<p>Bon Jovi</p>

Bon Jovi

Bon Jovi records four new songs for 'Greatest Hits' out Nov. 9

Producer Howard Benson gives us the scoop on first single, 'What Do you Got'

Bon Jovi has recorded four songs for a new greatest hits collection set to street  Nov. 9. First single, “What Do You Got,” goes to radio next week.

Producer Howard Benson (Daughtry, Papa Roach) produced the new single,which the wrapped up earlier this week in Los Angeles. We ran into him in Las Vegas yesterday at a party to hear the new Santana album (which we’ll write about  shortly. Benson also produced the Santana collection, along with Matt Serletic). It was Benson's first time working with the boys from New Jersey and he raved about the track, caling it “classic Bon Jovi” and about how great Jon Bon Jovi’s voice sounds.

The best-of set comes in two configurations: The single disc “Greatest Hits” includes 16 songs, including two new tunes, while “Greatest Hits- The Ultimate Collection” is a 28-track edition, with all four new songs.
Tracks included on both sets include “Livin’ on a Prayer,” “Always,” “It’s My Life,” “Wanted Dead or Alive” and “Who Says You Can’t Go Home,” for which the band won its first Grammy.

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Watch: Usher twirls in 'DJ Got Us Fallin' in Love' video

He doesn't succumb to all the cliches -- just most of them

Sometimes the videos just write their own treatments. For the clip for Usher’s “DJ’s Got Us Fallin’ in Love Again,”  the star “rocks side to side” in the club and mingles in the joint, often black lit or in profile.

To his credit, there is no scene of him actually falling in love so we avoid that cliche. To his discredit, he only teases us with some slight dance moves. We would have loved to have seen him do a full-out dance video. C’mon Raymond, we know you’re dying to bust a move. Hiro Murai, who also directed The Fray’s “Heartless” and B.o.B.’s “Airplane” helmed the clip.

Pitbull drops by for his rap break, which is the most interesting part of the song (the Tivo line still makes us chuckle). Are we the only ones who think “DJ” sounds more like a Cobra Starship song than an Usher tune?

We do love Usher’s little laugh at the end, though.

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Credit: Columbia

Watch: MGMT and an odd bird cross the desert in 'Congratulations' video

Is this creature related to the pet in Yeasayer's 'Madder Red?'

It must be the month for weird creatures in music videos.  Last week, we posted Yeasayer’s clip for “Madder Red,” featuring Kristen Bell and a hairless pet that was a cross between a plucked turkey and a fish.

This week, for the video for “Congratulations,” the title track off its new album, MGMT  (Andrew VanWyngarden and Ben Goldwasser) treks through the desert with what looks like a bald, four-legged emu. Like the whatzit in the Yeasayer video, this creature is having a really bad day, to put it mildly, but seemingly lives on in the afterlife in some form.  Both videos follow an oddly similar trajectory.

We don’t know who directed “Congratulations,” but wouldn’t be at all surprised if it were Andreas Nilsson, who has worked with MGMT before and who helmed the "Madder Red" clip.

Go ahead, put on some beige so you'll blend right in, and tell us what you think of "Congratulations."


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<p>Bob Dylan</p>

Bob Dylan

Bob Dylan's 'The Witmark Demos' blows in with 15 previously unheard songs

Set is ninth in Columbia's 'Bootleg Series'

Some of Bob Dylan’s earliest works will come out Oct. 19. “The Witmark Demos: 1962-1964" is the ninth volume of Columbia Records’ ongoing “Bootleg Series.”

The 47  tracks on “The Witmark Demos” highlights a solo Dylan on piano, guitar and harmonica playing such now legendary songs as “Mr. Tambourine Man” and “Blowin’ in  the Wind,” as well as 15 tunes that have never seen the light of day in any form, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Also coming Oct. 19 is “Bob Dylan-The Original Mono Recordings,” a reissuing of Dylan’s first eight studio albums in their mono mix. Titles includes  his 1962 debut “Bob Dylan” and 1967’s “John Wesley Harding.”


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<p>Fantasia talks about her suiced attempt on &quot;Good Morning America&quot;</p>

Fantasia talks about her suiced attempt on "Good Morning America"

Credit: ABC

Watch: Fantasia candidly discusses suicide attempt on 'Good Morning America'

'American Idol' winner wanted to quiet the 'noise'

Fantasia’s new album, “Back to Me,” hits stores today and she’s been running the usual press gauntlet. What is unusual is how candid she is about her recent suicide attempt, especially on ABC's "Good Morning America" today.

The former “American Idol” champ talked about her overdose, saying it was no accident. Furthermore, she elaborated that it was not just recent events—and issues with her married boyfriend—that led to the attempt; rather it was a cumulative effect of years of troubles including bankruptcy.

Watch below. You can’t help but root for her. Also, read our review of "Back to Me" here and watch the video for hit song, "Bittersweet," here.

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Lady GaGa brings some dance beats to Lollapalooza 2010

Lady GaGa brings some dance beats to Lollapalooza 2010.

Credit: AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh

Watch: Lady GaGa thanks her little monsters for making her the Twitter queen

GaGa officially surpassed Britney Spears over the weekend

It’s official: Lady GaGa is the queen of Twitter. She acknowledged her ascension to the Twitter summit in the below video posted backstage from her show in Tacoma, Wash. this weekend.

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<p>Kanye West</p>

Kanye West

Kanye West promises new treats every week on 'Good Friday'

Listen to his 'Power' remix with Jay-Z and Swizz Beatz

How did we make it through the day before Kanye West joined the Twitter nation earlier this summer? It now seems to be his prime form of communication and it’s good to know that his Messianic complex is still in full effect.

