<p>Carrie Underwood</p>

Carrie Underwood

Credit: Matt Sayles

Music Power Rankings: Train rolls to the top

What is The Doors' Jim Morrison doing on the list?

Four year ago, Train had run off the rails. The band was on an extended hiatus of undetermined length, possibly forever. But during that break, the three key members, Pat Monahan, Jimmy Stafford and Scott Underwood, began to miss each other, and, moreso, the music they created together. They switched management companies, changed up some other key behind-the-scenes personnel, but, more importantly, altered their attitude and focused on the pluses of being together, rather than the minuses. The result?  Not just a comeback single,but “Hey Soul Sister” is the top-selling tune of the year for iTunes. That means it sold more than any song by Katy Perry, Eminem, Rihanna or Ke$ha, all of whom got the lion’s share of the attention. Not only that, according to Billboard, “Hey Soul Sister” is the only song by a rock band to land in the Top 10 on the Billboard Hot 100 all year.

1) Train (last week, not ranked): “Hey Soul Sister” sells a staggering 4.6 million downloads. Clearly many people feel “a game show love connection” to “Sister.”

2) Carrie Underwood (not ranked): She’s crowned the big winner——with six trophies, or guitars as the case may be here---at the inaugural American Country Awards. If an artist wins an award on a barely seen awards show does it still count?

3) Class of 2011 (not ranked): What do Neil Diamond, Alice Cooper, Tom Waits, Dr. John and Darlene Love all have in common? They are the inductees into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Class of 2011, according to Hits Daily Double--although the official announcement doesn't come out until Wednesday. See Alice, school is never really out.

4) Jim Morrison (not ranked): Nearly 40 years after his death, The Doors front man has been pardoned by the state of Florida, cleared of his indecent exposure charge from a 1969 concert. Wherever he is, the Lizard King is laughing his ass off.

5) Aretha Franklin (not ranked): The Queen of Soul, and simply one of the most powerful voices and forces in music for five decades, is diagnosed with cancer. Sending her nothing but get well wishes.

6) Doug Morris (not ranked):  Once Lucian Grange took over, some folks were all too ready to put the UMG chief out to pasture, but it looks like he will find yet another life as CEO of Sony Music--in his 70s. If it comes to pass, that means he’s headed three of the four major record companies: Warner Music Group, UMG and Sony.

7)  Barry Weiss (No. 4) : As Morris possibly comes to Sony, the talented Weiss leaves to go to UMG. Will he take a bevy of Jive artists with him as soon as he’s able?

8) Spotify (not ranked): The ad-supported streaming service, already big in Europe, announces that it won’t launch in the U.S. by year’s end as had been planned. Whether Spotify is ever able to make a go of it in the U.S. remains to be seen but it has made the industry sit up and seriously pay attention to ad-supported and subscription models in a way, after other players have failed. 

9) Susan Boyle (not ranked): You may not listen to her-- and radio barely plays her-- but someone sure as hell is. For the second straight holiday season, she’s dominated the charts. She is “The Gift” that keeps on giving.

10) Howard Stern (not ranked): He tells listeners that he has re-signed with Sirius XM. Sources say the five-year contract will pay the King of All Media for $400 million or as the Daily Beast broke it down: $2,008/minute on the air.

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Credit: Chris Pizzello/AP

Hey, guess who has the top-selling single on iTunes in 2010?

Which two artists land two songs in the top 10?

“Hey Soul Sister,” Train’s comeback single, brought the San Francisco band back in a big way: so big that the finger-snapping song was the top-selling tune on iTunes in 2010, according to the music download service.

“Sister” sold a staggering 4.6 million copies.

Katy Perry’s “California Gurls” featuring Snoop Dogg snagged second place, while Eminem’s “Love the Way You Lie” featuring Rihanna came in third (Eminem’s “Recovery” was the top selling album on iTunes, as it was at retail in general.

Rounding out the top 10 are B.o.B’s “Airplanes” featuring Hayley Williams,  Taio Cruz’s “Dynamite,” Usher’s “OMG,” Taio Cruz’s “Break Your Heart” featuring Ludicris,  Ke$ha’s “Tik Tok,” Lady Antebellum’s “Need You Now” and Eminem’s “Not Afraid.”


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<p>Michael Jackson</p>

Michael Jackson

Watch: Michael Jackson and Akon's video for 'Hold My Hand'

The King of Pop makes a few cameos

How do you create a music video for a song by an artist who’s dead? If said artist is Michael Jackson, there’s a wealth of footage to glean from so why is there so little footage of Jackson in the new video for the clip for “Hold My Hand,” his duet with Akon?

