<p>Big Boi</p>

Big Boi

Credit: John Bazemore/AP

Listen: Big Boi's 'Sir Lucious Left Foot' streams a week before its release

Put on your boogie shoes and dance to solo effort from Outkast's Big Boi

You’ve already heard great tracks like “Shutterbugg,” “General Patton” and “Shine Blockas.” Now you can stream Big Boi’s “Sir Lucious Left Foot: The Son of Chico Dusty” in its entirety.

The solo album from one-half of Outkast doesn’t come out until July 6, but you can hear it on his myspace page here.

Of course, if you’re truly a Big Boi fan, you have already ordered your Converse limited edition Chico Dusty shoes.

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<p>Chris Brown during the 2010 BET Awards</p>

Chris Brown during the 2010 BET Awards

Credit: AP Photo/Matt Sayles

Commentary: Did Chris Brown finally see his reflection in the 'Mirror?'

Was BET breakdown real or staged... and why it doesn't matter

Right off the bat, I admit that I have no idea if Chris Brown’s breakdown while performing Michael Jackson’s “Man in the Mirror” on Sunday’s BET Awards was real or a publicity stunt.

Regardless, it has ripped off whatever scab had started to form over the self-inflicted wound caused by his beating up then-girlfriend Rihanna 16 months ago.

For those who missed it, after saluting Jackson in a scintillating dance medley in which Brown, once considered an heir apparent to the King of Pop, tried to sing the reflective “Man in the Mirror” and could barely choke out a word. Then he quit trying, dropped to his knees, and let the crowd lead the singalong.
Who knows what prompted the mini-collapse. Brown’s not talking yet—we’re sure even if this breakdown wasn’t planned, whom he first talks to about it is being micro-managed like Gen. McChrystal’s next interview. Was he overcome with his love for Jackson?  Was it regret over his own misdeeds? Was he truly hearing the lyrics to the song for the first time and vowing to “change his ways?”

The question of the day—second to if this little performance was staged—is if we’re ready to forgive Brown.  As if this is a collective decision. That seems a ridiculous question to me. Some crimes are so heinous, they don’t deserve forgiveness and only each individual can determine if he or she feels this way about Brown. There are so many other factors here. Brown is 21. He was 19 when he was arrested for assaulting Rihanna. That’s young, but certainly old enough to know better. But other than some misguided shots of Brown jet-skiing shortly after the attack, he’s been a model citizen. He’s done his community service; he’s apologized again and again and tried to show that he has learned his lesson.Do we give him no shot to redeem himself?  (Clearly, the British don't: As is its right, the U.K. declined to issue Brown a visa to allow him to tour in England earlier this month).

It would appear that some  portion of his fan base has forgiven him—in abundance. Last night he also won the fan-voted AOL Fandemonium Award. We don't know how many people voted, but it was sizeable enough for him to win the honor, therefore, some fans have not only forgiven him, but are actively rooting for his return. During his acceptance speech, he vowed not to let us down again.  He also was recently voted one of the sexiest performers in a tacky Billboard.com poll.

Musically, his redemption has been slower to take hold. After seven months, his third solo album, “Graffiti, has fallen off the Billboard 200 and the three released singles never really captured people's attention. Was that because radio listeners aren’t ready to forgive or it is simply that the songs weren’t that good?

Several artists are rallying around Brown today, as if that’s worth anything, but it remains a thorny issue. Can you be a fan of Brown’s music without condoning what he did? Can you separate the man from his music? That's a question that Jackson himself found there to be no easy answer for and it's a little ironic that both face the same challenge. Many fans, especially those outside the U.S., were completely able to shake off the child abuse allegations against Jackson, while they permanently tainted him stateside. (Jackson was never found guilty of any wrongdoing).

I believe Brown should be given a second chance—both as a person and as a performer. But if I had a daughter, I sure as hell wouldn’t want him within 50 yards of her. Hypocritical? You bet.

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<p>Lady Gaga and Elton John</p>

Lady Gaga and Elton John

Watch: Lady GaGa debuts new song 'You and I' at Elton John's ball

Why it won't ever be a single

Lady GaGa unveiled a new song, “You and I,” at Elton John’s annual White Tie & Tiara Ball.

Affecting a fake accent, she declared it was the first time she’s played the song live "evah." She also says it’s a “rock and roll tune,” which means “it most likely won’t ever get used as one of my singles, so I guess it’s okay if I play it tonight.”

The song reminds us a little bit of any number of 4 Non Blondes tunes and Katharine McPhee’s very underrated tune, “Had It All.”

The mid-tempo track is probably about as straight-ahead a love song as we’re going to get from Lady Gaga as she reminisces about a lost love that still has a bit of a hold on her as she strolls down memory lane. It’s a strong, though not exceptional song, and she’s probably right not to think of it as a first single, but we could certainly see if as a fourth or fifth single off her new album. The piano banging at the end is a nice little homage to Elton, with whom she’s become fast friends.

