On Selena Gomez’s new album, “Stars Dance,” the goal, to quote Marty from “Spinal Tap,” is to have a good time all the time.
There’s nothing wrong at all with crafting an album of primarily upbeat tunes that celebrate nothing more than being young and in love (or out, as the case is here on a few tunes) and all that entails. But there is a problem when the whole album, her first solo set after three albums with her former group The Scene, is an exercise in cookie-cutter EDM beats and generic lyrics that tell us nothing about Gomez.
There is a sacred covenant between Bruce Springsteen and his fans. As he says to a stadium crowd in the opening frames of “Springsteen & I,” a Ridley Scott-produced documentary screening in theaters across the U.S. (22), “We’re here for one reason. Because you’re here. And where we want to go, we can’t get there by ourselves. We need you.”
He's delivered that message with the fervor of a tent-revival preacher night after night for 40 years, leading fans to an exalted state through his three-hour plus shows. To be a Springsteen fan, and I am a massive one, is to believe in that trusting communion between performer and audience and in the healing power of music. It’s also to feel a sense of community, that you are part of a tribe of like-minded fans.
1. Jay-Z: He lands his 13th No. 1 album on the Billboard 200. We get the feeling he doesn’t have an unlucky number.
.2 Clear Channel: In three years, it has turned IHeartRadio from a vanity project to a viable, tremendously successful two-day festival. Let’s face it, if you were an artist dependent on radio play, would you tell them no?
3. Marc Anthony: After idiots on Twitter criticized someone “foreign born” being selected to sing “God Bless America” at this week’s MLB All-Star game, he quietly and elegantly reminded people that he was born in New York. Wake up, people. It’s not 1950.
4. Rush: The power trio gets their own Canadian stamp. Isn’t it a shame audio doesn’t come with it?
5. Thom Yorke: He and Nigel Godrich take on Spotify by removing Atoms For Peace’s music and griping that the service doesn’t help new artists. Yeah, that’ll hurt them.
6. Bruce Springsteen: While touring in Europe, he dedicated “41 Shots” to Trayvon Martin because, sadly, misplaced brutality never goes out of style.
7. Stevie Wonder: The singer takes a stand on Stand Your Ground, declaring that he will not play any states who have passed the law. Does he know that immediately takes 22 states off his tour route?
8. Nine Inch Nails: The Trent Reznor-led band releases four different covers for different configurations for “Hesitation Marks.” Will die-hard fans feel compelled to collect the full set?
9. Anna Kendrick: As “Cups” continues to gain radio play, she becomes only the second person to have landed a Top 10 single, and nominations for both an Academy Award and a Tony. The other? Barbra Streisand. #notanegot
10. Kanye West: The rapper takes his frustrations out on a paparazzo at LAX, allegedly resulting in the photographer being hurt and planning to press charges. Hey, you’re a daddy now, ‘Ye. Chill.
Jay-Z will remain atop the Billboard 200 next week, as “Magna Carta Holy Grail” will be the only title to top the 100,00 mark.
But that doesn’t mean there isn’t plenty of activity: five of the Top 10 titles will likely be debuts. Coming in at No. 2 will be Sara Bareilles’ “The Blessed Unrest,” with sales of up to 70,000. No. will be the latest edition from Kidz Bop Kids at 65,000. Rapper Ace Hood’s “Trials & Tribulations” and pop star Cody Simpson’s “Surfer’s Paradise” are neck and neck for No. 4, with each predicted to sell between 28,000 and 32,000, according to Hits Daily Double.
The other newcomer will be “Last of the Great Pretenders” from singer/songwriter Matt Nathanson; it’s slated to sell up to 24,000 to land at No. 10.
Holdovers include Imagine Dragons’ “Night Visions” and Florida Georgia Line’s “Here’s To The Good Times,” both of which too close to call for No. 6, J. Cole’s “Born Sinner” at No. 8 and Justin Timberlake’s “The 20/20 Experience,” which looks good to reenter the Top 10 at No. 9.
Vampire Weekend just joined in the acts that are remaking Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines,” which has topped the Billboard Hot 100 for six weeks.
