<p>Katy Perry</p>

Katy Perry

Credit: Capitol

Watch: Katy Perry’s video for ‘Teenage Dream’

Will she go all the way tonight?

If teenage pregnancies rates rise in the next year, expect some fingers to point at Katy Perry as she goes tells her boyfriend, “let’s go all the way tonight,” in the video for the second single  and title track from her Aug. 24 album, "Teenage Dream."

The relatively tame video, which in many ways seems like a better fit for “California Gurlz,” features her and her friends frolicking as her boyfriend goes off and boxes...a lot... and makes out with Perry...a little.

Perry looks beautiful and dewy here and her boyfriend looks like he could be arrested for pursuing jail bait.  Perry even leaves the sexual imagery heavy lifting to another girl who gets to have fun with a popsicle (that’s clearly the thruline image of this project). It's a pretty tepid clip although we're happy, in some ways, that she doesn't feel the need to up the ante with every single clip like someone else we know.

In other Perry news, another track from "Teenage Dream" premiered on iTunes today. "Circle The Drain" is a Kelly Clarkson-like rocker about a past, dysfunctional relationship. Additionally, Perry has paired with Deutsche Telecom to promote her next single in Germany, the uplifiting "Firework."

What do you think of the video for "Teenage Dream?" Since it's about how she feels about Russell Brand, do you wish he were in it?

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<p>Mike Posner</p>

Mike Posner

Album Review: Mike Posner's '31 Minutes to Takeoff'

Is he cooler than you?

There’s a new crop of solo male artists that cannily blends pop, R&B and dance. Instead of degrading women, they generally are respectful, if not downright adoring, in their lyrics. It’s a new breed that you could definitely take home to mama.

Mike Posner is the latest to join the ranks of  Drake, B.o.B, Jay Sean and Taio Cruz. His first single “Cooler Than Me"—about a co-ed at Duke who wouldn’t give him the time of day (who’s having the last laugh on that one?)—soared to No. 6 on the Billboard Hot 100, while second single, “Please Don’t Go” is also shaping up as a hit.

Both tunes are high points on  “31 Minutes to Takeoff,” Posner’s major label debut. The first is a finger-snapper, chock full of interesting twists and turns, including synthesizer lines straight out of the ‘80s, while the second is a romantic slice of post-modern yearning.  There’s also something compelling about Posner’s salute to old school R&B paired with his embrace of today’s beats, bells and whistles, such as on stand-out track, “Do U Wanna.”

Posner, who caught J’s attention after releasing a popular mix tape recorded in his dorm room, co-wrote and co-produced all the tunes here, collaborating with Blink 182’s Travis Barker, production team the Smeezingtons and Benny Blanco, best known for his work with Ke$ha.

Many of Posner’s tunes start off ultimately more interesting than where they end up. For example, the slow grind of “Bow Chicka Wow Wow” begins like Rufus’s “Tell Me Something Good” before trailing off. Sweet harmonies on “Déjà Vu” launch the song with a promise that gets broken fairly quickly.  There are even backing vocals from  Boys II Men, who manage to deliver the line “take that shit all off” as smoothly as a caress.

Posner’s shtick, in so much as he’s working one,  is that he never seems to break a sweat here. All the songs are reasonably the same mid-tempo with a steady beat and his laid-back delivery seems effortless, yet never lazy.

There are a few clunkers: his song “Cheated”  does take him out of the “adoring women” category, as he sings “no one told me I was dating a whore”  and even name drops the woman he’s singing about.

The bigger issue is that everything on the album is fine, but nothing comes close to being remarkable or unique in any way. His voice is serviceable, but utterly without nuance. There are hints and glimmers of a developing talent here—and he’s only 22, so there’s many reasons to believe he’ll morph into a stronger talent-- but  “31 Minutes to Takeoff” is a bit of a bumpy flight.

