Prince’s “Welcome 2 America” concert series will touch down first in New Jersey.
New York’s WBLS announced the first three dates today on air: Dec, 14-15, 17 at the Izod Center in E. Rutherford, N.J. (It will always be the Meadowlands to us). That show ill be followed by two Madison Square Garden shows on Dec. 19 and 29.
Tickets, according to WBLS, go on sale Oct. 30. The R&B station is also giving away tickets to the show.
As we previously reported, the “Welcome 2 America” shows will feature Prince as the emcee (and performer) and will also feature Janelle Monae, Sheila E, Cassandra Wilson, Maceo Parker, Esperanza Spalding, Mint Condition, and the New Power Generation. We don’t know if each artist will appear on each date.
Prince’s “Welcome 2 America” concert series will touch down first in New Jersey.
Before lucky fans get to see a 25-minute look at “Tron: Legacy” on Friday on an IMAX screen, check out this 2-minute snippet of from the movie featuring a nice chunk of Daft Punk's score. This piece is called “Derezzed.” And no, we have no idea what it means, although some “Tron” geek might.
After some opening drum beats, the theme from the French dance music duo is pretty much a repeating synthesized loop with a few other sequences thrown in. It’s hypnotic and fits perfectly to picture. The editors have done an excellent job of integrating the score with the sound effects so they complement, instead of compete, with each other.
We believe that may also be the duo in the suits in the beginning, according to this still we ran a few weeks ago.
The score, the pair’s first, comes out Nov. 22. While some streams of the “Tron” score have been available, including on Seattle’s KNND website (although they have since taken them down) and on the "Tron" website , this are the first longer scenes of the music and picture together. You can also hear a little bit of Daft Punk's pulsing, ominous score in the trailer, which came out in March.
Is Taylor Swift singlehandedly going to save the music industry? Of course not, but it looks like she’s going to have a darn good opening week. After only 24 hours on sale, “Speak Now” is on target (or should we say on Target, given her exclusive deluxe edition through the retailer) to sell as much as 900,000 in its opening week, according to Hits Daily Double. That would best this year’s former champ, Eminem’s “Recovery,” which sold 741,000 copies in its opening week in June.
“Speak Now” is on top of iTunes’ album chart today, followed by Kings of Leon’s extended version of “Come Around Sundown” and the regular version.
Additionally, four of the songs, “Sparks Fly,” “Innocent,” “The Story of Us,” and “Dear John,”--a quartet of tunes that were not released prior to the album’s street date-- are in the top 10 on iTunes’ Songs chart.
So why is Swift still selling albums when many of her younger fans are dedicated singles buyers? Here are a few reasons why:
*As much as Swift has become a pop sensation, much of her base is in country and country fans, by and large, still buy albums, not just singles.
*In the media, Swift has done such a canny job of letting everyone know that each song is about someone else--and that someone else is possibly very famous--that people want the whole album so they can guess whom the tracks are about and parse the not-so-hidden meanings. Speaking of, here is a really fun piece by my colleague Chris Willman about whom each song may be about.
*Even though many of her fans are singles buyers, they are now buying the tracks that hadn’t previously been released over the last few weeks, so once someone buys 10 tracks from an album (regardless of how many tracks over that there may be on the album), that counts as an “album equivalent” sales to Nielsen SoundScan.
*Although she’s only one more album into her career than Katy Perry, Swift has built up an extremely loyal following. Perry, whose “Teenage Dream” sold less than 200,000 copies in its first week in a major disappointment, is seen by many as more of a “celebrity” than an artist. That’s no necessarily her fault, but Swift stays out of the gossip rags, by and large, and focuses largely on her music.
*For newer fans who had never heard of her before the whole Kanye West 2009 MTV VMA kerfuffle (which she very adroitly managed to keep alive for a full year until she debuted “Innocent” at this year’s VMAs), this is their first chance to buy a new album since all that mess.
*In so much as they matter at all any more, the album is getting stellar reviews across the board, which helps those sitting on the fence to plunk down their money. Here's our review.
*Her label, Big Machine, saturated the market. There are rumored to be 2 million copies out there, so the good news is there is no chance of anyone walking into a retailer and not being able to find it because it’s on back order.
*As is usually the case on opening week for most superstar titles, there is some nice discounting going on. “Speak Now” has a list price of $18.98 (not that anyone is paying that), but it is selling for $8 at Amazon and Target ($14.99 for the deluxe edition) and $9.99 at Best Buy.
