Inside Music with Melinda Newman
It's true, his 'Based on a 'T.R.U.' Story' is poised to bow at the top
Credit: Jeff Daly/AP
Rapper 2 Chainz will take his first major label studio album to the top of the Billboard 200 next week, as “Based on a T.R.U. Story” will handily bow at No. 1.
The title from the ubiquitous artist, who's recently collaborated with Nicki Minaj and Kanye West, will sell up to 140,000 copies, that’s 60,000 more than the projected sales for “Now 43,” this week’s No. 1 seller, which will drop to No. 2, according to Hits Daily Double.
The only other new contender in the Top 10 will be Insane Clown Posse’s “The Might Death Pop,” which could bow at No. 4, the highest position the band’s last effort, 2009’s “Bang! Pow! Boom!,” reached.
With no Amazon .99-cent special propelling an unlikely title up into the top the chart as has happened the past two weeks (Hello Frank Sinatra and Bee Gees!), the Top 10 shifts back to familiar current names. Rick Ross’s former No. 1, “God Forgives, I Don’t,” will likely fall slightly to No. 3. Justin Bieber’s “Believe,” Maroon 5’s “Overexposed” and One Direction’s “Up All Night” are in a dead heat for the No. 5 spot.
Similarly, both Zac Brown Band’s “Unchained” and Adele’s “21” are too close to call for the No. 8 spot. (Will this be “21” last week in the top 10? It could be...after nearly 20 months of never falling out of the top 10). Likely to land at No. 10 is Kidz Bop Kids’ “Kidz Bop 22.”
After making a huge splash this week by debuting at No. 4 with “Perfectly Imperfect,” new arist Ellie Varner falls out of the top 15.
The new chart will be released next Wednesday.
What's George Constanza doing in the coffee shop?
Jason Alexander has a nice little side gig going with his work in music videos. After appearing in Brad Paisley’s clips for “Celebrity” and “Online,” he’s back as an everyman barista in Nickelback’s clip for “Trying Not To Love You.”
He plays a double role as Bud, the sweet schlub who has a way with a cappuccino maker, and as his unnamed nemesis, who has elevated the art of coffee-making to an Olympic sport.
[More after the jump...]
Not to worry: Kim Thayil declares the band 'still a little wierd'
Soundgarden's Chris Cornell
On Nov. 13, Soundgarden will release its first new album of new material since 1996’s “Down On the Upside.”
The band’s guitarist, Kim Thayil, told Rolling Stone (according to Blabbermouth) that the new music “re-establishes that we still rock, we’re still heavy, and we’re still a little weird.” Titles on the album include “Blood On The Valley Floor,” and “A Thousand Days Before.”
Lead singer Chris Cornell told NME earlier this year that the album “picked up where we left off.” He added, “There's a lot of different feels on the album. We're a band where every single member contributes music so that makes it very diverse. It's a very rich album with a lot of different moods to it."
The band’s first studio recording in 15 years, “Live To Rise,” was featured in “The Avengers” this Spring and topped Billboard’s Active Rock chart.
Since reuniting in 2010, the band has played a number of gigs, including London’s Hard Rock Calling in July.
Maybe Billy Corgan will now have to eat his words: he recently condemned acts like Soundgarden, who play their old songs, if they won’t admit they’re in it for the money. “They’re just out for one more round at the till,” he recently said in a press conference before a gig in the Philippines.
Why did Luke, Omari Hardwick and Mike Epps delay our interview?
Mike Epps, Derek Luke & Omari Hardwick
Hitfix’s interview with the men of “Sparkle” got off to a late start. That’s because Mike Epps, Derek Luke and Omari Hardwick heard their female co-stars, Jordin Sparks, Tiki Sumpter, and Carmen Ejogo, were right down the hall at the Four Seasons and Luke and Hardwick wanted to run down, say hello and dispense some hugs.
Our interview opens with my asking about what it was like on the set of Whitney Houston's last film since I’ve never had a junket stopped so the stars could go say hi to their co-stars.
“Sometimes when you finish a movie, you just kindly [feel will you] excuse yourself from the rest of my life’,” jokes Luke, adding that was definitely not the case on “Sparkle.” “This is...a continued friendship.”
Hardwick plays Levi, a guy who can’t really catch a break but who never loses his dignity because of the choices Hardwick made after he read the script. “I just brought what I thought my character would be better represented as, and that would be to play him honorable, to be elegant,” he says.
Epps plays Satin, a comedian who behaves very badly, in the comic’s darkest performance yet. “One of the advantages that I had was that they made it a comedian,” he says. (In the 1976 original movie, “Sparkle” is a gangster). “Now I’ve got a whole different take on what Satin is. Satin is insecure, he’s funny, he’s in a way, selfish... he wants everyone to accept him, he wants to be loved, and somewhere in his childhood he got hurt.”
