Taylor Swift and Snow Patrol's Gary Lightbody in 'The Last Time' video: Watch
Credit: Big Machine

Taylor Swift and Snow Patrol's Gary Lightbody in 'The Last Time' video: Watch

Sweeping ballad from 'Red' gets a live music clip. Which version do you like better?

The Last Time,” a duet with Snow Patrol’s Gary Lightbody and Taylor Swift, is one of “Red’s” stand outs, in part because it sounds like it could come straight off a Snow Patrol album.

It doesn’t have quite the atmospherics of “Set the Fire to the Third Bar,” a tune from Snow Patrol’s “Eyes Open” album featuring Martha Wainwright, but it has the same moody build of any number of Snow Patrol tunes.

Instead of a conceptual clip, the Terry Richardson-directed video features Lightbody and Swift performing the song live in concert. They keep their backs to each other for much of the song keeping in tune with the feeling of alienation of the lovers in the song, but the payoff comes at 3:28 when Lightbody smiles at Swift so sweetly, it will melt your heart.

it doesn’t seem as though the song is being serviced as a single, so this is more likely a goodie for fans who weren’t able to see Swift in concert or weren’t the night this was filmed on a concert stop in Sacramento, Calif. in August. It was the one and only time that Swift has performed the song live.

Below the official video, which was released today, is a fan shot video from the concert which I actually like better, other than the fact it's missing the cute close up.  Which do you like better? 

And speaking of Swift,  Jody Rosen wrote a love letter of an article to Swift in the current issue of New York"  magazine. The well-written, fun piece doesn't tread much new ground for long-time fans, but Swift talks about the next album some more and how she'll work with Max Martin and Shellback first to get the structure of the album, before moving on to other producers.

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A self-deprecating Lady Gaga is a likable Lady Gaga

A self-deprecating Lady Gaga is a likable Lady Gaga

Her humanity shines through during her 'SNL' stint

Is the joke on Lady Gaga? This weekend while hosting and performing on “Saturday Night Live,” she repeatedly poked fun at herself. And guess what? It made her likeable again.

She started the self-deprecation early. In her opening monologue (loved that flapper dress!), she shamelessly baited the audience for “cheap applause,” and then launched into a re-worked version of her hit “Applause” as a Broadway-style number. She went over the top, giving it up for teachers and first responders and even poked fun at her pants-eschewing self. Ending it with “New York, New York” was perfect.

The wink and nods continued throughout the show. As Karen, the nerdy Genius Bar employee and guest on “Waking Up with Kimye”  she opined, “people who try too hard with their outfits are  hiding something,” and then stared wide-eyed into the camera with the ever-so-slightest hint of a grin on her lips.

In “The Worst Cover Songs of All Time” sketch she performed “Born This Way” as her cover of Madonna’s “Express Yourself,” playfully referencing the similarities between the two songs, and in a slightly cringe-inducing sketch, she played an older version of herself who no one remembered as having been famous.

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<p>Lady Gaga</p>

Lady Gaga

Credit: AP Photo

Lady Gaga's 'Artpop' will bow at No. 1 on Billboard 200 next week

She narrowly tops Eminem's 'Marshal Mathers LP2'

Lady Gaga’s “Artpop” will top the Billboard 200 next week, but at a much lower sales figure than earlier predicted.

Only three weeks ago, Hits Daily Double’s prognosticators had “Artpop” bowing with first week sales of up to 450,000. Now it looks like the tally will be a respectable, but not barn-burning, 260,000. http://www.hitsdailydouble.com/news/rumormill.cgi.

Her last studio album, 2011’s “Born This Way,” sold 1.1 million in its first week, but those numbers were greatly inflated after Amazon offered album downloads for 99 cents (Billboard subsequently set a minimum price for an album sale to be counted by Nielsen SoundScan).

The 260,000 tally is still enough to keep Lady Gaga in the top stop, unless Eminem’s “The Marshall Mathers LP 2” surges. The title, which sold more than 750,000 this week to debut at No. 1, will likely sell up to 220,000 next week to slide to No. 2.

In addition to Lady Gaga, other debuts in the Top 10 are “Now That’s What I Call Music 48,” which comes in at No. 3 with sales of up to 105,000, The Beatles’ “On Air Live at the BBC Volume 2” at No. 7 (40,000) and singer/songwriter Jhene Aiko at No. 10 (35,000).

Duck Dynasty clan, The Robertsons, are at No. 4 with their holiday album, “Duck The Halls” (65,000), while Katy Perry’s “Roar” will be at No. 5 (50,000) and Kelly Clarkson’s holiday offering, “Wrapped In Red” at No. 6 (45,000).

Drake’s “Nothing Was the Same,” which has already surpassed the 1 million in sales mark, and Lorde’s “Pure Heroine” are in a dead heat for No. 8, which both projected to sell 30,000-35,000.

