Adrianne Palicki and Josh Peck battled one of Hollywood’s biggest monsters for action remake “Red Dawn”: the threat of casualty, after MGM imploded and it and “Cabin in the Woods” were shelved indefinitely. “Poor Chris” Hemsworth, as Peck called him in our recent interview, were in both.
Looks like Frank Ocean wasn't the only artist inspired by Quentin Tarantino's work. T.I.'s "Trouble Man" finally has an official cover and is a nod at gambling, war, gun violence and -- of course -- the movies.
And like many movies, "Trouble Man" has a firm release date now: Dec. 18 has stayed put for at least a month, so now Atlantic and Grand Hustle can have a Christmas party. With that, the tracklist has been unveiled and is bursting with guest talent, particularly with some pop majors. Labelmate CeeLo Green is on there, with Pink, R. Kelly, Lil Wayne, Meek Mill and others.
The Lil Wayne single "Ball" is already out there, with a video. "Wonderful Life" with Akon may be a curiousity, considering Akon's general absence; "Guns and Roses," I pray, will be a tribute to Guns 'N Roses with Pink singing her best Axl impression.
It will be wonder what Atlantic will bow as the next single, considering "Ball" entered and promptly left the Hot 100 at No. 50 earlier this month and it's stalled at hip-hop airplay. There seems to be a split of what could be great street tracks and collabs with A$AP Rocky... or then there's pop. T.I. doesn't have the sizzle that he did a couple years ago, when he first mentioned "Trouble Man." Is it in trouble?
Here is the tracklist for "Trouble Man":
1. The Introduction
2. G Season featuring Meek Mill
3. Trap Back Jumpin
4. Wildside featuring A$AP Rocky
5. Ball featuring Lil Wayne
6. Sorry featuring André 3000
7. Can You Learn featuring R. Kelly
8. Go Get It
9. Guns and Roses featuring P!nk
10. The Way We Ride
13. Hello featuring CeeLo Green
14. Who Want Some
15. Wonderful Life featuring Akon
The clip starts out in black and white, and transitions into color (get it? Freedom from the confines of black and white? Or something? Anyway) as Minaj poses elegantly against Noah's Arc to mansion banisters to modern sculpture. It's the rapper-singer through the ages, an eternal beauty proudly hocking her wares from Macy's.
One repeating motif in this epic is Minaj's inability to quit touching her hair. Her many wigs are no match for wandering fingertips, but frankly, if I had that many weaves, I'd be poking at 'em too.
Minaj performed a chilly rendition of "Freedom" at last night's American Music Awards, as it's one of the new tracks off of her "Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded - The Re-Up." It hit stores today (Nov. 19).
On "Numb," only the third song on "Unapologetic," Rihanna tunelessly repeats precisely what is required of the listener to enjoy her new album: the phrase "I'm going numb" insists the designated effect on both the singer and her public. What is needed to enjoy this, her seventh album, is to turn off.
It's not so hard turning off when dancing, on diversions like "Right Now" featuring David Guetta. She puts on a saucy little number in "Jump," borrowing heavily from Ginuwine's "Pony" and re-purposing it for a dubstep mash-up.
Turning off proves more difficult when the album seems to be catwalking off in a half dozen different directions, starting with infernal headache "Fresh Off the Runway." This album could have kicked off with any other track -- SERIOUSLY, ANY OTHER TRACK -- and made more of an impact than this colorless boaster of explicit lyricism. But to make "Unapologetic" to appear without apologies, there's a slavish tromp through it; the new so-so single "Diamonds"; the aforementioned "Numb" with Eminem; and exasperating non-song "Pour It Up," a Mike WiLL-produced experiment which is far more aimless and depressing than its title implies.
Phillip Phillips, the most recent of the crowned "American Idols," has a bar to raise. Previous guys-with-guitars-styled singers like Kris Allen and Lee Dewyze are struggling for their album sales and criticisms to match their FOX show success. What this 22-year-old has going for him on his debut album "The World from the Side of the Moon," besides a title charmingly impossible to remember, is his natural, warm growl and the mixed blessing of always sounding like somebody else.
