<p>Lady Gaga promotes her album in Berlin this week with a mustache</p>

Lady Gaga promotes her album in Berlin this week with a mustache

Credit: AP Photo

3 on 3: Has Lady Gaga lost her way?

Is Momma Monster still on the right track?

Lady Gaga's new album, "ArtPop," comes out Nov. 11, and almost every day now brings a snippet of a new song or new artwork. But in many ways, it feels as though some of the excitement for Lady Gaga has died down from the fever pitch of the last few years. For example, even though "Applause" did well, peaking at No. 4 on the Billboard Hot 100, it wasn't the radio smash that some of her past hits have been. Plus, it's a crowded field out there for female artists right now, so artists like Katy Perry and Miley Cyrus are grabbing the spotlight for themselves.

In this round of 3 on 3, we question if Lady Gaga is still on the best career path or has she lost her way a little.

Has Lady Gaga’s pop spotlight  between eclipsed by Katy Perry and Miley Cyrus? Should she wait until next year to put out her album?

Gregory Ellwood: No, for someone who is the media cross hairs 24/7 pushing the album would be something of a publicity nightmare. Every reporter and commentator would be  At this point, her record company should just have lowered expectations internally or the album (which feels like Gaga's version of Madonna's "American Life").  What's unclear is if there is really a solid hit single on the rest of the album. "Applause" might have underperformed because of bad timing and Gaga's insistence of going all - for lack of a better word - "arty" with her promotion.  Is there really anything better on the album? We haven't seen any evidence of that so far.

Katie Hasty: I think those are very different artists who are popular for very different reasons. And the reasons that Lady Gaga feels a little eclipsed right now is because the reasons she became popular feels like they're on trial. The larger-than-life performances, the social messaging, the arty-ness of her brand is just not hitting in the massive way it had before. But that doesn't mean she should change it up, even for a less saturated release date. I love Lady Gaga, or at least the idea of her, so she should just keep beating her own drum.

Melinda Newman: Miley Cyrus has definitely stolen some of Lady Gaga’s thunder: one only has to look back to MTV VMAs  to know that: Lady Gaga opened the show with the world premiere performance of “Applause,” and yet no one was talking about that around the water cooler the next day (nor were they talking about Perry’s show closing performance). It was Miley 24/7 for several days. Gaga has an endless supply of tricks so she might want to pull a few of them out between now and 11/11. As for pushing the album back into 2014: no way. She will own the week of release; no other major commercial artist is coming out that day, so she has the field to herself. Beside, pundits are estimating “ArtPop” will sell up to 450,000 in its first week. Cyrus sold around 270,000 and Perry will top out around 300,000, so Lady Gaga still has it.

Are her other antics, such as appearing nude in the yoga/meditation video, fighting with Perez Hilton, and her other Twitter rants taking away from the music or just part of her celebrity?

Gregory Ellwood: Compared to some of her peers her public antics actually are not that bad. Gaga's problem at the moment is that she's just taking herself just a bit too seriously which is framing her music in an unfavorable light (and leading to some questionable creative decisions). This has actually been something of an issue for the past two years or so, but "Gaga" got away with it during the success of "Born this Way." At this point, the club-fun persona of "The Fame" and "The Fame Monster" is long gone and an overly preachy performer stands in her place. And, well, it's just not as fun anymore to a majority of her crossover fans.

Katie Hasty: At times it seems Lady Gaga did much better with her rise to fame that she has maintaining it. Petty fights seem to be diluting what made her such a rare talent to begin with. Her appearing nude -- and not always in a pretty or sexy way -- has always been part of her celebrity, so in that case I think it give her at least the apparition of control over how she's perceived by her fans and her detractors. However, there's a hint that that control is lost when she goes on a tear online. It's a balance, for sure.

Melinda Newman: They are taking away from her music.  The meditation video felt like an almost desperate bid for publicity as she began gearing up for the “ArtPop” album cycle. As for the fight with Perez Hilton, such spats seem beneath someone who has strived so hard to show an almost preternatural love for her fellow misfits. Petty Lady Gaga isn’t a pretty. We’re used to her getting attention for her barely there and wacky outfits. Isn’t that enough?  Lady Gaga would have fit in perfectly with Andy Warhol’s Factory, but now, as in then, the artifice threatens to overwhelm the art.

Has any song you’ve heard from “ArtPop” so far gotten you excited about the album?
 
Gregory Ellwood: Sadly, just "Applause." The R.Kelly track is instantly forgettable and a misfire. Although, truth be told, it's fascinating to hear her morph into Grace Jones during parts of "Aura," but do you ever want to listen to it again?

Katie Hasty:I think "Applause" rules, it's very "her." I like the sexual vitriol of "Swine," there's something very "Bad Romance" cringe-y nasty about it. I'm just ready for a music video that makes me lose my mind, and so far I'm nonplussed.

Melinda Newman: Of the four songs I’ve heard, each has its moment, but none has held up as a song from start to finish that intrigues me.  Having said that, Lady Gaga’s music isn’t an instant grab for me. I usually find it has to seep in through repeated plays, something that first single “Applause,” has not done after several listening .While I like “Do What U Want” more than my colleagues, Katy and Greg, the only tune I’ve heard so far from “ArtPop” that feels it’s in Lady Gaga’s sweet spot is “Swine,” an EDM track that feels the least labored of any of the four tunes that have escaped so far.

 

Read Full Post
<p>Beyonce at her Oct. 16, 2013 concert</p>

Beyonce at her Oct. 16, 2013 concert

Credit: AP Photo

Pharrell on Beyonce's album: 'She's not going to put it out until it's ready'

Hit producer is also working on 'The Amazing Spiderman 2' score

Beyonce’s long awaited fifth studio album may be coming closer to being released. In an interview with Billboard, Pharrell, who has worked on the set along with a phalanx of other writers and producers, said Beyonce has been telling other people “Yeah, I’m almost done.” But he doesn’t sound like he’s so sure its arrival is imminent.

“B’s album is crazy. Let me tell you what it is,” he says. “She’s very particular. She’s a Virgo. And she’s not going to put it out until it’s ready and feels like it’s right to her. She’s got a very specific taste. I guess that’s the reason she’s Beyonce. Her name is recognizable around the globe and that’s huge. That comes from someone that has very particular taste. When you know what you want, you won’t stop until you get it.”
Plus, he adds that he’s going back into the studio with Queen B, so it sounds like we really might not get this one until 2014.

Beyonce has dropped a number of songs and/or song snippets over the past year and none of them have gained traction, despite being catchy: “Bow Down/I Been On,” “Grown Woman,” and “Standing On The Sun.” There’s no word if any of those tracks will be on the album.

In the meantime, as previously reported, The New York Daily News reported that Beyonce will drop a new single Dec. 3 and an accompanying video shot by Terry Richardson.

In addition to working with Beyonce —and appearing on the two biggest hits of the summer, Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines” and Daft Punk’s “Get Lucky,”  Pharrell is working with a number of other artists and collaborating with Hans Zimmer on scoring “The Amazing Spiderman 2.”




 

Read Full Post
<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

Read Full Post
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." 

Read Full Post
<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.

Read Full Post
<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)

Read Full Post
<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.

Read Full Post
<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"

Read Full Post
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.

Read Full Post
<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?

 

Read Full Post