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<p>Mick Jagger in &quot;12-12-12&quot;</p>

Mick Jagger in "12-12-12"

Review: '12-12-12' doc takes viewers behind the scenes of Superstorm Sandy benefit

Dave Grohl, a Beatle, the Rolling Stones, Kanye and taking viewers behind the scenes of Superstorm Sandy benefit

Here’s a tip: if you’re planning a star-studded disaster benefit, get Paul McCartney to say yes and then the other acts will fall in line.

That’s one of the key tidbits viewers will take away from the “12-12-12,” a documentary directed by Amir Bar-Lev, that pulls back the curtain on the Madison Square Garden charity concert that took place Dec. 12, 20012 to raise money for victims of Superstorm Sandy. Joining McCartney were Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band, Billy Joel, Alicia Keys, Dave Grohl, Roger Waters, The Rolling Stones, Eric Clapton, The Who, Kanye West and many others.

The film, which opens today, is the tale of powerful people—Miramax’s Harvey Weinstein, Clear Channel’s John Sykes, and MSG’s James Dolan— using their vast network of connections to bring together an amazing array of talent on incredibly short notice and the behind-the-scenes story of what it takes to pull off such a staggering feat six weeks after the disaster. While there is some incredible performance footage, it is not so much a concert film, as a film about how the sausage gets made.

To be sure, most of us when we watch these benefits don’t think about how difficult it is to  set up an infrastructure to handle the millions of phone calls and online donations for only a few hours. As the producers note, if someone gets a busy signal or can’t log on, that’s lost money.  The booking of the talent is almost the easy part compared to the back end logistics.

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<p>A moment from Rihanna's latest</p>

A moment from Rihanna's latest

Credit: Island Def Jam

Watch: Rihanna's compelling new video for 'What Now'

She is mesmerizing in haunting clip

Rihanna is haunted by demons in the artfully shot video for “What Now.”  The two-sided mirror she speaks of in the first verse seems to actually be her own emotional issues. The good side, in white, keeps getting taken over by her dark side.

It’s a compelling video and a testament to Rihanna’s star power that her face and performance are so mesmerizing that she keeps you glued to the screen. There are a few cutaways to animals and insects during the bridge when it appears that some sort of exorcism or emotional breakdown is happening (that and the shaky cam give it away), but this video relies almost solely on Rihanna’s charisma. And that’s saying something. She talks about making the video here.

Plus it shows how easy it is to change the narrative. This could have been a straight-ahead video about a complicated love story, but instead she turns it into something much more complicated and menacing.

The song is a intriguing ballad and deserved to be a single earlier in “Unapologetic’s” life, but her mega-ballad “Stay” probably kept that from happening.

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Watch David Bowie's new NSFW 'Love is Lost' video
Credit: ISO/Columbia

Watch David Bowie's new NSFW 'Love is Lost' video

This one costs more than $12.99

David Bowie’s initial video for “Love is Lost” cost $12.99. This new NSFW one looks like it cost considerably more.

The 10-minute clip, set to James Murphy’s remix of “Love is Lost,”  opens with enough quick-cut, computer generated handclapping images to drive you a little batty before giving way to other cool black and white images with geometric shapes forming into what looks like an eye, but it could be anything really.

Computer images continue to morph into different shapes from mountains to water to body parts until it’s clear we’re building a man and woman here, so it’s Bowie’s version of the Creation story.

The second half features the computer-generated naked couple come to life and enjoying themselves as the video goes back and forth between seeing them clearly and seeing them in blurred, visual effects. In the end, they sadly devolve. Dust to dust... that kind of thing.

Other than what looks like close-ups of Bowie’s eyes, he does not appear in the video.

It’s arty and interesting, but probably not the best use of your 10 minutes. "Love is Lost" is the latest single from Bowie's "The Next Day." 

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Behind the scenes on Rihanna's new 'What Now' video

Why isn't she putting out an album this year?

Rihanna’s video for “ What Now,” the latest single from “Unapologetic,” looks like it will not have a happy ending.

“It’s going to be kind of eerie, very creepy,” Rihanna says in this behind-the-scenes three-minute short. Instead of a love story that follows the lyrical narrative, she decided to go with something “a little demented.”  And by “demented,” it looks like she means an exorcism takes place or, at least, she does an “exorcism dance.” Is that like the Humpty Dance? Or a Safety Dance?

Shot in Thailand, the full video will bow tomorrow.

For Rihanna fans, today marks the year anniversary of the start of the 777 promo tour to : Rihanna took a plane-load of contest winners and journalists on a plane to play seven shows in seven days in seven countries. It was a wild ride to say the least. I was on the plane and here are a few thoughts about it.

For those keeping count, Rihanna has released a new studio album every year since
 her 2005 debut, “Music of the Sun,” except for in 2008. Since 2009, she has put out a new studio album each November. So this will mark the first time in four years that we don’t have a new studio set from Ri-Ri for the holiday season in five years.

