Heads up, Britney Spears fans. Something Britney this way comes on Sept. 17.
Spears posted a countdown clock on her website today with the words “Britney Spears” and “All Eyes On Me” with the clock counting down the days, hours, minutes and seconds to some big event.
Is it a new single? A new album? Her long-awaited Las Vegas residency a Planet Hollywood?
We know that Spears has been working on a new album. She’s talked about it plenty without really saying anything in that Spears-ian way of hers.
She’s collaborating with William Orbit, Naughty Boy, and will.i.am, who is the executive producer for her eighth studio set.
Spears told Ryan Seacrest in June, “Will has a lot of really interesting different tracks that I've listened to that are really cool that I haven't actually written on yet, but there's a lot of guitar and I think people will be surprised with this album. It's gong to be really different."
Given that Spears says she and will.i.am were in the “beginning stages” in June, it seems unlikely that Sept. 17 will signal an album release. Maybe it’s more news about a potential album release. We will add, however, that albums drop on Tuesdays and Sept. 17 is a Tuesday.
As far as “All Eyes On Me,” an eagle-eyed commenter on Billboard.com, noted that the phrase appears in the words to Spears’ song, “Circus.” I’m not really sure there’s anything to be made from that, but there you go.
What do you think will happen on Sept. 17?
Heads up, Britney Spears fans. Something Britney this way comes on Sept. 17.
If the Sony product placement at the very beginning of Avril Lavigne’s video for her new song, “Rock N Roll,” doesn’t stop you in your tracks, her stilted acting will.
Lavigne plays a comic book bad-ass come to life in a post-apocalyptic world. Call her "Mad Avril," if you will. Lavigne may be a lot of things—including a spunky, strong singer— but an actress is not one of them. It’s almost painful to watch her try to emote her way through her tough-girl antics.
[More after the jump...]
Following the New York Post’s report that ‘N Sync will reunite at MTV’s Video Music Awards on Sunday (Aug. 25), speculation is running rampant about the boy band’s first performance together in 10 years.
MTV isn’t confirming, but the Post presents the news as fact (not that that makes it true), but Timberlake has already been announced as a performer (and recipient of the Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award), so it would seem a cinch to get his former bandmates, J.C. Chasez, Lance Bass, Joey Fatone, and Chris Kirkpatrick to join him.
The NY Post adds fuel to the fire by noting that the foursome were all at Timberlake and Jay Z’s Aug. 16 performance in Miami. What a perfect time to rehearse, right? (On a separate note, we saw Fatone Aug. 15 in “Celebrity Autobiography” in Los Angeles — a show where actors read aloud from other celebrities’ autobiographies—and he was hilarious. Great comedic timing).
If the reunion is true, we hope it’s got more teeth than the Destiny’s Child Super Bowl reunion earlier this year.
Here are our six suggestions:
1. ‘N Sync covers Timberlake’s “Sexyback” with their trademark robotic dance moves, then segues into Timberlake’s “Cry Me a River” with their beautiful harmonies. Or 'N Sync's "Gone" into "River" works.
2. The group recreates their “Bye Bye Bye” video, complete with their performance as marionettes on a string and Chris Kirkpatrick’s bright orange jacket and the anti-gravity moves.
3. The boys perform a mash-up of “Mirrors” and “This I Promise You.” They’re both about finding a lasting love, right?
4. They are brave enough to come out with their hair styles from the “I Drive Myself Crazy” era. If you have scrubbed that from your brain, Chris Kirkpatrick was sporting the helicopter dreads on tops of his head (what was he thinking) and both Lance Bass and Justin Timberlake’s hair was so platinum blond it glowed in the dark.
5. They salute boy bands from the past, including the Jackson 5 (They could go from J5’s “I Want You Back” into their same-titled song) and New Kids on The Block’s “Step By Step.”
6. ‘N Sync starts with their own tune and then calls up the members of One Direction to officially pass the boy band torch, ending the performance with “Best Song Ever.”
What do you want to see?