Via Twitter, West announced that he will [sic on all of the following] “drop 1 new song every wekend until Xmas… I’m calling it good Fridays. Yall know every Friday yall gone have a new joint from our family. We look at the game completely different now…It’s about the fans. No holding back. That’s why I dropped See Me Now…It wasn’t about me it was about the Summer the BBQs etc.” He also adds that it may not always be his music, it may be from another artist.

A few thoughts: the most interesting part of the post is his line about “we look at the game completely different now.” Grammar issues aside, he acknowledging that while we all still oooh and ahhh about album release dates—West’s /// comes Nov. XX---the album is becoming more and more obsolete.

As we see with Mike Posner’s pitiful album sales for “31 Minutes to Takeoff,” despite having a top 10 single in “Cooler Than Me,” all fans want now is to digest the song (i.e.: the music) in small, individual bites.
To be sure, there are some artists who have such a strong fan base, like Eminem or alternative acts like Arcade Fire, where the audience wants to support them by purchasing the entire album, but they are a smaller and smaller base.

Maybe one Friday we’ll get the West/Justin Bieber/Raekwon joint we wrote about here.

In the meantime, enjoy one of the latest from West: his remix of “Power,” featuring Jay-Z and Swizz Beatz.

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Credit: AP Photo

No Lie: Eminem adds his name to the list of MTV VMA performers

Will Lady GaGa and Taylor Swift get added to the roster?

Enimem will make a rare live appearance at the 2010 MTV Video Music Awards on Sept. 12. The rapper is the leading male nominee with eight nods.

No word on what song he’ll perform, but we hope it’s “Love the Way You Lie,” which has taken up residency atop the Billboard Hot 100.

He joins already announced performers Kanye West, Justin Bieber, Drake, B.o.B and Florence + The Machine.  Ke$ha, Nicki Minaj, Emma Stone, Penn Badgley, Trey Songz, Ashley Greene and Selena Gomez. That slate is a little light on superstars so expect way more to be rolled out in the coming weeks, including some top rock acts (since there are no rock bands announced so far).

We have no inside track, but we bet that Taylor Swift, whose new album comes out in October, gets a slot, especially given that her video for “Mine” debuts across all MTV Network platforms, including MTV, VH1 and CMT, on Friday.

Plus, Lady GaGa, who leads all nominees has to be a lock to perform, we'd think, so don't be surprised if her name is added  the closer it gets.


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<p>Dolly Parton and Queen Latifah</p>
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Dolly Parton and Queen Latifah

Credit: AP Photos

Queen Latifah and Dolly Parton make 'Joyful Noise' in new film

Parton pens new songs for the movie about a gospel choir

Dolly Parton and Queen Latifah will star in “Joyful Noise” as two women who work together to save a gospel choir after financial woes threaten to close it down.

Parton will also contribute music to the film, her first since she helped bring “9-to-5” to Broadway. 
“I’m really happy to be doing a movie with Queen Latifah,” Parton said in a statement. “I really like her and have often thought we would be fun together. Even though we play rivals in the movie, I’m sure we’ll have our fun behind the scenes.”

Warner Bros.-based Alcon Entertainment will produce, alongside Farrell Paura Productions and O.N.C. Entertainment. Todd Graff, who wrote the screenplay, will direct.  Graff previously directed ‘Bandslam.”
The movie is set for a 2011 release.


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<p>Fantasia's &quot;Back to Me&quot;</p>

Fantasia's "Back to Me"

Album Review: Fantasia goes back to her roots on 'Back to Me'

Why is the album so 'bittersweet?'

Like a true diva, eight-time Grammy nominee Fantasia opens “Back to Me,” her third album, saying “You know, sometimes you have to put yourself first.” Before delving into the mid-tempo, old school “I’m Doin’ Me.” The song is a shout out to all her sisters to love themselves enough to not pick a man who can’t love you “equally.”

It’s always tempting to filter an album’s lyrics through a singer’s personal life, especially when said life has gone from personal to public, as Fantasia’s has done recently. But given that this album was long completed before her recent troubles, we’re taking the album at face value.

Fantasia has enlisted an A Team of collaborators here, including Cee-Lo, Ne-Yo, Jim Jonsin, Claude Kelly and Rico Love, with varied results. “Back to Me” succeeds best when it takes an old school approach, such as on “I’m Doin’ Me,” first smash single “Bittersweet,” the layered, lush, finger-snapping “Collard Greens and Cornbread” and the sexy “Teach Me.”

There’s a certain timelessness to those tracks, whereas a tune like “Man of the House” is weighed down under its generic tone and synthetic beats. On the cacophonous “Move Me,” Fantasia’s fighting against a bombastic production. Mighty as her voice is—and make no mistake—she may be the finest, purest vocalist to ever come out of the “American Idol” juggernaut, Fantasia can’t compete with everything going on in that track.  Oddly, the somewhat similar heavy-handedness works on “The Thrill is Gone” (not a remake of the B.B. King classic).

On the sparkling “Falling in Love Tonight,” the production team gets the blend of contemporary and classic just right.  A sure single, “Even Angels,” is gorgeous; but, quite frankly, anyone from Miley Cyrus to Beyonce could have cut it. What Fantasia adds is an emotional investment that many artists are afraid to, or can’t. bring to a song.

Where “Back to Me Soars” is when Fantasia quits trying to follow any hitmaking formula and just lets her voice and feelings take over. While not every track fulfills that promise, enough of the selections on “Back to Me” do to warrant a big thumbs up.

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