Britney Spears has said that her new album is her most personal, and now she’s backing that up by calling the Dec. 3 release by her name, “Britney Jean.”
Spears revealed the title during an interview with British radio station, Capital FM. “It’s a personal album, and all my family, they always call me Britney Jean,” she said. “It’s like a term of endearment, and I just wanted to share that with my friends.” She wasn't willing to give away too much information, however; when asked if the album would include a duet with Miley Cyrus, she replied, "You'll have to wait and see." As you know, Spears duets with Cyrus on "SMS (Bangerz)" on Cyrus's charttopping album, "Bangerz."
The album’s first single, “Work Bitch,” peaked at No. 12 on the Billboard Hot 100 (so far), but Spears’ manager Larry Rudolph told MTV News that the rest of the album is not like the dance tune. “There are multiple, multiple layers, things like you’ve never heard from her before,” he said. “She’s written on every song on the album, which is a first for her, and it’s a very personal album for her, and I think people are going to love it.”
December will be a big month for Spears: in addition to the “Britney Jean’s” album release, she starts her two-year Planet Hollywood residency in Las Vegas on Dec. 27.
Set will be her most 'personal' one yet
Britney Spears has said that her new album is her most personal, and now she’s backing that up by calling the Dec. 3 release by her name, “Britney Jean.”
Did your favorite make the list?
Pearl Jam returns with its tenth studio album, “Lighting Bolt,” on Oct. 15, and based on what we’ve already heard, Eddie Vedder and Co. are yielding nothing to the ravages of time. People who dislike Pearl Jam don’t like their sense of self-importance (even though that has definitely waned over the years). Fans like me love that Pearl Jam knows that music matters, that it can reach those places in us that nothing else can and has the power to save us.
Here is my highly subjective countdown of Pearl Jam’s 10 best songs. Fans will notice a lack of songs here from the middle period of Pearl Jam’s career. I don’t know if they lost the thread a little or I lost interest—probably a bit of both—but “Binaural” and “Riot Act” are albums I seldom revisit. My No. 1 choice won’t be a surprise because there’s no denying this song’s potency and place in the heart of most Pearl Jam fans.
Read HitFix's review of new album "Lightning Bolt" here.
Singer explains her absence in a letter to fans
Several months after “Beautiful,” her duet with Miguel, Mariah Carey will release a new single, “The Art of Letting Go,” on Nov. 11 via Facebook. There will be a listening party at 11 a.m. ET for the song. That is the same day the Lady Gaga's "ArtPop" arrives.
At one point earlier this year, that was the title of Carey’s album, but since it has been delayed again since its scheduled July release date, that may have also changed.
Monday, Carey announced the song’s arrival on Facebook, adding, “This song is so person to me and I’m very excited to share this experience with you in such an intimate way.” Hmmm, sharing a song with your 13 million Facebook friends is intimate?
The news comes on top of a letter Carey released to fans on Friday, Oct. 11, updating fans on the album and her health following her shoulder injury, which has proved to be quite the setback.
In the letter, she write, “Getting through this injury has been the toughest experience of my life. It took me three months to get to this point but thank God I was able to recover and get my arm back. It's a huge deal, it should have taken eight months and even my doctors can't believe it.”
She adds that the album, which has no new release date, is “one of the most important albums I’ve ever made in my life.”
Carey also recently announced that producer/longtime collaborator Jermaine Dupri had joined her management team.
Here’s Carey’s letter in full:
I'm so happy to be able to catch up with everybody here on Facebook. The last three months of my life have not been easy. Getting through this injury has been the toughest experience of my life. It took me three months to get to this point but thank God I was able to recover and get my arm back. It's a huge deal, it should have taken eight months and even my doctors can't believe it. It's been a long journey, the physical therapists have been incredible and I am very grateful to all of them for helping me.
When people expected me to go "Here I am, I'm back and everything's great!", it didn't happen because my hand was still in tremendous pain and it took this long for it to heal. I've been working day and night, and it took a lot of rest (though I did sneak in to the studio a couple o' times!) but I can finally say that I am on my way to a full recovery.
There's a lot of excitement that I'm going to reveal to you very soon, and sooner than you know it, you're going to understand why but more than that, you're going to feel what I've been feeling for the past- not three months- but three years.