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<p>Blake Shelton</p>

Blake Shelton

Mike Posner, Blake Shelton, Zakk Wylde lead diverse Aug. 10 new music releases

Can Posner's single success translate to album sales?

A few new artists lead the Aug. 10 release slate, most notably Mike Posner. He’s already made a name for himself with his first two singles, “Cooler than Me” and “Please Don’t Go,” both of which sweetly blend pop and R&B. Eli “Paperboy” Reed, this week’s significant other newcomer, is a throwback to the smooth vocal stylings of Sam Cooke and James Brown.  The biggest name of the week is country artist Blake Shelton, who is coming off his sixth No. 1, “Hillbilly Bone.” He returns with a new EP called “All About Tonight.” The title track already reached the Top 5 of the country charts.

Black Label Society, “Order of the Black” (E1): Zakk Wylde’s band fires another hard rock shot across the bow following 2006’s “Shot to Hell,” this time with new drummer Will Hunt on the skins. Hunt, best known for his work with Tommy Lee and Evanescence, replaced Craig Nunemacher.

Mike Posner, “31 Minutes to Takeoff” (J): If first two singles “Cooler than Me” and “Please Don’t Go,”  mix-tape sensation/Duke grad Posner is off to a rollicking start with his blend of pop, R&B and dance. Read review here.

Eli “Paperboy” Reed, “Come and Get It” (Capitol): Reed channels music from way before he was born, primarily, the horn-driven R&B acts of the ‘60s and ‘70s as well as such legends as Wilson Pickett and James Brown, on this self-penned set ably produced by Mike Elizondo ( Eminem, Pink, Fiona Apple). Listen as he croons and howls through such tracks as the title track and “Explosion” and try to keep your feet still. 

Blake Shelton, “All About Tonight” (Warner Music Nashville): Fresh off his No. 1 hit, “Hillbilly Bone,” Shelton returns with his second six-pack, as his label experiments with the idea of releasing a few EPs every couple of months instead, The title track, all about instant gratification and living for the moment, reached No. 5 on Billboard’s country chart, making Shelton’s first back-to-back top 10s.

Various Artists, “Camp Rock 2: The Final Jam” (Walt Disney): The soundtrack to the Disney Channel original movie of the same name features new music from the likes of the Jonas Bros. (collectively and individually), Demi Lovato, Meaghan Jette Martin and Matthew “Mdot” Finley.  We’re holding them that “final jam” promise.

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Arcade Fire

Can Arcade Fire stop Eminem from returning to the top of the charts?

Can Arcade Fire keep Eminem from returning to the top spot next week?

Where does Lady GaGa's 'The Remix' spin onto the Billboard 200?

While many of us had anointed Arcade Fire the sure champions on next week’s chart, Eminem has a message for us: “I'm not done yet."

As of Friday, it looked like his album, “Recovery,” would bounce back up to the top spot after Avenged Sevenfold’s “Nightmare,” temporarily knocked the set out of the top spot.

“Recovery” is on track to sell up to 155,000 copies by the Sunday close of the chart week, according to Hits Daily Double, as much as 20,000 more than Arcade Fire’s “The Suburbs.”

Arcade Fire is one of four titles looking to debut in the top 10 next week: Lady GaGa’s “The Remix,” a remix album of 10 tunes from “The Fame” and “The Fame Monster,” will likely debut  around No. 5 or a little lower, as will the new set from Bun B.  Both are on target to sell around 40,000 copies. Rockers Buckcherry  and the Black Crowes are in a race to see which one can grab the No. 10 spot, with both moving up to 30,000 copies.

Did you buy Arcade Fire's "The Suburbs"?  What did you think?

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Watch: Sugarland’s new video for ‘Stuck Like Glue’

Do you find yourself attached to it?

If the singing thing doesn’t work out for Sugarland’s Jennifer Nettles, she has a future as a professional stalker. Just watch her in the video for “Stuck Like Glue,” the peppy first single from the duo’s forthcoming album, “Incredible Machine.”

