Lana Del Rey

Lana Del Rey prepares for her big day in video for 'Ultraviolence': Watch

Does she make it to the altar?

It’s a lovely day for a white wedding— or so it seems at the beginning of Lana Del Rey’s video for “Ultraviolence.”

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Nick Jonas

Watch: Nick Jonas is all grown up in 'Chains' video

How soon before the song is in a '50 Shades of Grey' trailer?

“50 Shades of Grey’s” trailer got it wrong last week when it used a slowed-down version of Beyonce’s “Crazy In Love.”

Instead, it should have used Nick Jonas’ “Chains.”  As the new song from the youngest—and most talented— JoBro shows, he has grown up and out (check out those guns) and he’s got a lot on his mind. His previous side project, Nick Jonas & The Administration, certainly didn’t hint at this kind of heat.

The song has a sexy, slow grind, Usher- kind of vibe about how his girl and his passion for her has him all wrapped up in chains. And he’s more than fine with that.

The video, filmed in slow motion and co-directed by Jonas, perfectly matches the song’s sultry, spacey vibe as Jonas gets dragged along the floor and deals with police in riot gear and snarling dogs, to get to his love… or does he?  His love interest is played by Dylan Penn, daughter of Sean Penn and Robin Wright.

“Chains” is the first single from Jonas’ forthcoming solo album on Island Records. Jonas is also filming DIRECTV’s original series, “Kingdom,” in which he plays a MMA fighter.

 

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Janelle Monae

Janelle Monae throws a house party with T.I., Estelle in 'Electric Lady' video

How do we join Electro Phi Beta sorority?

We’ll be back with a review of Janelle Monae’s “Electric Lady” video after this brief commercial for Samsung.

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Minnie Driver

Exclusive Premiere: Minnie Driver performs Elliott Smith's 'Waltz #2': Watch

Actress's new album also includes covers from Neil Young, The Cure and more


After co-writing the material for her first two albums, actress Minnie Driver decided to turn to songs that others first made famous for “Ask Me To Dance,” out Oct. 7.

The Rounder/Zoe release, Driver’s first album since 2007, features her interpretations of such tunes as The Cure’s “Close To Me,” Neil Young’s “Tell Me Why,” Stevie Wonder’s “Master Blaster,” the Killer’s “Human,” Neil Finn’s “Better Be Home Soon,” and even going back to the Sinatra standard, “Fly Me To The Moon.”  

In this exclusive clip, HitFix premieres Driver singing “Waltz #2,” from the late Elliott Smith. As movie fans know, Smith’s “Miss Misery” was featured in one of Driver’s earlier film’s, “Good Will Hunting,” and the two were friends until his death.

She prefaces the performance by talking about being in the studio with Smith when he recorded the vocal for the haunting, bittersweet “Waltz #2,” and being struck by how “beautiful” the tune was.  She performs it live in the clip below.

The second season of Driver’s series, “About A Boy,” premieres on Oct.14. She plans to tour behind “Ask Me To Dance,” and will work dates around her “Boy” shooting schedule.

"Ask Me To Dance's" complete track listing is below the video.

 


 1.           Waltz #2 (XO) (Elliott Smith)
 2.          Close To Me  (Robert Smith)
 3.          Master Blaster (Jammin’)  (Stevland Morris)
 4.          Human  (Mark August Stoermer-Dave Brent Keuning-Brandon Flowers-Ronnie Vannucci Jr.       
 5.          Fly Me To The Moon  (Bart Howard)
 6.          Better Be Home Soon   (Neil Finn)
 7.          Wild Wood   (Paul Weller)
 8.          Tell Me Why (Neil Young)
 9.          Speed Of The Sound Of Loneliness  (John Prine)
10.        Love Song  (Lesley Duncan)

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Lady Gaga and Tony Bennett

Lady Gaga and Tony Bennett duets album coming in September

On 'Cheek To Cheek,' the two dive into the Great American Songbook

Lady Gaga and Tony Bennett will release their album of jazz standards, “Cheek To Cheek” on Sept. 23. The first track, a remake of Cole Porter’s “Anything Goes,” came out today via iTunes.

The odd bedfellows formed a mutual admiration society three years ago and seemed besotted with each other’s talent ever since Gaga recorded “The Lady Is A Tramp” with Bennett for his “Duets II” album.

