<p>Drake and friend</p>

Drake and friend

Watch: Drake ignores a stripper in the 'Miss Me' clip with Lil Wayne

Drizzy also announced 'Welcome Home Weezy' for his Cash Money labelmate

Drake’s new video for “Miss Me” must be the 8,000th clip that features Lil Wayne since his March incarceration. But there’s more. There’s also some fire and a stripper, who just seems to be irritating Drake more than anything else. “Miss Me” was directed by Anthony Mandler, who’s helmed all of Drake’s clips from “Thank Me Later.”

Even when he’s between the dancer’s legs, Drake is pining for Nicki Minaj,who, he’s hoping, will marry him one day since her “ pants are mighty fitted.”

Drake tells MTV that the video’s message is “youth in revolt, rebellious,” which completely bypassed me unless nothing says “revolt” like a writhing dancer.

Weezy’s rap is definitely NSFW with such lines as “My bitches do it til they suck the brown off.” Wouldn’t that hurt?  It’s one of his most rambling raps ever in that he also shouts out to Haiti and other complete non-sequiturs. His image appears as some ethereal floating head through most of his part, with a few group shots taken before he went to jail. Our favorite part is when Weezy quotes lyrics from the Miracles' 1976 hit, "Love Machine." Trippy.

The video, edited in quick cuts and beautifully shot as it may be, has not plot and, like the song, is weirdly all over the place.  There’s no relation at all to Drake’s sweet “Miss Me” chorus and the rest of the song or Weezy’s rap and the video has the same disjointed feel.

In other Lil Wayne news, Drake announced on Thursday that a “Welcome Home Weezy” concert will be held Nov. 5 to herald Lil Wayne’s release from jail. He’s been serving time in New York’s Riker’s Island on weapons charges and is slated to be released on Nov. 4. No details on the concert, but newlilwayne.com figures it will likely be on the west coast since Drake plays in Los Angeles on Nov. 4 and in Las Vegas on Nov. 6.


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Credit: AP Photo

Can Eminem make it a lucky seven weeks at No. 1 on the Billboard 200?

Or does R&B singer Kem knock him off his throne?

Meet next week’s chart, it looks a lot like this week’s chart. Eminem’s “Recovery” is poised to log its 7th week at the top with sales of up to 120,000.

For those keeping track, it will be the eighth week that “Recovery” has sold more than 100,000 copies.

The good news is that after Eminem, the rest of the top five is occupied by new residents. R&B singer Kem’s “Intimacy” is clearly touching a lot of people as it is poised to come in at No. 2 with sales of 75,000, according to Hits Daily Double. Iron Maiden’s “The Final Frontier” will come in at No. 3, while Ray Lamontagne’s “God Willin’ & the Creek Don’t Rise”enters at No. 5 and Trace Adkins’ ““Cowboy’s Back in Town” rides in at No. 5.

The only other Top 10 entry will be David Gray’s double set, “Foundling.”  John Mellencamp’s 25th album, “No Better Than This” can’t score better than a No. 13 entry.

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<p>Arcade Fire</p>

Arcade Fire

Watch: Arcade Fire's video for 'Ready to Start'

Don't adjust your set; it's meant to be in black and white

For as breathlessly critically lauded as they are, it’s somewhat refreshing to know that Arcade Fire can be just as clichéd as any rock band.

In the new video for “Ready to Start,” the first single from “The Suburbs,” the Canadian group serves up a live performance of the driving, high-energy tune captured at the Hackey Empire in London. The clip was serviced exclusively to Spanish newspaper El Mundo, which says the video is meant  to showcase  the “epic and intense spirit” of Arcade Fire’s live performances. Or at least that’s how Consequence of Sound translated it and since we don’t speak Spanish, we’re taking their word for it.

If that’s the case, then mission somewhat accomplished. I don’t know if the slow motion or shooting in black and white do anything to enhance the joy that can be an Arcade Fire gig, but Arcade Fire seems to think that audience members going crazy verrrrrry sloooowly and without color ups the intensify factor.

