<p>Kylie Minogue, &quot;Aphrodite&quot;</p>
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Kylie Minogue, "Aphrodite"

 

Listen: Kylie Minogue's new single, 'All the Lovers' from forthcoming album, 'Aphrodite'

Sure, it will be a dance hit, but what about pop radio?

Kylie Minogue unveiled a new single, “All the Lovers” on BBC Radio 1 this morning. In England, and in much of the rest of the world, Minogue is a superstar of the first order. While she has her extremely fervent followers in the U.S., especially in the dance community, she’s never sustained the level of excitement here that she does abroad.

Will that change with “All the Lovers,” the first single from her album “Aphrodite,” out June 6? Hard to tell. Most pundits are raving about the single, but they are so in the tank for Minogue that they are predisposed to slavishly adore her. The song starts off a little slowly, but has an insistent beat that will make it a surefire dance hit. The question is can she have another Top 40 mainstream hit in the U.S.? Despite her massive success elsewhere, she remains known here to the general public for her cover of “The Locomotion” decades ago and for her chart smash, the wonderful “Can’t Get You Out of My Head” from 2000.

Minogue delivers an often whispery soft vocal on “All the Lovers” that glides over the notes and seductively draws in the listener, but it doesn’t have the strong instant appeal of Katy Perry’s  “California Gurls,” or even Kimberly Locke’s infectious current dance bon bon, “ Strobelight.”

“The single was one of the last tracks to be written for the album,” Minogue posted on her website. “As I was recording it I knew that ‘All the Lovers’ had to be the first single; it sums up the euphoria of the album perfectly.”

If that’s the case, then “Aphrodite” is way ahead of “X,” her last studio album. The electro-based set didn’t even crack the top half of the Billboard 200. Minogue’s first (!!) real tour of the U.S. last year instantly sold out and helped build more excitement for her, so we’ll see if “Aphrodite,” which the label is pushing as a pop and dance album, can continue that enthusiasm and get her the bigger audience here she so richly deserve.

What do you think of "All the Lovers?"

 

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<p>Ke$ha</p>

Ke$ha

Watch: Ke$ha plays with a big snake in 'Your Love is My Drug' video

Whatever she's smoking, we want some

We’ll have whatever she’s having. Ke$ha’s got it bad, and it turns out that's oh so good, in the video for “Your Love is My Drug.”

America’s favorite new party girl is, by her own admission, a “lovesick crackhead”  for her new fella, but we’d say it’s more peyote than crack given the trippy adventure she takes us on through the desert with her long-haired hippie ‘70s reject   Shaman boyfriend.  They wander through the wilderness, perhaps for 40 days and 40 nights, and then seek adventure, just like the owl and the pussycat, in a rowboat. By now, the good drugs have really kicked in and Ke$ha and her beau are surrounded by a cartoon ocean, complete with a cartoon buoy and seagull and a big old crab..

As the mind-altering substances  (which we don’t see them drop, of course) further take hold, she enters in an animated, pop-art  world straight out of  The Beatles' “Yellow Submarine” crossed with Peter Max,  where  psychedelic fish playfully frolic.

Then as phase two hits,  Ke$ha turns into a bit of a  Shaman herself, covered in tribal paint and dancing with a python. We’re still not really sure what the elephant has to do with anything other than they figured, “Why not?” It’s a video; suspension of disbelief is the price of admission.

It’s a sweet (for Ke$ha) song and the video follows a real storyline that turns into a visual feast. It’s her best effort yet. When it comes to this drug, just say yes.

 

 

 

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<p>O.A.R.</p>

O.A.R.

Hitfix Interview: O.A.R's Marc Roberge has the beat on the band's new album

Band starts new tour in July

O.A.R. co-founder Marc Roberge is going back to the future for the group’s new album.  “We’re revisiting the drive that got us here in the first place,” Roberge tells Hitfix. “The vibe that you get when you go for it on your first record: pure excitement.”

Their running mate is producer Matt Wallace (Maroon 5, Faith No More), who helmed O.A.R.’s 2008 album, “All Sides.” That set spawned the band’s biggest hit, “Shattered (Turn the Car Around),” which reached No. 2.

In addition to capturing that initial thrill that come with making a first album, the band is putting a little extra spring in its musical step on the new set, which it expects to release by September. “We’re absolutely trying to bring a little more rhythm into the songs, a little more backbeat,” Roberge says. “Our drummer really rose to the occasion and provided us with the foundation. I’m all about the rhythm section and then we’ll just pile everything on to that.”

O.A.R. is renowned for its energetic live shows. There’s a reason for that: the band lives for its time on stage. “Playing live is like therapy,” Roberge says. “It’s a cleansing for me. Honestly, playing music is the only time, on stage, that I feel completely comfortable. It’s the only play I can be myself completely.”

See for yourself: O.A.R. starts a new tour in July that will run through October.

