<p>Natalie Maines</p>

Natalie Maines

Listen: Dixie Chick Natalie Maines covers The Beach Boys' 'God Only Knows'

Tune will appear in 'Big Love's' series finale

It’s been a while since we’ve heard from the Dixie Chicks’ Natalie Maines. Her flock mates, siblings Martie Maguire and Emily Robinson, formed Courtyard Hounds and released an underrated self-titled album last year, but Maines has been quiet since the Dixie Chicks’ 2006 album, “Taking the Long Way.”

But she’s resurfaced with a remake of The Beach Boys’ “God Only Knows.” Her version produced by Rick Rubin, will be featured in the March 20 series finale of HBO’s “Big Love.” As you may know, “Big Love” used the original as its opening credit theme for three seasons. iTunes will offer the song starting March 15. Listen to it here.

“God Only Knows” is, unarguably, one of the most beautiful pop songs ever written. If there was ever a song that feels like it was delivered directly by the angels themselves, it’s “God Only Knows.” It shimmers and shines and represents all that is right in this world. That’s how we feel about it. It’s perfection.

It’s pretty untouchable in our book, even in the wonderfully capable hands of Maines. She does an admirable job and we like what Rubin’s done with the lap steel and organ.  Plus, Chad Smith of the Red Hot Chili Pepper’s drumming adds just the right touch. It’s a simple, light, innovative arrangement, that takes a strange Beatle-esque turn in the instrumental break.  It’s a nice enough effort, but the best part is at the end, when Rubin turns the instruments down and a host of heavenly female voices surround Maines, creating an “in-the-round” effect. It also makes us realize how much we miss the Dixie Chicks, but, sadly, we have a feeling there’s no new album coming any time soon.

 

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<p>Justin Bieber</p>

Justin Bieber

Credit: AP Photo

Watch: Justin Bieber and Rascal Flatt's new video for 'That Should Be Me'

Clips soars straight to the top of iTunes. Will it be Bieb's first No. 1 country hit?

Is Justin Bieber headed for the country?  The Bieb and Rascal Flatts’ video for “That Should Be Me,” just surfaced and went straight to No. 1 on iTunes. Bieber's label has cracked down on the video, so we've found one version that we could link to, but expect it to disappear shortly. Watch it here.

It’s a performance clip taped against a white background with some behind-the-scenes footage.See Rascal Flatts lead singer Gary Levox get rubbed down with a lint roller! See the director looking through the monitor! See

For the Beliebers, there are some isolated shots of JB doing his thing, so if Rascal Flatts are just getting in your way, you can isolate on those solo shots.  You can also get a really good look at Bieber’s new haircut.

Rascal Flatts are having a nice resurgence at country radio right now, so this is a good fit. Plus, Bieber’s and LeVox’s voices create some nice harmony on an otherwise mundane song.

"That Should Be Me" originally appeared on Bieber's "My World 2.0." The version with Rascal Flatts is from his "Never Say Never" remix album, which entered the Billboard 200 at No. 1. The album also features remakes of Bieber tunes with such guests as Jaden Smith, Usher, Miley Cyrus, Chris Brown and Kayne West's remix of "Runaway Love."

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<p>Miranda Cosgrove</p>

Miranda Cosgrove

Rise Against, New York Dolls, Miranda Cosgrove lead March 15 releases

J Mascis helms first solo record, Oh Land! arrives on our shores

After a week with some big-name releases, we go back to a release date with some juicy titles, but no names that are likely to debut in the top 10 other than “iCarly” star Miranda Cosgrove and rock band Rise Against.” Here are some of the top March 15 releases.

Miranda Cosgrove, “High Maintenance” (SMBE/Columbia):
The “iCarly” star releases a five-song EP that includes, we’re serious, an appearance by Weezer’s Rivers Cuomo.

Dead Kenny Gs, “Operation Long Leash” (Megaforce):
We don’t know that much about this punk jazz trio, but we just wanted to include them to the name would make you smile... unless, of course, you’re Kenny G. In that case, we don’t think it’s funny either, Kenny.

Laura Jansen, “Bells” (Decca): Dutch singer/songwriter and Hotel Cafe favorite fronted her U.S. debut with first track, “Single Girls.” It’s not a happy tune. The chalk outline in the video gives it away. She has a lovely Tori Amos-like tone to her plaintive voice.

