Jay-Z collaborates with Frank Ocean on 'Oceans'; is a free concert in the works?
Credit: AP Photo

Jay-Z collaborates with Frank Ocean on 'Oceans'; is a free concert in the works?

Jay-Z releases lyrics to another tune on 'Magna Carta Holy Grail'

It would only make perfect sense that Jay-Z and Frank Ocean would unite for a song called “Oceans.” What did you expect them to call it? Z?

[More after the jump...]


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<p>Lady Gaga</p>

Lady Gaga

Lady Gaga comes in No. 2 on Forbes Celebrity 100 power list

Who is the one celebrity more powerful than Momma Monster?

Lady Gaga is the highest ranking musician on Forbes’ 2013 Celebrity 100 power list, released today.

In fact, Momma Monster comes in at No. 2, only behind the great and powerful Oprah Winfrey, who tops the list.  Lady Gaga is one of six musicians in the top 10 alone.

The performer earned $80 million over the last year, despite having to cut short her “Born This Way Ball” tour because of her hip injury.  The tally also takes into account other measures of influence, including social media, to calculate a celebrity’s money and fame quotient.

Other musicians on the overall list include Beyonce at No. 4, Madonna (5), Taylor Swift (6), Bon Jovi (7), Justin Bieber (9), Jennifer Lopez (12), Rihanna (13), Coldplay (14), Katy Perry (18), Jay-Z (32), Toby Keith (43), Carrie Underwood (46), Kenny Chesney (47), Kanye West (59), Dr. Dre (63), and David Guetta (74).

Toby Keith is on the cover of the Forbes issue and in an entertaining profile about his many businesses, it comes to light that he owns 10% of Big Machine  Label Group, the record company Taylor Swift records for, which means that every time Swift sells records, it’s money in Keith’s pocket.

To see the whole list, click here.


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<p>Miley Cyrus</p>

Miley Cyrus

Credit: AP Photo

Miley Cyrus stomps Justin Bieber's Vevo record for most-viewed clip in 24 hours

'We Can't Stop' vs 'Beauty and The Beat'

They may have had a flirtation going on a few weeks ago, according to the tabloids, but now, Miley Cyrus is definitely coming out on top. Her odd video for “We Can’t Stop” broke Justin Bieber’s record for most views in 24 hours on Vevo.

Vevo broke the news via a tweet. It was a close race, but on June 19, its first day of release, Cyrus’s Diane Martel-directed video drew 10.7 million views, slipping ahead of Biebs’ “Beauty and The Beat,” which tallied 10.6 million views, according to Mashable

[More after the jump...]


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<p>Robin Thicke</p>

Robin Thicke

Credit: AP Photo

Robin Thicke's 'Blurred Lines' makes it 3 weeks atop the Billboard Hot 100

Bruno Mars also has reason to celebrate

Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines,” his first No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100, stays in the top spot for the third consecutive week. The track, featuring Pharrell and T.I., continues to gain airplay and sales. This week, the tune sold 424,000 copies, giving it the highest weekly tally for a song in 2013.

“Blurred Lines’” competitor for song of the summer, Daft Punk’s “Get Lucky,” stays at No. 2, while the tune, which also features Pharrell, celebrates its sixth week at No. 1 on Billboard’s Dance/Electronic Songs chart.

Imagine Dragons’ “Radioactive” climbs 4-3, entering the top 3 for its first time in its 43rd week on the chart. Florida Georgia Line’s “Cruise,” featuring Nelly moves 6-4 in its 38th week on the Billboard Hot 100 (Both songs started at other formats and then crossed over).

Miley Cyrus’s “We Can’t Stop” zooms into the Top 10, soaring 27-5, making her seventh Top 10 hit and her first since “Party In The U.S.A.”  rose to No. 2 in 2009.

In the bottom half of the top 10, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis’ “Can’t Hold Us” drops 3-6 and Justin Timberlake’s “Mirrors” falls 5-7.

Bruno Mars joins Cyrus as the other new entry to the top 10 as “Treasure,” his 11th Top 10,  jumps 11-8. Selena Gomez’s “Come & Get It” slips 8-9, while Pink’s “Just Give Me A Reason,” featuring Nate Ruess, goes 7-10.