Instead, the director focused on children dancing, which is cute to be sure, as well as people in various stages of duress looking skyward and lots of shots of, you got it, hands...and, oddly enough, Jackson’s star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame (watch until the end for a weird shot there). There are also babies and seemingly hundreds of MJ fans releasing balloons in his honor. Akon always gets his due, as he’s shown singing in front of a white screen.

In other words, it’s a montage of images, coming very quickly at you throughout the mid-tempo ballad.  The theme follows the lyrics: life is much better and easier if you have someone’s hand to hold. There’s no disputing that message and it’s nice that the director didn’t resort to cliches of only couples holding hands. We just wish they’d thrown in more Michael than the obligatory shots shown here.

Sadly, all the pretty images, nice photography and cute kids can’t save the song, which is like warmed-over Justin Bieber-meets-Hootie-and-the Blowfish.

“Hold My Hand” is featured on “Michael,” which comes out Tuesday.

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Watch: Adele's 'Rolling in the Deep' music video

Maybe you can explain it to us

There are bad things going on in Adele’s house. Dishes, lots of them, are being thrown, there’s a renovation project gone horrible wrong,  and there’s some demented court jester writhing around in a room filled with white powder. And that’s just the first minute of the video for “Rolling in the Deep.”

Then there’s a model of a miniature city, the buildings erected all in white, that goes up in flames as further symbolic proof that all has gone wrong.  (Or maybe it stands for the fire that has started in Adele’s heart). Our favorite are the seemingly thousands of water-filled glasses trembling along to the bass beat. It’s a great visual that does seem matched to the line about finally seeing everything “crystal clear.”

Having said that, I have absolutely no idea what this video is about. It’s abstract as they come. Adele sits in a chair never rising as she sings, oblivious to the destruction going on in the other rooms. We don’t know why the jester’s scenes are shot in black and white. Maybe it’s just an artistic choice or maybe it means something much more. Sometimes there’s no need to have a linear storyline and this video proves it. It’s compelling and fascinating in a kind of “Hmmm, am I supposed to understand this?” way. I hope the answer is no, I’m not.

What do you think the video is about?



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<p>A Day to Remember</p>

A Day to Remember

A Day to Remember, New Found Glory set to rock Bamboozle Music Festival

Festival also features Boys Like Girls, Waka Flocka Flame and more

It’s still five months away, but mark your calendars for April 29-May 1 for the Bamboozle Festival.

The three-day event, which takes place at the new Meadowlands Stadium, Rutherford, N.J., will feature A Day to Remember, Boys Like Girls, New Found Glory with Marky Ramone, Circa Surviva, Waka Flocka Flame, Streetlight Manifesto, Forever the Sickest Kids, LMFAO, Ryan Cabrera, Senses Fail, The Ready Set and RX Bandits. More artists will be added.

The festival, which launched in 2003, is one of the first mega-artist on the 2011 slate, preceded only by Indio, Calif’s Coachella, which will be held April 15-17.  Bamboozle runs the same weekend as Coachella’s country cousin, Stagecoach.

New to Bamboozle next year will be The Temple of Boozle,  a stage featuring DJs, including Super Mash Bros. and Wait What.  The B-Boy Battle’s breakdancing competition returns, as does The Break Contest, a talent search.

Three-day early-bird passes are on sale now for $99 through www.thebamboozle.com.


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<p>Katy Perry in &quot;Firework&quot;</p>

Katy Perry in "Firework"

Katy Perry's record-setting run sets off 'Firework' on the Billboard Hot 100

Black Eyed Peas, Rihanna and Florence + the Machine also have cause for celebration

Katy Perry just scored a hat trick. As “Firework” powers its way to No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100  this week, she becomes the first female artist in more than a decade to take three consecutive singles from one album to the top.

“Firework” follows “California Gurls” and “Teenage Dream” to the summit. All three appear on Perry’s second album, “Teenage Dream,” which garnered an Grammy nomination for album of the year last week.

She beats a record set by another current Grammy nominee, Monica. The R&B singer took “The Boy is Mine” featuring Brandy, “The First Night” and “Angel of Mine” to the top spot over an eight-month span starting in June 1998, according to Billboard.

In other Hot 100 news, Pink’s “Raise Your Glass,” switches places with “Firework,” slipping 1-2. Rihanna sees a surge with “What’s My Name” rising 5-3, giving women the top 3 slots, while her “Only Girl (In the World) moves 3-6.

Although the Black Eyed Peas’ “The Beginning” starts its Billboard 200 run at a disappointing No. 6, first single “The Time (Dirty Bit)” continues its rise, leaping 9-4. Rounding out the top 5 are Grammy wunderkind Bruno Mars, whose “Grenade” continues to blow up, soaring 10-5.  His “Just the Way You Are” falls 4-7.

