<p>Sade</p>

Sade

Watch: Sade even makes washing dishes hot in 'Babyfather' video

New clip from 'Soldier of Love' album shows Sade like you've never seen her

It’s Sade like we rarely see her. In the Sophie Mueller-directed video for “Babyfather,” the second single from "Soldier of Love,"  instead of the usual hair-slicked back, cool, reserved Sade, we get a Sade reveling in domestic bliss. And we mean, reveling. She’s doing laundry and making jello for goodness’s sake. We practically expect Bill Cosby to show up.

Furthermore, her hair is down and flowing and she’s showing more cleavage than we’ve ever seen her display before. She’s awash in island colors in the clip that slopes along to a lilting Caribbean beat.

Why is she playing Suzy Homemaker? Because she’s reminiscing about her Baby Daddy and the “flower” that they made together. Said flower plays in a back lot with his friends, while Sade joyfully goes about cooking and cleaning and looking better than the law should allow while doing it.

She does have some sense of propriety though, as she puts on a jacket before heading out to distribute her goodies—we mean the jello here—to the kiddies from a vending truck.

 

 

 

 

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<p>Jason Mraz</p>

Jason Mraz

Hitfix Interview: Jason Mraz talks blessings, avocados and new music

Who is he working with on his new record?

Even though it came out two years ago, Jason Mraz’s “I’m Yours” remains affixed to many adult contemporary radio stations like the sticky glue. And Mraz wouldn’t have it any other way.

“It’s a blessing,” he tells Hitfix of the long-lasting popularity of “I’m Yours,” which was named ASCAP’s song of the year last month.  “Damn straight. When I first wrote it, I thought it was a nursery rhyme or something in that genre. As time went by, I realized we never really forget our nursery rhymes and I realized it had that staying power, there’s something simple about it.”

In fact, when Mraz hears it now himself on the radio, he says he’s “surprised at how simple it is. There’s not a whole lot going on, it’s muted guitar, vocal and drum beat. It’s not until the end when all the voices come in that it’s like, ‘oh wow, people have really joined this parade of whatever was going on’.”
And now, Mraz is ready to draw more marchers in his parade. He is working on the follow-up to “We Sing. We Dance. We Steal Things,” his third studio album, which featured the Grammy-nominated  “I’m Yours.” But even the creator has yet to know what shape the project will take.

“At the moment, it’s still a great big block of cement and we’re just starting to chip away at it to see what the sculpture’s going to look like,” Mraz tells Hitfix. Right now, he has “a big stack of songs” that he and producer Martin Terefe are beginning to whittle down.  “Now it’s on to the process of recording and listening and seeing what the album is in that,” Mraz says.

But Mraz isn’t just a platinum-plus musician. He’s also a gentleman farmer. He lives on an avocado farm that is about to turn organic thanks to Mraz and his neighbors. “The  grove company has been [harvesting the groves],  but we’re about to take over because we noticed over the past few years the helicopter would come by and spray the area and we’re done with that. So we’re kind of taking control and it’s been a lot of fun.”  He’ll be including guacamole with each  new album.

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<p>Jordin Sparks</p>

Jordin Sparks

Jordin Sparks heads to the Great White Way for 'In the Heights'

2007 winner is latest 'American Idol' to tread the boards

Following in the footsteps of  many “American Idols” before her, Jordin Sparks is headed for the Great White Way.

Sparks, the 2007 “American Idol” winner, will make her Broadway debut in “In the Heights.” Her 12-week run at the Richard Rogers Theater start Aug. 19. She will play Nina Rosario in the Tony-winning musical about life in upper Manhattan’s  Washington Heights.

She’s just the latest Idol to tread the board.  Diana DeGarmo and Ace Young are  both currently in “Hairspray.”
Off the top of our heads, we can think of several other Idols turned theatrical thespians: Constantine Maroulis starred in “Rock of Ages,” Clay Aiken in “Spamalot,” Fantasia in “The Color Purple” (sort of); Frenchie Davis in “Rent”; Taylor Hicks in “Grease”…

Did we leave anyone out?

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<p>Flaming Lips</p>

Flaming Lips

Court Yard Hounds, Zac Brown Band, Flaming Lips lead May 4 music releases

What's Lady GaGa doing with Michael Bolton?

April flowers bring May showers, but they also bring lots and lots of new albums. May 4’s release slate has a little something for everyone, including the return of Michael Bolton (with help from Lady GaGa) and Toni Braxton, soaring Brooklyn rockers The Hold Steady, and indie darlings Broken Social Scene and New Pornographers. Country fans get the debut from Court Yard Hounds, formed by two-thirds of the Dixie Chicks, and a live album from the Zac Brown Band.

Michael Bolton, “One World One Love” (Universal). Can’t wait to hear some new Lady GaGa? You can hear her here. She collaborated with Bolton on a tune for this project when she was still Stephani Germanotta. Ne-Yo chips in to on a track.

