In a season flush with releases from the biggest female pop stars, will Beyonce chime in too?
The New York Daily News reports that Beyonce will drop a new single on Dec. 3 and that she has already shot the accompanying Terry Richardson-directed video. She enters a field crowded with singles from new albums from Miley Cyrus (out now), Katy Perry (10/22), Lady Gaga (11/11) and Britney Spears (12/3).
Plus, Beyonce has dropped a number of songs and/or song snippets over the past year and none of them have gained traction, despite being catchy: “Bow Down/I Been On,” “Grown Woman,” and “Standing On The Sun.”
There’s still no word when Beyonce, who has spent much of the year on her successful “The Mrs. Carter Show World Tour,” will release her follow-up to 2011’s “4.”
Part of the NY Daily News’ reporting makes no sense-- or a total lack of understanding about how the music world works: It says that Beyonce planned to “put out a big song in early 2013, but kept pushing it back when she realized she wasn’t going to have any real competition on the charts.” Uh, no... that’s not how it works. And, again, she did keep pumping out tunes, almost seeing as if something would stick, in early 2013. Plus, if she’s now putting out a single at a time when, quite frankly, radio charts start to slow down for the holidays, to show that she can still top these other single ladies, that seems a bit of a risk.
In a season flush with releases from the biggest female pop stars, will Beyonce chime in too?
Fans of Hall & Oates and Kiss can rejoice. The acts have both been nominated for induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame’s class of 2014. Seen as two of the Rock Hall’s biggest omissions, Kiss was previously nominated in 2010 but not elected, while this is the first time Hall & Oates has received an invite to the big show.
They join Linda Ronstadt, Peter Gabriel, Nirvana, Cat Stevens, Yes, LL Cool J, The Replacements, Paul Butterfield Blues Band, Chic, Deep Purple, N.W.A., the Meters, Link Wray and the Zombies.
Nirvana is the closest thing to a sure bet this year, while it may finally be Chic’s year after seven previous nominations. Linda Ronstadt deserves to be in on merit alone, but her Parkinson’s diagnosis may also tip the sentimental vote.
Acts are eligible 25 years after the release of their first recording. A number of the artists, including N.W.A., LL Cool J, Chic, Deep Purple and Paul Butterfield Blues Band, have been nominated before, yet didn’t make the final five.
More than 600 music industry execs, musicians, Rock Hall inductees, and journalists vote for the winners. Additionally, starting last year, fans were invited to vote. The fans’ votes are tallied and are counted as one collective vote among the 600.
The Class of 2014 will be announced in December, with induction ceremony taking place in April in New York City, after talking place in Los Angeles this year.
The Rock Hall righted a big wrong this year when Rush was inducted, but among the acts that have never been shown any Rock Hall love (and their fans are none too happy about that) include Cheap Trick, Todd Rundgren, Duran Duran, Electric Light Orchestra, The Monkees and Roxy Music.
Katy Perry’s “Prism” comes out a week from today, but while you’re waiting to hear her “Roar,” you can listen to 90-snippets of each of the 13 songs above and beyond the handful we’ve already heard: “Roar,” “Dark Horse” and “Walking On Air.” We've embedded them in for you instead of making you go to ITunes, so it takes a second to load up, but then just press play and enjoy.
I haven’t watched enough episodes of “Nature” to actually know how gorillas make love, but I doubt it involves stripper poles and getting sweaty in the back seat of a car, but that’s how Bruno Mars imagines it in the steamy new clip for “Gorilla.”
The slow groove song from "Unorthodox Jukebox" closes his concerts and it a tour de force. Here, the 2014 Super Bowl headliner takes the action to a strip club, named, appropriately enough, The Jungle, where he is in the backing band for the strippers. He and a hot, hot stripper, played by “Slumdog Millionaire” star Freida Pinto, in a performance that her parents would surely not approve of, have a thing going on. He watches her strip while other men throw money at her, and then they go get it on in the back seat of his car, Gorilla style (I just made that last part up).
It’s a sexy, if somewhat oddly so, song mainly because of the feel and pulse and the Mars-directed video (is there nothing he can’t do?) captures that feeling perfectly, even if the chatty opening set-up with two other strippers and a cameo by Luis Guzman lasts a little too long.
Speaking of the Super Bowl, NFL director of entertainment television and programming Sarah Moll told Billboard that Mars may bring some of his buddies along with him to perform at the half time show on Feb. 2 at MetLife Stadium in E. Rutherford, N.J. “Bruno’s been making some phone calls to some friends,” she said. “We probably will announce another act before the performance.” Given that the temperature will be around 20 degrees, chances are Pinto won’t be joining him, at least not at the character she plays in “Gorilla.”
