<p>Katy Perry in &quot;Part of Me&quot;</p>

Katy Perry in "Part of Me"

Watch: Katy Perry joins the Marines in 'Part of Me' music video

Do you buy it? Does it matter?

They say a woman who changes her hair is about to change her life. Katy Perry hacks off most of her natural locks in the new music video for "Part of Me," so her shift in life? Joining the Marines.

The Ben Moore-directed clip was shot, in part, over three days at Marine Corps base Camp Pendleton in San Diego, where Perry was put through a series of combat training exercises, shooting guns, lifting logs and lip-syncing beneath a gigantic American flag, throwing in some literal "bombs" and "blows."

The clip opens up with Perry listening to a fictional celebrity interview on the radio that obviously reflects on her disintegrated relationship with now-ex-husband Russell Brand; we learn that her character in the video was inspired to join the armed services after the crash-and-burn ending of a relationship with a boyfriend. Perry told MTV that she wanted a video that was an "affirmation of strength" after a relationship that took it out of her. "I wanted go the strongest route I possibly could."

That route began with her chopping off all her hair (a la "G.I. Jane"), embracing her hoodied androgyny ("The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo") wrapping her infamous boobs with gauze (a la... "Shakespeare in Love" [???]) and crying into a sink before handing over her clothes and preparing to mouth "Yes drill sergeant" for as many times as it took. The inspiration was a bumper sticker: "All women are created equal, then some become Marines."

In this case, enlisting was a source of self-esteem, encourages a sense of community among other women. Marines are tough, their part of America's pride. But part of the video's oddness was Perry's degenderizing -- and the co-option of a military institution.

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<p>The Flaming Lips with fwends</p>

The Flaming Lips with fwends

Record Store Day update: Flaming Lips with Coldplay, Sub Pop, White Stripes

Listen to Beach House's non-RSD single

Music lovers and vinyl collectors, update your shopping list: The Flaming Lips have announced further details on their Record Store Day collaboration set, plus below are some outlines on other April 21 exclusive drops, like those from Sub Pop, Arctic Monkeys, Sex Pistols and more.

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<p>fun.'s Nate Ruess</p>

fun.'s Nate Ruess

Credit: SiriusXM

Watch: fun. covers Lady Antebellum's 'We Own the Night'

The cute-o-meter is now broken

I promise this will be quick: Today's cute-o-meter was broken, by an acoustic cover of Lady Antebellum's "We Own the Night" by fun., for SiriusXM.

I've always been a fan of Nate Ruess' voice, especially on his old band The Format's record "Dog Problem." He treads that perfectly harmonize-able line between tenor and alto, a solid foundation for a memorable pop song that everyone can sing.

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Candlebox are back with a new song 'Believe In It,' son

Positivity reigns, son!

The rise and reunion of all hard rock bands made popular from the 1990s is a nearly complete endeavor, with Candlebox already on board and preparing another effort As outlined below, though, let's remember that the group wasn't gone all that long.

Cuddly-soft titled "Love Stories & Other Musings" is due on April 3, tipping off with single "Believe In It." It features the overdriven mastering that so many commercial rock songs these days have grown accustomed to, plus the work-hard-love-hard positivity of Kevin Martin.

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<p>Tyler, the Creator</p>

Tyler, the Creator

Interview: Tyler, the Creator talks 'Loiter Squad,' Odd Future, solo album, porn

Watch an EXCLUSIVE clip from OF's new Adult Swim show, stay for the insanity

Tyler, the Creator had a suggestion for our small business. "Do you guys do porn?"

"You mean, does HitFix work in porn?"
"No, we don't cover porn. I guess we'd make more money if we did."
"That's what I'm saying!"
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<p>Katy Perry's promo for her &quot;Part of Me&quot; music video</p>

Katy Perry's promo for her "Part of Me" music video

Listen: Katy Perry is 'Wide Awake' on sad new song

Plus: Why is the pop star covering 'N***as in Paris?'

I hate to make light of anybody's personal suffering, but a breakup could very well be the best thing for Katy Perry's sound. "Wide Awake," the pop singer's latest offering, is a primer for a more grown-up sound.

What has been particularly vexing about Perry's career is the inescapable nature of her "cuteness," which even has its way with "Part of Me," her current single. Any legitimate sound of pain can come off as cootie-boo-hooing, with that excessive flip on her high notes or the come-hiterhing of a bridge. Her presentation at the Grammys pointed to an angry underpinning, fully realized in the wake of her divorce from Russell Brand.

Now there's "Wide Awake," a title that's packed with multiple meanings. Not only is the dream over, but there's a coming-of-age, of becoming somebody else when you wake up, you're 27, you're at the top of your game, and you just had a very public celebrity divorce. 

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<p>Marilyn Manson</p>

Marilyn Manson

No, really: Johnny Depp and Marilyn Manson covering 'You're So Vain'

Carly Simon gets a dark redux, plus: Have you heart Manson's newest single?

