Eminem and Rihanna's 'The Monster' remains the top song in the U.S.

Eminem and Rihanna's 'The Monster' remains the top song in the U.S.

Pitbull and Ke$ha are coming on strong

Eminem and Rihanna make it a second week at No. 1 with “The Monster” on the Billboard Hot 100, although another duo, Pitbull and Ke$ha remain hot on their trail with “Timber,” which holds at No. 2. “Timber” is also closing the gap between the two songs, which means it could overtake the top spot next week.

OneRepublic’s “Counting Stars” stays at No. 3, but the rest of the top 5 gets a shake up as A Great Big World and Christina Aguilera’s “Say Something” leaps 8-4 pushing Lorde’s “Royals” down 4-5, according to Billboard.

In slots 5-10, Imagine Dragons’ “Demons” moves 7-6, trading places with Avicii’s “Wake Me Up!” Miley Cyrus’s ballad, “Wrecking Ball” falls 5-8, Passengers’ “Let Her Go” hangs on to its No. 9 spot, and One Direction’s “Story Of My Life” moves 11-10, moving back into the Top 10 after peaking at No. 6.

Beyond the Top 10, Katy Perry’s “Dark Horse,” featuring Juicy J, gallops 36-22, followed closely by Lorde’s “Team,” which rises 32-23.






 

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John Mayer and Katy Perry coo at each other in 'Who You Love' video: Watch
Credit: Columbia Records

John Mayer and Katy Perry coo at each other in 'Who You Love' video: Watch

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The two lovebirds are sickeningly sweet in new clip

A few days ago, Beyonce and Jay Z showed us how they were “Drunk In Love,” today fellow real-life couple John Mayer and Katy Perry make googly eyes at each other for our voyeuristic pleasure in the video for languid, mid-tempo ballad “Who You Love.”

There’s something about watching a real couple singing and cooing at each other that feels a little strange to me, especially when you wonder if they’ll be together this time next year or if the video will serve as an embarrassing reminder of their forever love before forever ended  (Yes, we're also talking to you Kanye West and Kim Kardashian).

In the Sophie Mueller-directed clip, various couples hold on for dear life as they ride a bucking bronco in a symbol that love is a rough, exhilarating trip for all of us. It then switches to Mayer and Perry, looking like something out of “Little House on the Prairie,” holding each other closely and singing gently as they gaze meaningfully into each other’s eyes. It feels like we’re intruding on a personal moment, which is exactly the point. Perry looks seductively into the camera every now and then to show us the depth of her affection for Mayer.

Here’s hoping the crazy kids make it. If they don’t, they’ll certainly have a video to remind them of the days their hearts were intwined...before the ride got too rough.
 

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<p>Kurt Cobain of Nirvana</p>

Kurt Cobain of Nirvana

Credit: MTV

Why the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame only got it half right this year

Who should have gotten the nod that didn't?

Last night, the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame announced its class of 2014:  Peter Gabriel, Hall & Oates, Kiss, Nirvana, Linda Ronstadt, and Cat Stevens.

There are a number of things right with this picture. And a number of things wrong.

First off, before any discussion of the Rock Hall and its induction process can begin, let’s first agree that such conversations are always subjective. Plus, it helps to remember that the majority of the 600 voters are white, middle-aged men, many of them rock critics, who, especially in the early years of the Hall, tried to compensate for the way white rockers appropriated black music in the ‘50s and ‘60s as the building blocks of rock and roll by making sure that a number of unappreciated black acts got their just due by being inducted. For example, in 1986, six of the 10 inaugural inductees were black. This time, there are none.

Secondly, throw away any notion that Rock & Roll means anything other than pop music. The Hall never limited itself only to true “rockers,” but every time someone like Madonna gets inducted, as she did in 2008, people work themselves up into apoplectic states about how she’s not “Rock.” Well, neither are about 50%, if not more, of the inductees.

So with that out of the way, I’d say that without question, the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame voters, of which I used to be one, got it right this year with Peter Gabriel, Kiss and Nirvana.  All three acts are pioneers at what they do/did.