The clip focuses on the group’s charismatic co-founders and current first couple of  rock and roll, Win Butler and Regine Chassagne, both of whom are compelling to watch.

Check it out for yourself.

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<p>Lady Gaga</p>

Lady Gaga

Music Power Rankings: Eminem's 'Recovery' continues, but Lady GaGa rules the world

Plus Katy Perry sets a new record and Apple looks to replace your wallet

Katy Perry’s “California Gurls” is the undisputed song of the summer, but in every other way the season belongs to Eminem. The second chapter of his career is in full bloom. While “Relapse” sold respectably, it was largely seen as an uninspired artistic misstep. “Recovery’s” reception, while mixed from critics, has been lauded in many quarters and has spawned two No. 1s, including “Love the Way You Lie” featuring Rihanna, which is shaping up to be one of the biggest hits of Eminem’s career.

Music Power Ranking took a hiatus last week so the parentheses indicate the rank two weeks ago.

1)    Eminem (not ranked): Marshall Mathers logs his sixth week at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 with “Recovery,” while “Love the Way You Lie” featuring Rihanna spends its fifth week atop the Hot 100 and seven weeks in the pole position on Hot Digital chart. The last artist to register six frames at the top of the Billboard 200 was Susan Boyle. Did they dream the same dream?

2)    Steven Tyler (not ranked): Though Fox still won’t confirm it, the Aerosmith lead singer prepares to walk this way to a judge’s seat on “American Idol.”

3)     Lil Wayne (not ranked): He’s earned more in jail ($20 million) this year than he did last year when he was a free man ($18 million), according to Forbes.  He has also appeared on a staggering 23 tracks since his incarceration. Somehow, we bet he’d  willingly give up that $2 million for his freedom.

4)    Lady GaGa (No. 6): By the time you finish reading this she will have surpassed Britney Spears as the person on Twitter with the most followers—more than 5.64 million. It is her world and we just live in it. Or at least her Twitterverse.

5)    Katy Perry (not ranked): She becomes only the 10th female solo artist in the 52-year history of the Billboard Hot 100 to land two songs simultaneously in the Top 10.

6)    Justin Bieber (No. 2): Kayne West is remixing the Bieb’s track “Runaway Love” featuring Wu-Tang Clan’s Raekwon. And in other news from bizarre world…

7)    Courtney Love (not ranked): The singer and widow of Kurt Cobain settles a lawsuit over Nirvana’s publishing catalog. Smells like green spirit.

8)    Apple (not ranked): The giant moved a step closer toward launching a rumored mobile payment service by hiring a mobile payment expert. Get ready to use your iPhone to pay for purchases by swiping it near a register. No carrying around a bulky wallet anymore.

9)    Kings of Leon (not ranked): The group does what Lady GaGa and Britney could not: they turn down “Glee’s” request to use their music. Wait until Sue Sylvester hears about this. She’ll make those pigeons looks like KoL’s best friends.

10)    Conan O’Brien (not ranked): He signs a deal with pal Jack White’s label, Third Man, for two releases. I know he’s been off the air since January, but, really, Conan, how can we miss you if you don’t go away?

Music Power Rankings appear every Friday.  What do you think of this week's list?

Previous  rankings:

Aug. 7


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<p>Steven Tyler</p>

Steven Tyler

Credit: ap

Why we give Steven Tyler a mixed vote as an 'American Idol' judge

Can the Aerosmith singer deliver the goods?

Is Steven Tyler good or bad for “American Idol?” Fox hasn’t officially confirmed him, but it looks like his addition as a judge is a done deal (of course, people were saying the same thing about Jennifer Lopez two weeks ago).

Why should we care? Because more people vote for the “American Idol” winner than vote for U.S. president. And, in case you haven’t noticed, “American Idol” needs our help.  Sure it’s still one of the top-rated TV shows, but the past season’s ratings fell of drastically.  This is a national emergency, people!