Namely, Phillips splits time on "The World" between Dave Matthews Band rockers and Mumford & Sons roots numbers. This comes as no surprise to the listener, who would easily mistake his chart-breaking single "Home" for the latter's earnest heartbreaking. As for the inveterate DMB, Phillips picks up where 2001's "Everyday" left off: these are not band-written songs, this collection is shot after shot at the Next Big Single, with a frontman never stepping away from the center. Some melodies will achieve exactly the radio single sound Universal undoubtedly hoped Phillips could achieve. "Gone, Gone, Gone" has enough BPMs to differentiate it from "Home" while still dipping into the same pool. Closer "So Easy" could easily head to Adult Top 40 as "Get Up Get Down" will leave both Matthews and Maroon 5 shaking that they didn't have first dibs.
Phillips is game for all these, but it's not unfair to say he has some serious limitations, too. Dynamically, his vocals remain pleasant, lightly challenged, but rarely changing. Those performances cause tracks like "Drive Me" and country stomper "Cant' Go Wrong" to fall flat. He most emotionally expressive on "Home," still, and abstract "Fool's Dance."
The next challenge is to take Phillips' likeable brand further, without entirely disassociating him from the television show. Some songs are strong enough, and his fans can follow this set pretty easily. Now it's up to the marketing team. Happy holidays, guys.
Welcome to the top of this late November week, a time during which we tell those we love that we are thankful for them and begin thinking of our stocking stuffers. That's right: the American Music Awards trots out the most appreciated pop acts for three hours of performances, including spots from Justin Bieber, Ke$ha, Taylor Swift, Kelly Clarkson, Psy, Pink and Chris Brown.
I will be live-blogging the winners, the songs, the shows, the presenters and those uncomfortable little spots where nothing is happening all evening. Show kicks off at 8 p.m. EST (7 p.m. here in Austin) and goes until 11 p.m., fresh from the Nokia Theater in Los Angeles.
Follow me for more bite-sized Twitter commentary at @katieaprincess.
8:00 pm: Usher won the coin toss against Justin Bieber as to who opened the show. He even wore his lucky red rainboots.
8:02: It's a three-hour show, Usher, can you bring us to "Climax" so early? Half a warm-up track isn't much foreplay.
8:05: "Can't Stop, Won't Stop Must" be every dancer's dream, as is evident by this chorus line number. Usher is definitely singing live tonight, which running on a treadmill will make painfully obvious.
8:07: Ryan Seacrest on tap for host duties. With a 40th anniversary show, I'm curious why hosting was such a Seacret (get it?).
8:09: Justin Bieber wins Most Popular Boy. Er, Pop/Rock Male.
8:10: "This is for the Haters." Oh, you. You're one of the best-selling artists in the last three years, in both music and concert sales. Make "Metal Machine Music" and we can discuss hate. Or cameo on "General Hospital."
8:13: The hyping of Beyonce's "Single Ladies" makes me think there will be some Queen B news coming out of tonight. She's got a Super Bowl appearance that needs promo starting now, right?
8:15: Drunk Eric Stonestreet is my favorite Eric Stonestreet.
8:17: Stonestreet makes a "you win all the awards" jokes at Taylor Swift, who clearly would much rather talk about anything else. "Red" star takes home Country - Female
8:18: I want to live my life as the human equivalent of Lucy Hale's dress.
8:21: Upshot to Carly Rae Jepson starting with the song that isn't "Call Me Maybe" is the painful wait to see how she uses those phone booths. Perhaps she's expecting a call from 2002?
8:24: Sometimes I try to distinguish The Wanted and One Direction in my head as the one band who dances and the one that doesn't. And then I remember that neither group dances, and both are still trying to figure out what to do with their bodies when they're not singing. The Wanted does the skinny tie better.
8:31: My hope is that Randy Jackson is as loud on "American Idol" as his jacket is on the AMAs.
