Album Review: Beach Boys' brilliant 'SMiLE' Sessions box set

Album Review: Beach Boys' brilliant 'SMiLE' Sessions box set

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Musical magic and madness 45 years after the fact

Glorious. There. That’s my one-word review of “SMiLE,” the never-released/never-completed Beach Boys album that is finally seeing the light of day 45 years after Brian Wilson and his band mates entered the studio.

Rolling Stone has called “SMiLE,”  “the most famous unfinished album in rock & roll history.”  Still unfinished, Capitol is, nevertheless, releasing the “SMiLE” sessions on Nov. 1. For diehards, a deluxe package includes not just the original tracks, but four CDs of studio outtakes, including 30 different snippets from the recording of “Heroes & Villains.” There are vinyl versions, digital only versions, and even a version that comes with a surf board.

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<p>The cover of the new Casting Crowns album</p>
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The cover of the new Casting Crowns album

Adele and Casting Crowns duke it out for Billboard 200 throne

Can Casting Crowns land the first Christian album to top the chart in 14 years?

Christian rockers Casting Crowns are vying for their first No. 1 on the Billboard 200 next week with “Come to the Well.” Should the band succeed, it will mark the first time that an album has topped both the Billboard 200 and the Christian albums chart since LeAnn Rimes’ “You Light Up My Life” in 1997, according to Billboard.com.

With Nielsen SoundScan's tally still a few days away from its Sunday close, it’s too soon to tell it Casting Crowns will triumph or if Adele’s “21” will land at the top as both are on target to sell between 100,000-110,000 units, according to Hits Daily Double.

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<p>Adele</p>

Adele

Credit: AP Photo

Adele tops Billboard Hot 100... again

Wideranging top 10 includes DJs, rappers and rock stars

There’s a little something for everyone in the Top 100 of the Billboard Hot 100 this week.

If it’s beautiful ballads you want, Adele’s “Someone Like You” logs its fourth week at No. 1,  for straight-ahead pop fans,  Maroon 5’s “Moves Like Jagger” featuring Christina Aguilera stays at No. 1, alternative rockers can keep outrunning the gun in Foster The People’s “Pumped Up Kicks” at No. 3 and rap lovers can thump to “Young, Wild & Free.” The Snoop Dogg track with Wiz Khalifa and Bruno Mars enters the big chart at No. 10. The tune is the first from the sound track to Snoop Dogg and Wiz Khalifa’s soundtrack for their forthcoming movie “Mac and Devin Go To High School.”  The song is Snoop’s 10th Top 10 and Khalifa’s third, according to Billboard.

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<p>Brad Paisley</p>

Brad Paisley

Credit: AP Photo

Brad Paisley, Miranda Lambert, Blake Shelton and Jason Aldean headline Stagecoach

Reunited Alabama and Mavericks also on April festival bill

Brad Paisley, Miranda Lambert, Jason Aldean and Blake Shelton will headline  the 2012 edition of Stagecoach. The country music festival, which, like Coachella,  takes place on the Empire Polo Grounds in Indio, Calif., takes place April 27-29.

Also on the wideranging bill are Steve Martin,  Kenny Rogers, Sara Evans, Martina McBride, Chris Isaak, and a reunion of The Mavericks and Alabama. For those not familiar, the Mavericks were the outstanding alternative country outfit led by Raul Malo, who logged several hits in the early ‘90s and were known for their blazingly good live shows. It turns out that the Stagecoach gig is the first date of a new Mavs tour featuring original members Malo, Robert Reynolds and Paul Deakin, according to CMT.com.

Paisley, who will co-host the CMA Awards on Nov. 9,  and Lambert last played the event in 2009, Aldean appeared in 2010.

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Watch: Justin Timberlake raps his heart out in FreeSol's 'Role Model' video

Watch: Justin Timberlake raps his heart out in FreeSol's 'Role Model' video

It's the closest we're getting to new music from Mr. Sexyback

Given that we’re clearly not getting any new music from Justin Timberlake any time soon, as he’s made abundantly clear, JT fans should drink in his rap here on “Role Model,” the latest video from FreeSol, the rock/hip-hop unit from Memphis signed to Timberlake’s Interscope-distributed Tennman Entertainment.

