<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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<p>Eddie Vedder's &quot;Ukulele Songs&quot; </p>

Eddie Vedder's "Ukulele Songs"

Album Review: Eddie Vedder's 'Ukulele Songs'

Pearl Jam leader takes a solo turn with a ukulele by his side

Eddie Vedder recently joked to a New York Times reporter that his mission on “Ukulele Songs”  was “Can I make this happy little instrument as depressed as I am?”

The answer is no. No matter how hard he strums or picks on his new solo album, he can’t take the inherent joy out of the four-stringed instrument.

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<p>Cee Lo Green during his now infamous performance at the 2011 Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival.</p>

Cee Lo Green during his now infamous performance at the 2011 Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival.

Credit: AP Photo

Breaking News: Coachella expands to two weekends

Double the fun at the Indio, Calif. music festival starting in 2012

Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival, the multi-artist rock event that kicks off the yearly festival season, will expand to two weekends, according to Paul Tollett, head of Goldenvoice, the AEG-own promoter that produces the April fest.

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Coldplay reveals new song, 'Every Teardrop is a Waterfall,' on Friday

Coldplay reveals new song, 'Every Teardrop is a Waterfall,' on Friday

When will the Brian Eno-produced album follow?

It’s been a long wait and we’ve gotten a few teasers, but now Coldplay is finally ready to give us our first real taste of the British band’s long overdue fifth studio album. By the time we wake up on Friday morning,  first single,“Every Teardrop is a Waterfall,” will be available for streaming on www.coldplay.com.

Photobucket

Coldplay drummer Will Champion sent out this email missive to fans today.

“Dear friends,

We're about to play a bunch of summer festivals so it's as good a time as any to put out a new song.

'Every Teardrop Is A Waterfall' will be available digitally on Friday 3rd June at 12pm (BST), except in the UK where it'll come out on the stroke of midnight between Saturday 4th and Sunday 5th June.

We'll also stream it on Coldplay.com on Friday and give it a run out at Rock Im Park.

Love, Will”


The band will spend the summer exclusively headlining festivals around the world starting with Nuremberg’s Rock im Park in Germany on June 3.   The only U.S. date is Chicago’s Lollapalooza, which runs Aug. 5-7.

Still no word on when the Brian Eno-produced album, Coldplay’s follow-up to 2008’s “Viva La Vida or Death and All His Friends” will surface, but odds are on this fall.

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<p>Death Cab For Cutie</p>

Death Cab For Cutie

Death Cab, My Morning Jacket, DMB, Eddie Vedder lead new May 31 releases

Kate Bush and NKOTB's Jordan Knight also return

It’s a rock bonanza this week with new releases from Death Cab for Cutie, My Morning Jacket, Flogging Molly, Eddie Vedder and Dave Matthews Band on May 31. Then, of course, New Kids on the Block’s Jordan Knight is sure to make all the ladies scream. Are any of the titles likely to dislodge Lady Gaga’s “Born This Way” from the No. 1 spot? No, but they should log some strong numbers.

Kate Bush, “Director’s Cut” (Fish People/EMI): British singing icon revamps 11 songs from 1989’s  “The Sensual World” and 1993’s “The Red Shoes" on this new effort.

Death Cab for Cutie, “Codes and Keys” (Atlantic): Fronted by alterna-hit “You Are A Tourist,” “Codes and Keys” is the Bellingham, Wash.- quartet’s seventh studio album and is filled with gentle, low-key, melodic rock.


Flogging Molly, “Speed of Darkness” (SideOne Dummy): College faves and Celtic punk rockers recorded their latest in a church near Asheville, N.C. with producer Ryan Hewillt, best known for his work with Avett Bros. and Red Hot Chili Peppers.

Jordan Knight, “Unfinished” (JK Music/Mass Appeal): Two weeks after New Kids on the Block release their album with bandmates Backstreet Boys, NKOTB’s Knight goes it alone with his first solo album since 2006’s “Love Songs.” Could someone explain to me how he can still be a new kid when he’s 41?

Dave Matthews Band, “Live At Wrigley Field” (Bama Rags/RCA): Hardcore fans will have, of course, taped the show, but for the rest of us, here’s a chance to grab our own copy of the group’s 2010 Chi-Town show.