This is, to me, one of the most important albums I've ever made in my life. If you're a lamb, a fan, or just a human being that needs to feel good, happy, sad, miserable, joyous... "I gotcha" (said like Roc- you haven't heard how he says it yet but you will soon, it's a complete+total classic!)
He loves her, but not her imperfect tense
First Sinead O’Connor, then Amanda Palmer and now Sufjan Stevens?
The indie musician is the latest to write a letter to Miley Cyrus, but his missive comes off a little bit like a mash note. Ostensibly, he’s criticizing her for her poor grammar choice, but he concludes the letter on an up note, calling her “the hottest cake in the pan.” It doesn’t even make sense since there’s usually only one cake per pan, but it’s an awesome compliment.
He loves her new album, “Bangerz,” and especially the track, “Get It Right,” but he just can’t get past her line, “I been laying in bed,” which should be “I have been lying in bed.” We feel you, Sufjan. We still can’t get past the line in Bryan Adams’ “Run To You” when he sings, “But that would change if she ever found out about you and I,” instead of “you and me.”
Stevens, who posted the letter on his website, genially teaches her a little about the present perfect continuous tense and assures her that other great Southern writers like herself, including Faulkner, have gotten it wrong.
No response yet from Cyrus, but we have a feeling she’ll take a little more kindly to this criticism than to O’Connor’s.
Though he didn't feel compelled to write an open letter, Paul McCartney also weighed in on Cyrus, telling Sky News, "C'mon, we've seen worse than that!." I think he meant it as a compliment. Seriously, he added that he has no trouble letting his 10-year old daughter watch Cyrus, even her VMA performance: "I watched it [first], and you say, 'What's everyone shouting about?' I think it was only mildly shocking...it wasn't explicit at all." (h/t Rolling Stone)
Besides, nothing should get Cyrus down this week: come Wednesday, she will have the No. 1 album in the land as “Bangerz” debuts at No. 1 on the Billboard 200.
Here is Stevens' note in full:
“Dear Miley. I can’t stop listening to #GetItRight (great song, great message, great body), but maybe you need a quick grammar lesson. One particular line causes concern: “I been laying in this bed all night long.” Miley, technically speaking, you’ve been LYING, not LAYING, an irregular verb form that should only be used when there’s an object, i.e. “I been laying my tired booty on this bed all night long.” Whatever. I’m not the best lyricist, but you know what I mean. #Get It Right The Next Time. But don’t worry, even Faulkner messed it up. We all make mistakes, and surely this isn’t your worst misdemeanor. But also, Miley, did you know the tense here is also totally wrong. Surely you’ve heard of Present Perfect Continuous Tense (I HAVE BEEN LYING in this bed all night long [hopefully getting some beauty sleep?]). It’s a weird, equivocal, almost purgatorial tense, not quite present, not quite past, not quite here, not quite there. Somewhere in between. I feel that way all the time. It kind of sucks. But I have a feeling your “present perfect continuous” involves a lot more excitement than mine. Anyway, doesn’t that also sum up your career right now? Present. Perfect. Continuous. And Tense. Intense? Girl, you work it like Mike Tyson. Miley, I love you because you’re the Queen, grammatically and anatomically speaking. And you’re the hottest cake in the pan. Don’t ever grow old. Live brightly before your fire fades into total darkness. XXOO Sufjan”
The band's 10th album is a strong effort, despite some flaws
On “Lightning Bolt,” Pearl Jam’s 10th studio album, the Seattle group isn’t content to rest on its laurels. The 12 songs here — all anchored by Eddie Vedder’s often stirring, always impassioned vocal delivery, Mike McCready and Stone Gossard’s fine, sharp guitar playing, and drummer Matt Cameron and bassist Jeff Ament’s sturdy rhythm section —are well delivered, with taut, strong musicianship.
By now, after more than 20 years, it’s not a surprise that the band finds itself so easily in the pocket on the Brendan O’Brien-produced set. Even though the band stretches out of its usual heavy, mid-tempo, groove here a few times, the playing always sounds assured, but that doesn’t mean everything works as well as it should.
