<p>Britney Spears</p>

Britney Spears

Credit: AP Photo

More proof that Britney Spears' big Sept. 17 announcement is her Las Vegas residency

The countdown clock continues to mark the seconds until the reveal

A few weeks ago we posted about a new countdown clock  on her website that was ticking down the days, minutes, hours and seconds until Britney Spears made some kind of announcement that was sure to shake the earth off its axis.

We speculated that it may be a new single, announcement of a new album, or, finally, confirmation of her long-rumored residency at Las Vegas’ Planet Hollywood.

The Las Vegas stint moved to the head of the line today with this little Spears nugget from BreatheHeavy. The fan site devoted to ALL THINGS BRITNEY notes that an email was sent to employees of Planet Hollywood and its parent, Caesars Entertainment, inviting them to “the biggest announcement in Las Vegas Entertainment History” on Sept. 17.   If that bit of hyperbole doesn’t mean Britney’s coming to town, what else could it possibly mean?

The event, believe it or not, runs from 1:30- a.m. -9:30 a.m. Invitees will meet at Planet Hollywood and be shuttled to some secret underground bunker for the announcement. OK, we made up the secret underground bunker part, but apparently, the announcement will take place off site (h/t Idolator).

In the meantime, wouldn’t it be really cool if Sept. 17 were when Spears’ duet with Miley Cyrus surfaced? As a reminder, producer Sean Garrett confirmed the duet with Vibe last week, calling the collaboration for  “Bangerz” “fun, exciting [music].” The only question is will they twerk together in the video?



 

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<p>Katy Perry</p>

Katy Perry

Credit: AP Photo

Katy Perry roars to top of BIllboard Hot 100, toppling Robin Thicke's 'Blurred Lines'

Eninem and Lorde also make Top 10 news


It’s finally ended: “Blurred Lines’” 12-week reign atop the Billboard Hot 100 comes to a stop this week as Katy Perry’s “Roar” ascends to No. 1 following 2 weeks at No. 2. “Roar,” the first single from Oct. 22’s “Prism,” is Perry’s eighth No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100.

Robin Thicke’s “Lines,” featuring Pharrell and T.I. drops to No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100, while still remaining at No. 1 on Billboard’s Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart for the 13th week and in the pole position on Billboard’s R&B Songs chart for at 16th week.

Eminem is definitely back as “Berzerk,” the official first single from “MMLP2,” screams onto the Billboard Hot 100 at No. 3, making Eminem’s 15th top 10. The song bows at No. 1 on Billboard’s Rap Songs chart.

Even though Miley Cyrus’s show-stopping VMA performance of “We Can’t Stop,” her hit slips one to No. 3 (the song actually gains in streaming and sales and airplay, but can’t compete with Eminem’s arrival).  Cyrus’s new song, ballad “Wrecking Ball,” could reach the Top 10 next week, as it soars 50-14 this week.

Jay Z’s “Holy Grail,” featuring Justin Timberlake,  rises one to No. 5.

Rounding out the Top 10, Lady Gaga’s “Applause” retreats 4-6, not a great sign, given that she opened the VMA’s with the tune. Streaming on the single falls 29%, although it is still gaining in sales and in airplay.  Avicii’s “ Wake Me Up,” the DJ’s first Top 10 hit, stays at No. 7.

In addition to Eminem, the other newcomer to the top 10 this week is Lorde’s “Royals,” which rises 12-8. The multi-format hit remains atop the Alternative Songs airplay chart for the fourth week and climbs to No. 1 on the Hot Rock Songs chart.

Imagine Dragons’ “Radioactive” falls 5-9 in its 53rd week on the Hot 100, and Lana Del Rey’s “Summertime Sadness” falls 9-10.

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Cover art for Janelle Monae's 'The Electric Lady'

Cover art for Janelle Monae's 'The Electric Lady'

Credit: Warner Music

Listen: Janelle Monae's 'The Electric Lady' in full

Stream the complete album one week before its release

Bits and pieces of Janelle Monae’s conceptual, dramatic new album  “The Electric Lady” have been popping up over the last several months, including “Q.U.E.E.N” featuring Erykah Badu and the funky “Dance Apocalyptic.” Now, you can feast on the whole 19-track set before it comes out Sept. 10, courtesy of VH1.

