Inside Music with Melinda Newman

Listen: Bruno Mars has it bad for 'Young Girls' on new single

And that ain't good

HitFix
B-
Readers
B
<p>Bruno Mars</p>

Bruno Mars

Following the stutter-stepping brightness of “Locked Out Of Heaven,” Bruno Mars returns to his mid-tempo ballad strong suite with “Young Girls.”

He first introduced the song when he appeared on “Saturday Night Live” a few weeks ago, and today, he released the studio version from his forthcoming sophomore studio set, “Unorthodox Jukebox.”

[More after the jump...]

Maroon 5's 'One More Night' makes it seven weeks atop the Billboard Hot 100

Rihanna sets another milestone this week

<p>Maroon 5</p>

Maroon 5

Credit: AP Photo

Maroon 5 gets a Halloween treat as “One More Night” logs its seventh week at No. 1 on the Billboard 200. That means the trick is on Psy, whose “Gangnam Style” is locked at No. 2 for six weeks.

It’s looking tough for “Style” to ascend to the top spot as “Night” continues to gain in airplay, while “Style” is starting to lose it. However, “Style” has digital sales and streaming on its side: it outranks “Night” in both.

Also holding its place is fun.’s “Some Nights” which hangs out at No. 3. Ke$ha’s “Die Young lifts one spot to No. 4 and Rihanna’s “Diamonds” shimmies and shines up three places to No. 5.

“Diamonds” is Rihanna’s 16th Top 5 hit. Only four women, Madonna, Mariah Carey, Janet Jackson, and Whitney Houston, have logged more Top 5 hits than she, according to Billboard.

Rounding out the Top 10, Justin Bieber’s “As Long As You Love Me” featuring Big Sean stays at No. 6. Bruno Mars’ “Locked Out Of Heaven” no longer remains locked out of the Top 10, as it leaps 15-7. Alex Clare’s “Too Close” falls one notch to No. 8, while Ne-Yo’s “Let Me Love You” holds at No. 9.  Chris Brown’s “Dont Wake Me Up” rises 11-10 to known Pink’s “Blow Me (One Last Kiss)” out of the Top 10.
 

Skylar Grey recruits Eminem to exec produce long-delayed album

Plus, Eminem has some album news of his own

<p>Skylar Grey and Eminem</p>

Skylar Grey and Eminem

We’ll believe it when we see it, but Skylar Grey’s long-delayed debut album, now titled “Don’t Look Down,” has a new Spring 2013 release date, and Eminem has signed on as executive producer.

Eminem will be featured on the new single, “C’mon Let Me Ride,” which comes out Dec. 11. Alex Da Kid produced the track and both he and Eminem mixed it.  In a press release, Grey calls the song “fun and sarcastic.”

As you may recall, Grey’s album was supposed to come out in 2011. At that time, it was called “Invisible,” and Interscope even released the title track. Sounds like much of that work has been scrapped since Interscope refers to “C’mon Let Me Ride” as “the first single” from the album. We also don’t know what’s happening with a track she recorded in 2011 with Marilyn Manson called “Can’t Haunt Me.”

Grey, as you know, has already been nominated for five Grammys, mostly for co-writing Eminem’s “Love The Way You Lie” featuring Rihanna. She also co-wrote and appeared on Dr. Dre’s “I Need a Doctor.” She currently appears on two Slaughterhouse tracks and on her own tune,  “Building a Monster,” from the “Frankenweenie” soundtrack.

In the press release, Grey explains the delay: “Putting out a debut album is a bit scary—I want it to be just right, so I took some extra time to finish it. Eminem’s increased involvement has been such a blessing; I’m getting guidance from an artist I really admire and trust. Having written many new songs, the album has become a completely different animal, hence the title change.”

Not that an artist isn’t entitled to change her mind, but when Grey spoke with Hitfix’s Katie Hasty in an interview that ran in September 2011, she was reluctant to record with Em because “I didn’t want to do what people expected.” Looks like that changed. 

In other Eminem news, earlier this week he somewhat cryptically may have announced that he’ll have a new album out as well in 2013.

