Inside Music with Melinda Newman

Lil Wayne sentenced to one year in prison

Rapper pleas guilty to gun possession

<p>Lil Wayne is yet another hip-hop artist who appears to be on their way to serving jail time.</p>

Lil Wayne is yet another hip-hop artist who appears to be on their way to serving jail time.

Credit: AP Photo


Looks like Lil Wayne is headed to the big house. We wonder how he’ll get his beloved cough syrup in jail?
On Thursday, the tremendously successful rapper pleaded guilty to a gun possession charge. As part of his plea deal, he was sentenced to one year in jail, according to AP.

In July 2007, Weezy was arrested for possessing a .4-caliber semi-automatic.  Although he has agreed to the plea bargain, his official sentencing will come in February. He is also required to relinquish his passport.
The court appearance comes as Lil Wayne is once again on top of the charts with “Down,” from him and protégé Jay Sean. He’s also on the charts with “Forever,” performed by Drake, Kanye West and Eminem; “Successful” with Drake, and “I Can Transform Ya,” with Chris Brown, and “Money to Blow,” with Birdman.


Listen: Lady GaGa's new single, 'Bad Romance'

Is she already starting to wear thin?

<p>Lady GaGa</p>

Lady GaGa

Credit: AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta


You know it’s a bad sign when an artist drops her name in a song…there’s a certain self-awareness and arrogance to it, as if their moniker has somehow become such a familiar part of the lexicon that it is a common noun.
So goes it with “Bad Romance,” the single from LG’s forthcoming “The Fame” reissue, as we first tipped here. Quite honestly, it’s just bad filler—save a killer chorus.
The verses are a jumble of recycled Gaga rhythms, primarily from “Poker Face,” and oddly pronounced words (“Hand” becomes “hay-unnnn.” Who does she think she is? Cher? ). Those segue into spoken-word bridges similar to Madonna’s “Vogue,” then---and the only part that is remotely catchy—the chorus is a toe-tapping melodic delight  that sounds like something straight out of an ‘80s hit by Laura Branigan (thanks to our former Billboard colleague Bill Coleman, who made the Branigan connection. It is spot on…)
The good news for GaGa is that she already has an identifiable sound. The bad news is that she’s already, as much as she tries to shock us by dripping blood at the VMAs or never wearing pants even when it’s below freezing—starting to wear thin with her shtick.

Watch: Adam Lambert's video for 'Time for Miracles' from '2012'

World collapses around him; Lambert unfazed

<p>Adam Lamberty</p>

Adam Lamberty

Credit: 19 Recordings


Adam Lambert’s video for “Time for Miracles,” from the forthcoming disaster flick “2012,” utilizes one of our favorite music clip tropes: the world is literally collapsing around Lambert, and yet he walks on, unobservant, obsessed only, in this case, on not “giving up on us.” 
As it goes into the second verse, people are rushing past him, trying to escape Armageddon and our boy is totally unfazed he is so single-mindedly focused on finding his way back to his loved one. How do I get me a boy like that? As he warbles “Maybe it’s time for miracles,” one would think he might mean saving the planet from utter destruction, but that wouldn’t be the case. His rescue plan only seats two.
Or it could simply be that he never looks back to see at the catastrophic drama playing out behind him on the blue screen.  There is no video plot other than the doom and gloom footage for “2012,” but really, how could there be as he’s the only person in the galaxy not running for his life. Seemingly any other plot would appear secondary, at best. Another question: where exactly are these folks running to since the whole world is imploding. That limits one’s escape routes.
Lambert, who retains his Elvis, jet-black coif from his “American Idol” days but lays off the eye-liner, lip syncs perfectly here, but we’re a little worried about his powers of observation.

Time For Miracles

Adam Lambert | MySpace Video

Chris Brown hits the road to tell his fans thanks

'Fan Appreciation Tour' starts Nov. 14

<p>Chris Brown</p>

Chris Brown

Credit: AP Photo/Matt Sayles


Let’s see who shows up for this: Chris Brown is going on a little tour to tell his fans how much he appreciates their standing by him.
Following his Oct. 27 appearance as part of New York radio station Power 105’s multi-artist concert at E. Rutherford, N.J.’s Izod Center, he plans to take his show on the road.
According to his website, Brown will play nine theater gigs between Nov. 14 and Dec. 1.  The Associated Press reports that a portion of the proceeds from ticket sales will go charities. No word on if these are domestic abuse charities. The gigs fall while Brown is still serving his six months of community service following his February attack on Rihanna.
Below are Brown's dates.


