<p>Justin Bieber</p>
<div id="myEventWatcherDiv" style="display:none;">&nbsp;</div>

Justin Bieber

Credit: Wong Maye-E/AP

Music Power Rankings: Adele, Lady Gaga, Justin Bieber and... Oprah?

What did Carrie Underwood do to make the list?

We’re going ahead and proclaiming it now: Adele’s “21” will take home the Grammy for album of the year next February. In the meantime, the British singer’s sophomore set shows no sign of slowing down. The album has sold 2 million copies in the U.S. already since its February release. That’s a staggering accomplishment given that she’s still only on the first single from the project, “Rolling in the Deep,” which is also at No. 1 on the singles chart.

1) Adele (No. 1) :  “21” logs its 8th week at No. 1 on the Billboard 200, the longest residency at the top of the chart since 2009. Total worldwide sales so far? A staggering 7 million. Too bad a certain Momma Monster will end her reign week after next, but we’ll see if “21” can bounce back to the top again.

2) Lady Gaga (not ranked): She hits 10 million Twitter followers, while her third single “The Edge of Glory” bounds onto the Billboard Hot 100 at No. 3. “Judas” who?

3) Austin City Limits Festival (not ranked):
Within hours of tickets going on sale, the Sept. 16-18 multi-artist festival nears a sellout. Given the strength of the line-up, one of the strongest in its 10 years,  we’re not surprised.

4) Apple (not ranked):
Steve Jobs’ company reportedly reaches a licensing agreement with Sony, following deals with Warner an EMI, for its forthcoming music cloud service. How sky high will it go?

5) Justin Bieber (not ranked): His entire catalog--all four albums—see major sales increases following the release of “Never Say Never” on DVD, which comes in at the top of Billboard’s DVD chart. Bieber fever lives.

6) Carrie Underwood (not ranked):
Country superstar surpasses Kelly Clarkson as “American Idol’s” most successful alumnus. Total sales so far: 12.3 million albums and 18.5 million digital tracks. Even Simon Cowell would have something positive to say about that.

7) Oprah Winfrey (not ranked): As the Queen of All Media ends her 25-year reign, we salute the fact that a performance on her show moved the needle like no other TV outlet. Small wonder that Madonna, Beyonce, Usher, Aretha Franklin, Rascal Flatts, Stevie Wonder, Queen Latifah, Josh Groban, and John Legend all showed up to salute her on her final shows, which air May 23-25.

8) Chris Brown (not ranked): Either people don’t care about his reprobate ways or they are able to separate them from his music, regardless, Brown leads all contenders for the BET Awards with six nominations.

9) Rock Star Memoirs (not ranked):
Keith Richards, Sammy Hagar and Steven Tyler all reached the New York Times’ Bestsellers List with their memoirs this year. Additionally, The Who’s Pete Townshend and Gregg Allman announce plans for their tomes this week. Sex and drugs and rock and roll and...viagra, please.

Read Full Post
Album Review: Lady Gaga's 'Born This Way'

Album Review: Lady Gaga's 'Born This Way'

Has she created a masterpiece?

Somewhere, there’s a shriveled, dried-up husk of what used to be Lady Gaga. That’s because every bit of her creativity, talent, and—more than anything else — her ambition has been poured into giving birth to her new album, “Born This Way,” out May 23.

Every nook and cranny, every note of the 14-track “Born This Way” feels like it was carefully curated and crafted from Lady Gaga’s DNA in some special laboratory where even the lowest level technicians wear Alexander McQueen lab coats and teeter on mile-high, jewel-encrusted platform shoes.

Before we delve into some of the individual tracks, a few thoughts about “Born This Way” as a whole. It is Lady Gaga’s most challenging work yet. As has often been said of her before, she’s a performance artist masquerading as a pop act.  Each song operates on multiple levels.  Every listen brings a different dimension and more is revealed. Even the seemingly throw-away track like “Government Hooker” takes on more heft.

