Taylor Swift has dropped four songs from her new album, “Red.” Today we get “ I Knew You Were Trouble,” which combines the stutter step of Rihanna’s “Umbrella” and the pop/dubstep of Alex Clare’s "Too Close."
[More after the jump...]
Chaos reigns as she's left 'lying on the cold, hard ground'
British singer mines love and loss on U.S. debut
Prince William and Kate Middleton’s favorite wedding singer, Ellie Goulding, finally sees her sophomore album, “Halcyon,” come out this Tuesday, nearly a year after “Lights” first illuminated the Billboard Hot 100.
The bouncy “Lights,” which was on her first album and is a bonus cut here, only hints at the depth the British 25-year old possesses. With a often trembly voice that recalls everyone from Florence Welch to Lykke Li, Kate Bush and James Blunt (seriously, listen to the first verse of the title track), Goulding inhabits an ethereal world where her feathery vocals float above often electronic musical bed.
What lifts Goulding above the raft of female singers out there currently is how she and producer Jim Eliot often use her voice as additional instrumentation, such as on the stompy “Only You.” Her vocalization provides the melody, as she sings around it. On “Joy,” a song about knowing happiness has to come from within and not “in your arms,” her voice, backing vocals and strings create a complete wall of sound.
Much of the material deals with love and its disappearance, whether it be the end of a romantic relationship, or, more poignantly, her father deserting the family when Goulding was five (she hasn’t seen him since). On the trembly “I Know You Care,” she forgives him in way that it’s hard to imagine he deserves. As a songwriter, she has the storytelling down already, but she needs to learn how to craft a catchier chorus. This album is more about atmospherics and emotion than hooks.
Though her voice can seem frail at times, she uses her quiver to great effect on “Dead In the Water,” a largely a cappella stunner of a song about a woman whose husband was swept out to sea while they were walking on the beach, and on the airy "Atlantis" (though the subsequent drop into a heavy chorus feels out of place).
“It’s OK to be afraid, but it will never be the same,” she sings on “Explosions,” as a angelic vocals surround her. That same otherworldly feel permeates almost every song on “Halcyon.” Violins collide with synthesizers and tribal drums and hand claps crash into many of the songs, but it’s Goulding’s confessional, vulnerable vocals that you’ll remember long after you’ve finished listening to “Halcyon.”
Less than 72 hours later, Hova drops an 'optic EP' from 8 Barclays Center shows
If you missed Jay-Z’s 8-night stand to open the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, less than 72 hours after he walked off the stage, a live album from the event can be yours.
“Jay-Z: Live In Brooklyn” is available for pre-order on iTunes now and will be available on Oct. 9. On the cover, Jay-Z sports a New Jersey Nets’ jersey, which he helped design. He is also a minority owner in the basketball team.
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Justin Bieber, Psy and 'American Idol' also make the Top 10
1. Mumford & Sons: The lads from Britain land the biggest-selling first-week sales of any album this year as “Babel” sells 600,000 copies. Enjoy while it lasts, boys, Taylor Swift will blow past that with “Red’s” Oct. 22 bow.
2. Adele: “Skyfall” falls right to the top of the iTunes chart mere minutes after its release. Could it debut atop the Billboard Hot 100 based on only four days of airplay and sales?
3. Psy: It looks like the South Korean rapper is going to ride “Gangnam Style” all the way to the top of Billboard Hot 100 next week (unless Taylor Swift or Adele are album to stop him). He will forever join the ranks of the Macarena and Lambada. And we all remember the names of the two artists who had those hits, right?
4. Foo Fighters: The band signs off for a hiatus, but leader Dave Grohl assures the world that they aren’t breaking up and that he loves the band as much as the rest of us do
5. The Replacements: The much-beloved Minneapolis alternative band reunites for a charity EP to help ailing former drummer Slim Dunlap. Maybe they can convince the Smiths to get back together.
6. Rush: The Canadian power trio finally gets what its millions of fans have been clamoring for for more than a decade: a nomination for induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Can we have “A Show Of Hands” of who thinks they should get in?