Vampire Weekend’s take, which surfaced on Friday, feels a little tongue-in-cheek, while totally diving deep into the song’s Marvin Gaye, soulful vibe. It sounds intentionally a little sloppy and T.I.’s spoken word part from the original takes on a definite sarcastic tone here once Ezra Koenig gets his hands on it.
Gather your money together Radiohead fans: In September, a 9-song demo from Radiohead will go on the auction block. The cassette from the band, when it was known as On a Friday, and before Jonny Greenwood joined the group, goes up for sale on Sept. 14 by Omega Auctions in Stockport, England.
Recorded with Thom Yorke and his bandmates were still in high school in 1986, the demo features such tracks as “Girl (In the Purple Dress)” and “Mountains (On The Move),” as well as “Lemming Trail” and “Lock The Door.”
Omega expects the cassette to go for at least $1,500, which, actually, sounds pretty low, but that could be because a many of the songs have appeared online over the years, according to NME.
If Radiohead isn’t your style, four hours of video from Elvis Presley’s last performances prior to his 1977 death will be auctioned on July 26-27 in Los Angeles, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
The footage includes Presley’s performances in Omaha, Neb., and Rapid City, S.D., as well as backstage footage and was originally shot for a CBS television special, which aired two months after his death.
According to the Reporter, Elvis Presley Enterprises has never allowed the special to be released on home video and the winning bidder must promise to never broadcast, reproduce or publish the video. We have a hunch the footage will go for way more than $1,500.
Jay-Z and Justin Timberlake kicked off their Legends of the Summer tour last night (17) at Toronto’s Rogers Centre to a generally positive slate of reviews, especially praising the pair’s enthusiasm and integration of their material. Here’s a round-up of what the critics had to say:
[More after the jump...]
USA Today’s Celine Wong: "After opening the show together, the duo has found a new rhythm with one performing alone for a song or two and then handing it off to another. It keeps the beginning of the show moving at a frantic pace and is a testament to their deep catalog of hits."
Billboard's Karen Bliss: "As rehearsed and planned-out as the show no doubt is — how to integrate their material, when to perform solo and when to come together, all the while utilizing their crack 14-piece soul/rockband — the two-and-a-half-hour set was smooth and fun and playful and didn’t have that air of my-turn, your-turn. It just seemed natural, almost off the cuff in places, which can happen when a guy can rap and a guy can sing...Jay Z has always been a masterful rapper, but what Timberlake displayed throughout the night was just how musical he is. His past concerts have so many dancers bounding this way and that, and him joining them, that it’s distracting and takes away from his significant talents: his ability to deliver his soulful and grinding pop tunes as the frontman of an expert band and highlight his own musicianship, playing upright piano, keyboards and electric and acoustic guitar— which he did on some of his songs and some of Jay Z’s."
Toronto Star’s Ben Rayner: "It was an indisputably badass night out, regardless: mammoth hit after mammoth hit after mammoth hit delivered with deserved, cocksure swagger amidst insane production values.
Rather than engaging in the one-upmanship that might result from splitting the bill, Js “T” and “Z” opted — as Jay-Z did on his 2011 Watch the Throne tour with Kanye West — to present the night as a chummy back-and-forth that integrated and expanded upon the numerous, overlapping collaborations in their catalogues...The multi-tasking Timberlake also sat in on keyboards with the deft, 14-piece backing band arrayed up and down the four-tier, LED-blazed stage from time to time, even strapping on an acoustic guitar for “Like I Love You” and later an electric to drop the riff from Aerosmith’s “Walk This Way” into a gargantuan assault on Jay-Z’s “99 Problems.” Yngwie Malmsteen he ain’t, but if we were to view the night as a contest, it was probably his to take."