Both as a member of Genesis and as a solo act, Peter Gabriel elevated rock to an experimental art form, blending in other genres and fearlessly pushing boundaries. Kiss,  who has been eligible for more than a decade and whose fans have done everything but storm the Rock Hall’s castle in protest, took metal in a cartoonish yet innovative way to the masses. Nirvana, one of the few acts to get in the first year it was eligible, ushered in the grunge movement and has continued to influence the next generation of rockers.

After that, it gets a little sketchy. The other acts on the 2014 ballot were Yes, LL Cool J, The Replacements, Paul Butterfield Blues Band, Chic, Deep Purple, NWA, The Meters, Link Wray and the Zombies.

I would have picked Chic before Ronstadt, H&O, or Cat Stevens. Yes, they were a disco band, which automatically makes them second class to many voters, but they were so much more. They brought in R&B and a certain loose-limbed aesthetic to their music that proved to have great legs long after disco died. It seemed like Nile Rodgers work with Daft Punk would have helped bring him and the band to the fore this year, but they’ll have to come back again... for a ninth time.

I would have also gone with Link Wray this year. Best known for “Rumble” and “The ‘Batman’ Theme,”  Wray invented a whole new language on the electric guitar that thousands of musicians have adopted from rock to punk and country. 

Thirdly, I would have picked NWA. Yes, they were long shots, and some of the more conservative voters may have objections to their politics or feel like Public Enemy’s inclusion this year gives them a pass on hard core rap for a little while, but their music represents the rebellion and social protest that the absolute best music represents. Albums like “Straight Outta Compton” and “Niggaz4Life” are time capsules of the racial tensions brewing on the West Coast in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s.

I'll go a step further, I absolutely believe that Hall & Oates should be in, though I would have waited a few more year, but I'm not so sure that, as much as I love both Ronstadt and Stevens, that either one of them  should be included. At some point does it just become popular names? 

Of course, there are still a number of acts who weren’t on the ballot this year that deserve inclusion, among them Cheap Trick and Todd Rundgren.

Do you think the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame voters got it right this year?

 

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<p>The legendary Nirvana will soon be members of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.</p>

The legendary Nirvana will soon be members of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Nirvana, Kiss voted into Rock & Roll Hall of Fame

Who else will be in the Class of 2014?

Kiss fans, rejoice! The hard rock band has finally gotten its due and will be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s Class of 2014.

The make-up wearing band will be joined by Nirvana, Peter Gabriel, Hall & Oates, Cat Stevens and Linda Ronstadt, according to Rolling Stone.

Acts are eligible 25 years after the release of their first recording, which means Nirvana, to no one’s surprise, will be inducted in its first year of eligibility. For both Kiss and Hall & Oates, their entry comes after years of fans lobbying for their inclusion.

Peter Gabriel is already in the Hall as a member of Genesis.

On the ballot, but denied this year were Yes, LL Cool J, The Replacements, Paul Butterfield Blues Band, Chic, Deep Purple, NWA, The Meters, Link Wray, and the Zombies.

The E Street Band, Bruce Springsteen's backing band, will be presented the award for musical excellence, while Beatles manager Brian Epstein and Rolling Stones manager Andrew Loog Oldham will be inducted as non-performers.

The induction ceremony will be held at Brooklyn’s Barclay Center on April 10, 2014, after being held at LA Live this year.  Tickets will be made available to the general public and will go on sale in January. HBO will air the ceremony.

 

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Beyonce's new 'XO' video is a thrill ride: Watch
Credit: Columbia Records

Beyonce's new 'XO' video is a thrill ride: Watch

She's on a rollercoaster of love

Beyonce’s “XO” video, her second in a few days following “Drunk in Love,” compares love to a carnival.

Shot at Astroland at Coney Island, the clip features a sultry, slightly euphoric looking Beyonce walking on the boardwalk and dancing her way through the midway alone and with friends, intercut with other folks at the theme park and the rides. It also includes brief footage of her on stage.

It’s an interesting clip, almost as if we’re seeing her in some state of heightened reality enhanced by some mood-altering substance-- or maybe that’s just what love does to Beyonce.  "XO" will go to top 40 radio at the beginning of year.

In the meantime, “Beyonce,” the album she dropped at midnight on Friday, continues to sell well. It set a iTunes record for best U.S. sales in a week at 617,000.
 

