<p>Luke Bryan</p>

Luke Bryan

Credit: Donn Jones/AP

Luke Bryan 'Crashes' onto next week's Billboard 200

Can he beat Jay Z's first-week numbers?

Luke Bryan will have a monster of a week next week as “Crash My Party” crashes onto the Billboard 200 with sales of up to 525,000.

If he gains enough steam before the chart closes Sunday night and hits 529,000, he’ll roll right past Jay Z’s “Magna Carta Holy Grail” to have the second highest debut of the year  (second only to Justin Timberlake’s “The 20/20 Experience.”  Read our review of Bryan’s “Crash My Party."

Not only will “Crash” lead the chart next week, but the excitement around Bryan’s new release lifts the tide for his last full-length set, “Tailgates and Taglines,” which will zoom back onto the chart at around No. 14, according to Hits Daily Double.

The only other debut in the Top 10 comes from “Love & Hip Hop” reality show star K. Michelle, whose “Rebellious Soul” pops in at No. 2 with sales of up to 70,000.

The remainder of the Top 10 are repeaters: “Now That’s What I Call Music 47” is at No. 3, while Robin Thicke’s former No. 1, “Blurred Lines,” is No. 4. This week’s No. 1 set, “The Civil Wars” by the defunct duo, drops to No. 5.

Jay Z’s aforementioned “Magna Carta Holy Grail” will likely be at No. 6, while Disney’s soundtrack to the wildly popular TV movie, “Teen Beach,” is at No. 7.

Rounding out the Top 10, Florida Georgia Line’s “Here’s To The Good Times”  is at No. 8, Imagine Dragons’ “Night Visions” at No. 9 and Five Finger Death Punch’s “Wrong Side Of Heaven, Vol. 1” at No. 10.


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<p>Marco Beltrami</p>

Marco Beltrami

Oscar-nominated composer Marco Beltrami on navigating his way through 'World War Z' and Brad Pitt

How did Tommy Lee Jones contribute to the 'WWZ' score?

POZNAN, POLAND—Oscar-nominated composer Marco Beltrami recently found himself in a rather unenviable position, caught between “World War Z’s” producer/star Brad Pitt, director Marc Forster and Paramount Studios as the different factions clashed over the direction and tone of the zombie action pic.

He kept his head down and tried to serve all his masters, including writing two score for the same picture. Luckily, things normally go a little smoother for the Yale School of Music graduate, who broke into the business by scoring a number of horror movies, including “Scream,” “Scream 2,” Halloween H20,” “Resident Evil,” but has expanded to all genres. He has scored TV series, including “The Practice,” as well as “3:10 to Yuma,” “The Hurt Locker,” “A Good Day To Die Hard,” “Trouble With the Curve,” “The Wolverine,” and the upcoming remake  of “Carrie” and Tommy Lee Jones’ new film, “The Homesman.”

After teaching a master class at the Transatlantyk Festival here, Beltrami sat down with Hitfix to discuss navigating the “WWZ” waters and his upcoming projects.

You got hired for “Scream” in 1996, even though, by your own admission, you are not a horror movie fan. When you look at your resume there are a lot of horror movies on there. Have you become a fan?


But you continue to work in the genre, including scoring the forthcoming remake of “Carrie.”

See, a lot of the movies that I’ve done, I don’t consider them to be real horror movies. They’re not in the ‘Saw’ or torture-porn movie [style]. The “Scream” movies are over the top and there’s a lightness to them. “Carrie,” to me, is a weird coming of age story for a girl. But it’s like maybe it’s more of a drama about her that has turns bad, but I don’t see it as that horrific.

Did you reference any of the score from the 1976 movie when you did yours?

I like Pino Donaggio’s score  a lot and it’s very thematic, but there wasn’t really a way I could put it in.

You scored this summer’s thriller “World War Z.” How did you keep from getting caught in the crosshairs after the director Marc Forster, Brad Pitt, and Paramount all clashed? Did you just keep your head down?

A lot of it was coaching from my agent. I just make everybody feel like they’re getting what they need, even though there’s a lot of different parties involved. It took a lot of extra work, but it felt like it was an important gig and it was worth doing what needed to be done to keep it. It would have been easier to throw up my hands, and say, ‘You know what? I’ve had enough’.”

Did you think about walking away?

Every day. I thought one of two things was going to happen: either I would get fired or [I’d say] “This is it. I couldn’t take it anymore, I’m going to walk away.” I felt like an alcoholic, I had to take it one day at a time (laughs). One note at a time.