Adam Lambert, Lady GaGa hit the studio together

Pair combines forces to record song for Lambert's Nov. 23 set

<p>Lady and the Lambert</p>
<br />

Lady and the Lambert

Did you hear the sonic boom? It’s not another rocket entering the earth’s atmosphere, it was just the sound of the fabulousness of Adam Lambert and Lady GaGa together in the studio.

Lambert is recording a song by Lady GaGa for his forthcoming debut, “For Your Entertainment, Nov. 23.

Over the past 12 hours or so, Lambert has posted a series of tweets about working with the reigning pop queen.

From 9 p.m. Monday night: Yes it's true: I spent yesterday in the studio w the insanely talented and creative Lady GaGa recording a song that she wrote! I love her.

From 10 p.m. Monday night: Gaga wrote the song a while ago and she thought it would be a good fit for me. It's a solo track. I feel so honored and lucky to be asked.

From 10 p.m. Monday night: GaGa just gets it, ya know?

It’s good to be Lambert right now. Just follow him on Twitter to read his regular communications with the likes of Pink, Katy Perry and Paula Abdul

Listen: Does Rihanna's 'Russian Roulette' spin you around?

Is the song irresponsible or is it art?

<p>Rihanna's &quot;Russian Roulette&quot; single cover</p>

Rihanna's "Russian Roulette" single cover


Good lord, has Rihanna really not gotten enough publicity the last several months that she needed to release something so provocative that it will certainly create a new controversy? 
Rihanna’s new single, the Ne-Yo-penned “Russian Roulette,” seems to be exactly what the title says. Although it very well may be a metaphor for love or life or how she felt about her abuser Chris Brown -- and I’m sure that is how her handlers will spin it -- any such subtlety will be lost on many listeners since the lyrics play out like the final three minutes of someone’s time on earth. Or, as Rihanna sings, “it’s too late to think about the value of my life.”  
The grinding, dark  ballad closes with Rihanna shuddering in an almost sexual way, the spinning of the pistol barrel, and a gun blast (which we’re sure most radio stations won’t include).
Will Rihanna, who solemnly sings the song in her very limited range, have blood on her hands if some kids decide to try this at home?  We’re sure the chilling song has already been vetted by a phalanx of lawyers. Plus, the courts have come down squarely on the side of the artist that lyrics do not incite action in a landmark case in the ‘80s brought by parents against Ozzy Osbourne after their child committed suicide after listening to his “Suicide Solution” over and over.
I firmly believe an artist should be able to say whatever he or she wants to, but with that freedom comes a responsibility. Rihanna’s average fan is probably about 14 or 15.. It’s a tender age when girls are grappling with tremendous peer pressure and learning how to stand up for themselves. In the story’s drama, a man, who clearly has never lost at this game, as Rihanna point out, hands her a gun and, although “terrified,” she’s not leaving because “she must pass this test.”
Rihanna knows violence up close and while she has no responsibility to release a song about domestic abuse or how she feels about Brown  (he certainly didn't address the issue in his new single), to release a song that puts her under the power of another man in some sick psychodrama as it plays out here, is truly frightening. Maybe that’s the point. Maybe Rihanna is so eager to be seen as a dark, serious artist and not the little “ella, ella, ella, Umbrella” girl that she feels she needs to go to these extremes. Many people will no doubt intepret it as a brilliant depiction of what it feels like to have no choice when under the spell of an intoxicating lover.
We’re sure it will shoot up the charts… with a bullet. Controversy aside, the song is seductive and flinty in a James Bond-theme kind of way. Plus, there’s so much curiosity about her right now, whether it’s over what she wears or how she styles her hair or what she sings that she'd make headlines no matter what the song was about.
As for the rest of the album, “Rated R,” comes out Nov. 23. We’re seeing an interesting phenomenon happen that day, which is the Monday before Thanksgiving. Because it is the week of Thanksgiving, which kicks off the traditional holiday shopping season, we’re seeing all major releases moved from the traditional Tuesday release date to Monday. Adam Lambert will also come out that day, as are all major titles.