In addition to Badu, guests on the extravaganza include Prince, Miguel, Solance, Esperanza Spalding and Cee Lo-Green and Big Boi.

The cover album notes that “The Electric Lady” is composed of Suites IV and V, and has two empty circles remaining for what are surely Suite VI and VII.

Monae told Jet that the titular Electric Lady is from a painting of a woman by Monae, and she developed a character from there:

" When I was on tour last year and the year before, I was painting and singing in front of thousands of people. So I would paint this female silhouette night after night and I didn’t quite understand why I was so drawn to this image, this silhouette.

I ended up going off tour and going to Atlanta, Georgia and speaking to my therapist and she encouraged me. She said you should name the painting, name this series. You have all these hundreds of these paintings, name it. Do a showing of it. And so I started to try to come up with these names and I was having a hard time.

I knew that whoever she was, she didn’t want to be marginalized. You could not put her in a fence or categorize her. She was so much bigger than that, you know. I just felt an energy, a very visceral feeling of energy from her, so the words came to my spirit: The Electric Lady…because that’s what it felt like when I looked at her and thought of the colors and the vibrant colors and how it made me feel. There was electricity. It was electric and she was electric."

 

Get More: Janelle Monae,

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<p>Justin Bieber at the Billboard Music Awards</p>

Justin Bieber at the Billboard Music Awards

Credit: AP Photo

3 On 3: Will Justin Bieber's 'Believe' concert documentary be a hit or flop?

HitFix's experts weigh in on the teen star's future and his need for an older audience

Justin Bieber has yet another concert documentary on the way, as it was announced over the weekend that new "Believe" will be shopped during the Toronto Film Festival later this month.

"Believe" --  titled after Bieber's platinum-selling album -- will be released by Open Road Films, on the heels of highly successful "Never Say Never" documentary from 2011. Director Jon M. Chu, who also shot "Never Say Never" will helm "Believe."

Below, three HitFix entertainment experts Melinda Newman, Gregory Ellwood and Katie Hasty sound off on three questions on Bieber and the doc. Will you be seeing "Believe" when it hits theaters? Sound off by voting in the poll below.
 

1. Is there still an audience for a Justin Bieber concert doc?

Melinda Newman: Absolutely. The Biebs has 44 million Twitter followers, more than any other creature in the Twitterverse. Even if only a tiny portion of the Beliebers show up for opening weekend, “Believe” will be a success. They haven't all switched their loyalties to One Direction.  His 2010 doc, “Never Say Never,” just missed joining the $100 million club. Bieber’s appeal has waned, but his 15 minutes aren’t over yet. The bigger question is how will this doc advance the story from “Never Said Never” since the same director, Jon M. Chu, seems to be tracing much of the same territory in the concert/behind-the-scenes doc.

Gregory Ellwood: Depending on the budget, maybe?  It's notable Paramount, who produced "Never Say Never," is not behind "Believe." Sure, they were burned with the "Katy Perry 3D: Part of Me," but "Never Say Never" made $73 million. Why wouldn't they jump at the chance for a sequel?  Instead, mini-major Open Road will release in the U.S. Not a major studio, but Open Road. The industry and Bieber fans should have much lower expectations this time around.

Katie Hasty:  Yes. There are still so many fans who want to see Justin Bieber graduate from teen idol to grown-up pop star, and this concert doc may be the message and the vantage point they’ll happily push, even if it’s the last time. During this “Believe” tour and promoting his album, Bieber tried very (very) hard to showcase the kind of dancer he can be, jumped behind different instruments and guested with a variety of artists who could amplify his talents as a star any pop lover could embrace. Fans would rather have a new album, but as a performer, this doc could be an easy stop-gap measure. Y’know, like an acoustic album.


2. Is this part of a concentrated effort to deal with Bieber backlash?

Newman: No doubt, but it’s a misguided one. Bieber’s manager, Scooter Braun, believes there’s a “witch hunt” going on against Bieber. That notion seems a bit reductive and paranoid: There have always been backlashes to teen idols and their haircuts and Bieber is no exception, but it’s hard to believe that people are actually gunning for the young star. Still, there’s no denying that Bieber’s star seems to have dimmed lately, but it’s hard to tell if that’s because he’s between album cycles or his era is coming to an end. The bigger point is that films of this kind are for the die-hard fans— they aren’t meant to make new converts— so with the “Believe” tour having recently concluded (and grossing $94 million, by the way), there was probably no shortage of footage to get out there and to help build the story for the next album, and chapter, of Bieber’s career.

