Watch: Taylor Swift and Ed Sheeran's mini-mes in 'Everything Has Changed' video

Watch: Taylor Swift and Ed Sheeran's mini-mes in 'Everything Has Changed' video

Make sure you stay for the end of ultra-adorable new clip

Taylor Swift and Ed Sheeran have just possibly made the cutest video ever with “Everything Has Changed,” a song they co-wrote for her current album, “Red.”

[More after the jump...]

 The clip focuses on little Taylor and Ed, as they go through their first or second grade day. The brightly-red haired younger Sheeran is sipping from his thermos and reading the morning comics as the younger , ring-tailed Swift joins him on the school bus. Throughout the day, they are with their classmates, but are lost in their own little world: doing yoga when the rest of their chums are playing soccers or sitting quietly on the jungle gym while their pals rambunctiously run circles around them.

They are happy just being in each other’s company, even when doing separate activities.  It’s a little odd when he’s reading “The Notebook” to her, and when she’s giving him a tattoo, but the clip is a total joy to watch as their mini-mes have what seems like the perfect day.

We don’t want to ruin anything, but make sure you watch this one until the very end for a surprise we didn’t see coming.

Sheeran is opening for Swift on her current tour.

Can we get a collective “Awwwwwww.....”

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<p>Brian Wilson</p>

Brian Wilson

Beach Boy Brian Wilson returns to Capitol Records as a solo artist

Jeff Beck among the guests on new album

After a number of solo albums for other labels, Brian Wilson has returned to Capitol Records, the Beach Boys’ home during the band’s ‘60s hey day, as a solo artist.

Wilson is currently recorded his self-produced 11th solo album at Hollywood’s Ocean Way Studios. Wilson had thought about making another Beach Boys’ album following the group’s 50th anniversary reunion tour last year and their extremely well received studio album, “That’s Why God Made The Radio,” (which also came out on Capitol). However, any such plans imploded after his former bandmate Mike Love decided not to extend the tour with fellow Beach Boy members Wilson, Al Jardine and David Marks, and, instead, to go back to the non-Wilson version of the Beach Boys.  Last year was the first time Wilson had consistently toured with the Beach Boys in 20 years.

Both Jardine and Marks will be on Wilson’s new album, as well a number of guests, including Jeff Beck.  The studio band will also include Don Was, Jim Keltner, Vinnie Colaiuta and Tal Wilkenfeld, as well as members of the Wondermints, Wilson’s long-time touring band.

I interviewed Wilson last year about the the “Radio” album and tour and he expressed glee at the joy he found in playing with the reunited band. “My high point was when we did harmonies together,” he said of their studio time together. On the road, he talked about how he enjoyed being on stage with the band and how strong they still sounded.

In a statement, he said the record would lean towards rock and roll, fueled by the energy he got from last year’s album and tour.  “I was really moved by the fans’ excitement about The Beach Boys’ album and tour last year,” he said. “It charged me up and my head was full of music. I just couldn’t wait to get back into the studio to let it out.”

No word on a release date yet.

In the meantime, Wilson has a handful of dates coming up that will include Jardine and Marks.

July 20 – Atlantic City, NY                              The Grand @ The Golden Nugget
July 21 – Pittsburgh, PA                                 Stage AE—Outdoor Stage
July 23 – Interlochen, MI                                Kresge Auditorium
July 25 – Kettering, OH                                  Fraze Pavilion
July 26 – Highland Park, IL                            Ravinia Festival
July 27 – Apple Valley MINN                         Weesner Family Amphitheatre
Oct 20 – Los Angeles                                     Greek Theatre


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<p>Nine Inch Nails</p>

Nine Inch Nails


Listen: Nine Inch Nails' new single 'Came Back Haunted'

Band also sets album release date and fall arena tour

Nine Inch Nails officially returned Thursday when the band posted new single, “Came Back Haunted,” on SoundCloud at midnight.

“Haunted” is the first track from “Hesitation Marks,” the group’s debut album for Columbia, which will come out Sept. 3.

[More after the jump...]


