dispatches from the pop scene...minus the corn syrup.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Madonna's 'MDNA' Album Cover (Deluxe Version)



You Can All Kiss Lana Del Rey's Pussy: 'Born To Die' Is A Hit

As of today, the pillow-lipped so-called scourge of Music Snobland will be referred to around here as The Queen Of Rock And Pop Lana Del Rey. Just as Ke$ha is The New Queen Of Soul and Madonna is Ye Olde Vampyre, so to is Del Rey The Queen Of Rock And Pop.

I have to laugh at all the reviewers who sat down at their computers, pushed their Poindexter glasses up their schnozzes, cracked their knuckles and ejaculated in their Target jeans while furiously typing out what they collectively thought would be the nails to be banged into Lana's coffin over the past week. “…her voice is pinched and prim, and her song doctors need to go the fuck back to med school," decrepit dinosaur Rolling Stone croaked, no doubt while longing for the new Paul McCartney album to clunk out of the pipeline.

But never has The Queen Of Rock And Pop's Born To Die album cover — that once-puzzling and too-simple image — seemed so appropriate. There Her Royal Highness stands, arms at her side, chest and vitals exposed with her chin jutted out and staring us and all our bandwagon vitriol down in absolute defiance. She'll show us.

And so today brings the official release of Del Rey's debut album Born To Die, i.e. the record that is currently #1 on iTunes in its Deluxe Version form. The standard edition is at #3. In the UK, where The Queen hasn't been quite so harshed by all the post-SNL fallout, the album is currently outselling the rest of the UK Top 10 combined.

Yes, "experts," sometimes it really is possible to underestimate the public. Now, if you haven't already choked on the foot you jammed down your throat, hurry to catch up — the bandwagon is moving on to its next victim. But if you are lying there, teeth broken out and lying in a mixed pool of spit and blood beside your face — then good; Lana Del Rey is going to walk over you and ram her stiletto heel down into your eye socket.

Incidentally, of all the reviews I've read of Born To Die, I think prophetic Spin said it perfectly: "We broke her; we bought her."


Sunday, January 29, 2012

UK Chart Roundup: Cover Drive Talk That Talk At #1 With "Twilight"

At first, with Barbadian quartet Cover Drive, I was all like, who's this Rihanna knockoff ho. Then with their second single "Twilight," I was all, way to throw every popular search word at the wall and see if it sticks.

Turns out that the jam has completely grown on me. Sure, it's basically a 2.0 of "What's My Name" — but is that such a bad thing to aspire to? Not when it takes you to the top of the UK chart.

Meanwhile, kudos to Sia for managing to score two Top 10 singles at the same time, courtesy of her features on David Guetta's "Titanium" (which is up to #2) and Flo Rida's "Wild Ones" (new in at #5).

The UK Top 10:

1. "Twilight" - Cover Drive *new* *1 week*
2. "Titanium" - David Guetta feat. Sia
3. "Domino" - Jessie J
4. "Mama Do The Hump" - Rizzle Kicks
5. "Wild Ones" - Flo Rida feat. Sia *new*
6. "Antidote" - Swedish House Mafia feat. Knifeparty
7. "Somebody That I Used To Know" - Gotye feat. Kimbra
8. "Stronger" - Kelly Clarkson
9. "Good Feeling" - Flo Rida
10. "International Love" - Pitbull feat. Chris Brown

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Madonna's "Give Me All Your Luvin'" Single Art & 'MDNA' Album Details Revealed

Pop fanatics, it's a new dawn for our fair maiden Madonna, and if you thought the Lady Gaga PR onslaught was relentless last year, prepare for the Madonnapocalypse.

It was announced today that her Nicki Minaj- and M.I.A.-featuring single "Give Me All Your Luvin'", which was produced by Martin Solveig and Madge, will be available on iTunes this coming Friday, February 3. Ahead of that, the music video will be previewed during Thursday night's episode of American Idol. (Note: Idol is still in the pre-recorded auditions phase — so the video preview will perhaps air during the credits, or, I guess get shoehorned somewhere in the middle.)

Like the single, Demonna's full video will then premiere on Friday (i.e. the same day W.E. hits theaters, and two days before M's Super Bowl halftime performance).