Conversely, Luke’s character, artist manager Stix, seems emotionally healthy, whole and totally supportive of Sparks’ character, Sparkle. Such a role could be less than dynamic, but Luke kept him interesting, in part, because of whom he felt he was emulating: his father. “It was the same relationship between him and my mom as Stix had with Sparkle....knowing my dad, I was sort of trying to assume who he was.”
“Sparkle” opens Friday, Aug. 17. Check out our interview with the ladies here.
Is it a video or a Victoria's Secret commercial?
Green Day’s video for its new single, “Oh Love” may as well be retitled “Oh Lust,” although there’s nothing particularly sexy in the cliched clip that has the trio playing in a rehearsal space to a very select audience of tattooed models.
[More after the jump...]
Watch the premiere of the band's new video tonight on MTV
While you’re waiting for Green Day’s video for “Oh Love” to premiere tonight on MTV, go ahead and mark your calendar for Sept. 6 when the punk pop trio will appear on MTV’s Video Music Awards. It will make the fifth time the group has played on the show, second only to Madonna's seven appearances.
The group has also cut a promo for the show with VMA host Kevin Hart, who plans to rename the band Black Day. It follows Hart’s previous promo with Kayne West and Kim Kardashian.
[More after the jump...]
Will someone come and save them... or us?
So maybe One Direction thinks Beady Eye did a lousy job on “Wonderwall” during the Olympic closing ceremonies in London too. Why else would they release their own version of Oasis’s modern classic?
(If you missed it, Beady Eye, which is basically Oasis minus Noel Gallagher, delivered one of the most torpid versions of the song ever on Sunday).
[More after the jump...]
Taylor Swift zooms on the chart as well
Flo Rida blows his whistle all the way to the top of the Billboard Hot 100 as “Whistle” dethrones Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Call Me Maybe” after nine weeks at the pinnacle.
“Maybe,” which spent more time at No. 1 than any other song this year, falls to No. 3.
“Whistle” is Flo Rida’s third No. 1, following “Low,” which spent 10 weeks at No. 1 in 2008, and “Right Round,” which logged six weeks at No. 1 in 2009. So if they are any indication, “Whistle” could settle in for a long run.
Ellie Goulding’s “Lights,” which rises to No. 1 on the Airplay chart, holds at No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100.
The middle of the top 10 remains the same as last week: Katy Perry’s “Wide Awake” is No. 4, Maroon 5’s “Payphone” is No. 5 and Gotye’s “Somebody That I Used To Know” featuring Kimbra is No. 6.
David Guetta’s “Titanium” featuring Sia rises one spot to No. 7, making way for the lone new entry into the top 10: fun.’s “Some Nights,” which rises three places to No. 8. Following its former No. 1, “We Are Young,” “Some Nights” is fun.’s second Top 10 entry, making the group the first rock act to have it first two singles reach the Top 10 since Daughtry in 2007, according to Billboard.
Rounding out the Top 10, Phillip Phillips’ “Home” stays at No. 9 and Rihanna’s “Where Have You Been” falls from No. 7 to No. 10.
Outside of the Top 10, l Taylor Swift’s “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together” bows at No. 72 after only a few hours of eligibility on Monday. Look for it to soar into the top 10 next week. Also, “I Will Wait,” the first single from Mumford & Sons’ new album leaps onto the chart at no. 23, making it the British folk-rock group’s highest charting single. It surpasses “ The Cave,” which topped out at No. 27 last year.
Is Bruce Springsteen's 4-hour show better than Madonna's 2-hour MDNA set?
Credit: AP Photo
As many of my fellow rock fans know, a few weeks ago in Finland, Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band broke the musical equivalent of the sound barrier when they played a show that surpassed the 4-hour mark, 4:06 to be precise.
As Springsteen gets ready to kick off his U.S. stadium tour tonight at Boston’s Fenway Park, the question remains does length matter when it comes to a concert? If an act plays longer does that inherently make that a better concert than a shorter set?
Following Springsteen’s July 31 feat, several of my Facebook buddies engaged in lively conversations about that subject, and the E Street fans certain hashed it out for days on the Backstreets.com message boards. One of my colleagues, who is a pop fan through and through, asked if a four-hour Springsteen show intrinsically had more value than a pop show by [fill-in-your favorite pop artist’s name here] that might last only 90 minutes?
It’s a fun debate, but there are way too many factors that come into play here: Firstly, Springsteen is drawing from 40 years worth of material here, so four hours doesn’t even begin to scratch the surface of the wealth of songs he has in his catalog. It’s a little hard to imagine an upstart like One Direction, or even someone like Katy Perry, trying to cobble together a four-hour long show at this point. Even with all her hits, Madonna’s show is clocking in at around two hours.