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<p>Macklemore and Ryan Lewis</p>

Macklemore and Ryan Lewis

Macklemore & Ryan Lewis top Billboard Hot 100 for fifth week

Robin Thicke scores his first Top 10 hit

Macklemore & Ryan Lewis’s “Can’t Hold Us” featuring Ray Dalton continues its winning streak at No. 1 on Billboard Hot 100 as the song spends its fifth week in the pole position.

The song’s title could also apply to Robin Thicke, who lands his first Hot 100 Top 10 with “Blurred Lines,” featuring T.I. and Pharrell. The song soars 11-6 and is the only new entry into the Top 10, according to Billboard.

Justin Timberlake’s “Mirrors” reaches a new height, rising 3-2, as Daft Punk’s “Get Lucky” featuring Pharrell also ascends one spot to No. 3.

Pink’s “Just Give Me A Reason,” featuring Nate Ruess, drops 2-4, while Florida Georgia Line’s “Cruise,” featuring Nelly, stays at No. 5.

Following Thicke at No. 6 is Selena Gomez’s “Come & Get It,” which falls 6-7; Imagine Dragons’ “Radioactive,” which rises 9-8, Icona Pop’s “I Love It,” featuring Charli XCX, down two to No. 9 and Rihanna’s “Stay,” featuring Mikky Ekko at No. 10.

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<p>Mariah Carey</p>

Mariah Carey

Credit: AP Photo

Mariah Carey's new album comes out July 23

Will the new set be 'Triumphant' and 'Beautiful?'

Nearly a year after the release of the first single and a full season of “American Idol” later, Mariah Carey’s 14th studio album looks like it finally has a street day: July 23.

Shortly after noon, Carey tweeted “The New Era Begins...7/23 #MC723.”  Expect to see that hashtag a lot over the next several weeks as the campaign unspools.

As you’ll recall, Carey put out “Triumphant (Get ‘Em)” last August, her first new single in more than two years. Carey’s label positioned the tune as the first cut from her forthcoming album, “whose release will be announced in the months ahead.”  Twelve, to be exact.

When the single underperformed at radio (though it was a dance hit), word about any impending album release waned, which is a shame given that meant losing precious promotional tie-ins via her weekly national platform as an  “American Idol” judge.

However, Carey’s current single, “#Beautiful” featuring Miguel arrived just in time to take advantage of “American Idol,” with the diva performing it on the season finale, as well as on “Good Morning America”  (In the interim, Carey also released “Almost Home,” featured in the film “Oz The Great And Powerful” in February.”)

The new album will be her first new studio set since 2009’s  “Memoirs Of An Imperfect Angel.”  Carey told Billboard that the new project features “more raw ballads than people might expect.” Producers include Jermaine Dupri, Bryan-Michael Cox, Big Jim Wright, Hit-Boy, The-Dream, Rodney Jerkins, and Mike Will.

Upcoming performances for Carey include appearing on NBC’s “Macy’s Fourth of July Fireworks Spectacular,” hosted by her husband, Nick Cannon, on July 4, and also featuring Tim McGraw.

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<p>&nbsp;'20 Feet From Stardom'</p>

 '20 Feet From Stardom'

Credit: Tremelo Productions

Review: 'Twenty Feet From Stardom' puts back-up singers in the spotlight

Meet some of the greatest voices you've ever heard

In “Twenty Feet From Stardom,” back-up singers step out of the shadows into the spotlight. It’s an illuminating, if not totally satisfactory, look at their lives on and off stage.

The Morgan Neville-directed documentary, which premiered at Sundance this January and opens in theaters June 14, takes a look at the history of the modern back-up singer and what it is like to live life in proximity of fame.

Just like the underscore in a movie, great backing vocals are often integral to the finished product, but the listener’s mind doesn’t consciously register them until they are stripped away and emptiness remains. Think about Lou Reed’s “Walk On The Wild Side” and how it would sound without the “Doo do doo, doo do doo doo do doo,” or the wailing refrain of “rape, murder, it’s just a shot away” during The Rolling Stones’  “Gimme Shelter”  or “Hit The Road Jack” by Ray Charles.

