<p>The cover of Van Halen's &quot;A Different Kind of Truth&quot;</p>
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The cover of Van Halen's "A Different Kind of Truth"

Album Review: Van Halen's 'A Different Kind of Truth'

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Do Eddie Van Halen and Diamond Dave still have it?

Van Halen’s first new studio album with David Lee Roth in 28 years is named “A Different Kind of Truth,” but the Feb. 7 release could have just as easily been called “I Will Not Go Quietly”  “Truth” is a heavy slab of rock delivered on a concrete pillow.

As fans already know, most of the riffs/ideas for the new tunes are from never-finished songs of yore:  “She’s The Woman” is from a tune originally demoed in the ‘70s, while obsessive fans instantly noted the similarity between first single “Tattoo” and “Down In Flames,” a 1977 song played live, but never released on an album.  Roth told the Los Angeles Times that the band sought to link its past with its present by taking the most promising chunks of coal from four decades ago and polishing them into diamonds. 

 

[More after the jump...]

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<p>Madonna</p>
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Madonna

Credit: Morry Gash/AP

Music Power Rankings: Madonna, Justin Bieber and Adam Lambert rule

Lana Del Rey and Adele make the list too

1) Madonna: Madge saves the world (for more than four minutes) as promotion for “MDNA” goes on high alert via radio waves, TV waves, and outdoor billboards. First day pre-orders for “MDNA” send the album to No. 1 on iTunes in 35 countries. And we haven’t even gotten to the Super Bowl.

2) Bono:
As if he weren’t rich enough, his stake in Facebook is likely to earn him $1billion in the social network’s  IPO.  Yeah, we said B as in Bono and Billionaire.

3) Adam Lambert: An erroneous report that he’s replacing Freddie Mercury in Queen is enough to spin the internet out of control. It’s nice to know that should his solo career ever fade away, he always has rock royalty to fall back on.
 
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<p>The cover of Lana Del Rey's &quot;Born to Die&quot;</p>
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The cover of Lana Del Rey's "Born to Die"

Can Adele hold off Lana Del Rey to make it 19 weeks atop the Billboard 200?

Who sees the highest debut in his 77 years?

Next week’s Billboard 200 will likely see the debut of a controversial newcomer at No. 2 and a legendary singer, who, at 77, land the highest bow of his career. And, oh yeah, some chick named Adele.

That’s right, Adele’s “21” grabs another week at No. 1 by a wide margin, marking its 19th non-consecutive week at the summit. This week, it tied with Garth Brooks’ “Ropin’ The Wind.”  The title is slated to sell between 100,000 and 110,000 next week.  It’s running full-steam ahead to tie the record for the most weeks at No. 1 in the 20-year SoundScan era with the “Titanic” soundtrack, which spent 20 weeks at No. 1.

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<p>Katy Perry in &quot;Firework&quot;</p>

Katy Perry in "Firework"

Predicting the 2012 Grammy Awards: Record of the Year

Is it Adele's to lose?

The 54th Annual Grammy Awards are only 9 days away, Feb. 12. As they approach, I’ll be predicting the winners in key categories. Adele is the frontrunner for every award she is nominated for, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t expect some surprises along the way.

First up is Record of the Year, which is one of the “Big Four” awards, which also includes Song of the Year, Album of the Year and Best New Artist. These are the general awards, which are voted on by all 12,000 or so members of the Recording Academy and they are open to artists of all genres.

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<p>Madonna at the press conference for her Super Bowl halftime show in Indianapolis, IN Thursday.</p>

Madonna at the press conference for her Super Bowl halftime show in Indianapolis, IN Thursday.

Credit: AP Photo/David J. Phillip

Check out the track listing for Madonna's 'MDNA'

Plus, watch a taste of the video for 'Give Me All Your Luvin''

Every day brings a little more Madonna our way. Tonight, we got the track listing for “MDNA,” which comes out March 22.

It’s hard to decipher anything from titles alone, but there are plenty of names here that sound like they could be raves, including “Turn Up The Radio,”  “I Don’t Give A,” and “Girls Gone Wild.”

[More after the jump...]

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<p>Lil Wayne and Justin Bieber</p>

Lil Wayne and Justin Bieber

Are Justin Bieber and Lil Wayne making beautiful music together?

The rapper and the teen idol hang out in the studio

Justin Bieber and Lil Wayne... it was bound to happen. Bieber, the teen idol that all rappers love to work with, would appear to be collaborating with Weezy for the Bieb’s next studio album.

Believe,” Bieber’s next project following his No. 1 Christmas set “Under the Mistletoe,” also features production work from Timbaland and Sean Garrett, but Bieber, who is updating fans constantly via Twitter, seems especially excited about Lil Wayne.  Wednesday he tweeted “Good time in the studio last night. Back at it tonight... oh yeah...and big bro came through...and when I say big bro I mean @LilTunchi”  Lil Tunchi is Lil Wayne.