Some of the songs, including first two singles, the spiky “Mind Your Manners” and the heartbreaking “Sirens,” hit their marks with perfect precision. On others, as Pearl Jam drifts into funkier territory or space rock, don’t land as gracefully. It seems churlish to deduct points for Pearl Jam’s attempts to push its boundaries a little here, but the result is an album that sometimes feels a tad unfocused and one that could use a little more bite in a few places.
Also, given that it’s the band’s first album since 2009’s “Backspacer,” it seems odd that the band had to draw upon a track from Vedder’s 2011 solo album, “Ukulele Songs,” to round out the package.
Lyrically, Vedder looks both outward and rails against the system ("Mind Your Manners" and "Infallible"), as well as inward on such beauties as "Sirens" and "Future Days," but he's also sensing his own mortality on a number of the tracks.
Despite its flaws, there’s much here to enjoy on the band’s first album in four years, out Oct. 15. Here’s a track-by-track review:
“Getaway”: A thrashy, mid-tempo treat opens the album with the band firing on all cylinders. “Getaway” has a 70s rock feel as Vedder rants about organized religion. In a career built on often impenetrable lyrics, he comes across loud and clear when he sings, “Science says we’re making love like the lizards.” Go figure. GRADE: B
“Mind Your Manners”: A punk rock blast across the bow, this feral tune features Cameron bashing away as if his life depended upon it and a blistering metal guitar solo by McCready. It will undoubtedly be a high point of the live show. GRADE: A
“My Father’s Son”: Vedder’s father issues are, understandably, the dominant story of his life and he’s got a lots left to say here. The song totally shape shifts in the last third, but for the most part is a dark, driving tune about getting out from under your own gene pool. “Now father, you’re dead and gone and I’m finally free to be me,” Vedder sings, although none of the torment seems to be alleviated. GRADE: B-
“Sirens”: Simply one of the most beautiful ballads Pearl Jam has recorded. There are seldom happy endings in Pearl Jam’s songs and this one won’t end well either, but between the gorgeous piano-based melody, and Vedder singing about how the “fear goes away” when he holds his disappearing lover and how fragile life is, this is the album’s masterpiece. GRADE: A+
“Lightning Bolt”: The titular character is a woman whom you will never be able to tame, even when you ride her like a wave or she may be the ocean. The mid-tempo rocker has a killer vocal by Vedder and it explodes into a full-on burner for a nice build that left me wishing the whole song had that kind of thrust: GRADE: B
“Infallible”: Funky isn’t really one of Pearl Jam’s signatures, but the band gives it a try with this tune about man’s infallibility. “Our ship’s come in and it’s sinking,” Vedder sings. It’s fun to hear the band play around a bit here and switch it up, even though it’s a tripwire of a song that feels a bit more like a curiosity than anything else. GRADE: C
“Pendulum”: “We are here and then we go/my shadow left me long ago,” Vedder sings on this stark, spare entry. The subdued percussion brings a feeling of foreboding, as a lonely tremelo guitar line weaves through much of the song, adding to the haunted feel. “Easy left me a long time ago,” Vedder sings. The change of pace works much better here than on “Infallible.” GRADE: B+
“Swallowed Whole”: Redolent of mid-‘90s Pearl Jam, this track feels like a loose-limbed jam that could take flight at any point. Lyrically, it’s a reminder of how our peace and sense of nature get swallowed up with all the mire and muck of daily life. GRADE: B+
“Let The Records Play”: That funky bounce is back as Cameron and Ament find a cool groove here. The sneaky bass line works well, but the rest of the song never really goes anywhere. GRADE: C
“Sleeping By Myself”: The gentle, lulling, acoustic tale first appeared n sounds like an Vedder’s 2011 solo album, “Ukulele Songs” and is stretched out in an enhanced version here. He’s destined to be forever lonely as his love leaves him and he comes to the conclusion that love and disaster are pretty much the same thing. GRADE: B-
“Yellow Moon”: A spacey, intentionally slow drift of a song with a dreamy vocal by Vedder and measured drumming from Cameron. GRADE: B-
“Future Days”: For all the turbulence that life brings, both from external struggles and internal demons, there can be beautiful moments where we can leave all that behind, especially when we find the one person who anchors us and lets us fly at the same time. The album concludes with a very happy ending on this emotional piano ballad (complete with strings and O’Brien on piano) as Vedder sees a future free of pain... OK, maybe with a little less pain. GRADE: B
"Bangerz' is one of seven debuts in the Top 10
Miley Cyrus’ “Bangerz” makes a loud noise at the top of the charts next week as it looks good to bow at the top of the Billboard 200 with sales of up to 270,000 copies. It will be her first No. 1 album since 2008's "Breakout." "Can't Be Tamed," from 2010, peaked at No. 3.
