<p>Justin Bieber at the Billboard Music Awards</p>

Justin Bieber at the Billboard Music Awards

Credit: AP Photo

3 On 3: Will Justin Bieber's 'Believe' concert documentary be a hit or flop?

HitFix's experts weigh in on the teen star's future and his need for an older audience

Justin Bieber has yet another concert documentary on the way, as it was announced over the weekend that new "Believe" will be shopped during the Toronto Film Festival later this month.

"Believe" --  titled after Bieber's platinum-selling album -- will be released by Open Road Films, on the heels of highly successful "Never Say Never" documentary from 2011. Director Jon M. Chu, who also shot "Never Say Never" will helm "Believe."

Below, three HitFix entertainment experts Melinda Newman, Gregory Ellwood and Katie Hasty sound off on three questions on Bieber and the doc. Will you be seeing "Believe" when it hits theaters? Sound off by voting in the poll below.
 

1. Is there still an audience for a Justin Bieber concert doc?

Melinda Newman: Absolutely. The Biebs has 44 million Twitter followers, more than any other creature in the Twitterverse. Even if only a tiny portion of the Beliebers show up for opening weekend, “Believe” will be a success. They haven't all switched their loyalties to One Direction.  His 2010 doc, “Never Say Never,” just missed joining the $100 million club. Bieber’s appeal has waned, but his 15 minutes aren’t over yet. The bigger question is how will this doc advance the story from “Never Said Never” since the same director, Jon M. Chu, seems to be tracing much of the same territory in the concert/behind-the-scenes doc.

Gregory Ellwood: Depending on the budget, maybe?  It's notable Paramount, who produced "Never Say Never," is not behind "Believe." Sure, they were burned with the "Katy Perry 3D: Part of Me," but "Never Say Never" made $73 million. Why wouldn't they jump at the chance for a sequel?  Instead, mini-major Open Road will release in the U.S. Not a major studio, but Open Road. The industry and Bieber fans should have much lower expectations this time around.

Katie Hasty:  Yes. There are still so many fans who want to see Justin Bieber graduate from teen idol to grown-up pop star, and this concert doc may be the message and the vantage point they’ll happily push, even if it’s the last time. During this “Believe” tour and promoting his album, Bieber tried very (very) hard to showcase the kind of dancer he can be, jumped behind different instruments and guested with a variety of artists who could amplify his talents as a star any pop lover could embrace. Fans would rather have a new album, but as a performer, this doc could be an easy stop-gap measure. Y’know, like an acoustic album.


2. Is this part of a concentrated effort to deal with Bieber backlash?

Newman: No doubt, but it’s a misguided one. Bieber’s manager, Scooter Braun, believes there’s a “witch hunt” going on against Bieber. That notion seems a bit reductive and paranoid: There have always been backlashes to teen idols and their haircuts and Bieber is no exception, but it’s hard to believe that people are actually gunning for the young star. Still, there’s no denying that Bieber’s star seems to have dimmed lately, but it’s hard to tell if that’s because he’s between album cycles or his era is coming to an end. The bigger point is that films of this kind are for the die-hard fans— they aren’t meant to make new converts— so with the “Believe” tour having recently concluded (and grossing $94 million, by the way), there was probably no shortage of footage to get out there and to help build the story for the next album, and chapter, of Bieber’s career.

Ellwood: Absolutely. And it's way to obvious a move. Bieber is on the verge of entering Chris Brown territory with the gossip rags. He can't escape controversy and unlike contemporaries Miley Cyrus, Demi Lomato and ex Selena Gomez his fan base may be starting to lose interest.  An artist controlled "documentary" will allow Bieber and his management to try and refocus his image on his music and not his personal life.  At this point, however, it may just be too late.

Hasty: Totally. Bieber, a 19-year-old, has gotten guff for essentially acting like a 19-year-old kid. Which, let’s be honest, is still fairly insufferable and threatens to worsen with each Grammy snub, each tabloid headline and each paparazzi scuffle. The best revenge is living well, and in Bieber’s case, performing well: if he shows up in his film and at premieres like a professional who keeps his nose clean, it could help his imaging as he transitions into his 20-somethings.


