<p>&nbsp;Carrie Underwood</p>

 Carrie Underwood

Credit: AP Photo

Listen: Carrie Underwood has a few words of warning on 'Good Girl'

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Former 'American Idol' champ belts it out on new single

The sassy Carrie Underwood is back. We last heard her lamenting faded love with Brad Paisley on their duet, “Remind Me,” but here she is taking no prisoners.

On “Good Girl,” the first single from her forthcoming untitled fourth studio album out May 1, hand claps and a rock guitar usher in Underwood’s warning to a girl that the man she thinks is a catch is a cad. It’s a fun, uptempo song that’s full of shimmies and shudders: “Better back away honey, you don’t know where he’s been,” she cautions. Heartbreak looms, even if the pretty young thing can’t see it.

[More after the jump...]

 

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<p>Nicki Minaj</p>

Nicki Minaj

Credit: AP Photo

Listen: Nicki Minaj comes out guns blazing on new song, 'Roman Reloaded'

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Title tune references Grammys and features an X-rated Lil Wayne rap

Nicki Minaj may have announced that the title of her new album would be “Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded”  months ago, but it’s clear that the title track was just recorded.

Want to know just how fresh the tune is? The full-on rap song (forget about any of the pop/electro featured on the yummy “Starships”) references her Feb. 12 performance on the Grammys:  “You mad cause I’m at the Grammys with the Vatican” she says about about 50 seconds in.  The production is hard-core with a  militant beat throughout the mid-tempo track and a fuzzy hum in the background to heighten the anxiety.

She’s taking “reloaded” quite seriously as we hear the spinning of a gun barrel several times as threatens to “Columbine these hos.” That’s an unfortunate use of turning the tragic event into a verb, first off, and as a reference point.

[More after the jump...]

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<p>Kylie Minogue</p>

Kylie Minogue

Credit: AP Photo

Kylie Minogue promises 'something different' on new album

As she continues her 25th anniversary celebration, she looks to 2013

As Kylie Minogue continues to enjoy celebrating her 25th anniversary year (yes, it’s been a quarter of a century since the Aussie icon released “Locomotion), she’s already looking ahead to her next album. And she promises it will be “something different.”

{13300278166710} Poised to come out in 2013, the next album will be her first since 2010’s “Aphrodite.”  She plans to work with a number of producers, Minogue told Metro at a K25 party at London’s Abbey Road Studios. “I have started on the new music already,” she said. On recording at the vaunted studio, she said, “I thought, ‘How much difference can a studio make?’ but it is a beautiful studio. The sound is just gorgeous—you know you are on hallowed ground.”

So far she’s keeping the producers’ names under wraps.

Up next for Minogue?  She heads to Sydney to continue the celebrations with a concert.

 

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<p>The-Dream</p>

The-Dream

Watch: The-Dream surrounds himself with lovely ladies in 'Roc' video

Plus, he preps for a club tour and talks Rihanna/Chris Brown remix

It’s a credit to the The-Dream’s sweetly smooth vocals that he can deliver lines like “Good loving, the grinding, the bumping, oh yeah, make that bed shake, that next day body ache.... I’m going to get behind it and I’m gonna make that thing shake,” as if he’s the reading Shakespearean sonnets.

There’s lots of little, not-so-subtle clues that this is about sex, if we haven’t gotten the hint that “roc” is a substitute for another one-syllable word— like white icing being spread on a girl’s face;  another lovely lady carries around a tray of cherry tomatoes and pops some in her mouth.

[More after the jump...]

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Watch: Pretty Lights and LeAnn Rimes learn lessons on 'Re:Generation'

Watch: Pretty Lights and LeAnn Rimes learn lessons on 'Re:Generation'

DJ works with Ralph Stanley and lives to tell the tale

Pretty Lights, aka Derek Smith, has his hands full with country legend Dr. Ralph Stanley in “Re:Generation.” The documentary, which plays in theaters for one day only, Feb. 23, before finding its TV home, pairs current DJs, such as Mark Ronson, Skrillex and Smith with artists in different genres. They then create an entirely new recording from the ground up.