So why no new album this year? The primary reason is most likely that she has been on tour for most of 2013, showing up late in many cities, but on tour, nonetheless.

Secondly, there are conflicting reports about whether she is done with her contract with Island Def Jam. On the Rihanna tour last year, sources indicated that “Unapologetic” was the last album on her contract, but then took that back.  Most contracts are for one or two albums with options for up to seven albums, so she has fulfilled that requirement. Plus, I have no doubt that after her initial success, she renegotiated her contract, so the initial contract would no longer be applicable.

She remains a strong seller: “Unapologetic,” bolstered by such hit singles as “Diamonds” and “Stay” has sold 1.11 million albums in the U.S., according to Nielsen SoundScan and her digital downloads also are noteworthy, for example, “Stay” has sold more than 3 million downloads this year.

Regardless of the reason, it's not a bad idea for Rihanna to sit this holiday season out, as it's a bit of a glutted field this fall with new sets from Katy Perry, Miley Cyrus, Lady Gaga already here and with Britney Spears' "Britney Jean's" imminent arrival.

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<p>Miley Cyrus</p>

Miley Cyrus

Credit: AP Photo

Lorde, Eminem, Miley Cyrus dominate the Hot 100

Lady Gaga's 'Applause' and Katy Perry's 'Roar' also make some, er, noise

Lorde’s “Royals” spends its seventh week atop the Billboard Hot 100, making it the hit of the fall.  The big question is if Eminem will knock the crown off the song next week.

Eminem’s duet with Rihanna, “The Monster,” climbs 3-2 and is his highest rank on the Billboard Hot 100 since his 2010 duet with Rihanna, “Love the Way You Lie,” which spent 8 weeks at No. 1.

Miley Cyrus’s “Wrecking Ball” switches places with “The Monster,” falling 2-3, while Katy Perry’s former chart topper, “Roar,” holds at No. 4 and Avicii’s “Wake Me Up!” stays at No. 5. (Perry’s new single, “Unconditionally,” rises 25-21).

Rounding out the  Top 10, Drake’s “Hold On, We’re Going Home,” featuring Majid Jordan, inches 7-6 (after peaking at No. 4), and OneRepublic’s “Counting Stars” soars 9-7, according to Billboard.

Lady Gaga’s latest, the gorgeous ballad “Dope,” enters the Billboard Hot 100 at No. 8, powered by her performance of the song at the YouTube Music Awards and MTV’s EMAs. It is Lady Gaga’s 13th Hot 100 top 10. She also occupies No. 10 with “Artpop’s” first single, “Applause.”

At No. 9 is Imagine Dragons’ “Demons,” which slips 8-9.

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<p>Imagine Dragons in &quot;On Top of the World&quot;</p>

Imagine Dragons in "On Top of the World"

Imagine Dragons' fun new video for 'Top of the World': Cue the conspiracy theories

It's all about the kid in the tin-foil hat

Imagine Dragons has certainly had a great year as its mainstream breakthrough continued with tunes like  “Radioactive,” “It’s Time,”  and “Demons.”

For the jaunty “Top of the World,” the group takes a decidedly lighthearted approach. They take the idea of “Top of the World” literally, as the video reacts the 1969 moon landing, as seen through the eyes of hippies, tin-foil-wearing space-loving children, the astronauts, and even Richard Nixon.

The Matt Eastin and Corey Fox-directed video is one of those clips that you notice new things every time you watch, including the spoof of the Beatles’ Abbey Road crossing and the notion that the moon landing was a staged event and didn’t really happen. Let your conspiracy theories begin now.

There are no fighting puppets as in the “Radioactive” clip, but there is a hyper monkey.

However, for pure heart, Imagine Dragons’ video for “Demons,” which features them with a hardcore teenage fan, Tyler Robinson,  who died of cancer remains their most moving and is a testament to the bond between and act and its fans.

Imagine Dragons is on an international tour in support of "Night Visions," and will return stateside for a new U.S. outing starting in February.


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<p>Justin Bieber</p>

Justin Bieber

Credit: AP Photo/Jorge Saenz

Justin Bieber takes an unhappy turn on new song, 'All Bad'

He's not all bad, he promises

Romantic woes continue to plague Justin Bieber. On “All Bad,” the steady slow drum beat and atmospheric production reinforce the fact that Bieber’s upset and ready to defend his reputation.

“I ain’t all bad,” he sings/whispers over and over as he proclaims that he’s trying to be your best friend, even though he knows he’s not perfect. “Want to be everything I oughta be to you/and be the same thing jealous of you/that’s what they do.” He and his girl would be OK, if she’d just understand he’s not like the others.

It’s an interesting change of pace from some of the other songs we’ve heard during Bieber’s “Manic Monday” series, but we have yet to hear anything that grabs us into warranting repeated listenings. However, it’s clear with these songs that the album is the arc of a relationship and not one that has a happy ending...if the frowny emotion didn’t let you in on that.

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