Inside Music with Melinda Newman

Exclusive: Sean Lennon's score to new film, 'Alter Egos'

The sweeping soundtrack ranges from orchestral to surf

Exclusive: Sean Lennon's score to new film, 'Alter Egos'
Credit: Chimera

Sean Lennon exhibited near superhuman strength when it came to composing the score to “Alter Egos,” writer/director Jordan Galland’s new indie film.

The comedy, which opens at New York’s Cinema Village on Thursday, is about superheroes who fall from grace with ordinary citizens. The plot revolves around  a superhero who puts a mission in peril when he finds out his girlfriend is cheating on him with his own Alter Ego.

[More after the jump...]

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

Band holds off Psy one more time. What happens with Adele's 'Skyfall?'

<p>Maroon 5</p>

Maroon 5

Maroon 5 makes it five weeks in a row as “One More Night” spends one more frame atop the Billboard Hot 100.

The song continues to hold off a charge from Korean rapper Psy and “Gangnam Style,” thanks primarily to continued strong radio airplay. “Gangnam Style” remains at No. 2, according to Billboard.

Taylor Swift’s decision to unveil one new track from “Red,” out Oct. 22,  each week for the past several weeks results in Swift’s third song in as many weeks debuting in the Top 10. This week, “I Knew You Were Trouble” blows onto the Hot 100 at No. 3, bolstered largely by digital sales.  “Red’s” first single (and former No. 1), “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together” is at No. 3. Sandwiched between the Swift double pack is fun.’s “Some Nights” at No. 4.

Following Swift, the only other new entry into the top 10 is Ke$ha with “Die Young,” which jumps 14-8.

On the rest of the top 10, Justin Bieber’s “As Long As You Love Me” featuring Big Sean rises 7-6. Alex Clare’s “Too Close” climbs  10-7. Pink’s “Blow Me (One Last Kiss)” holds at No. 9 and Owl City and Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Good Time” slides up one notch to No. 10.

Adele’s James Bond theme, “Skyfall,” falls out of the top 10, dropping five places to No. 13 in its second week.

 

What's your dream Beyonce Super Bowl halftime look like? Here's ours

Who will join her on Feb. 3?

<p>Beyonce</p>

Beyonce

Credit: AP Photo

Now that Beyonce is confirmed for the Super Bowl XLVII halftime show, we’ve had a few hours to think about our dream program. When Madonna was announced last year, we already knew that she was working with Cirque du Soleil. Plus, since there were rumors she was recording with Nicki Minaj, people speculated that she might join her on the field. This time, all we have is the confirmation that Bey will be at Mercedes-Benz Superdome on Feb. 3.

Here’s how we’d like to see her 12-minute show play out. We already know the production and costumes will be bright and sparking, so we’re focusing on the music. There’s not room to do all these song in totality, to we’re suggesting snippets and medleys.

1. Open with “Countdown” with a marching band. Or since she is in New Orleans, pay homage to the Crescent City by including a great brass band and a colorful Second line.

2. Even women who aren’t interested in the game usually want to tune into the Super Bowl half time so go into the arc of a relationship: Start with “Single Ladies (Put A Ring On It)” and do something fun with the dance, such as  bring on NFL players to do it or Justin Timberlake (to recreate the “Saturday Night Live” sketch)

3. Segue into “Irreplaceable” as the relationship goes into turmoil. Have dancers or a marching band on the field all going “to the left, to the left.”

4. Finish the segment with a happy ending and reconciliation with a high-energy “Crazy In Love” and bring out hubby, Jay-Z, for the rap. Plus, flash a few shots of Blue Ivy. Or here’s an idea!  You’ve got four months! Go ahead and conceive Blue Ivy’s sibling so you’ll be showing ever so slightly at the Super Bowl and you can rub your tummy sweetly to announce your pregnancy like you did at the Grammys a few years ago.

5. Speaking of reconciliation, everyone is hoping for a Destiny’s Child reunion. With hundreds of millions watching, here’s the time. Bring out Kelly Rowland and Michelle Williams. Can you imagine how crazy the crowd will go if you jump into “Bootylicious.” They are definitely ready for this jelly.

6. End on an emotional high note. After a tremendously fast-paced, up-tempo fun show, finish with “I Was Here” and bring on a children’s choir.


PLAN B: If the Destiny’s Child reunion doesn’t work, do a fun salute to New Orleans with “Iko Iko” or bring on Irma Thomas, the Soul Queen of New Orleans, and sing a sassy “(You Can Have My Husband But) Don’t Mess With My Man” or slow it down a bit with “It’s Raining.”

What do you want Beyonce to perform?

