<p>Arctic Monkeys</p>

Arctic Monkeys

Arctic Monkeys, Dawes, Sondre Lerche lead June 7 new album release slate

Country gets new Ronnie Dunn and Randy Travis with help from Carrie Underwood

The release slate remains a little light in the wake of Lady Gaga’s “Born This Way,”  although there are some tasty rock treats coming June 7 from Arctic Monkeys, Dawes and Sondre Lerche.

Adelitas Way, “Home School Valedictorian” (Virgin): Las Vegas rock band is firing on all cylinders with Top 10 first single “Sick” and a summer tour with Seether.

All Time Low, “Dirty Work” (Interscope): Punk popsters release their first album for Interscope after a few sets on Hopeless Records. Produced by John Fields, Matt Squire and Mike Green, the set takes its title from the band’s past, according to lead singer  Alexander Gaskarth.

Arctic Monkeys, “Suck It and See” (Domino):
The hype on this British band has eased a little since their 2006 debut was the fastest selling album in British music history but there’s still enough excitement for the Alex Turner-led rock band to headline Lollapalooza in August. They recorded their fourth studio album in Los Angeles, which may account for the material’s largely sunny material.

Benny Benassi, “Electroman” (Ultra):
Grammy-winning Italian DJ swings for the fences with latest dance set featuring T-Pain, Chris Brown, Kelis and Black Eyed Peas’ apl.de.ap.

Dawes, “Nothing Is Wrong” (ATO): If they’re good enough to back up Robbie Robertson, you better believe they’re good enough for you on this, the L.A.-based Americana rock band’s second full-length set.

Ronnie Dunn, “Ronnie Dunn”
(Arista Nashville): The lead singing half of Brooks & Dunn releases his first solo album following the pair’s split last year.  No offense to Kix Brooks, but you might not notice much of a difference...

Sondre Lerche, “Sondre Lerche” (Mona): Norwegian singer/songwriter sets up shop with his own label for his seventh album. He described the album’s growth from his previous efforts to Hitfix’s Katie Hasty  as "going from being somebody's son to becoming your own man."

Randy Travis, “Anniversary Celebration” (Warner):
What good is celebrating  25 years of making music if you don’t have friends like Brad Paisley, Zac Brown Band, Kenny Chesney, Don Henley, Carrie Underwood, Tim McGraw and George Jones to drop by. Luckily, Travis does.

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<p>Lady Gaga</p>

Lady Gaga

Credit: AP Photo

Can Lady Gaga make it two weeks in a row at the top of the Billboard 200?

Is Adele nipping at Momma Monster's heels?

Lady Gaga gets another week at No. 1 with "Born This Way" on the Billboard 200 and then we'll see if Adele's "21" can bob back up to the top spot one more time.

After selling close to 1.1 million copies  this past week with a little help from deep discounting via Amazon, "Born This Way" drops to around 195,000, according to Hits Daily Double. That's enough to stay in the top spot, as Adele's "21" should handily come in at No. 2 with 130,000 copies.

Following those two ladies,  four acts will likely debut in the Top 10:  Death Cab for Cutie's "Codes and Keys" looks good for a No. 3 slot with a 30,000 sales lead on Eddie Vedder's "Ukulele Songs," which is poised to come in at No. 3 with sales of around 60,000. Brad Paisley's "This is Country Music" will drop from 2-5, and then  another debut, My Morning Jacket's "Circuital" lands at No. 6.

"Now 38" is No. 7, Jason Aldean's  ‘My Kinda Party" hangs at  No. 8, while Flogging Molly's "Speed of Darkness" bows at No. 9.  Mumford & Sons' "Sigh No More" keeps hanging in there within the Top 10.

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<p>Scotty McCreery</p>
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Scotty McCreery

Credit: Jeff Christensen/AP

Music Power Rankings: Lady Gaga, Coachella times two, Scotty McCreery

Why are the Foo Fighters on here?

All of her efforts paid off. Lady Gaga’s “Born This Way” ended up selling around 1.1 million in its opening frame, making it the best first week tally since 50 Cent’s 2005 set “The Massacre,” sold 1.14 million in its first week.  Only 17 albums have accomplished the feat in the 20 years that Nielsen SoundScan has been keeping count—the last to do so was Taylor Swift’s “Speak Now,” which squeaked by last fall with 1,006,000 copies.

1) Lady Gaga (Last Week: No. 1): If she was “Born This Way,” why did she still have to work so hard to sell 1.1 million albums?

2) Apple (not ranked): The new iCloud is here, the new iCloud is here!

3) Coachella Coachella (not ranked):
No, you’re not seeing double. The Indio, Calif. rock festival will become a twin as it announces that next year it will hold two identical festivals, featuring the exact same acts both weekends. Let’s hope they clean the port-a-potties on the off days.

