<p>Scott Stapp talks Creed</p>

Scott Stapp talks Creed

Exclusive: Scott Stapp on new Creed album: 'I have no idea' what happened

Lead singer is baffled as to why his bandmates quit working with him

Remember that new Creed album that the reunited rock band planned to put out last year? It turns out that you’re not the only one that’s curious about what happened. So is Creed’s lead singer, Scott Stapp.
Liane Bonin Starr and I interviewed Stapp on Thursday (24) about his new solo album, “Proof Of Life,” out Nov. 5 for our podcast, CulturePop. When I asked how the album was going, he expressed his befuddlement at how his bandmates had stepped away from it.

A little back story: Creed, which has sold more than 40 million albums, broke up in 2004, in part due to the difficulties the other band members were having with Stapp.  Stapp went on his way and the rest of the band—Mark Tremonti, Brian Marshall, and Scott Phillips— created Alter Bridge, with new vocalist Myles Kennedy. In 2009, after Stapp got sober, Creed reformed, and released “Full Circle,” its first album in eight years.

Things seemed to be going fine and the group started working on a follow-up and toured together.
“In 2012, actually ‘11 and ‘12, I was under the impression we were making a new Creed record,” Stapp tells HitFix. “I got together with  Mark — I actually stayed at his home— and we wrote a bunch of songs, eight of which we were pretty excited about that were going to make the record.  We even began to play some of the songs in soundcheck in 2012, which was typical of what we would do in the writing process...So it was just as much a shock to me based upon all the writing I was doing and the preparation I was doing for the new Creed record that that wasn’t being done anymore.”

Instead, much to Stapp’s surprise, Tremonti worked on a solo album, which came out earlier this year, and the rest of the band recorded a new Alter Bridge record, which came out earlier this month.

“I had been there, everything was cool, we were on tour, we were doing this, we were getting ready,” Stapp says. “And if you go back and look at the [social media] posts from everybody, that’s what everyone was saying, so I don’t know what happened in there that pushed them in another direction. I know Mark  decided he wanted to do a solo album which was during the time we were supposed to record the new Creed album, and then after that, he went to do another Alter Bridge record, so you guys will have to interview him and ask him because to this day I still have no idea what created the change in plans.”

Alter Bridge is in Europe right now, according to the band’s publicist, who is trying to get a comment from Tremonti. However, in  2012, Tremonti told Billboard, "We got together with Scott and put together a handful of songs and got the arrangements and melodic ideas in place, and now it's kind of in Scott's lap to finish off he lyrics and track some demos so we can move on to the next batch," Tremonti reports. So far, he says, Creed has "a good mix...It's got one more radio-friendly type song, one rocking tune, one of the more drawn-out, finger-picked, long, five-minute kind of songs -- just a little bit of everything people have heard in the past.” He added that the band had not set any “timetables” for release.

This August, Tremonti told Billboard that when he is songwriting, it is usually pretty obvious to him if a tune is a solo turn or for Alter Bridge or for Creed, so it sounds like he still considers Creed an ongoing concern.

Stapp said after communication went silent, he needed to get back to work— “I’ve got three kids  and I’m saving for college for them”—so he began work on what became “Proof of Life.”

When asked if he had directly asked Tremonti what was going on, Stapp said, “Yeah, we’ve done that and I still don’t understand, really, and at this point nor will I ever and nor do I want to. One thing I’ve learned in recovery is my job for me is to keep my side of the street clean and what I can say in this relationship and in this friendship with these guys is my side of the street is clean. And since we got back together in 2009, my side of the street has been clean and my intentions and anything I’ve ever said has come from a place of meaning it and honesty and sincerity, so all I can do is continue to support those guys and love them through whatever and whatever the future holds I can’t say, but I do know I got to make this record now.”

For our full interview with Stapp, turn to CulturePop

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Pearl Jam performs an intense 'Sirens' on 'Late Night with Jimmy Fallon'
Credit: NBC

Pearl Jam performs an intense 'Sirens' on 'Late Night with Jimmy Fallon'

Check out Chris Cornell, Avett Bros., and Dierks Bentley as they salute PJ too

Pearl Jam spent the week having its music feted on “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon” by other artists, including Dierks Bentley, Chris Cornell, the Avett Brothers, and Fleet Foxes Robin Pecknold,, but on Thursday night, it was the Seattle band’s time to take the stage.

