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
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Readers
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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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Maroon 5

The latest on new albums from Tom Petty, Maroon 5, Jason Mraz, Jenny Lewis and more

Get release dates, singles, track lists, and more

There’s a bumper crop of albums coming this summer and fall, based on several new releases announced over the past 24 hours. Here’s a round-up of what’s coming soon listed chronologically:

Jason Mraz, “Yes,” July 15
The singer/songwriter has a knack for releasing songs that take up residency at radio and do not move, such as “I’m Yours” and “I Won’t Give Up.”  The new album, his first since 2012, features Mraz teaming with Raining Jane for an acoustic, intimate set covering such topics as love, faith, healing, environmental stewardship. A tour kicks off in August. First single, "Love Someone," is out now.

"Yes" track listing:

    1.    Rise
    2.    Love Someone
    3.    Hello, You Beautiful Thing
    4.    Long Drive
    5.    Everywhere
    6.    Best Friend
    7.    Quiet
    8.    Out Of My Hands
    9.    It’s So Hard To Say Goodbye To Yesterday
    10.    3 Things
    11.    You Can Rely On Me
    12.    Back To The Earth
    13.    A World With You
    14.    Shine


Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, “Hypnotic Eye,” July 29
TP&H return with their first album in four years and it will be a rocker, or so Petty told us when we interviewed him last month. All the cuts are upbeat rockers, Petty says. Furthermore, Rolling Stone described it as a “decisive return to the concise Sixties-rock classicism of his first great New Wave era albums. Look for the band to delve into the new material on a U.S. arena tour that starts Aug. 3 and features Steve Winwood as opening act.

Jenny Lewis, “The Voyager,” July 29
The beloved former Rilo Kiley and Watson Twin member’s third solo album, and first in six years, will be extremely personal. The set deals with the death of her estranged stepfather and the death of Rilo Kiley. Among the producers on the set, are Ryan Adams, Beck, Johnathan Rice , and Mike Viola. "Making The Voyager got me through one of the most difficult periods of my life," said Riley, who took off 2013 from writing to tour with the Postal Service. "After Rilo Kiley broke up and a few really intense personal things happened, I completely melted down. It nearly destroyed me. I had such severe insomnia that, at one point, I didn't sleep for five straight nights. Many of the songs on The Voyager came out of the need to occupy my mind in the moments when I just couldn't shut down.”

The Voyager track listing:
 Head Underwater
She's Not Me
Just One Of The Guys
Slippery Slopes
Late Bloomer
You Can't Outrun 'Em
The New You
Aloha & The Three Johns
Love U Forever
The Voyager

Maroon 5, “V,” Sept. 2
Adam Levine-led group’s fifth album promises to be a strong hooky pop/rock outing with producers Max Martin, Benny Blanco, Ryan Tedder, Shellback and Sam Martin onboard. Following Levine’s joining “The Voice” as a judge, the band has a bit of a resurgence with 2012’s “Overexposed,” which included hits “One More Night,” “Payphone,” “Love Somebody” and “Daylight.”  Jesse Carmichael, who took a hiatus for a few years, rejoins the band. First single coming this summer.

The Madden Brothers, "Greetings From California...," Oct. 7
So Good Charlotte is apparently no more for real. Joel and Benji Madden, the only members of Good Charlotte we bet you can name, have formed a new a band, the cleverly titled Madden Brothers, and moved to Capitol Records. First single, "We Are Done," comes out June 2. The album features two sides: The first side is sunny, upbeat pop rock, produced by Eric Valentine, while side two is more acoustic, Southern, retro '70s rock, produced by Joe Chiccarelli.

Counting Crows, “Somewhere Under Wonderland,” Fall 2014
The Adam Duritz-led band, which has been somewhat M.I.A. since 2008’s “Saturday Nights & Sunday Mornings,” comes back with a new album and a new label home this fall Until then, the band will be on tour June through August.