Meanwhile, Her Madgesty's 12th studio album MDNA will be released on March 26 via her new label deal with Interscope. Here's more info, via a press release:
iTunes will offer an exclusive global pre-order of an 18 track Deluxe Edition of MDNA including one exclusive remix from Madonna's new album. The bonus remix will be available from Friday, February 3rd through Monday, February 6th only. During this time period the album will be available for $9.99 and fans will also receive the digital single "Give Me All Your Luvin'" immediately. This single is also exclusive to iTunes during this limited time. At launch, the offer can be found at www.iTunes.com/Madonna.
In addition to Solveig, producers on MDNA, which will contain her Golden Globe-winning W.E. song "Masterpiece," include William Orbit (thank god), The Demolition Crew, Marco "Benny" Benassi and Alessandro "Alle" Benassi, Hardy "Indiigo" Muanza, Michael Malih and Madonna.

Let's hope the broad knocks it out of the park with this one, Ray Of Light and Confessions style, kids.

Now, go read my sexy Idolator feature Madonna's 10 Best Songs That Radio Forgot.


Thursday, January 26, 2012

US Chart Roundup: Adele's "Set Fire To The Rain" Is Her Third #1 Single

Adele's "Set Fire To The Rain" topples Rihanna's "We Found Love" on the Hot 100, and it marks the London-based singer's third consecutive #1 single off 21. "Set Fire To The Rain" has been my jam off that album from day one, so I'm happy to see it finally doing so well. Incidentally, 21 was released  exactly one year ago this week in the UK.

Over on the Top 200, 21 has now surpassed the Titanic soundtrack's 16-week run in the album chart's peak position. The last LP to spend more time at #1 was the soundtrack to The Bodyguard, which racked up 20 weeks on top between 1992 and 1993.

Back on the Hot 100, Kelly Clarkson earns her second Top 10 hit off Stronger with the album's Greg Kurstin-produced title song, which is up to #8. Who knew that endorsing a Republican presidential candidate who flopped would give her such a career boost? This is the first time since Kelly's 2004 Breakaway album that she's landed back-to-back Top 10 hits.

Jessie J now has her first Top 10 US hit with "Domino" (#10), her current UK chart-topper. Billboard points out that the song is now Max Martin's 36th Top 10 single and Dr. Luke's 29th as writers. Cha-ching!

Elsewhere, my jam "Blackout" by Breathe Carolina (#32) finally cracks the Top 40, The Wanted's debut US single "Glad You Came" leaps up 21 positions to #64 and Foster The People's "Don't Stop (Color On The Walls)" holds steady way down at #97 for a second week.

The U.S. Top 10:

1. "Set Fire To The Rain" - Adele *1 week*
2. "We Found Love" - Rihanna feat. Calvin Harris
3. "Good Feeling" - Flo Rida
4. "Turn Me On" - David Guetta feat. Nicki Minaj
5. "The One That Got Away" - Katy Perry
6. "It Will Rain" - Bruno Mars
7. "Sexy And I Know It" - LMFAO
8. "Stronger (What Doesn't Kill You)" - Kelly Clarkson
9. "Ni**as In Paris" - Jay-Z & Kanye West
10. "Domino" - Jessie J

Chart Rigger turned 7 this week! Celebrate by answering these 7 sassy, pop-related(-ish) questions

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Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Saint Etienne Offer Up Free Single "Tonight"

New Saint Etienne music is always a good thing, and new free Saint Etienne music is even better! The British trio have offered up their bouncy new dance-pop single "Tonight" as a price-free download ahead of its March 5 release. Listen below, and download here.

"Tonight" was produced by ex-Xenomania cog Tim Powell (who also whipped up Pet Shop Boys single "Together"), mixed by Richard X, and will presumably appear on the Et's upcoming LP Words And Music By Saint Etinne.

This does bring to mind one question: what happened to previoudly-announced lead single "I've Got Your Music"?

SE member Bob Stanley had this to say to Pitchfork about "Tonight":
"[It's] about the anticipation of going to see your favourite artist. For some reason, I imagine this show is at the Forum in Kentish Town. The whole album is about the power of pop, how it affects and shapes your life. People talk about the problem of landfill indie, but there's so much landfill pop around at the moment — we're trying to do something about it."
Anyway, if you need to get hold of me tonight, I'll be over there in the distance, playing "Tonight" on repeat about 46 times.

Chart Rigger turned 7 this week! Celebrate by answering these 7 sassy, pop-related(-ish) questions


It's Adam Lambert's 'Trespassing' Album Cover

Ladies and gentleman, behold —the new Fast & Furious poster! Oh, j/k, everyone. J/k. It's the cover art for Adam Lambert's sophomore LP Trespassing, which is due out March 20. Visually, it's miles ahead in sophistication than his debut, and kind of the perfect representation of right where he should be now.

Adam tweeted that Lee Cherry, who he's worked with before, did the photography and art directing. Lambert himself served as executive producer and creative director.

