Inside Music with Melinda Newman
First single will drop Aug. 19
Credit: Lady Gaga
Paws up, Little Monsters: Lady Gaga will return with a new single Aug. 19.
She posted the news on her Facebook page just after midnight PT. Fans can pre-order her new app/album, “ArtPop,” on Sept. 1 for delivery on Nov. 11. “ArtPop” is her fourth studio album and her first since 2011’s “Born This Way.”
In a further explanation on her Facebook page, Momma Monster posted:
“Buil by TechHAUS, the technological branch of Haus of Gaga, the app itself is a musical and visual engineering system that combines music, art, fashion, and technology with a new worldwide community – ‘the auras’. Altering the human experience with social media, we bring ARTculture into POP in a reverse Warholian expedition.
“Exploring Gaga‘s existence as a cultural interface, the user will share in the ‘adrenaline of fame’ as they build and share their own projects, chat with one another, and watch in real-time on a virtual globe as ARTPOP explodes onto the physical and virtual existence at once on November 11, our ‘BIG BANG!’ On the day Haus of Gaga venges with forte to bring the music industry into a new age; an age where art drives pop, and the artist once again is in control of the ‘icon.’
“In turn, the album ARTPOP musically mirrors Gaga‘s creative process as she passes through the mediums of each artist she collaborates with, scoring a blueprint of her journey. The result, a ‘rage’ of electronic passion and fury, defining each artistic process from beginning to end, ARTPOP could mean anything. But or her, this is a celebration of obsession. And on November 10, she will host an evening of artRave exhibiting Haus of Gaga’s projects as well as collaboration with Inez & Vinoodh, Robert Wilson, Marina Abramovic, and Jeff Koons.”
While it’s not known what songs made the cut, among the producers Lady Gaga has worked with over the past two years on potential material for “ArtPop” are RedOne, Zedd, Madeon and Dallas Austin. Among the artists she’s r recorded with are Kendrick Lamar and Azealia Banks.
She previewed a new song while on tour in 2012: “Princess Die,” about Princess Diana. She later revealed in a fan chat that the version of the song she performed on tour would not make the album, but that she had written a more uptempo version that was under consideration. She also talked about a hip-hop/j-pop/pop song, and has mentioned other new recordings, including one called “Tea.”
Lady Gaga seems to have abandoned a plan she floated last year to release to volumes of music: one would be more “commercial,” she said, while the other, released a few months later, would be more experimental.
The announcement comes a day after reports surfaced that Lady Gaga will perform at the iTunes Festival in London this fall, her first full concert since hip surgery earlier this year. The festival runs Sept. 1-30. While Gaga’s participation isn’t confirmed, among the artists who are laying the fest are Arctic monkeys, Vampire Weekend, Queens of the Stone Age and the Pixies.
Ridley Scott-produced doc about the Boss and his followers comes out July 22
“Springsteen & I,” a documentary about Bruce Springsteen and his relationship with his fans, created by his fans, comes out July 22.
The film, directed by Baillie Walsh and produced by Ridley Scott, focuses on the overwhelming kinship that exists not only between The Boss and his fans, but between the fans themselves. As Springsteen himself talks about, his career is an ongoing "conversation" with his fans, an ongoing communion that gets renewed everytime he steps on stage.
As a die-hard Bruce fan who’s attended around 45 Springsteen shows, this preview of the film looks about right. Sure, it’s glowing, but to be a Springsteen fan is to feel like this. Some of the absolutely happiest hours in my life have been spent in the pit at a Springsteen show singing along with strangers and feeling like nothing in the world existed but us and Bruce and the E Street Band.
I’ll have a review of the documentary as it gets closer and, hopefully, an interview with Walsh.
Track is first tune from upcoming album, 'Lightning Bolt'
First came word of a Pearl Jam tour on Monday, and today fans got the news they really wanted: a new Pearl Jam album, “Lightning Bolt,” will drop Oct. 15.
First single, “Mind Your Manners,” came out today and it’s a bullet-train, punk-rock rush of a song as Eddie Vedder sings about disillusionment and unlikely redemption. It ends with a cacophony of call-and-response vocals screaming “living hell.”
The song is anchored by Matt Cameron’s insistent, powerful drumming, a wily guitar solo, and Vedder’s intense vocals. The single’s artwork, which features a gun, drops of blood and a rosary on a plate, heighten the drama.
And yes, Pearl Jam’s website, after featuring a countdown clock for the tour and then the album announcement, now has a countdown clock for the album release. It’s 94 days away as of July 11.
Fans can pre-order the album on Pearljam.com, as well as on iTunes now.
Here's the cover art:
What role would you like to see him play?
Credit: AP Photo
Gleeks and Glamberts rejoice: Adam Lambert is joining the cast of “Glee” for the season 5 of the Fox series.
The show’s co-creator Ryan Murphy announced the news via Twitter, tweeting, “I am thrilled to announce that the super talented Adam Lambert is joining the cast of ‘Glee’ this fall.” Lambert has not commented via Twitter or otherwise.
