Mariah Carey

Will Coldplay lock Mariah Carey out of the top spot on next week's album chart?

'The Elusive Chanteuse' is off to a slow start


A strong debut is proving elusive for Mariah Carey’s new album, “Me. I Am Mariah…The Elusive Chanteuse.”

As of Friday, it looked like “Chanteuse” will sell no more than 60,000 copies in its first week, making it the superstar’s lowest non-holiday studio album opening week in the Nielsen SoundScan era. The chart closes at midnight on Sunday. By comparison, here last studio album, 2009’s “Memoirs of an Imperfect Angel,” sold 168,000 in its first week.

If there’s any good news for Carey, it’s that, despite its lackluster sales, “Chanteuse” will likely debut at No. 3, the same rank as “Memoirs,” according to Billboard.

Otherwise, Coldplay’s “Ghost Stories” and Brantley Gilbert’s “Just As I Am” sell enough copies to hold at No. 1 (85,000) and No. 2 (65,000).

In addition to Carey—who if she surges could bow at No. 2— other debuts in the Top 10 are Austin Mahone’s EP, “The Secret” at No. 5 (47,000) and Crowder’s “Neon Steeple” at No. 10. Crowder is David Crowder, former lead singer for Christian rock band The David Crowder Band.

As far as the rest of the Top 10, “Frozen” will be at No. 4 (55,000), “Now 50” at No. 6 (35,000), Michael Jackson’s “Xscape” at No. 7 (35,000), The Black Keys’ “Turn Blue” at No. 8 (32,000), and Izzy Azalea’s “The New Classic” (17,000), according to Hits Daily Double.

Possibly shaking the lower tier of the Top 10 could be new albums from Cher Lloyd, “Sorry I’m Late,” and Royksopp and Robyn, “Do It Again.”



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Ariana Grande

Ariana Grande and Iggy Azalea twirl through official 'Problem' video: Watch

Big Sean joins in too

If you’ve seen Ariana Grande and Izzy Azalea perform “Problem” on any raft of TV specials lately, the song’s official video, released today, won’t contain many surprises, but it’s still entertaining.

The performance video continues the black-and-white pinwheel theme and Grande’s somewhat awkward dancing and throws in enough other elements to keep it interesting.

Grande plays coquettishly to the camera a few too many times, but otherwise the clip moves quickly. As the squonking opening horn line intro plays, we see the first of a dancer/contortionist flinging across stage, Grande, Azalea, and then, very shortly, an uncredited Big Sean whispering “One less problem with out ya.”

It’s a fun kaleidoscope of quickly changing scenes between more shirtless male dancers, some scooters, psychedelic backgrounds and Azalea’s scene-stealing performance.

Given that “Problem” is now the unofficial song of the summer, we can look forward to the fun unofficial video remakes coming, as we got two years ago with “Call Me Maybe” and last year with “Blurred Lines.”

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Luke Bryan

Oops! Luke Bryan takes a big tumble off the stage while performing in Charlotte: Watch

It wasn't his kind of night

Luke Bryan lived up to the adage “the show must go on” last night after he fell off the stage at Charlotte’s PNC Music Pavillion.

Bryan was covering Macklemore & Ryan Lewis’s “Can’t Hold Us” when he got a little too close to the edge of the stage and tumbled right over into the photographer’s pit.  

After a few scary seconds, he was helped back on stage and as he sat on the edge, he laughed through the pain, joking “the last time I was in North Carolina, I busted my ass.”

He later tweeted that he was okay, but needed stitches.

YouTube has been scrubbed of the video, but, naturally, TMZ still has the footage.

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Emmylou Harris, Bonnie Raitt, Stevie Nicks, Sheryl Crow and Carrie Underwood
Credit: HBO

EXCLUSIVE: Stevie Nicks on singing with Carrie Underwood at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame

Why the Fleetwood Mac singer is glad Underwood didn't come along sooner

The 2014 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction ceremony, airing on HBO  Saturday (31) night, features some of the Rock Hall’s stronger performances in recent years.
Among the highlights are the remaining members of inductee Nirvana performing with Joan Jett, St. Vincent, and Lorde, as well as Stevie Nicks, Sheryl Crow, Bonnie Raitt, Emmylou Harris, and Carrie Underwood beautifully saluting inductee Linda Ronstadt in song.