Ke$ha’s former No. 1, “We R Who We R,” tumbles 6-8. Coming in at No. 9 is Nelly’s “Just a Dream,” down one from last week; and Trey Songz’ “Bottoms Up” featuring Nicki Minaj creeps back into the top 10, inching up 11-10.

As new entries slow to a trickle through the holidays, the top debut belows to—who else— the cast of “Glee.” New Dimension’s version of Florence and the Machine’s “Dog Days Are Over” bows at No. 22, leading the four other “Glee” Hot 100 entries this week. “Glee’s” cover also helps lift Flo’s original 58-21.

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<p>Ed Droste of Grizzly Bear</p>

Ed Droste of Grizzly Bear

Interview: Grizzly Bear's Ed Droste reveals plans for the next album

When can we expect the follow-up to 2009's revered 'Veckatimest?'

Grizzly Bear, whose 2009 album, “Veckatimest” topped many best-of lists, will head back into the studio early next year, according to the Brooklyn-based band’s frontman Ed Droste.

“We’ll start writing after Christmas,” Droste tells Hitfix. “We just finished our last show in October. We thought maybe we can pretend we’re not in a band for three months and hopefully not be in a bus or a plane.”

With that mission almost accomplished, Droste says he and his Bear mates — guitarist Daniel Rossen, bassist Chris Taylor, and drummer Christopher Bear — will “start dipping our toes into a writing process and see where that takes us. We want everything to just happen.”

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<p>Daft Punk</p>

Daft Punk

Watch: Daft Punk's official 'Derezzed' video from 'Tron'

Does the pair finally remove their helmets?

My colleague Katie Hasty will post a full review of Daft Punk’s “Tron: Legacy” soundtrack later today, but until then, check out the official video for “Derezzed,” which MTV premiered today.

The video is decidedly old-school (well, as old school as futuristic knights can appear jousting on their combo lightcycles/dinosaurs) as the duo play a video game manufactured by Encom in 1981 (the original “Tron” came out in 1982; Encom is the company that creates "Tron").

There’s no footage from the new movie, which opens Dec. 17, except there’s a reveal at the end that ties it up neatly to bring it back to the future.

Quite honestly, we like the trailer that features the music better. Of course, dialog interrupts the music in that one, but it's much more visually appealing. See that one here.

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<p>Snoop Dogg</p>

Snoop Dogg

Credit: AP

Watch: Submerge yourself with Snoop Dogg in video for Gorillaz' 'Plastic Beach'

Rapper weaves fascinating tales in compelling new music clip

Periscope up!  Snoop Dogg is on deck of a mystical, magical submarine in this new Gorillaz clip for “Welcome to the Plastic Beach,” the title track from their current album.

The totality of the clip is a camera on Snoop surveying his unseen kingdom,as he does his thing over the Gorillaz’ retro-soulful/”Superfly”-like beat (okay, there are a few cut ins with lyrics, but those are seldom). And it’s as compelling as can be. That’s because Snoop’s charisma leaps off the small screen as he tells us kids to “gather round.” He knows “the world seems to hopeless,” but he’s here to give us some redemption. We’re not sure exactly how, but we’re buying whatever he’s selling.

And let’s take a moment to check out the awesome fashion statement SD is making:  The stovepipe hat is unlike anything we’ve ever seen a captain wear, although the jacket is straight out of the Captain Bligh collection.

We are so ready to rock it in the bubble bath with Snoop after watching this. 


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<p>Animated versions of Jason Segel and Jack Black bring you holiday cheer.</p>

Animated versions of Jason Segel and Jack Black bring you holiday cheer.

Watch: Jack Black and Jason Segel bring you holiday cheer

Duo takes on David Bowie/Bing Crosby's 'Peace on Earth/Little Drummer Boy'

Jack Black and Jason Segel spread a little holiday cheer of their own with this fun cartoon of the twosome singing “Peace on Earth/Little Drummer Boy 2010.”

The pair, who (ready for the obligatory plug?) appear together in “Gulliver’s Travels,” recreate the now legendary David Bowie/Bing Crosby  1977 television special where Bowie just happens to drop by on the Bingster and they spontaneously burst into song, their voices miraculously intertwining on the two Christmas tunes.

In the video, which debuted on collegehumor.com today, Black and Segel lovingly adhere to the premise, but also make this their own as the former stops by in search of ginger. Turn out, Black has a “ginger bushel” out back. The animation is delightfully retro ‘70s. I almost expected the Jackson 5 to pop out and join them.

It turns out both Black and Segel have very pleasant voices, especially Black when he takes the lead on “Peace on Earth.”

And best of all, proceeds from sales of the video from iTunes go to Blue Star Families, a non-profit organization that deals with issues facing military families.

Below, check out Black and Segel and then scroll down to watch the bizarrely awkward Bowie/Crosby original.




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