<p>Lady GaGa goes for an impressionist ride in &quot;Alejandro.&quot;</p>

Lady GaGa goes for an impressionist ride in "Alejandro."

Credit: Interscope

Watch: Lady GaGa cavorts with nearly naked men in 'Alejandro' video

Is she running out of steam and where are the Great Danes?

Sometimes the only words to say are “Thank you.”  Lady GaGa has said her black & white video for “Alejandro,” which premiered today on www.ladygaga.com, is about her love for her gay male friends. And she loves them a lot –at least enough to let them have close to 10 minutes of writhing around in nothing but tight black shorts-- at first in some military formation. Glad to see “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” has been abolished in GaGa’s world.

There’s some snow, a gauzy funeral scene, a heart carried on a pillow, and a buff dude  in a spiked helmet holding a gun to his crotch.  That’s about it for plot. Plus some really bad bowl haircuts.

The song, one of her weakest so far,  is a rip-off of Madonna’s “La Isla Bonita,” which Lady GaGa seems to acknowledge as the dancers cop moves straight out of “Vogue.” The video is chockful of other homages to Madge, including the Catholic iconography (check out LG in a leather habit, swallowing her rosary. Can’t wait to see what the Pope has to say about that) and some light bondage, as well as a stylish advancement on Madonna’s infamous cone bra.

Directed by fashion photographer Steven Klein, “Alejandro” is a visual feast, but, by Lady GaGa’s standards, there’s nothing particularly shocking or innovative here. It’s no “Paparazzi” or “Telephone.”  Even the final scene is a bit of a take-off of an earlier Lady GaGa video, but it’s still head and shoulders above the average video out there these days.

 What did you think?

 

Read Full Post
<p>Tom Petty</p>

Tom Petty

Listen: Have Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers found their 'Mojo?'

ESPN.com streams new album

Listen to “Mojo,” Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers’ first studio album in eight years. The set is streaming on ESPN.com, as part of the sports site’s new music section.

We’ll review the album next week when it comes out, but from a cursory listen, it sounds like “Mojo” explores the band’s jammy side. First single, "I Should Have Known It," already hit No. 1 at classic rock radio

“’Mojo’ is a huge opening of a door for us,” Petty says in a statement. “Every now and then you hit something where you find some new ground and this is definitely one of those times.”

The album comes out June 15, while Blu-Ray and vinyl versions comes out June 29. The Blu-Ray set will be available online exclusively through Amazon and at indie retail stores.

Additionally, this weekend, Westwood One will air a 90-minute radio special hosted by Jim Ladd (about whom Petty wrote “The Last DJ”) about the making of the album.

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers are tour throughout the U.S.  Every ticket purchased comes with a download of the new album.












 

Read Full Post
Christina Aguilera lips

Will you lick your lips to taste Christina's new sound?

Credit: AP Photo/Matt Sayles

Review: Christina Aguilera's 'Bionic' shows a machine-like workmanship

Where is Aguilera's heart?

Hear that? That’s the sound of Christina Aguilera trying to resurrect a career that we weren't even aware was broken.

In the four years since her last studio album,  “Back to Basic,” it’s clear that Aguilera has listened to every bottled blonde that’s hit the charts lately, plus carefully watched what gals like M.I.A., Ke$ha and Britney are doing and tried to figure out where she fits in.Almost every move on “Bionic” feels calculated and the result is an album that’s often as exhausting to listen to as it must have been to make.

Read Full Post
Stone Temple Pilots

Stone Temple Pilots are ready to top the charts once again.

Credit: AP Photo

Stone Temple Pilots ready to knock 'Glee' from the top of the album charts

Who else debuts in next week's Top 10?

After a nine-year recording hiatus, Stone Temple Pilots are cleared to land in the top spot on the Billboard 200 with their self-titled set. The foursome’s last album, 2001’s “Shangri-La Dee Da,” peaked at No. 9. It will do so with around 65,000 in sales, one of the lowest tallies to land an act at No. 1 since the start of the Nielsen SoundScan era in 1991.

