Fugees co-founder decides not to appeal after being disqualified from running
Wyclef Jean’s political career is over before it even began--at least for now. The Fugees-founder-turned solo artist has given up his big for president of his native Haiti and, instead, will focus on promoting his new album.
The campaign was beleaguered from the start as Jean presented no clear platform. He was officially disqualified from the race last month by the powers that be, but he had vowed to fight that decision until yesterday, according to The Guardian. Although no reason for his expulsion was given, it was believe to be because he did not meet Haiti’s five-year residency requirement.
Jean, whose Yele Haiti Foundation provides services and aid for impoverished Haitians, initially told the Guardian, “Singing is not enough. I'm being drafted. Every year I probably do 200 shows and I have a very comfortable life. But people are saying to me, 'Clef, if you don't put yourself on the ground, in 10 years' time you will look at it and say you could have.'"
Perhaps we will learn more about his presidential platform in his new album, out in February. Its title? “If I were President, the Haitian Experience.”
Who sees the biggest sales gain from MTV's Video Music Awards?
In a photo finish, Linkin Park’s “A Thousand Suns” beat Trey Songz’ “Passion, Pain & Pleasure” for the top spot on this week’s Billboard 200 by 1,000 copies.
“A Thousand Suns,” LP’s fourth No. 1, sold 241,000, according to Nielsen SoundScan via Billboard, while “Passion” moved 240,000 units. It’s Songz’ highest charting debut and best sales week. For LP--in what is a sign of the times-- the first week numbers are a drastic drop from the 623,000 for its 2007 studio album, “Minutes to Midnight.”
Other debuts in the Top 10 of the Billboard 200 include country singer/songwriter Jamey Johnson, whose “The Guitar Song” opens at No. 4. He lands at No. 1 on the Country Albums chart with that tally. Robert Plant comes in at No. 5 on the big chart with “Band of Joy.” Weezer’s “Hurley,” its first for Epitaph, comes in at No. 6, which is one spot higher than its last set for DGC/Interscope, last year’s “Raditude.” The Killers’ Brandon Flowers squeaks into the Top 10 at No. 8 with “Flamingo,” which sold 41,000 copies.
Sara Bareilles’ “Kaleidoscope Heart,” last week’s chart topper, tumbles to No. 12 with a 69% drop in sales.
So which performers saw a bump from Sept. 12’s MTV Video Music Awards? Eminem, for one. “Recovery” increases 10% in sales, even though it moves down the chart 2-3. Similarly, Justin Bieber’s “My World” increases in sales 3% despite dropping 8-10.
As we suspected, however, the biggest gainer is Florence and the Machine’s “Lungs.” that set jumps from 43-14 with an 165% increase in sales. Two weeks ago, the album leapt 99-43 after the group’s VMA performance (that’s quite a feat because the charts close on Sunday nights, which means enough people bought the album that night immediately after seeing the performance to give the title that large a bounce).
Overall album sales were up 11% compared with last week, but down 17% from the same week last year.
Set includes season favorites and, yes, her cover of Lou Reed's 'Perfect Day'
It will make you wag your tail with glee
Who knew when OK Go made its landmark video for "Here It Goes Again" four years ago that was only the tip of the quartet's creative iceberg. And then they came back with the brilliant "This Too Shall Pass." There’s no one making more innovative videos these days than OK Go. The band's latest includes many four-legged friends and is guaranteed to brighten your day.
“White Knuckles” is a typically catchy OK Go track, but it would appear the band took the line about “paw print” seriously when it came time to make the video. Up against a blue screen, the two-legged creatures--clad all in white-- frolic with about a dozen four-legged types, all adorable mutts, who know a thing or two about leaping, delivering high-fives and, my favorite, looking to the left and right on cue. You will not be able to watch this without smiling.
We want OK Go to take the pooches and create a show in Vegas that we can go to over and over again...sort of like a doggie Siegfried and Roy. Without the maulings.
OK Go ended its deal with EMI several months ago and is now completely independent and for a band that really needs to do its own thing, unfettered by decision by committee, it has been a liberating great move.