“Born This Way” is at its core a dance album, and a sonically beautiful one at that. Other genres flit in and out, from pop, rock, metal and electro to industrial and even opera, but the unifying thread that ties it all together has BPM embroidered on it. Songs like opener “Marry The Night” start out slowly before breaking wide open into full-on twirlers.

Lady Gaga seems almost pathologically driven to go full-throttle 100% of every 24/7. Her sweat and blood are on every track here. Every song feels like it was a hard delivery and some almost drown under the pretension and weight. There’s nothing on here other than the title track, which has deservedly  become a self-acceptance anthem for the ages, that approaches the light-heartedness of “Just Dance” and that’s a shame. Even “U & I,” the first song that Lady Gaga previewed from the album way back in summer 2010 starts like a great Elton John-style, barrel-house piano-based rocker, but then becomes something much heavier. I would have gladly traded some of the technical proficiency for some flat out fun.

[More after the jump...]

Read Full Post
<p>Beyonce is ready to rule the world.</p>

Beyonce is ready to rule the world.

Watch: Beyonce's video for 'Run the World (Girls)'

Strap on your boots and kick up some sand

If girls ran the world, I’m not so sure they’d go around in corsets and garter belts 24/7, especially where there’s lots of sand to get into crevices.  However, in Beyonce’s video for “Run the World (Girls),” they do.

Add the clip to the long line of female videos that play out like a cross between “Mad Max”  and Janet Jackson’s “Rhythm Nation”  And throw in  an awkward Converse product placement for good measure.

The song, as has already been established by its rapid descent down the Billboard Hot 100, is not a particularly strong or compelling track and Beyonce has made an equally not particularly or compelling video to match.

Read Full Post
Katy Perry nerds out on cover of new single, 'Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F)'

Katy Perry nerds out on cover of new single, 'Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F)'

Can she make it five No. 1's in a row on the Billboard Hot 100?

Oh Katy...  Lady Gaga may speak convincingly about feeling like an outside, but no one taps into her inner nerd more than you.  The cover for Katy Perry’s new single, “Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.)” is our go-to happy place for today. She absolutely sells being a wanna be from the stereotypical braces and glasses to the bright blue eye shadow and jeans vest.

Yes, she’s beautiful and she’s married to a movie star, but Perry has somehow managed to stay totally relateable in a way that few pop stars do by continually expressing a willingness to poke fun at herself.

“Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.)” is the fifth single from “Teenage Dream.” As you know, the previous four tunes have soared to the top of the Billboard Hot 100 making Perry the first artist to accomplish that feat in many years. Plus, last week she became the only artist in the 52-year history of the Billboard Hot 100 to have a song in the top 10 of the chart continuously for a year. 

Read Full Post
<p>Lady Gaga</p>

Lady Gaga

Lady Gaga tops Forbes Celebrity 100 list; Where's Justin Bieber?

You'll be surprised which music acts make the top 20

The music industry may be in a slump, but the folks making the music most definitely aren’t. Seven of the top 10 men and women on Forbes’ Celebrity 100 lists are musicians.

Don’t think Lady Gaga has power? She comes in at No. 1 to best the Queen of All Media, Oprah Winfrey, on Forbes list, which measures not only earning power, but social influence. Forbes cites the $90 million Momma Monster earned on her tour, but also her 32 million Facebook Friends and 10 million Twitter followers. The calculations are a little hard to measure, but Forbes also factors in TV/radio rank, press rank, web rank and social rank. By the way, this marks only the third time in the past seven years that Winfrey has not claimed the top spot.

In fact, Winfrey is surrounded my music types. Justin Bieber is No. 3, U2 is No. 4 and Elton John is No. 5. But the music doesn’t stop there. After Tiger Woods (?!?!?) comes in at No. 6, the list goes right back to music: Taylor Swift is No. 7, Bon Jovi No. 8 and “X-Factor” music mogul Simon Cowell is No. 9.

Other music acts on the list include Katy Perry at No. 12, Black Eyed Peas at No. 16, Paul McCartney at No. 20.

To see if your favorite artist made the list, check here.

