<p>Paul McCartney's &quot;Kisses on the Bottom&quot;</p>

Paul McCartney's "Kisses on the Bottom"


Album Review: Paul McCartney's 'Kisses On The Bottom'

Does his standards album rise to the top?

With the impeccable pedigree of Diana Krall and Tommy LiPuma behind the boards as producers (and with Krall’s band backing Sir Paul), there’s no question that Paul McCartney’s new album, “Kisses On The Bottom,” is going to sound tasteful and smooth. And it does. At times, so much it hurts. It’s as if you can hear every bristle on the brushes as they hit the drums and every plucked upright bass string. There is not a note out of place.

This is your grandfather’s McCartney: forget about imagining any cute head shaking, that he still, improbably, pulls off at 69. Focused primarily on songs from the ‘20s-‘50s, McCartney is paying homage to the music his father loved and that he grew up listening to. Plus, he penned two originals.  That means we hear  McCartney crooning, which, quite frankly, he doesn’t seem particularly comfortable doing at times, such as on  “It’s Only a Paper Moon.” "Kisses," which takes its cheeky title from a line in the opening track, Fats Domino's “I’m Gonna Sit Right Down and Write Myself A Letter," is out today.

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Album Review: Dierks Bentley proves there's no place like 'Home'

Album Review: Dierks Bentley proves there's no place like 'Home'

Unless it's the local bar

Dierks Bentley’s last album, the Grammy-nominated, bluegrass-flavored “Up On the Ridge,” showcased a previously hidden depth and it seems to have given the country singer an extra boost of confidence that he carries into “Home,” his sixth studio album for Capitol Records.

The set, out Feb. 7, has already spawned two hits: the chart topping “Am I The Only One,” and the thoughtful patriotic title track, which was informed by the shooting of Gabrielle Giffords and others in Bentley’s home state of Arizona.

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<p>Nicki Minaj</p>

Nicki Minaj

Credit: AP Photo

Predicting the 2012 Grammy Awards: Best New Artist

Could Skrillex make the Grammys look hip?

We continue with our countdown to the 54th Annual Grammy Awards, which air Feb. 12 on CBS, with a look at the Best New Artist category.

Best New Artist

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<p>M.I.A. gives the world the middle finger during Madonna's Super Bowl Half-Time show.</p>

M.I.A. gives the world the middle finger during Madonna's Super Bowl Half-Time show.

Credit: AP Photo/NBC

M.I.A. owes Madonna a big apology after Super Bowl stunt

Was she out of line?

Here are two words I thought I would never write: Poor Madonna.

Within an hour of Super Bowl XLVI’s conclusion, the focus had already shifted off Madge's half-time performance onto M.I.A., who, for whatever reason, decided to act like a total brat and shoot the bird while performing “Give Me All Your Luvin.”

For anyone who thinks it was cool and oh so rebellious, you’re dead wrong. It was disrespectful and rude. Any six year old knows how to give the finger and it takes about that much smarts and imagination. M.I.A. was Madonna’s invited guest and, if nothing else, she should have realized that her little expression would totally take the focus off of the star...or maybe that was her goal.

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<p>Nicki Minaj, Madonna and MIA&nbsp;give you all their lovin' during the Super Bowl half-time show.</p>

Nicki Minaj, Madonna and MIA give you all their lovin' during the Super Bowl half-time show.

Credit: AP Photo/Michael Conroy

Live Blogging: Super Bowl XLVI Half Time with Madonna

Do Madge, Nicki Minaj, M.I.A. and friends score?

7:54 p.m. It's half time and that means it's almost Madonna time!!! While we're waiting, we've review the performances so far. Blake Shelton and Miranda Lambert did a very fine, if countrified, sedate version of "America The Beautiful."  Kelly Clarkson showed, like  Carrie Underwood before her a few years ago, that "American Idol" winners are 2-0 in singing the National Anthem at the Super Bowl. How do you feel they did? 

7:58: A few thoughts before she starts: she's supposed to be joined by Nicki Minaj, M.I.A. and LMFAO. I'd like to say, before we see any of the halftime, that Madonna does not need anyone to make her more credible or more current or more hip. I feel a little bad that she--or someone--thought she might.

8:01: VOGUE!

8:02: Madonna comes out pulled by a phalanx of Roman Centurians.. She's playing out some Roman mythology theme, with a very fleet footed Mercury. Amazing stage. Is she lipsyncing?  I say yes, but maybe not...What do you think? 

8:04 "Music." So much action, but Madge sees strangely lethargic. Is it just me? Incredible stage and field.

8:06: now she's shuffling with the LMFAO, and they've now gone into "I'm Sexy and I Know It." Nice plug for her fellow labelmates at Interscope.

8:07: Now we're off to "Give Me All Your Luvin," and the stage has changed again. Hands down, most amazing stage and production I've ever seen at a Super Bowl.

8:08: Nicki Minaj's energy was 200% higher than Madonna's.  Is it possible that Madge is nervous and knows how much is riding on this? 

8:10: . LOVE Cee-Lo as drum major. Man,  "The Voice" has managed to work two coaches into the Super Bowl. Shortest version of "Open Your Heart" ever.

8:11: Wow. That was am amazingly quick change for Cee-Lo and Madge, but this version of "Like a Prayer" has made  up for the slow start. Cee-Lo is taking us to church.

8:13 Madonna disappears into the ground, as World Peace lights up on the field. She's clearly singing live at this point.

So here's my first thought: Amazing production, choreography and effort. Madonna was strong after a lethargic start, but she didn't connect in any meaningful way. However, I've felt the same way the many times I've seen her live: it's almost as if there's a pane of glass between her and the audience and I felt the same way watching her just now. But I think that's her. It was flawless in so many ways. Respect.

Second thought: Not crazy about all the song selections. She should have started more uptempo and "Music" didn't work. And I cannot believe they played Lady Gaga's "Edge of Glory" right afterward. Someone has a sense of humor.

What did you think of Madonna's half-time show? Give it a grade!

(Talk about bad timing: I was looking down and missed M.I.A.'s flipping the bird, but I write my post-game thoughts on  it here)

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<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'

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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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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