sparkle” ends up serving more than one master, which makes for a muddled effort. The first pieces to arrive from the set were both from Whitney Houston, to effectively link her to the project as the movie’s promoted. She sings with Sparks on “Celebrate,” which has gotten a hard push at adult top 40 and contemporary formats at radio, but her weathered pipes sound harsh compared to the youthful saccharine of the AI star’s vocals. Houston is much more suited to heart-filled spiritual classic “His Eye Is On The Sparrow,” with its slow speed, rusty lower range and all the room in the world for her religious pining.
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Chris Brown releases cover art to next single 'Don't Judge Me'

Chris Brown releases cover art to next single 'Don't Judge Me'

Aw.

Chris Brown's "Don't Judge Me" will be his next single, but the song isn't necessarily what you'd think it's about.

"And I've been through this so many times / Can we change the subject? / You gonna start asking me questions like..."

Will you continue to be a man-child in every interview you do? Will you hit a lady again? Can you please not slut-shame Rihanna? Why did you and Drake get in a public fight at a nightclub?

"...Was she attractive? Was she an actress?"

Oh, yes. That. Those are the kind of questions I'd ask Chris Brown.

Here is the emo cover art to "Don't Judge Me," off of his album "Fortune," out now.

Chris Brown's Don't Judge Me artwork

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<p>Heartless Bastards</p>

Heartless Bastards

Credit: Partisan

Song Of The Day: Heartless Bastards' summer fun 'Only For You' vid

Swim with all your pearls on

Heartless Bastards have a funny name when you consider how damn happy their childish "Only For You" music video is.

The track and the visuals are perfect comfort for those stuck in cubicle hell and conference calls. Why don't you just grab a bottle of wine and jump in a pool with all your clothes on?

Furthermore, it's confirmation that those who have bred curly-haired children are blessed for a lifetime: you're staring down an eternity of candy commercials and music videos where joy is aim.

It was shot in Dripping Springs, Texas and was helmed by Brad Beesley (Flaming Lips' "Fearless Freaks") and Louisiana Kreutz.

"Only For You" is off of Heartless Bastards' "Arrow," out via Partisan earlier this year.

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<p>From &quot;Runaways&quot;</p>

From "Runaways"

Watch the Killers' 'Runaways' spacey music video

New single arrives ahead of 'Battle Born' September release

Do you ever just look at the stars and, like, confess your dreams? Do you see Brandon Flowers there, or is he the manifestation confession?

The Killers have unleashed their music video for single "Runaways," a combo of the abstract and performance video that leave vapor trails of fist-pumping, tear-streaming rock sonically akin to Asia's "Heat of the Moment." The band opts for brilliant pops of color with a lot of black background as frontman Flowers recounts his seemingly doomed romance. It also looks like the performance screen for "Rock Band," without the actual game. Everybody looks good, refreshed.

They should be. It's been four years since the band's last "Day & Age," and with the new album "Battle Born" due on Sept. 18, it will have been almost exactly two years since Flowers dropped his solo debut "Flamingo."

"Runaways" bowed on the Hot 100 this week after its first week of radio and sales, at No. 78.

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<p>Every opportunity I have to run this Darkness promotional photo, I&nbsp;will</p>

Every opportunity I have to run this Darkness promotional photo, I will

Credit: Wind-Up

Listen: The Darkness drop Radiohead cover on heels of 'Hot' single

'Everybody Have a Good Time': a bear in a bikini, hot girls in glasses, a Tommy gun

Finally. Cock-rockers The Darkness have released the studio version of their Radiohead cover "Street Spirit (Fade Out)." The prophecies have been fulfilled, the earth can now enter a period of raining frogs, the seven horsemen and all the trimmings of the 2012 apocalypse.

There are natural limitations to hair metal revisited, but the English band delivers in stripes on this track, particularly since "The Bends" original last for about 4:15 and this one clocks in (in my mind) at about 35 seconds, more or less. Tenacious D may have cornered the market on tongue-cheeking '80s hard-rock, but the Darkness are straight-up making out with it.

Listen to Darkness' version of "Street Spirit (Fade Out)" here.

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<p>From &quot;Give It Away&quot;</p>

From "Give It Away"

Watch: Andrew Bird's 'Give It Away' is a bummer birthday party

Piñata man is in the wrong line of work

Andrew Bird's music video for "Give It Away" features a Piñata Man who "plays" children's birthday parties. Piñata Man is obviously in the wrong line of work.

I'm sure this is a metaphor for something. Something. Also, it wasn't just your mom who was nuts growing up.