But back to Tyler. Let’s evaluate a few salient criteria:

Is he qualified? We’re getting rid of the obvious. Of course he is. He clearly knows how to sing so none of the criticism that Ellen DeGeneres received applies to him. Plus, he’s been performing for more than 40 years so he understands what it takes to get up on stage and make an impression.

Can he play well with others?  Simon Cowell showed that this is not a job requirement, and, in fact, can be a detriment. Through his various stints in rehab and through decades of working through really tough band dynamics, he’s probably mastered the art of pretending to listen and appreciating opposing views. Hopefully not too much though since who wants the civility all the time.

Can he play second banana? Here’s my first of only two real qualms about Tyler. Tyler is a star. He is not only used to all eyes being on him, he lives for it. I don’t know if it’s reasonable, or even fair, to expect him to sit quietly and let the spotlight be on the contestants. There is no comparing his role as an entertainer/superstar to Paula Abdul’s (and that’s no dis to Paula)so she can’t be a barometer here. Say what you will about Abdul, she was very comfortable nurturing and coming up with positive things about the contestants. Perhaps that’s because she knows how severely the criticism all performers receive stings. 

Can he make trenchant, valuable commentary? In terms of technical evaluation, sure. But so can Randy Jackson (and we wish he’d do that more) and so can/could Kara DioGuardi, as she showed during her vastly improved performance in season two. As someone who’s interviewed Tyler a fair number of times, he can bring the crazy just as much as Abdul when it comes to making comments that leave you shaking your head or going “Huh?” That makes great copy, but I don’t know if it’s a great criterion for a judge.

Is he too gosh darn old? Tyler is 62. I’m not one who believes that age has anything to do with ability to remain current, plus “American Idol” is hardly concerned with appearing hip.  It is a populist show and Aerosmith is a great, populist band. Case closed on that one. That said, I would probably counter program against him with someone who is young and hip in order to give a broader range of opinions among the judges.

Why is he doing this?
  I can really only think of one reason: To expose Aerosmith to a younger audience. We’re hoping he doesn’t need the money, although that rock and roll lifestyle (and hair extensions and plastic surgery) doesn’t come cheap.  “American Idol” has made a cottage industry of using artists who have been around since the ’60s and ‘70s as mentors. In fact, we love how the Oscar-worthy performance some  contestants give, many of whom were born 30 years after the artist’s hey day, when they meet the mentor—as if they were their biggest fan instead of the reality, which is they’d probably never even heard of them until 30 minutes earlier. We don’t know if their appearance has done much for those artists, other than provide a modest, momentary blip in sales for that week, but it couldn’t hurt. And not to be too cynical about it, but as a judge, he'll get plenty of interview time on "AI" host Ryan Seacrest's KIIS morning show, which will do more to expose him to the 12-14 demo than the "Idol" gig.

What do you think about Tyler walking his way to "American Idol?"


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<p>Lee DeWyze</p>

Lee DeWyze

Credit: RCA/19

'American Idol' winner Lee DeWyze sets Nov. 16 release date for debut

Other details are left underwraps

This season’s “American Idol” winner Lee DeWyze will release his post-“Idol” debut Nov. 16 on 19/RCA Records.

There’s not a lot more we can tell you, although we’re trying to dig up more info about the album, which will contain penned by a number of top songwriters. Sounds like no more covers after his first single, U2’s “Beautiful Day.” We don’t even know who’s producing. DeWyze previously described the music to Neon Limelight as “very chill rock.” W don’t know that that means.

We do know, however, that DeWyze recently won a Teen Choice Award for male variety/reality star.

RCA isn’t even releasing the album title so we’re expecting one of those slow rollouts with bits and pieces released in dibs and drabs.

Runner up Crystal Bowersox is also expected to drop her post-'Idol" debut this fall.

Just a reminder—this past season was the last that will funnel winners through Sony Music’s imprints. As we previously reported, 19 Entertainment has shifted from Sony (which inherited the 19 deal through its merger with BMG)  to Universal Music Group.


