<p>Single artwork for &quot;Clique&quot;</p>

Single artwork for "Clique"

Listen: Kanye West raps about Kim Kardashian's sex tape on new track, 'Clique'

Track also features Jay Z and Big Sean

Kanye West can’t stop rapping about his lady love, Kim Kardashian. On this newly-released snippet from “Clique,” which first surfaced on TMZ,  he boasts about her past, including her infamous sex tape with Ray-J. Yeah, you heard that right. As you recall, he also declared his love for her months ago on “Theraflu” (later retitled “Cold”). He's also paid ode to her in a track called "Perfect Bitch."

[More after the jump...]

Read Full Post
<p>Hal David</p>

Hal David

Credit: AP Photo

What made lyricist Hal David so special?

Plus, his 10 best lyrics

Hal David, one of the best lyricists of the 20th century, died on Sept. 1. Other than John Lennon and Paul McCartney, David and his songwriting partner Burt Bacharach were the preeminent purveyors of pop song craft in the ‘60s.

Bacharach’s melodies were often complicated, but David’s lyrics never were and therein rests their beauty. His words were simple, but never obvious: The line “one less egg to fry” in “One Less Bell To Answer” spoke volumes about despair and loneliness. He expressed vulnerabilities that would have sounded hyperbolic coming from a less-skilled pen, but from him, sounded like truths:  When Herb Alpert sang, “Say you’re in  love, in love with this guy, If not, I’ll just die,” in “This Guy’s In Love With You,” who didn’t believe that he would perish into thin air without her love?

There was also a specificity to David’s lyrics. They were spare and direct. Think about “I Say A Little Prayer,” one of his best from start to finish (which is why I left it out of the selections below): The protagonist very deliberately is putting on her make-up, combing her hair, running for the bus... the actions are mundane and serve as a contrast to the drama of the thought of not being together with her beloved forever and ever.  In “A House Is Not A Home,” he doesn’t just yearn for her to return, he needs for her to still be in love with him as well.  He knew heartbreak didn’t need a lot of explanation, it needed precision.

Even the lyrics that seem dated now, like “Wishin’ & Hopin’s” “Wash your hair just for him,” capture a moment and thought in time. Though there are hundreds to choose from, below are what I consider to be 10 of David’s finest lyrics.

"Foolish pride, that's all that I have left/So let me hide the tears and the sadness you gave me/When you said goodbye"— “Walk On By”

"One less bell to answer/One less egg to fry/One less man to pick up after/I should be happy/But all I do is cry" —”One Less Bell To Answer”

"I need your love/I want your love/Say you're in love, in love/With this guy/If not I'll just die" —-”This Guy’s in Love With You”

"The moment I wake up/Before I put on my makeup/I say a little prayer for you” — “I Say A Little Prayer”

"Anyone who had a heart would take me in his arms and love me too/Why won’t you?”—”Anyone Who Had a Heart”

“Darling, have a heart/Don’t let one mistake keep us apart/I’m not meant to live along/Turn this house into a home/When I climb the stair and turn the key/Oh, please be there still in love with me.” —”A House Is Not A Home”

"What the world needs now is love, sweet love/It’s the only thing that there’s just too little of"— “What the World Needs Now”

"On the day that you were born the angels got together/And decided to create a dream come true" —”Close To You”

“And if the way I hold you/Can’t compare to his caress/No words of consolation/Will make me miss you less”— “Make It Easy On Yourself”

"What do you get when you fall in love? You only get lies and pain and sorry/ So for at least until tomorrow/I’ll never fall in love again" —”I’ll Never Fall In Love Again.”

Read Full Post
<p>Matchbox Twenty's &quot;North&quot;</p>

Matchbox Twenty's "North"

Album Revew: Matchbox Twenty moves in right direction on 'North'

FIrst studio album in 10 years from pop stalwarts delivers some twists

It’s been 10 years since an album of all new Matchbox Twenty material, although the pop-rock band’s legion of hits remains in such heavy rotation on many adult contemporary stations that their absence hasn’t been felt. Also, a greatest hits package with six new songs and two solo albums from lead singer Rob helped fill the void.

Having said that, “North,” out today, feels like a welcome return from an old friend who has kept all of the qualities that made you like him in the first place, but picked up some new tricks to keep things from getting stale. Matchbox Twenty’s strength has always been its strong grasp of the basic pop dynamic where catchy choruses are bookended by verses that propel a story and mood. Early hits like “Push,” “3AM,” “Bent” and “If You’re Gone” all carried a certain darkness with the lyrics, no matter how bright the melody. 

