<p>Maroon 5</p>

Maroon 5

Credit: Travis Schneider/Maroon5.com

Maroon 5 at work on new, 'darker' material

How long will fans wait for follow-up to 2012's 'Overexposed?'

Maroon 5 is already at work on its follow-up to 2012’s “Overexposed,” though fans can expect a bit of a wait for a new disc.

"It's still sort of in the early stages," Maroon 5 guitarist James Valentine told Billboard. "We definitely have a couple of amazing songs that will be on the record. I think we just really like making music now, and I think we're more prolific than ever. But at the same time it's going to be awhile before the record comes out, so maybe some of the stuff we're doing now will fall by the wayside by the time we actually put it out. But we've got some great stuff started, and we're all very excited."

Valentine says the first batch of new material was “darker...and more organic-sounding,” while some of the more recent tunes have been less so. "Love Somebody," Maroon 5's current single from "Overexposed," is at No. 12 on the Billboard Hot 100 and trending upwards.

Before the band can head to the studio, it will head to the road as headliners for the Honda Civic Tour, which starts Aug. 1 in St. Louis, Mo., with co-headliner Kelly Clarkson.

Maroon 5 lead singer, Adam Levine, will also return as a coach on the 5th season of “The Voice” this fall.

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Album review: Robin Thicke's 'Blurred Lines': Let's talk about sex

Album review: Robin Thicke's 'Blurred Lines': Let's talk about sex

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Singer gets his groove on and on

If Justin Timberlake’s “The 20/20 Experience” left you longing for short, punchy R&B-based tunes instead of the extended jams, then Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines,” out today, is the album for you.
 
While there’s nothing on here that’s likely to challenge insanely catchy  "Blurred Lines'" run atop the Hot 100 (a 2013 record-setting seven weeks and counting), there’s a lot here to like. At times, the album feels more like it belongs to the producers and their beats more than to Thicke, such as on “Take It Easy On Me, “ which sounds almost as if he’s an extra in his own song. But then a tune like “Ooh La La” or “Ain’t No Hat 4 That” comes along, so steeped in ‘70s R&B, with his creamy vocals soaring over the retro rhythms, that you’ll be looking for a disco ball to drop from the ceiling. “Get In My Way” is a modern-day “Ain’t No Stopping Us Now.”

Thicke has talked in interviews about his decision to ditch the ballads and stick to the uptempo tracks on “Lines.” It’s a formula that works very satisfactorily here. There’s a lightness to the tunes here that is uniformly appealing, greatly aided by such capable hands (and ears) as Timbaland, Pharrell, will.i.am,  Dr. Luke, and Projay. It’s one of those albums that you will throw on at a party and not feel the need to change the music until all 11 tracks have gone by.

While Thicke seems to have a fascination with sex, the better tracks here discard the explicit horndoggery vibe. Ones that don’t often suffer for stressing it so singlemindedly.  For example,  “Give It 2 U,” featuring Kendrick Lamar, has a great hook and feel (thanks to Dr. Luke and Cirkut’s programming). but the relentless focus on male body parts makes the song monotonous.

Thicke’s falsetto is put to good use, though it’s easy to wish there were more tunes where he got to sing more instead of compete with the beats or sing in short bursts. The Prince-like “4 The Rest Of My Life,” the closest the album comes to a ballad, is one of the few tunes where Thicke gets to do his thing throughout, both in falsetto and in his lower range. Same with closing track, “The Good Life,” the most traditional verse-chorus song on the album. It’s in striking contrast to much of the rest of the set, yet somehow manages to still fit right in, perhaps because of the upbeat tone.

There are no deep thoughts here. “Blurred Lines” doesn’t pretend to be anything more than a sexy party album meant to get you in a good mood or keep you there for a bit longer. And by that measure, there’s nothing  blurred about its message, whatsoever.
 

