Inside Music with Melinda Newman
No, the 'Hunger Games' reference was not intentional
Alicia Keys looks hot on the cover of her new album, “Girl On Fire.” Clad in all black and looking like a cross between Cat Woman and The Avengers’ Black Widow, Keys looks ready to take on the world. And apparently she is: she tells Entertainment Weekly that “the powerful feeling is what it’s all about.”
Out Nov. 27, the album “represents a new me in every way,” she says.
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First single, 'Live While We're Young,' out in October
One Direction is definitely striking while the boy band iron is hot. In November, the British quintet will release a new album, less than eight months after its debut, “Up All Night,” came out in the U.S.
That album, which is the top-selling album in the U.S. released by an act in 2012, is in the Top 10 of the Billboard 200 23 weeks after its debut. It has sold more than 1.1 million copies.
The still-untitled album will be preceded by “Live While We’re Young,” the appropriately-titled first single, which comes out Oct. 1. Sevan Kotecha, Rami Yacoub and Carl Falk wrote the tune; they are the same team responsible for the band’s breakthrough U.S. smash, “What Makes You Beautiful.” Also contributing to the new album are Dr. Luke, Ed Sheeran, Tom Fletcher, and Toby Gad.
As you’ll recall, One Direction already put tickets for is Spring 2013 U.S. tour on sale more than a year in advance. The U.K. portion includes nine shows at London’s O2 Arena.
Get answers to how did they do that scene?
Katy Perry’s video for “Wide Awake” has been out for a minute, but now you can go behind the scenes of the MTV Video Music Award-nominated clip.
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Twisted Sister frontman tells VP candidate to cut it out
Twisted Sister’s Dee Snider has joined the Silversun Pickups in telling the Republican presidential ticket to back off.
Snider issued a statement today after it came to his attention that Mitt Romney’s choice for vice president, Rep. Paul Ryan, is using “We’re Not Gonna Take It” during campaign stops.
“I emphatically denounce Paul Ryan's use of my song "Were Not Gonna Take It" as recorded by my band Twisted Sister,” Snider said in a statement released to Talking Points Memo campaign reporter Benjy Sarlin. “There is almost nothing on which I agree with Paul Ryan, except perhaps the use of the P90X.”
That’s more than the Silversun Pickups had in common with Romney. Last week, the LA-based alternative group issued a cease-and-desist letter to Romney’s campaign after it used their song, “Panic Switch.” A Romney campaign spokesperson responded that “Panic Switch” was “not a song we would have played intentionally.”
Will the teen idol play himself?
Justin Bieber is coming to Springfield. The teen idol will appear as himself on an episode of “The Simpsons” that airs in 2013.
Bieber tweeted about that he did a voice over for the show, declaring it “swaggy.” Then “The Simpsons” executive producer Al Jean gave more details to Entertainment Weekly: “He tries to get into a talent show that Bart is playing piano in and they won’t admit him,” Jean said. “Draw your own conclusions.” Hmmmm. Who will have the bigger crush on him? Lisa or Milhouse?
The episode is called “The Fabulous Faker Boy,” which might give us more of a hint about the plot. Among the other famous names who will appear as voice guests on the 24th season of the animated show are Natalie Portman, Steve Carrell, Zooey Deschanel, Anne Hathaway, and Edward Norton, according to EW. The new season premieres Sept. 30.
The record-setting single ends Flo Rida's brief ride at No. 1
Taylor Swift lands her first No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 with style this week as “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together” rockets from No. 72 to the top spot.
Swift had previously peaked at No. 2 twice before. "Never" got plenty of airplay, but it was digital downloads that really fueled the blast to the top: “Never” sold 623,000 copies, making it the highest selling sales week ever for a female artist. (The overall No. 1 belongs to Flo Rida’s “Right Round” with 636,000 in 2009).
Speaking of, Flo Rida’s “Whistle” slips to No. 2 after one week at the top, according to Billboard. Swift’s ascent pushes every song in the top 5 down a notch: Ellie Goulding’s “Lights” goes 2-3, Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Call Me Maybe” 3-4 and Katy Perry’s “Wide Awake,” 4-5.
In the bottom half of the Top 10, fun.’s second top 10, “Some Nights” rises 8-6 and Maroon 5’s “Payphone” falls out of the top 5 for the first time in its 18 weeks on the Billboard Hot 100, dropping 5-7. But there’s good news as well for the Adam Levine-led group as “One More Night,” the follow-up to “Payphone” makes it arrival into the Top 10, jumping 15-9.
“Night” is one of two new entries in the Top 10: Justin Bieber’s “As Long As You Love Me” featuring Big Sean moves up four notches to No. 8.
