<p>Jordin Sparks and Whitney Houston in 'Sparkle'</p>

Jordin Sparks and Whitney Houston in 'Sparkle'

Credit: TriStar Pictures

Watch: Whitney Houston in the new video for 'Celebrate' with Jordin Sparks

The music clip pays tribute to the late singer

Whitney Houston makes one of her last video appearances in the clip for “Celebrate” from “Sparkle.”

The music video primarily focuses on Houston’s co-star Jordin Sparks and her buddies dancing around and frolicking both in additional footage and in scenes from the movie. There are only a few shots of Houston, many of them spliced into the video, and only one of her dancing.

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<p>Bruce Springsteen</p>

Bruce Springsteen

Credit: AP Photo

Bruce Springsteen selected as MusiCares Person of the Year

The Recording Academy will honor the Boss on Feb. 8

Bruce Springsteen will be honored at 2013 MusiCares Person of the Year on Feb. 8, 2013.

The event, presented by the Recording Academy, will feature artists saluting The Boss. Part honorees include Barbra Streisand, Paul McCartney, Brian Wilson, Stevie Wonder, Tony Bennett, James Taylor and Paul Simon.

Honorees are chosen in recognition of their creative accomplishments  and charitable work.

“Bruce Springsteen is a truly gifted and Renaissance artist of the time, a national treasure and an exemplary humanitarian,” said Neil Portnow, president/CEO of the MusiCares Foundation. “His career is a testament to the power of creative excellence, and his contributions as a philanthropist speak to the tenacity of the human spirit.”

Proceeds from the evening go to MusiCares, the Recording Academy’s offshoot that provides financial, medical and personal assistance.

MusiCares Person of the Year will be held in Los Angeles two days before the 55th Annual Grammy Awards on Feb. 10.

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Listen: Muse out-bombasts Queen on Olympic theme, 'Survival'

Soaring tune will be played during medal ceremonies in London

Muse goes for the gold on “Survival,” its theme for the 2012 Olympics, but falls far short.

The British group’s bombast makes Queen seem tame in comparison. There’s soaring strings, loud guitars, a short-lived jaunty piano melody, chanting, rhythmic changes, lead singer Matt Bellamy’s gritty, steely, high-pitched urgency and lots of other shenanigans going on all in search of a song.

“Survival” is a jawdropping exercise so overreaching in its attempt to create something grand and motivational that it’s almost hard to take it seriously. 

[More after the jump...]

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<p>Carly Rae Jespen</p>

Carly Rae Jespen

Carly Rae Jepsen's 'Call Me Maybe' rules on the Billboard Hot 100

Ellie Goulding makes it into the Top 10 after six months

Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Call Me Maybe” stays atop the Billboard 100 for a third week, as some other artists make moves into the Top 10.

The new artist influx into the Top 10 continues as Ellie Goulding’s “Lights”  moves 12-6. The song took 27 weeks to achieve the feat, setting a record for the longest rise by a female who was not crossing over from another format.

The other new entry into the Top 10 belongs to veteran Usher, whose “Scream” creeps up one spot to No. 10, to mark his 18th Top 10.

On the rest of the chart, Maroon 5’s “Payphone” featuring Wiz Khalifa climbs 3-2 switching places with Gotye’s “Somebody That I Used To Know.”

Katy Perry’s “Wide Awake” holds at No. 4, though may receive a boost from her movie, “Part of Me,” opening this week. Rihanna’s “Where Have Your Been” climbs 8-5.

The bottom half sees fun.’s “We Are Young” featuring Janelle Monae drop 5-7,  Nicki Minaj’s “Starships” fall 7-8 and One Direction’s “What Makes You Beautiful” slides 6-9.

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<p>Mumford and Sons</p>

Mumford and Sons

Mumford & Sons set up August U.S. tour in advance of new album

Dates include their Gentlemen of the Road Stopover dates

Mumford & Sons will take to the road this August for a 15-date tour. The outing includes the British group’s four multi-artist Gentlemen of the Road Stopover festivals they are curating in a quartet of small towns.

M&S will undoubtedly preview a number of tunes from the group’s second album, due this fall. They took a break from completing the follow-up to "Sigh No More" to record "Learn Me Right" with Birdy for the Pixar film "Brave."

The group began debuting songs that could be on the new album earlier this year at some radio stations, as well as playing three new tunes at SXSW, "Lovers Eyes," "Lover of the Light," and "Ghosts The We Knew." 