The album features the twosome singing in tandem and solo as they work through the Great American Songbook, performing such classics as “Lush Life,” “Anything Goes,” “It Don’t Mean A Thing (If It Ain’t Got That Swing),” and “Sophisticated Lady.”

Bennett, of course, helped bring much of the Great American Songbook alive over his seven-decade career. It turns out that Gaga grew up on the American standards. “It was very important to Tony that this was a jazz record,” Lady Gaga said in a statement. “I’ve been singing jazz since I was a child and really wanted to show the authentic side of the genre. We made an album of jazz classice, but it has a modern twist.”

The pair recorded the album in New York over the past year, utilizing members from both of their bands, as well as such noted jazzbos as saxophonist Joe Lovano and flutist Paul Horn, who died earlier this month.

Bennett and Lady Gaga have already taped a PBS special performing the songs that will air this fall.

 

 

 

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Ariana Grande, Nicki Minaj, Jessie J

'Bang Bang' from Jessie J, Nicki Minaj and Ariana Grande explodes: Listen

The song leaks a day before its official release

Bang Bang,” the new track from British popster Jessie J, featuring Ariana Grande and Nicki Minaj, is a bullet train of pop power that will head straight to the top of the charts.

The song, which leaked Monday night, hours before its Tuesday release, is a fast-paced track that relies just as much on a ferocious drum beat as the three leading ladies’ performances.

Though it is nominally Jessie J’s single, she generals shares the spotlight. The track opens with a rush similar to Pharrell Williams’ “Happy,” and with a fair amount of hand-claps and similarly up-tempo yelps, it could have the same successful trajectory. The tune also has the same lightness as Grande’s current smash, “Problem,” if that song were on speed. And for good reason: Max Martin with Savan Kotecha and Ilya produced both songs.

Jessie J opens the song, but quickly hands the mike over to Grande. However close to the 2-minute mark, Minaj comes in to lay down a rap in which she threatens both Jessie and “Ari” if they get in her way. It’s a busy track— voices, raps, drums, girl-group harmonies, guitars all overlap, but the chaos is totally intentional as the ladies are all about breaking hearts.

"Bang Bang" is the lead single from Jessie J's fall album and will also appear on Grande's album, "My Everything."

What do you think? We say it will be No. 1 by Labor Day.

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Hunter Hayes

Hunter Hayes is ready to commit in new video, 'Tattoo'

He's ready to take the ultimate step


After taking on bullying on “Invisible,” Hunter Hayes returns to affairs of the heart in the video for his new uptempo track, “Tattoo.”

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Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers

Album Review: Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers' 'Hypnotic Eye' sees all

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Petty still won't back down

Earlier this year, Tom Petty started telling interviewers, including HitFix, that “Hypnotic Eye,” out Tuesday (29), would be a rock record that harkened back to the early days of the Heartbreakers. He stayed true to his word.

There’s a rawness to “Eye’s” 11 tracks that captures rock and roll’s primal nature. It’s a blast to listen to and it sure sounds like it was fun to make.

The Heartbreakers, bolstered by guitarist Mike Campbell and keyboardist Benmont Tench, are one of the finest, tightest bands in the history of rock. Not only is the musicianship and camaraderie almost unmatched, the Heartbreakers have never remotely felt the need to chase fads or trends. They are straight up, unapologetic rock and roll and on their 13th album as a well-oiled unit, they sound reliably cohesive.

Not only does the album herald back to old Heartbreakers, it recalls the ‘60s and ‘70s rock that has so informed Petty’s music: the jangly guitars and harmonies of “Red River” are redolent of The Byrds, while rollicking “Fault Lines” begins with a Doors/“Break On Through” urgency and first single, “U Get Me High, starts with a Rolling Stones woozy swagger.

Opening track, driving “American Dream Plan B,” sets the tone for the album. Petty, singing in a pinched monotone (even more so than normal), vows to fight for his dream until he gets it right, even if in 2014 that dream is woefully out of reach. Blending acoustic and electric guitars, the song is a strong salvo that sets up the disillusionment that runs through many of the other tunes. That flip side of “American Dream Plan B” is the Allman Bros.-like “Forgotten Man,” where the protagonist knows he’s in a losing battle. That alienation grows en masse on album closer, "Shadow People."

At 63, Petty has lost none of his edginess.  If anything, he’s got more to rail against—he just picks his battles a little more judiciously.

