<p>Alanis Morissette</p>

Alanis Morissette

Alanis Morissette talks 'Havoc,' addiction and motherhood

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.

[More after the jump...]

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<p>Garbage</p>

Garbage

Watch: Garbage swims into a 'Big Bright World' in new video

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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.

[More after the jump...]

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Taylor Swift reunites with the top of the charts with 'We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together'

Taylor Swift reunites with the top of the charts with 'We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together'

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.

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<p>Owl City's &quot;The Midsummer Station&quot;</p>

Owl City's "The Midsummer Station"

Album Review: Owl City's 'The Midsummer Station' soars from high to low

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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.

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<p>Taylor Swift</p>

Taylor Swift

Credit: Theron Kirkman/AP

Girls rule this week's edition of Music Power Rankings

Taylor Swift, Spice Girls, Pussy Riot and more

1. Pussy Riot: The female Russian punk band receives a two-year sentence for “hooliganism,” while the world’s eyes turn toward Russia. We haven’t heard the last of this by a long shot.

2. Taylor Swift: She announces Oct. 22 as the release date for her fourth studio album. Everyone she’s ever dated updates their passports and starts booking flights out of the country.

3. Spice Girls: The fab five has a triumphant return at Olympics and there are rumors of a new reunion tour.  Girl Power indeed.

4. Mumford & Sons:
Anticipation zooms for “Babel,” as the British folk rockers first single from the new set, “I Will Wait,” bows on rock songs at no. 14 with 5 million impressions.

5. Ellie Varner: RB& upstart comes roaring onto the Billboard 200 at No. 4 with perfect “Perfectly Imperfect.”

6. YouTube:
A new survey reveals that YouTube tops any other media for teens when it comes to listening to music. In another striking result, 9% of adults said they listen to cassettes. Wonder what the number is for 8-tracks?

7. Janelle Monae
The “Tightrope” singer becomes a Cover Girl spokesperson. Hopefully folks will get to know her as more than the guest singer on “We Are Young.”

8. Silversun Pickups: The band tells the Romney campaign to quit using their song, “Panic Switch,” without their permission--or at all.

9. Dave Mustaine: Megadeth leader accuses President Obama of “staging”  the Aurora, Colo. deaths.  Why is there no Dixie Chicks-like backlash? Oh yeah, they actually had a career to harm when they made their (much less offensive) comments.

10. Flo Rida:
It turns out a whistle beats a phone call when it comes to reaching the top of the Billboard Hot 100. The rapper’s paean to certain sexual delights finally knocks Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Call Me Maybe” out of No. 1. Put your lips together and blow.

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<p>2 Chainz</p>

2 Chainz

Credit: Jeff Daly/AP

It's No. 1 for rapper 2 Chainz on next week's Billboard 200

It's true, his 'Based on a 'T.R.U.' Story' is poised to bow at the top

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.
 

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Watch: Nickelback's new video for 'Trying Not To Love You' with Jason Alexander

Watch: Nickelback's new video for 'Trying Not To Love You' with Jason Alexander

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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...]

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<p>Soundgarden's Chris Cornell</p>

Soundgarden's Chris Cornell

Soundgarden sets November release date for first new album since 1996

Not to worry: Kim Thayil declares the band 'still a little wierd'

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.



 

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<p>Mike Epps, Derek Luke &amp; Omari Hardwick</p>

Mike Epps, Derek Luke & Omari Hardwick

Credit: HitFix

Watch: Derek Luke reveals the inspiration for his character in 'Sparkle'

Why did Luke, Omari Hardwick and Mike Epps delay our interview?


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.

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<p>Green Day</p>

Green Day

Watch: Green Day surrounds themselves with models and ennui in video for 'Oh Love'

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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...]

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