Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers

Album Review: Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers' 'Hypnotic Eye' sees all

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Petty still won't back down

Earlier this year, Tom Petty started telling interviewers, including HitFix, that “Hypnotic Eye,” out Tuesday (29), would be a rock record that harkened back to the early days of the Heartbreakers. He stayed true to his word.

There’s a rawness to “Eye’s” 11 tracks that captures rock and roll’s primal nature. It’s a blast to listen to and it sure sounds like it was fun to make.

The Heartbreakers, bolstered by guitarist Mike Campbell and keyboardist Benmont Tench, are one of the finest, tightest bands in the history of rock. Not only is the musicianship and camaraderie almost unmatched, the Heartbreakers have never remotely felt the need to chase fads or trends. They are straight up, unapologetic rock and roll and on their 13th album as a well-oiled unit, they sound reliably cohesive.

Not only does the album herald back to old Heartbreakers, it recalls the ‘60s and ‘70s rock that has so informed Petty’s music: the jangly guitars and harmonies of “Red River” are redolent of The Byrds, while rollicking “Fault Lines” begins with a Doors/“Break On Through” urgency and first single, “U Get Me High, starts with a Rolling Stones woozy swagger.

Opening track, driving “American Dream Plan B,” sets the tone for the album. Petty, singing in a pinched monotone (even more so than normal), vows to fight for his dream until he gets it right, even if in 2014 that dream is woefully out of reach. Blending acoustic and electric guitars, the song is a strong salvo that sets up the disillusionment that runs through many of the other tunes. That flip side of “American Dream Plan B” is the Allman Bros.-like “Forgotten Man,” where the protagonist knows he’s in a losing battle. That alienation grows en masse on album closer, "Shadow People."

At 63, Petty has lost none of his edginess.  If anything, he’s got more to rail against—he just picks his battles a little more judiciously.

While the songs are all primarily mid-to-uptempo rock tunes, Petty sprinkles other touches throughout:  he adds a slight samba feel to “Sins of My Youth” that helps take the sting out of such lyrics as “You said you loved me, wish you’d like me more.” Bluesy horns and Tench’s juke-joint piano playing give “Burnt Out Town” a swampy feel.  To be sure, we’ve never heard anything musically from Petty like the lighthearted, soft-shoe feel of “Full Grown Boy”on a Heartbreakers’ record (though the love tune wouldn’t have sounded out of place on a Traveling Wilburys set.)

There’s a loose aggressiveness  to the album that never veers into sloppiness, instead it’s the feel of a well-oiled machine: all the parts know how to work together, especially when they stretch out on the pleasing Campbell-led jam on “All You Can Carry”— a song literally about Petty grabbing what he could as his house burned down and figuratively about the baggage we need to leave behind.

“Hypnotic Eye,” recorded in Petty’s Malibu home studio, is solid and sturdy if hardly groundbreaking. As enjoyable as it is— and and it is very enjoyable— there’s nothing on here that sounds like it could become a new classic, along such staples as “I Won’t Back Down,” “American Girl” or  “Don’t Do Me Like That.” However, it’s also clear that Petty is far from coasting, especially when his “Hypnotic Eye” sees all and has so much to say.

 

Karen O

Karen O falls under love's spell in 'Rapt' video: Watch

Track is first single from new solo album, 'Crush Songs'


Karen O’s video for her new single “Rapt,” features the Yeah Yeah Yeah’s singer submerged in water, floating under the surface in a sequined red dress.

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Nicki Minaj

UPDATED: Why Nicki Minaj and her butt can't have it both ways

She protests a little too much over her latest controversy

UPDATED: Minaj has delayed the release of "Anaconda" a week for unspecified reasons. The single will now come out Aug. 4. She also released a new photo of her in the same outfit as the single cover, this time from the front, surrounded by a yoga mat, weights, and work out ball. All in pink, natch.

 

So Nicki Minaj wants to know why models get no push back— so to speak—when they flash their asses in photo spreads and yet the world is all over her famous backside after she posts a shot of her “Anaconda” single cover that features her derriere.

After the photo went viral and threatened to break the internet, Minaj got some praise, but she also got her share of grief, so last night, she started posting photos of such things as the last Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue cover and asking why that’s “angelic”and yet her butt shot is “unacceptable.” She even threatened to post some more explicit photos, but decided better of it… or maybe she’ll just wait for that until the next time she’s desperate for some publicity.

Well, Nicki, you have every right to cop a squat and show off your formidable rear, but here’s a few reasons why you're causing such a stir and why you may want to think this through.