Nicki Minaj managed to do today what no other female artist before her has done: she landed on MTV’s Hottest MC in the Game list. Minaj comes in at No. 6. Who came in higher than she? No. 1 is Eminem, and then Jay-Z, Kanye West, Drake and Rick Ross.
MTV recaps Minaj’s year--bear in mind she hasn’t even had an album out yet (although that all changes next month) and the list was so exhaustive, we had to take a nap. In addition to her own No. 1 with “Your Love,” she collaborated with the likes of Kanye West, Jay Z, DJ Khaled, Drake, Christina Aguilera, Sean Kingston, Usher, Jay Sean, Trey Songz and millions more.
The artists on the list were chosen by an MTV braintrust (no jokes...) based on the MCs shyme skills, commercial success, web presence, business ventures and cultural influence. In other words, the list is totally subjective. It's the third year the list has been compiled.
Rounding out the top 10 are Lil Wayne (7), Waka Flocka Flame (8), B.o.B. (9) and Ludacris (10).
U2 will bring its 360 Tour to Vanderbilt University on July 2, 2011 at the Vanderbilt Stadium, according to the Tennessean. The last time wasDec. 2, 1981, also at Vandy, and we’re sure it wasn’t at the stadium, which holds 45,000 people. Tickets are $30-$350. Florence and the Machine will open.
The presale for fan club members starts Oct. 26, with tickets open to the general public on Oct. 29.
U2 has added a number of additional dates for Australia New Zealand, Mexico City and South Africa. For a complete list of tour dates, go to www.u2.com.
Really, all you need to know this week, in case you’ve been hiding under a rock, is that the new Taylor Swift album comes out Oct. 25. Sure there are other noteworthy releases, but T-Swift is the one everyone is talking about. Here are a few other selections, some of which join Swift with an off-cycle Monday release date, whereas others are on the normal Tuesday release date.
Jeff Beck, “Live and Exclusive From the Grammy Museum” (Atco): Sometimes the title says it all.
Bryan Ferry, “Olympia” (Astralwerks): Ferry reunites with his Roxy Music band mates for first single, “You Can Dance,” and is joined be a slew of artists on his first album in eight years. Also joining the elegant party are Radiohead’s Jonny Greenwood, Red Hot Chili Pepper’s Flea, Pink Floyd’s David Gilmour, and members of the Scissor Sisters.
Buddy Guy, “Living Proof” (Silvertone/Jive): Legendary gunslinger is joined by a few other legends: B.B. King and Carlos Santana, for his latest set. Remarkably, “Stay Around a Little Long,” his tune with King, marks the first time the two icons have performed together on a studio release.
Mark Salling, “Pipe Dreams” (Pipe Dreams): “Glee’s” Puck is the first of the cast to get out a solo album since the show’s launch. It’s a one-man affair as he wrote the music and plays all the instruments on the set.
Senses Fail, “The Fire” (Vagrant): Emo rockers release fourth studio album and their first with guitarist Zack Roach.
Taylor Swift, “Speak Now” (Big Machine): Maybe you’re heard of her. Country singer who’s now taken the pop world by storm. She had a little run in with Kanye West. New album out today. Read review here.
Avey Tare, “Down There” (Paw Tracks): Animal Collective member (say the name quickly) releases his solo debut that focuses on an ambient vibe and electronic sounds, but blends in such out-there sounds as bells and birds. The cover is a a painting of a man with a crocodile head for a face. The album is worth it for the cover art alone.
Various Artists, “Treme: Music from the HBO Original Series Season 1” (Geffen): Soundtrack to acclaimed HBO series focuses on the magnificent musical playground that is New Orleans. Among the artists featured are Dr. John, Irma Thomas, Trombone Shorty, Kermit Ruffins and more.
Country will rule again on the Billboard 200 for the fourth time in the last five weeks as Sugarland’s “The Incredible Machine” is poised to power itself to No. 1 next week. While it’s still possible that Kings of Leon’s “Come Around Sundown” will surpass “Machine,” it looks like Sugarland will sell around 200,000 compared with KoL’s 180,000.
It’s a first for Music Power Rankings. We rank a genre at the top spot. While rock seems to be languishing--Linkin Park was one of the few rock groups to top the Billboard 200 this year-- country is flourishing. The fourth country acts in five weeks will reach the summit next week when Sugarland comes in at No. 1. And, as you’ll read below, the domination ends no time soon.
1. Country Music (not ranked last week): With Sugarland in the lead to top the Billboard 200 next week, that will make four country acts to top the big chart in five weeks:, Zac Brown, Kenny Chesney, Toby Keith and now Sugarland. With Swift’s album out Oct. 25, there’s no question she’ll follow Sugarland into No. 1. The only question is how long she’ll stay.