3. Two years ago many were saying that Bieber would be around for the long run.  Do you still believe that?

Newman:
No, simply because the shelf life for any teen idol is depressingly short and we can count on two hands those who have made the transition to adult artist (including Justin Timberlake and Michael Jackson). It’s hard to tell if his latest antics have simply been growing pains or if he’s committing self sabotage and he's ready to move on. Regardless,  Braun keeps referring to Bieber’s next song cycle as “music journal”  and that the release plan will be different than for a traditional album. Much more than how the new project is  delivered, the music for the next album will show whether there is a game plan beyond teen idol for the 19-year old Bieber.

Ellwood: Looking like a "no." Bieber may have had some crossover success with "Boyfriend" and  "Beauty and the Beat" (meaning: people over 18 bought it or thought it was cool enough to dance to), but 2013 has been a PR disaster.  Oh, and did we mention the "Believe" album sold less than his Christmas album the year before? If he can't dominate the charts like he did previously, the fall may come very, very fast.

Hasty: Justin Bieber needs to tread lightly. It won’t be his talent that holds him back, but his responses to criticism and to fame.  People aren’t sending your singles to No. 1? Make a better single. Haters booing you at an awards show? Thank your fans and win the rest over at a later date. You’re getting wasted on your weekends and racing your car? Don’t let people see you, and dial it back. Fame means giving up on a childhood or burning out on the thing that brought fame to begin with. Bieber can play the long game if he earns it beyond having a couple of hit records when he had every privilege as a youngster, the new kid, dance chops and a pretty face.

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Listen to M.I.A.'s poppy 'Come Walk With Me' in full

Listen to M.I.A.'s poppy 'Come Walk With Me' in full

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New album, 'Matangi,' comes out Nov. 5

Last spring, a snippet of M.I.A.’s new single, “Come Walk With Me” leaked, but the teaser last week revealed a reworked tune and the full version, released today, turns out to be a pop song that morphs into a psychedelic banger back to pop song and back to banger again.  In other words, it’s the perfect tune to wake you up and get you ready for the short work week after the three-day holiday.

It’s a deceptively sweet song: things seem all rosy as she sings “Can I be your best friend? Can I make it to the end,” until she innocently throws in, “It’s cool, it’s takes two, so I’m gonna still fu** with you.” She also threatens that "there are a thousand ways to track you down."  Stalk much? You can’t turn your back on this one for a minute.

“Come Walk With Me” is from “Matangi,” which will come out Nov. 5 (the same day as Eminem’s “MMLP2”), and is a reference to M.I.A.’s birth name, Mathangi, and the Hindu goddess of music.  As you may recall, “Matangi” has been pushed back a few times this year because, of all things, M.I.A. claimed that Interscope found it too “positive” and wanted her to make it darker.  I guess that’s where the “f*ck with you" comes in.

M.I.A. previously released "Bring The Noize" from "Matangi." 


 

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<p>Album art for Neko Case's latest</p>

Album art for Neko Case's latest

Credit: Anti Records

Album Review: Neko Case's 'The Worse Things Get... ' looks at the dark side

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Set soars despite Neko's heartfelt heaviness

Neko Case’s follow-up to “Middle  Cyclone,” finds her in a far more personal mood. On that 2009 album, she explored forces of nature. On “The Worse Things Get, The Harder I Fight, The Harder I Fight, The More I Love You,”  Case tackles something much harder to wrangle: her own life.

Case wrote and recorded “The Worse Things Get”  during a time of great turmoil: her grandmother, whom she was close to, and both her parents, whom she was not, died and she plunged into a depression. Much of the tunes carry a sense of tumult, a near fruitless attempt at making sense amid the chaos. Buoyed by her crystalline vocals, the songs transcend the maudlin to become something much more interesting: a look at the life force that surges through us even as we may feel we’re getting pulled under. Or, as she confesses in “Where Did I Leave That Fire, “I wanted to badly not to be me.”

The album’s most arresting track is “Nearly Midnight, Honolulu,” an a capella song that recounts Case seeing a mother yell at her child at a bus stop. Case not only wants to tell the child that she loves him/her (the child’s gender is never revealed), but that she witnessed the horror as the child will remember it, it really happened, and to never lose his/her voice. Given Case’s own very troubled relationship with her parents, it’s easy to imagine that she’s wishing someone had done that for her. (Parents come up again in opening track “Wild Creatures,” as she laments “There’s no mother’s hands to quiet me.”)

There’s an aloneness, and in many ways, a sense of isolation,  that pervades the album, making the lone cover here, Nico’s “Afraid,” a perfect fit. Case’s take on the tune is spare and haunting. “You’re beautiful and you’re alone,” Case sings as if it’s a haunting curse, as she finds herself in her 40s and single and childless.