A new Eminem baseball cap came out Monday, available through his website, and it has dates for each of the years that he has released a solo album. For example, there’s a 1996 for “Infinite” and 2010 for “Recovery.” Now there’s a 2013.  The cap is styled like a Detroit Tigers’ cap, and we know that’s Eminem’s hometown team, so either he’s trying to tell us something or hoping that the Tigers can seal the deal next year after losing the World Series to the San Francisco Giants in four straight.


 

Watch: Green Day's video for 'The Forgotten' from 'Breaking Dawn - Part 2'

Footage from the last Twilight Saga film wraps about band scenes

<p>Robert Pattinson, Kristen Stewart and their &quot;daughter&quot; in &quot;The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 2&quot;</p>

Robert Pattinson, Kristen Stewart and their "daughter" in "The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 2"

Craving a little “Breaking Dawn —Part 2?” Green Day can help you with that. Today, the band released its video for “The Forgotten," which is featured on the soundtrack for the last film in "The Twilight Saga."

[More after the jump...]

Taylor Swift surpasses 1 million mark with 'Red' for best week since 2002

Does she beat Eminem or Britney Spears' impressive numbers?

<p>Taylor Swift</p>

Taylor Swift

Credit: AP Photo

Don’t tell Taylor Swift that album sales are in the doldrums. Her fourth studio album, “Red,” sold a staggering 1.208 million copies in its first week to debut easily at No. 1 on the Billboard 200. That’s the highest one-week tally since Eminem’s “The Eminem Show” sold 1.322 million in 2002. That’s when, although the slide had already started, albums still sold.

The total is also the second highest single sales week by a female artist, only trailing Britney Spears’ “Oops... I Did It Again,” which sold 1.319 million in 2000, according to Nielsen SoundScan.

Swift’s last album, “Speak Now,” also surpassed the million mark in its opening frame, selling 1.047 million in 2010.

The last album to sell more than a million in its first week was Lady Gaga’s “Born This Way,” although it did so with the help of 99-cent album downloads offered by Amazon for two days during the album’s first week.

Swift’s label, Big Machine, barred Amazon from selling the album in its opening week, giving a one-week digital exclusive to iTunes. The album was also greatly aided by Target’s exclusive offering of a deluxe version, which featured three bonus cuts and three remixes. According to Billboard, the Target exclusive accounted for 396,000 copies sold, while iTunes sold around 465,000 album downloads. Papa John’s Pizza also sold the album for $13.

Hitfix will have a full story on this week's Billboard 200 on Wednesday.

Lady Gaga flirts with releasing two volumes of 'ARTPOP'

She reveals details to her fans

<p>Lady Gaga</p>

Lady Gaga

Credit: AP Photo

Lady Gaga has big plans for “ARTPOP,” which, as we can tell by the use of all CAPS for its title, will be a very, very, very important album.

In a talk with her followers on LittleMonsters.com, she is considering releasing two volumes of the epic, according to Idolator. The first edition, out in Spring, and dubbed by LG as “VOL 1,” “should have all the commercial songs, and then save the experimental material. [But] to be honest even the experimental stuff is catchy. VOL 1 is a bit more modern.”  She would release the experimental version a few months later.

Here’s the thing about Lady Gaga: she has, to her credit, really helped redefine the parameters of pop over the last few years. She plays with sonics, time signatures, and busts the door down on preconceived notions, so while a traditional and experimental versions may be smart marketing tools or, let’s give her credit, better expressions of how she’s like for her music to be presented, there’s no need to separate the two in our book.

During her chat, she also revealed a few details: “Princess Die,” a ballad that addresses suicide that she premiered on the road, will not likely make either volume. “I don’t think ‘Princess Die’ will make the cut, but I wrote another version of ‘Princess Die’ that is uptempo. ‘Princess Die’ isn’t as good as all the other songs I wrote.”

She also noted there is a “hip-hop/j-pop/pop song” on the album that is “more underground Chicago gay club trap” than traditional hip-hop.

We also know from previous communiques from Lady Gaga, that she has collaborated with both Kendrick Lamar and Azealia Banks and that the album will include some kind of sequel to “Telephone,” with or without Beyonce.

Who knows, maybe there will even be a collaboration with Calvin Harris after LG and the Scottish DJ kissed and made up yesterday via Twitter. 