Whether it was life slapping him around a bit, his lengthy recovery from his vocal surgery, or just a general maturing, over the course of 2012’s excellent, underrated “Born and Raised” and “Paradise Valley,” John Mayer’s sturdy new album out today, Mayer has found his voice again. And a confidence that he never previously possessed.
Even though Mayer is only 35, he’s developed an old soul. He’s talked in interviews about not really fitting in at mainstream radio anymore and that may be true, but his former pop sheen has been replaced with something that sounds a lot like career longevity.
Almost everything on “Paradise Valley” has an unrushed, pleasing, timeless feel to it that never sounds forced. It’s tempting to use the word tasteful, if it weren’t now a polite synonym for boring and bland, which “Paradise Valley” is absolutely not.
Don Was, who produced “Born And Raised” and co-produces with Mayer here, has created an intimacy that feels as if Mayer is playing in your living room. His vocals and his guitars are closely miked and there’s a lot of air around the notes. Just as the recording sounds unhurried, it also sounds blessedly uncrowded, a rarity these days. Most songs have wide open spaces to let the notes breathe and let the excellent musicianship shine through.
Mayer has always had a ear tuned toward country and he lets it flourish on “You’re No One ‘Til Someone Lets You Down,” a Randy Newman-like amusing, yet pointed, look at love gone sour with an extremely pliant pedal steel solo by the master, Paul Franklin, as well as Chet Atkins-type playing by Mayer.
Franklin returns for another of “Paradise Valley’s” finest tracks, “Dear Marie,” a swaying, chugging country cut about looking up a lost love. “From time to time, I go looking for your photograph online/some kind of judge in Ohio is all I find,” Mayer sings. There’s a simple beauty and truth to the track.
The piano ballad, “I Will Be Lost (At Sea),” has a sure touch, anchored by Chuck Leavell’s gorgeous keyboards, and lyrically, it speaks of a certain redemption no matter how rough the water. It feels like that redemption may be here now for Mayer.
If you need more proof that this is not your Mayer of yore, he’s looking for longtime love on “Waitin’ On The Day,” a gentle ode to fidelity that is as far from “Your Body Is A Wonderland” as possible. Similarly, on the lilting “Who You Love,” featuring his current girlfriend and co-writer Katy Perry, Mayer and Perry address the joy of falling in love with someone when you least expect it. It’s sweet and deliberately non-showy, although Perry's giggle at the end is a little twee. Perry’s not the only love interest referenced here: first single, “Paper Doll” (with its of-the-moment Prancercising video) is rumored to be about Taylor Swift.
Other than Perry, the other high-wattage guest is Frank Ocean on “Wildfire,” a 88-second emotional track with Ocean on lead about a suicidal friend. A second “Wildfire” serves as Mayer’s response to Ocean’s song.
Mayer wrote all the tracks here except for Ocean’s “Wildfire,” and a southern fried cover of the late JJ Cale’s “Call Me The Breeze,” which just drops off as if it were a first take. Like most of the songs here, Mayer’s clean, crisp guitar playing is surrounded with the lightest of accompaniment: drums, bass and keyboard. When the players are as accomplished as these, no further embellishment is needed.
The next album from the Foo Fighters is already written and fans can expect to hear it in 2014.
After telling Hitfix at South X Southwest in March that the new set was in the “very earliest stages,” head Foo Dave Grohl told London radio station XM a few days ago that progress has definitely been made: "We have been in our studio writing and in the past few weeks we've written an album, and we are going to make this album in a way that no one's ever done before and we're pretty excited about it," he's quoted as saying. "It's a little ways off — it's not ready to happen right now, but I think next year is going to be a really big year for the Foo Fighters without question."
It’s hard to imagine that there’s a new way to make an album: the Foos have recorded live, analog, digital, in a garage, in a home studio, in a professional studio... how many other options are there?
In case you needed further confirmation, Foo guitarist Chris Shiflett told Rolling Stone over the weekend, before a Chris Shiflett and the Dead Peasants show in San Luis Obispo, Calif., the band is already playing together again. “”We actually just started making a new Foo Fighters record within the last few weeks,” he said. “We’ve started rehearsing...we’re going to start recording the new Foo Fighters record at the beginning of next year.”