That's more than double the expected sales of Panic! At the Disco’s "Girls/Girls/Boys, which will start at No. 2 (100,000). The two titles are among the seven debuts on the chart this week. Yep, we’re in fourth quarter madness.
Also bowing in the Top 10 will be Pusha T’s “My Name Is My Name” at No. 4 (75,000), Cassadee Pope’s “Frame By Frame” at No. 7 (45,000), Korn’s “Never Never” at No. 8 (45,000), Alter Bridge’s “Fortress” at No. 9 (35,000) and Mayday Parade’s “Monsters In The Closet” at No. 10 (30,000), according to Hits Daily Double
Holdovers from this week include Drake, whose “Nothing Was The Same” at No. 3 (85,000), this week’s No. 1, Justin Timberlake’s “The 20/20 Experience 2 of 2” at No. 5 (75,000) and Lorde’s “Pure Heroine” at No. 6 (65,000).
Which of this week's new releases did you download?
Must every song and action be picked apart for signs of offense?
It all started, as these things often do, with a blog post. A few days ago, Veronica Beyetti Flores on the Feministing website, alleged that Lorde’s “Royals,” the No. 1 song in the U.S. is racist.
It took a few days, but by last night, her accusations had blown up with news sites like CNN and Time weighing in on the made-up controversy.
Flores’ interpretation of the song is that Lorde, by mentioning elements sometimes associated with rappers—and her rejection of them— is being deeply racist. She cites the lines “But every song’s like gold teeth, Grey Goose, trippin’ in the bathroom/Blood stains, ball gowns, trashing the hotel room/ We don't care, we're driving Cadillacs in our dreams/But everybody’s like Cristal, Maybach, diamonds on your time piece/Jet planes, islands, tigers on a gold leash/We don’t care, we aren’t caught up in your love affair.”
“While I love a good critique of wealth accumulation and inequity, this song is not one; in fact, it is deeply racist,” writes Flores. “Because we all know who she’s thinking when we’re talking gold teeth, Cristal and Maybachs. So why shit on black folks? Why shit on rappers? Why aren’t we critiquing wealth by taking hits at golf or polo or Central Park East? Why not take to task the bankers and old-money folks who actually have a hand in perpetuating and increasing wealth inequality? I’m gonna take a guess: racism.”
What? I don’t doubt that Flores truly somehow sees the song that way, but I don’t really understand the giant leap she’s making. The song is a rejection of material things, not of blacks or anyone who wants these things. It’s written from the standpoint (or at least my interpretation of it) of a teenager who realizes she is being sold to at every moment and has decided not to buy into the conspicuous consumption. As she sings: “And we’ll never be royals/It don’t run in our blood/That kind of luxe just ain’t for us.”
And yes, while we may hear more rappers bringing up Maybachs or Cristal than a country artist, the fact is that rap songs are the pop music of the day. Kanye West had it absolutely right when he said that rap stars are the rock stars now so these symbols are touchstones of wealth for anyone who is listening to pop music, whether they are White, Black, Hispanic, Asian or any other ethnicity.
Lorde has not responded to Flores' colum, but, as the CNN piece points out, earlier told NPR, "I was just sort of reeling off some of the things which are commonly mentioned in hip-hop and the Top 40. I've always loved hip-hop, but as a fan of hip-hop, I've always had to kind of suspend disbelief because, obviously, I don't have a Bentley. There's a distance between that and the life I have with my friends." How does that make her racist? It just makes her like the 98% who can't afford a Maybach.
Have we gone so overboard that we are now parsing every lyric of every song and every movement of every artist? In just the past few months, the critique of Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines” developed after a blogger wrote that she found the song “rapey.” The song had been out for a few months before that and no one seemed to have much of a problem with it. And while that one probably had a little more validity than these others, next came a blogger accusing Miley Cyrus of being racist because when she twerked on the VMAs she was appropriating black culture and because all of her dancers were black.
