Austin Mahone

Austin Mahone's song/video 'All I Ever Need' is best song Justin Bieber never cut

Sweet ballad turns into love letter to his fans


Austin Mahone is one of those acts that if you’re over 21 and/or male, it’s easy to completely have him off your radar, but as his video for “All I Ever Need” shows, there are thousands upon thousands of fans who love having the 18-year old in their lives.

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Ariana Grande
Credit: Republic Records

5 requirements for a great summer song

Whether it's School's Out,' 'Get Lucky' or 'Problem'


As we unofficially kick off summer with Memorial Day Weekend, it’s time to think about what the unofficial song of the summer will be.

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Caleb Johnson

'American Idol' winner Caleb Johnson's debut album set for August release

Does a shorter release window work better?

Fans of “American Idol” season 13 winner Caleb Johnson won’t have long to wait for the newly crowned king’s debut album.

Johnson’s self-titled album will come out Aug. 12. Anyone remember a winner’s set coming out that quickly before? Not only that, the release date was announced mere hours after Johnson was throned last night.

Given that “Idol” no longer has the shiny new car smell it once had, 19 Recordings/Interscope Records, which is putting out the release, must want to strike while Johnson’s victory is still fresh in people’s minds. No word on when Interscope will release runner-up Jena Irene’s album.

Judge Harry Connick asked Johnson last week what kind of album he’d like to make and he replied, unsurprisingly, a rock album of originals. He’s off to a good start with his “Idol” finale song, “As Long As You Love Me,” written by The Darkness’ Justin Hawkins and produced by Howard Benson.

Of course, we’ll see if that release date actually happens. Last season’s winner, Candice Glover, was initially slated to release her album even faster, in July 2013, but it didn’t surface until February 2014, and despite her having a great, soulful voice, the album hasn’t achieved much success, and, in fact, sold the least amount in its opening frame of any debut album released by an "Idol" winner.

Season 11 winner, Phillip Phillips, released his debut six months after his victory and the November album went platinum, in addition to single “Home” reaching quadruple-platinum certification. Phillips just released his second album last week.

Scotty McCreery, who won Season 10, also put out his debut album the fall after his win. Released in October 2011, “Clear As Day,” also went platinum. McCreery's fellow contestant, Pia Toscano, was shockingly eliminated early on in the competition and quickly signed to Interscope who couldn't capitalize on the immediate heat that surrounded the singer. After a single failed to catch fire, Toscano was dropped from Interscope last year.

Of course, before Johnson's album comes out, he'll take part in the obligatory American Idol Live tour, which starts June 24 in Binghampton, N.Y. and features this season's finalists.

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Ed Sheeran

Ed Sheeran's puppet twin is living the life in 'Sing' video: Watch

Strippers, limos, confetti vomit and more

Ed Sheeran and his puppet doppelgänger are living quite the life in Sheeran’s video for “Sing.”

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Kanye West

UPDATED: Kanye West, Kings of Leon headline Budweiser Made in America fest in Philly

Los Angeles gets Kendrick Lamar, Rise Against, Weezer and Capital Cities

Kanye West, Kings of Leon, Pharrell Williams, and Tiesto will headline Budweiser Made in America festival at Philadelphia’s Ben Franklin Parkway, Aug. 30-31.

The festival, curated by Jay Z, will also feature The National, Steve Aoki, J. Cole, Girl Talk, Spoon, Chromeo, City and Colour, Grimes, AWOLNATION, R3HAB, Gareth Emery, De La Soul, Baauer, Tommy Trash, Mayer Hawthorne, Kongos, 3LAU, The Neighborhood, Danny Brown, YG, Holy Ghost, Penguin Prison, Destructo, Bleachers, DJ Cassidy, Cherub, Will Sparks, Young & Sick, Vacationer, Cut Snake, Kaneholler.

For the first time, Made In America will be held in Philadelphia and Los Angeles.

The Los Angeles event, also held Aug. 30-31, will feature Kendrick Lamar, Rise Against, Weezer, and Sublime with Rome as headliners. Among the others on the bill are Capital Cities, Chance the Rapper, Cypress Hill, Mute Math, Rita Ora, Nipsey Hussle, Dr. Dog, Hit-Boy and several more.

 

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Michael Jackson

Michael Jackson's 'Love Never Felt So Good' sets chart records

Coldplay also has a hit on its hands

Both Michael Jackson and Coldplay enter the Top 10 on the Billboard Hot 100 this week.