You also had to create two scores? Right? A quieter score Brad Pitt wanted and a more dramatic one Paramount wanted.

Not quieter. Not necessarily quieter, but less epic. More of an intensity of hearing almost the rosin on the bow on the strings as opposed to when you have a big orchestra and it becomes more diffuse.

Paramount wanted the more dramatic score so you were  working at two different studios on two separate scores?

Right. So [we] ended with a combo of the two, and everybody was a happy. It could have been a combo and everybody hated everything, but it worked out.

For “World War Z,”  what kind of research did you do?

The first time I saw the movie, there was an opening scene in Philadelphia and then it cut to an Emergency Broadcast Signal. That struck me as the crux of the movie right there. And I thought there’s a way to musicalize it. [Beltrami’s assistant] Buck [Sanders] went out and got tuning forks and we experimented with how do you create that in the purest way.

The score also includes your playing havalina skulls. That was Tommy Lee Jones’ idea, right?

We were at dinner and he was working on “Lincoln” or something He was like, ‘What are you working on?” So I was telling him about it and that we were looking at ways of trying to get the sound of teeth gnashing because it’s such an important part of the movie: the mystery of zombies. He said, “Have you checked out the havalina?” and I said, “The what?” He lives in Texas and he’s very knowledgeable about everything. So that was great.

So did the sound of some of their teeth clacking some make it in?

Yeah, it’s there, but way in the background for the most part.

You worked with Tommy Lee Jones on the “Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada” score and you’re working on his new directorial project now too. What can you say about that?

It’s called “The Homesman.” It’s a western period piece [with Hilary Swank, Meryl Streep and Jones]. They came to homestead the land in Oklahoma and so forth. It turns out it wasn’t uncommon for women to go crazy from not seeing people for days at a time or death and illness of the kids. Famine. Just the wind.

People talk about how intense Tommy Lee Jones is to work with? What’s your working relationship like with him?

He likes what I come up with. I think I sort of understand him when he’s talking. I very much enjoy working with him, He thinks totally outside of the box.

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<p>Justin Timberlake</p>

Justin Timberlake

Credit: AP Photo

Justin Timberlake reveals 'The 20/20 Experience - 2 of 2' track listing

Follow-up to year's biggest seller comes out Sept. 20

Fans have already heard “Take Back The Night,” the first single from Justin Timberlake’s “The 20/20 Experience- 2 of 2.” Now, they can at least imagine what the other 10 tracks sound like after Timberlake released the track listing last night.

The album, the follow-up to this year’s best-selling title, “The 20/20 Experience,” comes out Sept. 20 and fans can already pre-order it on Amazon and iTunes.

Timberlake, who has been on a stadium tour with Jay-Z this summer, will kick off his own headlining tour Oct. 31 in Montreal. But first, Timberlake will appear at the MTV Video Music Awards on Aug. 25. He is up for six awards.

“The 20/20 Experience- 2 of 2” track listing:

1.Gimme What I Don't Want Know (I Want)
2. True Blood
3. Cabaret
4. TKO
5. Take Back The Night
6. Murder
7. Drink You Away
8. You Got It On
9. Amnesia
10. Only When I Walk Away
11. Not A Bad Thing

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<p>'Pitch Perfect'</p>

'Pitch Perfect'

Credit: Universal Pictures

'Pitch Perfect' holiday album coming soon

A Capella set will include 'Silent Night' and other classics

As Anna Kendricks’ “Cups” from “Pitch Perfect” remains lodged in the Top 10 of the Billboard Hot 100, fans of the 2012 hit movie now have something else to look forward to: a holiday album from the Barden Bellas and the Treblemakers.

"Pitch Perfect's"  Hana Mae Lee revealed the news to MTV at the Teen Choice Awards, adding that she believes the album will be a cappella, appropriately enough.

“There are Christmas classics,” she said of the project. “I’ll be singing ‘Silent Night.’ I’m pretty sure it’s going to be all a capella...It’s all us, so it’s going to be sweet though because it’s going to sound like there’s other things, but it’s all us.”

Universal confirmed the release of the set to MTV, but had no details on a release date. Christmas albums usually drop in October, so expect it then. A sequel to the movie is expected in 2015.

Check out Lee's interview and very weird head gear below:

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Credit: AP Photo

Listen: Eminem drops new song 'Survival' in 'Call Of Duty: Ghosts' trailer

He promises 'more surprises in store'

Eminem dropped a new track today via a trailer for Activision’s “Call Of Duty: Ghosts”  video game, which comes out in November.