4) Sony (not ranked):
So they give up their “American Idol” rights (and just in the nick of time, it would seem) but pick up “Glee.” Now, they’ve smartly hedged their bets and gone ahead and inked a deal to replace music from “Smash,” NBC’s mid-season replacement about the making of Broadway musical. It’s executive produced by Steven Spielberg and stars Katherine McPhee. Look, all roads do lead back to “AI.”

5) Scotty McCreery (No. 2): Speaking of “AI,” the new winner’s first single, “I Love You This Big,” enters Billboard’s Hot Country Songs chart at no. 32, the highest ever for a new artist on the chart in at least 21 years since BDS has kept track. Take that, doubting country music programmers.

6) Alex Da Kid (not ranked): Grammy-winner producer best known for his work with Eminem gets his own Interscope label, KIDinaKORNER. That will be the absolute last time we indulge him by writing it that way. First signing is singer/songwriter Skylar Grey, with whom he and Em co-wrote “Love the Way You Lie.”

7) Bjork (not ranked):
She takes The Gorillaz’ “The Fall,” which was created primarily on an iPad, several steps further with Blophilla. It will be made on an iPod and then released  via as iPad apps.

8) Vevo (not ranked): After rival YouTube  live streamed the Coachella festival, Vevo gets into the game with  exclusive rights to stream next weekend’s Bonnaroo, snagging it away from YouTube who streamed it last year. Viva la Vevo.

9) Adele (not ranked):
Even while she’s sick and has to cancel the remainder of her U.S. tour, she’s still setting records. She becomes the first woman to have a song, “Rolling in the Deep,” top  the Mainstream Top 40, Triple A and Hot 100 Airplay charts. Just start clearing the shelf for all the Grammys now.

10) Foo Fighters (not ranked):
They didn’t do anything that spectacular this week except for put out another amazing video, this time for "Walk."  Anyone who references “Falling Down” is thumbs up with us.

Last Week's Rankings

What do you think of this week's rankings? Share your thoughts below.


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<p>Hayley Williams of Paramore</p>

Hayley Williams of Paramore

Credit: AP Photo

Listen: Paramore's new song, 'Monster,' from 'Transformers: Dark of the Moon'

How does it compare with Linkin Park's 'Transformers' tune?

We already know that Paramore and “Twilight” go together. Now we’ll see how  well the Hayley Williams’-fronted band goes with “Transformers.”

The Nashville rock group released “Monster” today to the interwebs, after announcing its inclusion in the movie last week. It appears in the new movie, “Transformers: Dark of the Moon,” the third in the “Transformers”  franchise.  The song is the first from the band since the departure of Josh and Zac Farro in a very public, ugly departure last winter.

“Monster”  is a tortured, mid-tempo burner, the likes of which Paramore, stripped down to a trio, can pretty much do in its sleep now, so the song breaks no knew ground. Lyrically, there’s lots of water analogies about sinking and drowning, wrapped around promises of “stopping the whole world from turning into a monster, eating us alive.”  The second verse hints at major conflict and being a traitor.  It is tailor-made for a video featuring Shia Labouef running away from the Big Bads with new playmate Rosie Huntington-Whiteley.

The single is on sale June 7. The soundtrack comes out June 14 and the movie opens June 29.

What do you think?
Do you like it better than Linkin Park's song, "Iridescent," for "Transformers 3?"

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Credit: Peter Kramer/AP

Adele cancels entire U.S. tour due to vocal problems

British singer had been scheduled to resume outing on Saturday

Adele has cancelled the nine remaining dates on her sold-out North American tour due to vocal issues.

The British singer, whose current album, “21,” spent nine weeks atop the Billboard 200 this year, had already postponed five shows last week due to laryngitis and was slated to resume with the June 4 show at San Francisco's Warfield Theater.  Today came word that the rest of the tour would be scotched after a voice doctor recommended total vocal rest for the next few weeks. The theater outing started May 12, but Adele was only able to complete eight of the 22 planned shows. Among the cancellations are two Los Angeles show for next week, including a sold-out Greek Theater gig.

“I’m really frustrated. I was hoping with a week’s rest I’d be better to sing again straight away,” said Adele in a statement. “However there is absolutely nothing I can do but take the doctor’s advice and rest some more.  I'm so sorry.  See you soon.”

Though Columbia Records says plans to reschedule cancelled dates “are being investigated,” there is no word on when they might take place.

Adele’s single, “Rolling In the Deep” is No. 1 for the fourth week on the Billboard Hot 100.

For more information on the cancelled dates go to www.adele.tv.


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<p>Scotty McCreery</p>

Scotty McCreery

Does Adele's 'Rolling' log another week at No. 1?

Where do 'American Idols' Scotty McCreery and Lauren Alaina debut?

