<p>Bono and U2 perform in Argentina last week.</p>

Bono and U2 perform in Argentina last week.

Credit: AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko

Music Power Rankings The Grammys, Adele and U2 make some noise

Plus: Lady Antebellum and Miranda Lambert and more

A little gold statue of a gramophone was making a big noise this week as the Grammy Awards announced the biggest restructuring in their 53-year history.  Will cutting 31 awards make a difference to the viewers? Absolutely none. Will it have a negative effect on lots of niche indie labels? You betcha. Many of the smaller record companies can’t play with the big boys in the major labels, but they could hold their own in sub-genres like Hawaiian, Cajun and Native American music, all of which had their own categories until Wednesday’s announcement.  The other big change is that the gender categories are gone...no more best male or best female wins.

1. The Grammys (not ranked last week): Music’s most prestigious awards undergo their first major restructuring in decades, dropping the number of categories from 109 to 78. Does this mean the show will come in under three hours? Not a chance since the televised broadcast only hands out 10 or so awards anyway.

2. U2 (not ranked): This weekend while the rest of us are goofing off, U2 will be making history as its “360” tour becomes the highest grossing tour ever. On Sunday at a stadium show in San Paulo, Bono and the boys will get even richer as “360” hits the staggering $558 million mark. That tops the Rolling Stones’ “Bigger Bang” tour. And the Irish band isn’t done yet. By the trek’s conclusion, the total take will be $700 million. Luck of the Irish, indeed.

3. Adele (not ranked): Move over Madge: Adele’s  sophomore set, “21,” celebrates its 10th week atop the British album chart surpassing Madonna’s record for the most weeks spent consecutively at the top of the chart by a female artist.

4. Lady Antebellum (not ranked):
The Grammy and ACM winners now have another feather in their cap: “Need You Now” just surpassed Taylor Swift’s “Love Story” as the most downloaded country song. Taylor needs to date someone uberfamous, get dumped and write a song PDQ.

5. Miranda Lambert (not ranked): She was the big winner at the ACMs with four as her juggernaut started with last fall’s CMAs continues. But she’s not content to stick with music: she’s developing a drama for ABC Family. No, it’s not a reality show about the family that hunts together stays together.

6. Warner Music Group (not ranked): the second round of bidding for the label group closes with Ron Burkle’s Yucaipa Companies leading the way with a $3 billion bid, according to the NY Post. Does that mean he might ask BFF Bill Clinton to run WMG? We just made that up, but how awesome would that be?

[More after the jump...]

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<p>Foo Fighters</p>

Foo Fighters

Album Review: Foo Fighters' 'Wasting Light'

Is Dave Grohl feeling the passage of time?

On “Wasting Light,” the Foo Fighters’ seventh studio album, founder Dave Grohl  has the sands of time running through his 42-year old mind. And he’d like to make one thing perfectly clear: he’s not going without a fight.  The album’s first line, “These are my famous last words: my number’s up,” on the spiky “Bridge Burning” is just the first clarion call. On “These Days,” one of the album’s strongest tracks, he sings, “one of these days, your eyes will close and the pain will disappear.” That may be OK for some, but not so for Grohl, who’s taking his heartbroken, bruised pride self with him kicking and screaming.

Nowhere is that more evident on album closer, “Walk,” where he rails and wails against time, “I’m on my knees, I never want to die, I never want to leave, I never want to say goodbye.”

Out April 12, “Wasting Light” is the band’s first studio album since 2007’s Grammy album of the year nominee “Echoes, Silence, Patience & Grace,” an effort that many longtime Foo fans didn’t take to but that included the band stretching out a little on tracks like “Ballad of the Beaconsfield Miners." While "Echoes" had its high points, including terrific track "Long Road To Ruin," "Wasting Light" Is a much more focused, tighter effort.

[More after the jump...]

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<p>Sade</p>

Sade

Listen: Sade's new 'Still in Love With You' from her 'Ultimate Collection'

Her heartbreak is icy blue

Sade fans got a fix last year when she released “Soldier of Love,” her first album of new material in 10 years  to great commercial and critical acclaim, but there’s more where that came from.  On May 3,  “The Ultimate Collection,” a two-disc, 29-song set comes out.  The first disc is basically a retread of “The Best of Sade” with two additional tracks, but the second disc includes eight songs not on the “Best of,” as well as four never release tunes, including the one we have below for you, “Still In Love With You.” There’s also a remix of “The Moon and the Sky” featuring Jay Z.

We don’t know the back story behind the largely-acoustic “Still in Love With You,” if it was meant for “Soldier Of Love” and didn’t make the cut or if it was recorded ages okay, but we do know it’s gorgeous as things dropped from Sade’s musical womb usually are. However, we have one big complaint (and we know this a lot of people’s issue with Sade), she is singing about getting her heart trampled on and she sounds about as emotional as if she were reciting her grocery list. (Reader Kevin below just informed us that this is a cover of a Thin Lizzy song.)