Even better than the video? All the dogs in the clips are rescue dogs. OK Go is donating a portion of all sales of the video to ASPCA. For more information, go to www.okgo.net/dogs.
'People are Crazy' and 'Pretty Good at Drinking Beer' singer discusses new album
It’s a good time to be Billy Currington, with one--well, perhaps two-- exceptions. As the country singer’s career has soared and he’s moved from playing rough-and-tumble clubs to bigger venues, there’s been one downside: fewer women flashing him from the audience. “I saw a lot more boobs in my earlier days,” he laughs.
It’s all a trade-off he’s more than willing to make. Currington’s last four singles have gone straight to No. 1 on Billboard’s Hot Country Songs chart. His most recent, the humorous “Pretty Good at Drinking Beer,” is the first single from “Enjoy Yourself,” his upbeat new album that comes out today, Sept. 21.
Hitfix talked to Currington about his fourth studio album and more.
In the video for “Pretty Good at Drinking Beer,” the lead has a hidden talent for Beer Pong. What’s one of your hidden talents?
I’m pretty good at casting a net for [fishing]. I only fish with a net. It’s a lot more fun. One of the last dinners I had, I caught with a cast net. A flounder and red fish. That’s who you’re talking to (laughs).
You set an attendance record this summer at the Kentucky State Fair. What was going through your mind when you’re looking out and seeing more than 20,000 people all there for you?
For me it was a visual of growth. I got to see it and let it in settle in: ‘Wow, we did get somewhere. We are making progress.’ All these things that we thought will never get here, we got here. That’s what was going through my mind... It’s an experience that I know a lot of people won’t get to have. I wish I could share it with anyone.
What’s the weirdest thing you’ve seen, looking out into the audience?
A tornado in Canada. That was kind of weird, not fun. That was a mess... [Ed.’s note: Currington is being typically understated here. He suffered a concussion when the stage collapsed as he was performing, his bassist was injured and a spectator was killed.]
That had to be really frightening. What about something just odd, like women flashing you. That’s an evergreen, it seems.
I saw a lot more boobs in the earlier years (laughs). I don’t know, I think the places we’re playing [now], there’s a lot more security so you don’t see them getting as rowdy. There are shows every now and then.
Next up for you is touring with Carrie Underwood. What are you looking forward to on that tour?
What I’m looking forward to the most is playing before all these people she brings night after night, people that haven’t seen us before. It’s probably all girls coming to see her...That’s not a bad thing for us. We definitely hope there are some dudes there that can enjoy ‘Pretty Good at Drinking Beer’ and ‘People are Crazy.’
You duetted with Shania Twain a number of years ago. Whom would you most like to duet with now?
I’d say Colbie Caillat. I don’t know of any country artist that I would want to do one with more than her...I’d like to do one that we wrote together. [She’s] someone I’ve wanted to work with for awhile.
Four years ago, you did a video for “Must Be Doing Something Right” that was very sexy. You’ve stayed away from the really sexy videos lately. Was that on purpose?
‘Must Be Doing Something Right” was the first one with love scenes. There was a lot of sex involved. It definitely came off that way and I did a lot of interviews and I had to talk about that a bunch and [having] my shirt off. That was tied around the Playgirl interview. I felt like people thought I was this dude with his shirt off. I didn’t purposefully start recording hard core country songs,I just asked that those be the ones [my label put out as singles].
Will any of them be able to topple Linkin Park from the top spot next week?
The sheer volume of releases slows slightly this week from last, but there are plenty of heavy hitters out Sept. 21 including new albums from Zac Brown Band, Maroon 5, Santana, Billy Currington and John Legend.
Zac Brown Band, “You Get What You Give” (Atlantic): The reigning Grammy best new artist winner follows up the double-platinum “The Foundation by continuing with its melange of country, rock, soul and blues that appeals to country and jam fans alike.
Paula Cole, “Ithaca” (Decca): After 2007’s jazz-oriented “Courage,” singer/songwriter Cole returns to her confessional song stylings, this time singing about motherhood, her divorce and finding love again.
