Move along, nothing to see here. Or hear here. “Misery,” the new single from Maroon 5’s Sept. 21 album, “Hands All Over” pairs the popmeisters with uber-producer Mutt Lange. This combination should be made in heaven. To be sure, “Misery” sounds pristine and punchy, even coming out of computer speakers, but at this point in their career, Maroon 5 needs to mix it up a bit. We don’t expect them to break into a polka or anything like that, but “Misery” could have appeared on 2002’s “Songs About Jane.”
Having said that, the track, about love’s woes (very familiar territory for Adam Levine and co.) is a bouncy, percussive, sparkly slice of pop that, if it had come out sooner, could have vied for one of the songs of the summer.
Maybe our expectations were too high, but we wish Maroon 5 and Lange had really poured it on. We don’t want Maroon 5 to sound like Def Leppard (although we LOVE Def Leppard), but we would have hoped that Lange would have pushed Maroon5 a little more. This sounds like a slight retread of “This Love.” Admittedly, if you’re going to copy yourself, you could pick much worse tracks than that earworm.
The band recorded “Hands All Over,” the studio follow-up to 2007’s “It Won’t Be Soon Before Long,” in Switzerland. Among the 15-track cuts is “Out of Goodbyes,” which features Lady Antebellum.
Maroon 5’s new tour starts July 30. The rotating line up of openers includes Owl City, Kris Allen, Guster, VV Brown and Ry Cumming.
It’s a wacky week in release land. After Miley Cyrus and Eminem decided to move their albums up to an off-cycle Monday release, instead of the usual Tuesday, virtually every act followed suit. Except for The Chemical Bros. and Sia, all of these albums are available now.
The big question is can either Eminem or Cyrus knock Drake out of the No. 1 spot next week? We say yes and we’re betting on Eminem to come in at No. 1 with sales of 500,000+plus. In fact, we’re going out on a limb and saying he’ll surpass Sade’s “Soldier of Love” for the biggest opening frame of this year. Don’t let us down, Slim Shady…
The Chemical Bros., “Further” (Freestyle Dust/Astralwerks): Those masters of the beats are back with their seventh studio album full of instrumentals and vocals handled largely by the duo’s Tom Rowlands.
Miley Cyrus, “Can’t Be Tamed” (Hollywood): Teen queen Cyrus is like a foal kicking at the barn door eager to show the world that Hannah Montana is all grown up. Read review here.
Eminem, “Recovery” (Shady/Aftermath/Interscope): The follow up to last year’s ‘Relapse” already seems like a big winner, given such tracks as “Not Afraid” and “Love the Way You Lie” feat. Rihanna. Not that he’s ever gone away, but we sense a huge new chapter starting today for Marshall Mathers. Read Katie Hasty's review here.
Macy Gray, “The Sellout” (Concord): After finding herself without a label, double -Grammy winner with the spacey attitude and child-like, soaring voice returns with a stripped-down album that goes back to her roots. The album title is ironic get it? She debuts with Bobby Brown on one track.
Herbie Hancock, “The Imagine Project” (Hancock/RED): Legendary jazz artist turns 70 this year and “The Imagine Project” is the opening salvo of the celebration. Artists such as Dave Matthews Band Seal, Pink, John Legend and many, many more join Hancock for this audio and video collection of all new recordings centered around peace and global responsibility.
Ozzy Osbourne, “Scream” (Epic): Heavy metal mad-man Osbourne is promoting this set, his 10th studio album, like a brand new artist. First single “Let Me Hear Your Scream” is already a rock hit. Plus, Ozzy is headed on an 18-month worldwide tour (!!) starting Aug. 14.
Robert Randolph and the Family Band, “We Walk This Way” (Warner Bros.): One of best live acts around, Randolph and his band linked with T Bone Burnett for this tasty set of covers including Bob Dylan’s “Shot of Love” and Prince’s “Walk Don’t Walk.” Guests include Ben Harper and Leon Russell. Randolph is a steel guitar master who deserves superstardom. Help him out.
The Roots, “How I Got Over” (Def Jam): Serving as the house band for Jimmy Fallon has done nothing to diminish this seminal outfit’s penchant for sharply-drawn, trenchant hip hop. Led by ?uestlove and Black Tongue, more than a decade after its amazing “Things Fall Apart,” the Roots remain as vital a musical force as always. Guests include John Legend, Joanna Newsom and Monster of Folk.
Sia, “We Are Born” (Monkey Puzzle/Jive): Sweet-voiced, quirky Australian singer/songwriter has been contributing to other folks’ records, like Christina Aguilera’s “Bionic,” so it’s nice to have her back where she belongs: helming her own project. Check out the infectious “Clap Your Hands” as well as a cover of Madonna’s “Oh Father.”
Has there been something missing in your life? If so, we suspect that it may have been hearing Miley Cyrus rap. Well, now your life is complete.
On “Liberty Walk,” the opening track from Cyrus’s new album, “Can’t Be Tamed,” she feels compelled to break into rap at least twice. We don’t know why, but we’ll give her this: she’s not that much worse of a rapper than Madonna on “Vogue.” You don’t mind her doing it, you just can’t figure out for the life of you why she is.