[More after the jump...]

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<p>Katy Perry</p>

Katy Perry

Does Katy Perry make it two weeks at No. 1 with 'E.T.?'

Adele hits a milestone on the Billboard Hot 100

Katy Perry and her ode to extraterrestrial love, “E.T.” featuring Kanye West, celebrate their second week at No. 1 on a fairly static Billboard Hot 100. Rihanna also stays put at No. 2 with “S&M,” as the Black Eyed Peas soar 5-3 with “Just Can’t Get Enough,” knocking Cee Lo Green’s “F**k You” down a spot to 4.

There is minimal rearranging within the Top 10 as “Born This Way” moves 4-5, Chris Brown’s “Look At Me Now” featuring Lil Wayne and Busta Rhymes moves 7-6, Jeremih’s “Down On Me” featuring 50 Cent goes up 9-7, Jennifer Lopez’s “On the Floor” featuring Pitbull moves 10-8 and Pink’s “F**kin’ Perfect” goes 8-9.

[More after the jump...]

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<p>Bruno Mars</p>

Bruno Mars

Credit: Joel Ryan/AP

Commentary: Why the Grammy changes still aren't enough

Who is most hurt by the deletion of 31 categories

This morning, the Recording Academy president/CEO Neil Portnow declared that slicing 31 categories from the Grammy Awards did not mean they were cutting out any genres.  And for the most part it looks like he was right. But that doesn’t mean the music industry is going to be happy.

When the Grammys started in 1959, they gave out golden gramophones in 28 categories. By this year, that had swelled to 109, although the general public was only aware of the dozen or so handed out during the prime-time ceremony. The rest are given out in a pre-telecast. Those awards, while they include many mainstream fields, also go to the niche genres, such as best Native American or Hawaiian music.

To clarify before we go further, the Recording Academy handed out 109 Grammys  this year in 30 fields. Each field basically represents a musical genre, such as classical or rock or alternative and each field could have as few as one category or as many as nine under its banner. 

In some ways, the sheer number of Grammys handed out had begun to diminish the prestige of the award (although certainly not to anyone who’s ever won one), and yet at the same time, the Grammys truly wanted to honor all different types of music no matter how out of the mainstream. Let’s put it this way, Jimmy Sturr still hasn’t gotten over the Grammys eliminating the polka category a few years ago. But they may have gone too far with some of these changes.

[More after the jump...]

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<p>Snoop and Wiz</p>

Snoop and Wiz

Watch: Snoop Dogg and Wiz Khalifa aren't sharing in the video for 'This Weed Iz Mine'

Ride off with them in a cloud of smoke

Prepare to get a contact high, but just know Snoop Dogg and Wiz Khalifa aren’t in the mood to share in the video for “This Weed Iz Mine.” As we previously reported, the song will be featured the pair’s movie “High School.” Do we really have to tell you what the movie is about? I think we have our new Method Man/Redman partners in crime.

Being high is the only possible excuse for the finery that Snoop is wearing on his head as the video opens.  While we’re at it, has there ever been someone other than Angelina Jolie who manages to have such seemingly disparate public personas? There’s the pee-wee league football coach/family man vs. the total stoner.

After he leaves a scantily-clad PYT lounging in bed, Snoop joins Wiz Khalifa for a little interplanetary trip as they roll in a fine yellow ride through the clouds of pot smoke and clouds in the sky leaving planet earth way behind. Enjoy, but just don’t inhale.
 

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The Grammys cut number of awards from 109 to 78
Credit: AP Photo

The Grammys cut number of awards from 109 to 78

What do the changes mean to music fans?

Nabbing a Grammy Award just became a little more difficult to do. Today, in a sweeping overhaul, the Recording Academy cut the number of awards to be handed out at the 54th Grammy Awards from 109 to 78.

At the Academy’s Santa Monica headquarters, president/CEO Neil Portnow  announced the changes, saying that the board of trustees began the broad restructuring in 2009 under the direction of then board chair Jimmy Jam.  “After careful and extensive review and analysis of all categories and fields, it was objectively determined that our Grammy categories be restructured,” Portnow said. “The transformation of the entire awards structure [ensures] all fields are treated with parity.”

We’re reviewing the changes now and will come back with our analysis, as well as explain the difference between a field  (i.e.: the genre) and a category (the specific award given within that genre), but Portnow insisted that the number of fields recognized would not change. It looks like that means a number of fields will be will combined to fit the smaller number of categories. For example, the Gospel field has been renamed the Gospel/Contemporary Christian Music field and the Dance field has been renamed the Dance/Electronica field.

[More after the jump...]

