Credit: AP Photo/Evan Agostini

Madonna to get back into the groove on new studio album

Superstar set to return to recording

New Madonna is on the way. Or at least will be. Madge can’t let Lady Gaga and Britney Spears steal all her thunder, can she?

Her manager, Guy Oseary, tweeted today that the singer-turned-director will begin work soon on her follow-up to 2008’s “Hard Candy.”  “Madonna goes into the recording studio next month to begin work on new album,” Oseary tweeted.

He also added that “she has a good idea on which producers she will be working with,” but spilled no names.

As far as a tour, he says there’s nothing to report. “You guys know how this works...first comes the album and next comes the....” 

As you know, Madonna has been busy with working on her film career behind the camera. The Weinstein Co. announced on Monday that it had picked up U.S. distribution rights to “W.E.,” a romantic comedy directed and co-written by the Material Girl.


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<p>Lenny Kravitz</p>

Lenny Kravitz

Listen Lenny Kravitz takes a 'Stand' on summer's best song

The sun will instantly come out when you play this

Pure awesomeness. That’s what the new Lenny Kravitz single is. “Stand,” came out a few days ago, but just came to our attention today and we loved it so much we wanted to call it to your attention. It is a perfect pop slice that is implanted into your head after one listen. We promise.

It’s been quite a while since Kravitz released a song that we cared about-- maybe 10 years?  But this little gem makes up for all the stuff we already forgot about. Is it original? Not particularly. We also can’t quite figure out when he started sounding so much like Elvis Costello (or at least for the first verse or so) crossed with Sheryl Crow.  And just when things threaten to get boring, he goes into a fun, flirty guitar break. But those things are unimportant when it’s a beautiful summer day, there’s not a cloud in the sky and the open road is calling. Put this on, snap your fingers and escape.

As we previously reported, Kravitz has been cast in "The Hunger Games" and is on tour with U2. His new album comes out in August. It's really, really good to be Lenny right now.

What do you think? 

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<p>Fiona Apple</p>

Fiona Apple

Listen: Fiona Apple's take on Buddy Holly's 'Everyday'

Is it sweet or tart?

It’s been quite a while since we’ve gotten any new music from Fiona Apple. While more time may have to pass before we get her own album, today we got her cover of Buddy Holly’s “Everyday.”

The song is included on “Rave On: Buddy Holly,” the June 28 set featuring covers of Holly-penned and/or recorded songs by the likes of the Black Keys, Paul McCartney, Florence + the Machine and lots of others.

Unlike some of the artists who have tackled Holly and revamped the tunes, Apple and producer Jon Brion do a fairly straight-up interpretation of the song. If anything, they’ve made it even sweeter with a lilting, playful xylophone that is, quite frankly, just adorable. There’s a certain dreamy wistfulness to the tune that’s very appealing due to her understated vocals and Brion's harmonies.

As we previously reported, the last we heard from Apple was almost a year ago on a collection of tunes for a Los Angeles non-profit and on Margaret Cho's album



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<p>Shania Twain</p>

Shania Twain

Credit: AP Photo

Listen: Does Shania Twain's new 'Today is Your Day' impress you much?

'Today is Your Day' is superstar's first new track in six years

Shania Twain’s first single in six years “Today is Your Day,” hit radio and iTunes today.  The tune, which she previewed Sunday night on her OWN show, “Why Not? With Shania Twain” is a bromide-filled tune about grabbing the day with gusto. More importantly, it’s also her first song written without ex-husband and producer/collaborator Robert “Mutt” Lange.

The message is uplifting and will surely appeal to anyone going through a tough time as a reminder that it can and will get better. But it’s also in a certain no-nonsense, “don’t expect too much” manner. As she sings, “Life’s gonna kick you around/Brush yourself off no regrets/don’t expect more or less/just go out and give it your best.” In other words,   forget dreaming for a better day, today is all you’ve got.

More than anything, she seems to have written the song as a message to herself. As her OWN show chronicled, Lange allegedly slept with her best friend. Twain is now married to former best friend’s former husband (are you still with me?).  But she’s had a hell of a time moving on and the stress affected her ability to sing.