Hitfix's Predictions for the 46th Annual CMA Awards

Blake Shelton, Miranda Lambert and Jason Aldean duke it out for top prizes

<p>Taylor Swift</p>

Taylor Swift

The 46th annual CMA Awards air live Thursday on ABC from Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena. Hosts Brad Paisley and Carrie Underwood, who have developed true chemistry and comedic timing in their four previous years as hosts, are back. This year's program promises plenty of drama, including will Blake Shelton and Miranda Lambert continue to be king and queen of the country prom? They've snagged male and female vocalist for the past two years. Will other multiple-year consecutive winners such as Lady Antebellum and Sugarland continue their streaks?

Among the performers, many of whom are debuting new songs, are Taylor Swift, The Band Perry, Jason Aldean, Tim McGraw, Reba McEntire, Jason Aldean, top nominee Eric Church, Kelly Clarkson, Dierks Bentley, Kenny Chesney, Luke Bryan, Miranda Lambert, Blake Shelton, Zac Brown Band and Keith Urban.

It’s been a strong year for country music and there continues to be an infusion of new, exciting talent. Below are my predictions on who will take home the big prizes. Short version: It's Eric Church's night.

We’ll be live blogging the CMAs, so join us here at  8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT on Nov. 1 for all the action.


ENTERTAINER OF THE YEAR

Jason Aldean
Kenny Chesney
Brad Paisley
Blake Shelton
Taylor Swift

All of these artists are great brand ambassadors for country music, which is an unspoken part of this award. Having said that, I would have swapped out Blake Shelton for Lady Antebellum, who had a tremendously successful world tour this year. While it’s easy to judge this solely on their live shows, the CMA tends to award someone more for all-around strength. Having seen all the nominees in concert over the past year or so, if it were solely on concert merit, I would give the award to either Chesney or Paisley, but Aldean’s star is rising and he’s now, like Chesney, risen to the stadium level. Combine that with his tremendous album sales and he’s the winner.

Will Win: Jason Aldean


FEMALE VOCALIST OF THE YEAR


Kelly Clarkson
Miranda Lambert
Martina McBride
Taylor Swift
Carrie Underwood

Hmmm. Let’s review, shall we?  Kelly Clarkson is a pop star who occasionally crosses over (very credibly and well) into country music. Taylor Swift is a former country star who is really now a pop star. The overall weakness in this category shows how dominated country music is right now by male artists. McBride has the purest voice of the bunch, but the past winner won’t take home the trophy this year. Underwood’s voice is unbelievable as well. She’s the best singer to ever come out of “American Idol” (sorry, Kelly). Reigning winner Lambert is on a roll that shows no signs of stopping--nor should it.

Will Win: Miranda Lambert


MALE VOCALIST OF THE YEAR


Jason Aldean
Luke Bryan
Eric Church
Blake Shelton
Keith Urban

These are all solid hit makers and each is leaving his own mark on country music right now. It also shows the changing the guard: Urban is the only one that any of us had heard of 10 years ago (even though reigning champ Shelton was making records already, he didn’t really break through until a few years ago and then, since “The Voice,” has really exploded. Church, who is the most nominated artist this year, has carved out a slow and steady career for himself that seems about to bust wide open. His twang is instantly recognizable and CMA voters like the ring of stubborn authenticity he brings to the format.

Will Win: Eric Church

 
VOCAL GROUP OF THE YEAR


The Band Perry
Eli Young Band
Lady Antebellum
Little Big Town
Zac Brown Band

What was I saying about how strong solo males are in country right now? So are groups. This category rises and falls, but has a bumper crop this year.  LBT has put out the best album of its career, ZBB brings lots of younger fans into the format who listen to way more than country music. Eli Young Band has momentum with last year’s “Crazy Girl” and then “Even If It Breaks Your Heart.” Lady A and TBP just keep getting stronger. While it may not be fair, it feels like it’s time to give Lady A a little bit of a rest from competition this year after the trio snagged the award the past three years.

Will Win: Eli Young Band

VOCAL DUO OF THE YEAR

Big & Rich
Love and Theft
Sugarland
The Civil Wars
Thompson Square

Perennially one of the weakest categories with the CMA often resorting to tired duos who have not received a lick of airplay in years to round it out, the vocal duo of the year category is having a little bit of a resurgence this year. For more than a decade, it was dominated by Brooks & Dunn and lesser acts, and then Sugarland took over the title. This year,  five-time winner Sugarland is one of the weaker offerings (they didn’t put out a new album during the eligibility period, though they toured). Big & Rich came rebounding back, while Love and Theft is gaining momentum and Thompson Square had its biggest hit so far. The Civil Wars are astounding and are definitely country leaning, despite the fact that country radio doesn’t care about them.

