<p>Rihanna performs in London last month.</p>

Rihanna performs in London last month.

Credit: AP Photo/Joel Ryan

Who tops next week's Billboard 200: Michael Buble, Nickleback or Rihanna?

What happens with Rihanna and Daughtry?

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas on the Billboard 200 as Michael Buble’s “Christmas”  is expected to surge to sales of up to 275,000 copies, which would boost the title up a spot to No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100.

That means “Christmas,” in its fifth week on the chart, could top a raft of new titles from superstars, including Nickelback’s “Here and Now,” pegged to come in at No. 2 and possible Buble spoiler,  Rihanna’s “Talk That Talk” and Daughtry’s “Break the Spell.”

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Credit: AP Photo

Rihanna stays at No. 1 on Billboard Hot 100, Katy Perry advances

Perry is within striking distance of No. 1 with 'The One That Got Away'

Katy Perry moves one step closer to setting the record for the most No. 1s from a single album as “The One That Got Away” soars into the Top 10 of the Billboard Hot 100 this week.

In doing so, her set, “Teenage Dream” becomes one of only seven albums in the 53-year history of the chart to log six top 10s. That’s great, but that’s not the pop princess’s end game here. Instead, she’s hoping to march to No. 1 with the ballad, which leaps 15-10, she performed on Sunday night’s American Music Awards.

In the meantime, Rihanna’s “We Found Love” featuring Calvin Harris spends its fourth week at No. 1, according to Billboard. (On a side note, the song remains No. 1 on Billboard’s Digital Songs chart, where it is joined by Drake’s “Take Care,” on which she is featured, and her new single, “You Da One” in the Top 10. That makes her the first woman to lodge a trio of songs in the Top 10 concurrently).

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<p>Kid Rock in &quot;Care&quot;</p>

Kid Rock in "Care"

Watch: Kid Rock's video for 'Care'

Will the clip spur you to move from caring to action?

Just in time for Thanksgiving, Kid Rock has released the video for “Care,” reminding us to think of others.

Mark Pellington, best known for video for Pearl Jam’s “Jeremy,” directed the clip, which also features T.I. and Pistol Annie’s “Angaleena Presley. The black & white clip opens with voice overs of people talking about what they care about. It then gives way to an acoustic performance by Kid Rock interspersed with shots of  every-day, common folks looking concerned  (videos love to do that).  As the video progresses, many of them assemble behind Kid Rock and paint the words of what they care about on a brick wall.  The message is that none of us can “walk on water” or “stop the war,” but we can all care (and hopefully move caring into action).

[More after the jump...]

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Listen: 'Show Me the Place' from Leonard Cohen's first new album in 8 years
Credit: AP Photos/Chris Pizzelo

Listen: 'Show Me the Place' from Leonard Cohen's first new album in 8 years

'Old Ideas,' out Jan. 31, explores love, sexuality, loss and death

Need a moment to center yourself before this crazy holiday season takes off? Take a few minutes to listen to “Show Me The Place,” a new song streaming on Leonard Cohen’s website and embedded below.

The tune is our first peek at “Old Ideas,” the legendary singer/songwriter’s first studio album in eight years. Out Jan. 31, the 10-song collection addresses transcendence, love, sexuality, loss and death. A statement from his label, Columbia, heralds it as “arguably the most overtly spiritual” of Cohen’s albums.” 

If “Show Me the Place” is any indication, it is a reverential, compassionate examination of faith. In his gravelly, beaten-down baritone, the 77-year old asks Jesus to show him the place “where you want your slave to go.”  Bolstered by an elegant, simple piano — and later strings — the song has a feeling of a great gospel tune, although we’re not sure about the background vocals.  No matter what your belief, it’s worth listening just to hear his sense of supplication before something greater than himself and intention.

[More after the jump...]

Cohen revealed more about the album early this year when he received  a prize in literature in Spain in October: “As I grew older, I understood that instructions came with this voice. And the instructions were these...Never to lament casually. And if one is to express the great inevitable defeat that awaits us all, it must be done within the strict confines of dignity & beauty."

Patrick Leonard, Anjani Thomas, Ed Sanders and Dino Soldo produced the album, which includes guest vocals from Dana Glover, Sharon Robinson, The Webb Sisters, and Jennifer Warnes.