Mumford & Sons  US tour dates

August 1 - Hoboken, NJ @ Pier A (No Fee Ticket)
August 4 - Portland, ME @ Gentlemen of the Road Stopover
August 6 - Providence, RI @ Providence Performing Arts Center
August 7 - Canandaigua, NY @ Marvin Sands Performing Arts
August 9 - Portsmouth, VA @ nTelos Wireless Pavilion
August 11 - Bristol, VA @ Gentlemen of the Road Stopover
August 13 - Louisville, KY @ Louisville Waterfront Park
August 14 - Columbus, OH @ The LC Pavilion
August 18 - Dixon, IL @ Gentlemen of the Road Stopover
August 20 - Lincoln, NE @ Pinewood Bowl Theatre
August 21 - Laramie, WY @ Gryphon Theatre
August 22 - Magna, UT @ The Saltair
August 25 - Monterey, CA @ Gentlemen of the Road Stopover
August 28 - Morrison, CO @ Red Rocks Amphitheatre
September 1 - Snowmass Village, CO @ Jazz Aspen Snowmass Festival

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<p>Dave Matthews Band</p>

Dave Matthews Band

Dave Matthews Band sets release date for new album 'Away From The World'

Group reunites with producer Steve Lillywhite for seventh studio album

On Sept. 11, Dave Matthews Band will release “Away From the World,”  its first studio album since 2009’s “Big Whiskey & the GrooGrux King.” 

Steve Lillywhite, who produced DMB’s first three albums, helmed the group’s seventh studio set. Fans who pre-order “World” will receive an additional five bonus tracks recorded live on the band’s summer tour.

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<p>From Lana Del Rey's &quot;National Anthem&quot;</p>

From Lana Del Rey's "National Anthem"

Watch: Lana Del Rey and ASAP Rocky in 'National Anthem' video teaser

They reinvent Jackie O and JFK

History repeats itself over and over and over again in the teaser for Lana Del Rey’s upcoming “National Anthem” video.

If you have the patience to watch the thousand repeats of Lana Del Rey, standing at a microphone sweeping back her hair and smiling and
 A$AP Rocky taking a drag in the cigarette, presumably in the audience, a bit of a the plots unspools. Del Rey appear as Jackie Onassis (looking like a cross between Jackie O and Elvis-era Priscilla Presley) with A$AP Rocky as her John F. Kennedy.  Cut in is footage of American flags, the couple dancing, and a motorcade similar to the one on that fateful day in November 1963.

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<p>&nbsp;Iggy Pop</p>

 Iggy Pop

Credit: AP Photo

Best Coast's Bethany Cosentino and Iggy Pop pair for a 'True Blood' duet

Plus, listen to Best Coast reinvent Fleetwood Mac's 'Rhiannon'

Best Coast’s Bethany Cosentino and Iggy Pop have paired together for “Let’s Boot and Rally,” a song that will be featured in the July 8 episode of HBO’s “True Blood.”

The tune, co-written by “True Blood’s” music supervisor Gary Calamar and James Combs, will premiere on Santa Monica’s KCRW (where Calamar also DJs) on July 5 at 10:20 a.m. Not much word on how it sounds yet, other than KCRW calls it a “punk rock duet.”

Cosentino expressed her excitement over recording with Iggy Pop on Best Coast’s twitter feed, while Iggy Pop said in a statement, “I’ve always liked to bit. I guess that means me a vampire. Does this mean I have a license to suck?” Oh, Iggy....

While we have to wait a hot minute to hear the collaboration, fans can listen to Best Coast’s cover of Fleetwood Mac’s “Rhiannon” right now right here. The song is on the “Just Tell Me That You Want Me: A Tribute to Fleetwood Mac,” a tribute album out Aug. 14 that also features MGMT, Lykke Li and others.  NIcks' swirl has been replaced by Consentino's pep-rally perkiness.

As you can hear here, Best Coast takes the mystery and drama Stevie Nicks infused in the song and reinvents the tune as a complete pop turn filtered through a girl-group sensibility complete with hand claps. You’re either going to love it or hate it, but you have to give BC credit: they made the song their own.

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<p>Carly Rae Jepsen's &quot;Call Me Maybe&quot;</p>

Carly Rae Jepsen's "Call Me Maybe"

Are we in a new golden age of pop music? Here's why the answer is yes

Top 40 radio sounds better than it has in years: Carly Rae Jepsen, Bieber, Adele, fun.

Are we in a golden era of pop music?

Over the last 18 months, we’ve seen the tide turn from the hip-hop/urban cycle that had dominated pop radio for several years to a hybrid of pop/hip-hop. Now, we’re in the full flush of a pure pop resurgence. Beats were king for a very long time, now melody is pushing through again and the two are nestled comfortably together on the Hot 100 in the most diverse roster of artists and sounds to co-exist on the chart in decades.

Plus, there’s an influx of new artists pouring into pop, which is crucial for any movement to expand:  Two weeks ago, we saw a harmonic convergence that hasn’t occurred in 35 years: As Billboard noted, fun., Gotye, and Carly Rae Jepson logged consecutive No. 1 hits on the Billboard Hot 100, marking the first time since 1977 that baby acts have succeeded themselves in the top spot with their first charting single. Furthermore, these songs, all straight-ahead pop songs with melodies that you can sing to, are sticky with each spending multiple weeks at No. 1.

Throw in One Direction and The Wanted, plus Justin Bieber’s coming into his own as a pop artist so you have the all-important teen/tween idol factor covered; the continuation of success by strong R&B and rap-leaning artists like Nicki Minaj and Usher, and the ongoing integration of dance into Top 40 via artists like David Guetta (and his revolving line-up of guests) and there’s something for everyone.