Despite its “every woman is an island” feel, “The Worse Things Get” is far from a downer of a set (well, at least not totally). First single “Man,” featuring M. Ward is a gender bending propulsive rocker about Case being a woman in a man’s world. Gender roles come up again in “Night Still Comes,” as she asks “Did you poison my food? Is it because I’m a girl? if I puked up some sonnets would me a ‘miracle?,” and on “I’m From Nowhere.”

In addition to M. Ward, Case is joined by a phalanx of like-minded, indie-rock oriented compatriots, including her New Pornographers band mate A.C. Newman, Howe Gelb, members of My Morning Jacket, Los Lobos and Visqueen.

There’s a sense that the darkness is lifting on closing track, “Ragtime” (Case has said that ragtime was the only music that pulled her out of the abyss during her depression). It’s a shaky ground she finds herself on as “The Worse Things Get” comes to its conclusion, but there is the feeling that rock bottom is in her rear view mirror.

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<p>Miley and Robin</p>

Miley and Robin

Credit: Charles Sykes/AP

Music Power Rankings: Miley Cyrus twerks her way to the top

Eminem, Robin Thicke, Michael Jackson, Jack Black also make the list

1. Miley Cyrus: She twerked her way to top headlines this week. Whether people found her VMA appearance appropriate or repugnant, her single sales increased 50%.  And the sale of tongue increased 1000%

2. VMAs: Whether it was for Lady Gaga, the ‘N Sync reunion or Miley Cyrus, people tuned in to MTV’s annual fest to the tune of a 66% ratings increase over 2012.

3. Eminem: “MMLP2” will drop Nov. 5 and it looks like Em’s not just looking backward with the album title, but with the samples. First single< "Berzerk,"  samples both Billy Squier and Beastie Boys.

4. Robin Thicke: Sure, he got overshadowed by Miley at the VMAs, but no one can top him when it comes to the Billboard Hot 100. “Blurred Lines” has been No. 1 for 12 weeks—or to put it in perspective, it’s been on top of the chart for more than 1/3 of the calendar year.

5. Imagine Dragons:
“Radioactive” celebrates a full year on the Billboard Hot 100, only the second song, following Adele’s “Rolling In the Deep,” to achieve the feat. And it’s still in the top 5! 

6. Lorde: The New Zealand singer tops Billboard’s Alternative Songs chart with “Royals,” making her the first solo woman to top the chart in 17 years... or in other words, one year before Lorde was born.
 
7. Michael Jackson: Timbaland is working on a project that combines his music and Jackson’s voice. We want a duet with Justin Timberlake.

8. George Strait: The cowboy may be riding away when it comes to the concert trail, but Strait just signed  a new deal with MCA Nashville for five more albums.  He already has 60 No. 1s... how many more are coming?

9. Jack White: He tweets a photo of his Dead Weather bandmates, saying they were back in the studio. Guess we’ll have to wait a little bit longer for the follow-up to “Blunderbuss.”

10. Paul McCartney: With no advance notice, McCartney drops “New,” a track that sounds anything but. It rings with a Beatlesque innocence and charm.



 

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<p>M. Shadows of Avenged Sevenfold</p>

M. Shadows of Avenged Sevenfold

Credit: Chris Pizzello/AP

Avenged Sevenfold set to top Billboard 200 next week

Justin Timberlake sees major VMA bounce

Rockers Avenged Sevenfold will reign atop the Billboard 200 next week with “Hail To the King” (175,000) knocking country king, Luke Bryan and his current No. 1, “Crash My Party,” down to No. 2 (105,000). “King” is the group’s second No. 1, following 2010’s “Nightmare.”

The title is one of four debuts as we head into the busy fourth quarter. Rapper Big Sean’s “Hall of Fame” bows at No. 3 (75,000), while fellow rapper Juicy J comes in at No. 5 (65,000) with “Star Trippy.” “Alabama & Friends,” featuring top country artists performing hits by the legendary country band launches at No. 8 (28,000).

Robin Thicke’s former No. 1, “Blurred Lines” sees a little bump following the Video Music Awards, rising back up to No. 4 (65,000), while Justin Timberlake, who gave a 15-minute performance and received the Video Vanguard Award at the VMAs sees an even larger sales result, climbing back up to No. 6 from No. 22 (45,000), according to Hits Daily Double.