“Survival” is an in-your-face track that opens with ringing, throbbing guitars. Lyrically, Eminem details his rise in music and his devotion to his craft in stark life-or-death terms: “If I don’t do this music shit/I lose my shit,” in his usual intense, matter of fact way, as his rhymes about "coming into battle" with him compete with the automatic weapons. He warns any newcomers that taking him on will be a lost cause. A chorus, sung by the New Royales’ Liz Rodrigues, reinforces the “Survival” theme, as she sings, “This is survival of the fittest...this is winner take it all.”  (h/t to MTV on he Rodrigues info).

[More after the jump...]


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Robin Thicke's 'Blurred Lines' tops Billboard Hot 100 for 10th week
Credit: Robinthicke.com

Robin Thicke's 'Blurred Lines' tops Billboard Hot 100 for 10th week

Will Lady Gaga or Katy Perry topple him next week?

Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines” continues on its seemingly unstoppable path as it logs a 10th week at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100.

Last week, the song set the record for the largest listening audience (219.8 million) in Billboard’s Radio Songs’ 22-year history, topping Mariah Carey’s “We Belong Together.”  This week, it builds on that record, reaching 227.5 million listeners.

“Blurred Lines,”  featuring Pharrell and T.I., is the first song to lead the Billboard Hot 100 for ten weeks since “We Found Love” from Rihanna (featuring Calvin Harris) did so in November 2011.

The rest of the Top 10 remains exactly the same as last week... though the Top 10 will get a big shake up next week when both Katy Perry’s “Roar” and Lady Gaga’s “Applause” no doubt zoom into the Top 10 (if not the top spot). Perry’s “Roar” bows at No. 85 based on only four days of airplay, according to Billboard.

In addition to those two pop titans, Lana Del Rey could land her first Top 10 hit next week as “Summertime Sadness” rises 23-16 this week. Drake is also headed back into the Top 10, as “Hold On, We’re Going Home” (featuring Majid Jordan) bows at No. 21.

Back to this week, here’s how the Top 10 looks: After “Blurred Lines”: Miley Cyrus’s “We Can’t Stop” remains at No. 2 for the third week, Imagine Dragons’ “Radioactive” is at No. 3, Daft Punk’s “Get Lucky,” featuring Pharrell, is at No. 4, and Jay Z’s “Holy Grail,” featuring Justin Timberlake, is at No. 5.

Rounding out the Top 10: Anna Kendrick’s “Cups” at No. 6, Bruno Mars’ “Treasure” at No. 7, Zedd’s “Clarity,” featuring Foxes, at No. 8, Capital Cities’ “Safe and Sound” at No. 9, and Maroon 5’s “Love Somebody” at No. 10.

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Watch: Kelly Clarkson's new video for 'Tie It Up'

Watch: Kelly Clarkson's new video for 'Tie It Up'

She salutes marriage as she gets ready to walk down the aisle

With her own nuptials approaching, Kelly Clarkson clearly has weddings on her mind. In her video for “Tie It Up,” Clarkson performs in a barn during a wedding reception, as scenes from other weddings and happy brides and grooms roll.

The video for the country single features straight and gay couples, so we’ll see if she gets any push back from those who oppose same sex unions.

It’s a fluffy, fun song that may be a one-off as it doesn’t appear on her most recent greatest hits set and we haven’t heard word of a new album. Clarkson, who is getting ready to marry Reba McEntire’s step son (and artist manager), has already proven that she can have country hits via her duets with the likes of McEntire, Jason Aldean, and Vince Gill. Now we’ll see if she can have one on her own.

At the end, she catches the bouquet and winks in the camera. Sounds like she's ready for her fall wedding.

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<p>Cher and Lady Gaga at the MTV&nbsp;VMAs in 2010</p>

Cher and Lady Gaga at the MTV VMAs in 2010

Credit: MTV

Listen: Lady Gaga and Cher's duet 'The Greatest' leaks

Cher called leaked tune 'the wrong version,' but it sounds right to us

The Greatest Thing,” the duet between Lady Gaga and Cher that Momma Monster has disavowed, surfaced today.

As you recall, in June Cher replied to a fan on Twitter that Lady Gaga “doesn’t like it, or want it to come out. She’s an artist, it’s up to her. I’m disappointed 2.”