Listen: Taylor Swift channels U2 on new song, 'State of Grace'

Fifth tune from 'Red' rock out

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<p>Taylor Swift's &quot;State of Grace&quot;</p>

Taylor Swift's "State of Grace"

Credit: Big Machine

Hear that sound? That’s the sound of Taylor Swift waving country music goodbye. Today, she released her fifth song from “Red,” her fourth studio album out Oct. 22.

[More after the jump...]

Interview: Brandy on 'Two Eleven,' working with Chris Brown and Frank Ocean

The R&B superstar also talks about her '5-minute freak outs'

<p>Brandy</p>

Brandy

The last time Brandy reached No. 3 on the Billboard R&B chart was in early 2002 with “What About Us,” George Bush was president, the Winter Olympics were held in Salt Lake City and NASA sent Odyssey to probe Mars’ surface.

It has been a lean chart time for the R&B singer since then, so much so that Brandy wondered if she still had a career in music, but this month the answer came back a resounding “yes.”

“Put It Down,” a a sultry stomp featuring Chris Brown, reached No. 3 on Billboard’s R&B chart earlier this month. The track is from Brandy’s album, “Two Eleven,” out today.

[More after the jump...]

Watch: Kelly Clarkson's lyric video for 'Catch My Breath'

Practice your reading skills

<p>Kelly Clarkson</p>

Kelly Clarkson

Credit: RCA

Now that lyric videos are a necessarily intermediary step between when an artist releases a new single and the “official video,” some artists are using them as a chance to make a video that is much more than simply slapping words up on a screen as a placeholder.

[More after the jump...]

Album Review: Jason Aldean's 'Night Train' stays on track

Country superstar hits all the right marks on new set

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<p>Jason Aldean's Night Train</p>

Jason Aldean's Night Train

Other than Taylor Swift and Lady Antebellum, Jason Aldean is the biggest star country music has produced in the last few years. Unlike Swift and Lady A, he has not crossed over into pop, so the first time many folks heard his name may have been when he got caught a few weeks ago canoodling with someone he shouldn’t have been canoodling with.

If the broader name recognition (regardless of how ignominiously it came about) causes potential new fans to check out his music, then “Night Train” is a good place to come in on. Out today, “Night Train,” which is almost certain to top the charts next week, continues the story started on 2010’s “My Kinda Party,” one of the top-selling albums that year for all genres and a Grammy nominee for best country album.

The 15-track “Night Train,” Aldean’s fifth album, doesn’t necessarily advance Aldean’s artistry beyond “Party,” but that’s because if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. The songs here are uniformly punchy, catchy, well-played and well-sung in Aldean’s slightly nasally, sturdy vocals. Country radio still sells albums and Aldean easily has five singles here, including first single, the invitingly breezy “Take A Little Ride,” which already topped Billboard’s Hot Country Songs chart.

Aldean embraces the usual country tropes about life in a small town —its virtues and its claustrophobia— and cars In “Night Train.” The title track serves up that one of the few escapes from daily life includes going to listen to the train roll through town with his lover. They get to the look-out spot in their truck, of course. On “Talk,” the time for chat is over: “I don’t want to waste that moon and the heat on the hood of this Ford.”

Most of the songs here are mid-tempo, and the album could definitely use a little more variety in that regard, but mid-tempo is Aldean’s sweet spot, especially when it comes to loves lost and found. On both “When She Says Baby” and “Staring At The Sun,” he extols the virtues of coming home from a long, hard day to the woman he can’t forget. Sure single, “I Don’t Do Lonely Well,” conjures up the pain that heartache brings in those moments when he has have nothing else to distract him from the hurt that still coats him. 

Aldean hit it big on the last album with “Dirt Road Anthem,” which featured him rapping. He’s comfortable enough to return to that trick, speaking much of the lyrics on “The Only Way I Know.” He’s joined by his buddies Luke Bryan and Eric Church on the anthem to going “full throttle” 24/7.

Aldean wrote none of the songs on “Night Train,” but at this juncture in his career, he is going to get the absolute pick of the litter when it comes to Music City songwriters pitching him their Grade A material. He also knows what works for him and what his male fans want (songs to raise hell by) and what his female fans want (songs to romance by) and he sings each style with equal conviction.  There’s nothing here that sounds inauthentic.

While undeniably country, Aldean grew up on rock, and screeching guitar solos rise out of almost every song. They’re a bit cliche and overdone at times, but the songs will undoubtedly benefit from the rock treatment when he cranks them up on the road, especially on “Wheels Rollin’,” a meaty tour anthem that combines Bob Seger’s “Turn The Page” with Bon Jovi’s “Wanted Dead Or Alive.”