Toni Braxton, “Pulse” (Atlantic): This is smooth-voiced Braxton’s first album for Atlantic. First single, ‘Yesterday,” featuring Trey Songs, reached No. 12 on Billboard’s Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs, making it her biggest radio hit in 10 years. See if the rest of the album is as strong.

Broken Social Scene, “Forgiveness Rock Record” (Arts & Crafts): Mighty indie Canadian collective’s fifth full set includes a tune featuring Feist, Amy Millan and Metric’s Emily Haines, making the first time the BSS collaborators have all appeared on the same song.

Zac Brown Band: “Pass the Jar: Zac Brown Band and Friends Live from the Fabulous Fox Theater in Atlanta.” While fans wait patiently for a follow up to “The Foundation” from the best new artist Grammy winners, they can get their “Chicken Fried” on via this live set.  Guests include Kid Rock, Shawn Mullins, Little Big Town and Joey + Rory.

Court Yard Hounds, “Court Yard Hounds” (Columbia): Sisters Emily Robison and Martie Maguire of the Dixie Chicks make music so sweet, you won’t even miss Natalie Maines. Read review here.

Deftones, “Diamond Eyes” (Reprise): Venerable California rock band returns with its first album since the horrific car accident that left bassist Chi Cheng’s still debilitated. While Cheng continues unable to record, the band put the album they were working on with Cheng on hold and brought in Sergio Vega, formerly of Quicksand, to fill in on this new set that presents a more accessible band than we’ve seen before.

8Ball & MJG, “10 Toes Down” (Push Mgmt/Grand Hustle/E1 Music): The guest list on the latest from these Memphis rappers reads like a who’s who including Snoop Dogg, T.I. (who signed the pair to his Grand Hustle label), and David Banner.

The Flaming Lips, “The Flaming Lips and Stardeath and White Dwarfs with Henry Rollins and Peaches Doing ‘Dark Side of the Moon’” (Warner Bros.) Did you get all that? The only thing you really need to take away is this is Wayne Coyne & Co’s brilliant take on Pink Floyd’s classic 1973 album with a little help from some friends. The band will perform “Moon” from start to finish as Bonnaroo next month.

The Hold Steady, “Heaven is Whenever” (Vagrant): Brooklyn rockers’ first set since 2008’s “Stay Positive” finds them staying true to their code:  Often soaring pop gems saluting complicated love in that way that only they, their hero Bruce Springsteen, and Gaslight Anthem can.

Minus the Bear, “Omni” (Dangerbird): The Seattle-based indie quintet makes the move to a new label and explores new terrain with this set of erotically-themed tunes. Maybe we should call them Minus the Bare instead.

The New Pornographers, “Together” (Matador): Smart pop rock doesn’t come any sweeter or more melodic than the New Pornographers. Leader A.C. Newman puts the band back together once more for their fifth set, roping in vocalists Neko Case and Kathryn Calder for one more go-round. Influenced by tunes like the Monkees’ “Daydream Believer,”  “Together” is an unabashed pop valentine to the pleasures and pitfalls of love.

Josh Ritter, “So Runs the World Away” (Pytheas Recordings): We don’t know why singer/songwriter Josh Ritter isn’t a bigger star; he’s simply one of the best artists working today.  Maybe that will all change with his new album, which is chock full of the usual hyper-literate, emotional song that deserve a much larger audience.

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<p>3OH!3</p>

3OH!3

Listen: 3Oh3! announce new album, smooch with Ke$ha on 'My First Kiss'

Do we dare say that the song is almost -- gulp! -- sweet?

3oh3! And  Ke$ha are back again. We already know the “Don’t Trust Me” boys and the “Tik Tok” party girl are a lethal combination from her single “Blah, Blah, Blah.”

Now they’re reunited for the first single from 3Oh3’s next album, “Streets of Gold,” with “My First Kiss.”

Hear it here. 

With its handclaps and stories of making out “at the foot of the stairs, with my fingers in your hair,” it’s surprisingly sweet and innocent (despite that line about soldiers and sailors that hints as slightly sordid past).

We’ve bashed Ke$ha plenty on Hitfix, but to her credit, in less than six months, she has already become instantly vocally recognizable. There’s no confusing her flirty vocals here for anyone else here.

The fast rush of the song feels like the heartbeat-pounding thrill that comes with that first kiss. Will it last? Of course not. But will it be a perfect little ditty to help get your summer started? Sure.

“Streets of Gold” comes out June 29. Those pre-ordering the album will receive a free download of “My First Kiss.” The album will be available any way you want it, including physical CD or digital, deluxe CD/DVD and a special “Gold Deluxe Bundle,” which includes goodies like a T-shirt. The album was produced by a plethora of producers including Dr. Luke, Matt Squire, Benny Blanco and Greg Kurstin.

