Someone’s got a rocket ship and they’re not afraid to use it. As big as Ne-Yo is, we have the feeling he's poised to explode into the stratosphere with his new album out in September.
But first we have the debut single, “Beautiful Monster.” The track, co-written and co-produced with Stargate, is a total electronic, space age-y, hand-clap creation and the contrast between the sterility of the music and the warm vulnerability of his voice is exhilarating. We feel like he may jet pack into the atmosphere at any point.
Like many of Ne-Yo’s hits, “Beautiful Monster” mines the territory between love and hate. He’s in love with a woman, who’s “playing with his heart and playing with his mind.” But in the time-honored tradition of such songs as the great “Use Me” by Bill Withers, Ne-Yo doesn’t mind at all, and, in fact, wouldn’t have it any other way.
It’s a slow groove, hypnotic song that doesn’t have the melodic lifts and charms of his past hits, but it’s compelling in its own way. He also throws in little exhalations that recall his musical idol, Michael Jackson.
So open your ears and listen as Ne-Yo tries on something a little different from what he’s served us before.
And while you’re on MySpace, click on the link to his ballad “Mad.” It’s been played a staggering 99 million times. Don’t you want to be the click that makes it 100 million?
Nothing says romance like texting a dirty picture to your loved one. At least if you’re Taio Cruz and Ke$ha. Why are we not surprised?
I doubt we’re going to remember either one of these creatures in five years, but for now, they’re captured pop airwaves: Cruz with “Break Your Heart” and Ke$ha with “Tik Tok.” So it seems only natural to have them come together for “Dirty Picture.” The song and video start off very sweet: Cruz is driving around, sounding a little like Seal, as he sings about missing his loved one. So he asks her to send a dirty picture to get the juices flowing while they’re apart.
Christina Aguilera makes a bizarre last minute summer tour cancellation.
Credit: AP Photo
Christina Aguilera has postponed her tour, slated to begin this summer, until 2011. Announced only two weeks ago and slated to begin July 15, the North American tour consisted of 20 dates with Leona Lewis opening. It was in support of the singer’s first album in four years, “Bionic,” which comes out June 8.
The Los Angeles Times is reporting that promoter Live Nation released a statement announcing the move because Aguilera had too many commitments surrounding the promotion of “Bionic,” as well as “Burlesque,” her movie with Cher, which comes out in November.
We don’t know how tickets were selling, but given that they had only gone on sale to the public on May 21, it seems unlikely that poor sales played a part in the decision to yank the tour. However, we’ll also say it’s very strange that only two weeks after announcing the tour, her people decided she’s now too busy to prepare for the tour. Couldn’t they have figured that out two weeks ago?
There is no mention on the homepage of Aguilera’s website, even though several items were added today including the making of her “Not Myself Tonight” video and a video of an artist drawing Aguilera. If you drill down to a May 17 press release about VIP ticket packages and click on that, you are eventually led to a page that says the tour is postponed. There’s also no statement on Live Nation’s website, although there are no tickets for any Aguilera shows available, The New York Times reported May 23 that VIP tickets for the shows were selling for $800 and included a photo op with Aguilera.
If you needed any more indication that the summer blockbuster season is upon us, just consider no fewer than four soundtracks come out this week, including for the dead-on-arrival "MacGruber," "Prince of Persia" and "Sex & The City 2." Otherwise, May 25 belongs to Stone Temple Pilots' return after nine long years.
Even though they came of age during the grunge era, Stone Temple Pilots are a throwback to the rock and roll bands of the ‘60s and ’70 replete with all the key ingredients: mighty guitar riffs, strong melodies, indelible hooks and a lead singer with swagger and charisma to spare.
On their first album in nine years, “Stone Temple Pilots,” the quartet has lost none of its potency even if there’s nothing here that grabs hold with quite the insta-grip of an “Interstate Love Song” or “Plush.” Scott Weiland’s supple voice hasn’t been ravished by his rock and roll excesses (he recently told Billboard that he’s been drug free for seven years) and bassist Robert DeLeo and guitarist Dean DeLeo still know their way around a well-crafted hook. Together, with drummer Eric Kretz, they’ve created a strong, mainstream rock record that heralds their influences: the time-honored music of the Beatles and the Rolling Stones, T Rex and David Bowie.