Avril Lavigne and husband Chad Kroeger have a love that spans generations, proving that true love never dies even if those involved end the relationship.
In this poignant video for “Let Me Go,” Lavigne, who may or may not be a ghost, sits in her lovely mansion, alone, playing the sad love song. She is young and beautiful. A much-older handyman, raking leaves off of concrete (?) outside the estate, enters, picks up a guitar and, somehow, transforms into the younger, current day Kroeger.
Lavigne, who usually looks like she’d rather be drawn and quartered than be in a music video, looks beautiful here and more comfortable in front of the camera than ever before. The younger Kroeger appoaches her, stands behind her as she plays with his arm on her shoulder, but the two only make fleeting contact, giving more credence to the notion that Lavigne is a ghost. Add in the broken hourglass and there you have it.
Britney Spears has said that her new album is her most personal, and now she’s backing that up by calling the Dec. 3 release by her name, “Britney Jean.”
Spears revealed the title during an interview with British radio station, Capital FM. “It’s a personal album, and all my family, they always call me Britney Jean,” she said. “It’s like a term of endearment, and I just wanted to share that with my friends.” She wasn't willing to give away too much information, however; when asked if the album would include a duet with Miley Cyrus, she replied, "You'll have to wait and see." As you know, Spears duets with Cyrus on "SMS (Bangerz)" on Cyrus's charttopping album, "Bangerz."
The album’s first single, “Work Bitch,” peaked at No. 12 on the Billboard Hot 100 (so far), but Spears’ manager Larry Rudolph told MTV News that the rest of the album is not like the dance tune. “There are multiple, multiple layers, things like you’ve never heard from her before,” he said. “She’s written on every song on the album, which is a first for her, and it’s a very personal album for her, and I think people are going to love it.”
December will be a big month for Spears: in addition to the “Britney Jean’s” album release, she starts her two-year Planet Hollywood residency in Las Vegas on Dec. 27.
Pearl Jam returns with its tenth studio album, “Lighting Bolt,” on Oct. 15, and based on what we’ve already heard, Eddie Vedder and Co. are yielding nothing to the ravages of time. People who dislike Pearl Jam don’t like their sense of self-importance (even though that has definitely waned over the years). Fans like me love that Pearl Jam knows that music matters, that it can reach those places in us that nothing else can and has the power to save us.
Here is my highly subjective countdown of Pearl Jam’s 10 best songs. Fans will notice a lack of songs here from the middle period of Pearl Jam’s career. I don’t know if they lost the thread a little or I lost interest—probably a bit of both—but “Binaural” and “Riot Act” are albums I seldom revisit. My No. 1 choice won’t be a surprise because there’s no denying this song’s potency and place in the heart of most Pearl Jam fans.
Read HitFix's review of new album "Lightning Bolt" here.
Several months after “Beautiful,” her duet with Miguel, Mariah Carey will release a new single, “The Art of Letting Go,” on Nov. 11 via Facebook. There will be a listening party at 11 a.m. ET for the song. That is the same day the Lady Gaga's "ArtPop" arrives.
At one point earlier this year, that was the title of Carey’s album, but since it has been delayed again since its scheduled July release date, that may have also changed.
Monday, Carey announced the song’s arrival on Facebook, adding, “This song is so person to me and I’m very excited to share this experience with you in such an intimate way.” Hmmm, sharing a song with your 13 million Facebook friends is intimate?
The news comes on top of a letter Carey released to fans on Friday, Oct. 11, updating fans on the album and her health following her shoulder injury, which has proved to be quite the setback.
In the letter, she write, “Getting through this injury has been the toughest experience of my life. It took me three months to get to this point but thank God I was able to recover and get my arm back. It's a huge deal, it should have taken eight months and even my doctors can't believe it.”
She adds that the album, which has no new release date, is “one of the most important albums I’ve ever made in my life.”
Carey also recently announced that producer/longtime collaborator Jermaine Dupri had joined her management team.
Here’s Carey’s letter in full:
I'm so happy to be able to catch up with everybody here on Facebook. The last three months of my life have not been easy. Getting through this injury has been the toughest experience of my life. It took me three months to get to this point but thank God I was able to recover and get my arm back. It's a huge deal, it should have taken eight months and even my doctors can't believe it. It's been a long journey, the physical therapists have been incredible and I am very grateful to all of them for helping me.