All this news comes a year after Grohl said the Foo Fighters wouldn’t play again for a “long time,” but maybe he means there will be no tour behind the next album or maybe, thankfully, “long time” means something different to Grohl than to the rest of us. He completely dodges the rumor of some small Foo Fighter gigs in the U.K. next year in the XM interview.
Regardless, even Shiflett is surprised the band is coming back together so soon. “I knew we weren’t done,” he says about Grohl’s “long time” comments, “but I just thought it’d be a little longer. But whatever —it’s good. It’s good getting back to work.” The album will be the group's first since 2011's "Wasting Light."
In the XM interview, Grohl also talks about the release of 20th anniversary, 70-track deluxe re-release of Nirvana’s “In Utero," out Sept. 24. “It’s hard to believe that much time has gone by,” he says, admitting that so much of the past two decades feels like a “blur.” He's most excited for fans to hear some improv tunes in Brazil. "Whenever I hear that, it really reminds me what it was like to be in Nirvana," he says. "I don't like listening to In 'Utero,'" he says with a bittersweet laugh. "It's too real. We hit record and we managed to honestly capture the emotional state of the band and it was a weird time for us. It was dark. It was kind of a little too real. It's the most honest recording I've ever made in my entire life." He calls it "heartbreaking" that they aren't making music anymore, following Cobain's 1994 death.
He also jokes about taking his kids to Nirvana’s exhibit at Seattle’s Experience Music Project. “They really couldn’t care,” he laughed.
As MTV’s 2013 Video Music Awards approach, we’ll countdown to the Aug. 25 ceremony, which airs live at 9 p.m. ET from Brooklyn’s Barclays Center.
Justin Timberlake and Macklemore & Ryan Lewis lead the nominations with six each, closely followed by Bruno Mars, Pink, Robin Thicke, Miley Cyrus and Thirty Seconds To Mars.
Among the artists performing on the show are Lady Gaga, who will open the awards; Timberlake, Mars, and Cyrus.
We’ll look at a different category each day leading up to Aug. 25.
BEST MALE VIDEO
Justin Timberlake, "Mirrors"
Robin Thicke feat. T.I. and Pharrell, "Blurred Lines"
Bruno Mars, "Locked Out of Heaven"
Ed Sheeran, "Lego House"
Kendrick Lamar, "Swimming Pools"
The Contenders: JT’s “Mirrors” is an epic production that spawns the story of a couple’s tumultuous life together before evolving into an artsy dance number. Like “Mirrors,” Kendrick Lamar’s “Swimming Pools” takes an artsy approach to the story of his drunk father and Lamar’s relationship with alcohol. Robin Thicke’s clip features nearly naked women, which would make it the instant frontrunner, but there’s been enough backlash that it may suffer among female voters. Bruno Mars’ “Locked Out Of Heaven” is a fuzzy club performance with ‘70s gauzy effects. Ed Sheeran’s video for “Lego House” is sweet, lowkey, and slighty creepy, but it doesn’t really compare with the others, unless you’re a huge Sheeran fan. In that case, the scenes of stalker Rupert Grint impersonating Sheehan as he walks through town in his red hoodie straight onto stage (and into the arms of awaiting security) will have you rooting for the British songwriter. Timberlake’s video is the most elaborate and artistic of the bunch, but the second half could also strike some as pretentious. When in doubt, go for the boobies, especially since the award is fan voted, and the fact that “Blurred Lines” is not just the song of the summer, it’s the song of 2013.
Who Should Win: “Mirrors,” Justin Timberlake
Who Will Win: “Blurred Lines,” Robin Thicke
Who are you rooting for?
Jack White, Mumford & Sons’ Marcus Mumford, the Avett Brothers, Colin Meloy of The Decemberists, and The Punch Brothers will play a benefit concert at New York’s Town Hall on Sept. 29 to promote “Inside Llewyn Davis.”