8:33: Kelly Clarkson is wearing her "American Idol" audition number. Happy 10th anniversary, winner. She still rocks "Since U Been Gone," which is what I wish I could say about those fetish boots.
8:35: "Catch My Breath" has really grown on me. What a voice.
8:38: Hearing Stacy Keibler's voice is like watching money catch on fire.
8:39: Nicki Minaj wins Favorite Album - Rap/Hip-Hop. Her gown indicates the best quinceñera ever.
8:42: Ke$ha goes with a Day of the Dead theme for her "Die Young." It's totally working for her, she's having more fun than anyone on this stage so far has, and that includes Minaj's handler.
8:43: Tribal dance ends in a Madonna/Mary Mother Madonna pose. Mother Mary Ciccone is off somewhere, practicing her roundhouse.
8:48: I know No Doubt is performing "Lookin' Hot" but I'm still waiting for the... song. Gwen Stefani looks like she's wearing a Gwen Stefani Halloween Costume, one of the ones that arrive in shrink-wrap.
8:53: Linkin Park wins Alternative Rock Music - Artist, still chuckling over the term "alternative"
9 p.m.: Country guys saying "T-Swizzle" makes my heart grow two sizes too big
9:02: Taylor Swift playing smoky masquerade-themed "Trouble," much more active than one of those acoustic-guitars-barefoot numbers. For those playing at home, this is her "dubstep" hybrid. Do not ask for a dubstep for Christmas.
9:04: I really want Chris Brown to win something so I can be offended about how inoffensive his acceptance speech is compared to all the rest of Chris Brown.
9:05: Usher can't read his phone for his thank-yous because he's wearing sunglasses. Fun fact: Usher never not wears sunglasses. Takes home Male Soul/R&B Artist.
9:12: Favorite Country Male Artist nominees looks like a race for Splashiest Lens Flare.
9:13: Luke Bryan wins. Usher should've worn this ensemble instead of the catsuit.
9:15: Linkin Park's "live" vocals make me think of the guy who jumped out of that hot air balloon to break the sound barrier, for some reason.
9:18: Seriously, that rock performance would have been 20X more fun with a Diet Coke and a pack of Mentos.
9:20: In a wintry turn of events, Nicki Minaj goes solo on "Freedom." Patent leather puffy shorts and cotton candy hair.
9:23: Gospel choir files out of the wings, the chorus is finally sung properly. Stage landscape is sparse and the rap/singing star is emoting: were there a bonfire, I'd be checkin' for Frank Ocean.
9:28: Pink performing "Try" live -- like she did in the video -- just made my "Best" list and I haven't finished watching it yet.
9:30: Pyro-heavy set makes this the live-action equivalent of Eminem's "Love the Way You Lie." Actual violence pending.
9:32: Breaking windows, pantomime punches, "bruising" and pushing. I wonder if ABC will get any complaints about art.
9:33: Carly Rae Jepsen wins over One Direction for New Artist of the Year. Perhaps the boy band should've considered performing. Or showing up. Not that it would be required for a win or anything. Just saying.
9:40: Gavin DeGraw and Colbie Caillat shamelessly plugging themselves, and say so. I love America.
9:41: Country Duo or Group goes to Lady Antebellum. So weird, I could've sworn they were just presenting an award just two awards ago...
9:42: Carly Rae introduces Justin Bieber. Knee-pad sighting. Placing bets that his acoustic guitarist's name is Vedder.
9:45: Post-Hurricane Selena, Bieber is feeling sad. You can tell because he's singing from a stool.
9:47: "Beauty and the Beat" starts up, but no Nicki MInaj so far. Pink hair doesn't go with all-red rainboots look. Who decided on this motif? Switch to programmed vocals.
9:49: There's Nicki. Outfit change to reflect Cher's "If I Could Turn Back Time" with the biggest hair this side of 1989.