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<p>Rihanna and Eminem on the set of the &quot;Love the Way You Lie&quot;&nbsp;music video</p>

Rihanna and Eminem on the set of the "Love the Way You Lie" music video

Eminem 'Loves' the top position on the Billboard Hot 100 for the fifth time

What milestone does Katy Perry set this week?

Eminem is having a great summer. “Recovery” keeps bouncing back up to No. 1 on the Billboard 200 and “Love the Way You Lie” featuring Rihanna checks in for its fifth week at No. 1 on Billboard’s Hot 100. The song also remains No. 1 on Billboard’s Digital Songs chart for its seventh consecutive week even though it dips 9% in digital sales.

The question remains as to who will topple “Love” from the top: Taio Cruz’s “Dynamite” is gaining in airplay and that may be enough to dethrone Eminem. Even though Taylor Swift’s “Mine” drops 3-8, it is picking up speed at radio. Part of the delicate dance here and what may make it difficult for Swift to log a No. 1 on the Billboard 100 is that country radio moves slower than pop radio (the Billboard 100 includes airplay for both). It’s not unheard of for a country song to take six months to reach No. 1, as was the case with Miranda Lambert’s “White Liar.” That clearly isn’t the case with the much faster-moving pop chart. However, we wouldn’t rule out Swift moving back up the top 10.

Regardless, Katy Perry is the girl with the most cake in this week’s Top 10. She is the 10th solo female artist to land two songs in the Billboard Hot 100 at the same time as a lead artist (forget all that “featuring” crap). In fact, she has two in the Top 5, according to Billboard, as “California Gurls” featuring Snoop Dogg is No. 3 and “Teenage Dream” soars 9-5.

Mike Posner’s first single, “Cooler Than Me,” from “31 Minutes to Takeoff” moves 7-6, but that’s not enough to keep his debut from selling more than 29,000 in its opening frame on the Billboard 200. That tally lands him at No. 8 on the Billboard 200, but given the heat and exposure on Posner, it’s a somewhat surprisingly low total.

Keep an eye out for Trey Songz, whose “Bottoms Up” featuring Nicki Minaj, the first single from his fourth album, “Passion, Pain & Pleasure,” debuts at No. 22. It’s his highest bow on the chart (and this week’s Hot Shot Debut) and he’s a really a nice example of artist development.

And what’s the chart without a little novelty action: “Bed Intruder Song” featuring Antoine Dodson, the internet viral phenom with more than 10 million hits on Youtube based on an autotuned new report, debuts at No. 89 based on iTunes sales. Enjoy it now, fellas, because we’re guessing you’ll be gone, gone, gone by next week’s chart.

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<p>Norah Jones' &quot;...Featuring&quot;</p>

Norah Jones' "...Featuring"

Credit: Blue Note

Norah Jones collects famous friends Foo Fighters, Outkast for '....Featuring'

Why is this collection of previously-released material coming out?

Less than a year after releasing her fourth studio album, the underrated “The Fall,”  Norah Jones will put out “….Featuring,” a collection of her collaborations with other artists.

The set, out Nov. 2, includes “Virginia Moon,” her track with the Foo Fighters and “Dear John” with Ryan Adams.  The album also includes her work on three Grammy-winning albums of the years, Ray Charles’ “Genius Loves Company,” Herbie Hancock’s “River: The Joni Letters,” and OutKast’s “Speakerboxxx/The Love Below.”

Spanning the breadth of her career, among “Featuring’s” tracks are a cover of Roxy Music’s “More than This,” recorded with Charlie Hunter in 2001, and, most recently, “Little Lou, Prophet Jack, Ugly John” with Belle & Sebastian. The track will also appear on B&S’s new album.

All of the tracks, other than “Little Lou” have been previously released.

Often, these kinds of sets signal the end of an artist’s contract with a label and they’re just fulfilling their obligation but a label source assures that this is not the last album on her contract. So why is she releasing this now? Sounds like it's a good way to appeal to her fans during the holiday buying season.

Below is the track listing for “…Featuring.”