2.Citi Bank (not ranked): The music and financial world are watching the Terra Firma/Citigroup Trial as EMI’s fate hangs in the balance.
3. Lil Wayne (No. 6): Yep, he’s still in the hoosegow, and yet he accomplishes what no artist has done in years. “I Am Not A Human Being” debuted at No. 2 two weeks ago based solely on digital sales. Two weeks later, Weezy added physical sales to the mix and that was enough to boost his rocket from 16-1. http://www.hitsdailydouble.com/news/rumormill.cgi
4.Taylor Swift (No. 1): Anticipation is building for her third album, “Speak Now,” as she releases one track a week on iTunes. Will “Speak Now” sell enough in less than two months to become the top seller of the year, topping Eminem’s “Recovery?” We’d never say never.
5.Kanye West (not ranked): The rapper continues the buzz for his forthcoming album, “My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy,” by previewing the accompanying 35-minute movie, “Runaway,” in both L.A. and N.Y. and then proceeds to go after a LA Times reporter via Twitter who accidentally leaves the word “beautiful” out of his story. This is the kinder, gentler Kanye?
6.Rihanna (not ranked): She changes management to Jay Z’s Roc Nation company just in time for the release of her new album, ‘’’. She’s also starting a new company called Rihanna Entertainment that will include all her ventures including music, film, fragrance, fashion and books. Forget “Rated R.” Rihanna is now rated $$$. It might get “Loud.”
7. Wind-Up (not ranked): We thought this indie’s best days were long past it, but apparently not, as a number of suitors, including Sony Music, are circling the home of Creed, Seether, Evanescence, and, let’s not forget, Emily Osment, for a possible purchase price of $30 million.
8. Irving Azoff (not ranked): He starts a new management company in Nashville with Big Machine’s Scott Borchetta and Jewel’s manager, Virginia Davis, called B.A.D. The sun never sets on Irving’s empire.
9. Tim Quirk (not ranked): The former Rhapsody executive and Too Much Joy lead singer is tapped to possibly head Google’s music service, although sources tell Billboard his title will be director of content programming for music, not head honcho.
10. K’naan (not ranked): You may only known the Somalian-Canadian artist for “Wavin’ Flag,” his anthem for this summer’s world cup, but just wait. Soon he’ll be teaching the world to sing as part of a $300 million Coca-Cola global marketing deal.
Music Power Rankings appear every Friday.
Ever have the overwhelming urge to see Matthew McConaughey in a gorilla suit? Well, here’s your chance. On the video for Jamey Johnson’s “Playing the Part,” McConaughey hides his pretty, pretty package in a chimp suit as he strolls through Venice and Hollywood dejected and worn down by the L.A. grind. He even seeks solace at King Kong’s star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Things, however, turn much brighter when he saunters (or saunters as much as a gorilla can), into some downtown honky tonk where Johnson is playing. Johnson is so laid back here it’s a damn miracle he’s upright.
McConaughey’s director’s cut premiered on Vevo today and it has much that will undoubtedly be cut out of the real version including a pointless opening with a sleazy boss having phone sex until he’s distracted by the poor schlub he’s hired to put on the gorilla suit and spin a sign outside of his hubcap establishment. It explains why McConaughey is in a gorilla suit, but can definitely be edited. Otherwise, the video is a fun look at sites many of us who live here with a very familiar with, including the characters who inhabit Venice Beach and Hollywood Blvd.
In interviews, Taylor Swift often comes across all wide-eyed wonder, preternaturally sweet, and with girlish, bounce-on-the-bed enthusiasm. And, most importantly, she's very careful to reveal nothing.
It turns out that’s because she’s been saving all the good stuff for “Speak Now,” her new album out Oct. 25. Her first two collections, 2006’s self-titled effort and 2008’s “Fearless,” were just warm-up acts. On “Speak Now,” she’s slashed open an emotional vein and she’s let it bleed all over the tracks.
When “Speak Now’s” first single, “Mine,” came out in late summer, it sounded pretty much like more of the same, albeit in the romantic ditty she clearly was showing that she wasn’t a minor anymore. She even had a drawer at her boyfriend’s place, for gosh sake. The track wasn’t different enough to reveal if Swift was going to be able to make the leap from teenager to adult. Was she still the band geek swooning over the quarterback? Was she still singing about being 15 in a way that carried none of the emotional heft of the benchmark song about the hell of those teenage years, Janis Ian’s “At 17?”
In a word: no, she is not.
[More after the jump...]