9:51: Here's the American Music Award presenters explaining to your mother that "electronic dance music" is a hot new thing! Because dance music -- electronic or otherwise -- definitely didn't exist any other time in history so long as your mother has been alive, or at least was previously unworthy of recognition by name from the AMAs. David Guetta won, no, David Guetta is not dubstep, nor American, jeez let's just drop the subject, Mom, here's a commercial with Fergie, I'll feed the cats.
9:58: Great to see one of America's most treasured vocalists singing through auto-tune.
9:59: Christina Aguilera's lady-luscious "Lotus" intro segues into all the extras from Pink's "Raise Your Glass" video ensemble. It's literally a freak show of circus performers and drag queens encouraging watchers to "love yourself." Aguilera would probably prefer to perform "Your Body," but it's way too naughty.
10:04 p.m.: Pitbull's "Don't Stop the Party" is like cocaine: ought to be fun, but being around it is actually annoying.
10:13: Justin Bieber wins another popularity contest for Best Pop/Rock Album. Jenny McCarthy literally grabs Biebs' glutes and kisses his neck, 12 million girls just screamed out loud and passed out so hard.
10:15: Carrie Underwood is unsure what key this song is sung in.
10:16: Seriously. Carrie Underwood is a talented singer. Somebody please give her her key for "Two Black Cadillacs."
10:18: Phew, that was close. Underwood took it home, and how. Now we can talk about Cadillac clip-art. Aguilera probably sees herself in Underwood, and misses herself dearly.
10:24: Brandy explaining her album title "Two Eleven": Whitney Houston's death date. Cue a 10-second "memorial" to the late singer.
10:26: Chris Brown, Ludacris and Swizz Beatz step out for "Everyday Is Your Birthday," which is a good time. Chris Brown can't keep his shirt on, wearing shirts aren't in Chris Brown's wheelhouse. He moves toward the camera, I instinctively move away.
10:27: Loved the dancing, energetic performance. Your move, Bieber.
10:30: Nicki Minaj wins Rap/Hip-Hop Artist, lady takes it home over the dudes. She thanks her Barbz with passion, and reveals she'll be premiering the "Freedom" video tomorrow (Nov. 19). Costume change unfortunately encases her in shoes she cannot walk in. Blond hair, looking hot and temperature-hot.
10:38: Neon Trees presenting a country award, dressed in all the available items from Forever 21.
10:39: Carrie Underwood wins Country Album because Taylor Swift's "Red" is conspicuously absent from the short list.
10:42: Ryan Seacrest introduces a montage honoring Dick Clark, who founded the AMAs. Set led by jams from Stevie Wonder. "My Cherie Amour" brings tears to Clark's widow's eyes, "Sir Duke" played abruptly with a closing shot of Clark.
10:49: Far more moved by this "Michael Jackson: Bad 25" trailer.
10:50: Besides being a singer, songwriter and producer, will.iam is touted as a "musical innovator." Did he write that himself? Does writing that for yourself make you an innovator?
10:51: Justin Bieber wins Artist of the Year, brings his mom up with him. She looks like she got asked to prom by The World. Bieber is almost wordless, thanking fans for believing in him.
10:54: Psy brings "Gangam Style" to the stage to close out the night. Camera pans to all the stars who actually know how to horsey dance, and next to nobody who can speak-sing Korean. This No. 2 song fell to No. 5 this past week on Hot 100, but Psy's Hammer pants are No. 1.
10:56: I'm not joking guys. I did that with my mind. MC Hammer came out for a mash-up of "Gangnam" with "2 Legit 2 Quit." That quivering you're experiencing is nostalgia. That sound you hear is your feet on the floor. That pain you feel is your back, because you are old.
If today felt slightly more funeralesque than any usual Friday, it might be because of the new music video from the now-deceased R.E.M. About a year and a couple of months after the legendary rock troupe called it quits, they've unleashed a clip for "Blue," off of final "Collapse Into Now," directed by human hallucinogen James Franco and troubled star Lindsay Lohan.