That’s not to say everything here works. “Black Tears” is a song about an exotic dancer and her sob story that goes nowhere. “1994” is a very silly, though very catchy, song about longing to turn the clock back and contains a major shout out to Joe Diffie, who scored a number of hits in the mid-‘90s.  The “Hey Joe, c’mon and  teach us how to Diffie,” line will either make you laugh or drive you crazy, as will the “Joe, Joe, Joe Diffie” chant. The novelty song sounds something much more akin to a tune Big & Rich would do, but Aldean’s earned the right to be goof if he wants to. And Joe Diffie owes him a big old thank you.

“Night Track” seldom slips off the tracks. It’s a sure-wheeled, confident album from a superstar with a very firm grasp of what works for him. It may not be adventurous, but it’s more than enough to keep his millions of fans eager to hop aboard.

UPDATE: Kelly Clarkson releases track listing, cover for 'Greatest Hits-Chapter 1'

Did your favorite song make the list?

<p>Kelly Clarkson's &quot;Greatest HIts - Chapter One&quot;</p>

Kelly Clarkson's "Greatest HIts - Chapter One"

Credit: RCA

Kelly Clarkson’s “Greatest Hits—Chapter 1” doesn’t hit streets for another month, but today we get the track listing and cover art. The artwork, which is a little cheesy, ties in with the “Chapter 1” theme and looks like a book cover.

The story goes back to the beginning, including “A Moment Like This,” Clarkson’s first single after winning the first edition of “American Idol” in 2002, and extends through Clarkson’s fifth studio album, 2011’s “Stronger.” In addition to popular tunes, such as “Miss Independent,” “Because of You,” “Breakaway” and “Since U Been Gone,” the set also includes new track “Catch My Breath.”

"Greatest Hits – Chapter One" Track listing

1 Since U Been Gone
2 My Life Would Suck Without You
3 Miss Independent     
4 Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You)
5 Behind These Hazel Eyes
6 Because Of You
7 Never Again
8 Already Gone
9 Mr. Know It All
10 Breakaway  
11 Don’t You Wanna Stay (with Jason Aldean)
12 Walk Away
13 Catch My Breath
14 People Like Us
15 Don’t Rush (featuring Vince Gill)
16 A Moment Like This
17 I’ll Be Home For Christmas
 

Watch: Bruno Mars brings the sweat in new video for 'Locked Out Of Heaven'

Grainy footage takes you back to the '70s

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<p>Cover for &quot;Locked Out of Heaven&quot;</p>

Cover for "Locked Out of Heaven"

In his clip for new single, “Locked Out Of Heaven,” Bruno Mars brings the party down to earth.

The intentionally grainy clip, has a  great ‘70s soul feel, as Mars performs in small, crowded club where everyone’s sweat is mingling together and you can’t tell where your body ends and the next person’s begins. It’s hot as hell, but everyone is jumping and jiving and loving every minute.

[More after the jump...]

Music Power Rankings: Taylor Swift and One Direction top the list

Vets Led Zeppelin and Rolling Stones make the cut too

<p>Taylor Swift</p>

Taylor Swift

Credit: AP

1. Taylor Swift:  Billboard rejiggers its genre singles charts to incorporate download sales and streaming, along side radio play. The move catapults Swift to the top two slots on the Hot Country Songs chart. The loser? Carrie Underwood, whose song “Blown Away” gets blown out of the potential top spot by Swift.

2. Ke$ha: The “Tik Tok” singer is writing her memoirs, which will be illustrated. Does the book come with a box of crayons? 

3. Yekaterina Samutsevich: The Pussy Riot member is freed from prison. One down, two to go.

4. One Direction: Not only is the boy band the first U.K. band to ever debut at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 with its first release, now they hold the record for the highest bow on Billboard’s Hot 100 by a U.K. group as “Live While We’re Young” comes on at No. 3.  Is it me or is that just crazy?

5. Rolling Stones: The veteran rockers show they still have it 50 years down the line with new single, “Doom & Gloom.”

6. Aerosmith:
Steven Tyler causes a few tremors when he says the group will consider self-releasing future projects  “IF THE BAND STAYS TOGETHER.”  Huh? These guys will never, ever be done with each other.

7. Drake:
He gets paid $3 million in royalties from Pandora. That’s a nice chunk of change, even though we're sure he'll find some reason to moan about it.

8. Mumford & Sons:
They handily stay No. 1 on the Billboard 200 for a second straight week, smacking down fellow British band Muse.

9. Macklemore & Ryan Lewis:  Seattle rapper Macklemore and producer Lewis will be a secret no more as their new set, “The Heist,” will be the highest debut next week over such legends as Kiss and Barbra Streisand.

10. Led Zeppelin:
The group reunites, but only for a screening of “Celebration,” the film of their 2007 concert. And no, they still aren’t reuniting again. Don’t be a schmuck.



 

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