The band’s writing dynamic shifted for “North,” and it’s a move that suits them well: Instead of writing everything primarily himself, the gifted Thomas shared the wealth with his bandmates and collaborations rule the day. That allows for more textures and nuances to the songs, such as on “English Town,” which starts out delicately before exploding into a swirl of guitars.

So it goes on much of the album: the band isn’t breaking its mold, so much as flexing some muscles in a way they haven’t before: On “Put Your Hands Up,” a dance-flavored track whose lively beat defies the dark lyrics,  MB20 veers into Cobra Starship or Fall Out Boy territory. On first single “She’s So Mean,” which deserved a much better shot from radio than it received, handclaps bolster a power pop tune about a girl that just gets the better of every man who’s drawn into her web.

When Matchbox Twenty first hit  in 1996, the members were in their early 20s. Now, more than 15 years later, they’ve grown up, gotten married, and had families. There’s a maturity to some of the material that couldn’t have occurred until they got some more life under their belt.  The gem on the album, the understated “I Will,” beautifully reflects how time passes at a startlingly rate of speed: “Tonight looking back on all this life, it’s funny how the time goes by and how, sometimes, it slides away,” Thomas sings, as half of a  couple who will figure out life’s foibles together, filling in each other’s gaps. The simple arrangement adds to the song’s beauty. Current single “Overjoyed” uncynically looks at love in a fresh, inviting way, well aware that the chance for true happiness doesn’t come along every day. Conversely, “Like Sugar” addresses a temptation that comes on like the sweetest, most addictive, yet toxic, substance.

Not every song is a winner: “How Long” starts of nimbly, but loses its way;  “Radio” sounds like the band is pandering for airplay, but there are far more plusses on “North” than negatives from a band that continues to move in the right direction.

Read Full Post
'American Idol's' Scotty McCreery celebrates the season on Christmas set
Credit: 19/Mercury Nashville

'American Idol's' Scotty McCreery celebrates the season on Christmas set

Collection includes standards and two new originals

After he posted a photo of himself wearing a Santa hat in the studio, there was little doubt that Scotty McCreery was working on a holiday album, although his label declined to reveal any further details.

Now we know “Christmas With Scotty McCreery” will arrive Oct. 16. The stocking stuffer from the “American Idol” winner contains two new songs in addition to a platter-ful of standards, such as “Winter Wonderland,” “Jingle Bells, “Let It Snow,” “The Christmas Song,” “O Holy Night,”  and “The First Noel.”

The new tracks are “Christmas In Heaven” and “Christmas Is Coming Around.” Of the latter, McCreery says, “That’s just a great story about Christmas time and really just lifting people’s spirits. Times may be tough, but during Christmas, it needs to be a happy time.”

McCreery, who just started his freshman year at North Carolina State University in Raleigh, will make Christmas calls to 100 random fans who purchase the album via his website, www.ScottyMcCreery.com.

Fellow country star Blake Shelton will also release a holiday this season.


Read Full Post
<p>Green Day</p>

Green Day

Green Day's Billie Joe Armstrong hospitalized in Italy

Undisclosed illness forces cancellation of festival gig

Green Day abruptly cancelled a headlining performance in Bologna, Italy. Sunday night after lead singer Billie Joe Armstrong was taken to the hospital Saturday night for treatment for an undisclosed illness.

[More after the jump...]

Read Full Post


Credit: Evan Agostini/AP

Music Power Rankings: Madonna, Taylor Swift and Adele make the list

Michael Jackson returns

1. Madonna: Madge launches the U.S. leg of her “MDNA” tour in Philadelphia. She takes to the stage 2 1/2 hours after the time on the ticket, angering some fans, but luckily the only guns beared were hers on stage.

2. The Rolling Stones: The legendary rock band will reportedly celebrate its 50th anniversary by playing two dates in Brooklyn and two in London for a reported payday of $25 million. As it turns out, sometimes you can get what you want.

3. Florence & The Machine: Band namesake Florence Welch reveals that the band plans to take a year off following the conclusion its current tour. Looks like they’ll be standing on “Ceremonials” for the near future.

4. Taylor Swift: She continues on a roll as her first Billboard Hot 100, “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together,” sells close to 1 million downloads in its first two weeks of release.

5. Randy Jackson:
His time as a judge in “American Idol” is coming to an end as rumors swirl that he will shift to the lesser role of a mentor. Does that mean he’s being put in the ‘dawg” pound?