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<p>Bruce Springsteen</p>

Bruce Springsteen

Credit: Jo Lopez

Bruce Springsteen already prepping new album

He took Tom Morello into the studio with him

Though he’s knee-deep in a European tour, Bruce Springsteen is already hard at work on his follow-up to 2012’s “Wrecking Ball.”

"I have a lot of material. I still feel like I'm in the middle of the well,” The Boss told Rolling Stone.

And while you wouldn’t think there would be many firsts left for him, Springsteen cut tracks while on tour in Australia with guitarist Tom Morello, who was filling in for Steve Van Zandt. "We've never had a recording session during a tour in our lives. We did a couple of things that I wanted to put down. So that was very exciting. And being with Tommy was exciting. The band – Steven, Nils, all those guys – continues to be a source of inspiration for me."

He wouldn’t give any details about the direction or when a release date could approach, but just added that after the tour ends in September, he’ll be back at it (which also means for all of us hoping for more U.S. dates, the answer is no...).

"A week or two later, after stopping, I'm in the studio working, making a demo. You stop the performing for awhile, because this level of intensity. . . You need a break from it."

Last week, Springsteen and the E Street Band performed “Born To Run” in full, dedicating it to Van Zandt’s “The Sopranos” co-star James Gandolfini, who died June 19.


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<p>Mariah Carey</p>

Mariah Carey

Credit: FOX

Mariah Carey delays release of album

No new street date for 'The Art Of Letting Go'

It would appear that Mariah Carey has not learned the art of letting go. Carey, whose album, “The Art Of Letting Go,” was slated for a July 23 release, has been pushed back.

In a tweet to fans Monday night, Carey said, “While making this album, I got so immersed in the creative process that I just don’t feel I would be doing it justice to release it on 7/23.” And then later, “I’d rather not exclude meaningful songs. I want to give you this album as it’s meant to be heard. When I’m ready, you’ll be the first 2 know.”

That could be code for “we need more hits” or “I don’t want to do all this promo stuff right now” or it could really mean that she wants to rework the album, though calling it back a month before release for an artist as big as Carey is a bit of a major step given that the marketing campaign was surely already in place for a July 23 drop.

As far as we know, Carey will still perform at the 2013 BET Awards on June 30 and for free in Central Park on July 13 as part of a Major League Baseball’s Sandy Relief efforts.


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<p>Macklemore and Ryan Lewis</p>

Macklemore and Ryan Lewis

Could Macklemore & Ryan Lewis's 'Same Love' be Top 40's first 'historic' same-sex radio hit?

As we await SCOTUS' ruling, it certainly looks that way

Could Macklemore & Ryan Lewis’s “Same Love” be the first same-sex anthem to be a Top 40 radio hit?

The answer looks like yes.

The song, the latest single from “The Heist,” was No. 33 on the Billboard Top 40 last week (we’ll have the new numbers on Wednesday). That chart comprises radio play, Youtube and other online streaming, and digital sales, so a wildly popular video, such as Baauer's "Harlem Shuffle" can top the chart without receiving much radio airplay. More importantly in terms of radio airwaves, the song leaps six places this week to No. 24 on the Billboard’s Mainstream Top 40 chart with an additional 905 spins from last week. Of the 159 radio stations reporting to Billboard, 130 are playing the song.

While Lady Gaga’s “Born This Way,” which debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100, affirmed acceptance for all including the LBGT community,  “Same Love” would be the first song to reach the top 20 to embrace the concept of gay marriage. (To be sure, there have been gay anthems that have hit the Top 40 before,  like  The Village People's "YMCA" or Frankie Goes To Hollywood's "Relax." Plus, we also have to give a shout out to Garth Brooks' "We Shall Be Free," which reached No. 12 on Billboard's Hot Country Singles & Tracks chart in 1992, and included the line "When we're free to love anyone we choose," a shout out to same-sex couples.)

And it not now, when? Here are a few reasons why:

**The timing is perfect as the country awaits the U.S. Supreme Court decision on the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and Prop 8 tomorrow.

**Macklemore & Ryan Lewis are dominating Top 40 right now, coming off of back-to-back No. 1 smashes with “Thrift Shop” and “Can’t Hold Us,” and programmers are eager to keep the hit parade coming. Unlike Adult Contemporary, which will hold onto a song for months in heavy rotation, Top 40 is eager to keep the churn going.