Songwriters and producers Adam worked with include Dr. Luke, Benny Blanco, Sam Sparro, Nile Rodgers, Bruno Mars and Pharrell Williams.

Chart Rigger turned 7 this week! Celebrate by answering these 7 sassy, pop-related(-ish) questions.


Sunday, January 22, 2012

UK Chart Roundup: Jessie J Blows The Competition... Away

Not much else to say here.

The UK Top 10:

1.  "Domino" - Jessie J *2 weeks*
2. "Mama Do The Hump" - Rizzle Kicks
3. "Titanium" - David Guetta feat. Sia
4. "Antidote" - Swedish House Mafia feat. Knifeparty *new*
5. "Good Feeling" - Flo Rida
6. "Dedication To My Ed" - Lloyd feat. Andre 3000 & Lil Wayne
7. "Levels" - Avicii
8. "Kiss The Stars" - Pixie Lott
9. "Troublemaker" - Taio Cruz
10. "Paradise" - Coldplay

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Chart Rigger Turns 7 Today, So Here Are 7 Questions For You To Answer

Ah, 2005 — what a different pop landscape it was seven years ago, when Chart Rigger first went online. In fact, 2005 marked the shift back toward actual pop — and, subsequently, dance — music, stateside, after both had been pretty much absent on the charts in the first half of the first decade of the new millennium. Above you'll see a visual timeline of the #1 singles on the Hot 100 this very week every year since 2005.

One could say my work here is done, and, yes, I take full credit for it. Oh, I jest. But sometimes I do wonder if it's time for me to get an actual life and leave the pop trash-talking behind. Then I realize, well, I'd probably just be shooting up smack in an alleyway downtown in place of blogging, so...

Anyway, this blogiversary always creeps up on me, and I never quite know what to write about. That said, I found it much more interesting to hear about you this time last year. So once again, let's get to know each other a little better. (Yes, I'm talking to YOU.) And we'll make it 7-themed.

Here, I'll show you mine first. Then you show me yours...in the comments.

1. I turned 7 years old in ___, a year that was memorable because _________.
1981. It was the year MTV first hit the airwaves (though we didn't get it in my house till 1982).

2. Looking at the above 7 chart-topping singles, I can't believe ____ is sill around.
Flo Rida. His songs seem to me like they could have any interchangeable rapper thrown in for vocals. They also come across like one-hit wonder type singles. Then again, that probably just proves he's adaptable, and likely explains why we're still talking about him. Or maybe he's given all the right people handjobs?

3. Who released the best seventh single of their career out of these artists: 
Rihanna, "Umbrella"
Britney Spears, "Lucky"
Madonna, "Material Girl"
Beyonce, "Check On It"
Katy Perry, "Firework"
It's a toss-up between Madonna and Rihanna for me. Two vastly different pop singles from two vastly different eras. I flipped a coin and it came up RiRi, but I can't truly pick one over the other.

4. When I was 17, I was dating a (guy/girl) whose first name was _____.
I wasn't. Ages 17 through 19 marked a very "single" time period for me. I don't think I was really comfortable in my own skin then.

5. Brad Pitt and Morgan Freeman star in a movie called Seven, which I saw _____.
Opening weekend, in the movie theater while on a first — and last — date. Guy was creepy, much like the movie. Whatever, I got a free meal at the Italian Oven on the edge of my university's campus out of it.

6. I'm still reading this trashy blog seven years later because _______.
Well, I'm still writing this blog seven years later because I think I'm obsessed with Britney's lopsided weave and Beyonce's attempts at still trying to have a pop career. Normal concerns for a healthy adult...right?

7. My birthday is ____.
February 7. See? It's related to the theme!

Now it's your turn. Hit me up below, and thanks for reading all these years later!


Thursday, January 19, 2012

US Chart Roundup: In Defense Of Lana Del Rey

Rihanna's "We Found Love" is #1 for a 10th week on the Billboard Hot 100, which means she and Calvin Harris have now had the longest run at the top of the chart since The Black Eyed Peas' "I Gotta Feeling" spent 13 weeks in the peak position in 2009. RiRi is also the first female solo artist to rack up 10 weeks at #1 since Beyonce did so with "Irreplaceable" five years ago.

Let's move on to another controversial lady of pop. Lana Del Rey, in case you've been on a coke bender for the past week, gave a performance on Saturday Night Live that has pretty much divided the Internet into two camps: those who hated it and those who think all the resulting chatter will only help boost sales of her debut LP Born To Die once it arrives.