John Mayer’s “Paradise Valley” falls to No. 7 (40,000), R&B supergroup TGT’s “Three Kings” drops to No. 9 (27,000), while “Now That’s What I Call Music 47 slides to No. 10 (27,000).

 

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<p>Orianthi and Steven Tyler</p>

Orianthi and Steven Tyler

Credit: Stephen Holding/ShootingStarsPhotography.com

Exclusive: Orianthi and Aerosmith's Steven Tyler's duet, 'Sex E. Bizarre' in full

Plus, U.S. premiere of 'Better With You'

From Michael Jackson to Alice Cooper, Carrie Underwood, Steve Vai and Santana, Australian guitar wiz Orianthi has shared stages with some of the top artists in the world.

Now a guitar hero to many herself, is splitting her time this year touring as a member of Alice Cooper’s band and promoting her excellent solo album, “Heaven In This Hell.” The album, produced by Eurythmics’ Dave Stewart, came out in March.

But she also found time to sneak in a fiery rock duet with Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler and you can hear it in full for the first time anywhere here on Hitfix. From Orianthi's screaming guitar and sultry vocals to Tyler's bad boy growl, the two rockers perfectly complement each other on the fiesty, fun cut. Orianthi lays down a solo in the middle that will make you forget that other guitarist Tyler usually plays with.

"Sex E. Bizarre" is one of three new songs that appear on the deluxe version of "Heaven In This Hell," out Sept. 3. The driving rocker, written by Orianthi, Tyler and Marti Frederiksen, goes to rock radio next week.

Hitfix is also proud to present the U.S. premiere of "Better With You," an infectious uptempo track  that previously appeared only on the Japanese release of "Heaven In This Hell," but will be available on the Sept. 3 deluxe version worldwide.  The pop-tinged tune will definitely hit the sweet spot with fans who first connected with Orianthi through her 2009 breakthrough hit, "According To You," which reached No. 3 on Billboard's Pop Songs chart.

 

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 Jay Z's fiery new video for 'Holy Grail' with Justin Timberlake: Watch

Jay Z's fiery new video for 'Holy Grail' with Justin Timberlake: Watch

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Brooding clip explores the fame game

Jay Z’s intense video for “Holy Grail,” Justin Timberlake, bowed today on Facebook.

The top 10 track, which extrapolates Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” is a study on fame and how corrosive and addictive it can be.

The best  scene of the video is Justin TImberlake’s interlude, which features him walking among sheet-covered furniture composed of  moving dancers.

While it’s a little hard for us common folks to sympathize with Jay Z’s complaints about fame (and even he tells himself to get off his “high horse”), the Anthony Mandler-directed clip is a visual feast that ends in upsetting crash, symbolic of the fickleness of fame.

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Go behind the scenes as Nine Inch Nails preps for 2013 tour: Watch

Go behind the scenes as Nine Inch Nails preps for 2013 tour: Watch

Do you think Trent Reznor is easy to please? Guess again...

Trent Reznor may be the face and name to Nine Inch Nails, but it’s a whole team behind him that puts together a tour, as a new Vevo behind-the-scenes feature shows.

The 13-minute movie starts 18 days before Nine Inch Nails will play its first 2013 show at the Fuji Rock Festival on July 26. The band has already been rehearsing for a few months, but there’s still lots to be done in creating the multi-media show that Reznor is known for.

Tensions escalate as the Fuji date approaches. “Trend demands, demands, demands excellence in everything,” says his Rob Sheridan, his longtime art director. “We want the best always. That  high level of expectation leads to a lot of stressful moments.”

Cut to a few minutes later, two days before the Fuji fest and an exasperated Reznor is saying to his team, “It’s all fucked up right?”  In a Come To Jesus meeting with the crew, he says, “We had it the first day. It looked fantastic. Since then, it’s looked shittier.”

Come the Fuji Rock Fest, Reznor’s wondering how the show, which features new music, a new band, and new production, will come off, especially in the pouring rain.

The U.S. leg of the Nine Inch Nails: Tension tour starts Sept. 28 in St. Paul, Minn.

Nine Inch Nails’ new album, “Hesitation Marks,” comes out Sept. 3 and is streaming on iTunes now.

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<p>Macklemore</p>

Macklemore

Credit: AP Photo

Macklemore & Ryan Lewis on a new album and the 'nervewracking' VMAs

'I didn't think we had one single on 'The Heist,' says Macklemore

LOS ANGELES—Don’t look for a new Macklemore & Ryan Lewis album anytime soon.