Interview: Tim McGraw on living in a house full of women, being Southern

Superstar's latest, 'Southern Voice' hits stores on Tuesday

<p>Tim McGraw</p>

Tim McGraw




On “Southern Voice,” Tim McGraw’s 10th studio album, the country superstar explores what it means to come from below the Mason Dixon line. But like any southerner, he knows it is a state of mind as much as a geographic destination.
“When you’re born in the south, it’s just something you grow up feeing,” he says. “It’s hard to put into words to other people, but a lot has to do with our history, Southern people’s history. It’s sort of a sordid history. It’s a history of hard work, a history of some bad decisions, a history of family. What it feels to me is this unique ability to sort of empathize with people and I think it comes from some of the bad things in our past, slavery and segregation, and all of those things.”
The title track, which name checks a number of famous southerners, is climbing the charts and could turn into McGraw’s latest No. 1. “It said a lot about who I was and a lot about what I did,” he says. “I think it was just more of an all encompassing statement about me as an artist than it was [just] about a song.”

I interviewed McGraw for the Washington Post and have linked to that story here, as well as added some exclusive content for Hitfix. In one of our amusing exchanges, McGraw was calling from a cell phone. He’d stepped outside from a writing session in order not to bother the other songwriters and the blowing wind was making it difficult for me to hear. I kept asking him to move to more sheltered locations until he finally crawled inside his car. I apologized for being so demanding. Without missing a beat—and in a line I’m sure he’s used almost daily—he quipped, “I live in a house full of women. I’m used to it.”
Speaking of, McGraw has gotten used to the privacy intrusions that come with fame, but there’s one that still rankles him: the constant speculation and almost morbid glee in comes from wondering if he and wife, Faith Hill, are going to split: “It sort of confounds me sometimes the whole build you up, tear you down thing that goes on, especially with my wife and I being together,” he says. “It seems like that there’s always been sort of we loved ya’ll being together but now that you’re together and you’re happy, we’d much rather you guys stayed together for two or three years and have this terrible breakup and had a lot of great songs that come out of it.”
More from McGraw when we get closer to the release of his new movie,“The Blind Side,” with Sandra Bullock. The feel-good film is based on the true story of a family that takes in a disadvantaged youth.


Joss Stone and Tim McGraw lead soft CD release week

Moved 'New Moon' CD leads to a less than super Tuesday

<p>Joss Stone</p>

Joss Stone

It’s another light week but things will start heating up again in a week or so as labels rush to release big-name titles to coordinate with the holiday shopping season.  We didn’t include “The Twilight Saga: New Moon” soundtrack, which came out off-cycle, last Friday. Expect that CD to come in No. 1, if it can knock Michael Buble out of the top spot, or No. 2. From the batch below, look for Tim McGraw to come in No. 1 on both the pop and country charts next week.
Cartel, “Cycles” (Wind Up): In one of the more outrageous marketing stunts, the emo band recorded its 2007 album in a Dr. Pepper-sponsored bubble for an MTV mini-series. The publicity ploy worked as the group debuted at No. 20 on the Billboard Top 200. This time the Ga.-based band has switched labels and decided to let the music lead. We’ll see where that gets them.
Flight of the Conchords, “I Told You I Was Freaky” (Sub Pop): Fake New Zealand duo-- and stars of their own HBO series-- releases its second set of novelty/parody songs. But when they’re this amusing, do you really care that they’re playing characters?
Kings of Convenience, “Declaration of Dependence” (Virgin): Norwegian folk/pop twosome of Erland Oye and Eirik Glambek Boe creates beautiful, homespun simple melodies lifted by their lilting vocals and harmonies.  Deceptively simple. Check out our interview with the pair later this week.
Lyle Lovett, “Natural Forces” (Lost Highway): Damn right he’s from Texas. The troubadour’s latest includes both originals and obscure covers written by some of his favorite Lone Star State songwriters.  Bonus: the CD is Amazon’s deal of the day and is available for $3.99.
Tim McGraw, “Southern Voice” (Curb): Country superstar’s 10th studio album continues his trend of tackling subjects both frivolous, “It’s a Business Doing Pleasure With You,” (about a gold digging girlfriend) and weighty, “You Had to Be There” and “If I Died Today.” See story here.