Lana Del Rey — "Video Games" on SNL

Lana Del Rey — "Blue Jeans" on SNL

The haters really need to get over it. Vocally, I found her performance to be just fine. People are up in arms over her seemingly odd, guttural delivery, but it's like, look, that's how the broad sings. This ain't no Britney Spears tit fest designed to have some lip-syncing ho with a robot snatch pry kiddies' cash out of their hands so they can sit on mom's Rabbit and one day hit the pole at 14.

NO! This is Lana Del Rey, hookers. True, she needs to work on the whole stage presence thing. And she could have benefited from some sort of prop to give her fidgety hands something to do — possibly a scarf to twirl around, or perhaps a microphone stand or a riding crop?

But, come on. The chick was probably nerved up and out of her mind from doing her first big TV performance (in the States). She's got The Ellen DeGeneres Show coming up on February 2, and the Late Show With David Letterman at some point after that. She'll get there, Brian Williams, you smug, ugly douche. Her performances on The Jonathan Ross Show and at London's Corinthia Hotel the week prior were just fine.

Try this: hit play on one of the videos above then go make a sandwich while listening and not watching. There really is nothing wrong with her vocals.

At any rate, Del Rey's four-song EP rose to #2 on iTunes immediately after SNL aired, and is still hanging in at #7 on the digital stores album roundup nearly a week later. On the Billboard Top 200, Del Rey's EP debuts at #20, while "Video Games" cracks the Hot 100 at #91.

On a finale note, The Wanted's debut US single "Glad You Came" enters the Hot 100 at #85 following their performance on Ellen last week.

The U.S. Top 10:

1. "We Found Love" - Rihanna feat. Calvin Harris *10 weeks*
2. "Set Fire To The Rain" - Adele
3. "Good Feeling" - Flo Rida
4. "It Will Rain" - Bruno Mars
5. "Sexy And I Know It" - LMFAO
6. "The One That Got Away" - Katy Perry
7. "Ni**as In Paris" - Jay-Z & Kanye West
8. "Rack City" - Tyga
9. "Young, Wild & Free" - Snoop Dogg & Wiz Khalifa
10. "Turn Me On" - David Guetta feat. Nicki Minaj

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Wednesday, January 18, 2012

It's Emeli Sande's "Next To Me" Video

BRIT Award-nominated singer Emeli Sande's "Next To Me" sounded like a cross between Adele's "Rolling In The Deep" and Dolly Parton's "9 To 5" to me (which, really, isn't a bad combo to go for) when I first heard it. It's the third single lifted from her upcoming debut LP Our Version Of Events, which is out in the UK on February 13 and in the States sometime in June.

The video is a bit of a shoestring-budget deal, but, you know — recession and all.


Adam Lambert Does "Better Than I Know Myself" On The 'Tonight Show'

Adam Lambert gave the first late night talk show performance of his lead Trespassing single "Better Than I Know Myself" on the Tonight Show With Jay Leno last night.

At first, something made me think the whole thing was going to be somewhat understated — maybe it was the fact that this was the first time we were hearing the slick pop jam in a live setting. But then Adam hauled out his powerhouse vocals toward the end, and the audience's knickers collectively dropped to the floor.

Who knows — maybe people will actually start downloading this song now?



Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Pet Shop Boys Recording New Album In L.A.

I guess I missed this popping up over the holidays, but here's the cover of Pet Shop Boys' upcoming two-disc B-sides collection Format (full track list), which spans from 1996 to 2009. It's out in the UK on February 6.

Meanwhile, Neil Tennant posted the following on the duo's official site over the weekend:
Hi. We've started recording our new album in Los Angeles this week with a young producer/engineer called Andrew Dawson.
 More info on Dawson, who has primarily worked with hip hop acts like Kanye West, Lil Wayne and Drake, here.  The Boys announced in November that their 11th studio album is "due for release in early autumn next year."


Monday, January 16, 2012

Madonna Wins A Golden Globe For "Masterpiece," Much To Elton John's Dismay

After Madonna's W.E. track "Masterpiece" won the Golden Globe for Best Original Song last night over Elton John's "Hello Hello" from Gnomeo & Juliet, the camera panned to Sir at one point, and he gave a look like Madge had just blown chunks on his plate of nibbly things.

Those two seconds alone made the entire show worth watching. And kudos for Madge for capping off a stellar week of promotion for W.E. in such style. Now, if only she can get people to actually go see the movie.

I watched a screener of W.E. just before Christmas. Madonna is definitely a better director than she is an actress. But let's just say I won't dispute that 29% score on RottenTomatoes.com.