**Top 40 listeners skew young, including the prized 18-24 demographic. In poll after poll, that age group has shown little resistance to the notion of gay marriage, so even in conservative states, it’s possible that the song could receive less blowback than one would traditionally think.

Over a spritely piano bed of The Impressions’ “People Get Ready,” Macklemore raps about his thoughts on how it’s time for gay marriage to be the law (the song was written in support of Washington state’s referendum on legalizing same-sex marriage in 2012). He hits on a vast array of points, including how if he were gay, he’d be upset about how hip-hop treats gays; those who cling to Bible verses to support their opposition to gay marriage, and suicide rates among gays. “A certificate on paper isn’t going to solve it all/but it’s a damn good start,” he sings.

His words are framed around Mary Lambert’s soulful singing of both the refrain,“I can’t change even if I tried/even if I wanted to,” and the opening words of 1 Corinthians 13, “Love is patient, love is kind.”

Warner Bros. began officially working the song at Top 40 after “Can’t Hold Us” peaked at No. 1.  "It was as pre-sold as a hit song can be. It could have happened while 'Thrift Shop' was a hit. It should have happened while marriage equality was [first argued] in front of the Supreme Court. That it didn't was as much the nature of radio and label priorities as the subject matter,” says Sean Ross, author of the Ross on Radio column and purveyor of more radio knowledge than anyone I’ve ever met. He adds that the song is still "weeks away"  from having its greatest impact at radio, meaning it's still building steam.

The song had a brief run at Top 40 radio when it was originally released in support of the Washington referendum last year and has been on YouTube and floating around for nearly a year, but now it is getting the full-court press from Warner Bros., which means that stations that may have been reluctant to jump on it earlier may now.

Calling it “historic,” if the song becomes a major Top 40 hit, Gary Trust, Billboard’s associate director of charts/radio, says he thinks the time could be right. “It’s edgy lyrically, but with the whole topic of marriage equality being so mainstream, maybe there won’t be any barriers. Maybe now more than any other time it would have a better chance...it would be a historic barometer at Top 40 of where the audiences are.”

As he also notes, though they are few and far between, it wouldn’t be the first time a message song has made a dint on the Top 40, citing such songs as Helen Reddy’s “I Am Woman”  No. 1 hit in 1972, which celebrated the women’s movement.

Ross also likes “Same Love’s” chances: “As a long-ish recitation—of the sort that was more common in the '60s— it could conceivably run its course quickly or hit the research buzz saw in a few weeks, but all signs are strong today.”

Below the embed are the lyrics to the tremendously moving song (courtesy www.azlyrics.com)


"SAME LOVE" lyrics

When I was in the third grade I thought that I was gay,
'Cause I could draw, my uncle was, and I kept my room straight.
I told my mom, tears rushing down my face
She's like "Ben you've loved girls since before pre-k, trippin' "
Yeah, I guess she had a point, didn't she?
Bunch of stereotypes all in my head.
I remember doing the math like, "Yeah, I'm good at little league"
A preconceived idea of what it all meant
For those that liked the same sex
Had the characteristics
The right wing conservatives think it's a decision
And you can be cured with some treatment and religion
Man-made rewiring of a predisposition
Playing God, aw nah here we go
America the brave still fears what we don't know
And God loves all his children, is somehow forgotten
But we paraphrase a book written thirty-five-hundred years ago
I don't know

And I can't change
Even if I tried
Even if I wanted to
And I can't change
Even if I try
Even if I wanted to
My love
My love
My love
She keeps me warm
She keeps me warm
She keeps me warm
She keeps me warm

If I was gay, I would think hip-hop hates me
Have you read the YouTube comments lately?
"Man, that's gay" gets dropped on the daily
We become so numb to what we're saying
A culture founded from oppression
Yet we don't have acceptance for 'em
Call each other faggots behind the keys of a message board
A word rooted in hate, yet our genre still ignores it
Gay is synonymous with the lesser
It's the same hate that's caused wars from religion
Gender to skin color, the complexion of your pigment
The same fight that led people to walk outs and sit ins
It's human rights for everybody, there is no difference!
Live on and be yourself
When I was at church they taught me something else
If you preach hate at the service those words aren't anointed
That holy water that you soak in has been poisoned
When everyone else is more comfortable remaining voiceless
Rather than fighting for humans that have had their rights stolen
I might not be the same, but that's not important
No freedom till we're equal, damn right I support it