7. Justin Bieber: After yakking on stage on the opening night of the “Believe” tour, he comes to Los Angeles for two sold-out shows at Staples Center. If photos on my FB and Twitter pages are any indication, he, no doubt, spent more time taking photos with every celeb’s young daughter than he did on stage.
8. “American Idol”: Does it matter if the Nicki Minaj/Mariah Carey fight footage was staged? Whether real or fake, it managed to get the focus squarely on “American Idol” again and away from its competitors. Desperate times call for desperate measures.
9. Viva Digital: Digital album sales are up 15% over this time period last year. It’s still not enough to put the overall market ahead of this time last year, but it probably means that your grandma has finally learned how to download her favorite Susan Boyle album.
10. The Beatles: Friday marked the 50th anniversary of the release of the Beatles’ first single, “Love Me Do.” And the world changed forever. Thank you seems inadequate.
Five new sets likely to bow in Top 10
The Ms have it as a trio of acts, Mumford & Sons, Muse, and Miguel, will snag the top three spots on the Billboard 200 next week.
Mumford & Sons’ “Babel” will drop precipitously in sales from its lofty year-best opening frame of 600,000 this week, but at 165,000 will still handily nab the top spot again.
Muse’s “The 2nd Law” will be the only other title to top the 100,000 mark at up to 120,000 for the No. 2 spot. “Law” is one of five likely new albums to bow in the Top 10, according to Hits Daily Double.
R&B singer Miguel’s “Kaleidoscope Dream” will come in at No. 3 with sales of up to 65,000.
Diana Krall’s “Glad Rag Doll” looks good for a No. 5 debut, though “Doll” and Three Days Grace’s “Transit Of Venus” are in a dead heat for the spot with projected sales of between 45,000 and 50,000 copies for each title.
Former “America’s Got Talent” contestant and classical crossover sensation Jackie Evancho looks good for No. 7 with “Songs From The Silver Screen.” British “X Factor” contestant Cher Lloyd will make her U.S. debut at No. 8 with “Sticks & Stones.”
Other non-debuts besides “Babel” in the Top 10 are Pink’s “The Truth About Love,” at No. 4, Little Big Town’s “Tornado” at No. 9 and G.O.O.D. Music’s compilation, “Cruel Summer” at No. 10.
'The Voice' judge springs forth naked
Christina Aguilera is taking the name of her new album, “Lotus,” literally. As the just-released cover image shows, Aguilera springs forth naked, covered only by lots of hair extensions and subtle lighting, from a pink lotus flower.
The lotus flower has lots of symbolic meanings, including emerging from a dark period into the light or strength, since the flower’s underwater stalk is so strong. Aguilera referenced the strength in a previous statement about the album title: The lotus represents “an unbreakable flower that survives under the hardest conditions and still thrives”....Like our little lotus flower, Christina.
Fashion photographer Enrique Badulescu shot the cover and the accompanying album artwork.
"Lotus" comes out Nov. 13.
What do you think of the album cover?
Six songs from 'Babel' land on the chart
It’s a good week to be in Mumford & Sons. In addition to scoring the year’s best-selling opening sales week with “Babel,” the group has landed another coup: Six songs from “Babel” are on the current Billboard Hot 100 chart, making M&S the first band to land a sextet of songs on the chart simultaneously since the Beatles 48 years ago.
The band's Ben Lovett has jokingly referred to M&S as "a poor man's version of the Beatles," after portraying a Beatles cover band on "Saturday Night Live." Now they’re linked in a way he could have never imagined.
In addition to first single “I Will Wait,” which is No. 57, also in the Hot 100 are “Babel,” (No. 60), "Lover's Eyes" (No. 85), "Whispers in the Dark" (No. 86), "Holland Road" (No. 92) and "Ghosts That We Knew" (No. 94), according to Billboard.
The Beatles achieved the feat with songs from “A Hard Day’s Night” the week of Sept. 19, 1974. However, Mumford & Sons has quite a long way to to go surpass the Beatles record, set in April 1964, when the group has a staggering 14 songs concurrently on the Hot 100.
Watch official lyric video
With “Skyfall,” Adele and co-writer Paul Epworth have created a classic James Bond theme that honors the tradition of Bond and pays homage to the musical themes of the past. How appropriate given this year marks the 50th anniversary of the first Bond film.
