<p>Panic! at the Disco</p>

Panic! at the Disco

Watch: Panic! At the Disco's video for 'The Ballad of Mona Lisa'

Band goes all steampunk to catch a murderer

Something is amiss in Panic! At the Disco-ville. There’s all kinds of chicanery and murder most foul, going on during the video for “The Ballad of Mona Lisa,” the first single from March 29’s “Vices & Virtues.”

The video has absolutely nothing to do with the real Mona Lisa —not unless she’s showing up in an episode of “The Vampire Diaries” where they’re zipped back to to the turn of the century and are all wearing Steampunk clothing and handlebar mustaches.

And, seemingly, it has nothing to do with the song lyrics, which are vague at best and seem to tell the tale of a woman struggling with the guilt surrounding certain decisions she’s made.

[More after the jump...]

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<p>'The Last Play at Shea'</p>

'The Last Play at Shea'

DVD Review: 'The Last Play at Shea' combines the best of the Mets and Billy Joel

Who hits a homerun and who fouls out in doc about the closing days of the stadium

In July 2008, Billy Joel played the last concerts to take place at Shea Stadium before the tired gray, 44-year old facility gracefully retired to make way for the New York Mets new home,  the shiny and bright Citi Field.

The Last Play at Shea,” which comes out on DVD today (Feb. 8) through Lions Gate, attempts to tie together the rise of Shea, the Mets and Joel in a 90-minute documentary that makes its case convincingly at times and not so much at others, but is always entertaining. If nothing else, both the New York Mets and Billy Joel are resiliently scrappy.

Director Paul Crowder, who has helmed  a number of other docs, most notably “Dogtown and Z-Boys,” as well as “Amazing Journey: The Story of The Who” and “Once in a Lifetime: The Extraordinary Story of the New York Cosmos,” makes superb use of the  wonderful archival footage available. Even the most casual of sports fans knows the story of the historic ’69 Mets, when a black cat ran out in front of the Chicago Cubs’ dugout during the pennant race. The Mets came from behind not only to win the game, but the pennant and the World Series. “Nothing in life is ever like that,” says one commentator.

And, of course, Shea has a rich music history: the first concert at Shea was a little band called The Beatles in 1965 (and again in 1966).  Many others followed, including the Police, The Who and Simon & Garfunkel.

[More after the jump...]

In a little too laborious detail, Crowder details how Shea Stadium came into being after the Brooklyn Dodgers left for Los Angeles. Using clever animation, he ties in developer Robert Moses’ expansion of Queens up to bordering Long Island and the simultaneously suburban  suburban development of Long Island. Not so  coincidentally, little Billy Joel’s parents relocated to Long Island during this time. 

Despite the fact that from the get-go, Shea Stadium was by any measure, a white elephant,  the players love for it comes through loud and clear.  As Mets announcer Gary Cohen declares, out of 55,000 seats, only 3-4,000 were any good, but as Darryl Strawberry adds, it was a dump, but “it was our dump.” Player after player, from Tom Seaver to Ron Darling to Mike Piazza share loving, amusing memories of their time at Shea.

As the Mets are building their dynasty,  Joel is creating his. Crowder shows the development of the songs: “Movin’ Out,” is a direct result of Joel and then-wife Elizabeth’s decision to move from New York to Los Angeles to try to get out of an onerous record and publishing deal with Artie Ripp  (Walter Yetnikoff, former president of Columbia Records and one of the music industry’s most colorful characters, almost steals the show when he profanely and hilariously recalls how  Columbia parent CBS bought  Joel out of his initial deal, ultimately giving him back his publishing as a birthday present).  “Piano Man” came from the six months when Joel played in a bar on Wilshire Blvd. during the early ‘70s. The film intersperses archival footage of Joel playing early songs like “The Entertainer” with him playing them at Shea.

The doc also ties in New York City’s bankruptcy and a number of Mets’ disastrous seasons  in the late ‘70s with Joel’s turbulent mid-‘80s, when he discovers that Elizabeth’s brother, who takes over management of Joel after he and Elizabeth divorce (who the hell thought that was a good idea?) absconds with much of Joel’s money. Joel becomes a road warrior to try to make up his lost funds. Those absences, in part, and his increased drinking, lead to his divorce from wife No. 2, Christie Brinkley. Brinkley is featured heavily in the doc as a talking head. Not surprisingly, Elizabeth is not.

The marriage of Joel and the Mets works best when Crowder uses a Joel song to accent  a particularly historical or poignant time in Shea’s history, even though the tune and event are completely unrelated. Two striking examples shine. He underscores the Mets’ amazing victory over the Boston Red Sox (apologies to Sox fans) in game six of the 1986 World Series, when Mookie Wilson’s grounder goes between Bill Buckner’s legs to “Miami 2017 (Seen the Lights Go Out on Broadway).” 