Pearl Jam performed a somewhat laid-back, yet intense, version of  “Sirens,” the current single from “Lightning Bolt,” the No. 1 album on the Billboard 200. They will perform again tonight.

Below Pearl Jam's performance, also check out Bentley's take on "Alive" (with help from the Roots and PJ's Mike McCready), as well as Cornell/Avett Bros.'s take on "Footsteps" and Pecknold's "Corduroy." 

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<p>Lady Gaga</p>

Lady Gaga

Listen: Lady Gaga thinks you're scum on fiesty leaked track, 'Swine'

HitFix
A-
Readers
n/a
Heavy EDM tune fits perfectly in her wheelhouse

Lady Gaga would like to make one thing perfectly clear, she doesn’t think a lot of you. On “Swine,” she sings “I know, I know you want me/you’re just a pig inside a human body... squealer, squealer, squealer, you’re so disgusting.”

The track, which leaked today, is the highest energy tune we’ve heard so far from Lady Gaga in advance of “ArtPop’s” Nov. 11 release. More importantly, it does what Lady Gaga does so well: it combines her quirkiness with a shape-shifting, catchy melody. It is a hardcore EDM track, buttressed by an insistent fuzzy beat, but it’s also Irresistibly poppy. It comes on the heels of "Do What U Want," her R&B/pop duet with R. Kelly, which was officially released late Sunday night. "Swine" is getting taken down left and right, but you can hear it here for the time being.

Opening with vocal hiccups before swelling into a strong vocal performance by Gaga, the track is a full-on dance track, especially the middle breakdown that is so Lady Gaga you can already see her choreographed dance in your head for that part.

It might not be radio’s cup of tea although she’s managed to get things on radio that don’t sound like anything else before and this may be another one (though this would take a fair amount of editing for time and to highlight the poppier edge). It’s no “Bad Romance,”  but it’s one of the more aggressive, bold tracks we’re heard from her recently.

While the version below, most likely taken from Gaga's performance of the track at the ITunes Festival in London, sounds fairly different, we don't know what that final "ArtPop" version sounds like.

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<p>Kings of Leon</p>

Kings of Leon

Kings of Leon set dates for 2014 Mechanical Bull run

Tour kicks off in Atlanta

Kings of Leon, whose new album, “Mechanical Bull,” debuted at No. 2 on the Billboard 200, will kick off a tour in support of the album Feb. 5, 2014 at Philips Arena in Atlanta. Gary Clark Jr. will open the shows.

Hopefully the tour will go better than the group's last outing in 2011: the North American leg ended after lead singer Caleb Followill left the stage, telling the audience he had to go "vomit" and "drink a beer," in that order. The band canceled the rest of its U.S. tour that year, but completed some international dates.

As HitFix's recent interview with Jared Followill revealed, the band seems to be in a much better place now.

Tickets go on sale Nov. 1 for the outing.


Kings of Leon tour dates:

February 5 Atlanta, GA Philips Arena
February 7 Nashville, TN Bridgestone Arena
February 9 Louisville, KY KFC Yum! Center (on sale Nov 2)
February 11 Auburn, MI The Palace At Auburn Hills
February 14 New York, NY Madison Square Garden
February 15 Uncasville, CT Mohegan Sun Arena (on sale Nov 2)
February 18 Columbus, OH Schottenstein Center (on sale Nov 2)
February 19 Philadelphia, PA Wells Fargo Center
February 21 Washington DC Verizon Center
February 23 London, ON Budweiser Gardens (on sale Nov 2)
February 24 Montreal, QC Bell Centre (on sale Nov 2)
February 26 Toronto, ON Air Canada Centre (on sale Nov 2)
February 28 Boston, MA TD Garden
March 5 Kansas City, MO Sprint Center
March 6 Minneapolis, MN Target Center (on sale Nov 2)
March 8 Chicago, IL United Center (on sale Nov 2)

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<p>Lorde</p>

Lorde

Lorde's 'Royals' rules at no. 1 for fourth straight week

Eminem's "Rap God" flies into Top 10

Lorde’s “Royals” logs its fourth week atop the Billboard Hot 100, giving the New Zealand singer the longest reign by a female artist in the top spot this year.  We have to go back to last summer when Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Call Me Maybe”  ruled at No. 1. for nine weeks to find a longer stint by a female.

