At 16, the magenta-haired Allison Iraheta was the youngest contestant on “American Idol,” but she quickly proved more than capable of holding her own among singers much older than she. The confidence and bravado, the now-17 year old displayed on the reality show is amplified on “Just Like You,” her major label debut out Dec. 1.
Now Boyle is prepped to enter the record books. Her debut CD, “I Dreamed a Dream,” will come at No. 1 on Tuesday, logging the highest first-week sales week of 2009, according to Hits Daily Double. Boyle is on target to sell up to 675,000 copies of the CD, handily topping Eminem’s “Relapse,” which sold around 605,000 units its opening frame.
As we noted earlier, she is accomplishing this feat with virtually no radio play. Instead this is solely a TV and internet phenomenom.
Furthermore, according to Britain’s The Daily Mail, “I Dreamed a Dream,” which came out last week in the U.K., is the quickest-selling debut album ever in England. The title sold more than 411,000 copies in the U.K., besting previous record-holder, Leona Lewis’s “Spirit.” It is also poised to debut at No. 1 on Canada and New Zealand.
Back to U.S., Boyle’s stunning feat robs another reality TV star, Adam Lambert, of debuting at No. 1. “For Your Entertainment” will sell around 230,000 copies, which would normally handily land him at the top.
A: You know what’s really funny about that is I’m not thinking, “Oh, I have to come up with something shocking.” I really feel like I’m just standing there, being interviewed, answering a bunch of questions and I think it’s actually the journalists who can choose to sensationalize something that I say. I really feel for the most part I’m being 100% myself and just being candid and open and no secrets and it gets kind of turned around sometimes or maybe it’s blown out of proportion…Sometimes I’ll go back and read something and be like (laughs), “That’s an interesting way to interpret what I said, okay.” It’s like what I’m saying being interpreted by somebody else. It’s actually kind of funny to me; I get a kick out of it.
A: I’m a little older and I’ve been in the entertainment industry for a minute and I think that I just kind of have gotten clear on what I want I’d like to go for. It’s like someone gives you an opportunity and goes, “Guess what? You just got a major record deal. Now what?” You have one of two choices: you can kind of be afraid of it and let someone else be in charge of it or you can step up to the plate and [say, “Okay, cool. Thanks a lot for the opportunity and here we go and this is what I want to do.” You can either steer or let someone else steer and I like to steer (laughs).
A: No, this is the album I wanted to make. Of course, there were some time constraints. There are some limitations considering I was on tour this summer and we only had a little while to put it out. I can guarantee you I will grow in the next couple of years and evolve, but for where I’m at right now, I’m very proud of this.
A: Yeah, it was random. The producer that I worked with on that song, he had a relationship with Rivers and they had begun to write this song together. He showed it to me and I said that’s a great song, I want to do that and at least that’s my end of it. I think Rivers did an interview saying they had written it for Weezer and Weezer didn’t want it, so whatever. I don’t even know what the story is anymore.
A: Oh gosh, what’s next? What’s tomorrow? Right now, I’m just focused on looking ahead and then also being in the moment itself, but at night after I go to bed after a long day, I go, “Okay, that was today, you digested it and what’s tomorrow, what’s next on the agenda.”
A: I guess the inflexibility of it all, but you now what? It’s all about how you look at it. I spent the last couple of years working on a show where it was a routine, eight shows a week and I kind of burned out on that lifestyle. I really love the adventure that I’m on now, I love that it’s all in support of my project. I feel like I finally have reached my full potential. On a personal level, I’m doing what I love and it feels good. So whatever the cost of that is, so be it.
What do the Beach Boys’ “California Girls,” James Brown’s “It’s a Man’s Man’s Man’s World” and the Doors’ “Riders on the Storm” have in common? They’re all waltzing into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 2010.
Have you heard the one about the dowdy looking, middle-aged British singer who, with virtually no airplay and armed only with a great voice, rides not only to the top of the charts, but could possibly experience one of the highest sales weeks of the year?
It's Super Monday with new releases from Rihanna, Adam Lambert, Britney Spears, Beyonce, Jay-Z and more
The whole affair, out Nov. 23, feels like any shred of innocence that allowed Rihanna to joyfully sing her past pop hits has been stripped from her very marrow. She’s 21 going on 35 here.
As anyone who hasn’t been hiding under a rock the past year knows, it’s been a particularly painful year for the singer and all the understandable distrust and hurt that she feels from being abused by her ex Chris Brown seemingly plays out writ large on a number of the tracks here (given that she doesn’t write most her own material, she has to find others to voice her anger and frustration). It is impossible to listen to many of the songs on “Rated R”—such as “Cold Case Love” (a highlight co-written by Justin Timberlake) or “Stupid in Love”-- and not filter them through that horrific context whether that is how they are meant to be heard or not.
Yes, there is a world of difference between playing out some revenge fantasy in song and hitting someone in real life—and we are in no way suggesting otherwise-- but it can be a fine line to delicately walk between being both the totally innocent victim and the perpetrator, both of which she plays on “Rated R.” On “Rude Boy,” she tells her lover, “I like the way you pull my hair.” It’s tempting to give Rihanna a free pass in the name of expressing her rage and art, but it’s equally fair to call her out for sending, if not mixed, slightly confounding messages.
Rihanna doesn’t have a particularly strong or broad range, but her voice is expressive and supple. One of her strongest suits is her delivery that often reflects her island upbringing. Instead of trying to sound like every other pop singer, on such tunes as “Wait Your Turn,” and “Hard,” she incorporates Caribbean beats and her patois into the songs, giving them both a unique feel.
Much of the credit has to be given to her collaborators: Timbaland, Tricky Stewart, Timberlake and Ne-Yo. Plus, Young Jeezy’s rap on “Hard,” sharpens the fangs on the album’s most commercial cut. Will.i.am brings a touch of sweetness and complements Rihanna’s soft side on “Photographs.” Rihanna easily shifts to her inner heavy-metal side with “Rockstar 101,” on which she’s accompanied by every one’s go-to guitarist, Slash. Her only real misstep is her toe-dip into Sappho soft-core on “Te Amo,” on which she heavily flirts before gently telling a Latin lovely that she doesn’t play that way. Maybe she felt that this was the one group she’d ignored in her often overtly sexual imagery.
All this drama plays out among a sonic landscape of hypnotic beats and layered rhythms, much of it intriguing, but for anyone looking for the escape from the daily doldrums that much of Rihanna’s earlier music provided, look elsewhere. “Rated R” is a lot of things, but fun is definitely not one of them.