There’s one possible obstacle in STP’s way: that pesky “Glee” soundtrack, which may decide to spend another week at No. 1, although as of Friday, STP had a 5,000-copy margin. Justin Bieber and Lady Antebellum are duking it out for the No. 3 spot with both targeted to sell around 50,000 copies.

After STP, the only title looking strong enough to debut in the top 10 is the “Sex & the City 2” soundtrack, although poor-to-dismal movie reviews may help sink the soundtrack as well.

Also, Brooks & Dunn, following May 23’s CBS’s tribute concert to the retiring duo, burst back into the Top 10.

Read Full Post
<p>Crystal Bowersox and Lee DeWyze</p>

Crystal Bowersox and Lee DeWyze

Lee DeWyze and Crystal Bowersox ink label deals post-'Idol'

DeWyze heads to 19/RCA, while Bowersox goes to 19/Jive

Hitfix has confirmed that “American Idol” winner Lee DeWyze and runner up Crystal Bowersox have already secured record deals.

DeWyze has signed with 19/RCA, while Bowersox signed with 19/Jive. 19 is the company started by “American Idol” founder Simon Fuller, 19 has right of first refusal to sign the 10 finalists to a label, while the RCA label group (now part of Sony) has the first rights to the acts through its affiliation with 19. While these deals were announced much faster than usual, the question is never which label the winner will sign with, just which imprint within that label group.

In fact, all of the winners have gone through 19 and  RCA-owned labels:  Kelly Clarkson (RCA), Ruben Studdard (J Records), Fantasia (RCA),  Carrie Underwood (Arista Nashville), Taylor Hicks (Arista),  Jordin Sparks (Jive), David Cook (RCA) and Kris Allen (Jive).

DeWyze and Bowersox already have singles in the marketplace: As of Friday morning, DeWyze’s cover of U2’s “Beautiful Day”  is at No. 3 on iTunes’ songs chart, while  Bowersox’s version of Patty Griffin’s Up to the Mountain” is at No. 7. No official word on when their albums will be released, but we should look toward the fourth quarter, when many previous winners have put out their first post-“Idol” effort, according to Billboard, which first broke the news of the record deals.










 

Read Full Post
Lee DeWyze before the American Idol finale

Lee DeWyze won "American Idol," but didn't make the top spot of the Music Power Rankings.

Credit: AP Photo/Chris Pizzello

Music Power Rankings: Apple back at the top and, of course, Lee DeWyze

What is Courtney Love doing in here? Hint: It has nothing to do with her music

Frankly, this is one of those weeks where it seems like there were more losers than winners:  “American Idol’s” ratings for its March 26 finale were down 16% from last year, both U2 and Christina Aguilera announced tour postponements and record sales continue to plummet.

Even our No. 1 pick, Apple (for the second consecutive week) had a mixed week. Sure, it overtook Microsoft in market cap, but on the down side, the Department of Justice is investigating iTunes allegedly pressuring record labels to not participate in Amazon’s $2.99 Daily Deal program. Amazon is the second largest digital retailer behind iTunes.

Read Full Post
Lee DeWyze singing during the American Idol season 9 finale.

Lee DeWyze sings during the "American Idol" season 9 finale.

Credit: AP Photo/Chris Pizzello

Listen: 'American Idol' winner Lee DeWyze's first single, 'Beautiful Day'

Should Bono be worried?

Bono can rest easy. While he recuperates from some nasty back surgery, his day job as U2’s lead singer is completely safe. Lee DeWyze may have won “American Idol,” but his first single, a cover of U2’s “Beautiful Day” really makes us miss that Irish lad.

Awash in layers and layers and more layers of strings and guitars and drums, DeWyze’s version is a bit of a high speed collision, all designed to hide the fact that his voice is serviceable, but nothing exceptional.

Read Full Post
<p>Big Boi</p>

Big Boi

Watch: Big Boi loses his head in video for ‘Shutterbugg’

Outkast-er falls apart, literally, over his love life

Outkast's Big Boi loses his head over, what else, a girl in the video for “Shutterbugg,”  from his upcoming solo album  “Sir Luscious Left Foot:  The Son of Chico Dusty.” The video is seems deceptively simple upon first viewing, but it has some very fun image, such as the puppet band members and the nice cameo from Soul II Soul’s Caron Wheeler. We also get to see the Big Boi fall apart, literally.