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Alicia Keys in the video for "Un-thinkable."

Alicia Keys in the video for "Un-thinkable."

Watch: Alicia Keys and Chad Michael Murray make beautiful music in 'Un-Thinkable' video

Can their love survive racial tensions and a mullet?

Alicia Keys takes us back in time in her new video for “Un-thinkable,” and she brings “One Tree Hill’s” Chad Michael Murray with her.

The plotline, which starts in the ‘50s with grainy black and white footage, follows Keys and Murray as two crazy kids who only want to love each other, despite the fact that  in the ‘50s, an openly out interracial couple was  “Un-Thinkable.”  They go through the decades, and a switch from black and white to color, and some truly unfortunate haircut choices (How ‘bout that mullet, Murray?) as they progress through the decades. Styles changes, but people’s opinions don’t progress as much as one would like to see.

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<p>Eminem</p>

Eminem

Eminem sets 2010 record with 'Not Afraid'; track to bow at No. 1 on Hot 100

Track becomes only the 16th song to start at the summit

“Recovery”  indeed. “Not Afraid,” the first single from Eminem’s June 22 release, “Recovery,” will debut at No. 1 on Billboard’s Hot 100 tomorrow. The tune, which hits the summit based largely on digital sales, is only the 16th track in the 52-year-history of the chart to bow at the top. “Not Afraid” sold 380,000 digital copies in its first week of release, according to Nielsen SoundScan, the highest tally of 2010.  The chart combines singles sales and airplay.

The last song to start at the summit was Britney Spears’ “3” in October.  “Not Afraid” is only the second rap song of the 16 to land at the top, according to Billboard, following 1997’s “I’ll Be Missing You.”  It is also Eminem’s third trip to the top following 2002’s “Lose Yourself” and last year’s “Crack a Bottle,” from “Relapse.”

Below is a list of the 16 No. 1 debuts on the Billlboard Hot 100 chart.

Artist, "Title" (Year)

1) Michael Jackson, "You Are Not Alone" (1995)
2) Mariah Carey, "Fantasy" (1995)
3) Whitney Houston, "Exhale (Shoop Shoop)" (1995)
4) Mariah Carey & Boyz II Men, "One Sweet Day" (1995)
5) Puff Daddy & Faith Evans featuring 112, "I'll Be Missing You" (1997)
6) Mariah Carey, "Honey" (1997)
7) Elton John, "Candle in the Wind 1997/Something About the Way You Look Tonight" (1997)
8) Celine Dion, "My Heart Will Go On" (1998)
9) Aerosmith, "I Don't Want To Miss A Thing" (1998)
10) Lauryn Hill, "Doo Wop (That Thing)" (1998)
11) Clay Aiken, "This Is The Night" (2003)
12) Fantasia, "I Believe" (2004)
13) Carrie Underwood, "Inside Your Heaven" (2005)
14) Taylor Hicks, "Do I Make You Proud" (2006)
15) Britney Spears, "3" (2009)
16) Eminem, "Not Afraid" (2010)

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Sara Bareilles

Sara Bareilles returns with "King of Anything."

Credit: Epic

Listen: Sara Bareilles’ new single, ‘King of Anything’

She definitely isn't singing this guy a love song

From love song to kiss off: Sara Bareilles is back and she no longer has a shred of interest in wooing you; this time she wants you to put you in your place but good.

On “King of Anything,” her new single out today, she ups the melodic peppiness that propelled “Love Song” into her breakthrough hit.  Take a jaunty piano tune, throw in some hand claps, just enough quirkiness to make the tune stand out but not alienate, and a strong vocal performance with attitude and you have all the makings of a sunny, catchy adult contemporary hit. Though she sounds sweet, she’s telling her boy to get lost. “Who died and made you king of anything?,” she asks. Clearly, not her.

“King of Anything” is the first single from “Kaleidoscope Heart,” her sophomore album for Epic, which will come out in 2010. The pop jury is out on Bareilles: “Love Song” was a huge hit in 2007, in part because of its placement in a Rhapsody commercial, but none of the subsequent singles from “Little Voice” received significant pop airplay.  That should change with “King of Anything.”

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<p>Ke$ha</p>

Ke$ha

Set your watches: New Ke$ha video debuts at 12:01 a.m., May 13

Clip for 'Your Love is My Drug' features singer cavorting with elephants and pythons, oh my!

Ke$ha mounts an elephant, dances with a python  and goes in search of new lands, but you’ll have to wait until 12:01 a.m., May 13, to see what happens. That’s when VEVO will debut the video for “Your Love is My Drug.”

This much we can reveal: Ke$ha shot the video in April new Joshua Tree in the California desert. The clip, directed by Honey, features her with assorted beasts and reptiles and in day-glow paint.