Ellwood: Absolutely. And it's way to obvious a move. Bieber is on the verge of entering Chris Brown territory with the gossip rags. He can't escape controversy and unlike contemporaries Miley Cyrus, Demi Lomato and ex Selena Gomez his fan base may be starting to lose interest.  An artist controlled "documentary" will allow Bieber and his management to try and refocus his image on his music and not his personal life.  At this point, however, it may just be too late.

Hasty: Totally. Bieber, a 19-year-old, has gotten guff for essentially acting like a 19-year-old kid. Which, let’s be honest, is still fairly insufferable and threatens to worsen with each Grammy snub, each tabloid headline and each paparazzi scuffle. The best revenge is living well, and in Bieber’s case, performing well: if he shows up in his film and at premieres like a professional who keeps his nose clean, it could help his imaging as he transitions into his 20-somethings.


3. Two years ago many were saying that Bieber would be around for the long run.  Do you still believe that?

Newman:
No, simply because the shelf life for any teen idol is depressingly short and we can count on two hands those who have made the transition to adult artist (including Justin Timberlake and Michael Jackson). It’s hard to tell if his latest antics have simply been growing pains or if he’s committing self sabotage and he's ready to move on. Regardless,  Braun keeps referring to Bieber’s next song cycle as “music journal”  and that the release plan will be different than for a traditional album. Much more than how the new project is  delivered, the music for the next album will show whether there is a game plan beyond teen idol for the 19-year old Bieber.

Ellwood: Looking like a "no." Bieber may have had some crossover success with "Boyfriend" and  "Beauty and the Beat" (meaning: people over 18 bought it or thought it was cool enough to dance to), but 2013 has been a PR disaster.  Oh, and did we mention the "Believe" album sold less than his Christmas album the year before? If he can't dominate the charts like he did previously, the fall may come very, very fast.

Hasty: Justin Bieber needs to tread lightly. It won’t be his talent that holds him back, but his responses to criticism and to fame.  People aren’t sending your singles to No. 1? Make a better single. Haters booing you at an awards show? Thank your fans and win the rest over at a later date. You’re getting wasted on your weekends and racing your car? Don’t let people see you, and dial it back. Fame means giving up on a childhood or burning out on the thing that brought fame to begin with. Bieber can play the long game if he earns it beyond having a couple of hit records when he had every privilege as a youngster, the new kid, dance chops and a pretty face.

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Listen to M.I.A.'s poppy 'Come Walk With Me' in full

Listen to M.I.A.'s poppy 'Come Walk With Me' in full

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New album, 'Matangi,' comes out Nov. 5

Last spring, a snippet of M.I.A.’s new single, “Come Walk With Me” leaked, but the teaser last week revealed a reworked tune and the full version, released today, turns out to be a pop song that morphs into a psychedelic banger back to pop song and back to banger again.  In other words, it’s the perfect tune to wake you up and get you ready for the short work week after the three-day holiday.

It’s a deceptively sweet song: things seem all rosy as she sings “Can I be your best friend? Can I make it to the end,” until she innocently throws in, “It’s cool, it’s takes two, so I’m gonna still fu** with you.” She also threatens that "there are a thousand ways to track you down."  Stalk much? You can’t turn your back on this one for a minute.

“Come Walk With Me” is from “Matangi,” which will come out Nov. 5 (the same day as Eminem’s “MMLP2”), and is a reference to M.I.A.’s birth name, Mathangi, and the Hindu goddess of music.  As you may recall, “Matangi” has been pushed back a few times this year because, of all things, M.I.A. claimed that Interscope found it too “positive” and wanted her to make it darker.  I guess that’s where the “f*ck with you" comes in.

M.I.A. previously released "Bring The Noize" from "Matangi." 


 

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<p>Album art for Neko Case's latest</p>

Album art for Neko Case's latest

Credit: Anti Records

Album Review: Neko Case's 'The Worse Things Get... ' looks at the dark side

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Set soars despite Neko's heartfelt heaviness

Neko Case’s follow-up to “Middle  Cyclone,” finds her in a far more personal mood. On that 2009 album, she explored forces of nature. On “The Worse Things Get, The Harder I Fight, The Harder I Fight, The More I Love You,”  Case tackles something much harder to wrangle: her own life.