[More after the jump...]

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<p>Avril Lavigne</p>

Avril Lavigne

Credit: Joel Ryan/AP

Can Adele hold off Lupe Fiasco, 'Glee' and Avril Lavigne on the Billboard 200?

Half of the top 10 will be newcomers

It’s a big week as five of the six top titles on next week’s Billboard 200 will be newbies.

After two weeks at No. 1, Adele’s 21 will likely drop to No. 2 to make way for Lupe Fiasco’s “LASERS,” which is poised to sell a robust 225,000 copies. “21” is on target to move around 130,000. Coming in at No. 3 will be “Glee Vol.5” at around 100,000 units. At No. 4 is Avril Lavigne’s “Goodbye Lullaby,” at No. 5 will be country singer Sara Evans’ newest, “Stronger,”  and at No. 6, R.E.M.’s “Collapse into Now.” Evans and R.E.M. are too close to call to know if they’ll come in at that order or switch places.

Raekwon’s “Shaolin Vs. Wu-Tang” looks like it will bow at No. 11, but, according to Hits Daily Double, it could squeak into the top 10, depending upon if it can beat Justin Bieber’s “Never Say Never. “

Mumford & Sons’ “Sigh No More” continues to sell strongly and likely land at No. 7, ex-Floetry singer Marsha Ambrosius’s “Late Nights and Early Mornings” drops from No. 2 to No. 8, while multi-artist compilation “Now 37” is No. 9.

 

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<p>Gwyneth Paltrow</p>

Gwyneth Paltrow

Credit: Evan Agostini/AP

Music Power Rankings: Adele rolls into No. 1 over Lady Gaga and Gwyneth

Bob Dylan makes the list for the first time

As the world’s eyes are, appropriately, on the horrific events in Japan, we take a light-hearted look at some of the movers and shakers in the music industry this week. Spending her second week at the top is Adele, who has excited fans and critics alike with “19,” the first bona-fide success story of 2011.

1) Adele (No. 1): Her new album goes gold, selling more than 500,000 copies in three weeks to make it the top seller of 2011. The Daily Beast crowns her the queen of “pop’s new beauty standard.” Why don’t we keep her looks, and any other artist’s looks, out of it and just have it be about her astonishing talent alone?

2) Warner Music Group (not ranked):  Bidding turns up at least five legitimate suitors for either the recorded music division or the publishing company or both. Have these folks looked at what’s happening to album sales lately?

3) Odd Future (not ranked):  The Los Angeles-based rap collective lead by 19-year old Tyler, the Creator lands on the cover of Billboard. Are they the future of the music industry or just the latest flavor-of-the-month that we won’t remember by 2012? Is it possible to jump the shark if only .01% of the public knows who you are?

4) MOG (not ranked): Pandora has stolen the spotlight lately, but this music streaming service is making big moves, including this week’s deals with LG Samsung and Vizio to be part of new internet-ready televisions and BMW’s Mini line.

[More after the jump...]

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<p>Cee Lo Green</p>

Cee Lo Green

Cee Lo, Garth Brooks, Kid Rock tapped for George H.W. Bush tribute

Special airs on NBC on March 28

Garth Brooks, Cee-Lo Green, Carrie Underwood and Kid Rock are among the artists who will perform at “All Together Now — A Celebration of Service,” a March 21 event honoring President George H.W. Bush and the Points of Light Institute.

The concert, which celebrates volunteerism, will be taped in Washington, D.C. at the John F. Kennedy Center for Performing Arts on March 21 and will be broadcast on NBC March 28 at 8 p.m. EDT.  Other performers include Sheryl Crow, Reba McEntire, Sam Moore, Brad Paisley and Darius Rucker.

All four living former presidents will take part: In addition to Bush Sr., George W. Bush and Jimmy Carter will be in attendance. Bill Clinton will serve as the event’s co-chair. President Obama will be in Latin America, but will provide a taped message.

We’d give anything to see Brooks and Green duet on “F*** You," but we're not holding our breath.

 

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<p>Britney Spears</p>

Britney Spears

Listen: Three new Britney Spears songs from 'Femme Fatale'

Do you have a favorite yet?

Another day, another Britney song! But in this case, it’s Britney songs, as if Spears read our minds and threw us some bonus tracks to get us through the weekend.