The video opens with Nettles and partner Kristian Bush on a road trip seemingly to go visit her beau, nicely played by “Chuck’s” Ryan McPartlin. Turns out it’s an unreciprocated love, to put it mildly. After they get arrested for coming a little too close to the object of Nettles’ affection, they get thrown into the pokey—we’re guessing a restraining order is already in effect.

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<p>Taylor Swift</p>

Taylor Swift

Music Power Rankings: Pop rules with Justin Timberlake, Taylor Swift, Lady GaGa

We salute the letter A as Avenged Sevenfold and Arcade Fire land in the top 10

There’s a lot of movement in the pop world as Justin Bieber, Taylor Swift and Lady GaGa all have monumental weeks, but we’re giving the slight nod to Swift. There’s been a lot of speculation as to if she can keep the momentum from “Fearless” going, in part, because it’s nearly impossible to capture lightning in a bottle twice, but, more importantly, Swift straddles a difficult line.

She’s not quite as wholesome as a Disney artist (although you could argue she’s much less salacious than Miley Cyrus), yet she seems young enough—at 20—that she shouldn’t be singing about sex, like her near peers in Lady Antebellum.  How does she make that move from the girl who sings repeatedly about high school to the woman who is discovering what she wants from love.

Swift gets it right with “Mine,” the first single from her forthcoming October album, “Speak Now.” The track allegedly “leaked” two weeks before her label, Big Machine, was officially going to release it. Amazingly, within a few hours of the “leak,” the label was ready to service the track to country radio and to iTunes. A lot of folks clearly wanted to make “Mine” theirs, as the track soared to the top of Apple’s download chart.

1) Taylor Swift (not ranked): Excitement for her new project, “Speak Now,” is at such a fever pitch that first single, “Mine,” “leaks,” according to her label, forcing Big Machine to service the song to radio and iTunes two weeks early. “Mine” instantly surges to the top of the iTunes singles chart. Looks like America’s Love Story with Swift continues.

2) Justin Bieber (not ranked): He’s barely old enough to drive (and definitely isn’t tall enough to see over the steering wheel) and yet Justin Bieber is already at work on an autobiography and a 3D biopic/concert film (that was enough to land him the top spot on Movie Power Rankings).  Seven-year olds start saving their weekly .50 cent allowances now for February’s movie opening.

3) Irving Azoff (not ranked): Move over Kanye: The man the NY Times hyperbolically calls the most powerful figure in the history of music industry started tweeting this week. The head of Live Nation Entertainment’s opening salvo:  “So if you want ticket prices to go down, stop stealing music.”  Almost a quarter of his first 17 posts are taking on scribes such as Wall Street Journal’s Ethan Smith and Billboard’s Glenn Peoples. They should consider that the new badge of honor.

4) Avenged Sevenfold (No. 3 last week): The hard rock band does what the likes of Drake and Rick Ross could ot do: they knock the mighty  Marshall Mathers out of the top spot on the Billboard 200 as “Nightmare” replaces Eminem’s “Recovery” at No. 1

5) Arcade Fire (not ranked): Avenged Sevenfold’s glory will burn brightly but be short lived when Arcade Fire torches its way to No. 1 next week with new album, “The Suburbs.”

6) Lady GaGa (not ranked): She leads all nominees for the VMA Awards, and sets a record for most nominations ever, but what really has people talking is her comment to Vanity Fair:  that she doesn’t have sex because she’s afraid someone will “take my creativity from me through my vagina.” Oh honey, were you absent the day that was all explained in sex ed? It doesn’t work that way.

7) Wyclef Jean (No. 10):  He makes it official. Last week, the ex-Fugee hinted that he may run for president in his native Haiti and he has now filed the official paperwork. The election is Nov. 28. I guess the scandal over his Yele Haiti charity doesn’t even register a blip compared to some of the misdeeds by former Haitian leaders. 