The majestic ballad opens with only a heavy piano and very ominous warning from Adele: “This is the end/hold your breath and count to 10.”
Slowly, strings come in, but there’s no change in tempo, which remains steady and stately throughout. Instead, Adele and co-writer/producer Paul Epworth, layer on orchestration —the song was recorded with a 77-piece orchestra— to create a tremendous sense of foreboding as the song progresses and builds. The tension from the arrangement keeps the song from being a little, dare we say it, plodding.
Perhaps appropriately, given the golden anniversary, Adele and Epworth incorporate the heavy strings from the first Bond film, “Dr. No,” which became the theme most associated with Bond. Sadly, for Adele, the Oscar rules disqualify any song that includes non-original elements, so deserving as the tune may be, it can’t be nominated. Happily for the rest of us, its usage grounds the song with a certain gravitas from which her vocals can soar.
The lyrics in the sweeping chorus, which is more grandly impressive than anything you’ll be singing to yourself in the checkout line, presents a unified front: “Let the sky fall/when it crumbles/we will stand tall or face it all together,” she sings, as the strings collide as if the world really may be ending.
The second verse begins and there’s an audible change in the directness of Adele’s delivery. It’s possible that she’s channeling Bond as she sings: “You may have my number/you can take my name/but you’ll never have my heart.”
However, by the third verse, love reigns supreme again: “Where you go I go/what you see I see/I know I’ll never be without the security of your loving arms to keep me from harm/Put your hand in my hand and we’ll stand.
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Public Enemy is a sure bet, but after that it gets murkier
This year’s crop of nominees for induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is staggering eclectic and definitely stretches the traditional definition of rock and roll by a wide margin.
As we reported yesterday when the nominations were announced, such diverse acts as Motown girl group the Marvelettes are vying for a spot alongside Rush, Public Enemy and Donna Summer.
Below, I give a quick assessment to each act's chances, and boldly (and somewhat impulsively) declare yes or no on which artists will be inducted in the class of 2013. Only five acts go in each year, so many artists who are deserving will have to come back again later.
Rush: Finally! The Canadian power trio has long been one of the Rock Hall’s most glaring omissions...along with virtually any other act that borders anywhere near prog rock. They’re tremendously successful, tremendously influential, and still going strong. Now that they have finally crossed the threshold to getting nominated, I predict that like Guns N’ Roses, who got in the first time, so will Rush. There is so much pent-up demand for this one. YES
Deep Purple: Like Rush, Deep Purple has been long neglected when it comes to attention from the Rock Hall, who has tended not to give heavy metal its due. How else can you explain Judas Priest and Iron Maiden also being roundly ignored. They should be in for “Smoke On The Water” alone. Plus, given how many former members there are, it would be a blast to see who actually shows up at the induction. Sadly, it’s too late for co-founder Jon Lord, who died earlier this year. NO
Public Enemy: Closest thing to a sure bet this year. Chuck D and company represent political rap that has had broad social impact far beyond the music. YES
N.W.A.: One of the most seminal gangsta rap acts, N.W.A., like PE, produced music that spoke to the history of the times. They will definitely be rewarded down the line, but not this year. NO
Heart: As I’ve previously written about Ann and Nancy Wilson, regarding their long omission, If they had testicles, they would have been in the first year they were eligible. Having said that, Ann and Nancy Wilson have more balls than 99% of the rockers out there. Ann’s voice hasn’t diminished a bit--it can still peel the paint from the walls. YES
Joan Jett and the Blackhearts: Jett is a true believer. Her influence on rock, in general, and on female rockers, specifically, is undeniable. In fact, her earlier band The Runaways deserve to be as well. Dave Grohl called playing with her one of the highlights of his life. ‘Nuff said. However, in a year where she is up against Heart, it feels more like their year. NO
Randy Newman: Newman’s singular, often witty, take on our modern times filtered through his uniquely American view is a one-man history lesson. Plus, few singer/songwriters have ever captured the complexity of the male-female dynamic as honestly as he. YES