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<p>A behind the scenes moment from the new video</p>

A behind the scenes moment from the new video

Credit: Syco Music

Go behind the scenes with One Direction for the 'Best Song Ever' video: Watch

Why they needed to cover Zayn Malik's tattoos and more

If finding out how Zayn Malik transforms from a One Direction band member to a saucy office vixen (minus the tattoos), then this behind-the-scenes feature from the video shoot for One Direction’s “Best Song Ever” is for you. 

The video, directed by Ben Winston, features each of the five lads in character. In addition to Malik, Harry Styles is the office nerdy twit, Liam Payne is a platinum blond, clueless chereographer, Niall Horan is a film executive (his part took four hours in prep for prosthetics and make-up and then another seven hot hours taping), and Louis Tomlinson spoofs Tom Cruise’s Les Grossman character from “Tropic Thunder.”

[More after the jump...]

 

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R. Kelly's new single 'My Story' with 2 Chainz: Listen

R. Kelly's new single 'My Story' with 2 Chainz: Listen

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He's sticking by his rags-to-riches tale

R. Kelly has a lot of interesting stories, to be sure, but his new single, “My Story” would not be one of them.

[More after the jump...]

 

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<p>Bruno Mars in 2012</p>

Bruno Mars in 2012

Credit: AP Photo

Concert Review: Bruno Mars dazzles at Staples Center

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He's the consummate song-and-dance man

Bruno Mars has seen his star rise meteorically since fans first heard him as the featured vocalist on B.o.B.’s  2010 smash “Nothing On You.” Between his guest spots and his own hit-filled two albums, it should come as no surprise that Mars was able to sell out Los Angeles’ Staples Center for two nights, but what was surprising was how capably he commanded an audience for someone still in the early stages of his career.

[More after the jump...]

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<p>Miley Cyrus in &quot;We Can't Stop&quot;</p>

Miley Cyrus in "We Can't Stop"

Miley Cyrus can't stop breaking records on VEVO, tops Eminem and Rihanna

Listen to her 'On My Own' cover

Miley Cyrus’s “We Can’t Stop” video can’t stop drawing viewers. The clip has become the fastest music video to reach 100 million views on VEVO.

It only took “Stop” 37 days to reach the milestone, surpassing previous record holder, Eminem and Rihanna’s 2010 hit, “Love The Way You Lie,” which needed 39 days. The song sits at No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100 this week.

[More after the jump...]

Cyrus’s video premiered June 19 on Vevo and delivered 10.7 million views in the first 24 hours. In doing so, Cyrus broke Justin Bieber’s 24-hour record for “Beauty & The Beat.” However, One Direction then broke Cyrus’s record a few days later with the quintet’s video for “Best Song Ever,” which drew 10.8 views in its first full day.

Cyrus’s new album, which features “We Can’t Stop,” will come out later this year. Among her collaborators are Dr. Luke, will.i.am,  Mike Will, Pharrell, and Future. She has previously described exploring hip hop and country on the set. She's working on the album when Cyrus is not busy posting nude for a very good cause, or recording an a cappella version of "On My Own." Cyrus posted the audio of her performing the "Les Miserable" tune over the weekend.  The clip is below.

 

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<p>One Direction</p>

One Direction

Credit: Jeff Wheeler/AP

Music Power Rankings: One Direction and Lady Gaga lead this week's tally

Which '80s one-hit wonder also makes the list?

1. One Direction: The British quintet’s new video for “Best Song Ever” sets a new record for 10.9 million Vevo views in 24 hours, besting Miley Cyrus’s “We Can’t Stop.” Has Les Grossman hit on Zeyn yet?

2. Robin Thicke: “Blurred Lines” spends its 7th week atop the Billboard Hot 100, the most of any song this year. Imagine how long it would stay there if it weren’t “rapey.”

3. Lady Gaga: Not only is she named Forbes top-earning celebrity under 30, she announces her return to performing will be Aug. 25 at the MTV VMAs. Are the Little Monsters already camping out in front of Barclays Center?

4. Aimee Mann:
The acclaimed singer/songwriter becomes the latest artist to file suit over digital royalties...or the lack thereof. This voice carries.