The band is on tour through June with Cobra Starship on the MTV-sponsored “Too Fast For Love” outing.

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<p>Court Yard Hounds</p>

Court Yard Hounds

Review: Court Yard Hounds: Unleash the new music from two-thirds of the Dixie Chicks

Natalie who?

While the Dixie Chicks lead singer Natalie  Maines decides whether she wants to record again, the other two-thirds of the platinum trio, sisters Martie Maguire and Emily Robison, have crafted a sweet, understated set under their new moniker Court Yard Hounds that grows more appealing with each repeat listening.

Maines possesses a powerhouse voice that matches her sparkplug personality and tends to dwarf everything around it. Therefore, the contributions of Robison and Maguire--who started the Dixie Chicks without Maines, thank you very much—were often overshadowed by Maines once she joined the group.  To be sure, Robison’s voice, which is reminiscent of Shawn Colvin, has none of the distinctiveness of Maines’ colossal pipes, but it has its own subtle charm, including a vulnerability often missing from Maines’ vocals, especially on the wistful “Fairytale” or the plaintive “Graceful.”

Here, on the siblings’ self-titled debut, their talents shine, including their fine playing. Much of the records fits squarely into the sweet spot that country radio is embracing: pop country that builds upon the  ‘70s soft rock of  such artists as the Eagles, Fleetwood Mac and Jackson Browne (just try listening to the infectious, easy-going “The Coast” and not think of early ‘70s JB) and extends straight through the Jayhawks and Wilco.  Its building blocks are acoustic guitars, strong melodies and gorgeous harmonies. Throw in smart, tasteful instrumentation, especially on fiddle and guitar, and you’ve got an album with legs. Nothing ever sounds forced and the production is polished and professional without ever sounding slick.

Highlights include “Nothing New Under the Sun,” whose mid-song tempo change recalls the Beatles; while the folk-infused “See You in the Spring,” a duet with Jakob Dylan, is a lovely plea to not give up before love can be renewed.

But the girls can kick it up as well. “Ain’t No Son” is a biting, bitter banjo-spiced rave-up about a gay boy who comes out to his unaccepting father. While the lyrics may go over people’s heads, the sheer musicality of the track, with its strident fiddle and guitar solos, are sure to make it a concert highlight.

In interviews, Robison had admitted that many of the lyrics are about her divorce from Charlie Robison. That knowledge makes many of the songs such as the album closing tracks, “It Didn’t Make a Sound” and “Fear of Wasted Talent,” all the more poignant.  Robison makes heartbreak sound way more attractive than it should, especially with the barrelhouse piano playing and handclaps on “It Didn’t Make a Sound” belying the devastation within.

The Dixie Chicks are reuniting to tour with the Eagles this summer, so here's hoping that Maines feels inspired enough to go back into the studio sometime soon, but Court Yard Hounds doesn't have to feel like  a side project at all. These hounds can definitely hunt.

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Glee The Power of Madonna

The "Glee" soundtrack "The Power of Madonna."

Credit: Fox

Music Power Rankings: 'Glee' tops the Billboard 200, but it's not No. 1 on our list

What's David Letterman doing on our tally?

In our second week of ranking the Music Power Players, we have some new names and some holdovers, but chances are the man at No. 1, you may have never heard of. But never fear, you may not know him, but he knows all about you and he’s trying to figure out a way to get his fingers on your wallet as you read this.  If you’ve ever bought a concert ticket, Irving Azoff probably has your name in a data base. If you’ve bought an album by Christina Aguilera, the Eagles, Seal or nearly 200 other acts, he had something to say about it.

Also, a number of acts, including B.o.B., Green Day, and the irrepressible Justin Bieber live to see another week on the chart, but did they rise or fall?

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<p>Miley Cyrus</p>

Miley Cyrus

Listen: Miley Cyrus 'Can't Be Tamed' on new single

She also can't be 'blamed' or 'shamed,' because she's 'hot like that'

Miley Cyrus is going to be hell on wheels when she turns 18 later this year. Or maybe she’ll finally quit trying so desperately to show us she’s all grown up. For the last year or so, this little Disney-created princess has acted like a filly kicking so hard against the stable door to get out that she doesn’t realize how great her paddock actually is.

And she’s not about to notice now. Listen to the whole track here.

“Can’t be Tamed,” the first single from her forthcoming album of the same name contains the following lyrics: “I have to get my way/24 hours a day because I’m hot like that. Every guy everywhere just gives me mad attention like I’m under inspection…because I’m built like that.” And fair warning: if you’re going to be her man, she can’t be tamed… or shamed or blamed…you get the idea.  We also think she sings that she can’t be “saved” quite a few times, which would go quite against her Christian church-going background.  Oh, Miley, you’re such a rebel.