Then, in a heartrending segment, he shows Shea Stadium being used as a staging area for supplies and for first responders following 9/11, as well as the Mets’ extremely emotional return to the field on Sept. 21, 2001 (Mike Piazza’s comments are especially stirring. Sometimes a game becomes much more than just a game).  Crowder plays Joel’s building “Goodnight Saigon,” both the recording and the artist playing it live at Shea in 2008, to score the scene. Troops join Joel on stage for the rousing “We would all go down together” chorus.

Many times it seems as if Crowder is trying to get his arms around way too big a ball by trying to give equal time to the Mets and Joel and Shea. That leads to unwieldy transitions, especially when he brings in the Mets groundskeeper, who just happened to drive the Beatles onto the field in 1965 and is still there to do the same in 2008, when Paul McCartney poetically joins Joel to close the last concert with “Let It Be” and to bring it all full circle.

“The Last Play At Shea” isn’t a home run. It’s more like a triple. But just like America’s favorite past time, it is an extremely pleasurable way to wile away a few hours.

For those who want just the concerts, Columbia Legacy will release “Billy Joel - Live At Shea Stadium” on CD, DVD and Blu-Ray on March 8.


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<p>Katy Perry </p>

Katy Perry

Credit: AP Photo

2011 Grammy Predictions: Best Pop Vocal Album

Lady Gaga and Katy Perry lead race that includes Susan Boyle and Justin Bieber

As we continue our countdown to the Feb. 13 Grammy Awards, we’re predicting a category a day. Today, we look at Best Pop Vocal Album, which pits Lady Gaga against Susan Boyle and Justin Bieber. On Friday, we'll look the big four: record, album and song of the year, as well as best new artist.

Best Pop Vocal Album

“My World 2.0,” Justin Bieber
“I Dreamed a Dream,” Susan Boyle
“The Fame Monster,” Lady Gaga
“Battle Studies,” John Mayer
“Teenage Dream,” Katy Perry

Bieber and Boyle share little more than unfortunate hairdos, but that’s part of the schizophrenic nature of this category. We vaguely recall a best traditional pop vocal category in years past that would neatly house acts like Tony Bennett, but that seems to have disappeared, leaving Boyle sticking out like a sore thumb in this category...although we’re sure her defenders would claim she actually is the best singer in the bunch.

[More after the jump...]

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<p>Lemmy, of Motorhead</p>

Lemmy, of Motorhead

Motorhead, Cut Copy, 'Now 37' leads slow album release slate

Black Keys' protege Jessical Lea Mayfield and Over the Rhino also have new sets

We don’t want to say it’s another slow week when it comes to major releases because we’ll sound like a broken record. Plus, just because there’s not a potential blockbuster in the bunch doesn’t mean there aren’t plenty of tasty sets coming out  Feb. 8. But, for the love of God, would a name that most record buyers recognize please put out an album!  Okay, we’ll calm down now, especially since we know that we that the drought temporarily ends Feb. 22 when Adele releases “21.”

In the meantime, here are Feb. 8’s top treats.

[More after the jump...]

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Adele rolls into the U.S. with a May tour

Concert outing follows release of British singer's second album, '21'

Adele, whose sophomore album, “21,” comes out Feb. 22, embarks on her first full tour U.S. tour in two years on May 12. The  six-week outing starts at Washington, D.C.’s 9:30 club and concludes June 20 at Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium. The closing date is especially fitting given Adele’s confessed new love of country music. Most country artists consider the Ryman sacred ground.

A pre-sale starts Feb. 9 with tickets on sales to the general public starting Feb. 11.

[More after the jump...]

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<p>&quot;Love the Way You Lie&quot;</p>

"Love the Way You Lie"

2011 Grammy Predictions: Best Rap/Sung Collaboration

Are voters in an Empire State of Mind?

As we continue our countdown to the Feb. 13 Grammy Awards, we’re predicting a category a day. Today, we look at best rap/sung collaboration, a category that recognizes that so many of current rap songs are a hybrid between singing and rapping and that rare is the rap tune that doesn’t include a featured artist.

Best Rap/Sung Collaboration

“Nothin’ On You,” B.o.B. & Bruno Mars
“Deuces,” Chris Brown, Tyga & Kevin McCall
“Love the Way You Lie,” Eminem & Rihanna
“Empire State of Mind,” Jay-Z & Alicia Keys
“Wake Up! Everybody,” John Legend, The Roots, Melanie Fiona & Common

I know “Deuces” was aces with Brown’s fans, but it’s a snore of a song, so we’re tossing that one out immediately. “Nothin’ on You” is sweet, but can’t compare to the remaining three nominees. The wild card here is “Wake Up! Everybody,” the remake of the Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes tine. The Grammy voters like John Legend and they like rewarding well-intentioned projects, so this one could sneak in and take the trophy, but we think the real race is between “Love the Way You Lie” and “Empire State Of Mind.”  Both are also up for the coveted record of the year in the general categories. Is the fact that “Lie” is also up for song of the year a tip off that Grammy voters see it as more significant a track than “Empire?” “Empire” will have a life long after “Lie”: we’re going to hear it at New York sporting events for decades. In a year where it’s tempting to thing that Eminem may very well sweep, we’re going to go against the grain and give this one to Jay-Z and Keys.