"Give It Away" is off of "Break It Yourself," a title which seems to have some bearings on piñatas everywhere. The album was released earlier this year.

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<p>Childish Gambino, aka Donald Glover</p>

Childish Gambino, aka Donald Glover

Watch: Childish Gambino's 'Fire Fly' vid is a sci-fi adventure

Donald Glover: now with more lens flare

One could say that the now-canceled TV show "Firefly" was simply ahead of its time. Childish Gambino's track "Fire Fly" makes a similar argument for why it's taking the rapper so long to be appreciated among peers.

The music video for the song is a little combination of both. The narrative features an underdog that very much looks like Donald Glover, put on the trail to intergalactic travel. But a more traditional action plot unravels, there's conflict, and dude even gets to kiss The Girl. Queue the lens flare.

"I used to get called 'Oreo' and 'faggot' / I used to get more laughs when I got laughed at / Oh you got a mixtape? That's fantastic," he raps. "It's hard to make Hov the footsteps you followin' / Especially when your n*ggas look like Carlton... No live shows, cause I can't find sponsors / For the only black kid at a Sufjan concert... Now I'm firefly like a burning kite / And you'sa fake f*ck like a Fleshlight."

Perhaps a "Revenge of the Nerds" plotline would be more befitting, but space travel also fulfills that "Living well..." adage.

"Firefly" is off of Gambino's "Camp," out last year, and he has a new mixtape "Royalty" out now, too. The actor/rapper's show "Community" is making buzz at the TCAs today, especially after NBC said its seeking broader comedies than it. Read all about it on HitFix.

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<p>Carly Rae Jepsen and Owl City</p>

Carly Rae Jepsen and Owl City

Credit: VEVO

Watch: Owl City and Carly Rae Jepsen combine for a squeaky-clean 'Good Time'

Single will appear on both artists' forthoming albums

Sonically and thematically, Owl City and Carly Rae Jepsen's "Good Time" occupies the space between Miley Cyrus' "Party in the U.S.A." and Katy Perry's "Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.)." And it's accompanying music video is as predictably squeaky clean as fans have come to expect from Owl City mastermind Adam Young.

It's all Slurpees, fishin' poles and daisy chains for Young's band of marauding Hollister models and from "Call Me Maybe" star Jepsen's flower children's children. I need a toothbrush and a rare steak after all that sugar.

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<p>2 Chainz</p>

2 Chainz

Listen: Kanye West and 2 Chainz want a big booty girl for their 'Birthday Song'

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Gross, guys.

Fresh off the announcement that Kanye West's G.O.O.D. Music label compilation has a due date, and that 2 Chainz is still not an official associate of the label, Ye and the Atlanta rapper have dropped "Birthday Song."

No, it's not the "Birthday Song" you know and love: "All I want for my birthday is a big booty girl."

I'm not even going to pretend I can look past the literal twist on "pay for play" exchange of sex acts for one's birthday, even when Rihanna says it. That, combined with lazy, entitled opening verse from 2 Chainz, the gender classicism and the abhorrent repeated "You in first place," means this won't sit well for some.

But if you don't like it, don't bring your drama to the table, West warns you "actresses."

For the record, ladies, a sweater is a perfectly nice gift (hell, so is a "coupe"). If your man -- famous rapper or not -- tells you to "do better" and insinuates you grab a friend to bring her into the bed for some crew-love, you can certainly inform him nary a birthday will be happy again until that sainted day when he's buried next to "two bitches."

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<p>Bat For Lashes, &quot;The Haunted Man&quot;</p>

Bat For Lashes, "The Haunted Man"

Credit: Capitol/EMI

Song Of The Day: Bat For Lashes is back with theatrical single 'Laura'

Should it be called 'Florence' or 'Mandy' instead?

Mercury Prize-nominated songwriter Bat For Lashes is back, and out the gate, she's... solemn.

"Laura" -- the first track from forthcoming album "The Haunted Man" -- has a music video featuring a haunted man and an interpretive dance honoring the song's namesake. The nervous, slow waltz showcases BfL's ringing voice, which would sound just marvelous in a velvet red curtained room.

But I also can't shake what it reminds me of: "Ooo Laura, you're more than a superstar" is eerily reminiscent of Barry Manilow's "Mandy" (or if you prefer The Simpsons version, "Margie / You came and found me a turkey"). The video is gorgeously shot, so any unintended Laura-Mandy-Margie similarities are forgiven.

"The Haunted Man" has a fantastic, NSFW album cover shot by nudes specialist Ryan McGinley, and will be out Oct. 23 via EMI.

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