It remains to be seen whether Lambert will play himself, as he did on “Pretty Little Liars,” or a fictional character. He is the second “American Idol” contest to join the show: Jessica Sanchez had a two-episode role as a performer from a rival school last season, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
Lambert is a known “Glee” fan. He told The Reporter last year that the series “really paints a picture of what it’s like to be an arts kid in high school... ‘Glee’ is really irresistible.”
What role would you like to see Lambert play on “Glee?” We’d like him to be a substitute teacher who comes in an really shakes things up and threatens to take away New Directions from Mr. Schuster.
The move comes at a time when “Glee” is reinventing itself with a number of original cast members, including Heather Morris and Amber Riley, cutting back on their roles next season. Season 5 begins airing in September.
Track comes out July 17, followed by 'Jimmy Fallon' gig July 22
Kings of Leon will release its new single, “Supersoaker,” on July 17. The track is on “Mechanical Bull,” which comes out Sept. 24.
The news of the song’s choice to kick off the new set comes as no surprise as the band debuted the song at New York’s Governor’s Ball June 8 (after being rained out June 7). It sounds straight up KoL with a little rawness that suits the group.
The official television premiere of the song comes July 22 on “Late Night With Jimmy Fallon.” That one wasn’t too hard to predict: Fallon breathlessly announced the album’s arrival in June.
Kings of Leon are currently on tour in Europe, but will come back to the U.S. for the Fallon date and for its Rock For Oklahoma charity concert on July 23 at the Chesapeake Energy Center in Oklahoma City. The concert, which will benefit tornado relief efforts in the Sooner state, will also feature Jackson Browne, Flaming Lips, and Built to Spill, and comes after other concert efforts featuring Toby Keith, Garth Brooks, Blake Shelton, and others.
“Mechanical Bull” is the group’s first album since 2010’s “Come Around Sundown.”
Jack White-distributed version of 'Magna Carta Holy Grail' includes bonus track
Credit: AP Photo
For those of us who had trouble with the Samsung promotional download for “Magna Carta Holy Grail,” Jay-Z had a few words of sympathy during an interview on New York’s Power 105 radio station this morning.
"I can't even imagine waiting for Rakim's album at 12 o'clock and I couldn't get it and I downloaded — I did everything right," Jay-Z said. "On the 24th I downloaded my app, I set it, I watched the clock count down and at 12 'clock I couldn't get it. For me that's not cool."
Jay-Z blames an overloaded infrastructure for the delay fans experienced in trying to download the album. "It's not even a number that you can fathom; it's 20 times the amount we thought was going to happen. So you can't even prepare service for that, it's very difficult."
He knows that as the guinea pig for this form of digital distribution, he could experience glitches that will be ironed out for the next artist. That has to get better," he urged. "The next person now knows how to go into it better, which is cool and that's my job. I took the hit for that." (h/t MTV News).
Of course, all this doesn’t explain why I had so much trouble playing individual songs more than 24 hours after the download launched. I would have to close the app and re-open it to go from one song to the next.
In other Jay-Z news (because there’s always news), he talked about dancing around with Beyonce in their stocking feet to her music to New York radio host Angie Martinez from Hot 97 on Tuesday.
According to MTV News, he also told Martinez that Beyonce has “100,000 amazing song,” but didn’t give any details on when we’d get to hear the 12 or so that would make up an album beyond the three or four that has dripped out this year. As far as a little sibling for Blue Ivy, he says he would love that. “Absolutely, God willing.”
And if downloading the Samsung app for “MCHG” or buying it via iTunes or on CD wasn’t your thing, Jack White’s Third Man Records will release “MGCH” on vinyl “in coming weeks,” according to a press release. The vinyl version will include a bonus track called “Open Letter.”
Anna Kendrick's 'Cups' enters the top 10 after how many weeks on the chart?
Credit: AP Photo
“Blurred Lines” stays at No. 1 for a fifth week on the Billboard Hot 100, as Robin Thicke’s summer hit featuring T.I. and Pharrell also hits No. 1 on the magazine’s Radio Songs and On-Demand Songs chart. It also remains No. 1 on the Digital Songs Chart for a trifecta of No. 1s on the three charts that determine the Billboard Hot 100.
“Lines” keeps Daft Punk’s “Get Lucky,” the other song of the summer, at No. 2 for the fourth week. While “Lucky” will get locked out of the Billboard Hot 100 top spot, it remains in the pole position on Billboard’s Dance/Electronic Songs chart. And, as you may have heard, the act has linked with Trojan for a Get Lucky condom line. True story.
Similarly, Miley Cyrus’ “We Can’t Stop” holds at No. 3 and Imagine Dragons’ “Radioactive” remains at No. 4.
Florida Georgia Line’s “Cruise” featuring Nelly swaps places with Macklemore & Ryan Lewis’ “Can’t Hold Us” as the country hit move 6-5 and the hip-hop duo’s track slides 5-6.