We’re getting into dangerous territory here. There is so much true racism that still exists in the world that we should be fighting against instead of looking for signs of it that aren’t there. Has Cyrus shown any kind of pattern of racism? None that I can see. Is there anything else on Lorde’s album that could be interpreted as racist? Not that I heard-- but then I didn’t hear racism in “Royals.” We can probably find something offensive in every song if we want to and if we are so desperate for page views, but sometimes, it’s just not there. And every time we spend the energy trumping up a controversy, it takes our eyes off the real offenders.
Do you find Lorde's "Royals" racist?
Momma Monster also releases track listing for 'ArtPop'
Lady Gaga asks if you want to see her naked in her new song, “Aura.” Haven’t we already done that? The fun, campy song is from “Machete Kills,” the new Robert Rodriguez film that features Gaga in her first movie role, as well as Danny Trejo, Sofia Vergara, Amber Heard, Mel Gibson, Michele Rodriguez, and Carlos Estevez (aka Charlie Sheen).
The song opens with a sultry voice over by Gaga that recalls Shirley Bassey before switching up to a kitschy, snyth-laden, stuttering vocal portion before more spoken word from Lady Gaga. Eventually it moves into a catchy sung portion, where she questions if you want to see the girl who lives behind the aura. Rinse and repeat. It works fine in the context of the movie, not so much as a stand-alone tune.
The lyric video is really more of a trailer for “Machete Kills,” although the song also appears on “ArtPop,” as indicated by Lady Gaga’s mention of her Nov. 11 release at the end.
Lady Gaga released the track listing for “ArtPop” today via a series of tweets by a group of Momma Monster’s fans.
"ArtPop" track listing
"Jewels N' Drugs"
"Do What U Want"
"Mary Jane Holland"
Listen to track, 'Yaphet Kotto'
Donald Glover’s rap alter ego, Childish Gambino, will release his new album, “Because The Internet,” this winter.
The video preview for track, “Yaphet Kotto,” features Gambino floating face down in a pool, aka William Holden in the opening of “Sunset Boulevard,” as we hear him rapping about the criticisms he’s received (“worst rapper to ever spit on an open mic”), while the "Community" star is busy bring in the dough and the ladies. It also name drops other artists including Obie Trice, Wiz Khalifa and Erykah Badu.
At the end of the 90-second clip appear the words “Because The Internet” and “Winter Break.”
Below is the 90-second video, as well as the full audio of “Yaphet Kotto.” No idea why the song is named after the actor, who is best known for starring on "Homicide: Life On The Street."
The album is Gambino’s first since 2011’s “Camp.” Glover is also working on his new series for FX, "Atlanta."
Static Top 10 features no new debuts
Lorde’s reign atop the Billboard Hot 100 continues as “Royals” spends its second week at No. 1.
The New Zealander teenager also receives good news on the album front, as her debut, “Pure Heroine,” bows at No. 3 on the Billboard 200.
“Royals” leads digital single sales at 309,000 downloads, moving the song past the 2 million mark.
Katy Perry’s former No. 1, “Roar,” stays at No. 2, leading the chart in airplay. Perry, whose new album, “Prism,” arrives Oct. 22, is also on the Billboard Hot 100 with “Walking on Air,” which debuts at No. 34. Miley Cyrus’s “Wrecking Ball,” also a former No. 1, remains at No. 3, according to Billboard.
Avicii’s “Wake Me Up!” jumps one spot to No. 4, trading places with Drake’s “Hold On, We’re Going Home,” featuring Majid Jordan, which drops to No. 5.
And yes, Ylvis’s “The Fox” continues to scoop up the chart, rising 8-6, largely on the strength of streaming and downloads, as airplay has yet to reach a significant level.
Jay Z’s “Holy Grail,” featuring Justin Timberlake, slips 6-7, pushing Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines” down one to No. 8.
Lady Gaga’s “Applause” hangs on in the Top 10 at No. 9, as it continues to gain airplay, while Lana Del Rey and Cedric Gervais’s “Summertime Sadness” remains at No. 10.
For Britney Spears’ chart watchers: “Work B**ch” jumps 41-13, following its debut two weeks ago at No. 12. The rise can be attributed largely to streaming and excitement from the video’s release last week.