Natasha Bedingfield performing on the Today Show last August.
Credit: AP Photo/Pete Kramer
It is turning into a Diva-delicious summer. In the past two weeks, we’ve gotten new tracks from Katy Perry, Robyn, Christina Aguilera and Kylie Minogue, all of which are certain to burn up the dance floors in coming weeks. Now add Natasha Bedingfield to the list.
Bedingfield has massive hits, like “Unwritten” and “Pocketful of Sunshine,” but she still doesn’t have the name and face recognition of most of the women listed above. That’s not really likely to change with “Touch.” Guess what’s also unlikely to change? The near ubiquity of her songs in commercials. Expect the chorus of this one to be blaring at you from every body lotion or feminine hygiene ad for the next several months.
She doesn’t get a lot of credit for it since she seems like such a straight arrow and she’s not in the tabloids all the time, but Bedingfield takes cool musical risks. Here, on this deep dance track, she’s singing in a fairly flat monotone that matches the completely mundane details about which she’s detailing, surrounded by layers of ambient dance beats. But the chorus amps up everything, “when we dance, when we laugh, when we touch.” And the next thing you know you’re twirling around your apartment, singing along. Maybe that’s just me.
Apple's iPad and iPhone. Increasingly dominant in driving sales to the iTunes store.
Credit: AP Photo/Paul Sakuma
Apple faces questions from every corner: did it buy LaLa just to shut it down? Will the iPad overtake Mac sales? Does Apple want to kill Flash? One thing we know for sure: Apple’s title as the biggest music seller in the U.S. just gained even more breathing room. Apple surpassed Walmart as the lead music retailer in 2008. Two years later, it has grown to the point that Apple's iTunes store sells more than Walmart and Best Buy combined. Newly released figures show that iTunes store accounted for 26.7% of all music sales in the U.S. last year, that’s up 5 points from 2008.
1. Apple (not ranked last week): Apple’s iTunes now accounts for 26.7% of all music sales in the U.S. Will its success all go up in a Cloud?
Gleeks, rejoice! For the second time in the last few weeks, “Glee” will top the charts next week.
“Glee: The Music, Vol 3 Showstoppers” is on track to land at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 next week by a wide margin over the Rolling Stones’ reissue of “Exile on Main St.”“Glee’s” “The Power of Madonna” debuted in the top spot the week of April 26.
Landing at No. 3 will be the Black Keys’ “Brothers.” Other new titles bowing in the top 10, according to Hits Daily Double, will be Nas & Damian Marley’s “Distant Relatives,” Band of Horses’ “Infinite Arms,” and LCD Soundsystem’s “This is Happening.”
Last week’s No. 1, Justin Bieber’s “My World 2.0,” drops to No. 3, but only loses about 5,000 in sales.
We’re not sure we like Bella’s longer hair. That’s our total emotional reaction to the video for Muse’s “Neutron Star Collision (Love is Forever),” the first track from the “The Twilight Saga: Eclipse” soundtrack.
Our second thought: Give us a roll of quarters and some duct tape and we could make a better video than this. Did the studio spend the entire budget on Robert Pattinson’s make-up and fake contact lenses for Dakota Fanning? Oooooh, Muse in concert in shadows and cool colors. Like we haven’t seen that before. The entire video is comprised of shots of the band in concert and stills from the movie. And, oh yeah, stills of the band playing in front of stills from the movie. It’s more a flip book than a video.
Tom Petty is back with a new album and a new tour.
Sometimes an artist just wants to let a song stand on its own merits. That’s obviously the case with the video for “Something Good Coming,” the first single from Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers’ forthcoming album, “Mojo.”
Petty and his bandmates perform the song in a small studio, perhaps Petty’s home studio in Malibu, in a very low key clip that is focused solely on the tune. The clip premiered today on Spinner.
You want eye candy? It’s right there, baby, in the form of those racks of guitars that the camera lovingly pans to every now and then. Good God, I don’t even play guitar and I was salivating.
The melody reminds of us a very slowed down “Learning to Fly.” It’s a redemptive tale of how we suffer, but hopefully there’s something good coming. Petty knows it will and we believe him. Just look at that grin at the end and you know it's true.