Springsteen and the E Street Band also have long songs: The 4-hour show only tallied 33 tunes: Imagine if the Minutemen or The Ramones, both of whose songs were notoriously short, tried to stretch their material out to pad for time (if, of course, they were still around). Length was never the point with either of them: it was all about short, lightning bolts of intensity. I recently saw the Beach Boys play a 3-hour show at the Hollywood Bowl and, even with the intermission, they were able to chug through 44 songs since most of their tunes are under three minutes. No one went home feeling cheated.
There’s also a production element to consider: Springsteen’s show, while offering great sound and nice lights, is all about the music. There are no videos, no visuals, no dance numbers, no production changes whatsoever. For someone like Madonna or Britney Spears or Janet Jackson—artists who are changing outfits and themes with virtually every song—trying to put together a four-hour concert is akin to staging a major awards show every night given all the moving parts. The idea of it sounds visually assaulting.
As a major Springsteen fan, do I wish I’d been in Helsinki? Of course, for bragging rights for sure. But also for another reason— for the 62-year old Springsteen and his hardcore fans, playing for four hours meant much more than hitting some ultimately meaningless number: Having lost both founding members Danny Federici and Clarence Clemons over the last four years and feeling mortality creeping up, playing for that long, in what was, by all accounts, a vibrant, robust show, was a big old “Fuck You”—to death, to people who claim rock and roll is a young man’s game, and to all the horrible things that happen to you, your family, and your friends as you grow up that music makes tolerable. Plus, it’s fun.
Regardless of how long a show is, that is the point of all music: for the duration of that artist’s performance, if he or she is masterful enough and the music is powerful enough, it will provide an escape and block out every trouble and worry: Maybe Springsteen fans just need a bit of a longer respite.
Seriously, a few years ago a friend and I were at a show and we decided to leave before it was over. As we walked out, we had quite a lengthy discussion that an artist isn’t necessarily the best judge of how long his or her show should be. We’d gotten our fill and we very satisfied with what we’d seen and we didn’t need any more. It felt right to leave.
Some acts play with the theory of it is always best to leave the audience wanting more. With today’s ticket prices, I don’t buy that. Additionally, I don’t want to hear snippets of hits in a medley, I want the full song (even if it means doing fewer songs). I also don’t want to feel like the artist is phoning it in or that he or she can’t wait to get off the stage. I don’t need a four-hour show, but I do need to feel like the artist has as much invested in being there as I do and that’s something that time can’t measure.
What do you think?
MGMT, Lykke Li, Best Coast, and the Kills reinterpret classic tunes
"Just Tell Me That You Want Me"
Credit: Hear Music/Concord
As is usually the case with such endeavors, “Just Tell Me You Love Me,” a tribute to Fleetwood Mac, is a total mixed bag.
Out today, it’s just the sort of album for which iTunes was invented. Fans of Antony (of Antony & The Johnsons) poignant, faithful rendition of the gentle, lovely “Landslide” may not want the fuzzy version of instrumental “Albatross,” delivered more than capably by Lee Ranaldo Band featuring J Mascis.
As a whole, the 17-song tribute breaks down into two specific camps: fans of the ubiquitous hits from “Fleetwood Mac” and “Rumours” will gravitate toward the songs they grew up with while followers of the band’s earlier bluesier, pre- Stevie Nicks/Lindsey Buckingham incarnation will dig the more experimental material provided by folks like ZZ Top’s Billy Gibbons and his swampy take on “Oh Well” or MGMT’s nine-minute trippy version of “Future Games.”
This collection was curated for Concord by the same folks who put together the “Rave On Buddy Holly” last year and it is squarely aimed at the Pitchfork crowd with such artists as Lykke Li, on a haunting “Silver Springs,” and Karen Elson, who provides an echo-y, spare take on “Gold Dust Woman.” To their credit, it feels like the producers allowed the artists free rein to interpret these songs as they wished.
Some acts take the originals and turn them into their own creations: The Kills twist “Dreams” into a harder, darker, much more menacing tune than the original; Best Coast gives “Rhiannon” a sunshiny bounce; The New Pornographers reinvent “Think About Me” as a power pop tune via Cheap Trick; Gardens & Villas’ spaced-out, dreamy take on “Gypsy” works better than it should; The Crystal Ark find a nice work around to the marching band on “Tusk” that still provided a full-bodied sound.
There are few flat-out disasters here, but, sadly, there are just as few home runs that make this collection feel like a must-have. It will appeal more to fans of the acts featured here who will want to see how their favorite artist reinterpret a track rather than to Fleetwood Mac fans. For them, this collection will just send them scurrying back to the originals.