While the songs are all primarily mid-to-uptempo rock tunes, Petty sprinkles other touches throughout:  he adds a slight samba feel to “Sins of My Youth” that helps take the sting out of such lyrics as “You said you loved me, wish you’d like me more.” Bluesy horns and Tench’s juke-joint piano playing give “Burnt Out Town” a swampy feel.  To be sure, we’ve never heard anything musically from Petty like the lighthearted, soft-shoe feel of “Full Grown Boy”on a Heartbreakers’ record (though the love tune wouldn’t have sounded out of place on a Traveling Wilburys set.)

There’s a loose aggressiveness  to the album that never veers into sloppiness, instead it’s the feel of a well-oiled machine: all the parts know how to work together, especially when they stretch out on the pleasing Campbell-led jam on “All You Can Carry”— a song literally about Petty grabbing what he could as his house burned down and figuratively about the baggage we need to leave behind.

“Hypnotic Eye,” recorded in Petty’s Malibu home studio, is solid and sturdy if hardly groundbreaking. As enjoyable as it is— and and it is very enjoyable— there’s nothing on here that sounds like it could become a new classic, along such staples as “I Won’t Back Down,” “American Girl” or  “Don’t Do Me Like That.” However, it’s also clear that Petty is far from coasting, especially when his “Hypnotic Eye” sees all and has so much to say.

 

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Karen O

Karen O falls under love's spell in 'Rapt' video: Watch

Track is first single from new solo album, 'Crush Songs'


Karen O’s video for her new single “Rapt,” features the Yeah Yeah Yeah’s singer submerged in water, floating under the surface in a sequined red dress.

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Nicki Minaj

UPDATED: Why Nicki Minaj and her butt can't have it both ways

She protests a little too much over her latest controversy

UPDATED: Minaj has delayed the release of "Anaconda" a week for unspecified reasons. The single will now come out Aug. 4. She also released a new photo of her in the same outfit as the single cover, this time from the front, surrounded by a yoga mat, weights, and work out ball. All in pink, natch.

 

So Nicki Minaj wants to know why models get no push back— so to speak—when they flash their asses in photo spreads and yet the world is all over her famous backside after she posts a shot of her “Anaconda” single cover that features her derriere.

After the photo went viral and threatened to break the internet, Minaj got some praise, but she also got her share of grief, so last night, she started posting photos of such things as the last Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue cover and asking why that’s “angelic”and yet her butt shot is “unacceptable.” She even threatened to post some more explicit photos, but decided better of it… or maybe she’ll just wait for that until the next time she’s desperate for some publicity.

Well, Nicki, you have every right to cop a squat and show off your formidable rear, but here’s a few reasons why you're causing such a stir and why you may want to think this through.

1. Your shot is aggressively in your face in a way the model shots are not. Add high heels and it would be a trademark stripper pose. Whether it’s the crouched position or the disappearing pink thong or the come hither look, your shot is sexualized in a way that the other shots are not. That's fine if you want to be known primarily for that asset as opposed to others, but maybe not such a smart move, if not.

2. The sad fact is that women can still not have it both ways. I’m not saying that it’s OK that we can’t, I’m just saying that we haven’t gotten to the place yet where a women who plasters her bare ass in a provocative pose all over the internet is then going to be taken completely seriously for her music. Some folks won’t see it as an issue, but given the comments flooding the internet, others do. You don't get to cry foul when people focus on your behind and your looks instead of your music if you're doing to flaunt your appearance this way. When Lil Kim showed up topless other than a pasty,  we all knew it was because the music was secondary to the spectacle. Is that the message you want to send?

3. You seem to be working really hard to clean up your image: the funny wigs are gone, you’ve been dressing classier at awards shows. No one says you have to wear a nun’s habit (actually, you’ve already tried that and it didn’t go over so well), but it feels like you back slid here. We’re not saying that women can’t express all different facets of themselves, but there’s sexy and there’s tacky and this seems more of the latter.

4. Look at you. Everyone’s talking about you. Again. Good for you. But wouldn’t it be nice if they were talking about the music instead of your ass?  With "Pills N' Potions," people were talking about the song and how it showed a different side of you. But now, everyone's just talking about your butt. Maybe it doesn’t matter to you, but for someone who has pretended for the last 24 hours that those doesn’t care what people think, you’re spent a lot of time on Twitter fanning the flames.

What do you think? Is the photo too much?

 

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