Musically, the tune, co-written by Cyrus, is watered-down Britney Spears. It makes “Party in the USA”  (which grew on me) sound like a classic. The bridge contains nuggets of what would have been a much better song: that feeling of knowing you’re moving on and while your body may still be temporarily trapped somewhere—high school, a small town, any number of clichés will do—your spirit is ready to soar and no one can stop it. You feel like you'll literally die if you can't get out. Set all that to a techno beat and you’ve got a great anthem. This, however, is not it.

As we reported earlier, Cyrus has hinted that “Can’t Be Tamed” will be her last album, at least for a little while. That may be a good thing if this is the best she’s got to offer.Cyrus has talent, both singing and comedic chops. Maybe a little time off to think about where she wants to go as an adult couldn't hurt.

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<p>&quot;B.o.B. presents: The Adventures of Bobby Ray&quot;</p>

"B.o.B. presents: The Adventures of Bobby Ray"

'Glee' has nothing on B.o.B. on next week's album chart preview

Can 'The Adventures of Bobby Ray' push 'The Power of Madonna' out of the top spot?

Move over Justin Bieber, there’s a new kid in town. B.o.B’s “B.o.B. Presents: The Adventures of Bobby Ray”  will come in at No. 1 next week on the album chart. The debut set has already spawned a No. 1 single with “Nothing on You.”

It’s too soon to tell whether the No. 2 spot will be a little bit country or a little bit rock and roll as Welsh rockers Bullet for My Valentine and country budding superstar Lady Antebellum are duking it out for the runner up slot.

Two other debuts should land in the top 10, including Melissa Etheridge’s 10th studio album, “Fearless Love” which looks good to come in at No. 7and iCarly star Miranda Cosgrove’s “Sparks Fly” will bow at No. 8. Courtney Love’s reimagined Hole, despite her massive promotional trail, looks like she’ll have to settle for No. 14 or so with “Nobody’s Daughter.”

This week’s chart topper, the Glee cast’s “The Power of Madonna” has enough staying power to stay in the top 10, but just barely, as it hangs in at No. 8, according to Hits Daily Double.


 

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<p>Lady Gaga</p>

Lady Gaga

No surprise here: Lady GaGa turns up on the Time 100

But you will be shocked about the other artists Time named most influential

The 2010 Time 100,  the magazine’s annual list of people “who most affect our world,” came out today and guess who’s on it? Lady GaGa, that’s who. We bet she’s not a bit surprised.

Her inclusion was a sure bet, given that you can’t turn on the radio without hearing a Lady GaGa song or turn on TV without seeing a LG video. Every move she makes is scrutinized in breathless detail: “Will she wear pants today?” “Is that a lobster on her head?” Every blonde in a pageboy—even ones who wore them long before we knew who Lady GaGa was, like, in 2008, is accused of copying her style.

In Time, Cyndi Lauper says of Lady Gaga:  “An artist's job is to take a snapshot — be it through words or sound, lyrics or song — that explains what it's like to be alive at that time. Lady Gaga's art captures the period we're in right now.”

Three other pop singers made the list: Taylor Swift, Elton John, Prince.

Stevie Nicks wrote the essay accompanying Swift’s inclusion, clearly a vote of confidence for Swift following their Grammy duet that left Swift open to brutal criticism for her performance.  Nicks declares  Swift no less than a savior for the record industry:  “Taylor is writing for the universal woman and for the man who wants to know her,” Nicks writes. “The female rock-'n'-roll-country-pop songwriter is back, and her name is Taylor Swift. And it's women like her who are going to save the music business.”

We admit we raised our eyebrows at Prince’s inclusion. He is unarguably one of the most influential artists of all time, but we couldn’t think why he would be included for any activity in 2010. Turns out neither could Usher, who lionizes him in Time and notes that he picked Prince as a role model over Michael Jackson (you could have fooled me) because Prince had a “rawness.” We would never dispute Prince’s role in music history, it just seems like a strange year to name him.

We felt somewhat similarly about Elton John, who, astonishingly, had never made the list before. It’s impossible to say enough about John and the role he played in propelling pop music
forward, but it turns out that director Stephen Daldry praises John for going against the grain and for his courage, not his 2010 musical accomplishments:  "He was a pop star who, against the advice of his peers, waded into musical theater. He joined the battle against AIDS when it was unpopular and stayed in long after the cause had faded from the spotlight," writes Daldry. "He is one of the world's great artists, and he uses his considerable resources to protect and advocate for the most vulnerable among us."  For that alone, John should be on the list every year.  Talk about Timeless.

Among the artists who were candidates for the publicly-voted list who didn't make the final 100 and Beyonce,T Bone Burnett, Rain, Susan Boyle, Cheryl Cole, Adam Lambert, Kanye West and Patti Smith.



 

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