1. Your shot is aggressively in your face in a way the model shots are not. Add high heels and it would be a trademark stripper pose. Whether it’s the crouched position or the disappearing pink thong or the come hither look, your shot is sexualized in a way that the other shots are not. That's fine if you want to be known primarily for that asset as opposed to others, but maybe not such a smart move, if not.

2. The sad fact is that women can still not have it both ways. I’m not saying that it’s OK that we can’t, I’m just saying that we haven’t gotten to the place yet where a women who plasters her bare ass in a provocative pose all over the internet is then going to be taken completely seriously for her music. Some folks won’t see it as an issue, but given the comments flooding the internet, others do. You don't get to cry foul when people focus on your behind and your looks instead of your music if you're doing to flaunt your appearance this way. When Lil Kim showed up topless other than a pasty,  we all knew it was because the music was secondary to the spectacle. Is that the message you want to send?

3. You seem to be working really hard to clean up your image: the funny wigs are gone, you’ve been dressing classier at awards shows. No one says you have to wear a nun’s habit (actually, you’ve already tried that and it didn’t go over so well), but it feels like you back slid here. We’re not saying that women can’t express all different facets of themselves, but there’s sexy and there’s tacky and this seems more of the latter.

4. Look at you. Everyone’s talking about you. Again. Good for you. But wouldn’t it be nice if they were talking about the music instead of your ass?  With "Pills N' Potions," people were talking about the song and how it showed a different side of you. But now, everyone's just talking about your butt. Maybe it doesn’t matter to you, but for someone who has pretended for the last 24 hours that those doesn’t care what people think, you’re spent a lot of time on Twitter fanning the flames.

What do you think? Is the photo too much?

 

Beastie Boys

Revisiting Beastie Boys' 'Paul's Boutique' 25 years later

What did the critics say when it first came out?


The stakes were high for the Beastie Boys on their second album, “Paul’s Boutique.” The trio’s first set, 1986’s “Licensed To Ill,” had catapulted Adam “Ad-Rock” Horovitz, Adam “MCA” Yauch, and Michael “Mike D” Diamond into rap’s forefront with tunes like the bratty anthem, “Fight For Your Right (To Party)”showed three white New Yorkers could steal the rap spotlight.

But the bigger question was if they were making novelty music for frat parties or were here to stay. “Paul’s Boutique” authoritatively proved it was the latter.

When it came time for “Boutique,” which came out 25 years ago today, on July 25, 1989, the Beasties had split with producer Rick Rubin and turned to the Dust Brothers.  The album came with a more serious, dedicated attitude and a quarter century after its release, it is considered the Beastie Boys’ masterpiece.

So how was it received when it first came out? Here’s a look at some of the initial reviews in 1989 for “Paul’s Boutique.”


Rolling Stone gave it four our of five stars with David Handelman declaring, Yet with the dense, crafty Paul's Boutique (produced by the Dust Brothers, including Tone-Loc helmsman Matt Dike), the Beasties reinvent the turntable and prove they're here to stay. Gone is Rubin's wailing guitar (and with it, probably, the chance of a crossover hit single), but in its place is a nearly seamless set of provocative samples and rhymes — a rap opera, if you will, complete with an Abbey Road-like multisnippet medley called "B-boy Bouillabaisse." If the misogyny, hedonism and violence of the first album bothered you, the sequel shows little remorse — merely replacing beer with cheeba — but it's a much more intricate, less bludgeoning effort.”

Robert Christgau, reviewing for Playboy, noticed the sea change: “If Paul's Boutique (Capitol) doesn't jump you the way great rap usually does, it also announces that these guys aren't about to burn out on their vaunted vices--not cheeba, not pussy, certainly not fame. With Rick Rubin producing hard rock full-time, Paul's Boutique doesn't pick up on the expansive pop-metal hooks that made them rich and famous. It's not as thick and threatening as Public Enemy or as waggish as De La Soul. But the Beasties and Tone-Loc's Dust Brothers have worked out a sound that sneaks up on you with its stark beats and literal-minded samples, sometimes in a disturbing way, and while I don't hear a "Fight for Your Right," I also wasn't smart enough to handicap "Wild Thing" as the biggest rap single in history. Bearing down on the cleverest rhymes in the biz…the Beasties concentrate on tall tales rather than boasting or dissing.”

“Paul’s Boutique” peaked at No. 14 on the Billboard 200, but time has given the album a certain revered, elder statesman status among rap titles.  Spin ranked it No. 12 among its 100 Greatest Albums released between 1985 and 2005; Pitchfork listed it at No. 3 on the Top 100 Albums of the 1980s, and Time Magazine named it among its “100 Greatest Albums of All TIME.”