In the late ‘50s/early ‘60s, as rock and roll blossomed, back-up singers transitioned from the polite, demure vocals sung by bland white girls to the gritty, full-throated singing made famous on Phil Spector’s productions. 

The story really starts with Darlene Love, lead singer of the Blossoms, and one of the all time great cautionary tales in music. Love was repeatedly screwed over by Spector, who would use her vocals, most notably on “He’s A Rebel,” but credit the song to his latest girl group (in that case, The Crystals), who would then lip sync the song. She could never get out from under his thumb. She eventually working as a maid, until in a Cinderella moment, she was cleaning a house when her signature song,  “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home),” came on the radio and she knew she had to go back to singing even if it broke her heart again. She was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2011, a grand acknowledgement of her accomplishments that had been long denied.

That lineage goes through other greats such as Merry Clayton, Claudia Lennear, Lisa Fischer and several others up to Judith Hill, a contestant on “The Voice” this season. Hill sang back up for Michael Jackson on the ill-fated “This Is It” tour and became a break-out star after singing at his memorial service. Eager to make it as a lead singer, Hill’s efforts to transition from the background to the foreground, in a story whose ending has yet to be written, frame much of the film.

If history serves as an example, Hill has a hard row to hoe. Few make it to the front lines with any great success, in part because they may possess great voices,  but they don’t play instruments or write their own songs and aren’t self-contained artists.  Sheryl Crow and Luther Vandross are the notable exceptions in the film who went from support to main attraction. While there’s no footage of Crow singing back-up for Michael Jackson with hair as high as heaven, there is magnificent film of Vandross singing backing vocals for David Bowie on “Young Americans” in 1973 as well as footage of Vandross, then a star, working with his backing vocalists: his nebulous instruction to them: “Can you give me more air?”

 But for the most part, these singers either don’t want the pressure of carrying the lead role and everything that comes with it, such as the responsibility of being a boss. Or they tried and failed, such as Tata Vega, who now tours with Elton John, or Lisa Fischer, whose excellent solo album received rave reviews and a Grammy, but she was never able to follow up. Instead of being a star of her own, she retreated to being a superstar among backing vocalists. For the last 20 years, she’s toured with The Rolling Stones.

As much as the documentary is about singing, it’s also about race and gender.  The vast majority of the back-up singers in the film, as in real life, are African American and they learned to harmonize by singing in church choirs.  Clayton talks about the conflict, as a black woman, of singing backing vocals on Lynyrd Skynyd’s seminal southern anthem, “Sweet Home Alabama.” However, she brings up the very nuanced (so nuanced that most folks missed it) “boo, boo, boos” that follow the line  “In Birmingham, they love the governor,” as a sign that the song is actually anti-racist. There’s unmined gold there in not developing the race issues further, especially for the singers in the ‘60s as the civil rights movement was coming to the fore.

Additionally, the overwhelming number are also female and that phenomenon goes unquestioned. To be sure, there are a few of male backing vocalists —the documentary includes David Lasley, who sings with James Taylor, but not the astounding Arthur McCuller (he’s the powerhouse voice you hear at the end of “Shower The People”). Why is that?  Are women’s voices better suited for backing vocals? Are men not willing to take a backseat and prefer to be the lead?

What’s missing from the film is the actual process. The backing vocalists talk about “the blend,” the magical moment when all their voices mesh to create something greater than the individual parts, but we rarely  see background singers working out their parts, showing us how it’s done. There are scant footage of  a producer or artist giving direction, but the movie focuses way more on the love of singing  than the nuts and bolts.

Furthermore, instead of hearing major artists like Bruce  Springsteen, Sting and Stevie Wonder talk about the role of backing vocalists, it would have been far more instructive—and entertaining—to have one of them break down a tune and explain how and why they decided to add backing vocals.  There is one scene with Sting rehearsing with Fischer on “Hounds Of Winter” and encouraging her to vamp and then the film cuts to her wailing on the song in concert as Sting totally cedes the spotlight to her.  The film would have been a much richer experience with more behind-the-curtain scenes such as that.

While it sounds like I didn’t like the film, I did, but it left me wanting because there’s so much potential in the topic.