Smith comes the farthest in the film musically: when he first finds out that he will be working in the country genre, he can’t disguise his contempt for the music, even though he barely knows anything about it. By the end, he’s found much to admire.

[More after the jump...]

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Watch: The Doors' John Densmore grills Skrillex on 'Re:Generation'

Watch: The Doors' John Densmore grills Skrillex on 'Re:Generation'

Plus, The Crystal Method's Ken Jordan shares his favorite new DJs

Call John Densmore a skeptic.  Newly-minted Grammy winner Skrillex  had his work cut out for him when he paired with the Doors, including drummer Densmore, to create a new song based on “Riders on the Storm” in “Re:Generation,” a new documentary that links well-known DJs, such as the Crystal Method, DJ Premier and Mark Ronson, with artists in other genres.

The film, which plays in theaters Feb. 23 before finding a TV and then DVD home, chronicles the musical journey that all the musicians travel when they step out of their comfort zones.

[More after the jump...]

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All of Katy Perry's 'Part of Me' debuts at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100

All of Katy Perry's 'Part of Me' debuts at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100

Adele, Whitney Houston and Nicki Minaj also see surges

Katy Perry’s “Part of Me” takes her where “The One That Got Away” could not: to the top of the Billboard Hot 100.

Not only does “Part of Me” hit No. 1, the song debuts in the top spot, making it the 20th song in the 53-year history of the Billboard Hot 100 to start its chart life at the top. The last song to do so was Lady Gaga’s “Born This Way”  almost exactly a year ago. Both songs received their coming out at the Grammy Awards.

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<p>The Beatles</p>

The Beatles

Got To Get The Beatles into your phone? Now you can

Ringtones from the Fab Four arrive today

Want “All You Need Is Love” as your ringtone when your sweetie calls? What about “Help” when your in-laws call or, of course, the very appropriate “Hello, Goodbye” for all calls?

As of today, you can. After holding out on iTunes for  seven years before finally going digital with most of their albums in late 2010, the Fab Four has now added ringtones to the mix.

The band’s 27 No. 1 hits in the U.S. and U.K. are now available as ringtones for your phone exclusively on iTunes.

Here are your choices.

The Beatles #1 ringtones

 "Love Me Do"
 "Yellow Submarine"
"From Me To You"
 "Eleanor Rigby"
 "She Loves You"
. "Penny Lane"
"I Want To Hold Your Hand"
 "All You Need Is Love"
 "Can't Buy Me Love"
"A Hard Day's Night"
 "Lady Madonna"
 "I Feel Fine"
. "Hey Jude"
"Eight Days a Week"
 "Get Back"
 "Ticket to Ride"
 "The Ballad of John and Yoko"
"Help!"
"Something"
 "Yesterday"
 "Come Together"
 "Day Tripper"
 "Let It Be"
 "We Can Work It Out"
 ""The Long and Winding Road"
 "Paperback Writer"
"Hello Goodbye"
 
 

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Watch: Taylor Swift and Zac Efron bust the cuteness meter on 'Ellen'
Credit: Warner Bros. Television

Watch: Taylor Swift and Zac Efron bust the cuteness meter on 'Ellen'

The pair revamp Foster The People's 'Pumped Up Kicks'

Are Taylor Swift and Zac Efron the new She & Him?  Check out this adorable clip of the two on “The Ellen Degeneres Show,” as they play their own version of Foster The People’s  “Pumped Up Kicks.”

Efron and Swift both voiced characters in the animated feature, “The Lorax," so they’re out and about making the promotional rounds. They have a comfortable ease around each other and their voices sound really good together. The guitar lesson part is adorable.

[More after the jump...]