1. Love Me – The Little Willies
2. Virginia Moon – The Foo Fighters featuring Norah Jones
3. Turn Them – Sean Bones featuring Norah Jones
4. Baby It's Cold Outside – Willie Nelson featuring Norah Jones
5. Bull Rider – Norah Jones and Sasha Dobson
6. Ruler Of My Heart – Dirty Dozen Brass Band featuring Norah Jones
7. The Best Part – El Madmo
8. Take Off Your Cool – OutKast featuring Norah Jones
9. Life Is Better – Q-Tip featuring Norah Jones
10. Soon The New Day – Talib Kweli featuring Norah Jones
11. Little Lou, Prophet Jack, Ugly John – Belle & Sebastian featuring Norah Jones
12. Here We Go Again – Ray Charles featuring Norah Jones
13. Loretta – Norah Jones featuring Gillian Welch and David Rawlings
14. Dear John – Ryan Adams featuring Norah Jones
15. Creepin' In – Norah Jones featuring Dolly Parton
16. Court & Spark – Herbie Hancock featuring Norah Jones
17. More Than This – Charlie Hunter featuring Norah Jones
18. Blue Bayou – Norah Jones featuring M. Ward


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Album sales continue to fall off the cliff
Credit: AP Photo

Album sales continue to fall off the cliff

Weekly tally reaches an all-time low

Hear that sound? It’s the dying gasps of the album. This week, overall album sales reached their lowest weekly tally in nearly 20 years.

Album sales for the week ending Aug. 15 totaled  4.98 million units, according to Nielsen SoundScan (via Billboard). That marks only the second time—but certainly not the last—that the weekly sum has dropped below 5 million since SoundScan started monitoring sales in 1991. The first time was a mere  three months ago, when they were 4.98 million.

We’re not going to chronicle every new low because we have a feeling they’ll come fast and furiously from here on out, but there are a few things worth noting. This tally includes digital sales of albums and album equivalents (which SoundScan counts as 10 tracks from a CD), so if there’s anyone alive out there who thinks digital is going to save the music industry in its current form, wake up. Actually, this should come as no surprise since digital sales have been plateauing. 

The real problem is that major labels, who were too arrogant and too slow to turn their ship in the new direction when downloading began, aren’t making up the money they’ve lost in album sales through other business means, such as licensing or 360 deals (where they share in publishing and touring profits).  And for all of you who are screaming “death to the majors,” do you really think it’s a good idea? They are still investing millions in new acts and I bet you can find at least one act on a major label that you really like if you try. Majors are certainly an increasingly less vital part of the picture and, much to the good of the industry, far from the only way to break great artists, but even indies are struggling with these numbers.
More about all in a commentary coming later today.

When do you think we'll drop below 4 million?


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<p>Katy Perry</p>

Katy Perry

Credit: Capitol

Listen: Does Katy Perry's 'Firework' sparkle or fizz?

Latest track surfaces from Aug. 24's 'Teenage Dream'

With the countdown to the release of Katy Perry’s “Teenage Dream” down to less than a week, songs from the album are surfacing left and right.

Today, one of our favorites, “Firework” is lighting up the internet. Whereas “California Gurls” brought the sassy and the sexy and “Teenage Dream” brought the romance, “Firework” brings the sweet. Listen here and let us know what you think.

It’s a great girl empowerment song about how anyone can shine. All of us can burn brightly and be a firework.  And the message is wrapped in a bright, shiny beat. Will it become her third Top 10 hit from “Teenage Dream?” I don’t know if it has the mass appeal that the previous two singles had (or if this will even be a single). One thing is clear: it is ripe for club remixes and we predict it will be a No. 1 dance hit if nothing else.

Perry has a huge following among little girls—go to one of her shows and there are seven year olds running around dressed like Perry singing along to every word. This song should come with the lyrics printed in large type so girls can really embrace the uplifting message (And no, it’s not just for girls, but, call me crazy, I’m not thinking this is the message that her straight male fans are looking for from her).


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