Many of the singers are still patching together careers, going from song to song as hired guns. There’s a fun segment where the Waters Family talks about the odd jobs they’ve done, including vocalizing birds in “Avatar,” or African chanting in “The Lion King.”  But others tired of the road or with too many obligations to tend to have switched to more stable careers. For example,  Lennear has  taught Spanish for the last 15 years. “I never said it wasn’t for me,” she says of singing, still slightly heartbroken that she is no longer on stage, even if the spotlight was never on her.

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<p>LeAnn Rimes' &quot;`Spitfire&quot;</p>

LeAnn Rimes' "`Spitfire"

Credit: Curb

Album Review: LeAnn Rimes tells her side of the story on 'Spitfire'

Confessional new set showcases her strong vocals

LeAnn Rimes’ private life has played out very publicly in the tabloids for the past few years and has, unfortunately,  completely overshadowed her considerable musical talents. With “Spitfire,” out today, she attempts to get the focus back on her superior singing chops through, ironically, addressing the very issue with which the press has had a field day.

[More after the jump...]


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Watch: Taylor Swift joins The Rolling Stones on 'As Tears Go By' in Chicago
Credit: AP Photo

Watch: Taylor Swift joins The Rolling Stones on 'As Tears Go By' in Chicago

Is her version Faithfull to the original?

Taylor Swift did her best Marianne Faithfull imitation Monday night in Chicago as she became the latest artist to join the Rolling Stones on stage.

[More after the jump...]


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Credit: Todd Williamson/Invision for Images

U2 eyes a fall release for new set

Band and Danger Mouse wrap up mixing in New York

U2 is nearing completion of its next album, which will likely come out this fall.

Producer Danger Mouse, who is also mixing the new set, received a visit from all four members —Bono, The Edge, Adam Clayton, and Larry Mullen Jr. —on Friday at New York’s Electric Lady Studios, according to Rolling Stone. The band later went to the roof of the studio to record “Sunday Bloody Sunday” for Inside Out, a global art project. Coldplay's Chris Martin also stopped by the studio, but it's unknown if he appear on the album.

The album will be the band’s follow up to “No Line On The Horizon,” which came out in 2009. Bono joked at the end of last year that the album would be called “10 Reasons to Exist,” but that really does look like it may have been a hoax.

The group also worked with Lady Gaga/Jennifer Lopez producer RedOne before picking Danger Mouse (though wouldn’t you love to hear the RedOne sessions?)

Lack of material does not seem to be an issue. Clayton told Hot Press earlier this spring, “We have an abundance of riches, we could make three or four different records and justify that to ourselves.”

Daniel Lanois, who has worked with the band before, said to expect an “adventurous” set. “It sounded amazing,” he told U.K. paper The Globe and Mail. “Very, very big and powerful sounding.”

Clayton said the band is looking at a release in September, October or November.


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<p>Beyonce performs at &quot;Sound of Change Live&quot; in London.</p>

Beyonce performs at "Sound of Change Live" in London.

Credit: Jon Furniss/Invision/AP Images

Watch: Beyonce delivers 'Standing On The Sun' in full

Does the song bring the heat?

Beyonce debuted the full version of “Standing On The Sun” before a very enthusiastic audience in Antwerp, Belgium the other night. And why wouldn’t they be excited? As she declared, she was performing it “just for you,” as she repeatedly stressed. Yep, just for them and the millions who will see it on YouTube.

[More after the jump...]

 Clad in a beautifully, billowing long red dress, Beyonce delivers the song like a Sun Goddess. It starts as an elegant presentation of the mid-tempo tune, which is all about how when her love touches her, she feels like she’s standing on the sun. Though it’s more of a simmering than a full-blown heat until she gets to the spoken-word part, where she actually says, yes, “I’m gonna love you a long time,” and goes into an African-influenced dance (as African rhythms explode in the background) that reflects her tasteful passion.

A snippet of the song first debuted in her H&M commercial in April. Along with “Standing On The Sun,” fans have also heard full versions of “Grown Woman,” and “Bow Down/I’ve Been On,” but there’s still no word as to when Bey will release a new album.

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