Adele’s “Rolling in the Deep” gets another week at No. 1 on the Hot 100 this week, but no one is as excited as DJ Khaled as “I’m on One” featuring Drake, Rick Ross and Lil Wayne storms 78-10.

Artists are mainly shifting seats within the rest of the Top 10. Pitbull’s “Give Me Everything” featuring Ne-Yo, AfroJack and Nayer moves 3-2, swaps places with Katy Perry’s “E.T.” featuring Kanye West.  Pitbull has two tunes in the Top 5 as Jennifer Lopez’s “On the Floor” featuring the Latin rapper moves 5-4, switching spots with the Black Eyed Peas’ “Just Can’t Get Enough.”

Bruno Mars’ “The Lazy Song” holds its ground at No. 6, as does Britney Spears’ “Till the World Ends”  at No. 7.

Lady Gaga’s “The Edge of Glory” rebounds nicely on the back of the album release of  “Born This Way,” as it moves 19-8. LMFAO’s “Party Rock Anthem” featuring Lauren Bennett and GoonRock slips 8-9.

American Idol” winner Scotty McCreery just misses landing in the Top 10 as “I Love You This Big” at No. 11, while runner-up Lauren Alaina bows at No. 20 with “Like My Mother Does.” That means both of their post-”Idol” debuts best last season winner Lee DeWyze’s single, “Beautiful Day,” which started at No. 24.

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<p>Foo Fighters</p>

Foo Fighters

Watch: Foo Fighters 'Fall Down' in video for 'Walk'

All Dave Grohl needs is to trade in his guitar case for a brief case and his hippie hair for a crew cut and his transformation would be complete in the video for the Foo Fighters' “Walk," which is a dead-on homage to  the 1993 Michael Douglas movie “Falling Down.”

In fact, the opening is an almost shot-for-shot recreation of the opening of the Joel Schumacher-directed film.  We wouldn’t even call it a spoof of the movie, although the video definitely adds some humor such as using Slim Jims and other food stuffs as opposed to a bat to attack the convenience store clerk and a hilarious “Fries With That” hat at the fast food store.  Plus, there’s the added delight of his band mates playing the main aggrevators as Grohl’s character’s spirals out of control.

Of course, rock and roll is all the salvation Grohl needs. He joins his bandmates in the secret Foo Fighters warehouse and everything gets better, for a teeny bit, until the coppers show up.  The final scene is vintage Foos.

While we’re at it, the Foos have consistently come up with some of the most entertaining and inventive videos throughout their 15-year career, whether it's the clip for  "Learning To Fly," "Long Road To Ruin" or  "White Limo."  Grohl is always game. This is one more to add to their great videos reel.

While we’re at it, we’d like to put in a plug for “Falling Down.”  Some critics love it, some hate it (I loved it every time I've watching it, which is a lot), but it is Douglas at his absolute best as a man who goes over the edge as issues, big and small, mount. It’s a brilliant character study and a commentary on how close we all are, no matter how "normal" we may seem,  to “falling down” into an abyss at any moment.

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<p>Lady Gaga</p>

Lady Gaga

Credit: AP Photo

Does Lady Gaga have a radio problem? DJs weigh in

Can the current tracks compete with her past hits?

Is Lady Gaga her own worst enemy at pop radio? As the numbers show, her endless promotional tour and deep price discounts  at Amazon resulted in more than 1 million copies of “Born This Way” being sold in its opening frame. So far so good.

But the weak link is radio. The star, whom BMI named songwriter of the year two weeks ago for having the most played songs at radio in 2010, is having a bit of a hiccup there.

 While the title track to “Born This Way” reached No. 1, second single “Judas” never got any traction at radio and sank like a stone. Third single, “The Edge of Glory,” dropped from 3-12 on the Hot 100 in its second week (expect it to rise later this week due to digital sales).

“It comes down to one basic flaw: [the new songs]  just aren’t as catchy as her previous hits,” says a Top 40 DJ from the Midwest, who spoke on the condition of anonymity. “The highest praise ‘Judas’ seemed to get was ‘Meh, it’s alright.’ ‘The Edge of Glory’ seems to have its fans, but I’m not sure about its long-term viability as a radio single. We dropped ‘Judas,’ but we’re still playing ‘The Edge of Glory.”

“The songs aren’t nearly as catchy,”  agrees Cash, a DJ at Pulse 102, a rhythmic-leaning Top 40 station in Raleigh, N.C. “The first time I heard ‘Poker Face,’ it blew me away. ‘Just Dance’ was another ‘one listen’ song.”

Like our midwest DJ, Cash his high hopes for “Edge of Glory,” which, despite dropping on the chart last week is still reacting well in call-out research at the station, unlike “Judas,” which got “lots of negatives on the request line.”  (To be fair, Cash says “Born This Way” got negative responses too).