We like that they have fun creating a bar scene with only a few kegs, lots of red plastic cups, and a girl and the scene where he slices open his own head is pretty cool.

Otherwise, the video (and we think have no idea if this was intentional) plays out like totally unrelated pictures in a photo album. The scenarios, whether it be the lighted up dancers in all black or the low-riding, Technicolor car have nothing to do with each other.

It’s not a very compelling song, we’re sorry to say, but the video bears at least  a few viewings just to catch everything going on. And to pick out your next camera.

On a side note, we know product placements in videos is commonplace now, but the Crown Royal shot in the first few seconds is so blatant, it’s jarring.

 



 

 

Read Full Post
Watch: Rihanna morphs into Slash for 'Rockstar 101' music video

Watch: Rihanna morphs into Slash for 'Rockstar 101' music video

What's with the ram head gear?

When I wanted to be a rock star growing up, all I got was a hairbrush for a microphone and a broom for a guitar. My, how times have changed. Rihanna wants to be a rock star and she’s got way more toys than I ever did. The only thing she’s missing, to hear her tell it, “is a black guitar,” but more about that later.

We’re not sure what crawling around on all floors in nothing but chain mail and headdress with ram horns on it has to do with being a rock star and we don’t understand it any more after watching the video for “Rockstar 101" several times. Simlarly, turning into Slash—the truly amusing part of the video—has also got to be the strangest, if not hottest, homage the guitarist has ever been paid. Toward the end, Rihanna does get said black guitar, plus a hat like Slash wears, sun glasses and long curly hair. He plays on the track; maybe he was busy the day of the video shoot?

When you’re this rich, you really get to play dress up in body paint and you get to be shot by the most amazing photographers in the world. Plus, you get to grab your breasts in videos sheathed in designer wear and people think it’s hot, not lewd.

The song is a dramatic, repetitive, grinding  track with no hook or melody within miles. It’s odd. Rhianna’s “Rated R” has spawned a hit in “Rude Boy,” but basically it has been an album for Rihanna to work out some issues as she becomes an adult. Anyone who fell in love with “SOS” or “Umbrella” has surely wondered where that girl went.

Both Rihanna and Lady GaGa have brought performance art into the pop mainstream in a way that we’re not sure we’ve ever seen before (sorry, Madge). It seems to be working better for Lady GaGa right now than Rihanna: after half a year, “Rated R” has yet to hit the million mark in sales and that’s  after at least four singles. Maybe it’s too jarring a switch from her earlier music.

What do you think?  Do you miss the old Rihanna or embrace the new one?
 

Read Full Post
Beady Eye

Oasis is now Beady Eye.

Credit: Lawrence Watson

Liam Gallagher changes Oasis' name to Beady Eye

Steve Lillywhite produces Noel Gallagher-less band

What do you get when you take Noel Gallagher out of Oasis? A Beady Eye, that’s what.  That’s the new name of the Liam Gallagher-led band composed of Oasis-ites Gem Archer, Andy Bell and Chris Sharrock. Bell, who played bass in Oasis, has moved over to guitar. Fans had been waiting months for Liam to deliver the new name after  stating earlier this year that the Noel-less band would not continue under the Oasis name, but would continue on as a recording unit.

The quartet is recording its Beady Eye debut with producer Steve Lillywhite. No label affiliation has been announced. Oasis’s last album, 2008’s “Dig Out Your Soul,” was distributed in North America via Warner Music Group’s Reprise Records, after the band’s long affiliation with Epic Records in North America ended.  A new single is expected before year’s end.

Noel left the band last August—apparently this time for good—shortly before Oasis was set to take the stage at the Rock en Seine festival outside of Paris.

In the meantime, a 3-CD/1 DVD Oasis collection, “Time Flies…1994-2009” comes out June 15.

Read Full Post