When people expected me to go "Here I am, I'm back and everything's great!", it didn't happen because my hand was still in tremendous pain and it took this long for it to heal. I've been working day and night, and it took a lot of rest (though I did sneak in to the studio a couple o' times!) but I can finally say that I am on my way to a full recovery.
There's a lot of excitement that I'm going to reveal to you very soon, and sooner than you know it, you're going to understand why but more than that, you're going to feel what I've been feeling for the past- not three months- but three years.
This is, to me, one of the most important albums I've ever made in my life. If you're a lamb, a fan, or just a human being that needs to feel good, happy, sad, miserable, joyous... "I gotcha" (said like Roc- you haven't heard how he says it yet but you will soon, it's a complete+total classic!)
First Sinead O’Connor, then Amanda Palmer and now Sufjan Stevens?
The indie musician is the latest to write a letter to Miley Cyrus, but his missive comes off a little bit like a mash note. Ostensibly, he’s criticizing her for her poor grammar choice, but he concludes the letter on an up note, calling her “the hottest cake in the pan.” It doesn’t even make sense since there’s usually only one cake per pan, but it’s an awesome compliment.
He loves her new album, “Bangerz,” and especially the track, “Get It Right,” but he just can’t get past her line, “I been laying in bed,” which should be “I have been lying in bed.” We feel you, Sufjan. We still can’t get past the line in Bryan Adams’ “Run To You” when he sings, “But that would change if she ever found out about you and I,” instead of “you and me.”
Stevens, who posted the letter on his website, genially teaches her a little about the present perfect continuous tense and assures her that other great Southern writers like herself, including Faulkner, have gotten it wrong.
No response yet from Cyrus, but we have a feeling she’ll take a little more kindly to this criticism than to O’Connor’s.
Though he didn't feel compelled to write an open letter, Paul McCartney also weighed in on Cyrus, telling Sky News, "C'mon, we've seen worse than that!." I think he meant it as a compliment. Seriously, he added that he has no trouble letting his 10-year old daughter watch Cyrus, even her VMA performance: "I watched it [first], and you say, 'What's everyone shouting about?' I think it was only mildly shocking...it wasn't explicit at all." (h/t Rolling Stone)
Besides, nothing should get Cyrus down this week: come Wednesday, she will have the No. 1 album in the land as “Bangerz” debuts at No. 1 on the Billboard 200.
Here is Stevens' note in full:
“Dear Miley. I can’t stop listening to #GetItRight (great song, great message, great body), but maybe you need a quick grammar lesson. One particular line causes concern: “I been laying in this bed all night long.” Miley, technically speaking, you’ve been LYING, not LAYING, an irregular verb form that should only be used when there’s an object, i.e. “I been laying my tired booty on this bed all night long.” Whatever. I’m not the best lyricist, but you know what I mean. #Get It Right The Next Time. But don’t worry, even Faulkner messed it up. We all make mistakes, and surely this isn’t your worst misdemeanor. But also, Miley, did you know the tense here is also totally wrong. Surely you’ve heard of Present Perfect Continuous Tense (I HAVE BEEN LYING in this bed all night long [hopefully getting some beauty sleep?]). It’s a weird, equivocal, almost purgatorial tense, not quite present, not quite past, not quite here, not quite there. Somewhere in between. I feel that way all the time. It kind of sucks. But I have a feeling your “present perfect continuous” involves a lot more excitement than mine. Anyway, doesn’t that also sum up your career right now? Present. Perfect. Continuous. And Tense. Intense? Girl, you work it like Mike Tyson. Miley, I love you because you’re the Queen, grammatically and anatomically speaking. And you’re the hottest cake in the pan. Don’t ever grow old. Live brightly before your fire fades into total darkness. XXOO Sufjan”
On “Lightning Bolt,” Pearl Jam’s 10th studio album, the Seattle group isn’t content to rest on its laurels. The 12 songs here — all anchored by Eddie Vedder’s often stirring, always impassioned vocal delivery, Mike McCready and Stone Gossard’s fine, sharp guitar playing, and drummer Matt Cameron and bassist Jeff Ament’s sturdy rhythm section —are well delivered, with taut, strong musicianship.
By now, after more than 20 years, it’s not a surprise that the band finds itself so easily in the pocket on the Brendan O’Brien-produced set. Even though the band stretches out of its usual heavy, mid-tempo, groove here a few times, the playing always sounds assured, but that doesn’t mean everything works as well as it should.