As our album review stated, Lady Gaga seemingly (and fearlessly) disregarded current pop radio trends when it came to making “Born This Way” and made an album that didn’t pander to radio in any way. That’s fine, that’s what a real artist does, but it can have consequences. Plus, she promoted the album primarily via television, appearing on everything from “The View” to “The Tonight Show” and back again for months. The campaign also relied highly on tweets and her website. There was no semblance of any kind of regular radio promotional tour, although we’re the first to say the lack or airplay didn’t seem to hurt album sales.

Plus, radio is still feasting on tracks from “The Fame” and “The Fame Monster.”  In fact the Midwest DJ said the only past hit not in rotation is “Alejandro.”   On Pulse 102, “Poker Face” and “Bad Romance” both still garner a lot of spins, while  “Paparazzi” gets trotted out from time to time.

Is there hope? Absolutely and it’s too soon to ring any true alarm .There’s still some life in “Edge of Glory”— how much remains to be seen.  And our Midwest DJ has high hopes for piano ballad “U and I,” which was produced by Mutt Lange, best known for his work with Def Leppard and Shania Twain. “I think [it] will be a big hit in the Midwest, as it’s Gaga doing Nickelback,” he says. We’re not so sure what LG would think of that comparison.

Mr. Midwest also suggests one sure-fire way  that we’ll know if  Interscope, is starting to get a little twitchy about a lack of radio play:  “Right now, the spectacle is keeping her above the fray, but if her next single suddenly has a featured artist added, you’ll know her label is starting to get uneasy.”   Maybe they should put Nicki Minaj on speed dial.

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<p>Beyonce's 'Best Thing I Never Had'</p>
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Beyonce's 'Best Thing I Never Had'

Listen: Beyonce shows her vulnerable side on 'Best Thing I Never Had'

What stops the song dead in its tracks?

Beyonce’s “4” isn’t out for another four weeks, but we’re hearing another track today. That’s three and counting.

“Best Thing I Never Had” is the best of the three tunes we’ve heard so far and much more radio friendly than either “Run The World (Girls)” or “1 + 1,” which she nailed during a performance on “American Idol” last week. “Best Thing” counts as the official second single after “Run,” which flamed out at radio immediately.

“Best Thing I Never Had” is a classic heartbreak song that Beyonce delivers with total conviction. Though she wants desperately to be over this guy, she doth protest too much, and the pieces of her broken heart stab her at every turn. It's a tale of false bravado that rings true.

Unfortunately--and, for me, this is a big sticking point—the glaring, train wreck line of “It sucks to be you right now,” repeated throughout, threatens to ruin the song. That’s some lazy, horrible songwriting right there. (Beyonce told JustJared that the brilliant Babyface wrote the song. He knows ways better than that.) It takes an emotional song about pretending you’re over someone when you're hurt and your resentment bleeds through every line and brings it to a complete stop and reduces it to a total, of-the-moment, cliche. Maybe Beyonce can wear an “I’m with stupid” t-shirt in the video and close the shoot looking into the camera, saying “See ya. Wouldn’t want to be ya,” before declaring that she is all that “and a bag of chips.”

"4" streets on June 28.

What do you think of "Best Thing I Never Had?"

Best Thing I Never Had by Beyoncé

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<p>Lady Gaga's 'Born This Way' album cover</p>
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Lady Gaga's 'Born This Way' album cover

Lady Gaga's 'Born This Way' handily surpasses the million mark

Amazon promotion pushes the set to 1.1 million in first week

She did it with room to spare.  The official Nielsen SoundScan numbers are in and Lady Gaga’s “Born This Way” moved 1,108,000 copies in its first week, according to Billboard.

The tally makes it the best opening frame for an album since 50 Cent’s 2005 set “The Massacre,” sold 1.14 million in its first week.  Only 17 albums have accomplished the feat in the 20 years that SoundScan has been keeping count; the last to do so was Taylor Swift’s “Speak Now,” which squeaked by last fall with 1,006,000 copies.

As we’ve previously reported, Lady Gaga got a lot of help from Amazon, which offered a download of the entire album for 99 cents last Monday and Thursday. In fact, the Amazon sales are what moved the needle past into seven figures, as Billboard estimates that the online retailers shifted 440,000 copies of the album (at a loss of $3.2 million since it’s believed that Amazon paid $8 wholesale per album). Total digital sales were 662,000, which sets a record for the highest number in one week.

It seems impossible, but “Born This Way” is Lady Gaga’s first No. 1. “The Fame” topped out at No. 2, “The Fame Monster” at No. 5 and “The Remix” album at No. 6.

It goes without (but we’ll do it anyway) saying that when the Billboard 200 chart is released on Wednesday, Lady Gaga will push Adele’s “21” out of the top spot. "21" is slated to fall to No. 3 behind "Born This Way" and Brad Paisley's "This Is Country Music."

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