In this exclusive clip, Nicks talks about how the ladies’ performance of “When Will I Be Loved” came about — it was a lot looser than you’d think— and has some very high praise for Underwood. Let’s just say she’s glad Underwood wasn’t around during Fleetwood Mac’s formative years.

In addition to Nirvana and Ronstadt, this year’s class included Daryl Hall & John Oates, Peter Gabriel, The E Street Band, Cat Stevens and Kiss as performer inductees, and Brian Epstein and Andrew Loog Oldham as non-performer inductees.

Though footage of the Nirvana appearance has circulated on YouTube, you can see some of Joan Jett’s performance of “Smells Like Teen Spirit” with much better detail below, as well as Hall & Oates' jaunty  “You Make My Dreams Come True.”

Following May 31’s original airing, HBO will show the induction ceremony, which took place April 10 at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center, throughout June on both HBO and HBO2.

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Miguel, his girl, and their spirit animals find love in 'Simplethings' video: Watch

Edgy ballad gets equally edgy clip

Miguel just wants someone to smoke with and lie down with, as well as enjoy a disdain for  spaces between words, in his new video for “Simplethings.” In the strikingly shot black-and-white clip, he not only finds his match, but, apparently, he and his new love have the same spirit animals. What are the odds?

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Jennifer Lopez

6 best moments in Jennifer Lopez's steamy new video for 'First Love'

Where did he get that tire?

Jennifer Lopez’s stunning new black-and-white video, “First Love,” features her in the desert with Dolce & Gabbana model David Gandy, who is hotter than the Mojave and also seems around the same age as Lopez.  Though she lives in a shack,  she has her love to give her everything she needs. The Max Martin-produced track is the new single from JLo's June 17 release, "A.K.A."

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Iggy Azalea

Iggy Azalea ties the Beatles on the Billboard Hot 100

She's only the second artist to do what?


What does Australian rapper Iggy Azalea have in common with the Beatles? As her tune “Fancy,” featuring Charli XCX, ascends to the top spot on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart, and Ariana Grande’s “Problem,” featuring Azalea, rises 3-2, she becomes the only artist other than the Fab Four in the 56-year history of the chart to have her first two Hot 100 singles reach No. 1 and 2 concurrently. Her gain pushes John Legend’s “All of Me” 1-3.

There’s also good news for another newcomer:  Norwegian duo Nico & Vinz, whose first charting single, “Am I Wrong” zooms 17-8.

Following the shift at the top, positions 4-7 remain the same as last week: Pharrell Williams’ “Happy” is No. 4, DJ Snake and Lil Jon’s “Turn Down For What” is No. 5, Katy Perry’s “Dark Horse,” featuring Juicy J is No. 6, and Jason Derulo’s “Talk Dirty,” featuring 2 Chainz” is No. 7. More good news for Derulo: his new single, “Wiggle,” featuring Snoop Dogg, leaps 20-10.

Justin Timberlake’s “Not A Bad Thing” drops 8-9.

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Jimmy Iovine and Dr. Dre are now a lot richer
Credit: AP

5 changes we'd like to see from the Apple/Beats deal

Will this lead to Garth Brooks finally coming onto iTunes?

Now that Apple’s $3 billion acquisition of Beats Electronics has officially been announced— and Dr. Dre is hip-hop’s first billionaire (I know we can all breathe a sigh of relief that he’s good financially now), Apple will now not only acquire Beats Headphones and Beats Music, it is also getting Dr. Dre and Interscope head Jimmy Iovine in the mix (Interscope COO/president John Janick will ascend to chairman/CEO when Iovine departs in September).

Here are five results we'd like to see come about from the deal:

1. Beats Music forces all streaming services to be more artist and songwriter friendly. We’ve all seen the horror stories about how little Spotify pays artists and the ongoing Pandora suits. Beats and Apple have an opportunity to do the right thing here and make sure artists gets their fair share. The other services would hopefully fall in line and both the lawsuits and the proposed changes to legislation could end.