David Guetta’s “Titanium” featuring Sia closes out to Top 10 dropping from 7 to 10.
And her love of purses
“I’m as shallow as you can get,” a charming Alanis Morissette surprisingly confessed at a Los Angeles event, and then proceeded to prove just the opposite.
The small gathering, held at Sonos Studios in Hollywood, featured a Q&A conducted by Billboard's Phil Gallo, with Morissette about the making of her new album, “Havoc And Bright Lights,” as well as a mini-concert by the Grammy winner.
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Is Shirley Manson a vision of life or death?
It may be a “Big Bright World,” as the song’s title indicates, but for the video for the tune, Garbage sees things pretty much in black and white, at least at the start.
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Could the song hit No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100?
It’s a sweet reunion for Taylor Swift and the Billboard charts this week as her new single, “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together” will set a number of records. She could also land at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100.
The song, which the singer introduced via a YouTube fan chat last Monday, likely sold more than 600,000 digital downloads, according to Nielsen SoundScan. Although the final numbers are still being tabulated, according to Billboard, that would make it the best selling week ever for a female artist, topping Ke$ha’s “Tik Tok.” If Swift managed to sell more than 636,000, she will claim the title for all-time top seller, surpassing Flo Rida’s “Right Round.”
Though we won’t know where Swift leaps to on the Billboard Hot 100 after debuting at No. 72 last week based on only a few hours of sales, until Wednesday, it is possible that she could soar to the top spot. She is guaranteed a top 5 spot, according to Billboard. The Hot 100 combines digital sales and radio airplay.
This week she will come in at No. 13 on Billboard Hot Country Songs, at No. 16 on Adult Contemporary, No. 18 on Mainstream Top 40 and No. 21 on Adult Top 40. The high numbers were aided by Clear Channel playing the song at the top of the hour for the first 24 hours of its release.
"Never" is the first single from Swift's fourth studio album, "Red," out Oct. 22.
Adam Young exalts and despairs in equal measure
When Owl City first swooped onto the pop scene with 2009’s “Fireflies,” he was frequently compared to The Postal Service with good reason: The synthesized pop sound and twee factor were similarly high.
On “The Midsummer Station,” Owl City (aka Adam Young) pairs with other producers and songwriters for the first time, and the result is a slight expansion of his sound that renders it just as recognizable, but marginally more diverse and slightly less precious.
Lest that sound like a swipe, part of Young’s appeal is his relentless positivity in many songs, often delivered with a keening earnestness that lends itself to teenage girls and misfit kids who want someone to tell them that it will all be okay. His ability to accomplish that alone is a reason to cheer for him. On
“Shooting Star,” he crosses Katy Perry’s “Firework” with any host of David Guetta songs for an uplifting anthem. “Embers” treads a similar path, but with its encouraging words —including “It gets better”— it could serve as a theme for the gay anti-bullying campaign of the same name.
When Young’s not riding unicorns into the sunset and looking up at the stars (one of his favorite themes), then he’s in the depths of despair. “Silhouette” veers from the standard formula in that it starts on a real piano instead of synths and poignantly addresses a pain brought on by Young’s own action that has left him feeling obliterated and exhausted, yet unable to move on. The deliberate quietness of the production adds to the feeling of self-imposed solitude. On “Take It All Away,” his only prayer is to keep it together until the person who has broken his heart leaves so she doesn’t see him crumble.
The album’s sweet spot comes with “Good Time,” his duet with It Girl, Carly Rae Jepsen. The pop charmer, which has already breached the Hot 100’s Top 15, draws heavily from Perry’s “California Gurls” chorus, but stands on its own as a proper summer anthem. Their voices suit the song well.
“Dementia” features Blink 182‘s Mark Hoppus,which automatically makes it the album’s hardest driving track. Lyrically, it’s a look at Young’s fast developing fame and what it did to his head following “Fireflies.” “This is love, this is war, this is pure insanity,” he sings.
The outside writers and producers seemingly show their influence the most in the music. While too many of the songs still sound too similar and too reliant on the same synth beats, “Gold” had a stomp that makes it stand out. “I’m Coming After You” ultimately doesn’t succeed because Young’s too sincere to pull off the cheekiness of the lyrical twists, but he sings in a bolder, stronger fashion that shows a different side of him worth exploring.
Young saves the best track for last: “Metropolis,” a tune about coming home to the only one who “gets me,” has a depth and different lyrical theme than most of his songs. Plus the strings add a pleasing dimension.
In many ways, “The Midsummer Station” feels like it was made by an artist in transition. If he’s willing to keep stepping out of his comfort zone, it will be worthwhile to see what Young does next.