Zip up your pants and get ready for a litany of cross-fades, a bleating mass of L.A. landscapes and characters, all over top the spoken-word, sad-sung mixture of Michael Stipe and Co.'s Lou Reedian nightmare. Franco can't help but insert himself into some shots, and Lohan's image fades inas she's being photographed by Terry Richardson (whose pervy, contemporary stylings have erupted this week for Lady Gaga's "Cake" promo-erection).
So Lohan's in a frame within a frame, as she struggles with fame. I see what you did there, Franco, but I'm still wary of that "Great and Powerful Oz" trailer.
Nicki MInaj and Lil Wayne don't use the term "High School" like Snoop Dogg and Wiz Khalifa did for their grass-loving film, but instead use it as a touchstone for maturity. No, this ain't like high school, Minaj declares on her new track "High School," right before laying out a detailed narrative in her rap verse then launching into sexy-time talk. She's still finding that nice balance of pop and rap, of flirtation and provocation, and her words reflect that.
Lil Wayne's turn on "High School," on the other hand, doesn't show much progression. Did you know Lil Wayne likes oral sex? Oh, then spoiler alert.
I finally got around to watching "Nicki Minaj: My Truth," the star's E! feature, last night. In "Part 2," Tunechi shows to the studio for his verse on this track, and apparently takes eight hours to dole this one out. The show is a good reminder of just how many handlers entertainers need (or feel like they need) but also just how the "creative" process works when there's only a day of available time. What I'm trying to say is, Wayne could do better than this, but this is what we got, perhapsbecause he only had one day to do it.
Minaj has promised more rap that her pop persona on the deluxe reissue of "Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded - The Re-Up." "High School" is just one of the five new songs, and between that, excellent "The Boys," there's some improvement. She's busily promoting the Nov. 19 arrival of "The Re-Up" re-release, plus her forthcoming season of "American Idol" as a new host and launching her first fragrance. I'll give you three guesses as to what her perfume is named, but you'll only need on.
Promotions for each below.
Ke$ha's trying to corner the current market on low-brow pop tartalage, having started with party anthem "Tik Tok" and bringing her up to Hooters and Budweiser name-checking on "Come On," released today. Even as single "Die Young" continues to ascend toward the top of the Hot 100, her label is obviously eager to get more of a party going by time her new album "Warrior" drops on Nov. 30.
Stopping here: If there's anything to be learned from Morrissey is that if you're only going to sing three or four notes ever, you'd better sing them well -- or at least make them yours. "Come On" may be one of the least imaginative melodies to come from Ke$ha's camp (camp being operative), sung by a still-rising pop star who I think has traditionally good instincts for a hook. But of the four notes that she really sings, she makes them all her own.
Despite her marketing efforts to align her with Hollywood trash, I like to think of Ke$ha's voice as the Midwestern accent of the singing world. It's all hard consonants and dipthongs, and the over-emphasis on mispronounced words like your mom saying she's going to get her herr done. The "yum" lyrics in "Come On" nod heavily at Salt-N-Pepa's "Shoop," as generic "carpe diem" all-nighter messaging hits on par with Katy Perry's "T.G.I.F." It's all pretty safe stuff from a self-sworn member of the Illuminati (go watch "Die Young's" video).
If you want more hard edges from "Die Young," Dr. Luke has just released a remix of that track with rap cameos from Juicy J, Becky G and Wiz Khalifa. Check that below, too.
Lady Gaga appears to be rapping on what's shaping up to be a new album cut "Cake." Mother Monster released a luscious little clip of her speak-singing along, with images of wagging butts, dancing in her underwear and otherwise suggesting that a lucky piece of cake is going to get some action from a very famous pop star.
"You chew beef, I wear meat / And stay on top of the I'm I'm I'm I'm / Getting fat and so is my bank /With a sold out world tour b*tch," are among the lyrical sage-wisdom, as the song was also previewed during a Mugler fashion show in September.
As for the 15-second clip, maker-of-sexy-photos Terry Richardson helmed it, which should surprise no one. Gaga and Richardson released a photo book together just last year. And Richardson likes things to look like an American Apparel ad.