And here’s something else we’re wondering. This is fairly grainy footage seemingly taken by a fan, whose previous clips have no more than 25,000 hits or so, yet this one has already hit half a million thanks to a little help from Perez Hilton. It would seem Lady GaGa’s label is trying to start a viral campaign since they’re not trying to take down this or “Changing Skies,”  the other song that leaked last week.

We know we’re playing grammarian here, but even a fifth grader knows it’s “about you and me,” not “about you and I,” so that part is like a sharp poke with a stick every time we hear it. C’mon, Lady GaGa, you don’t want all your little monsters sounding like they don’t know their grammar, do you?

What do you think of "You and I?"



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Credit: Mercury

Ready for some sugar? Superstar country duo Sugarland's new set out Oct. 19

First single, 'Stuck Like Glue,' out July 26

Top country duo Sugarland will release its fourth album, “The Incredible Machine,” on Oct. 19, but you’ll be able to hear the first single in a few weeks: “Stuck Like Glue” goes to radio July 26.

As they have with their previous three albums, Sugarland’s Jennifer Nettles and Kristian Bush co-wrote all songs on the album, plus shared co-producing honors with Byron Gallimore, best known for his work with Tim McGraw.

It’s been two years since Sugarland’s last album, 2008’s “Love on the Inside” and Nettles has been plagued with some vocal difficulties since then, but we last saw her perform live in April at the taping for the ACM Brooks & Dunn farewell tribute and we can report that she sounded strong and vibrant as ever.

Sugarland is on tour, including a few Lilith dates, although it sounds like they may not be previewing “Stuck Like Glue.” 

“‘Stuck Like Glue’ is just plain, unashamed, Sugar-fun!,” Nettles said in a statement. “It sticks in your brain, no pun intended. To me it feels young, hip and of course sassy! I can't wait for it to get out there so we can play it live in our show. We've been sitting on our hands to not play it live ‘til it was released!”

In the meantime, Sugarland has started a weekly web series about their hijinks on the road. Check it out here.



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3Oh!3, Scissor Sisters, The-Dream lead new music release week

Can any of them challenge Drake or Eminem?

After new Drake and Eminem releases yielded huge opening numbers on the charts, things slow down a little this week. There are plenty of nice new titles arriving in stores on Tuesday, June 29, but nothing that will come remotely close to challenging either of these two titles’ reign.

3Oh!3, “Streets of Gold” (Photo Finish/Atlantic): Warped tour headliners releases third electro-pop album, which includes duet with Ke$ha, the surprisingly sweet “My First Kiss."

The-Dream, “Love King” (Radio Killa/Def Jam): One of the top R&B producer/songwriters--one of the mastermind’s behind Rihanna’s “Umbrella” and  Beyonce’s “Single Ladies Put a Ring On It”—continues his “Love”-titled albums,  following “”Love Hate” and “Love vs. Money.” First single, the title track, stalled at No. 37 on Billboard’s R&B/Hip-Hop chart; second single with “T.I.,” has been followed by third single, “Turnt Out.”

Alejandro Escovedo, “Street Songs of Love” (Fantasy/Concord): Beloved Austin-based roots musician continues a rejuvenating second act. Escovedo shares a manager with the Boss; that’s one reason why Springsteen shows up on the duet, the churning “Faith,” here. Much of the rest of the album deals with the universal search for love.

Oasis, “Time Flies…1994-2009” (Sony): Available as 3 CD/1 DVD set or as a 2-CD set, this collection highlights the 15-year fractious, brilliant career of the Gallagher Bros. and the most popular rock band to ever come out of Manchester, England. Not surprisingly, the set already debuted at No. 1 in the U.K.http://www.hitfix.com/events/oasis-time-flies-1994-2009

Papa Roach, “To Be Loved: The Best of Papa Roach” (El Tonal/DGC/Interscope): Best-of set from Cali rockers released by former label Interscope hits all the high notes, including “Last Resort,” “Lifeline” and previously-unreleased “Just Go (Never Look Back).”

Scissor Sisters, “Night Work” (Downtown/Universal): Glam New York band returns with first album since 2007’s “Ta-Dah.” It scrapped its first attempt, before collaborating with producer Stuart Price on the peppy, upbeat project.

Semi Precious Weapons, “You Love You” (Geffen/Perezcious/Streamline/Cherrytree): New York City quartet releases its first full-length for Interscope, produced by Tony Visconti (David Bowie), and brings its own platinum-blonde, over-the-top version of mass destruction as it heads out on the road to open for Lady GaGa.