Now, in addition to being disappointed, Cher is also pissed. Apparently, the RedOne-produced version that leaked today is the “wrong version,” she tweeted. Her full tweet: “Disappointed (I’ve sat on fkng song 4 over a yr) NOW SOME ASSHOLE LEAKS WRONG VERSION! GaGa’S SINGLE IS GREAT, & THAT’S ALL THAT MATTERS).” What a nice little plug for “Applause," which also leaked, forcing Lady Gaga to release it a week early, yesterday.

So the song is a sweet, uplifting slice of self-esteem in which Cher (LG comes in later and in a relatively minor capacity) apologizes that someone her hurt her boo, but declares that this person is The Greatest Thing and she spends the bulk of the song trying to convince the person, even resorting to spelling out G-R-E-A-T.  It’s a slight and treacly sweet, melodic, retro dance track. They sing the chorus together and then Lady Gaga takes the third verse.  “When you feel you aren’t enough/I’ll give you wings and lift you up. I hope you can see that you’re the greatest thing to me,” Cher sings. And while some of the words change, that’s the message that you need to take with you.  (Listen quickly, various versions are being taken down.... )

I know from Cher’s tweet that if a version was going to leak, this wasn’t the one she wanted out there, but this one isn’t bad, it just needs a little more oomph. In fact, with a stronger remix, I could see this being a club smash.

No word on if it makes the cut for Cher’s album (although it sounds in July like it would not), “Closer To The Truth,” which comes out Sept. 24. Maybe the leak changed that decision.

What do you think of “The Greatest?”

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Album Review: Luke Bryan's 'Crash My Party' seldom reaches top speed

Album Review: Luke Bryan's 'Crash My Party' seldom reaches top speed

Country superstar's latest stalls in mid-gear

Luke Bryan has made a career of being country’s polite party boy. He doesn’t have the dangerous edginess of an Eric Church or Jamey Johnson (or even of his good buddy, Jason Aldean), but he surely knows how to show you a good time (as evidenced on his “Spring Break” series of EPs), and possibly get you to shed your clothes while doing so.

On his new album, “Crash My Party,” out today, the reigning ACM Entertainer of the Year delivers another round of songs designed to show that he’s still the guy you want by your side, whether it’s to chug your beer or cry in it (and here, he does his fair share of crying). The songs are uniformly commercial and relatively risk free, but for Bryan fans, it will be a nice new chapter in a pleasingly familiar book, if not a particularly high-octane one. With his career riding a high on the back of this ACM award, it would have been nice if he’d taken a few risks, but that doesn’t seem to be what he or his fans want. Look for "Crash My Party" to bow atop the Billboard 200 and the Billboard Country Albums chart next week.

Here’s a track-by-track review:

“That’s My Kind of Night”:
  A straight-up, good time opener. As he does a lot, Bryan throws in all the country tropes: a truck, getting out into the country (he is the one guy that figures his little country cutie likes it “way out where the corn rows grow,” instead of downtown. He’s got a mixtape that includes country and hip-hop: “ A little Conway and a little T-Pain,” he sings. Despite (or perhaps because of) the lowest common denominator cookie cutter lyrics and his somewhat awkward delivery, the song is already soaring up the Billboard’s Country Airplay chart, no doubt due to the driving beat.  Grade: C

“Beer In The Headlights”: Country music provides cute word play in its titles better than anyone, and this song is no exception. This mid-tempo track delivers the same message as “That’s My Kind Of Night” —he’s alone with his girl out in the country, hanging out in or by his truck, and her beer is in the headlights—and yet he delivers it so much more convincingly here. His voice, which can be a little nasally, fits the melody much better. Grade: B

“Crash My Party”: After this "Spring Break" EPs and 2011 album, "Tanlines and Tailgates," it was understandable from the title alone that folks expected this tune, the first single and title track, to be an upbeat kicker. Instead, it’s a mid-tempo invitation to love, a less sensual, sweeter “Come Over.” His love is welcome anytime, anywhere because he knows she’s a better time than anything else he’s got going on. “This is a drop-everything, kind of thing, swing on by, i’ll pour you a drink, the door’s unlocked, I’ll leave on the lights...”  If a women sings it, sadly, it still can sound desperate. Here, it sounds like a beautifully open-ended invitation. Grade: B+

“Roller Coaster”:  Bryan is in the amusement park of love, and his lady is twisting him around like a roller coaster, keeping him on the edge of his seat, and not necessarily in a good way. It’s a potentially dark ride. Grade: B