It’s static for positions 7-9, with Justin Timberlake’s “Mirrors” at No. 7, Bruno Mars’ “Treasure” at No. 8, and Selena Gomez’s “Come & Get It” at No. 9.
The sole new entry in the Top 10 belongs, incredibly, to Anna Kendrick’s “Cups,” from “Pitch Perfect.” The song is in its 28th week on the chart and its success comes more than a year after the movie was in theaters. The DVD release and a re-recorded version of the song with more instrumentation has spurred the success of the tune. Additionally, Billboard cites the movie’s debut on HBO starting June 22 as another factor in the song’s continued rise.
Is it the first single from the '20/20 Experience' sequel?
Credit: RCA Records
Justin Timberlake continues to tease fans with updates on his musical doings via short black and white clips.
A new 50-second clip popped up on YouTube over the last several hours that features Timberlake getting out of a convertible on his way into a club. He holds up several signs that herald the release dates of two singles, “Suit & Tie January 14th” and “Mirrors February 11th,” as well as the release date for “The 20/20 Experience March 19th.” He then holds up a sign that reads “Take Back the Night,” but the next card is blurred out to obscure the release date.
[More after the jump...]
Can Eminem's protege break through on her own?
On “Don’t Look Down,” Skylar Grey’s extremely long-awaited Interscope debut, out today, the singer/songwriter has catchy beats aplenty and often has something poignant to say. The two don’t always intersect, but when they do, they are powerful.
Grey has been a fixture in the music industry for nearly 10 years, ever since she signed a publishing deal with Universal as a songwriter at 18. She released an album under her real name, Holly Brook, which tanked, and she has spent the last several years retrenching and working on her songwriting. She approached producer Alex Da Kid and the two wrote Eminem/Rihanna’s “Love the Way You Lie” together. The pair also co-wrote Dr. Dre and Eminem’s “I Need a Doctor,” on which she is the featured artist. She floated a few singles two years ago that didn’t hit (and aren’t on the album) before focusing on “Don’t Look Down,” which Eminem executive produced.
One thing that’s clear from the first track is you don’t want to make Grey see red. Her voice may be fairly tame, but her threats are not. On album opener, “Back From The Dead,” she tells of reuniting with an ex-lover, who skipped out on her. Against a rat-a-tat persistent beat provided by Blink-182’s Travis Barker, she objects to his return just when she seems to be getting her life back together. “I’m so confused, I don’t know what to feel/should I throw my arms around you or kill you for real,” she sings, and she sounds like she means it. Big Sean plays counterpoint as the lover trying to worm his way back in.
Those death threats become real on “Final Warning,” a tune that plays out like part 2 to “Love The Way You Lie,” (she wrote it at the same time). The track opens with a steady synth beat with Grey’s voice recalling Dido’s sometimes flat delivery, but as the song progresses, it becomes clear that she will no longer put up with his abuse: “Go into the kitchen, coming back with a knife because I’ve had enough this time...if someone’s going to get hurt, it’s not going to be me.” The sound of a domestic battle plays in the background until it ends with the gunshot. Does the fact that she’s the one pulling the trigger make it OK since it seems to be an act of self defense?
After this rather dark opening couplet, Grey runs through a gamut of experiences and styles: from dealing with an unexpected pregnancy on the aptly titled “Shit, Man!” (with a rap from Angel Haze) to “White Suburban,” a jazzy, piano closer about her “first time” and the sadness she feels when her former paramour looks at her with indifferent “disregard.” She veers from playful to deadly serious thematically, from Alanis Morissette on “Pulse” (listen and see if it doesn’t remind you of “You Oughta Know”) to sounding like Sheryl Crow backed by a beat machine on “Religion.”
There’s much to like about the album, especially the thoughtfulness that went into some of the lyrics, and Grey’s voice, while fairly standard, has a certain charm. However, there are times when there’s such a disparity between the strength of the beats vs. the strength of the lyrics that miles separate them, no more so than on “C’mon Let Me Ride,” the first single that came out in December featuring Eminem. The beats are ridiculously infectious and even though the song is meant to be lightheaded, tongue-in-cheek and full of sexual innuendo, the lyrics are so inane: “I’m not like the sluts in this town/They make me blah in my mouth,” it’s hard to get through it without grimacing (the song peaked at No. 33). Other times, the beats dominate a track so much, such as on “Glow On the Dark,” that they overwhelm the uplifting message and her voice.
“Don’t Look Down” sounds like Grey made the album she wanted to: one that shows her many different sides: lover, fighter, muse... but your appreciation for it will depend upon your tolerance for the often misplaced reliance on beats.
They sure get around a lot
Credit: Island Records
Just how many guys are in Mumford & Sons after all?
The video for “Babel,” the title track from the British quartet’s current album, features the four members in what seems like a single (though it can’t be) shot of the band playing the song in different parts of the room as the camera moves through a once-elegant, now dilapidated, graffiti-covered mansion until Marcus Mumford ends up exactly where he started at the end, sitting on the stairs holding his guitar. We especially like the "fail" grafitti.
[More after the jump...]