Rammstein, “Liebe ist fur Alle Da” (Vagrant): Berlin hard rockers return with a new set of its industrial, hard core, metal blend (which makes the album title a little ironic—it translates to Love is for All). They’re especially spreading the love in “Pussy,” the video for the first single which included scenes of women fooling around with band members.
Timothy B. Schmit, “Expando” (Lost Highway): Ever wonder whose voice it is that makes the Eagles’ harmonies really soar? That high, heartbreaking falsetto on “I Can’t Tell You Why?” That’s Timothy B. Schmit. His first solo album in eight years features so many guest stars, there’s hardly room for him. Buy Schmit’s CD and get Keb’Mo’, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Gram Nash, Garth Hudson, Dwight Yoakam and the Blind Boys of Alabama thrown in for free.
Joss Stone, “Colour Me Free” (Virgin):  British chanteuse’s latest is a Target-only exclusive that was recorded live at her mother’s club, Mama Stone, in Wellington, England… Hmmmm, we wonder where her mum got the money to buy a venue? Regardless, it would be nice if the soulful Stone managed to reclaim the spotlight that she has ceded to fellow Brits like Amy Winehouse,  Duffy and Adele lately.

Listen: Adam Lambert brings on the end of days with 'Time for Miracles'

'American Idol' runner-up parties like its '2012' on leaked movie theme song

<p>Adam Lambert</p>

Adam Lambert




 “Time for Miracles” is the end title song for “2012,” Roland Emmerich’s forthcoming disaster film about the end of the world, and is our introduction to a post-“Idol” Adam Lambert (following this summer’s collection of tunes recorded by Lambert pre-“Idol.”) as we wait for his full-length CD.
On the face of it, “Time for Miracles” is another one of those mid-tempo, turgid power ballads that Diane Warren specializes in and usually plays during the end credits of similar big budget epics like “Pearl Harbor” or “Armageddon” or, even, “Con Air.” This one was written by Alain Johannes and Natasha Shneider and the alleged back story gives the song a drama that even the end of days can’t match: the pair, who were also romantically involved, wrote the song as Shneider was dying of cancer (she passed in July 2008).
 But how does Lambert sound? Okay, just try to convince me that Lambert isn’t a dead ringer for Richard Marx (remember him?) in the first verse? Then, as the song progresses, Lambert lets his glam freak flag fly and his inner Freddie Mercury/David Bowie takes over.
He doesn’t unleash his multi-octave instrument for full effect until after the cacophonous bridge as he battles “Kashmir”-like menacing strings and guitars. The song is a step up from the treacly “I’ve made it and conquered [fill in affliction of your choice here]” tunes that the “AI” winner always has to rush release in order to capitalize on the fervent immediacy of “AI” voters, but not much. That’s in part because of the over-the-top production by Rob Cavallo, who is very capable of applying understatement when he’s working with acts like Green Day or Dave Matthews, but not here. Take Lambert’s  carefully-orchestrated flamboyance and marry it with the type of dramatic orchestration these movie themes seem to require and it’s a bit of an assault. We’ll wait for Lambert’s CD to get our fix. Luckily, we don’t have to wait until 2012: Lambert’s debut comes out Nov. 23. “Time for Miracles” is not included on it at this point.



Can Michael Buble tame the vampires of the 'New Moon' soundtrack?

Who else is headed for a Top 10 finish next week?

<p>Robert Pattinson, Taylor Lautner and Kristen Stewart can't bite into the sales of Micahel Buble.</p>

Robert Pattinson, Taylor Lautner and Kristen Stewart can't bite into the sales of Micahel Buble.

Credit: AP Photo/Jeff Christensen


Does crooner Michael Buble's smooth vocal stylings have the power to ward off vamps? It’s looking that way. While there are still a few more days of sales to be tallied,predictions are the Canadian singer will stay in the top spot on the Billboard 200, keeping the soundtrack to “Twilight Saga: New Moon” at bay.

Smooth singers are having their way on the Billboard 200 right now. Two weeks ago, Barbra Streisand landed at No. 1 with her latest collection of jazz standards. Last week, Buble denied Kiss out of its chance of scoring its first No. 1 when “Crazy Love” sold enough in three days to snag the top spot. The projections are very tentative because, like “Crazy Love,” the “New Moon” soundtrack came out today, so there’s no track of how it is selling yet, although Hits Daily Double predicts Buble’s first full seven days of sale will trump “New Moon’s” three days’ worth by as much as 50,000 copies.

Streisand continues to sell strongly, coming in at No. 3. In fact, in a relatively low-wattage release week, no other debut is expected in the Top 10, although Mario’s “D.N.A.” may sneak in at No. 10. Surprisingly, David Archuleta’s Christmas title is selling relatively slowly and is expected to move only 20,000 this week. That number will undoubtedly swell as the holiday season kicks in in a few weeks.

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