She seems to be everywhere: showing up in the unlikeliest of places like dueting with Sugarland’s Jennifer Nettles at this month’s Academy of Country Music Awards or partnering with fellow diva Britney Spears for a remix. One place she’s showing up with startling frequency is at the top of the charts and this week is no exception as she takes “S&M” to No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 and breaks two records.
1) Rihanna (not ranked last week): She heads off a strong charge from Lady Gaga’s “Judas” to top the Billboard Hot 100 and, in doing so, sets a record for shortest time span between her first and 10th No. 1 by a solo artist. Plus, the 23-year old is the youngest artist to score 10 No. 1s, although she better watch out for Justin Bieber.
2) Apple (not ranked): Not only does the company generate $24 billion in quarterly revenue, a staggering 83% increase over the same quarter last year, it looks like iTunes’ cloud-based music locker is close to launch, with All Things D reporting that Apple has closed licensing deals with two of the big four label groups. As you’ll recall, Amazon decided it didn’t need no sticking licenses for its cloud-based service, incurring the wrath of labels everywhere. http://mediamemo.allthingsd.com/20110421/one-difference-between-apples-music-locker-and-amazons-label-deals/
3) Beyonce (not ranked): After a short break, Bey is back and fierce as Sasha always proclaimed to be. What first single “Girls (Run The World)” lacks in a hummable melody it more than makes up for in attitude and sass.
4) Ticketmaster (not ranked): The ticketing giant has inked a deal with MarketShare that will likely lead to dynamic pricing for the concert business, meaning you may finally be able to set your own price for a ticket as prices will better reflect market demands instead of artist greed. Now, if we could just do something about those service fees....
This picture of Paul Simon is from last year. But Paul Simon is pretty much Paul Simon, right?
Credit: Charles Sykes/AP
Less than a week into his tour to support new album “So Beautiful or So What,” Paul Simon hit the stage with a band so confident in its musical abilities that from the first notes of show opener “Crazy Love, Vol. ll,” they were fully in command and in the groove, literally.
The April 21 Pantages Theatre show, Simon’s third in three days in Los Angeles, drew largely from the stellar new set, which debuted at No. 4 this week on the Billboard 200. There’s an open-hearted vulnerability in much of the album as Simon explores big-ticket questions about love and God, but much of it is surrounded in such jubilant, uplifting melodies that it’s easy to overlook the gravitas of the situation.
For example, on “Love is Eternal Sacred Light,” he begins by singing about the big bang theory and then seamlessly moves lyrically into a bang of a different sort: a terrorist explosion in a marketplace, but it all plays out to a jaunty world-music beat. On the new album’s most vulnerable piece, “Love and Hard Times” — exquisitely rendered live—Simon sings about God and Jesus paying earth a “courtesy call” before the song morphs into a seemingly totally different tune about finding love in time. Only a lyricist as skilled as Simon could tie the two together with their theme of salvation, whether heavenly or earthly.
Don’t you just love a happy ending? After going public yesterday with the fact that Lady Gaga wouldn’t approve, “I Perform This Way,” his parody of “Born This Way,” Weird Al later updated his blog with the news that Momma Monster had indeed signed off on his releasing the tune. According to "Weird Al" Yankovic, her management had turned it down without running it by her Lordship. When she got wind of it, she turned that frown into a smile. Now who knows if that’s true, but Lady Gaga gets to look like the hero and like she has a great sense of humor about herself.
It’s been awhile since Weird Al has been in the news. In the ‘80s, his parodies were frequently part of MTV’s video rotation and we’re sure the video for “I Perform This Way” is what will really drive the media saturation. In the meantime, listen to the spook below. We admit, the line about wrapping "my small intestines around my neck" made us laugh out loud. Unlike many of his parodies that take a theme and turn it on its head into something totally different, like “Like a Surgeon,” his parody of Madonna’s “Like a Virgin,” Weird Al’s “I Perform This Way” is a direct poke at Lady Gaga herself and it’s pretty spot on.
A Supreme Court ruling years ago allows parody as a fair use, so Weird Al was fine to release the song anyway legally. But he has always gotten permission from the artists, which, in some way, gives his parodies a little extra clout since they're artist-approved.
Listen for yourself below. Or go buy it. All proceeds go to the Human Rights Campaign, a move that undoubtedly helped persuade Gaga. We can't wait for the country version.
Two days after the song originally leaked and we all had to pull down our posts of that leak, we’re getting the full version of Beyonce’s “Girls (Run the World)” legitimately this time and it’s clear she’s taking no prisoners.
For all its sassiness, her mega-hit “SingleLadies (Put a Ring On It),” was basically an old-fashioned look at marriage being the ultimate goal. That Bey is gone, replaced by a fierce, trash-talking female, who isn’t looking for man’s proposal to validate her self-worth. Even when she coos “Boy... I hope you still like me,” you know she’s going to throw that boy to the side as soon as she’s done with him.