Winner: “Empire State of Mind”

Who is your pick? 


Our Previous Predictions:

Best Contemporary R&B Album

Best Short Form Music Video

Best Female Country Vocal Performance

Best Female Pop Vocal Performance

Best Alternative Music Album



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Live Blogging and Post-Mortem on the Black Eyed Peas Super Bowl half-time show
Credit: AP Photo

Live Blogging and Post-Mortem on the Black Eyed Peas Super Bowl half-time show

How do you think they did?

It's half time at Super Bowl XLV. The Packers have pretty much cleaned the Steelers' clock for the first half, which means there are plenty of disgruntled Steeler fans who could use a little cheering up from the Peas about now.  I gotta feeling it might not be enough. We also hope they can remember the words, which is more than we can say about Christina Aguilera and her otherwise strong version of the National Anthem. Hey, at least we know she was singing live.  We'll be back to live blog as soon as the Peas go on in a few minutes.

5:09 p.m. (PST): It’s space-aged Peas, lowered from the roof of the stadium on a round stage in the middle of the field..  I gotta feeling they're going to bring it.

5:11: They go into  "Boom Boom Pow"  surrounded by dancerson the field in green LED outfits.  It looks fantastic from up above: like  little green martians in lockstep on the field.  We wonder how it looks from outer space? One of the best uses of the field we've seen in a half time.

[More after the jump...]

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Do we set another record low at No. 1 for the Billboard 200 next week?

Can Nicki Minaj's 'Pink Friday' finally make it to the top?

Record sales are in the dumper, but some acts continue to show impressive strength in the face of otherwise dire circumstance. For example, The Decemberists debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 last week with sales of 94,000 copies for “The King is Dead.” That was an impressive 75,000 more units than the band’s previous best sales week, 2009’s “The Hazards of Love.”

It’s not as significant a leap, but Christian rock band Red will likely land its first  chart topper next week with “Until We Have Faces, with a nice increase in sales over its last set, 2009’s “Innocence and Instinct.” Red’s previous high on the Billboard 200 was No. 15. Billboard predicts “Until We Have Faces” will sell 45,000 copies.

That’s right, the run of incredibly low sales tallies at No. 1 continues in what is clearly the worst musical start to a year since the 1991 bow of Nielsen SoundScan. At least it looks like Red won't set a new record for lowest wekly sales to top the chart: After setting the record this week with 40,000 copies, Amos Lee's "Mission Bell" is safe for at least another week

[More after the jump...]

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<p>Chris Martin of Coldplay</p>

Chris Martin of Coldplay

Credit: AP

Coldplay to headline Glastonbury, Rolling Stones take a pass

Offer still out to U2

Coldplay will headline Glastonbury, the British multi-artist festival that takes place June 22-26, according to British newspaper, The Sun.

However, the Glastonbury Festival website has not confirmed Coldplay, and, furthermore, states “The Glastonbury 2011 line-up will not be revealed until Spring 2011. The event takes place at Worthy Farm. Coldplay, who allegedly will headline June 25, last played Glastonbury in 2005.

The Sun is also reporting that Glastonbury producer Michael Eavis offered the Rolling Stones a slot, but they turned him down.

Tickets for Glastonbury are already sold out. Last year’s headliners included Gorillaz, Muse and Stevie Wonder, after U2 had to drop out following Bono’s back injury. Eavis told the BBC that he has an offer out to US to headline June 24, but has not heard back.

Glastonbury will take a hiatus next summer when London hosts the Summer Olympics.

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Credit: Lionel Cironneau/AP

Music Power Rankings: EMI, Shakira, and NIcki Minaj creep around the top

Miranda Lambert and White Stripes also make the list

In a semi-surprising move this week, Citigroup took over EMI, home to the Beatles catalog, Katy Perry and Lady Antebellum, in what most observers believe is an ultimately good move for the record company. After a long period of destabilization at Guy Hands' hands, EMI is coalescing under Roger Faxon's direction and Citigroup's takeover gives the company a chance to breathe a little bit before Citigroup puts it back on the block.

1) EMI (not ranked last week):  The record label has more lives as a cat as Citigroup takes over ownership. Remember that Citigroup has been the main creditor to former owner Terra Firma, which faulted on its loan.  Citi has written off a £2.2 billion loss on the deal and will, undoubtedly, flip it as soon as possible. Or as BBC News business editor  Robert Preston said, “The takeover in 2007 of EMI by Guy Hands’ Terra Firma..will go down in British corporate history as one of the worst deals ever.” Ouch. We bet Thom Yorke is laughing his ass off.

2) Nicki Minaj (not ranked): She shows her versatility on "Saturday Night Live," not only as a performer, but in the hilarious digital short, "Do the Creep," causing "Pink Friday" to continue creeping up the charts

3) Shakira (not ranked): She becomes the third artist, following Lady Gaga and Justin Bieber, to log a staggering one billion views on YouTube. And we know that those figures, just like her hips, don’t lie.

[More after the jump...]

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