The pair, whose breakthrough album, “The Heist,” has spawned three radio hits and is still in the top 20 on the Billboard 200, plans to take some time to “live life” and refuel their creative tanks after they finish their current tour at the end of the year.

Speaking at the Grammy Museum here Wednesday night, Lewis admitted that the pressure to top themselves following the platinum success of “The Heist” was there, but that the duo knew it would be wrong to try to rush out a follow-up quickly —although he added the next album might not take the three years it took to make “The Heist.”

“By Christmas, we would have played 250 shows since ‘The Heist’ came out,” Lewis said. “To go straight into the studio [without a break] and think you have something to share would be wrong...If you don’t have shit to say, you don’t have shit to say.” 

Macklemore (aka Ben Haggerty) said he’s tried to write on the road, but with little success since he writes what he knows. “We’ve been traveling every day,” he says, adding that his lyrics on tour usually amount to “‘I’m on an airplane.’ No one wants to hear that song ever,” he said with a laugh.

And about those radio hits, “Thrift Shop,” “Can’t Hold Us,” and “Same Love”? Macklemore says he never expected the success the pair has received at Top 40 radio. “I didn’t think we had one single on ‘The Heist’,” he said. “I didn’t think it would get radio play.”

Then when the Seattle act scored big with “Thrift Shop,” featuring Wanz, and the song stayed atop the Billboard Hot 100 for six non-consecutive weeks, Macklemore worried that the pair would be seen as a novelty act. “I was the ‘Thrift Shop’ guy and it was scary as hell,” he says. “Then, ‘Can’t Hold Us’ relieved some of that, and with ‘Some Love,’ the fear was completely eased.”

A number of the songs on “The Heist” take on issues, whether it be “Same Love’s” warm embrace of same sex marriage or “Wings,” which stresses anti-consumerism. Macklemore said he knows it’s a fine line between making a point and preaching, and he’s careful not to cross it. “I write from experience. I try to do it from my perspective from my own life,” he said. “‘Wings’ is about anti-consumerism. I acknowledge I’m caught up in it. All of these are my issues; my means of communication is to be vulnerable.”

And he admits he felt very vulnerable as he wrote the lyrics to “Same Love.”  The line, “in third grade, I thought that I was gay” was the “scariest bars I ever put on a song, but that’s my truth. People on the internet are going to say ‘you’re a homo.’ I don’t care.” He reiterated the comment he made during his acceptance speech for Video with the Best Social Message at Sunday’s Video Music Awards that “Same Love” remains the duo’s song he is the proudest to have written.

Macklemore referred to the VMAs as a “nervewracking” experience, not because it was the pair’s first performance at a major awards show, but because he didn’t know how to win and award and give an acceptance speech. “You don’t want to mess that up,” he said, before he and Lewis gave a shout out to their publicist in the audience whom they did forget to thank from the Barclays Center stage on Sunday.

With their rising popularity, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis are having the most success of any Seattle rap act since Sir Mix-A-Lot hit it big with 1992’s “Baby Got Back.” And while they hope other local hip-hop artists follow their lead, Macklemore is in no way ready to hand over the mic.

“As much as you want to pass the torch, as an MC, by nature I’m a competitive person,” he said. “It’s ego. I want to be the biggest rapper that ever came out of Seattle.”

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<p>Paul McCartney</p>

Paul McCartney

Listen: Paul McCartney's jaunty, new track, 'New'

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Superstar's next album, 'New,' arrives Oct. 15

Paul McCartney dropped a new tune, “New,” today that, to the joy of Beatles’ fans, sounds delightfully old.

Produced by Mark Ronson, “New” is a sweet pop slice that slides in at under 3 minutes. “All my life, I never knew what I could be, what I could do, then we were new,” McCartney sings on the jangly, jaunty, horn-laden tune that sounds like it could be a “Revolver” outtake. There’s a glorious Beach Boy-like vocalization that fades out at the end that adds to the track's innocent charm.

McCartney’s 16th solo album, also titled “New,” will come out Oct. 15 in the U.S. and will be his first album of all new material in six years. His last set, 2012’s “Kisses On The Bottom,” was composed of standards, with a few new tracks.

In addition to Ronson, McCartney worked with Adele producer Paul Epworth, Ethan Johns, and George Martin’s son, Giles, according to Rolling Stone.  The album will be 12 songs.

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