8) Farm Aid (not ranked): The multi-artist benefit concert launched by Willie Nelson, John Mellencamp and Neil Young in 1985 turns 25 this year and will commemorate the occasion with a stadium concert in Milwaukee also featuring Dave Matthews.  Farm Aid has raised more than $37 million for family farms. That’s a lot of seed money.

9) Lollapalooza (not ranked): The last of the big summer festivals takes place in Chicago this weekend with headliners including Soundgarden, Arcade Fire and Lady GaGa.  Like Coachella and Bonnaroo, despite a horrific summer touring season, Lollapalooza is on track for a lollapalooza of a successful festival—especially after releasing an extra 60,000 tickets several weeks ago.

10) “American Idol” (not ranked): Between the speculation over the new judges, the return of Nigel Lythgoe, and producer 19 Entertainment’s move from Sony Music to Universal Music Group, there’s been more “Idol” chatter this past week than the entire last season.

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

Last week's rankings:

July 30



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Does Eminem continue his reign atop the Billboard 100?

Is it possible for Taylor Swift to come in at No. 1 next week?

Eminem may have fallen out of the top spot on the Billboard 200 album chart, but his reign at No. 1 on Billboard’s Hot 100 remains as “Love the Way You Lie” featuring Rihanna logs its third week in the pole position.

The song knocked Katy Perry’s “California Gurls” featuring Snoop Dogg out of the No. 1, but “Gurls” is hanging tough at No. 2. But the even better news for Perry is that “Teenage Dream,” the title track and second single from her Aug. 24 album, soars into the Top 10 after only two weeks. It leaps to No. 7 on the Hot 100, giving Perry two slots in the Top 10.

But she’s not the only one. Usher’s new single, “DJ Got Us Fallin’ In Love” featuring Pitbull rises 12-9, while former chart topper “OMG” falls to No. 10, also giving the singer two tracks in the top 10.
So whom else should you be looking out for?  Maroon 5 looks to have a hit on its hands with “Misery,” the first single from its new album, while Ke$ha’s phenomenal year continues. Her latest song, “Take It Off,” rises  92-52 on the Hot 100, the largest leap this week on the chart.

The big news may come next week when Taylor Swift’s “Mine,” which was rush released to radio and iTunes after the track leaked on Wednesday. The track already soared to the top of the iTunes chart and Billboard pundits predict that a top 10 debut in the  Hot 100 next week is a certainty, with a No. 1 debut not totally out of reach.


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Kesha or Ke$ha Take It Off Music Video

Kesha, Ke$ha -- take your pick -- in the new video for "Take It Off."

Watch: Ke$ha's new video for 'Take It Off,' in which she remains surprisingly clothed

Tik Tok: Is the clock ticking on her career?

We’ve been traveling so we’re playing catch up, but we couldn’t let a new video from Ke$ha go unnoticed. As “Take It Off” mounts a major assault on the Billboard 100, the video for the tune hits the airwaves.

The Ke$ha that we’ve come to know and tolerate is in full effect. As with every of her party anthems, she’s packing: “Got a water bottle full of whiskey in my handbag,” she sings. Yep, that’s the surprise here: instead of doing her usual Valley Girl talk singing, Ke$ha’s singing here and while her voice is fine, there is absolutely nothing remarkable about her voice at all.

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<p>Taylor Swift</p>

Taylor Swift

Credit: Peter Kramer/AP

Listen: Taylor Swift's new single, 'Mine'

Has she grown up or is it the same old puppy love?

Our little girl is growing up. “Mine,” the first single from Taylor Swift’s forthcoming album, “Speak Now,” leaked out today, leading her  label, Big Machine, to rush release the tune to radio today, a few weeks ahead of schedule.