The film’s music supervisor and long-time Joel and Ethan Coen collaborator T Bone Burnett organized the concert, dubbed “Another Day, Another Time: Celebrating the Music of ‘Inside Llewyn Davis'," along with the Coen Brothers. Proceeds from the event will go to the National Recording Preservation Foundation.
Burnett revealed to Hitfix in May at Cannes that some concerts were planned around the movie’s release. "I don't think we're going to do a tour, but we're going to do a series of shows," Burnett said. "I guess we should announce it. Are we ready? I don't know when we're supposed to talk about this, but we're going to do a series of shows. There won't be a tour. I won't say that." The team produced a very successful series of shows around the music of "O Brother Where Art Thou" more than a decade ago.
The Joel and Ethan Coen movie is one of the main selections announced today for the 51st annual New York Film Festival, which runs Sept. 27-Oct. 13. Following its bow at the Cannes International Film Festival this Spring, where it won the Grand Prix, the movie about a folk singer in the ‘60s in New York’s Greenwich Villlage, will skip the Toronto Film Festival.
Also on the "Another Day, Another Time" bill are Joan Baez, Rhiannon Giddens of Caroline Chocolate Drops, Milk Carton Kids, Conor Oberst, Patti Smith, Gillian Welch and Dave Rawlings, as well as Oscar Isaac, Carey Mulligan, John Goodman, and Stark Sands, all of whom appear in "Inside Llewyn Davis."
Marcus Mumford serves as an associate producer on the movie’s soundtrack, which comes out Nov. 12 on Nonesuch. He also appears on the track, “The Auld Triangle.” Other artists on the soundtrack include the film’s stars Isaac, Mumford’s wife Carey Mulligan, and Justin Timberlake, as well as Bob Dylan.
It’s a big fall for Kelly Clarkson. Not only is she getting married, but on Oct. 29, she’ll deliver a little bundle in the form of “Wrapped in Red,” a holiday album.
Clarkson announced the Christmas set way back in April, telling CMT Radio Live host Cody Allan, “I’ve been dying to make a Christmas record for more than a decade and I’m finally making one,” she says, but details had been scant until now.
“Wrapped In Red” will include two new holiday-themed tracks, “Underneath the Tree” and “Wrapped In Red,” as well as Clarkson’s covers of such standards as “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas,” “Blue Christmas,” “Run Run Rudolph,” and “Please Come Home For Christmas.” A full track listing is forthcoming.
“Underneath The Tree,” written by Clarkson and Greg Kurstin, who also produced the track, will be the first single. The cover for "Wrapped In Red" features an elegant profile shot of Clarkson, wrapped, appropriately enough, in red.
In the meantime, Clarkson’s one-off country single, “Tie It Up,” continues to garner country airplay and will remain a stand-alone single, for now. It will not be included on “Wrapped In Red” as a bonus track, according to her label, RCA.
The first "American Idol" winner is on tour with Maroon 5 through Oct. 6.
Are you as excited as Clarkson for her holiday album?
Lady Gaga continues her one-woman performance art with the very theatrical video for “Applause,” which she premiered on “Good Morning America” today.
Shot primarily in black and white by Dutch photographers Inez & Vinoodh, “Applause” shows there is nothing Lady Gaga won’t do to get your attention, whether it’s catching a knife between her teeth, turning into a swan, popping out of a magician’s hat, dancing maniacally, or writhing around in a clam shell bikini. Because, damn it, she wants your “Applause,” but she is willing to work for it.
There are art/film references aplenty from pop artist Jeff Koons, whom she mentions in the lyrics, to Fellini to even Janet Jackson’s Rolling Stone cover with someone else shielding her breasts.
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This week HitFix is revisiting some of the key turning points in recent entertainment history and considering what would have happened if history had turned a bit differently. What if...?
In the early and mid- 2000s, the Destiny’s Child line-up of Beyonce Knowles, Kelly Rowland and Michelle Williams ruled the pop charts with the trio’s bootylicious pop/R&B mix, selling more than 60 million albums worldwide before disbanding in 2005.
What if Destiny’s Child hadn’t broken up?