Sugarland’s Jennifer Nettles is really eager for the night to get here. In the band’s new video for “Tonight,” Nettles runs through three scenarios as she sings, waiting for her lover to arrive. No matter how great he may be, we’re not so sure her lover will be able to compete with the ever-present fan blowing her hair in each scene.
We’re a huge fan of Nettles’ voice, but, quite frankly, she just seems awkward here, especially in the second vignette where she’s self-consciously dancing/shimmying alone on a stage in a hideous outfit. In the third scene--in an all-white bedroom-- she crawls and rolls around on the bed waiting for her man giving her best sultry stare right into the camera. You can almost hear some sleazy cameraman saying to her, “Make love to the camera, baby.”
Not only that, Rihanna sets a pair of records while doing so. She holds the shortest time span between her first and 10th No. 1 for any solo artist in the chart’s 52-year history, according to Billboard. “SOS” hit No. 1 in May 13, 2006, while “S&M” will hit the history books as the No. 1 single for the week ending April 30 (Billboard is always dated a week ahead).
Rihanna’s win is only by a few months, as she tops the previous shortest span held by Mariah Carey. The songbird started her No. 1 climb with “Vision of Love” on Aug. 4, 1990 and landed her 10th No. 1 on Dec. 2, 1995 with “One Sweet Day.”
Two groups still logged their top 10s in a shorter time period and it will be impossible to beat them because of the way the charts work now: Unbelieveably, the Beatles scored 10 No. 1’s over a 20-month period, while the Supremes did the same over 32 months.
“S&M’s” triumph over “Judas” is propelled by the remix of the song featuring Britney Spears. The original and “Rih-mix” accounted for 293,000 downloads last week. “Judas” comes in at No. 10 with only three days of availability after it snuck out on Friday.
Former No. 1 “E.T.”, by Katy Perry featuring Kanye West, slips to No. 2. The Black Eyed Peas’ "Just Can't Get Enough" remains at No. 3; Jeremih’s "Down on Me" featuring 50 Cent keeps coming up as it climbs 6-4, while Cee Lo Green's "F**k You (Forget You)" drops one to No. 5.
Rounding out the Top 10, Adele's "Rolling in the Deep" soars 10-6, Chris Brown's "Look at Me Now," featuring Lil Wayne and Busta Rhymes holds at No. 7, Jennifer Lopez's "On the Floor" featuring Pitbull ups one to No. 8, trading places with Britney Spears' "Till the World Ends.”
Megan Fox may not be a continuing part of Michael Bay’s “Transformers” series, but Linkin Park keeps hanging in there with the franchise.
The group will supply the end-title song for Paramount’s “Transformers: Dark of the Moon,” marking the third go-round for the rock band and the “Transformers” series.
They aren’t writing a song specifically for the movie, however. Instead, current single “Iridescent,” from current album, “A Thousand Suns,” will be revamped for the movie.
Previously, “What I’ve Done” appeared in the first “Transformers” film, while “New Divide” was in 2009’s “Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen.” Linkin Park’s Joe Hahn will direct the video for “Iridescent.”
A week after snippets leaked out, we’re getting a full listen of Beyonce’s “Girls (Who Run the World)” and it’s clear she’s taking no prisoners. Listen to it below.
For all its sassiness, her mega-hit “Single Ladies (Put a Ring On It),” was basically an old-fashioned look at marriage being the ultimate goal. That Bey is gone, replaced by a fierce, trash-talking female, who isn’t looking for man’s proposal to validate her self-worth. Even when she coos “Boy... I hope you still like me,” you know she’s going to throw that boy to the side as soon as she’s done with him.
Musically, the Diplo-produced “Girls” is more of a chant than a song and it feels like it came straight out of Bollywood by way of a very cool sample of Major Lazer’s “Pon de Floor.” (The rhythm sounds more Indian to us, but the video supposedly features 200 female African dancers). After a dozen listens or so, it’s grown on us. At first, we thought it was a throw-away track, but we’re coming around and love the percussive precision and lack of an identifiable chorus. There’s not a lot of build here; it stays at one level from start to finish, but it works. We also love the part about "Who runs this mutha," which may be the hippest shout out to Mother Earth we've ever heard.
The word is that Beyonce will drop a new album in late June, right around the same time she headlines Glastonbury.
[Update: Stream removed upon request of the artist.] Check out this link for a site that still has the single streaming.
Itâ€™s a big day for Elton John fans: his duet with Matthew Morrison from the â€œGleeâ€-meisterâ€™sÂ forthcoming solo set got a little leak today, and, more importantly, John released new dates for his return to Las Vegasâ€™s Caesars Palace.
Itâ€™s been rumored for some time, but now itâ€™s official: John begins a new residencyÂ at the hotelâ€™s Colosseum Sept. 28 for 16 shows.Â The return is the first stint in a new three-year residency. His initial run ended in 2009. Instead of a red piano, this show is dubbed â€œThe Million Dollar Piano.â€Â Tickets, which go on sale April 25, range from $55 to $250 plus fees.