“Love Never Felt So Good,” a duet between the late Jackson and Justin Timberlake” featured on Jackson’s “Xscape,” rockets 22-9 on the Hot 100, while Coldplay’s “A Sky Full of Stars” from new album “Ghost Stories,” vaults 43 -10.

But back to Jackson for a minute: with “Love Never Felt So Good’s” ascent, Jackson makes history as the only artist to hit the Top 10 of Billboard’s Hot 100 in five consecutive decades, according to Billboard. His first  Top 10, “Got to Be There,” which peaked at No. 4, was in 1971. Five other artists have scored Top 10s in four consecutive decades: Barbra Streisand, Cher, Aerosmith, Madonna, and Whitney Houston.

Jackson’s feat helps him extend a record he already held: the longest span between first and most recent appearance in the Top 10. His distance is now 42 weeks, six months, and one week. Santana is a far second at 33 years and eight months.

“Love Never Felt So Good” is Jackson’s 29th Hot 100 top 10 and Timberlake’s 22nd, including ’N Sync hits. Madonna has the most Hot 100 top 10s at 38.

None of this diminishes the accomplishments of John Legend, whose “All of Me” holds at No. 1 for the third week. Iggy Azalea occupies No. 2 and No. 3 as “Fancy,” featuring Charli XCX, climbs 3-2 and Ariana Grande’s “Problem,” featuring Azalea,” rises 4-3.

Azalea’s action pushes down former chart topper, “Happy,” by Pharrell Williams 2-4.

DJ Snake and Lil Jon’s “Turn Down For What” returns to its peak, rising 6-5, trading places with Katy Perry’s “Dark Horse,” featuring Juicy J.  Jason Derulo’s “Talk Dirty,” featuring 2 Chainz, stays at No. 7, while Timberlake’s “Not A Bad Thing” holds at No. 8.

 

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Nicki Minaj

Nick Minaj's unveils touching new single, 'Pills N Potions': Listen

HitFix
A
Readers
B+
Track shows off her voice and her vulnerable side

Nicki Minaj shows a gentler side on “Pills N Potions,” the first single from “The Pink Print,” her upcoming album.

Against a gentle, but persistent beat,  Minaj opens the song by singing in a vulnerable voice that she still loves someone and no amount of pills and potions can make her forget. She then goes into a rap that continues to show her softer side, as she declares “I still don’t wish death on them/I just reflect on them.” Phew!

Produced by Dr. Luke, “Pills N Potions” is reminiscent of Macklemore & Ryan Lewis’s “Same Love” musically in terms of its tempo and Martika's 1988 hit, "Toy Soldiers" with its big drum beat. 

“I get high off your memory/In time, you’ll be mine,” she sings in the ascending bridge.

Those who like their Minaj with a dose of nasty may be turned off by this side of Minaj, but it’s one of her most accessible and best songs yet. For once, she shocks us in a way that reflects on the music instead of pulls focus to something else. It's also her poppiest track since "Starships."

What do you think of the hypnotic track?

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Pearl Jam

Pearl Jam sets fall tour around Austin City Limits Music Festival

The band hits several cities for the first time

Pearl Jam is headlining the two weekends of the Austin City Limits Music Festival, so the band decided to build a little tour around its Texas time.

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Miley Cyrus

Miley Cyrus outmopes Morrissey on Smiths' cover, 'There Is A Light That Never Goes Out": Watch

She sings The Smiths via Lana Del Rey

First The Beatles and now The Smiths. After performing “Lucy in they Sky with Diamonds” with Flaming Lips’ Wayne Coyne on the Billboard Music Awards, Miley Cyrus turned back time again during a show in Belfast. This time she set the Way Back Machine to 1986 to perform The Smith’s “There Is A Light That Never Goes Out” from the British group’s “The Queen Is Dead” album.

It would not seem possible, but The Smiths’ original is actually much peppier than Cyrus’s melodically down tempo one.  She  mumbles more than Morrissey and sounds almost like she's channeling The Smiths via Lana Del Rey.

And unlike Morrissey, she decided to take a selfie during the middle of the performance, which definitely blunts the song’s impact.

What do you think of Cyrus' version?

 

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Coldplay

Review: Coldplay's haunting, atmospheric 'Ghost Stories'

HitFix
B
Readers
n/a
No anthems, just heartache

“Ghost Stories” is Chris Martin’s equivalent of Fleetwood Mac’s “Rumours,” Bob Dylan’s “Blood On the Tracks,” or Bruce Springsteen’s “Tunnel Of Love.”

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