Read Full Post
<p>Matthew Morrison</p>

Matthew Morrison

Credit: AP Photo

Matthew Morrison dumps his own tour to join New Kids and Backstreet Boys

'Glee' star makes the announcement on 'Good Morning America'

Matthew Morrison is ditching his own solo tour to join a pair of teen idols on the road this summer. Today, the “Glee” star announced during a “Good Morning America” appearance that he would be opening for the conjoined New Kids on the Block/Backstreet Boys. See the announcement below and watch Robin Roberts squeal like a tween.

While it means he won’t get the glory and will play to a lot of empty seats as folks rush from work to the venue, it also means he’ll get in front of a lot more people than he would have on his own. His tour was in 2,000-3,000-seat theaters; the NKOTBSB outing is a mix of arenas and even stadiums.

For those folks who were on the early part of the tour, you may be lucky. Since Morrison’s tour started June 18 and the New Kids/BSB tour doesn’t begin until July 6, some of the earlier shows, including New York’s Beacon Theater performance, are still on the books.

Morrison first date with the boy bands will be July 6 at Anaheim’s Honda Center. He will be on the tour through Aug. 6 in London, Canada, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Morrison’s self-titled solo album is expected to enter the Billboard 200 in the mid-20s on Wednesday.

Read Full Post
<p>Disco Biscuits</p>

Disco Biscuits

Kaskade, Crystal Method and Disco Biscuits headline Identity Festival

Electronic traveling show will hit 20 cities starting in August

Most of the focus is on the multi-day festivals such as Lollapalooza and Bonnaroo, but there are still a few traveling multi-artist tours making the rounds this summer.

Electronic-music festival Identity will play 20 outdoor amphitheaters starting with Aug. 11 at the Verizon Wireless Music Center in Indianapolis.

Appearing on the fest are such electronica luminaries as Kaskade, the Crystal Method, Steve Aoki, Pretty Lights, Rusko, Avicii and Disco Biscuits (who definitely tread that jam band/electronica line).

Ticket  and venue info is available at www.idfestival.com.

Identity is billing itself as the sole electronic-only festival, but there is, of course, the Electric Daisy Carnival, which also caters to that musical genre. The Electric Daisy Carnival is holding five raves this summer, some are single day, others are three days. As you may recall, a girl died at the Electric Daisy Carnival in Los Angeles last year after overdosing on Ecstasy. The festival moved its Los Angeles date to Las Vegas this year.

 



 

Read Full Post
<p>Kanye West</p>

Kanye West

Coldplay, Arcade Fire, Kanye West headline 2011 Austin City Limits

Stevie Wonder, Fleet Foxes and Cee-Lo Green also on the bill

Kanye West, Coldplay, Stevie Wonder, Arcade Fire, My Morning Jacket and Cee-Lo will headline the 10th Austin City Limits Music Festival.

The event, which features more than 130 acts, takes place Sept. 16-18 in Austin’s Zilker Park. 

Other acts at the festival, which takes its name from the long-running PBS series, “Austin City Limits,” include Fleet Foxes, Alison Krauss and Union Station, Nas & Damian Marley, Randy Newman, Bright Eyes, Social Distortion, TV on the Radio and Big Boi.

A handful of acts who appeared at the inaugural 2002 festival—Asleep at the Wheel, Patrice Pike, Gary Clark Jr., and Jack Ingram—will return for this year’s festivities.

Three-day general passes, which went on sale before the line-up was announced, are already sold out. Single day passes go on sale at 10 a.m., May 17.

For a full list of performer and ticket information, go to http://aclfestival.com.

Read Full Post
<p>Tinie Tempah</p>

Tinie Tempah

Seether, Tinie Tempah and Moby lead May 17 release dates

Let's clear the way for Lady Gaga's May 23 arrival

As the world waits for Lady Gaga’s “Born This Way’s” birth on May 23, the release slate for major artists slows to a trickle for a week. That means that Adele’s “21” likely gets one more week at the top of the  Billboard 200 before Momma Monster takes over. In the meantime, there are some tasty treats out May 17.