When she’s not glowing in the dark, Ke$ha is prepping to open for Rihanna on a U.S. outing that starts July 2. As we’ve previously reported, she will also perform a benefit for Nashville flood victim in Music City on June 16. 

 

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<p>The National's &quot;High Violet&quot;</p>

The National's "High Violet"

Credit: 4AD/Beggars

Review: The National's 'High Violet,' for the Eeyore in all of us

Will the Brooklyn band's latest finally catapult them into the mainstream?

 “Sorrow found me when I was young/sorrow waited/sorrow won” sings The National’s  Matt Berninger on the Brooklyn-based band’s new set, “High Violet.”

While those lyrics are anchor the album’s second song, the appropriately-titled “Sorrow,” that mournful emotion pours its way out of almost every note of the album, leaving the listener either ready to slit his wrist at the CD’s end or incredibly grateful to have found a fellow traveler in life’s often desolate journey.

The National have been around for more than a decade, but the feeling is that their time is now. Both 2004’s “Alligator” and  2007’s “Boxer” received critical acclaim, even topping some “best-of” lists, but now the excitement is ratcheted up to, as our colleague Katie Hasty put it, “fever pitch.” Read her interview with the band here. Click here to hear the album streaming on npr.com

To be sure, band has been marinating nicely over its last few albums and seems poised—not because they’ve changed so much, but because the rest of us have caught up with them—to break through to the mainstream.

The songs on “High Violet” create a sense of beautiful dread.  In tunes like “Terrible Love” or “Afraid of Everyone,” well-placed distortion and a somewhat intentionally (we hope ) muddy mix can make it hard to decipher the exact lyrics, but it’s never difficult to translate the fearful menace lurking at every turn. Berninger’s rich voice—which sounds like a cross between Leonard Cohen and David Bowie— is weary to the bone, yet still sounds inviting. Nice work if you can pull that one off.

Musically, what makes The National so compelling is its layered melodies, as the instruments pile on top of each other in an intriguing but never unpleasant way or pop in and out for after a few measures. When they finally strip down to just vocals and one or two instruments, such as on the lovely, spare “Runaway,” the effect is striking.

Drummer Bryan Dressner’s often military-type precision on the propulsive “Anyone’s Ghost” and drone-y “Little Faith” add a tasty dimension often missing from this kind of smart rock.

Critics usually drool over bands like The National calling their music “majestic” and “weighty.” It’s all that to be sure, but sometimes superlatives like that can scare off people. To us,  The National make music for the Eeyore in all of us.
 

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<p>Taylor Swift</p>

Taylor Swift

Credit: AP Photo

Taylor Swift, Carrie Underwood and Miley Cyrus sign on for Nashville Rising benefit

Who's Who of country stars sign on for concert hosted by Tim McGraw and Faith Hill

First she donated $500,000 to Nashville flood victims and now Taylor Swift will take part in Nashville Rising, a June 22 benefit concert at Bridgestone Arena coordinated by Tim McGraw and Faith Hill.

Proceeds from the concert, which will also feature Miley Cyrus, Miranda Lambert and Carrie Underwood,” will benefit the Community Foundation’s Tennessee Emergency Response Fund. Tickets go on sale May 14 and range from $25-$75.

Other participating acts, with more to be announced, include Brooks & Dunn, Jason Aldean, Luke Bryan, Amy Grant, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Martina McBride, LeAnn Rimes, and  Michael W. Smith.

As we previously reported, a telethon with Brad Paisley, Lady Antebellum and Dierks Bentley will take place on Great American Country (GAC) cable channel this Sunday, May 16. Money raise will also go to the Community Foundation.

 

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<p>Stone Temple Pilots</p>

Stone Temple Pilots

Watch: Stone Temple Pilots' video for 'Between the Lines'

In which they remind us not every video has to break new ground

Not every video has to be an event—although we’re made to believe it’s so with countdown clocks on artist websites and what not. So what to do when a vintage band, returning with their first new clip in many years puts out a video that, while perfectly pleasant, is nothing to write home about?  Maybe just say thank you.

Acts like Lady GaGa—any many before her—have elevated the music video to such a spectacular that it almost seems unfair to expect the same thing from a band like Stone Temple Pilots—even though we’d argue that lead singer Scott Weiland has just as much presence as Lady G.

So STP returns with a fine, if fairly pedestrian clip to “Between the Lines,” the first single from its self-titled May 25 album. The song, which already topped the alternative charts, has a retro, psychedelic feel and the quick-cut video models that with its vintage convertible and ‘70s style apartment.

The video is primarily a performance clip, but instead of a club, the boys are playing in an upstairs, run-down apartment. The love interest—or Weiland’s main drug, “even when we were taking drugs”—shows up to smile coyly,  play pool, have sex in a bathroom stall and, of course, have some unexplained fight. It’s all decidedly tame for a band that has a pretty decadent past, and low key. Here’s a group that is still very willing to let the sound, rather than the image, lead the way.

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