“Hey Ladies” was the only hit from “Paul’s Boutique,” reaching No. 36, but the entire album’s influence only continues to grow.

What’s your favorite track from “Paul’s Boutique?”

Exclusive: Dawes performs 'Someone Will' for Guitar Center Sessions: Watch

Exclusive: Dawes performs 'Someone Will' for Guitar Center Sessions: Watch

SoCal band performs tale of unrequited love

Dawes will star on Sunday’s (27) episode of Guitar Center Sessions on DIRECTV’s Audience Network, but you don’t have to wait until then to get a sneak peek at the Southern California’s folk rockers’ appearance.

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Stevie Nicks

Stevie Nicks sets release date for '24 Karat Gold' set

Album will be the singer's first since 2011's 'In Your Dreams'

Stevie Nicks will mine her past on new album, “24 Karat Gold: Songs From The Vault,” out Oct. 7 on Warner Bros.

The album, recorded in Nashville and Los Angeles and produced by Eurythmics’ Dave Stewart, famed session/touring guitarist/producer Waddy Wachtel and Nicks, features music written by the Fleetwood Mac enchantress between 1969 and 1995, Nicks tells Billboard. “Each song is a lifetime. Each song has a soul. Each song has a purpose. Each song is a love story,” she said. “They represent my life behind the scenes, the secrest, the broken hearts, the broken hearted and the survivors. These songs are the memories—the 24-karat gold rings in the blue box.”

The album will in various editions. The standard packaging includes photos taken by Nicks over the last several decades. A deluxe CD set will include two bonus tracks and a 48-page photo booklet. A limited edition double vinyl set will be released a week prior, on Sept. 29.

Nicks will begin previewing snippets of songs from the album Aug. 5 via her Instagram account, stevienicksofficial.

She returns to the road with Fleetwood Mac on Sept. 30. The tour includes the long-awaited return of singer/keyboardist Christine McVie to the band.

Icona Pop

Exclusive: Icona Pop hits Mexico City with Miley Cyrus in clip from 'I Am Icon': Watch

Things take a strange turn south of the border

Swedish pop duo Icona Pop broke big around the world in 2012 with its smash, “I Love It.”

Since then, Caroline Hjelt and Aino Jawo have been traveling the globe touring with acts like Passion Pit, Matt & Kim, Marina and the Diamonds, Katy Perry and, earlier this year, with Miley Cyrus on the North American leg of her Bangerz World Tour.

The pair, who released “This Is… Icona Pop” last year, chronicled their adventures on the road with Cyrus for a reality series on fashion and lifestyle website Refinery29. “I Am Icon” debuted July 10 and in this exclusive clip from the July 24 episode, they discover that there’s a bit of chaos waiting for them south of the border as they discover that the head of production for the festival they are playing has just been fired.

But there are also fans waiting for them, as Jawo talks about how excited they are because their biggest fan base on Facebook is in Mexico City.

To watch "I Am Icon," go here.

 

Taylor Swift

Taylor Swift, Lorde, Iggy Azalea, One Direction to headline iHeartRadio Festival

Nicki Minaj, Eric Church and other superstars set for Sept. 19-20 event

Taylor Swift, Nicki Minaj, One Direction, Coldplay, Zac Brown Band and Iggy Azalea will play the Clear Channel’s fourth annual iHeartRadio Music Festival, set for Sept. 19-20 at Las Vegas’ MGM Grand Hotel & Casino.

Also on the bill are Usher, Ariana Grande, Motley Crue, Eric Church, Ed Sheeran, Train, Lorde, Calvin Harris, Bastille, and more.

Ryan Seacrest returns as host of the 2-day fest, which will air on stations in 150 Clear Channel markets, stream on Yahoo, and be condensed into a two-night prime time special on The CW, Sept. 29-30.

 

Magic!

Magic's 'Rude' spends a second week at the top of the chart

Could Sam Smith be headed to his first No. 1?


Magic! continues to cast a spell on the Billboard Hot 100 this week as “Rude” remains at No. 1 for a second week.

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Miley Cyrus and Pharrell Willams

Pharrell Williams and Miley Cyrus get playful in 'Come Get It Bae' video: Watch

Cyrus pours some sugar in a non-Def Leppard way

 

Miley Cyrus leaves the tweaking to others in the video for Pharrell Williams’ “Come Get It Bae.”

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