Danger Mouse & Daniele Luppi, “Rome” (Capitol): Danger Mouse (aka Brian Burton) and Italian composer Luppi wrote a number of songs based on classic Italian film music and recorded with many of the elder musicians who originally recorded on such historic movies “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly” and “Once Upon A Time in the West.” Guests include Jack White and Norah Jones.

Bela Fleck & The Flecktones, “Rocket Science” (E1):
Multi-genre instrumental group full of trailblazing musicians records its first album with co-founding member Howard Levy back in the regular line-up since 1992.

Ben Harper, “Give Till It’s Gone” (Virgin):  Tremendously talented guitarist/vocalist follows up his excellent 2009 album, “White Lies for Dark Times,” which featured his band Relentless 7, with his first solo album since 2006‘s “Diamonds on the Inside.” Guests include Jackson Browne and Ringo Starr.

Moby, “Destroyed” (Mute): Electronic/ambiant musician Moby sets forth his 10th studio album, which was written largely on tour and late at night during bouts of insomnia. A book of photography with the same name is coming out simultaneously.

Naughty By Nature, “Anthem Inc.” (Illtown/Tommy Boy Entertainment):
It’s been a very long time since we’ve been down with “O.P.P.,”  but for fans who are still into this hip-hop trio,  “Anthem Inc.” marks the first album with Kay Gee since he left the band in 2000 (he came back in 2006)..

Parachute, “The Way It Was” (Mercury): 
Led off by first single, “Something to Believe In,” adult contemporary pop group returns with a new album.

Seether, “Holding Onto Strings Better Left to Fray”  (Wind-Up):
South African rock group that loves long titles returns with its fifth studio album, helmed by Brendan O’Brien.

Tinie Tempah, “Disc-Overy” (Capitol):
British rapper, who is already a sensation  in his native U.K., finally gets a release date in the U.S. for his Brit Award-winning album.
 

Read Full Post
Listen: Lady Gaga teases us with a very busy 'Hair'

Listen: Lady Gaga teases us with a very busy 'Hair'

Frenetic track is the latest from 'Born This Way'

It’s still a week until Lady Gaga’s “Born This Way” drops, but the constant teasing continues, this time with “Hair.”

The track, at least the fifth that she’s revealed from the new album, is a rocker that, like “The Edge Of Glory,” features E Street Band’s Clarence Clemons.  It’s also another in a series of tunes that salutes those follicles on top of our head, whether it be Willow Smith’s “Whip My Hair,” India.Arie’s “I Am Not My Hair” or, of course, the original theme to the musical “Hair.”

According to some websites, we’ve read that Lady Gaga describes the tune as having a “Bruce Springsteen vibe,” but to us it is all about Laura Branigan.  She sounds like she’s channeling the late “Gloria” and “Self Control” singer. We first noticed the vocal similarity on “Paparazzi,” but really hear it here.

So far, we’ve gotten an interesting mix of what Lady Gaga has to offer between the piano ballad “You and I,” the anthemic “Born This Way,” “Judas” and “The Edge of Glory.”

This a high energy electro rocker that’s busier than Ben & Jerry’s “Chubby Hubby” ice cream:  between the  keyboards,  the auto-tuned stuttering in the middle, the insistent drum beat, and Lady Gaga’s whelping at the end there is a lot going on here on the RedOne-produced track. But we like it, in part because we really like the songs that show off Lady Gaga’s singing, like “Bad Romance,” and her commitment to the vocal. It may sound a bit like there’s everything here but the kitchen sink, but every element has a purpose, if only to amp up the hair-whipping frenzy.

Lyrically, it’s definitely meant to appeal to the younger end of her demo as she sings about “Whenever I dress cool/My parents put up a fight” and “I scream Mom and Dad, ‘why can’t I be who I want to be’.” She may be a self-confessed Daddy’s girl, but she’s about 10 years past asking her parents’ permission for anything.

[More after the jump...]

Read Full Post