2. iTunes become more artist friendly. The main reason for the acquisition of Beats Music (in addition to Beats headphones) is that Apple needs a streaming service, especially as downloading purchases start to slow. As Apple’s world gets even bigger, there’s no reason to not give a little back to the artists creatively and  let them decide how they want their music to be sold: let it be their decision if they want an album to be available only as a full album instead of picked apart with consumers allowed to buy individual tracks. Most artists don’t care, but several would like to have the option of singles being sold individually, but the rest of the album remaining in tact. Artists should also have more say in the pricing options. Maybe they want a full album to sell for $7.99 instead of $9.99.  The last great holdout on iTunes is Garth Brooks. Wouldn’t it be nice if for his next studio album, iTunes let him sell it as album only since that’s the only way he’ll come aboard?

3. Apple creates a label that takes on the majors. Apple is in the business of selling hardware and it distributes music (and other content) as a means to sell more hardware, so starting a label is probably not in its best interest. However, if you’re going to bring on Jimmy Iovine and Dr. Dre to run your music division, they are going to want to continue to keep their hand in music discovery.

4. Find a role for Trent Reznor. Oddly, in all the talk about the Beats acquisition, I haven’t seen the Nine Inch Nails’  founder mentioned, even though he’s Beats Music’s chief creative officer. Is he still part of the team? If so, he’s someone who has been very willing to experiment with different distribution models and is fearless when it comes to letting go of the old guard and trying new ideas.

5. Figure out how to synergize iTunes, Beats, and iTunes Radio. iTunes Radio launched last fall—and to its credit— pays a decent performance rate and gives labels a revenue share. Having said that, I don’t know anyone who listens to iTunesRadio— Clear Channel's  iHeartRadio seems to have all the momentum. Here’s a chance to have all three distribution models—free streaming with iTunesRadio, subscription streaming through Beats, and song purchase through iTunes Store— leverage their services from premiering tracks on iTunesRadio and Beats to offering exclusives on full album purchases, as iTunes did for the first week with Beyonce's latest.

A few other random thoughts:

I largely left out any ideas about integrating Beats headphones because that seems ridiculously easy: how long before we see iTunes gift cards bundled with Beats headphones? Beats Music subscriptions bundled with headphones, etc? For that matter, how long before Beats Music is rebranded iBeats?

I know this is crazy, but when rumors of the deal first leaked a few weeks ago, I wondered if this had been the Beats game plan all along. Iovine worked very closely with Apple and Steve Jobs on the development of iTunes, which ultimately helped kill the album market and hurt labels in some ways more than it helped. Though this is pure speculation on my part, I wonder if the thought was all along to develop a streaming operation while Apple continued to falter in its development of one and then Iovine, Dre, et al would sell to Apple and everybody wins. Iovine gets the ultimate thank you from Apple for helping iTunes become such a monster… We’ll never know if my theory is true, although in a statement about the merger, Iovine said, “I’ve always known in my heart that Beats belongs with Apple.”

How do you think the merger will change how you consume music?

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Billy Joel

A Tale of Two Billy Joel Reviews and a Happy Ending

Joel takes the Hollywood Bowl by storm

Five years ago, about six weeks after HitFix launched, I reviewed a Billy Joel concert at the opening of a new venue at Agua Caliente Casino in Palm Springs.

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Nicki Minaj

Watch: Nicki Minaj's 'Pills N Potions' lyric video

First of two lyric videos highlights the pills more than the potions

Nicki Minaj has released the first of two lyric videos for her strong new single, “Pills N Potions.”

The lyrics pop up over stills of liquor bottles, cigarette smoke, pills, and other shots of club exteriors, apartment interiors, the New York skyline, and cocktail glasses.  No telling if these shots hint at the story line of the full video coming or if these images stand alone.

The song, which we reviewed here, is the first single from Minaj’s third full-length album, “The Pink Print,” which is coming later this year.


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