Billy Currington, “Enjoy Yourself” (Mercury Nashville): Country singer landed his sixth straight No. 1 with first single, “Pretty Good at Drinking Beer.” The rest of the set follows the upbeat, feel-good tone fun.
Michael Franti & Spearhead, “The Sound of Sunshine” (Boo Boo Wax/Capitol): Coming off the biggest pop hit of his career, last year’s feel-good ditty “Say Hey (I Love You),” Franti and Spearhead fill-up their seventh studio album with feel-good tunes inspired by Franti’s recovery from a burst appendix. http://www.hitfix.com/events/michael-franti-and-spearhead-the-sound-of-sunshine
Selena Gomez & the Scene, “A Year Without Rain” (Hollywood): Disney starlet’s second studio album is off to a strong start with the title track climbing the Hot 100. The music is mainly meant for the teen and tween girl set, but she never panders to her audience.
John Legend & the Roots, “Wake Up” (Sony Music): Legend and the Roots combine to record some of the best-known soul songs from the 60s and ‘70s, all of which share a theme of activism and engagement, including Harold Melvin & the Bluenotes’ “Wake Up Everybody, and Marvin Gaye’s “Wholly Holy.”
Maroon 5, “Hands All Over” (A&M/Interscope): Adam Levine-led group returns with third album, produced by legendary producer Mutt Lange. It’s another collection of clean, upbeat pop, rock and funk lead by first single, “Misery.” Read review here. r
Methods of Mayhem, “A Public Disservice Announcement (Roadrunner): Tommy Lee-fronted band releases its second album in 11 years. The songs include demos the band posted online and fans then contributed to (We’re curious how the songwriting credits look).
Santana, “Guitar Heaven: The Greatest Guitar Classics of All Time” (Arista): Legendary guitarist pairs with the likes of Chris Cornell, Rob Thomas, Chris Daughtry, Gavin Rossdale, Pat Monahan and several others for this set of classic rock guitar tracks such as “Whole Lotta Love,” Sunshine of Your Love” and “Photograph.”
Serj Tankian, “Imperfect Harmonies” (Reprise): System of a Down’s Tankian’s second solo album is a rock set with elements of electronic and orchestral music. As usual, he doesn’t shy away from politics: “Yes, It’s Genocide” addresses last century’s Armenian genocide by the Turkish.
Should you get your hands on it?
Ever since Maroon 5 arrived in 2002 with its multi-platinum debut “Songs About Jane,” the group has blended pop, rock and funk in a pleasing, but unedgy fashion. For third album, “Hands All Over” (and its first since 2007’s “It Won’t Be Soon Before Long”) the quintet enlisted producer Mutt Lange, best known for his work with Def Leppard and Shania Twain, who brings a pristine, high-gloss sheen to the band’s already crisp sound.
First single, “Misery,” took some time to grow on me, but the Top 10 hit showcases the best of Maroon 5: nimble, clean playing, catchy choruses and lead singer Adam Levine’s distinctive, high-pitched vocals. As evidenced since the band’s first hit, “This Love,” Maroon 5’s strength is its light touch. The members’ instruments seem to skip happily over the melodies in a way that some bands would confuse with lack of abiity. Instead, Maroon 5 is canny enough to know what each song needs and brings a fun bounce to the tracks.
The group’s weak point remains its lyrics, which are fairly forgettable, run the gamut from love found, love lost, love found again, and seldom rise about standard pop cliche. (Levine saves the drama for the band’s psycho-sexual videos, some notions of which we wish he’d reserve for his therapist).
Therefore, it’s best to judge Maroon 5 primarily on the songs’ feel and tone and there’s plenty on “Hands All Over” to keep the listener’s toes tapping, including “Stutter,” a nice, breezy shuffler, and “Don’t Know Nothin,’” a catchy, instant earworm of a song that has a bit of a Motown feel. It’s the best thing on the album. There’s nothing here that’s terrible, by any means, but there’s also nothing here that made me crave more Maroon 5.