Enough of the backstory. How is the actual song? Well, it’s a bit snoozy. The good news is that Twain sounds reasonably strong vocally. She’s not pushing or belting in any way, but she’s upfront and center. However, her delivery is hardly the peppy rallying call that the lyrics call for and if a song ever demanded to be uptempo, this would be it, instead of the slow mid-tempo draggy tempo we have here. And perhaps in an effort to compensate for that, producer Nathan Chapman has surrounded her (after a relatively uncluttered start to the song) with a banjo, strings and assorted other instrumentation.

Is it just us or isn’t the piano opening totally reminiscent of “Easy” from The Commodores? That’s kind of funny since Twain, who will start a Las Vegas residency in 2012, cut a remake of “Endless Love” with ex-head Commodore Lionel Richie.

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<p>Britney Spears</p>

Britney Spears

Credit: AP Photo

Watch: Britney Spears reveals secrets from her 'Femme Fatale' tour

What does she never leave home without? It's not her AMEX card

Britney Spears’s “Femme Fatale” tour kicks off Thursday, June 16, at Sacramento, but she teases us with a little hint of what we can expect in this new interview.

Watch below as a tired, but fit looking, Spears, says not much of anything at all, other than  that this upcoming tour is “more me than any show I’ve ever done.”  She also promises amazing costumes and lots of surprises. In other words, “buy a ticket, don’t expect me to spill it all for free, y’all.”

Plus, sweetly, she admits that she still gets nervous, but “after the third song, I calm down.”

She also reveals what she won’t leave home without.

The interview is for the U.K. morning show “Daybreak” to promote her fall U.K. concerts, hence the focus on England. Wouldn't it have been awesome if the interviewer had asked her how she manages to sing when she's dancing around so much? 

Are you going to see Britney this time around?

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<p>Billie Joe Armstrong</p>

Billie Joe Armstrong

Billie Joe Armstrong playing St. Jimmy in 'American Idiot' film adaptation

Tom Hanks' Playtone will produce musical adaptation

As has been rumored, Green Day frontman Billie Joe Armstrong will appear as pusher St. Jimmy in the movie version of “American Idiot.”

Armstrong, who appeared in the role in Broadway last fall and then reprised his role for the closing shows in March.

Tom Hanks’ Playtone is adapting the musical for screen, making it the second musical adaption for the company following the blockbuster “Mamma Mia,” according to The Hollywood Reporter.

No word on how filming will affect a new Green Day album. A few weeks ago, Armstrong tweeted that the group is penning a new set: “There’s a ton of new songs,” he says. “The direction is fresh and hi energy. Feels great.”


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<p>Lady Gaga</p>
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Lady Gaga

Credit: Andrew Medichini/AP

Can Adele reclaim the top spot from Lady Gaga on the Billboard 200 next week?

After 20 years, who bows his first solo album on the chart?

Lady Gaga’s initial stint at No. 1  may end after only two weeks if Adele has her way. As on Friday, the two were locked in a dead heat for No. 1 for the top of the charts. Both “Born This Way”  and “21” are on target to sell between 110,000 and 120,000 copies, according to Hits Daily Double.

That’s twice as much as “Dirty Work”  from All Time Low and “All 6’s and 7’s” from Tech N9ne are slated to move to duke it out for No. 3.

Ronnie Dunn’s self-titled first solo album following his departure from Brooks & Dunn will wrestle with Brad Paisley’s  “This is Country Music” for the No. 5 spot.

Rounding out the top 10 are likely to be Jason Aldean’s  “My Kinda Party”(although he could see a bit of a spike over the weekend following his show-stealing CMT Music Awards performance) at no. 7,  “Now 38” at No. 8, Eddie Vedder’s “Ukulele Songs” at No. 9 and top 10 resident “Sigh No More” from Mumford & Sons at No. 10

Below the top 10, Arctic Monkey’s “Suck It and See” could come in at high as No. 11, although there are four other titles slated to sell between 18,000 and 21,000 as well for that honor.