Timberlake owns the song, especially since the gritty black and white video opens on him and his rap lasts through the whole first segment, plus he appears throughout. The tune is presumably about him as well, since, quite frankly, no one except their mamas and their superfans know who the guys in FreeSol are. We’re talking specifically about  lyrics like this: “I’m going in my own direction/if you don’t like it, you can cut your TV off...I’m not a role model...You follow me on my twitter/but that don’t mean that you know me.”

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<p>Leonard Cohen in 2010</p>

Leonard Cohen in 2010

Credit: AP Photo

Leonard Cohen plans first new release in 8 years for 2012

'Old Ideas' will contain 10 new songs

Leonard Cohen will release his first new album in eight years next year. The acclaimed singer/songwriter delivered the good news today in Spain, where he was collecting a prize for authors who do not write in Spanish.

The set, titled “Old Ideas,” contained 10 new songs, or, at least, previously unpublished tunes. “I’ve played it for a few people and they seem to like it,” he told Reuters.

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T.I.
T.I.
Credit: AP Photo

Listen: T.I.'s new track, 'Hear Ye, Hear Ye'

The rapper and Pharrell lay down the law

T.I.’s new track, “Hear Ye, Hear Ye,” opens lightly enough with “There’s a rainbow everywhere depending upon where you stand,” and ends on a similarly upbeat, if deeply cynical, note with “If  wishes had wings, they’d all make it to heaven and we’d all be kings.”

It’s in between that the southern rapper, with great assistance from Pharrell Williams,  fills us in on what he’s been going through with his return to prison and the 2006 murder of his close friend, Philant Johnson, whose loss he still feels deeply. “It’s like a piece of me is missing because it never came home.”

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Watch: Coldplay's new video for 'Paradise' features dancing elephants

Watch: Coldplay's new video for 'Paradise' features dancing elephants

Can 'Paradise' be found in front of thousands of fans?

We’re all just looking for members of our own tribe, even if we’re a fake elephant. That’s the takeaway from the sweet, whimsical video for Coldplay’s “Paradise.” That, and, apparently, lead singer Chris Martin is a hell of a unicycle rider.

The clip opens as our furry pachyderm is breaking out of the zoo. In addition to being able to walk upright, this elephant can navigate the London Tube system and airplane. There are some wonderfully wacky little scene, like the elephant’s trunk stretching out through the Tube train doors for some peanuts or his little trunk outside of the trunk he’s traveling in on a plane to South Africa.

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Justin Bieber performs in Lima, Peru on Monday
Justin Bieber performs in Lima, Peru on Monday
Credit: AP Photo/Enrique Castro Mendivil, Pool

Watch: Justin Bieber kisses someone other than Selena in new 'Mistletoe' video

They don't look like it's 90 degrees outside

Justin Bieber’s a little clueless in his video for “Mistletoe,” the holiday anthem which debuted  on MTV early tonight.

In the Jason Mraz-lite tune, Bieber meets up with his girl, a Selena Gomez look-alike, sipping hot chocolate as the snow lightly falls. A wicked blonde-haired girl interrupts their tete-a-tete, but Bieber doesn’t even realize that his lady is bumming out because he’s forgotten that she’s there.

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Look: Lady Gaga's explosive single cover for 'Marry the Night'

Look: Lady Gaga's explosive single cover for 'Marry the Night'

Momma Monster promises a revealing video

Photobucket

Lady Gaga is ready to set the night afire on the cover art of her forthcoming single, “Marry the Night,” the fifth single from “Born This Way,” and she’s promising quite the music video to accompany the song.

Momma Monster tweeted the cover, which features her on top of a car in leather within firehose distance of a burning car. (Maybe the album should have been titled "Burn This Way."). In her tweet with the photo, she wrote, "New York is not just a tan you'll never lose."

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