Will Win: Thompson Square

NEW ARTIST OF THE YEAR


Lee Brice
Brantley Gilbert
Hunter Hayes
Love and Theft
Thompson Square

This tremendously strong slate features new acts all of whom have scored major hits this year (even if, like Brice and Gilbert, they have been around as songwriters for awhile helping other artists have hits). Having said that, it feels like a race between Hunter Hayes, Brantley Gilbert and Thompson Square, with Thompson Square seeming like the elder statesmen of the category. At 21, Hayes seems to represent young country, and country loves lauding artists who help lower the aging demographic. Plus, “Wanted,” which he co-wrote,” is a killer track.

Will Win: Hunter Hayes

ALBUM OF THE YEAR

Luke Bryan, Tailgates and Tanlines
Eric Church, Chief
Miranda Lambert, Four the Record
Dierks Bentley, Home
Lady Antebellum, Own the Night

It's a toss-up between Lambert's "Four The Record" and Church's "Chief," both of which were critical favorites (though Lambert's album not so much as her previous efforts including 2010 winner "Revolution"). Bryan's album seems like the weakest link here, but there's no denying his appeal and he is very liked in Nashville. For all its strength, "Own The Night" is not Lady A's best album.

Will Win: "Chief"

SONG OF THE YEAR (Award goes to songwriters)

Eli Young Band, "Even if It Breaks Your Heart" - written by Will Hoge and Eric Paslay
Blake Shelton, "God Gave Me You" - written by Dave Barnes
Dierks Bentley, "Home" - written by Dierks Bentley, Dan Wilson and Brett Beavers
Miranda Lambert, "Over You" - written by Miranda Lambert and Blake Shelton
Eric Church, "Springsteen" - written by Eric Church, Jeff Hyde and Ryan Tyndell

Since this award goes to the songwriters, I always think of how the song would sound accompanied only by acoustic guitar or piano. Stripping down a song to its core elements is usually a good way to judge it. “Over You,” written about Shelton’s brother, is heartbreaking and a strong contender. It’s going to be a close race between “Over You” and “Even If It Breaks Your Heart,” which took on a collective meaning for anyone who’s ever pursued a dream. A the selections show, the CMA tends to favor songs with "meaning," over fluff.

Will Win: “Even If It Breaks Your Heart”

SINGLE OF THE YEAR (Award goes to artist and producer)

Jason Aldean, "Dirt Road Anthem"
Blake Shelton, "God Gave Me You"
Dierks Bentley, "Home"
Little Big Town, "Pontoon"
Eric Church, "Springsteen"

“Dirt Road Anthem” seems a little too past its prime to still be forefront in voters’ minds. “God Gave Me You” is a syrupy ballad and “Pontoon,” as summer-loving fun as it is, is a trifle (though it did provide LBT with its first No. 1). “Home” hits all the right notes: patriotic without being jingoistic. However, it’s Eric Church’s year...and, apparently, Springsteen’s too.

Will Win: “Springsteen”
 

Listen: Kelly Clarkson's new song 'Don't Rush' with Vince Gill

There's time to take it slow on dated tune from 'Greatest Hits-Chapter One'

HitFix
C
Readers
A
<p>Kelly Clarkson's &quot;Don't Rush&quot;</p>

Kelly Clarkson's "Don't Rush"

Kelly Clarkson and Vince Gill take a trip back to the early ‘80s with “Don’t Rush,” a duet featured on the “American Idol” champ’s “Greatest Hits- Chapter One” set coming Nov. 19.

With its soft rock, adult contemporary production and Gill’s tasteful guitar lines, the song sounds like it could be on the charts right beside Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton’s “Islands in the Stream” or Air Supply’s “All Out Of Love.”  There’s even a pause before the key change at the end. It's as different as "Don't You Wanna Stay," her duet with Jason Aldean, could be.

[More after the jump...]