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<p>Clarence Clemons</p>
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Clarence Clemons

Credit: Bebeto Matthews/AP

UPDATED:E Street Band's Clarence Clemons suffers stroke, reported to be 'seriously ill'

Lady Gaga's 'The Edge of Glory' features Clemons, she asks for fans' help

Clarence Clemons, Bruce Springsteen and E Street Band’s saxophonist, has suffered a stroke, according to several reports.

Clemons, known and loved as The Big Man, is a founding member of the E Street Band and Springsteen’s stage sidekick. Clemons, 69,  the most famous member of the band after The Boss. He is immortalized in “10th Ave. Freezeout” from 1975’s “Born To Run,” in the verse, “When the change was made uptown and the Big Man joined the band/from the coastline to the city all the little pretties raise their hands/I’m gonna sit back right easy and laugh/when Scooter and the Big Man bust this city in half/With a 10th Ave. freeze out.”   Scooter is Springsteen’s alter ego.

As Springsteen often says when introducing Clemons: "You wanna be him, but you can't." He's simply the personification of cool. As someone who's seen more than 30 Springsteen shows over more than 25 years, it's been sad to watch health issues diminish some of Clemon's abilities, but there hasn't even been a show that he hasn't still brought, at the very least, a smile to my face. On some nights, especially during his challenging "Jungleland" solo he's brought much, much more.

Clemons in on a Top 10 record on the Billboard Hot 100 right now: he plays saxophone on  Lady Gaga’s “The Edge Of Glory.” He’s also on the track, “Hair.”

Roger Friedman’s Showbiz411.com broke the news mid-afternoon on Sunday and Rolling Stone later confirmed it.  According to Showbiz411, Clemons is “said to be seriously ill after a stroke at his home in Florida.” 

We reached out to Clemons' publicist and as of Monday morning, she said there was no official update.  We have no idea how "official" this person is, but a "source" on Springsteen fan site Backstreets.com, reported that Clemons came through two surgeries following the stroke and is responsive. We have not been able to verify that information, but since it's good news, we hope it's true.

UPDATE: Via Twitter, Lady Gaga asked her fans to wish Clemons well: "Little monsters, my very close friend +musician on The Edge of Glory, Clarence Clemons is very sick. Can we all make some get well videos?"

UPDATE 6/14: Bruce Springsteen issued the following statement on Tuesday, June 14: By now, many of you have heard that our beloved comrade and sax player Clarence Clemons has suffered a serious stroke.  While all initial signs are encouraging, Clarence will need much care and support to achieve his
potential once again.  He has his wonderfully supportive wife, Victoria, excellent doctors and health care professionals, and is surrounded by friends and family.
I thank you all for your prayers and positive energy and concern.  This is a time for us all to share in a hopeful spirit that can ultimately inspire Clarence to greater heights.   -- Bruce Springsteen

For those who wish to send a message to Clarence Clemons:

There is now an e-mail address notestoclarence@clarenceclemons.com that you can send a note if you want. It is for notes only and not an information site and no one will be able to respond right now

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<p>Katy Perry</p>
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Katy Perry

Credit: Victoria Will/AP

Watch: Katy Perry goes from dork to glam in fun clip for 'Last Friday Night (TGIF)'

'Friday's' Rebecca Black drops in to help the transformation

Leave all the drama and religious subtext to Lady Gaga, Katy Perry just wants to have fun. A great deal of her appeal remains her ability to play both the total glamor puss and the girl next door.

In the adorable video for “Last Friday Night (TGIF),” Perry’s nerdy alter ego Kathy Beth Terry undergoes the best transformation since Marcia Brady made over her ugly duckling buddy, Molly, into a swan. And then Molly gets all the attention. Does Katy/Kathy get the prince... well, yes she does, in the sweetest possible way.

Plus, she extends Rebecca Black’s fifteen minutes of fame as the “Friday” singer oversees the changes and administers a mean lip wax.  That scene, plus when the nerdy Kathy tries to bite one of the silicone chicken cutlets that’s about to help stuff her bra, makes me laugh. And that’s before we’ve even gotten to the Kenny G sax solo  (mad props to both him and Michael Bolton--they’re touring together, by the way--for realizing they can become hip through letting themselves be the butt of the joke.