Case wrote and recorded “The Worse Things Get”  during a time of great turmoil: her grandmother, whom she was close to, and both her parents, whom she was not, died and she plunged into a depression. Much of the tunes carry a sense of tumult, a near fruitless attempt at making sense amid the chaos. Buoyed by her crystalline vocals, the songs transcend the maudlin to become something much more interesting: a look at the life force that surges through us even as we may feel we’re getting pulled under. Or, as she confesses in “Where Did I Leave That Fire, “I wanted to badly not to be me.”

The album’s most arresting track is “Nearly Midnight, Honolulu,” an a capella song that recounts Case seeing a mother yell at her child at a bus stop. Case not only wants to tell the child that she loves him/her (the child’s gender is never revealed), but that she witnessed the horror as the child will remember it, it really happened, and to never lose his/her voice. Given Case’s own very troubled relationship with her parents, it’s easy to imagine that she’s wishing someone had done that for her. (Parents come up again in opening track “Wild Creatures,” as she laments “There’s no mother’s hands to quiet me.”)

There’s an aloneness, and in many ways, a sense of isolation,  that pervades the album, making the lone cover here, Nico’s “Afraid,” a perfect fit. Case’s take on the tune is spare and haunting. “You’re beautiful and you’re alone,” Case sings as if it’s a haunting curse, as she finds herself in her 40s and single and childless.

Despite its “every woman is an island” feel, “The Worse Things Get” is far from a downer of a set (well, at least not totally). First single “Man,” featuring M. Ward is a gender bending propulsive rocker about Case being a woman in a man’s world. Gender roles come up again in “Night Still Comes,” as she asks “Did you poison my food? Is it because I’m a girl? if I puked up some sonnets would me a ‘miracle?,” and on “I’m From Nowhere.”

In addition to M. Ward, Case is joined by a phalanx of like-minded, indie-rock oriented compatriots, including her New Pornographers band mate A.C. Newman, Howe Gelb, members of My Morning Jacket, Los Lobos and Visqueen.

There’s a sense that the darkness is lifting on closing track, “Ragtime” (Case has said that ragtime was the only music that pulled her out of the abyss during her depression). It’s a shaky ground she finds herself on as “The Worse Things Get” comes to its conclusion, but there is the feeling that rock bottom is in her rear view mirror.

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<p>Miley and Robin</p>

Miley and Robin

Credit: Charles Sykes/AP

Music Power Rankings: Miley Cyrus twerks her way to the top

Eminem, Robin Thicke, Michael Jackson, Jack Black also make the list

1. Miley Cyrus: She twerked her way to top headlines this week. Whether people found her VMA appearance appropriate or repugnant, her single sales increased 50%.  And the sale of tongue increased 1000%

2. VMAs: Whether it was for Lady Gaga, the ‘N Sync reunion or Miley Cyrus, people tuned in to MTV’s annual fest to the tune of a 66% ratings increase over 2012.

3. Eminem: “MMLP2” will drop Nov. 5 and it looks like Em’s not just looking backward with the album title, but with the samples. First single< "Berzerk,"  samples both Billy Squier and Beastie Boys.

4. Robin Thicke: Sure, he got overshadowed by Miley at the VMAs, but no one can top him when it comes to the Billboard Hot 100. “Blurred Lines” has been No. 1 for 12 weeks—or to put it in perspective, it’s been on top of the chart for more than 1/3 of the calendar year.

5. Imagine Dragons:
“Radioactive” celebrates a full year on the Billboard Hot 100, only the second song, following Adele’s “Rolling In the Deep,” to achieve the feat. And it’s still in the top 5! 

6. Lorde: The New Zealand singer tops Billboard’s Alternative Songs chart with “Royals,” making her the first solo woman to top the chart in 17 years... or in other words, one year before Lorde was born.
 
7. Michael Jackson: Timbaland is working on a project that combines his music and Jackson’s voice. We want a duet with Justin Timberlake.

8. George Strait: The cowboy may be riding away when it comes to the concert trail, but Strait just signed  a new deal with MCA Nashville for five more albums.  He already has 60 No. 1s... how many more are coming?