Wolf Parade, “Expo 86” (Sub Pop): Indie Montreal rock quartet named its third album after the Vancouver Expo that band leaders Spencer Krug and Dan Boeckner visited when they were 10.

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Eminem performs at th 2010 BET Awards.

Eminem performs at th 2010 BET Awards.

Credit: AP Photo/Matt Sayles

Eminem and Jay-Z bat 1.000 on ticket sales; new stadium shows added

Shows in New York and Detroit sell out, two more on deck

After Eminem and Jay-Z’s Sept. 13 concert at New York’s Yankee Stadium went clean, a second show for Sept. 14 has been added.

As with the first show, tickets ain’t cheap: They range from $52 to $298. Similarly, a second show at Detroit’s Comerica Park set for Sept. 3 has been added after the Sept. 2 sold out. Tickets for that show are $49-$250.

There may be some acts who are having trouble selling tickets this summer, but Jay-Z and Eminem would not be two of them.


Are you going to try and catch the Jay-Z/Eminem double bill?

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<p>Eminem's 'Recovery'</p>

Eminem's 'Recovery'

Eminem's 'Recovery' helps heal an ailing music industry and a lock as No. 1

Album is on track to sell as much as 750,000 next week

Could Eminem’s “Recovery” signal a recovery for the music industry as well?  The rapper’s new album, which came out June 21, is now expected to sell as many as 750,000 copies in its opening frame and is a lock to come in at No. 1 on the Billboard 200. It will be the highest tally since AC/DC’s ‘Black Ice” in 2008.

Estimates are soaring higher every day. Earlier this week, it looked like Em would hit the 600,000 mark, but by Friday afternoon indications were that it could soar even higher, according to Hits Daily Double.

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<p>Norah Jones is one of the slated artists on the Lilith Fair tour</p>

Norah Jones is one of the slated artists on the Lilith Fair tour

Lilith cancels some dates on eve of tour's kick-off

Amid brutal touring summer, femme fest slashes some August shows

The summer touring season just got even worse. After admitting to weak sales in some markets, it looks like the reincarnated Lilith tour is now beginning to cancel some dates.

Although Lilith representatives have yet to confirm the cancellations, Toronto’s Globe and Mail newspaper is reporting cancellations due to poor ticket sales.

Additionally, Norah Jones’ manager told the newspaper that the dates the singer was slated to appear on, Aug. 10-16 in Florida, Alabama and Texas, had been canceled, although they still remain on the Lilith website and Lilith co-founder Terry McBride would not confirm the cancellations to the newspaper, but did not deny that they could happen.  Dates in Phoenix and Nashville had previously been pulled; the Arizona show was yanked in protest to Arizona’s new immigration policy. A number of shows in Canada were downsized to smaller venues.

In its first run since 1999, Lilith kicks off Sunday night in Calgary, Alberta. Co-founder Sarah McLachlan will play all dates. Other artists on the slate include Sheryl Crow, Rihanna, Mary J. Blige, Kelly Clarkson, Emmylou Harris,  Courtyard Hounds, Martina McBride, Miranda Lambert, the Gossip and many more. See the line-up at www.lilithfair.com


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Michael Jackson

A year after his death, Michael Jackson is bigger than ever and no. 1 on the music power rankings chart.

Credit: Sony Pictures

Music Power Rankings: Death becomes Jacko

Eminem's 'Recovery' and Tim McGraw's 'Rising' also make the list

Was there really any doubt?  Of course, the King of Pop has to be tops on this week’s Music Power Rankings. Friday marks the one-year anniversary of his death and, in many ways, he’s never been more popular.  Since last June 25, his estate has earned anywhere between $200 million and $1 billion, depending upon varying press reports, and concert film, “This is It,” helped rehab his tarnished image, especially in the U.S., and put the public’s  focus squarely back on his talent, as opposed to his personality quirks (to put it nicely).

1.  Michael Jackson (not ranked last week): The sales, respect and success that had eluded him for the last decade or so returns for the saddest of reasons and proves, tragically, that death is a good career move.

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<p>The actual Lady Gaga</p>

The actual Lady Gaga

Credit: AP

Watch: Spoof of Lady GaGa's 'Alejandro'

'Old Lady GaGa' version has it all over the original. And Fixodent too!

Lady GaGa can get a glimpse of what she’s going to look like 50 years from now and we need to warn her: it ain’t pretty, but it sure is hilarious.

This spoof of her “Alejandro” video is far more entertaining than the original, plus, Fixodent gets outrageous product placement.

Playing  “Old Lady GaGa” is Broadway actress  Jackie Hoffman, who’s illustrious resume includes “Hairspray” and “The Addams Family.”  The clip is part of “The Battery’s Down,” an on-line  series featuring Broadway stars.

Thanks to Idolator for turning us on to this.




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