So it goes with quite a few of the songs on “Can’t Be Tamed,” including the faux-rebellious, downright irritating title track, and her plodding, completely pointless remake of Poison’s “Every Rose Has Its Thorn,” which makes you yearn for the shallow depths of the original. She takes Ke$ha head on with “Permanent December.” The talky-singy style doesn’t suit her any better than it does Ke$ha, although, to her credit, she’s not throwing up in anyone’s closet. Ke$ha didn’t invent this style, but she 100% owns it, for better or worse, right now and Cyrus should have respected that.
Enough complaining. As Cyrus, herself, tells us in her little electronic slice of heaven, “Liberty Walk,” don’t listen “to the people who hate.”
Indeed, part of what makes “Can’t Be Tamed” so frustrating is that she has the makings of a really strong pop album, and even with its foibles, “Can’t Be Tamed” is a marked improvement over her previous solo albums.
She gets the mix decidedly right on “Two More Lonely People,” a throbbing, irresistible pop dance confection (with great acoustic guitar accents) that hits all the right notes. It’s Kylie Minogue crossed with Jefferson Starship. Same with the lovely mid-tempo “Forgiveness and Love,” a gentle reminder that these are often the only things that matter. It’s a great message for her young fans. On penultimate track, “Robot,” she turns into Euro-dance diva. Then she ends strong with the Expose-like “My Heart Beats for Love” (although what’s with the Phil Collins’ “Take Me Home” echo-chamber drums?)
That’s the weird thing here. Oddly for someone not born until 1992, the production here is decidedly retro, circa mid- ‘80s, such as on the beat-heavy Stacey Q rip-off (yet strangely adorable) “Who Owns My Heart.” Think heavy drums, lots of synths, layers upon layers of dense production. Let it breathe, dude!
As the title track none-too-subtly reminds us, Cyrus is on the verge of adulthood. Heck, she’s 17 going on 45. She’s leaping from teen to twice-divorced, chain-smoking, trailer park single mom in a single bound, if she doesn’t watch it. Lyrically here, you get the feeling she’s so desperate to be seen as an adult, yet I have to say it’s still jarring to hear Hannah Montana sing about making love in “Every Rose Has Its Thorn.” It’s too soon, Miley. Trust me; you’ll get there soon enough. The songs with emotionally mature themes work best here when she’s not forcing her fake ID down our throat.
Most of the time Cyrus’s fine, but totally unremarkable vocals do the trick here and she stretches admirably on a few tracks her. But then she stops you dead with some awkward affectation via her delivery. Her pronunciation goes haywire on certain tracks and you feel like you’re walked into the worst acting class ever. It happens on “Liberty Walk,” “Who Owns My Heart” and the otherwise enjoyable “Scars.” Where’s Henry Higgins when you need him?
Cyrus has said she’s walking away from music for awhile. With “Can’t Be Tamed” she’s left us a set that will tide us over while she’s gone, but won’t make us pine for her return.
There’s a horrible, but true, saying: death is a good career move. Such is definitely the case with Michael Jackson.
Nearly one year after his death, the King of Pop is definitely living to his self-apppointed nickname, generating more than $1 billion in revenues, according to Billboard.
The trade magazine looked at various money streams since Jackson’s death, including his extended Sony Music deal and revenue from “This is It,” which Billboard calls the most successful concert film of all time.
Billboard breaks it down as such: Jackson’s estate has earned $429 million through the sale of 33 million albums worldwide, as well as 26.5 million digital downloads. Add in ringtone sales, Jackson 5 album sales and various performance royalties and it adds up to nearly half a billion.
Revenues from “This is It’s” theatrical, DVD and forthcoming TV rights add up to $392 million for the estate (Billboard estimates that Jackson’s share is as high as 90%).
His music publishing holdings, both for his own Mijac, and his 50% share of Sony/ATV combines for roughly $130 million.
Unbelievably, even though he died before taking the stage in London for his “This is It” tour, his estate still made an estimated $6.5 million from unreturned tickets, $5 million from concert merchandise and another $20 million in various licensing deals.
Lastly, a new recording contract with Sony Music Entertainment allows the label to put out 10 albums through 2017. We have a feeling the re-issue slate is going to make the torrent of posthumous 2Pac albums look tame.
Attorney John Branca, who oversees Jackson’s estate with John McClain, tells Billboard that Elvis Presley is the role model for Jackson. That’s an excellent comparison. Jackson is the only celebrity to die since Presley’s 1977 death who can come close to Presley’s hold on mass appeal. It will be interested to watch as the King of Pop and the King jockey for top spot on the highest-earning dead celebrity list for years, if not decades, to come.
“Disaster in the Gulf: How You Can Help,” will air on CNN tonight starting at 8 p.m. ET. Money raised will go to three charities: United Way, the National Wildlife Federation, and the Nature Conservancy.
Other celebrities taking part include Cameron Diaz, Kathy Griffin, Alyssa Milano, Ted Danson Robert Redford, Jenny McCarthy, Melania Trump (Really? She counts as a celebrity?), Ian Somerhalder and Philippe Cousteau.