Going Home
Show Me The Place
The Darkness
Crazy To Love You
Come Healing
Different Sides

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<p>Chris Daughtry</p>
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Chris Daughtry

Credit: Matt Sayles/AP

Interview: Chris Daughtry on twins, Aerosmith and new album

How the band 'unshackled' themselves to create something new

Think making an album is hard? It’s nothing compared to trying to raise twins, just ask Daughtry’s Chris Daughtry who began cutting his band’s new album, “Break the Spell” when his twins were only a few months old.

“Between raising twins and recording a record, recording a record is a vacation,” he tells HitFix with a laugh. 

He and his bandmates, guitarist Josh Steely, drummer Robin Diaz, guitarist Brian Craddock and bassist Josh Paul, as well as assorted outside songwriters, gathered at Daughtry’s newly-minted home studio in Greensboro, N.C. to write for the project.

The plan was to record in N.C. and L.A. with producer Howard Benson, who helmed the first two Daughtry albums. But the team soon hightailed it to L.A.  and “just a small fraction” of what was created in N.C. made the album as Daughtry realized that recording at home, and bringing in all the required extra equipment, “would have been a nightmare with the twins and my wife trying to home school the teenagers.”

[More after the jump...]

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<p>&nbsp;Martin L. Gore (L)&nbsp;and Vince Clarke (R)</p>

 Martin L. Gore (L) and Vince Clarke (R)

Credit: Beatport

Depeche Mode's Martin L. Gore and Vince Clarke reunite for VCMG

Pair plans release of first techno effort later this month

If the creativity they expressed in coming up with their band name is any indication, we’re a little worried about what we may get from Vince Clarke and Martin L. Gore’s reunion effort.

The two original members of Depeche Mode are working together under the new moniker VCMG and plan to release a series of EPs starting Nov. 30. Clarke left Depeche Mode after the British electronic band’s 1981 debut, “Speak and Spell,” and went on to form Yaz with Alison Moyet, and, more recently, Erasure with Andy Bell. Gore, who took over primary song duties following Clarke’s departure, has stayed in Depeche Mode for its entire run, along with fellow founding members vocalist Dave Gahan and keyboardist Andy Fletcher.

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<p>Nickelback's &quot;Here and Now&quot;</p>

Nickelback's "Here and Now"

Credit: Roadrunner Records

Album Review: Nickelback's 'Here and Now'

Canadian rockers bring the middlebrow rock, you bring the PBR

Nickelback seems to hold a special place in critics’ hearts. Seldom has a band drawn such slings and arrows. It’s as if every time one of their fans buys a Nickelback album— and they’ve bought more than 50 million of them— a critic’s puppy gets kicked and evil edges one step closer to winning.

Please. That’s such wasted energy.There’s always been a space for acts that folks in the flyover states love and that snobs on the coasts hate (I can say that since I’m originally from North Carolina). Or to put it in political language, even though they are from Canada, Nickelback is about as red state a band as ever existed.

On “Here and Now,” out today, Chad Kroeger and the boys do nothing to endear themselves to any of their haters, including those 50,000+ people who signed a petition protesting the band’s halftime performance during Thanksgiving’s Detroit Lions/Green Bay Packers game.

[More after the jump...]

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<p>David Hasselhoff, right, and Keenan Cahill dance onstage while LMFAO performs at the 39th Annual American Music Awards.</p>

David Hasselhoff, right, and Keenan Cahill dance onstage while LMFAO performs at the 39th Annual American Music Awards.

Credit: AP Photo/Matt Sayles

The Best and Worst of the 2011 American Music Awards

Justin Bieber, Kelly Clarkson, Taylor Swift, Katy Perry and more

The American Music Awards, held Sunday night, are to the Grammys what the Golden Globes are to the Oscars. To be sure, no one ever refuses one (unless you’re Garth Brooks), but it doesn’t carry the same weight. 

Most critics like to rag on the AMAs for good reason since so many performances feel prefabricated. To put it another way, if you created a drinking game where you had to take a shot every time you noticed a singer lip-syncing during the evening, you’d be three sheets to the wind 30 minutes in.