9. Jack White: He tweets a photo of his Dead Weather bandmates, saying they were back in the studio. Guess we’ll have to wait a little bit longer for the follow-up to “Blunderbuss.”

10. Paul McCartney: With no advance notice, McCartney drops “New,” a track that sounds anything but. It rings with a Beatlesque innocence and charm.



 

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<p>M. Shadows of Avenged Sevenfold</p>

M. Shadows of Avenged Sevenfold

Credit: Chris Pizzello/AP

Avenged Sevenfold set to top Billboard 200 next week

Justin Timberlake sees major VMA bounce

Rockers Avenged Sevenfold will reign atop the Billboard 200 next week with “Hail To the King” (175,000) knocking country king, Luke Bryan and his current No. 1, “Crash My Party,” down to No. 2 (105,000). “King” is the group’s second No. 1, following 2010’s “Nightmare.”

The title is one of four debuts as we head into the busy fourth quarter. Rapper Big Sean’s “Hall of Fame” bows at No. 3 (75,000), while fellow rapper Juicy J comes in at No. 5 (65,000) with “Star Trippy.” “Alabama & Friends,” featuring top country artists performing hits by the legendary country band launches at No. 8 (28,000).

Robin Thicke’s former No. 1, “Blurred Lines” sees a little bump following the Video Music Awards, rising back up to No. 4 (65,000), while Justin Timberlake, who gave a 15-minute performance and received the Video Vanguard Award at the VMAs sees an even larger sales result, climbing back up to No. 6 from No. 22 (45,000), according to Hits Daily Double.

John Mayer’s “Paradise Valley” falls to No. 7 (40,000), R&B supergroup TGT’s “Three Kings” drops to No. 9 (27,000), while “Now That’s What I Call Music 47 slides to No. 10 (27,000).

 

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<p>Orianthi and Steven Tyler</p>

Orianthi and Steven Tyler

Credit: Stephen Holding/ShootingStarsPhotography.com

Exclusive: Orianthi and Aerosmith's Steven Tyler's duet, 'Sex E. Bizarre' in full

Plus, U.S. premiere of 'Better With You'

From Michael Jackson to Alice Cooper, Carrie Underwood, Steve Vai and Santana, Australian guitar wiz Orianthi has shared stages with some of the top artists in the world.

Now a guitar hero to many herself, is splitting her time this year touring as a member of Alice Cooper’s band and promoting her excellent solo album, “Heaven In This Hell.” The album, produced by Eurythmics’ Dave Stewart, came out in March.

But she also found time to sneak in a fiery rock duet with Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler and you can hear it in full for the first time anywhere here on Hitfix. From Orianthi's screaming guitar and sultry vocals to Tyler's bad boy growl, the two rockers perfectly complement each other on the fiesty, fun cut. Orianthi lays down a solo in the middle that will make you forget that other guitarist Tyler usually plays with.

"Sex E. Bizarre" is one of three new songs that appear on the deluxe version of "Heaven In This Hell," out Sept. 3. The driving rocker, written by Orianthi, Tyler and Marti Frederiksen, goes to rock radio next week.

Hitfix is also proud to present the U.S. premiere of "Better With You," an infectious uptempo track  that previously appeared only on the Japanese release of "Heaven In This Hell," but will be available on the Sept. 3 deluxe version worldwide.  The pop-tinged tune will definitely hit the sweet spot with fans who first connected with Orianthi through her 2009 breakthrough hit, "According To You," which reached No. 3 on Billboard's Pop Songs chart.

 

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 Jay Z's fiery new video for 'Holy Grail' with Justin Timberlake: Watch

Jay Z's fiery new video for 'Holy Grail' with Justin Timberlake: Watch

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Brooding clip explores the fame game

Jay Z’s intense video for “Holy Grail,” Justin Timberlake, bowed today on Facebook.

The top 10 track, which extrapolates Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” is a study on fame and how corrosive and addictive it can be.

The best  scene of the video is Justin TImberlake’s interlude, which features him walking among sheet-covered furniture composed of  moving dancers.

While it’s a little hard for us common folks to sympathize with Jay Z’s complaints about fame (and even he tells himself to get off his “high horse”), the Anthony Mandler-directed clip is a visual feast that ends in upsetting crash, symbolic of the fickleness of fame.

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