Anyway, all of Kathy’s Beth’s transformations and transgressions are caught on camera and posted on the web for all to see. This is 2011, after all.

It’s a fun, sweet clip. We’ll see if it helps propel “Last Friday Night” to No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100, which would make it her fifth chart topper from “Teenage Dream.”


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<p>Steve Jobs</p>
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Steve Jobs

Credit: Paul Sakuma/AP

Music Power Rankings: We're in the clouds with Apple and on the ground with Bonnaroo

Plus, Taylor, Shania and Coldplay make the list

Once again, Apple may not be first, but, per usual, it will have the last word. Following Amazon and Google, Apple unleashes its new locker service, iCloud, this week. (Still to come, eMusic, which plans to launch its cloud service later this year).

In a nutshell, all of your music (and anything else clogging up space on any of your devices) can now be sent into space (or wherever it goes, perhaps onto a fluffy white cumulus cloud) and can be beamed down instantly to any of your machines, wirelessly. The more exciting element, iTunes Match, which lets you scan your library and download it to any device--regardless of whether the music was obtained legally, will bow this fall. One small step....

1) Apple iCloud (not ranked):
Steve Jobs makes a rare appearance to announce the latest Apple innovation, which stores all your music (and other stuff) and pushes them to your devices wirelessly--think of it, as Apple says, as  “a hard drive in the sky.” Apple gets the big four labels to sign off on the deal, which is a little something that Amazon forgot. Whoops.

2) Bonnaroo (not ranked):
The 10th anniversary of the Manchester, Tenn. fest sold out before the first note was played with one of its most diverse line-ups. Here’s hoping the Thursday death will be the only downside during the June 9-12- festival.

3) Pandora (not ranked): The online music streaming service is expected to raise a whopping $200 million in its upcoming IPO. This is for a company that has yet to turn a profit, yet  has 90 million registered members.

4) Coldplay (not ranked): British band returns with “Every Teardrop Is a Waterfall,” the first single  from its fifth studio album.  The song, which samples Peter Allen and Adrienne Anderson’s “I Go To Radio,”  is part synth, part The Edge-like guitars and all hit: it debuts at No. 29 on the Billboard Hot 100. Welcome back, fellas.

5) Google (not ranked):
The search engine’s  incredibly cool logo on June 9 to commemorate what would have been   Les Paul’s 96th birthday may not have saved the world or made the company millions, but how cool was it to be able to strum and record and share what you created. I wish I knew how to play “How High The Moon.” Click here to see what guitar wiz Tom Morello created from his Google Doodle.

6) Shania Twain (not ranked)
: She took a big tumble at the CMT Music Awards, but otherwise it was a total thumbs-up week for Twain as she announced her return to the stage via a Las Vegas Caesars Palace residency that will begin late 2012. That’s huge news after her near-decade long hiatus and her fears that she’d never sing again.

7) Taylor Swift (not ranked): She never stepped foot in the venue and yet stole the CMT Music Awards with her “Thelma & Louise” spoof with opening with Shania Twain and took home the big prize, video of the year.

8) Jason Aldean (not ranked): He was the leading nominee going into Wednesday night’s CMT Music Awards and walked away with empty handed in terms of trophies, but was the clear winner when it came to his performance of “Dirt Road Anthem”  with rapper Ludacris. Their duet is now on iTunes and country music’s best kept secret may not be such a secret any longer. 

9) Steve Popovich (not ranked):
His name wouldn’t mean anything to the average music fan, but Steve Popovich, who died this week, was the consummate label executive and he’s largely the reason we all have Meatloaf’s “Bat Out Of Hell” in our music collections--or should.  His death comes on the rapid heels of Andrew Gold and Martin Rushent’s passings. Could we please slow the shuffling off this mortal coil down just a little?

10) Erykah Badu (not ranked): God bless her, she hasn’t had a hit in a hot minute--or two (unless you want to count the modest success of  last year’s “Window Seat”), but she tweets that her label, Motown, is folding following the departure of Sylvia Rhone and all eyes are on her. The powers that be say it isn’t so... until, of course, it is.

What do you think of this week's rankings?

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