For better or worse (and for us, it’s always been better), Lange’s signature is his ability to make a huge, layered pop sound and that is largely absent here, save two tunes. The title track, “Hands All Over” is a heavy thump of a song that sounds pure Lange with a big kick drum propelling it forward. “How” features a more layered sound that is vintage Lange. Maroon 5 also moves out of its comfort zone--easily so-- on “Out of Goodbyes,” a lovely mid-tempo ballad featuring Lady Antebellum that will work on current country radio as well as AC. Lady A Hilary Scott’s and Levine’s voices blend beautifully together.
Not everything succeeds: other than closing track ‘Out of Goodbyes,” the album runs out of steam after about two-thirds, but it’s an overall strong candidate. Maroon 5 doesn’t reinvent the wheel here, but expands its musical arc just enough to make fans feel like they aren’t buying a rehash of the first two albums.
We handicap the other rumored artists: Tim McGraw, Garth Brooks and Bon Jovi
Are the Black Eyed Peas playing the halftime show at the 2011 Super Bowl? Sports blog Sports by Brooks
wrote today that a source had confirmed the selection to him. The NFL declined to comment, but, as he notes, the Peas have a solid history with the NFL, including performing at the 2005 Super Bowl pre-game and at the 2009 NFL Kick-off Concert.
The last few years, the NFL has relied on veteran acts (and all males) such as The Who, Paul McCartney, Bruce Springsteen and Prince. The BEP’s Fergie would be the first female to play the half-time since Janet Jackson in 2004. It's a good, mainstream choice that would keep the energy level up and draw in non-football playing fans and men who want to see Fergie.
Rolling Stone chimed in after Brooks’ report showed up and suggested that the Super Bowl may be leaning more in a country direction, quoting Fox Sports president David Hill, who said, “it’s kick-ass country down in Texas.” We’re not so sure he wasn’t speaking geographically, as opposed to musical genre.
Rolling Stone says the rumor mill includes Tim McGraw, Garth Brooks and Bon Jovi. Here’s our take on those three. McGraw: would be great as part of a package, but probably not on his own. Kenny Chesney, who has a new album out this fall, would be a better bet. Bring Jimmy Buffett and Dave Matthews on and now you’re cooking. Brooks: No. Not the right time. First, he and the NFL tussled when he did the “Star Spangled Banner” in 1993. We’re sure that riff is all healed, but Brooks is going to wait until he’s got something new to push and that means waiting until he’s done with his Vegas deal and his youngest is through high school. Look for him to possible do this in January 2015. In fact, if the NFL is smart, go ahead and book him now. Bon Jovi: Great, populist choice. They have a greatest hits coming out this November that is getting a huge worldwide push, so why not give them one of the biggest worldwide platforms. Plus, they can rock the house in a way that works perfectly with football fans. If, as some speculate, the half-time show is for all the non-football fans out there, then that still makes Bon Jovi the perfect choice.
We’re reached out to a representative for Black Eyed Peas and haven’t heard back. We’ll update when we do.
Who do you want to see perform at this year's Super Bowl half time show?
Who gets a bump from the MTV VMAs?
Linkin Park’s “A Thousand Suns” has a slight edge over Trey Songz’ “Passion, Pain & Pleasure” for a close battle over No. 1 on the Billboard 200 going into the weekend.
Eminem’s “Recovery” is the only holdover from this week’s chart as six of the top seven slots are filled with newbies. Linkin Park and Songz will both handily top the 200,000 mark, but no other title will even approach 100,000.
Sara Bareilles, Enrique Iglesias and Florence + the Machine make their debut
Welcome to this week’s Music Power Rankings: the MTV Video Music Awards edition (or at least the first half, anyway). The show drew massive ratings and made instant stars out of Florence + the Machine. Lady Gaga used her VMA platform to repeatedly endorse gay rights and to announce the title of her forthcoming album. Taylor Swift graciously responded---one year later-- to Kanye’s dis at last year’s awards and the Bieb... well, he's starting to make us a Belieber. That’s all we’re saying.
[More after the jump...]