Listen: The Band Perry return with haunting 'Better Dig Two'

Rick Rubin-produced track takes marriage very seriously

HitFix
B
Readers
A+
<p>The Band Perry's &quot;Better Dig Two&quot;</p>

The Band Perry's "Better Dig Two"

It’s ‘til death do us part” and beyond for The Band Perry on new single, “Better Dig Two.”

The sibling trio, who struck both pop and country pay dirt last year with “If I Die Young,” released the first single from their sophomore set today, even though the album won’t come out until next Spring.

Produced by Rick Rubin, the track is a dark ballad about a woman, who took a vow to never divorce her husband, so if he goes before her, the gravedigger better “dig two” because she’s following soon after. Listen to it here. We'll embed it as soon as Rolling Stone's exclusive runs out.

“Let the stone say, ‘Here lies a girl whose only crutch was loving a man a little too much’,” Kimberly Perry sings in one of her most-understated, yet best vocals. She never blatantly threatens to kill him, but it’s clear that if his ring should start to slip off, there’s going to be trouble, especially if she sees him "with someone else."  As she hauntingly sings at the end, “I told you on the day we wed, I was going to love you ‘til I was dead.”

The song’s spare production, bolstered by a meaty banjo intro, serves it well and makes it even more spooky, just in time for Halloween. The tune builds in intensity (and instrumentation) as Perry's vocal grows more and more impassioned. It feels like something out of a western. It's a shame it's too late for Kevin Costner's "Hatfield & McCoys." 

The trio, who just wrapped up a tour with Brad Paisley, will debut the song on the CMA Music Awards this Thursday on ABC.

Lady Gaga says Calvin Harris is lying about turning down working with her

Gaga is set to record full album of jazz tunes with Tony Bennett

<p>Lady Gaga</p>

Lady Gaga

Credit: AP Photo

Man, they both need to let it go. Lady Gaga and Calvin Harris are in a He said/She said Twitter fight after Harris told morning show  "BBC Breakfast" that he passed on working with her... in 2008.

Well, as you can imagine, this did not go over too well with Momma Monster. The Scottish DJ says the request came from her label and it was before she was very big. And he passed because he didn’t like the songs, which were none of "the big songs," and was too busy.

Earlier today, Lady Gaga took to Twitter, where she makes all her pronouncements these days, to call Harris a liar, and to accuse him of dropping her name to help promote his own project, “18 Months,” which comes out tomorrow (if you ask us, between working with Rihanna, Florence Welch, Ellie Goulding and Ne-Yo, he doesn’t really need her help to get the word out).

“Never even emailed you @calvinharris I guess it’s hard to believe I write + produce my music. cuz I’m a woman I don’t know about EDM right?,” she tweeted. We’re not really sure why she brings gender into this and, also, some of her co-producers, like RedOne, might be a little surprised to hear she doesn’t need them.

Anyway, Harris didn’t back down and responded, via tweet, according to entertainmentwise, that her label had emailed him about working with her. He then mentioned that he's a fan and he apologized if he offended her. His tweet has since been taken down.

They may not be working together any time soon, but Lady Gaga is working with Tony Bennett again. After the two fell in love with each other while recording “The Lady Is A Tramp” for his 2011 “Duets” album, they now plan to make an entire jazz album together, according to Billboard.

Bennett says that Lady Gaga’s father, Daddy Gaga (actually, his real name is Joseph Germanotta) contacted him recently to suggest doing a complete album of jazz tunes, though he’s mum on revealing any of the titles. They will work together with arranger/orchestrator Marion Evans.

“It’s going to really reaffirm that [Gaga’s] one of the best jazz singers that anyone’s ever heard,” Bennett says.

No word on when the two plan to go into the studio: Bennett’s new album, “Viva Duets,” bowed at No. 3 on the Billboard 200 recently, and Gaga is finishing “ARTPOP,” which will come out in 2013.

UPDATE: Rest easy, all is now well between Lady Gaga and Calvin Harris. Following his semi-apology yesterday, she followed suit and tweeted: "@Calvin Harris thanks for the apology & explaining. My apologies too. Congratulations on your album. Wish you well. Cheers."  And then she went to her label and yelled at whomever had asked him to work with her...

Get Instant Alerts on Music News

Around the Web