Exclaim.ca’s Stephen Carlick: “The medleys, of which there would be plenty, were novel at first, but they quickly wore thin; tracks that should have received full-track treatment felt rushed, while the transitions often felt clunky and ill-conceived...Problems with set list construction persisted throughout the show: Timberlake's epic "Lovestoned/I Think She Knows," of which fully half was cut in order to hurry to the next song, built up momentum by getting the entire floor area dancing only to be followed by a full-length iteration of the dragging "Until the End of Time"...It was Timberlake's show. Jay's trilogy of "99 Problems," "Public Service Announcement" and "Hard Knock Life" was the best song run of the night, but it was Timberlake's ability to control the crowd, and his animation onstage, that made him the clear crowd favourite, and his performances of songs like "Cry Me a River" and "What Goes Around... Comes Around" were head and shoulders above most of Jay's."
Idolator’s Adam Pyarali: "As opposed to performing two separate sets, Jay-Z and JT performed a combined list of 39 songs, similar to Jay-Z’s Watch The Throne Tour with Kanye West; the two stars took turns switching off amongst their own material and often duetting. The pair performed their new material but also hit iconic older cuts like Jay-Z’s “Big Pimpin’” and “99 Problems,” and JT’s “Rock Your Body” and “Cry Me A River,” to appease both old and new fans. The show ended with an unexpected but touching tribute to Trayvon Martin, as the “legends” performed Jay-Z’s 2010 hit 'Young Forever.'"
SET LIST (h/t USA Today)
I Just Wanna Love U (Give It 2 Me)
Rock Your Body
Excuse Me Miss
On to the Next One
Like I Love You
Jigga What Jigga Who (Originator '99)
U Don't Know
99 Problems / Walk This Way
Bonnie & Clyde
Public Service Announcement (Interlude)
Hard Knock Life (Ghetto Anthem)
Heart of the City (Ain't No Love)
Pusher Love Girl
Until the End of Time
Let the Groove Get In
Take Back the Night
Cry Me a River
What Goes Around … Comes Around
New York New York / Empire State of Mind
Run This Town
Suit & Tie
Forever Young / Young Forever
Kings of Leon’s new single, “Supersoaker” unleashes with a torrent of ringing acoustic guitars (sounding a little like Mumford & Sons) before drums come crashing in, followed by Caleb Followill’s impassioned vocal. He wants to see you, in case you didn't figure that out. It doesn't have much of a hook, but it's got great energy.
The song is the opening salvo from “Mechanical Bull,” the band’s sixth album, out Sept. 24.
The band, who have been performing the song on the road, will play “Supersoaker” on “Late Night With Jimmy Fallon” on July 22.
Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines” clearly stakes its claim on the spot on the Billboard Hot 100 for the sixth week. The song ties Macklemore & Ryan Lewis’ “Thrift Shop,” featuring Wanz, for the most weeks in the pole position in 2013.
Thicke isn’t the only one celebrating: Jay-Z and Justin Timberlake’s “Holy Grail” bows at No. 8, the only new track in the Top 10. The song comes from Jay-Z’s “Magna Carta Holy Grail, which nabs the No. 1 spot on the Billboard 200 this week, according to Billboard.
“Lines” keeps Daft Punk’s “Get Lucky” at No. 2 for the fifth consecutive week, while Miley Cyrus’s “We Can’t Stop” stays at No. 3 and Imagine Dragons’ “Radioactive” holds at No. 4.
Macklemore & Ryan Lewis’ “Can’t Hold Us” featuring Ray Dalton swaps places with Florida Georgia Line’s “Cruise” featuring Nelly, rising one spot to No. 5, while FGL slide to No. 6.
Bruno Mars’ “Treasure” increases in value as it move 8-7. Timberlake’s Mirrors” is No. 9 and Anna Kendrick’s “Cups (Pitch Perfect’s ‘While I’m Gone’) remains at No. 10.
One album cover won’t cut it for Nine Inch Nails. The Trent Reznor-led band has released four album covers for its forthcoming album, “Hesitation Marks.”
Out Sept. 3, the album will be released with a digital cover (artwork titled “Turn And Burn”), standard CD cover (“Time and Again”), deluxe CD cover (“Cargo In The Blood”), and a vinyl cover (“Other Murmurs”).
I did not get this from looking at the various covers, but, apparently, “the mixed media works hover between anthropology and forensics, suggestive of transformation and regeneration,” according to a press release. They just look pretty and intriguing to me.