It's unclear from the Tweet whether Lil Wayne, who just released his video for “Mirror,” came by to chat, skateboard or actually work on the album.

Anyway, a little after midnight (this kid’s up way too late!), Bieber tweeted again that he was “in the studio writing for #17million strong!!!” It’s a reference to his fan base: Bieber has accumulated more than 17 million Twitter followers.

As Billboard reported, Lil Wayne is just the latest rapper to join the cast of Beliebers:  Bieber’s previously worked with Ludacris, Busta Rhymes, Kanye West and Raekwon.
 

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<p>Carrie Underwood</p>

Carrie Underwood

Credit: AP Photo

Carrie Underwood sets release date for her fourth studio album

The set still doesn't have a name, but at least we know when we can buy it

It’s been more than two years since the release of Carrie Underwood’s last album, “Play On,” but the drought is almost over: The “American Idol” winner’s fourth studio set will come out May 1.

The album’s title has yet to be announced—Heaven forbid in this blogging age that any artist dare leak out more than one tidbit of info at a time—but we do know that the first single from the Mark Bright-produced set will be “Good Girl.”  “I’m so excited, I love this song, I think it’s going to blow you guys away!,” Underwood somewhat awkwardly announced via video on her website last week.

Since her 2005 debut, ‘‘Some Hearts,” Underwood has sold more than 13 million albums and won five Grammys.

You can catch Underwood next on Saturday when the Grant Ole Opry member appears with Steven Tyler on a special Super Bowl edition of CMT’s “Crossroads” taped live from Indianapolis.

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<p>The Boss</p>

The Boss

Bruce Springsteen and The E Street Band added to Grammy Awards

Who else gets added to the big show?

Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band are the latest act to join the parade of performers for the 54th Annual Grammy Awards on Feb. 12. Are they nominated? No, they didn’t release an album during the eligibility period, but Bruce is The Boss, after all, and he and the E Street Band have a new album, “Wrecking Ball” coming out March 6.  The news comes on top of Springsteen's plans to play the Apollo Theater on March 8.

He joins Katy Perry, who was announced yesterday, and Adele, who was announced on Monday,  as well a such previously announced performers as  Jason Aldean and Kelly Clarkson; Glen Campbell with The Band Perry and Blake Shelton; Coldplay and Rihanna; Foo Fighters; Bruno Mars; Paul McCartney; Nicki Minaj; Katy Perry; and Taylor Swift.

Additionally, Jack Black, Fergie, ?uestlove and Ringo Starr have been added as presented. Previously announced presenters include Dierks Bentley, Miranda Lambert and Gwyneth Paltrow.
 

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<p>David Lee Roth with Eddie Van Halen in the background during a New York City performance on Jan. 5.</p>

David Lee Roth with Eddie Van Halen in the background during a New York City performance on Jan. 5.

Credit: AP Photo/Charles Sykes

Live Review: Van Halen turns it up during Los Angeles private show

Have they still got what it takes?

As Van Halen drew “She’s The Woman” —a tune on the quartet’s Feb. 7 album, “A Different Kind of Truth”—to a close during the group’s secret show Wednesday night on the Henson Studios lot in Los Angeles, Eddie Van Halen crossed behind David Lee Roth so the two ended up face to face when the song came to its cold stop.

Standing only a few feet apart, they looked at each other and both broke into wide, maniacal grins, so obviously delighted to be back on stage and in front of an adoring audience.

And so it went for much of the hour-long show. As rough and ragtag as some spots were, there was never a moment when it felt like the band, rounded out by Van Halen’s son Wolfgang on bass and his brother Alex Van Halen on drums, was phoning it in. For all the drama and demons that have chased the group during its fractured  40 years off stage, the state of the Van Halen union felt strong when they stood on stage together.

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Adele and Kelly Clarkson duke it out for the top spot on the Billboard Hot 100
Credit: AP Photo/Evan Agostini

Adele and Kelly Clarkson duke it out for the top spot on the Billboard Hot 100

Which artist is 'Stronger?'

Adele’s “Set Fire To The Rain” is strong enough to hold off Kelly Clarkson’s “Stronger” for the top spot on the Billboard 100, although Clarkson’s song is gaining momentum.

This marks “Fire’s” second week at No. 1, as Adele’s “21,” which features “Fire,” spends its 18th non-consecutive week at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 albums chart.

“Stronger” leaps 8-2 on the Hot 100, as well as climbs 3-1 on the Digital Songs chart. It is the "American Idol" winner's second No. 1 on the digital chart, following “My Life Would Suck Without You," according to Billboard.

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