Katy Perry, whose new album, “Prism,” came out Tuesday (23), claims two spots on the Hot 100- her former No. 1, “Roar,” is at No. 2, while new single “Unconditionally” bows at No. 54.

“Roar” switches places with Miley Cyrus’s “Wrecking Ball,” which drops to No. 3.

Avicii’s “Wake Me Up!” remains at No. 4, while Drake’s “Hold On, We’re Going Home” (featuring Majid Jordan)” holds at No. 5, according to Billboard.

Ylvis’s “The Fox”  stays at No. 6, while Eminem’s new single, “Rap God” bows on the chart at No. 7, the only new entry into the Top 10.

Otherwise, Jay Z’s “Holy Grail” (featuring Justin Timberlake) slides 7-8, Lady Gaga’s “Applause” drops 8-9 and Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines”  slips 9-10 in its 21st week in the Top 10.

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<p>Billie Joe Armstrong and Norah Jones, &quot;Foreverly&quot;</p>

Billie Joe Armstrong and Norah Jones, "Foreverly"

Green Day's Billie Joe Armstrong's new album: Everly Brothers covers with Norah Jones

Pair reinterprets traditional songs from 1958 Everlys' classic

They may not be siblings, but we bet they come up with some pretty sweet harmonies:  Green Day’s Billie Joe Armstrong and Norah Jones have joined together to record “Foreverly,” a 12-track collection inspired by The Everly Bros. 1958 collection, “Songs Our Daddy Taught Us.”

The Everlys’ set featured interpretations of traditional American songs, such as “Roving Gambler,” “Down In The Willow Garden,” “Long Time Gone” , That Silver Haired Daddy of Mine” and “Kentucky,” all of which Armstrong and Jones have re-recorded for “Foreverly.”

Armstrong discovered the album a few years ago and was keen to remake it, but with a female artist. “I thought of Norah because she can sing anything,” he said in a statement. “I knew her harmonies would be amazing. I thought the songs would take on a different meaning working with her.” 

For her part, Jones says “Billie Joe’s enthusiasm about the songs and his low-key open approach to the music was very inviting. He wasn’t set in his ideas, which iade it fun for us both to sort of discover what felt right for us musically.”

The pair recorded the album in New York over a nine-day period with bassist Tim Luntzel, drummer Dan Rieser, fiddle player Charlie Burnham and pedal steel player Johnny Lam. “When we were done with the album, Norah looked at me and said, “I bet you didn’t think you were going to make a country record, huh?’,” Armstrong said.

“Foreverly” will come out via Reprise Records on Nov. 25. In the meantime, you can hear Armstrong and Jones’ version of “Long Time Gone” below.

"Foreverly" track listing:

"Roving Gambler"
"Long Time Gone"
"Lightning Express"
"That Silver Haired Daddy Of Mine"
"Down In The Willow Garden"
"Who's Gonna Shoe Your Pretty Little Feet"
"Oh So Many Years"
"Barbara Allen"
"Rockin' Alone (In An Old Rockin' Chair"
"I'm Here To Get My Baby Out Of Jail"
"Kentucky"
"Put My Little Shoes Away"

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Listen to a new 'Hunger Games: Catching Fire' song by Of Monsters and Men

Listen to a new 'Hunger Games: Catching Fire' song by Of Monsters and Men

Song captures Katniss' isolation

Of Monsters and Men may be from Iceland, but they sound like they could be residents of The Capitol on this song snippet from “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire” soundtrack.

“Silhouettes” captures the Nanna Bryndis Hilmarsdottir’s unique vocals, use of percussion and non-traditional rock instruments like the melodica that helped make them one of last year’s breakout artists with such songs as “Little Talks” and “Mountain Sound.”