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<p>Sergio Mendes</p>

Sergio Mendes

Interview: Sergio Mendes on his Oscar nomination for 'Rio'

How does he feel about not getting to perform on the Feb. 26 Academy Awards?

What do you give a man who’s celebrating his 50th anniversary of making music this year? How about an Oscar?

That would suit Sergio Mendes just fine.  The legendary Brazilian composer/performer is nominated for his first Oscar with “Real in Rio,” from the animated feature “Rio.” Mendes co-wrote the music with Carlinhos Brown and Siedah Garrett (best known for co-writing Michael Jackson’s “Man in the Mirror”) wrote the lyrics.

“Real in Rio” is up against “Man Or Muppet” from “The Muppets”  for original song. The two were the only tunes that passed the rigorous scrutiny of  the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences’s music branch.

Read Gregory Ellwood's interview with Flight of The Conchords’ Bret McKenzie, who wrote “Man Or Muppet,” here.

Read Kris Tapley's prediction on who will take home the Oscar here.

Mendes was “immediately fascinated” by the story of the two macaws (voiced by Anne Hathaway and Jesse Eisenberg) who go through quite the adventure after being captured by bird smugglers.  Mendes wanted the song, which appears in the beginning and the end of the movie, to make people think about “Rio waking up in the morning. It’s a melody that starts very simply. You think about Rio, the greenery, the oceans, the mountains,” he says. “I wanted it to go through the movie and in the end of the movie, that music should really explode.”

The lilting rhythms and beats are a bright as the dancing birds themselves. Recorded in Los Angeles, the song features 20 drummers, who were recorded live in a drum circle.

Unbelievably, “Real in Rio” is the first tune Mendes has ever written for a film and he loved the collaborative effort. “Writing for a movie is such team work,” the 71-year old says. He credits John Powell, who scored the movie, as the “glue that held everything together.”

Mendes, who lives in Los Angeles, found out about his nomination from the movie’s director, Carlos Saldanha, who also directed the three “Ice Age” films). Saldanha called him at 6 a.m. “He said to me, ‘Get your tux ready because you’re nominated’,” Mendes recalls. “This is the biggest honor one can have.” 

While there are plenty of people excised about only two songs receiving nominations for original song, Mendes says he wasn’t aware of the stringent new criteria put in place a few years ago until after he got nominated.

And even though his temperament seems as easy going as his music, he will allow that “it would have been nice” to play the song on the Feb. 26 telecast.  Neither of the two nominated tunes will be performed. “Unfortunately, it’s not going to happen,” he says. “It would have been a great opportunity. It’s a song we’ve been performing in our shows. We get a tremendous reaction.” 

But even the exclusion can’t get him flustered. “Who am I to judge? Everyone has their own priority. I’m sure the people on the television part have their own concerns. Why make a big thing out of it? Let’s enjoy our lives.”

It’s a big month for Mendes: on Feb. 10, he performed “The Fool On The Hill” in front of the song’s co-author, Paul McCartney, at The Recording Academy’s annual MusiCares dinner. Sergio Mendes and Brasil 66 took the song to No. 6 on the Billboard pop charts in 1968.

“I’d never played in front of him before,” Mendes says. “It was wonderful, a magical evening...I recorded that song in 1968 and we’re in 2012 and I’ve played that song everywhere in the world. It’s one song that I never took out of the repertoire.” That and, of course, Mendes’ signature song “Mas  Que Nada” (written by Jorge Ben), which also appears in “Rio” in a new version.

For Mendes, introducing the music of his native Brazil to people around the world, whether it’s in film or in concert, never gets old...even after 50 years. This year, he’ll play in Asia and Europe, as well as in Brazil.  “That’s where I was born, those are my roots. It’s something that I love,” he says. “It’s wonderful to hear people in different countries singing your songs.

Check out "Real In Rio" here.

Follow Melinda Newman on Twitter @HitFixMelinda

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