 

 

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Michael Jackson

Why can't we let Michael Jackson rest in peace? Thoughts on the Jacko-gram

A few thoughts on life after death

How long before we let Michael Jackson rest in peace? Not until the last bit of money has been made from his corpse, apparently.

Commerce dictates that as long as there is any demand for Jackson, in any form, that the estate continues to keep him in the public eye.

That’s what I thought as I watched a hologram of Jackson “perform” “Slave To The Rhythm,” a previously unreleased song “contemporized” for his new album “Xscape,” on the Billboard Music Awards Sunday night.

Yes, there was at first an undeniable thrill to seeing Jackson, even if it was a hologram, dance across the floor again in those moves that we all grew up with, that we know by heart (performed by a "Dangerous"-era Jackson before his looks totally got scary). It's just human nature to yearn for what we miss. There was also awe at the technology that made the very lifelike hologram possible (it seems like tremendous advances have been made even since the Tupac hologram appeared at Coachella two years ago).

But then a certain creepiness set in. With every close up, it was clear that, of course, it was not really Michael Jackson. It was a Michael Jackson created in a laboratory and, like a clone, as close as it seemed to the real thing, it was, in actuality, very far from it. No soul, no heart.

As the Jacko-gram danced with real flesh and blood dancers, the disparity became even greater, but it almost feels like it’s too late to put the hologram back in the bottle.

How long before the Jackson estate and Sony announce that  the Jacko-gram is going on tour? Or that the Jacko-gram is being added into Cirque du Soleil’s Jackson salute, “Immortal?”  Or, heaven forbid, appearing in a commecial outing some product?  We can almost write the script—it will be done under the guise of introducing Jackson to a younger audience and to those who weren't ever able to see him live. (Guess what? You still won't be seeing him life!)  As the technology advances to make holograms more lifelike, the demand for them will grow, just as our nostalgia does with each year following Jackson’s 2009 passing.

Friday night, a friend asked if I thought it was exploitative for Epic to release “Xscape.” He brought up this piece by Savage Garden’s Darren Hayes, who expressed his dismay over the album and that, although he loved Jackson, he wouldn’t be buying “Xscape.” In fact, his love for Jackson was exactly why he couldn’t support the new effort because there was no way of knowing if Jackson would have approved of his unfinished work being released, not only in this manner, but released at all.

He has a point. The eight songs on “Xscape” were written as far back as 30 years ago, and for whatever reason, Jackson decided not to put them on the album, leaving all of them unfinished. That means at some point, Jackson chose to focus on other material that he felt was better and more appropriate for his current project at the time. The versions that we hear on “Xscape” aren’t his vision for the songs, they are someone else’s guess at how Jackson would have completed the song.

To be sure, there have been other cases where previously unreleased material by a deceased artist has come out— again, Tupac comes to mind here. But for someone who was as much of a perfectionist as Jackson, it doesn’t seem unreasonable to think that maybe these songs were put aside for a reason and maybe they should have been left that way, despite whatever enjoyment we may get from hearing them unearthed. Plus, Jackson left enough great material behind for his legacy to be ensured.

Hayes went so far as to alter his will so that after he dies, his half-finished material will not be released (he writes this with total humility and in no way is ever comparing himself to Jackson).
Are we at the point where every artist with any commercial value needs to decide how his/her image/music can be used after death…and somehow figure out a way to include technologies that we can’t even dream of yet?

The answer is yes, especially when there’s money to be made. The Jackson Family’s failed suit against AEG, even though there may have been some validity, felt more like a money grab than a case of true wrongful death.

So five years after his death, as Jackson’s “Xscape” most likely bows at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 and the Billboard Jacko-gram ignites endless possibilities, I can’t help but think that Jackson is spinning in his grave, wishing that for all the work he had his lawyers do for him, he'd asked them to address this issue.

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Carrie Underwood and Miranda Lambert

Carrie Underwood and Miranda Lambert perform 'Something Bad': Watch

Is the new duet any good?

The idea of Miranda Lambert and Carrie Underwood, two of country’s most dynamic artists, performing a duet at the Billboard Music Awards had such promise.

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