The uptempo track is vintage Swift about romantic love, not too explicit—the most he does is put his arm around her, but there are lines that the 16-year-old Swift couldn’t have written that the now 20-year-old Swift can easily tackle including “there’s a drawer of my things at your place,” which would indicate that  she’s actually, gulp, spending the night with her beau.

On a more quotidian note, she sings, “We’ve got bills to pay,” which would indicate someone in their early 20s, out on their own for the first time.

The tune, which Swift wrote by herself instead of with a co-writer as she has previously, also takes a different perspective than her earlier songs in that she is in a romantic relationship looking back to the beginning of their time together.

Melodically, it’s stripped down enough for country, although pop will have no problem playing it either. There are also catchy, layered vocals at the end that sweeten the song’s appeal. Swift’s label, Big Machine, in an effort to make  country radio, which broke Swift, still feel like she belongs to them, serviced the song simultaneously to iTunes and to country radio, but not to other formats.

In addition to the gargantuan pressure Swift—or any artist—would feel to follow up such a huge album as “Fearless,” Swift has a double monkey on her back: she has to transition to an adult artist. It’s not quite the hurdle that a Disney artist like Miley Cyrus has to overcome, but Swift has written songs that reflect her peer group: teen girls—such as the girl in “Fifteen” who regrets losing her virginity or the non-cheerleader who yearns for the popular boy in “You Belong With Me.”

The challenge before her is to show growth and maturity as she moves into her 20s, while not ignoring or alienating the younger set. It’s not an issue her peers, such as Lady Antebellum’s Hilary Scott or Kellie Pickler face since they are a few years old, but, more importantly, have always approached romantic relationships in song as adults as opposed to someone in the first blushes of puppy love. If “Mine” is an indication, Swift looks to have crossed that bridge successfully.

Listen to "Mine" below. It's not the clearest version Swift sounds higher than normal, which we believe is due to the poor quality of the copy. We'll switch it to a clearer version when we can. What do you think of "Mine."




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Carrie Underwood

Carrie Underwood is arguably the last big star "American Idol" has launched.  In fact, she may be the biggest of them all.

Credit: AP Photo

More 'American Idol' changes: 19 Entertainment switches to Universal Music Group

Can the change turnaround the recent disappointment of 'Idol' winners on the charts?

American Idol” isn’t the only one making changes. As the talent show moves into season 10 with a new slate of judges, the program’s producer 19 Entertainment shifts from Sony Music Entertainment to Universal Music Group.

Sony inherited the 19 deal when it merged with BMG, which has had the partnership for nine years, according to Billboard.  A number of past “AI” contestants remain on Sony labels including Carrie Underwood, Kelly Clarkson, Daughtry, Fantasia, David Cook, Adam Lambert, Kellie Pickler, Jordin Sparks and David Archuleta. Sony will also release albums this fall from Season 9’s winner, Lee DeWyze, and runner-up,  Crystal Bowersox.

Going forward, UMG will release the debut from the “AI” winner, as well as have rights to the other finalists. Contestants will come out through the Interscope/Geffen/A&M labels.

"We like delivering hits and new artists,” UMG co-CEO Lucian Grainge said in a statement issued by the label group. “UMG and ‘American Idol’ is the right combination at the right time. Pairing the renowned expertise of Simon [Fuller] and Jimmy [Iovine, IGA chairman] in developing and marketing musical talent creates a truly winning combination that will allow 'Idol's' artists to realize their fullest potential."

No reason for the shift was given, but sales for “Idol” contestants have fallen off considerably, with recent winners failing to achieve the heights of Clarkson or Underwood. Sony pop-oriented imprints such as J and Jive were great fits for many "Idols," plus Sony easily placed acts like Underwood through its Nashville divisions. it will be interesting to see if Universal shifts country-leaning 'Idols' to Mercury Nashville. In Geffen chairman, Ron Fair, who signed Christina Aguilera to RCA and then worked  with  Pussycat Dolls at IGA, the label has the perfect in-house producer for pure pop acts.

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