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Eminem strolls down memory lane in 'Monster' clip with Rihanna: Watch

Eminem strolls down memory lane in 'Monster' clip with Rihanna: Watch

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It's not a pleasant trip

Rihanna wears more clothes than we’ve seen her wear in years in the video for Eminem’s “Monster” clip.

The "Marshall Mathers LP 2"  tune, which hit No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 last week, features Rihanna as a therapist who is helping treat Eminem, who revisits his much-used theme of going insane.

The video starts with the good doctor showing Em a tape of his life flashing before him. The tape is comprised largely from events in his life and from his past videos.

From there, it alternates between Eminem reliving the scenes from the tape, such as the rapper in an asylum, along with Dr. Dre;  shots of Rihanna singing her refrain, and Eminem standing in front a hotel on 8 Mile Road, in concert, and performing with Elton John at the 2006 Grammys. The images mirror the lyrics of the song, which take a trip back in time by referencing many of Eminem’s past hits.

He ends up on rooftop with a SWAT Team recalling a time when he was encaged... either in reality or in his own head... with the monster that lives there.

The clip doesn’t have the impact of their previous collaboration, “Love The Way You Lie,”  but that’s also because the song doesn’t have the same heft to it. However, it’s beautifully shot and both Rihanna and Eminem make the most of their parts. Plus, it’s a nice way to revisit much of Eminem’s career without doing a standard flashback video.

 

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<p>Beyonce is 'Drunk in Love'</p>

Beyonce is 'Drunk in Love'

Credit: Columbia Records

Beyonce sets iTunes sales record in record time

Just try to keep your eyes off her 'fanny' in 'Drunk in Love' video

Beyonce has broken iTunes’  U.S. record for the most sale in one week –and it only took her three days to do it.

Queen Bey’s new album, “Beyonce,”  sold 617,000 copies from its release on midnight Friday through Sunday night, according to Billboard. The sales week runs Monday through Sunday for tracking purposes.

The $15.98 set, which includes 14 songs and 18 videos, must be bought in full, which means there are no a la carte song sales to potentially cannibalize album sales.  On Dec. 20, individual tracks will be for sale.

Beyonce broke the record held by Taylor Swift’s “Red,” which moved 465,000 copies in its first seven days after being released Oct. 28, 2012. The album was also available exclusively through iTunes digitally, but tunes could be purchased a la carte and the physical CD was also sold through traditional retail.

“Beyonce,” which will bump Garth Brooks’ “Blame It All On My Roots” out of the top spot on the Billboard 200, will be the singer’s fifth straight No. 1: all of her solo albums have started at the top.

The surprise element of Beyonce’s release is surely helping prime the pump as the album dominated the news cycle on Friday after she dropped it at midnight with no advance warning. Through a few tracks had been released informally over the past year, there was no single at radio prior to the release.  Top 40 is now working the Pharrell-produced “Blow,” while “Drunk In Love,” featuring Jay Z goes to R&B/Hip Hop. Another track, “XO,” will likely go to Top 40 in early 2014.

Below is the video for “Drunk in Love," a sexy black and white clip that features Beyonce writhing around talking about "swerving" on Jay Z's "surfboard." No kidding. Not really sure why Jay Z's  comparing himself to wife beater Ike Turner, but it's good to know what he apparently eats for breakfast.  Really, get a room, kids.

The clip for “XO” will drop later today.

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<p>A moment from Britney's 'Work B**ch'</p>

A moment from Britney's 'Work B**ch'

Credit: RCA Records

5 Ways Britney Spears' 'Britney Jean' went awry

How did the album go south so quickly?

Only two weeks after its Dec. 3 release, Britney Spears’ eighth studio album, “Britney Jean,” will fall out of the Top 15 of the Billboard 200 this week. The only person who could possibly be happy about this is Lady Gaga, since Spears’ disaster took the media’s eyes off of Momma Monster’s own poor performance with “Artpop.”

“Britney Jean” debuted at No. 4 on last week’s Billboard 200 with the lowest sales tally in the pop star’s career, barely skimming past the six figure mark at 107,000. Her last album, 2011’s “Femme Fatale,” sold 276,000 copies in its opening frame.

Here are five things that went wrong with “Britney Jean”:

*Too much build up: For months in advance of the album, Spears and her manager, Larry Rudolph, insisted that “Britney Jean”  was her most personal album ever, but first single, “Work Bitch” couldn’t have been more impersonal, leading fans to question the premise. Though there were hints of her life in the lyrics, they were so veiled as to be indecipherable.