While relief efforts were immediately rolled out for victims of Hurricane Katrina and the more recent earthquake in Haiti, relief for the thousands whose livelihoods have been affected by the Gulf Oil spill has been slow to come. In this interesting ABC News piece, pundits speculate that is because of the relative low loss of life (of course, if you lost one of the 11 crew members on the rig, there’s nothing small about it), focus on the Nashville floods and other reasons.
Drake can thank us all later for making “Thank Me Later” one of the biggest debuts of the year. The set, his official first full-length, is poised to sell as much as 470,000 copies in its first week on the Billboard 200. That would make it the third highest opening frame of the year behind Sade’s “Soldier of Love” and this year’s best seller, Lady Antebellum’s “Need You Now.”
The first four titles on next week’s chart are all new, according to Hits Daily Double. Far, far behind Drake, but high enough to come in at No. 2 will likely be Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers’ “Mojo. The band’s first studio set in years will move slightly more than 105,000 copies. “Now 34” and Sarah McLachlan’s first album in seven years, “Laws of Illusion” are too close to call right now but will land in the No. 3 and No. 4 spots. Jack Johnson’s former No. 1, “To the Sea,” will likely be No. 5.
The rest of the top 10 looks to be “Twilight Saga: Eclipse” soundtrack at No. 6, Justin Bieber’s “My World 2.0” at No. 7, Christina Aguilera’s “Bionic” at No. 8, this week’s No. 1, the Glee Cast’s “Journey to Regionals” at No. 9 and Lady A’s “Need You Now” at No. 10. It’s worth nothing that “Need You Now” has been in the top 10 since its release in January.
We’re not sure that a normal episode of “Behind the Music” can even begin to capture the wackiness that is known as Courtney Love, but VH-1 gives it their best shot. Plus, as she shows in the clip below, she only needs about, oh, five seconds, to bring the crazy.
She admits she’s a “crazy bitch,” but that if we don’t stop hassling her, “I’ll f***ing kill you.”
We especially like the part where she poses the theory that if she had said that Hole would be as big as the Beatles that they might have been, but since she said she wanted to be bigger than Sonic Youth, but smaller than Jane’s Addiction, that’s exactly where the gods placed them.
We turned it off when she started talking about how an unspecified “they” begged her to get an abortion. Wow. There is absolutely no sense of TMI with her. Even though we all know that, sometimes she’s still shocking. Let’s put it this way, this special is going to do nothing to bring her daughter, Frances Bean, back into the fold. Plus, she carps at NIN's Trent Reznor, but she keeps the quasi-feud alive and well here by revisiting her comments on his manhood.
By the way, this is NSFW, especially the explanation of the band’s name.
Courtney Love’s “Behind the Music” airs Monday, June 21, at 8:30 p.m.
A more mature, thoughtful Eminem surfaces in an interview with the rapper on the New York Times website.
Eminem, whose new album, “Recovery,” comes out Monday, June 21, has clearly gotten over his gay-bashing lyrics and comes out clearly in support of gay marriage in that jokey way that many straight men have: “I think if two people love each other, then what the hell?,” he tells NYT. “I think everyone should have the chance to be equally miserable, if they want.”
He admits to his addictions to Vicodin, Valium, Ambien and Methadone, and says, sadly, that he felt like he stuck out like sore thumb in rehab. Or, to be more specific, like a Loony Tunes character: “When Bugs Bunny walks into rehab, people are going to turn and look. People at rehab were stealing my hats and pens and notebooks and asking for autographs. I couldn’t concentrate on my problem.”
His answers are short, but revealing. He’s saved much of his money—or the money that he didn’t spend on drugs; he probably will not tour beyond the two stadium dates he has planned with Jay-Z in September, and, as Father’s Day approaches, he credits his three children with helping him overcome his addictions.
On a sad note, the rift between him and his mother sounds as wide, if not as explosive, as always. He admits he doesn’t even know if she’s still in Detroit. “It’d be very hard to repair that relationship,” he says.
Read the rest of the online interview here. A full version will come out in Sunday’s New York Times Magazine.
Does Justin Beiber need “Somebody to Love” or just a good Hazmat suit? Or perhaps both. It’s a little unclear in the new video for the remix of “Somebody to Love."
The clip has a simple premise—both Bieber and his mentor/label boss Usher—need somebody to love and they’re willing to dance for their love. The low-tech video features dancers of different levels and ages dancing with Usher and Bieber. There’s nothing hi-tech (unless you count the very cool light fixtures hanging from the ceiling and the short flame/hazmat sequence).
Bieber shows off his dance moves in a variety of styles with different dancers, including Beat Freaks, from “America’s Best Dance Crew.” It’s quite refreshing actually to see a clean set with the focus on the song and the performers and, do we dare say it, “age appropriate” moves. The video would have been greatly enhanced by some kind of dance off between Usher and Bieber—they only share a few scenes. But we’re sure that Usher doesn’t want to show up his meal ticket since he could wipe the floor with Bieber. We enjoyed Usher's little fan dance thought.
We’re sure his fervent fans will find some dance specific to the video and brand it “The Bieb.” Look for the clip to spawn many, many YouTube imitations.