Donna Summer: She’s been nominated five time before, but like fellow nominees, Chic, has a bit of an uphill climb since some voters still look at disco-era artists as anathema to rock and roll. However, given the outpouring of love she received following her death earlier this year may cause voters to reconsider and realize that is a total artist who has long deserved inclusion. It’s a shame that her induction didn’t happen before she died. YES
Kraftwerk: No reason to exit the Autobahn yet. The seminal experimental rock band is rightly considered a pioneer in electronic music, but the competition is too tough for them this year. NEIN
Procol Harum: My desire to see them play “Conquistador” aside, PH falls into a somewhat nebulous category of British rock groups that blended prog rock, baroque, and blues. Like Deep Purple, it would be very interesting to see who shows up at an induction. They deserve the nomination, but induction is probably quite some ways away. NO
Chic: If it were based solely on innovation, Chic should have been in the first year they were nominated in 2003 (they’ve been nominated six additional times). However, any votes that they would have gotten this year will likely go to Summer. The Rock Hall is going to have to eventually acknowledge what the rest of us already know: Chic was far more than “just” a disco act. NO
Albert King: Two-thirds of the holy trinity of great blues Kings are already in as both B.B. King and Freddie King. Albert is more than deserving, but it won’t happen this year. NO
Paul Butterfield Blues Band: This seminal band has a vaunted place in the history books for its blending of rock and blues, but it may be some time before there’s a year that they land among the top five-- and it’s only going to get tougher as years go by and more acts become eligible. NO
The Marvelettes: The Rock Hall may not like disco, but the membership has bent over backwards to try to include black artists who influenced so many and yet have rarely gotten their proper due. The Marvelettes toiled in the shadow of the Supremes and may be a little bit of a tough sell. NO
The Meters: The Hall has tried to take care of New Orleans’ rich musical heritage by already inducting such acts as Professor Longhair, Fats Domino and Dr. John, but there as so many more that deserve consideration. The Meters helped define contemporary funk music in a way that few people even realize. They, along with the Neville Brothers and Irma Thomas, should all eventually be inducted. NO
Among the acts once again not invited to the party, all of whom should be considered: Hall & Oates, Kiss, The Monkees (I'm very surprised that Davy Jones’ death didn’t get them more consideration this year), Todd Rundgren, The Runaways, Moody Blues, Peter Gabriel (as a solo act), Stevie Ray Vaughan, Pat Benatar, Roxy Music and Iron Maiden.
The 2013 Rock & Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony will be held April 18. In order to be eligible, an artist must have released his or her first single or album at least 25 years ago. The final ballot goes to more then 600 music industry executives and journalists. For the first time, fans may also vote. All fan votes will be combined and counted as one of the 600 total votes. Vote through various websites, including rockhall.com and rollingstone.com.
Who do you think should get inducted this time?
Sale will benefit ailing former guitarist Slim Dunlap
The Replacements have reunited to record a new EP of cover songs that will come out later this year.
Only 250 copies of the 10-inch vinyl EP will be pressed, and all will be auctioned online, according to Rolling Stone. Sales of the EPs will go to assist Slim Dunlap, who served as the band’s guitarist from 1987-1991. He had a stroke in February.
Singer Paul Westerberg and bassist Tommy Stinson cut the tracks in a Minneapolis studio in late September to cut the tracks. Drummer Chris Mars did not take part: Peter Anderson plays drums on the EP, while Kevin Bowe played guitar.
Among the tracks the foursome recorded were Hank Williams’ “Lost Highway,” and “Everything’s Coming Up Roses” from the Broadway musical “Gypsy.” (?!?!)
Remarkably, after breaking up 20 years ago and being subject to reunion rumors every so often that have been consistently shot down, this time Westerberg says the studio time may actually lead to a more collaboration. “It’s possible,” Westerberg told Rolling Stone. “After playing with Tommy last week, I was thinking, ‘All right, let’s crank it up and knock out a record like this.’ I’m closer to it now than I was two years ago, let’s say that.”
Given how quickly they knocked out these songs, which also include a cover of Gordon Lightfoot’s “I’m Not Sayin’” and Dunlap’s “Busted Up,” they could record a new album in a day. “Tommy and I strapped on guitars, not a word was said, and ‘bang’,” says Westerberg. “We still rock like murder.”