*Too Many Cooks: You can’t blame Spears for wanting to switch things up in an effort to grow: She throws aside her usual collaborators such as Dr. Luke, Max Martin, and Shellback, for a new bunch of contributors overseen by Will.i.am, the album’s executive producer; David Guetta, Swedish House Mafia’s Ingrosso and Anthony Preston. Their credentials are, of course, impeccable, but if it wasn’t broke...?

*Too little Britney: Yes, she is listed as co-writer on all 10 of songs, but that means precious little in this day and age when a superstar can demand a co-write credit for contributing a phrase or for telling the writers how she feels sad that day and then they go craft a song around that. She shouldn’t sound like a guest artist on a record that is supposed to be her most personal.

*No promotion: Other than a middle-of-the-night conclave in the desert, which was more to tout her upcoming Planet Hollywood Las Vegas residency than the new album and a few other things, there was little promotion for “Britney Jean.” E! News will air a two-hour “documentary” called “I Am Britney Jean” on Dec. 22 that covers the “Piece of Me” Vegas show and the making of the album, but that will more likely boost ticket sales than album sales.

*Britney herself: Though she seems much more stable —thankfully— than she did following her 2007 breakdown, there seems to be no there there. Yes, she gives good face and works the camera well in videos, but it just seems like she’s a facade now, kept going by a phalanx of producers, songwriters, etc... all of whom have a financial stake in continuing to prop her up. Maybe she really loves recording and performing, but it feels more like a puppet being told which way to turn and bend and sing and which camera to look into, despite the protestations from everyone that “Britney calls all the shots.”

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<p>Beyonce</p>

Beyonce

Credit: AP Photo

Can Beyonce's Thursday night surprise bump Garth Brooks' box set out of No. 1?

Will Bey's new set sell enough in four days to start at the top?

Garth Brooks’ comeback continues as his boxed set, “Blame It All On My Roots,” remains at No. 1 on next week’s Billboard 200.

The Walmart-only exclusive picks up speed as it sells up to 175,000 copies in its third week of release, increasing from its first and second week numbers, according to Hits Daily Double.

However, Hits Daily Double put up its predictions before Beyonce surprised the world by dropping a 14-track album on iTunes Thursday night, so if Bey has her way she will outsell Brooks. But for now, we’ll to look at the top 10 without Beyonce in the picture.

Kelly Clarkson’s “Wrapped In Red” remains the hit Christmas album of the season, boasting 140,000 in sales for No. 2. One Direction’s “Midnight Memories” is No. 3 (110,000-120,000). The Robertsons’ “Duck The Halls” is No. 4 (115,000).

The week’s two debuts (other than Beyonce) take the next two spots as R. Kelly’s “Black Panties” bows at No. 5 (110,000) and Childish Gambino’s “Because The Internet” will launch at No. 6 (95,000).

Eminem’s “The Marshall Mathers LP 2” is No. 6 (75,000) and Katy Perry’s “Prism,” at No. 7 (60,000). Two more holiday titles —Mary J. Blige’s “A Mary Christmas” and Susan Boyle’s “Home For Christmas” are at No. 8 (55,000) and No. 9 (50,000) respectively. The soundtrack to “Frozen” heats up the No. 10 spot (50,000).

In continuing bad news for Britney Spears, her new album, “Britney Jean,” which came on the chart at No. 4 this week, falls out of the top 15.

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<p>Ed&nbsp;Sheeran</p>

Ed Sheeran

Credit: Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP

Ed Sheeran on being a 'massive geek' and working on 'The Hobbit'

Highlight of the year was working with Peter Jackson

Ed Sheeran, who received a best new artist nod during Friday night’s Grammy Nominations Live! Concert, said the highlight of the year (before the nod, of course) was doing the end credit song, "I See Fire,"  for “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug.”

“I’m just a massive geek  and being involved in that was fun,” he said backstage. “I got to hang out with [director] Peter Jackson and go to the premiere.”  Jackson called him while Sheeran was at a wedding in Ibiza.

Sheeran also received a nomination for album of the year for his work with Taylor Swift on her album, “Red.”

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