(I don't know)

And I can't change
Even if I tried
Even if I wanted to
My love
My love
My love
She keeps me warm
She keeps me warm
She keeps me warm
She keeps me warm

We press play, don't press pause
Progress, march on
With the veil over our eyes
We turn our back on the cause
Till the day that my uncles can be united by law
When kids are walking 'round the hallway plagued by pain in their heart
A world so hateful some would rather die than be who they are
And a certificate on paper isn't gonna solve it all
But it's a damn good place to start
No law is gonna change us
We have to change us
Whatever God you believe in
We come from the same one
Strip away the fear
Underneath it's all the same love
About time that we raised up

And I can't change
Even if I tried
Even if I wanted to
And I can't change
Even if I try
Even if I wanted to
My love
My love
My love
She keeps me warm
She keeps me warm
She keeps me warm
She keeps me warm
Love is patient
Love is kind
Love is patient
Love is kind
(I'm not crying on Sundays)
Love is patient
(I'm not crying on Sundays)
Love is kind
(I'm not crying on Sundays)
Love is patient
(I'm not crying on Sundays)
Love is kind
(I'm not crying on Sundays)
Love is patient
(I'm not crying on Sundays)
Love is kind
(I'm not crying on Sundays)
Love is patient
Love is kind

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Watch: 5 things to learn about One Direction in new 'This Is Us' trailer

Watch: 5 things to learn about One Direction in new 'This Is Us' trailer

Plus, hear a snippet of new tune, 'Best Song Ever'

It’s as if little elves woke from their slumber, consulted the teen idol manual that hasn’t changed since Elvis or the Beatles, and then worked their little elf magic to craft the perfect movie trailer for One Direction’s  3D movie, “This Is Us”

[More after the jump...]

 Here are five things you will learn about the British-Irish lads from the clip, all of which will absolutely SHOCK you:

*All they ever wanted to do was sing:
“When I was little I knew I wanted to entertainment people,” says Harry. Adds Niall: “I used to get kicked out of class for singing Irish traditional songs.”

*They are totally adorbs:  They skateboard backstage, laugh, resort to funny, goofball Beatles-type antics such as fishing each other out of the sea, and tearing their too tight trousers, all in G-rated fashion. Even though they were a totally pre-fabricated group, they never, ever argue and love each other like brothers.

*They love their fans:  “I know they love me, even though they don’t know me,” says a teenage girl on the beach, quivering with overpowering adolescent love (don’t laugh, we’ve all been there.....)

*They are good boys: See  Zayn’s mom cry as she’s handed the keys TO HER NEW HOUSE because every single teen idol in the history of teen idol-dom has bought his parents a new house. It’s in the handbook. See the other moms resort to kissing cardboard cut-outs of their sons at night since they are always on the road, spreading their love to their fans.

*They crave adventure: “When you come somewhere completely new, it’s really exciting,” says one of them. And it would be almost believable if it weren’t said by one of the band members in a voiceover that sounds so void of life, so exhausted that it verges on comical.  And then poor Niall has to figure out what to do with miso soup.

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<p>Skillet's &quot;Rise&quot;</p>

Skillet's "Rise"

Credit: Atlantic Records

Album Review: Skillet's 'Rise' burns with intensity

From sin to salvation in 12 hard-churning songs

With “Rise,” platinum Christian hard rock bank Skillet has its eyes set on creating its own rock opera a la Green Day’s “American Idiot.”

Lead singer John Cooper, who comes off like a raspy Chester Bennington from Linkin Park, told Billboard  that the album, out Tuesday (25) is filtered through the eyes of a teenage “coming into adulthood and he’s faced by the horrors that we see every day — floods, bombings, earthquakes school shootings... It’s about his path to salvation and wanting to be significant in some way.”  Along the way, he is bombarded ceaselessly with images and feelings  of horror, cynicism, and despair.