The band used the sense of isolation that comes from being on the road to relate to Katniss’s struggles, the group’s Ragna Porhallsson told MTV News. “We had been traveling for a long time and away from our family and doing something we had never done before, so that was kind of how we related to the story,” he said.

Of Monsters and Men based the song on the overall feel of the book the sequel is based upon. “I think that’s stronger than...writing a song about one scene,” Porhallsson said.

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<p>Lady Gaga</p>

Lady Gaga

Credit: AP Photo

Listen to a snippet of Lady Gaga's quirky 'ArtPop'

The two belong together, according to Momma Monster

There’s more Art than Pop on the title track to Lady Gaga’s “ArtPop.”

After releasing the catchy, if somewhat  generic pop/R&B track, “Do What U Want,” featuring R. Kelly earlier this week, she returns with this esoteric 90-second snippet of “ArtPop.” It has real possibilities as a dance track if some smart remixers get their hands on it, but it’s too quirky for much else.

As she sings, “We could, we could, we could belong together. ArtPop, ArtPop,” she seems determined to convince us on this project that Art and Pop aren’t mutually exclusive. I’m not sure who she’s trying to persuade...

“ArtPop” comes out Nov. 11. Are you excited to hear the full album?

 

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<p>Katy Perry's &quot;Prism&quot;</p>

Katy Perry's "Prism"

Credit: Capitol Records

Katy Perry's 'Prism' reflects her heart and soul set to a beat: Review

HitFix
B+
Readers
n/a
Her fourth album reveals a new dimension

Katy Perry’s fourth studio album, “Prism,” finds her recovering from her divorce from Russell Brand and headed straight into love again... this time with John Mayer and, hopefully, with better results.

“Prism,” out Tuesday (22), is filled with lessons learned and self affirmations, and part of the fun is voyeuristically listening to tracks and knowing they’re about Brand or Mayer. The pop priestess lays herself bare on a number of these tunes including the confessional “By the Grace of God” and jubilantly romantic “Double Rainbow.”

Working with a range of producers from Dr. Luke to Stargate, Cirkut, Benny Blanco and Klas Ahlund, Perry pushes herself melodically here, with many of the songs seemingly influenced by the ‘80s and ‘90s. Tempos shift, synths weave in and out, and her voice rides the musical tide, often soaring on “Unconditionally” and “Double Rainbow.”

Just an any Perry album is a bit of a deep dive into her diary (she just doesn’t catch as much flack for it as Taylor Swift does... ), her sets are also a chance to cut loose, forget your cares and hit the dance floor. All your boogie needs are met as well with the playful “Walking on Air” and “International Smile.”

At this point into her career, Perry should be stretching herself a little more than she does, especially lyrically. Some of her phrases are often sound like a school girl’s, but it’s a small quibble when she admirably remains willing to reveal her soul.

Here's our track-by-track review of "Prism."

Roar:  Perry asserts that she is back and she is better than ever on this feisty first single from “Prism.” The steady stomp keeps the former No. 1 track  grounded, while much of the rest of hand clap and mid-tempo piano production sound straight out of the late ‘80s and early ‘90s. In fact, if you’re old enough it may remind you a little bit of the chorus of  Martika’s “Toy Soldiers” crossed with M.I.A.’s “Paper Planes,” with some Avril Lavigne thrown in for good measure. GRADE: B+

“Legendary Lovers”: Set against a middle-eastern beat, Perry’s words rush out in a torrent as she declares her intent to be part of a pair of lovers who are legendary in their ardor. The song shifts tempos and styles throughout. More intriguing than catchy. “Legendary Lovers” is “Prism’s” “E.T.” GRADE: B-

“Birthday”: Perry gets her Prince on in this delectable pop confection. Bouncy and fun as it gets, with a winking, sexy nod to bringing out the “birthday balloons.” GRADE: B+

“Walking On Air”: Perry enlisted the air of Swedish producer, Klas Ahlund, best known for his work with former Perry tour mate, Robyn, for this ‘90s-inspired fluffy house twirler. The juxtaposition of Perry’s airy vocals with her big-voiced, Martha Wash-like collaborator are heavenly. GRADE: A