5. TLC: Surviving members T-Boz and Chilli have reunited to record four new songs for a TLC greatest hits, featuring collaborations with Lady Gaga and Lil Mama, who plays Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes in VH1’s movie about the trio.  TLC=TCB

6. Priority Records: Capitol Music Group resurrects the seminal rap label, once the home to De. Dre, N.W.A. and Snoop Dogg. Could its future ever live up to its glorious past?

7. Jay Z: He makes international news by dropping the hyphen from his name. Imagine what will happen when he switches to JZ.

8. Flock Of Seagulls: Band known more for its lead singer’s haircut than its music makes big news this week when its van with $70,000 worth of equipment is stolen. The van is returned empty, but the “I Ran (So Far Away)” band gets the most press it’s received in 30 years so it’s not a total loss.

9. Beyonce: Reports suggest that Bey has scrapped her new album after rejecting more than 50 songs. Maybe she can call her next set, “Back To The Drawing Board.”

10. Whitney Houston: The singer’s grave gets a new headstone shaped like a tear drop and with the inscribed, “I will always love you.” We have another song title for you: So emotional.


 

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<p>Selena Gomez</p>

Selena Gomez

Credit: Jordan Strauss/AP

Selena Gomez' 'Stars Dance' shoots for No. 1 on Billboard 200

Solo set will be Disney queen's first chart topper

Disney star Selena Gomez will land her first No. 1 album on the Billboard 200 next week as “Stars Dance” could sell up to 100,000 copies, according to Hits Daily Double.

Two other titles will bow in the Top 10: Marc Anthony’s “3.0” at No. 5 (30,000-35,000) and the Cash Money/Young Money compilation “Rich Gang” at No. 10 (19,000-21,000).

A hyphen-less Jay Z will drop to second place as “Magna Carta Holy Grail” sells up to 80,000. Disney Channel’s soundtrack to “Teen Beach” will be No. 3 (50,000-55,000) and Kidz Bop Kids at No. 4 (40,000-45,000).

Florida Georgia Line’s “Here’s To The Good Times” and Imagine Dragons’ “Night Visions” at in a dead heat for No. 6, with both targeted to sell 27,000-30,000. Sara Bareilles’ “Blessed Unrest” is at No. 8 (22,000-25,000), falling from No. 2, and J. Cole’s “Born Sinner” will be No. 9. (21,000- 23,000).

 

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<p>Lady Gaga</p>

Lady Gaga

Credit: Ladygaga.com

Listen: Lady Gaga's demo of her song for TLC, 'Posh Life'

Is she chasing 'Waterfalls' here?

As we reported yesterday, the remaining members of TLC — Chilli Thomas and T-Boz — will release a greatest hits collection on Oct. 15 with the group’s best-loved songs, as well as four new tunes, including “Posh Life,” produced and co-written by Dallas Austin Lady Gaga.

 

[More after the jump...]

 

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<p>Katy Perry has usurped Lady Gaga's Twitter position</p>

Katy Perry has usurped Lady Gaga's Twitter position

Credit: Charles Sykes/Invision/AP

Katy Perry passes Lady Gaga on Twitter for No. 2 spot

Which celebrity is still ahead of both ladies?

While we were all focused on other things, like the birth of the Prince of Cambridge, Katy Perry was stealthily collecting Twitter followers.

Perry has now surpassed Lady Gaga as the female with the most Twitter peeps. Perry, who tweets on a very regular basis, has 39.8 million followers, while Lady Gaga has 39.3 million. Lady Gaga’s Twitter activity has been fairly dormant, although she has ramped up slightly since she has a new album, “ARTPOP,” on the way.

Hello was the first to notice Perry's  very important advance. Other observations: Justin Bieber remains the most followed human on Twitter with 42.3 million followers. Lady Gaga was No. 1 for a few years before Beibs, and now Perry, overtook her.

President Barack Obama comes in 4th with 34.5 million followers and is the only non-music act in the top 10.

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