The album opens with the title track, which serves as a call to arms: “The time to change it all... united and fight to make a better life,” Cooper screams.  “Tonight we rise,” he says in a clever take off on the more traditional “tonight we ride.” As he and drummer/vocalist Jen Ledger trade off vocals (as they do on several tunes), the song takes on a Paramore-like feel.

At the end of the song, we hear a 911 call from a teacher telling the operator “there’s a guy here with a gun,” as she tells the children to take cover, as well as news reports about economic failure. It’s meant to reflect the stress of the times (our protagonist’s father is also telling him he’ll never amount to anything), but the 911 call  just sounds exploitive.

The aggressive album vacillates between the full-throttled angst and anger that comes with being a teen, such as on the hardest-rocking song on the album, single “Sick of It,” and songs that double as traditional love songs or about one’s relationship with God or Jesus, such as on “Fire and Fury”:  “Destiny’s gotta hold on me/I guess I never knew love like love knows me/I need to feel you here with me/I will burn/I will die for you.” It’s to Skillet’s credit that the songs never sound watered down,when it comes to faith, but are universal enough in their appeal to speak to whomever is listening.

Skillet goes into overdrive on the  tremendously-busy “Not Gonna Die.” Strings are furiously played, drums stomp, all in service of trying to replicate the urgency of the “stand and fight forever” lyrics. Fans of Evanescence will appreciate the “Wake Me Up” feel of the tune.

The one-two punch continues with “Circus For a Psycho,” an unrelenting slab of angst that opens with an Yngwie Malmsteen-like guitar lightning round that threads its way through the song.

From there, the tension breaks into ballad, “American Noise,” one of the album’s strongest cuts, and a welcome relief from the bombast. If we were still in a vinyl era, “American Noise” would start side two.  After reaching a breakdown, the rocking isn’t over, but the desire to find some relief and take back some power starts to prevail.

On the swaggering “My Religion,” Cooper declares, “Who’s going to make me whole/nobody but you... you’re the only sanctuary that I know,” before declaring that he needs no steeple or priest or pew, in a song that some will see as heretic, while others will see as a direct profession of faith. The inclusion of “Amazing Grace” is a nice touch.

By the  time Cooper and Ledger are singing “Down on my knees, you are what I believe” on closing tune, “What I Believe,” there’s no doubt that one journey has ended, while another is just beginning.

Skillet, which hasn’t released an album since 2009’s platinum “Awake,” takes an all-in approach to “Rise,” and their level of commitment is admirable. Every note of the Howard Benson-production  feels like it is there to convey an emotion and there is a laudable sense of in-the-moment intensity that makes up for any of the overwrought moments.


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<p>Mumford &amp; Sons</p>

Mumford & Sons

Credit: Glassnote

Mumford & Sons set late summer tour

British quartet announces new dates for postponed June shows

Mumford & Sons will embark on a month-long tour in August.

The Full English Tour, as the British quartet has dubbed the outing, includes four of the dates the group had to postpone following Ted Dwane’s brain surgery in June. The missed Bonnaroo date, obviously, is not rescheduled, but shows in Dallas, Woodland, Texas; New Orleans and Kansas City are.

Supporting acts are The Vaccines and Bear’s Den.

To purchase tickets, fans need to register at http://invitation.mumfordandsons.com/. Registrants will then get an email detailing how they can buy tickets.

8/26 - Molson Canadian Amphitheatre - Toronto, ON - Canada
8/28 - Forest Hills Stadium - Queens, NY (Gentlemen Of The Road presents)
8/29 - First Niagara Pavilion - Burgettstown, PA
9/02 - Klipsch Music Center - Noblesville, IN
9/03 - Marcus Amphitheater - Milwaukee, WI
9/04 - Xcel Energy Center - Saint Paul, MN
9/09 - Oak Mountain Amphitheatre - Pelham, AL
9/10 - Centennial Olympic Park - Atlanta, GA
9/11 - Charter Amphitheatre - Simpsonville, SC
9/16 - New Orleans LA @ Mardi Gras World*
9/17 - Woodlands TX @ Cynthia Woods Pavilion*
9/18 - Dallas TX @ GEXA Energy Pavilion*
9/20 - Bonner Springs KS @ Cricket Wireless Amphitheatre*
*supporting acts to be announced

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