First, we have the full version of  Inside Out,” following the release of a song snippet a few days ago. It’s a futuristic-sounding, slow-grooving tune about break-up sex that reminds us of Janet Jackson. And Spears even gets to drop in the title of her first hit.

Next is “(Drop Dead) Beautiful,” a straight-ahead, fun dance ditty with a fun rap in the middle by female rapper Sabi. Best line: “steam me like a pot full of vegetables.” It's an infectious, cascading tune full of mixed messages, and flirty giggles from Brit-Brit.

We also get a snippet of Gasoline,” a syncopated, toe-tapper that features Spears singing in falsetto, “you set me on fire.” We think she means that in a good way.

 


 Check out previous Spearks' leaks, including "Till The End of the World," and "I Wanna Go." 

 Spears' "Femme Fatale" comes out March 29.

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<p>Lady Gaga</p>

Lady Gaga

Lady Gaga makes it 4 weeks in a row atop the Billboard Hot 100

Jennifer Lopez and Ke$ha make big gains, as does Britney Spears

Lady Gaga’s “Born This Way” gestates for its fourth week at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 as the top 10 remains fairly static. The only new entry is Ke$ha’s “Blow,” whose unicorns carry it on gilded wings 11-7 (If you don’t get that reference, watch the video here).

Jennifer Lopez’s “On the Floor”  takes the biggest leap within the Top 10 rising 9-5, making it her first bonafide hit since 2003, according to Billboard.

The highest debut belongs to Britney Spears as “Till the World Ends” starts at No. 20, a respectable bow considering it was only available for download for three days on iTunes. The tune, co-written by Ke$ha, is the second single from Spears’ March 29 album, “Femme Fatale.”  First single, “Hold It Against Me,” debuted at No. 1.

Back to the Top 10, Cee-Lo’s “Forget You” holds at No. 2 for a third week, while Rihanna’s “S&M” whips its way up 5-3.  Pink’s “F**kin’ Perfect”  stays at No. 4, Bruno Mars’ “Grenade” slips 3-6. Katy Perry still has two tunes in the Top 10 as “E.T.” featuring Kanye West remains at No. 8, while “Firework” slides 6-10. Enrique Iglesias’ “Tonight (I’m Lovin’ You)” featuring Ludacris and DJ Frank E falls 7-9.

Other songs to keep your eye on include Foo Fighters’ “Rope,” which debuts at No. 1 on Billboard’s Rock Songs chart and No. 70 on the Billboard Hot 100.  


 

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<p>That's really the Foo Fighters we swear.&nbsp; Performing &quot;Rope.&quot;</p>

That's really the Foo Fighters we swear.  Performing "Rope."

Watch: Foo Fighters' new video for 'Rope'

Are the walls closing in?

If you’re waiting for Foo Fighters to bring the funny in the video for fuzzy rocker “Rope,” stop holding your breath. They spent their humor budget on the clip for “White Limo.”

Nope, the Dave Grohl-directed video for “Rope” is a straight-ahead performance clip shot on VHS of the boys performing inside a white light box (to get that “walls are closing in” claustrophobic feeling expressed in the lyrics). True enough, the lyrics hardly lend themselves to big laughs.

There are a few tricks, like showing everyone in silhouette and some flashy lights during the instrumental breakdown and the end, but, thankfully, it never veers into art-school antics. Grohl would never do that. If there’s a less pretentious rock star than Grohl, we’ve yet to meet him.

[More after the jump...]

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<p>Diddy Dirty Money</p>

Diddy Dirty Money

Who's the richest hip-hop artist in the land?

Who were we very surprised to see didn't make the list

Diddy’s “Last Train To Paris” may have been a relative disappointment commercially, but the rapper is laughing all the way to the bank.  Forbes named him hip-hop’s wealthiest artist. And, not surprisingly, it’s his other interests, such as his Sean Jean clothing line, that are fueling the funds.

Here are the top 5 richest hip-hoppers.

1) Sean “Diddy” Combs: $475 million
2) Jay-Z: $450 million
3) Dr. Dre: $125 million
4) (tie) 50 Cent and Bryan “Birdman” Williams: $100 million.

We’re surprised that Eminem isn’t on the list. Birdman's money comes primarily from his role as Cash Money Records co-founder.  The methodology for selecting the artists included evaluating current holdings, past earnings, and available financial documents.

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