“We Run This Town”:
Bryan takes a look back at his formative years in this wistful mid-tempo, guitar-driven track. “From crazy kids to dirt road kings/Oh, we didn’t know nothin’, but we knew everything,” he sings of those days when he and his buddies “thought we made the world go ‘round.”  Grade: B

“Drink A Beer”:
  Bryan does vulnerability well, no more so on “Crash This Party” than on “Drink A Beer.”  His friend has died and he has no answers. He sits on the edge of a pier, the one they used to sit on together, and drink a beer. Enhanced by spare production, the acoustic guitar ballad doesn’t try to be a tearjerker, and that’s part of its appeal. It just invites you to live in the moment of finding out bad news and being in shock and needing to just breathe. Grade: A-

“I See You”: Bryan, who co-wrote this spiky, jaunty track, returns to the bar, but in true fashion, is still stuck on the one girl who has dumped him. The bevy of beauties try to lure him onto the floor, but he can’t forget. Grade: B-

“Goodbye Girl”: Another mid-tempo track and another tune about a girl who has the ability to break his heart (though he never seems to crushed by anything). He’s given her the keys to his heart and even though she “scatter(s) in the wind just like a dandelion/reminding me again that you ain't ever mine for long,” he can’t be the one to pull the plug on the DOA romance. Emotionally, Bryan seems willing to take songs only so far and this is another example. Grade: B-

“Play It Again”: Bryan delivers the best sexual euphemism in this mid-tempo tale of meeting girl who he falls for on the spot. “Soon as I sat down, I was fallin’ in love/Tryin’ to pour a little sugar in her Dixie cup.”  I may be reading too much into this sweet tale of falling in love over a song and a dance. One of the best songs on the album. Grade: B+

“Blood Brothers”: The Dixie cups return, but this time he’s drinking “bad booze” out of them in this song, that like “We Run This Town,” looks back at an earlier time. This time the content is slightly edgier (as is the guitar), as Bryan recounts a rough-edged youth “We were young as we were dumb/when we piled in an old pile of junk/It was all-for-one and all for one/Bunch of outlaws without a gun.” Sadly, he can’t really sell the grittiness the song deserves.  Grade: C

“Out Like That”: He’s out with his girl in a truck again and he’s delivered songs like this on every track. His girl is driving him wild and he doesn’t want to hold back. They’re going to dance in the rain as the lights from his headlights capture the beauty of her face. A sure bet for a single and a likely No. 1. Slightly up-tempo rockers like this with this kind of theme are Bryan’s sweet spot. Grade: B+

“Shut It Down”: Another song with nice word play- this time build around how “any hay to make can wait for now” (literally), as this farmer and his wife go make hay while the sun shines figuratively. Who doesn’t love a guy with a farmer’s tan?  Grade: B

“Dirt Road Diary”: The second song on the set co-written by Bryan takes a seemingly autobiographical turn as he relives his youth, riding in a car with his dad and as he got older, reveling in “tan legs and some Dixieland delight.”  He seems to enjoy looking back a little on this album and the triptych of reminiscences serve him reasonably well. Grade: B


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<p>Lady Gaga</p>

Lady Gaga

Credit: Interscope Records

Listen to Lady Gaga's new single, 'Applause' in full

Momma Monster really, really wants you to like her

After leakers got their hands on it over the weekend, an angry Lady Gaga officially released new single, “Applause,” today, a week earlier than planned.

The propulsive, driving track is a layered, dance twirler about how Gaga lives for, you guessed it, “Applause.”

The song opens with a staccato beat (a la “Paparazzi”) as  Lady Gaga sings in a very mannered, dramatic fashion, “I stand here waiting for you to beat the gong/to crash the critics saying, ‘Is it right or is it wrong’?.”

The song quickly bursts into a full-on dance track full of hand claps (as well as live audience applause later), and weaving synthesizers and echoes.  If Lady Gaga has drawn plentiful comparisons to Madonna, here she's in Annie Lennox mode when it gets to the bridge.

The production is an in-your-face assault of 3D sounds coming at you over and over as she reminds us again and again that she lives for her Little Monsters. While it's a bit overbearing, it’s a nice message for the fans to hear as she comes back with “ARTPOP” on Nov. 11. If this song is any indication, the album will explore her role in pop culture.

The song’s release comes two days after Katy Perry put out her new single, “Roar.”

Which song do you prefer?

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