Maybe Johnny Depp and Marliyn Mason are vain. And maybe it's you, my friend. The industrial/heavy-rocker and the actor/musician have combined together to record a very unlikely cover: Carly Simon's "You're So Vain."

The track will appear on Manson's forthcoming eighth studio set, "Born Villain," out on May 1, though it's not currently available for listening yet. While it may not be worn on his sleeve, Depp is actually a big Manson fan, their bromance going back to at least 2001 when Manson's "The Nobodies" was in Depp's "From Hell"; the award-winning actor actually took Manson to the 2006 premiere of "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest" as his date.

The announcement of this song proceeds the recent unveiling of "Born Villain's" first single, "No Reflection," which I actually like a lot. It's crunchy, accessible, and with a lot of that Manson signature character, an actually good reflection on production. Manson; longtime collaborator and former Nine Inch Nails drummer Chris Vrenna; and bassist/producer Twiggy Ramirez (aka Jeordie White) were behind the decks for this effort.

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<p>Alabama Shakes at SXSW</p>

Alabama Shakes at SXSW

Credit: AP Photo

SXSW Superlatives: Best in show, from Alabama Shakes to Youth Lagoon

Escort, Cloud Nothings, M. Ward, The Men, Nas, Slaughterhouse and... the best food truck

More that 2,000 artists performed at the South By Southwest music conference this year. Sadly, I only saw a few dozen, and in bits. (However, more and more I'm led to believe that the 20-minute set is the way to go.) 

Below, I assign random and unscientific superlatives to some of the bands I saw, including shout-outs to Youth Lagoon, U.S. Royalty, Matthew Dear and Escort.
Where are Bruce Springsteen, Lil Wayne, 50 Cent and Eminem, Fiona Apple, Mumford & Sons and the other biggest acts? Check out "The 20 Things You Missed at SXSW 2012."
Most improved: Sharon Van Etten. I enjoyed this songwriter’s set last week, but what a difference electric makes. Now her arrangements are fleshier, her live shows more transcendent, and her voice as a singer and songwriter is better heard. She’s a bigger deal now and she knows it, in all the right ways.
Band that seemingly played the most shows the most days: Garden & Villa. Even if you wanted to avoid them – I didn’t – you couldn’t have missed them.
Most buzzed-about live band: Cloud Nothings. Elemental, punk, sheer and aware.
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<p>Lil Wayne at SXSW</p>

Lil Wayne at SXSW

Credit: AP Photo

20 things you missed at SXSW: Springsteen, Eminem, Kanye, Mumford & Sons

Biggest highlights from the fest: Bill Murray, naked guy, Fiona Apple, Weezy, doo-rag brawls

For those of us who survived, another South By Southwest Music Conference has come and gone, with a new slate of happenings for next year's programmers to topple. Check out 2012's biggest happenings below, from the Boss to Weezy.

+ Bruce Springsteen had some fine guests on the second big date of his "Wrecking Ball" tour. After an afternoon of delivering the keynote address, he was able to finally rock out and see some friends -- like Arcade Fire, Alejandro Escovedo, Joe Ely, Tom Morello, Jimmy Cliff, the Low Anthem and the lead singer of the Animals.

+ Rick Ross -- speaking of Bawse -- was the surprise guest at Fader Fort on Saturday night to perform more than a dozen tracks.

+ Alejandro Escovedo had a visit from Springsteen earlier in the week, and then played host to a number of other musical cameos: R.E.M.'s Peter Buck and Mike Mills, Jessie Malin, Jon Langford and Lenny Kaye all showed. Johnny Depp… maybe did?

+ 50 Cent was joined by several special guests, including Eminem, Kidd Kidd, Precious Paris and Governor, during his performance of "Get Rich or Die Tryin'" from front to back.

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<p>Marcus Mumford and Alex Ebert at eh &quot;Big Easy Express&quot; encore performance</p>

Marcus Mumford and Alex Ebert at eh "Big Easy Express" encore performance

Credit: AP Photo

Mumford & Sons perform three new songs at SXSW outdoor gig

Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros need to sharpen up, plus: 'Big Easy Express'

AUSTIN -- Mumford & Sons, Edward Sharpe and members of Old Crow Medicine Show had themselves a Railroad Revival reunion during SXSW, and like many family reunions, they took the opportunity to introduce new additions. The roots-based groups convened on the lawn of the LBJ Library, where their road doc "Big Easy Express" filmed in advance of short sets from the former two full bands, a presentation by MySpace.

Mumfords performed three new songs from their forthcoming sophomore set. "Lovers Eyes" had a little of the "quiet rage" that its lyrics suggested, frontman Marcus Mumford lamenting "Love was kind for a time… we're too young / our heads too strong / to bear the weight of these lover's eyes." It, like a handful of songs from "Sigh No More," gives way to the stomps and the sixths, all four singers busting out into harmony. "Lover of the Light" featured Marcus behind the drums for an overall soft-rocker with a big build, and "Ghosts That We Knew" falls in line with some religious-tinged imagery in the British band's songs, about hard hearts, soft lovers, darkness and light:. "You saw my pain washed out in the rain… saw blood run from my veins."

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