The AMAs used to be in January, but they were competing with the Grammys for artists and were getting lost in the glut of first quarter award shows, including the Golden Globes and Oscars. So in 2004, they moved to November and now are smartly positioned to give pop artists a good boost right before the official kick off of the holiday shopping season.

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<p>Bruce Springsteen performs at Carnegie Hall with Kate Hudson for some reason.</p>

Bruce Springsteen performs at Carnegie Hall with Kate Hudson for some reason.

Credit: AP Photo/Jason DeCrow

UPDATED: Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band confirm 2012 tour and album

European dates start in May. When are the U.S. dates?

Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band will hit the road in 2012, the Boss announced on his website Sunday night.

European dates will start in the middle of May, according to the missive, which promises info on the U.S. and rest of the world dates coming soon. That means we don’t know if the U.S. dates will happen before or after, but most likely after. The European dates will be announced this week.

There will also be a new album to promote. Springsteen says. “We want you to know that the music is almost done (but still untitled), we have almost settled on the release date (but not quite yet), and that we are all incredibly excited about everything that we're planning for 2012. That's all the info we have for right now, but we'll get back to you--real soon.”

Ron Aniello supposedly produced the new album or at least part of it.. Aniello is best known for his work with Lifehouse, Barenaked Ladies, Days of the New, Gavin DeGraw and Guster. He also produced  the last album from Patti Scialfa (i.e. Mrs. Springsteen), 2007's "Play It As It Lays."

This, of course, marks the first tour since the “Working on a Dream” tour ended in November 2009, and, more significantly, since saxophonist Clarence Clemons died this summer. Read my appreciation here.

UPDATED: The following dates were posted on Springsteen's website Monday.

21 June    Sunderland, England    Stadium of Light       
22 June    Manchester, England    Etihad Stadium       
24 June    Isle of Wight, England    Isle of Wight Festival   
14 July      London, England           Hard Rock Calling        

Plus, Rolling Stone, which has always had a direct line to the Springsteen camp, hints that there may be a run of U.S. arena dates in May prior to the European leg.


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<p>Taylor Swift</p>
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Taylor Swift

Credit: Evan Agostini/AP

Music Power Rankings: Google, Drake, Van Halen, Taylor Swift and more

Avril Lavigne and Tim McGraw make the list for the first time

1) Google Music: Despite a decidedly middling reaction, Google serves up the first true online music store that could possibly compete with iTunes....or not.

2) Drake: His second album, “Take Care” will land atop the Billboard 200 with sales of more than 700,000, the third highest debut of 2012.  That should make some “Headlines.”

3) Mac Miller: The indie rapper goes from mainstream obscurity to the No. 1 spot on the Billboard Top 200. This could be the start of something big.

4) Van Halen
: Venerable rock band reunites to sign with Interscope Records, after rumored deal with Columbia goes away. What does it say about the status of current rock acts that the most hotly sought-after rock act is a group that last appeared on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1995?

5) Taylor Swift: Not only does she get to hang with the Boss at her Raleigh, N.C. concert (and proudly tweets the photo), but she lands three songs in the top 30 of the Hot 100 this week, moving her past such legends as Barbra Streisand, Whitney Houston and Janet Jackson in achieving the feat. 

6) ReDigi: The company, which sells “used digital music,” draws the ire of the RIAA, therefore automatically making hundreds of thousands of people more aware of the service than were before. Nice going.

7) Adele: Following her throat surgery to correct bleeding on her vocal cords that caused her to cancel her remaining 17 U.S. shows, the British singer relieved her millions of fans by blogging that she is “on the mend” and “super happy.”  She is expected to make a full recovery.

8) Laurieann Gibson:
Lady Gaga’s “creative director”  decides to “step away” from her work with Momma Monster. Both sides have their paws firmly over their mouths, so we’ll never know if “step away” = pushed.

9) Avril Lavigne: Can the pop star get her career back on track by shifting to Epic Records and reuniting with L.A. Reid, who initially signed her?

10) Kenny Chesney and Tim McGraw: The two superstars reunite for the first announced stadium tour of 2012. Let’s hope this time doesn’t result in hijinks involving a sheriff’s horse and the singers’ arrests.

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