6. Adele: It had to come at some point. After 79 weeks, “21” falls out of the Top 10 for the first time since its release. The good news is it will likely rebound back into the upper reaches next week.

7. Trey Songz: It took five albums and seven years, but the R&B singer lands his first chart topping album this week with “Chapter V.” That’s what you call artist development.

8. The Simpsons: Music artists are nothing new for the long-running series, but the show is diving deep with the new season: over the past week, Justin Bieber, Tom Waits and The Decemberists have all signed on to appear on season 24.

9. Michael Jackson:
As his fans celebrate would have been Jackson’s 54th birthday,  ABC announces that “Bad25,” Spike Lee’s documentary on the superstar and one of his biggest albums will air Thanksgiving.

10. Chris Lighty: The highly regarded manager, who over the course of his long career worked with such acts as 50 Cent, Diddy, Mariah Carey, Cee Lo Green and more, dies of an apparent suicide.  RIP

Read Full Post
<p>TobyMac's &quot;Eye on It&quot;</p>

TobyMac's "Eye on It"

TobyMac, Slaughterhouse and Alanis Morissette poised for big Billboard 200 debuts

Will Adele's '21' come back into the top 10?

With his fifth solo album, Contemporary Christian performer TobyMac makes it to the summit of the Billboard 200.  “Eye On It” looks poised to sell up to 65,000 copies, giving it a 10,000-unit lead over Slaughterhouse’s “Welcome To Our House,” which will be at No. 2.

The other debut in the Top 10 comes from Alanis Morissette, whose first album in four years, “Havoc and Bright Lights,” will come in at No. 4 with sales of up to 40,000, according to Hits Daily Double.

This week’s No. 1, Trey Songz’ “Chapter V,” will drop to No. 3, as “Now That’s What I Call Music 43,” is No. 5.

Rounding out the top 10, 2 Chainz “Based On a T.R.U. Story” will be No. 6 with sales of 30,000. After falling out of the Top 10 this week for the first time since it debuted on the chart in February 2011, Adele’s “21” rebounds back to No. 7. Fun.’s “Some Nights”  and Maroon 5’s “Overexposed” are locked in a tie for No. 8 with potential sales of up to 21,000. Rounding out the Top 10 will be Rick Ross’s “God Forgives, I Don’t.”


Read Full Post


Credit: AP Photo

Prince heads to Chicago for residency at United Center

Stint starts Sept. 24

Prince will begin a series of Chicago concerts  Sept. 24 at the United Center in support of Van JonesRebuild the Dream organization.

A representative tells Hitfix that the number of dates in the Windy City residency will be announced shortly and more details will certainly be revealed by the time tickets go on sale on Sept. 6.

Welcome 2 Chicago”  will mark Prince’s first date at the arena since 2004.  Rebuild the Dream offers entrepreneurs tools that individuals and communities can use to create a fairer economic future for all.

The “Welcome 2...” concept began with Prince’s “Welcome 2 America” New York dates in 2010 and usually involve Prince taking up residency in a city, often for several nights, and tying in with a local charity or organization.

Last spring, as part of "Welcome 2 America: 21 Night Stands," Prince played 21 shows in Los Angeles, the majority of them at The Forum.


Read Full Post


Watch: Nas relives his divorce from Kelis in new video for 'Bye Baby'

What's that about Johnny Depp and Janis Joplin?

In case you hadn’t heard enough about Nas and Kelis’s 2009 split, he lays it all out for you, from his perspective, in the video for the new song, “Bye Baby.”

The clip features Nas talking into the camera as if he’s addressing Kelis, her wedding dress draped over his leg, as he goes into deep detail about her “trust issues,” why he walked away,  their 50/50 divorce split, and other intimate details.

[More after the jump...]

Read Full Post
Watch: Backstreet's back: The Backstreet Boys sing on 'Good Morning America'

Watch: Backstreet's back: The Backstreet Boys sing on 'Good Morning America'

Group performs for first time since Kevin Richardson rejoins the band

Backstreet’s back. And there were lots and lots of girls at the reunion party this morning as the band, in its first appearance since Kevin Richardson rejoined the boy group, singing “I Want It That Way” on “Good Morning America” this morning as part of the Summer Concert Series in Central Park.

As the video shows, 13 years after the Grammy-nominated tune ruled the charts, BSB performed it with their same signature dance moves and their stellar harmonies. We admit, some of the solo sections sounded a little rough, but when they all sing together, they still sound great.

[More after the jump...]

Read Full Post