My Morning Jacket, “Circuital” (ATO):
Louisville alt-rockers latest was recorded in their hometown and Nashville with lead singer Jim James and Tucker Martine (R.E.M., the Decemberists) at the help. From the quietly building title track to the retro, funky “Holdin’ On to Black Metal,” MMJ mixes it up on its first release since 2008’s “Evil Urges.”  Fans won’t want to miss the live YouTube stream of the band’s 5/31 concert directed by Todd Haynes.

The Vaccines, “What Did You Expect From the Vaccines?” (Columbia): British rockers attempt to dominate on this side of the Atlantic following the album’s No. 4 debut in the U.K. Catch them on tour with the Arctic Monkeys this summer.

Eddie Vedder, “Ukulele Songs” (Monkey Wrench): Pearl Jam frontman’s solo album salutes the ukulele with this album of originals and covers. Also out on May 31, “Water on the Road: Eddie Vedder Live,” from Aug. 16-17, 2008 solo shows at Warner Theater, Washington, D.C. 

 

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<p>Lady Gaga</p>
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Lady Gaga

Credit: Charles Sykes/AP

Lady Gaga poised to sail past 1 million on Billboard 200 next week

How far does Adele's '21' fall?

She worked hard for every single copy sold, but it looks like Lady Gaga’s “Born This Way” will join the rarified club of artists whose album sells more than 1 million copies in its opening week.

Original predictions were that “Born This Way” would move around 800,000 copies, but that was before Amazon sold it for 99 cents for two days. The promotion, as troubled as it was by some downloading problems, will help send the album over the 1.15 million mark, predicts Billboard. The last artist to surpass the mark was Taylor Swift with "Speak Now" last fall.

Brad Paisley’s “This Is Country Music” comes in at second place on the Billboard 200 with sales of around 155,000, meaning Adele’s “21” slips to third place, but still tops the 100,000 mark.

In addition to Lady Gaga and Paisley’s sets, five other titles bow in the top 10: “Glee Cast: Vol. 6” flies in at No. 4 with sales of around 80,000; Maybach Music Group Presents: Self Made, Vol. 1,” a collection of artists on Mayback, debuts at No. 6. The co-joined New Kids on the Block and Back Street Boys combo comes in at No. 7, as NKOTBSB's self-titled setis poised to sell around 40,000.

Journey and Walmart prove the strength of both brands as “Eclipse” starts at No. 8, despite being available only at the mass marketer.  Up-and-coming Los Angeles band Foster the People benefits from a long, well-developed set-up by Columbia Records as  “Torches” begins its chart life at No. 9 with sales of 30,000. Mumford & Sons’ “Sigh No More” hangs in there at No. 10, moving around 30,000 copies.

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<p>Lady Gaga</p>

Lady Gaga

Credit: Evan Agostini/AP

Music Power Rankings: Lady Gaga delivers 'Born This Way' after longest gestation period ever

Scotty, Beyonce and LMFAO also make the list

C’mon. Did anyone really think that the Rapture was going to happen before Lady Gaga put out “Born This Way?” Trust me, if Momma Monster had any inkling that the Rapture might be real, she would have popped that puppy two weeks ago.


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<p>Scotty McCreery</p>
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Scotty McCreery

Credit: Matt Sayles/AP

'American Idol' winner Scotty McCreery soars to the top of iTunes

How does Lauren Alaina fare?

Scotty McCreery is a winner in more ways than one. Wednesday night’s “American Idol” champ’s first single, “I Love You This Big” soared to No. 1 on iTunes.

Runner-Up Lauren Alaina is second to McCreery on iTunes’ chart as well, as her tune “Like My Mother Does” stands at No. 2.

Both singles were released by Mercury Records, a Nashville country imprint under the Universal Music Group label. Season 10 marked a switch of labels for the “American Idol” franchise from Sony Music to UMG. Though nothing has been announced, depending upon how the singles perform, this could be an indicator of which label will release their post-”Idol” albums.

Speaking of, both artists already have full albums available on iTunes of their “American Idol” performances (credited only to 19 Recordings, which is the imprint for all "Idol" sets).  On iTunes album chart, McCreery has to give way to Lady Gaga; his compilation is No. 2, while Alaina’s stands at No. 5.

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