“Unconditionally”: A big mid-tempo power ballad, propelled by Dr. Luke and Cirkut’s wide-open synth and percussion production. The title is a bit of a mouthful for Perry to get around over and over, but the theme of unconditional love resonates in part because of her convincing delivery. Is this song, the second single from the set, about John Mayer? We say yes. GRADE: B

“Dark Horse” featuring Juicy J: It’s not as out there (literally and figuratively) as “E.T.,” but it’s definitely not Perry’s standard pop, though with its finger snaps and pulsating, hypnotic beat, it will certainly fit in at radio. Juicy J’s rap —outside of regrettable line “She cuts your heart out like Jeffrey Dahmer”—fits in smoothly, though makes the cut sound a little dated. GRADE: B

“This Is How We Do”:
It’s hard not to raise your arm in the air and wave it back and forth in this old-school sounding track about partying. Perry name drops Mariah Carey and Backstreet Boys in a song that would border on Ke$ha-like novelty if it weren’t for the more infectious beat. Unlike anything else Perry has recorded before. Could be a sleeper hit. Klas Ahlund is also behind this partially spoken track.  GRADE: C

“International Smile”: A musical cousin to “California Gurls,” this ode to a girl who is making the most of the mile high club as she traverses the globe is a bit of a jumbled mess, though it will make a cute video, and the upbeat track could make a strong live set piece. GRADE: C

“Ghost”: “You sent a text, it’s like the wind changed your mind,” Perry sings in the opening line of this touching mid-tempo tune about her split with Russell Brand. “My vision’s 20/20/I see through you now,” she sings without a trace of vitriol, except when she delivers the line, “So rest in peace/I’ll see you on the other side.” Last album’s “E.T.” is this album’s “Ghost.”  GRADE: B+

“Love Me”: Hushed synth droplets open the track as Perry sings about getting lost in someone else (possibly about Brand but more likely about Mayer from the first go-round) before turning the song into a self-love anthem (no, not that kind silly!) about how “I have to love myself the way I want you to love me.” A vulnerable, stripped-down song, despite a few awkward turns of phrase. Nice production by Swedish producer/songwriter Bloodshy. GRADE: B

“The Moment”: A treacly mid-tempo tune about how all we have is this moment, “so why don’t you be here with me.” The melody doesn’t really suit Perry’s range and the lyrics are straight out of a bad Hallmark card. However, if you are a high school girl looking for a prom theme song, here you go. GRADE: C-

“Double Rainbow”: She’s learning to love again in this sweet love letter to John Mayer, produced by Greg Kurstin and co-written by Sia. “When I found you, it was all pitter-patter,” she sings. Great raw, emotional vocal delivery by Perry here. Big drums come in giving it an ‘80s feel. Unabashedly uncynical. GRADE: B

“By The Grace of God”: Gut-level honest ballad about her divorce and how she  felt it was all her fault until she realized in some ways, it had nothing to do with her, and that she made the decision to go on: “I put one foot in front of the other and looked in the mirror and decided to stay. I wasn’t going to let love take me out that way.” On the piano/synth track with ‘90s production, she thanks those who helped her through, like her sister. This is autobiographical as it gets. More appealing for her honesty than for the melody.  GRADE: B

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<p>Justin Bieber's 'Hold Tight'</p>

Justin Bieber's 'Hold Tight'

Justin Bieber's new sexy jam, 'Hold Tight': Listen

HitFix
C
Readers
n/a
Those are some powerful kisses his lady is delivering

It’s seksi time for Justin Bieber in his new track, “Hold Tight,” his third track in his series of #MusicMondays releases.

Backed by a R&B slow jamming click track, Bieber brings out his falsetto to talk about his lady’s great kisses.

Between lyrics like “That thing is swollen/you got me oh so in a trance,” “So hard/work it out” and “trying to maintain, so don’t mind if I turn away” we’re trying desperately to get certain mental images out of our head. 

The song has no change in tempo at all and Bieber’s delivery instead of sounding sexy, just seems forced, but if you’re a Bieber fan who dreams of getting your boy in a lip lock, this song will probably work for you.

Have you started your countdown clock until Dec. 25, when Bieber's movie, "Believer" opens? 

 

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