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<p>The Kills</p>

The Kills

Robbie Robertson, The Kills, Jim Jones and INXS lead April 5 release slate

Ray Davies and Smithereens also return

Set the wayback machine as April 5's  top releases come from such veteran rockers as Ray Davies, Robbie Robertson, INXS and The Smithereens.

Ray Davies, “See My Friends” (Decca): The Kinks’ frontman’s aptly titled new set features him collaborating with the likes of Bruce Springsteen, Metallica,  the late Alex Chilton,  Mumford & Sons, Smashing Pumpkins Billy Corgan and more on some of The Kinks’ most-loved songs.

Hollywood Undead, “American Tragedy” (A&M/Octone): Rock rappers who tend to sport custom-designed hockey player masks return with their first album with new singer Danny, who replaced Deuce. “American Idol” fans will remember Danny when he was called Daniel Murillo from last season.

INXS, “Original Sin” (Petrol Electric/Atco/Rhino):
Famous Australian band releases a “re-imagining” of its hits with such singers as Rob Thomas, Train’s Pat Monahan, Ben Harper and Nikka Costa doing their best Michael Hutchence imitations.

Jim Jones, “Capo” (E1 Music): 
Rapper Jones, an original member of the Diplomats, releases his fifth solo set with guests including Snoop Dogg, Raekwon, Cam’ron and Juelz Santana. Word is the Diplomats also plan a 2011 release.

[More after the jump...]

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<p>Robbie Robertson</p>

Robbie Robertson

Album Review: Robbie Robertson's 'How To Become Clairvoyant'

Trent Reznor, Eric Clapton, Tom Morello and the Dawes' Goldsmith join in

Robbie Robertson is Canadian, but he’s always worn his love of the Delta and the blues music of the south so overtly (especially on 1991’s “Storyville) that it feels like he should be from somewhere like New Orleans.  There’s a sultriness to his music that seems as if it can only be cultivated in the presence of great humidity and body heat. 

His fifth solo album, “How To Become Clairvoyant,” out Tuesday (April 5) is no different. The title track recalls the heavy-lidded sensuality of “Somewhere Down the Crazy River” from his 1987 self-titled solo debut with its imagery so strong you can conjure up the femme fatale he describes.

Like Bob Dylan, Robertson’s one of those artists who talks— or snarls— as much as he sings, but it’s always in a low-slung, sexy way that makes you want to lean in closer to hear what he’s saying. A bit of mystery hangs around the edges of his songs.

He remains a spare wordsmith, needing only a few choice phrases to express his point and create a mood, even when the commentary is as deliciously elliptical as “And I also enjoy levitation” at the end of the title track.

The genesis of the album, his first since 1998’s “Contact from the Underworld of Redboy,” came from Robertson and long time friend Eric Clapton noodling around. They put the work aside, only for Robertson to rediscover it a few years later. In addition to Clapton, who appears on seven songs here, Robertson is joined by Trent Reznor, Tom Morello, Robert Randolph, the Dawes’ Taylor Goldsmith and Steve Winwood, among others. Unlike some efforts where the guests overtake the album, they never crowd Robertson or outshine him except for those songs when he willingly cedes the spotlight, such as on “Fear of Falling,” where Robertson shares vocals with Clapton or on the Clapton-penned  instrumental “Madame X,” on which Reznor is credited with “additional textures.”

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<p>Taylor Swift: always so surprised</p>

Taylor Swift: always so surprised

Credit: AP Photo

6 Things You Didn't See at the ACMs: Lady A, Taylor Swift, Rihanna, more

Reports from backstage at the Academy of Country Music Awards in Las Vegas

The 46th Academy of Country Music Awards are in the rear view mirror, but before we leave them behind, we check in once again on some stuff we learned from big winners Miranda Lambert, Sugarland, Brad Paisley, Lady Antebellum and other acts while hanging around backstage at the show in Las Vegas last night:

Miranda Lambert on her new musical trio:
“I started this new project that’s going to debut on ‘Girl’s Night Out.’ It’s called Pistol Annies.”  The girl group is Lambert, Nashville singer/songwriters Ashley Monroe and Angaleena Presley. “It’s not your typical girl trio; we definitely have an edge.” “Girl’s Night Out: Superstar Women of Country” tapes tonight and airs on CBS on April 22.  According to a Trademarkia, a search engine for trademarks, Lambert owns the Pistol Annies name and applied for the trademark March 18, so they really are new.

Taylor Swift on the company she keeps: I think honestly for me just the impact and the significance of winning entertainer of the year, It’s just the biggest thing in the world to me because my heroes won that award. To have such amazing artists take me under their wing like Brad Paisley, Kenny Chesney, Tim McGraw, Keith Urban. These are all people I opened for. And George Strait. And then you look back to Shania Twain and Garth Brooks, the people I’m absolutely in awe of. I see those people and think entertainer. The fact that I’d be mentioned in the same breadth... is mind blowing to me."

[More after the jump...]

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