Some of the songs, including first two singles, the spiky “Mind Your Manners” and the heartbreaking “Sirens,” hit their marks with perfect precision. On others, as Pearl Jam drifts into funkier territory or space rock, don’t land as gracefully. It seems churlish to deduct points for Pearl Jam’s attempts to push its boundaries a little here, but the result is an album that sometimes feels a tad unfocused and one that could use a little more bite in a few places.
Also, given that it’s the band’s first album since 2009’s “Backspacer,” it seems odd that the band had to draw upon a track from Vedder’s 2011 solo album, “Ukulele Songs,” to round out the package.
Lyrically, Vedder looks both outward and rails against the system ("Mind Your Manners" and "Infallible"), as well as inward on such beauties as "Sirens" and "Future Days," but he's also sensing his own mortality on a number of the tracks.
Despite its flaws, there’s much here to enjoy on the band’s first album in four years, out Oct. 15. Here’s a track-by-track review:
“Getaway”: A thrashy, mid-tempo treat opens the album with the band firing on all cylinders. “Getaway” has a 70s rock feel as Vedder rants about organized religion. In a career built on often impenetrable lyrics, he comes across loud and clear when he sings, “Science says we’re making love like the lizards.” Go figure. GRADE: B
“Mind Your Manners”: A punk rock blast across the bow, this feral tune features Cameron bashing away as if his life depended upon it and a blistering metal guitar solo by McCready. It will undoubtedly be a high point of the live show. GRADE: A
“My Father’s Son”: Vedder’s father issues are, understandably, the dominant story of his life and he’s got a lots left to say here. The song totally shape shifts in the last third, but for the most part is a dark, driving tune about getting out from under your own gene pool. “Now father, you’re dead and gone and I’m finally free to be me,” Vedder sings, although none of the torment seems to be alleviated. GRADE: B-
“Sirens”: Simply one of the most beautiful ballads Pearl Jam has recorded. There are seldom happy endings in Pearl Jam’s songs and this one won’t end well either, but between the gorgeous piano-based melody, and Vedder singing about how the “fear goes away” when he holds his disappearing lover and how fragile life is, this is the album’s masterpiece. GRADE: A+
“Lightning Bolt”: The titular character is a woman whom you will never be able to tame, even when you ride her like a wave or she may be the ocean. The mid-tempo rocker has a killer vocal by Vedder and it explodes into a full-on burner for a nice build that left me wishing the whole song had that kind of thrust: GRADE: B
“Infallible”: Funky isn’t really one of Pearl Jam’s signatures, but the band gives it a try with this tune about man’s infallibility. “Our ship’s come in and it’s sinking,” Vedder sings. It’s fun to hear the band play around a bit here and switch it up, even though it’s a tripwire of a song that feels a bit more like a curiosity than anything else. GRADE: C
“Pendulum”: “We are here and then we go/my shadow left me long ago,” Vedder sings on this stark, spare entry. The subdued percussion brings a feeling of foreboding, as a lonely tremelo guitar line weaves through much of the song, adding to the haunted feel. “Easy left me a long time ago,” Vedder sings. The change of pace works much better here than on “Infallible.” GRADE: B+
“Swallowed Whole”: Redolent of mid-‘90s Pearl Jam, this track feels like a loose-limbed jam that could take flight at any point. Lyrically, it’s a reminder of how our peace and sense of nature get swallowed up with all the mire and muck of daily life. GRADE: B+
“Let The Records Play”: That funky bounce is back as Cameron and Ament find a cool groove here. The sneaky bass line works well, but the rest of the song never really goes anywhere. GRADE: C
“Sleeping By Myself”: The gentle, lulling, acoustic tale first appeared n sounds like an Vedder’s 2011 solo album, “Ukulele Songs” and is stretched out in an enhanced version here. He’s destined to be forever lonely as his love leaves him and he comes to the conclusion that love and disaster are pretty much the same thing. GRADE: B-
“Yellow Moon”: A spacey, intentionally slow drift of a song with a dreamy vocal by Vedder and measured drumming from Cameron. GRADE: B-
“Future Days”: For all the turbulence that life brings, both from external struggles and internal demons, there can be beautiful moments where we can leave all that behind, especially when we find the one person who anchors us and lets us fly at the same time. The album concludes with a very happy ending on this emotional piano ballad (complete with strings and O’Brien on piano) as Vedder sees a future free of pain... OK, maybe with a little less pain. GRADE: B