How did the shift occur? First off, it happened simply because pop has always moved in trends. This current pop cycle won’t last forever: something more exciting will come in and replace it. I credit two artists with starting this round: Adele and Bruno Mars provided Top 40 radio with singles whose sound wasn’t in fashion with what was clogging playlists yet were too good to be denied. And props also go to Katy Perry and Rihanna for continually feeding the pop monster with non-stop hits. They have totally owned pop radio for the last two years and seldom been out of the Top 10.

So let’s rewind a bit and turn back the clock to the end of 2010: Mars’ massive “Just The Way You Are,” a soulful ballad with a chugging R&B beat (you can hear the shift starting there) was headed straight to No. 1 as Adele’s stomping (and also very rhythmic) “Rolling In the Deep” was hitting the airwaves, making inroads on a chart that had recently had little tolerance for straight-ahead singers.

If there had been no “Rollin in the Deep,”  which debuted on the Billboard Hot 100 exactly 18 months ago, I’m fairly convinced there would have been no “Somebody That I Used To Know” at No. 1. The biggest crossover hit in the last 25 years was a total game changer when it came to pop radio because it gave radio stations the freedom to expand their playlists.  “People never stopped liking pop records. [Top 40 program directors] stopped thinking pop records fit,” says Sean Ross. Ross was radio editor at Billboard during part of my time there and now writes the insightful “Ross on Radio” column for Radio-Info.com. He knows more about trends in radio than anyone else I know, so I asked him why he thought this was happening. “After Adele, playing something seemingly exotic no longer felt like jeopardizing one’s job,” he says.

And from there, it gave artists the courage to try different things. Ross notes Taylor Swift’s “Eyes Open” from “The Hunger Games” and Katy Perry’s current shapeshifting single “Wide Awake,” which is already in the Top 10. Though “Eyes Open” peaked at No. 19, and its predecessor, the gorgeous “Safe & Sound” by Swift featuring the Civil Wars, stalled at No. 30 (and were driven more by downloads than airplay), they still made inroads and their radio spins helped give Swift’s career some additional heft.

Ross also points out that the connection between TV licensing and Top 40  radio has never been stronger:  Exhibit A, of course, being fun.’s “We Are Young” featuring Janelle Monae, which leapt straight from a Chevy commercial onto the upper reaches of the pop charts. Cast members of both “Glee” and “Smash” covered Adele’s “Rumour Has It” before it hit radio, plus the song logged several other placements, making it familiar to many before it ever went to radio.

Furthermore, while part of Top 40’s charm is its ability to produce one-hit wonders, it feels like many of the songs in this current era will age well: Most of Adele’s hits sound timeless, and “Somebody That I Used To Know” still sounds inventive and like nothing else around it with virtually no burnout factor. To be sure, the electroclash of LMFAO’s “Party Rock Anthem” already screams summer of 2011, but, sometimes, sounding dated isn’t a bad thing.

While it's tempting to ask how many of these artists will we still be hearing from five years from now, that's not the point of Top 40. The genre, now more so than it has ever been, is about the song, not the artist. That's what makes the strings of hits that artists like Rihanna and Katy Perry have been able to cobble together all the more impressive. By its very nature, pop music has a fleeting, of-the-moment, ephemeral quality that captures a certain moment.

Where do we go from here? I’d like to make a bold prediction: I bet six months from now, we see the totally abused and overused “featured artist” phenomenon greatly wane. Rappers are the ones who really started the culture for it by adding their friends and label mates on to tracks, often as a way to introduce new acts (Fun fact: Lil Wayne just logged his 100th (!!!) tune on the R&B chart not only because of his own success but because he’s been featured on so many songs by other artists). The trend caught hold and many pop acts started doing it because they wanted to work with certain rappers or they wanted their records to stand a better shot while Top 40 was so urban-leaning. It still has its place, but hopefully artists will be featured on a song because of creative and artistic decisions instead of solely marketing ones.

But in the meantime, for my fellow pop fans, join me as we hop in the car, put down the windows and hear Minaj’s “Starships” (a song that I love no matter what anyone else thinks) roll into “Somebody That I Used To Know,” which segues into “Call Me Maybe” and then Rihanna’s “Where Have You Been” and let’s sing along at the top of our lungs.

What do you think? 

Follow Melinda Newman on Twitter @HitfixMelinda

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Blur set to debut two new tracks via Twitter on July 2

British group penned the songs for Aug. 12 Hyde Park gig

Blur will debut two songs via Twitter, we presume not 140 characters at a time, on July 2.

The British band wrote the new tracks, “Under the Westway” and “The Puritan,”  for its upcoming Hyde Park show on Aug. 12, which will close the London Olympics.

Fans can go to @blurofficial at 6:15 p.m. British Standard Time (that would be 1:15 p.m. EDT and 10:15 a.m. PDT, we think...) on July 2 to hear and watch the band play the songs, as well as listen to an interview--all beaming from an undisclosed London rooftop. Immediately following the performances, the songs will be available for download. A limited edition 7-inch single will come out Aug. 6.

[More after the jump...]

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