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Sunday, January 15, 2012

UK Chart Roundup: British Sex Sorceress Jessie J Lands Second #1 With "Domino"

Jessie J's "Domino," a great case of when good pop songs happen to boring people, has now become the BRIT-nominated singer's second chart-topping single in her home country (following "Price Tag").

But since this is depressing news, let's watch the music video for the song that was #1 in the UK this week 10 years ago, Aaliyah's Timbaland-produced classic "More Than A Woman"!

The UK Top 10:

1. "Domino" - Jessie J *1 week*
2. "Good Feeling" - Flo Rida
3. "Mama Do The Hump" - Rizzle Kicks
4. "Levels" - Avicii
5. "Dedication To My Ex" - Lloyd feat. Andre 3000 & Lil Wayne
6. "Troublemaker" - Taio Cruz
7. "Paradise" - Coldplay
8. "Titanium" - David Guetta feat. Sia
9. "Dance With Me Tonight" - Olly Murs
10. "Earthquake" - Labrinth feat. Tinie Tempah

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Saturday, January 14, 2012

Madonna On 'The Graham Norton Show': Watch

Madonna on The Graham Norton Show — so much funnier and more charming than Madonna on Nightline. And way more fun than she's ever been on Letterman.

Anyway, all the boxes were ticked — W.E., the title of her upcoming album, being a parent with a teenager in the house, carefully worded (and more subtle) disses on Lady Gaga. Poor Emeli Sande had the thankless job of being the musical guest on a show that was really only focused on one other person (and you could kind of read the dismay at that on her face).

Graham should just spend the rest of his career as Madge's sidekick, drawing out the fun side of her. But enough of my rambling. Here's the show...

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Thursday, January 12, 2012

2012 BRIT Awards: The Nominees

Hmmmm. Not the most exciting year for nominees, though there are a few gems — Lana Del Rey for International Breakthrough Act, Emeli Sande for British Breakthrough Act (she's also the previously-announced recipient of this year's Critics' Choice Award) and...uh...well, that's about it.

Performers announced today for the February 21 ceremony, to be held at London's 02 Arena, include Adele, Bruno Mars, Coldplay, Ed Sheeran (who has the most nominations — four), Florence + The Machine, Noel Gallagher and Rihanna.

Has the BRITs finally become as snoozy as the its American counterpart'?


British Male Solo Artist
Ed Sheeran
James Blake
James Morrison
Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds
Professor Green

British Female Solo Artist
Florence + the Machine
Jessie J
Kate Bush
Laura Marling

British Breakthrough Act
Anna Calvi
Ed Sheeran
Emeli Sandé
Jessie J
The Vaccines

British Group
Arctic Monkeys
Chase & Status

British Single
Adele, “Someone Like You”
Ed Sheeran, “The A Team”
Example, “Changed The Way You Kissed Me”
Jessie J feat. B.o.B, “Price Tag”
JLS feat. Dev, “She Makes Me Wanna”
Military Wives/Gareth Malone, “Wherever You Are”
Olly Murs feat. Rizzle Kicks, “Heart Skips A Beat”
One Direction, “What Makes You Beautiful”
Pixie Lott, “All About Tonight”
The Wanted, “Glad You Came”

Mastercard British Album of the Year
Adele, 21
Coldplay, Mylo Xyloto
Ed Sheeran, +
Florence + The Machine, Ceremonials
PJ Harvey, Let England Shake

International Male Solo Artist
Aloe Blacc
Bon Iver
Bruno Mars
David Guetta
Ryan Adams

International Female Solo Artist
Lady Gaga

International Group
Fleet Foxes
Foo Fighters
Jay Z & Kanye West
Lady Antebellum
Maroon 5

International Breakthrough Act
Aloe Blacc
Bon Iver
Foster The People
Lana Del Rey
Nicki Minaj

Outstanding Contribution to Music

Critics’ Choice
1st – Emeli Sandé
2nd – Maverick Sabre
3rd – Michael Kiwanuka

British Producer
Paul Epworth
Ethan Jones

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A Nice Pic Of Madonna & Emeli Sande On 'The Graham Norton Show'

Here's a nice photo of Madonna and Emeli Sande from The Graham Norton Show episode airing tomorrow. You know, the one taped yesterday, where Madge-pyre announces her album title is MDNA.

Actually, the more I look at this pic, I'm thinking it's not such a nice pic of Emeli. It's as if someone in the room has drained her soul and will to live...

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US Chart Roundup: Rihanna's Back On Top + The #1 Singles 5, 10, 15 & 20 Years Ago

Rihanna's "We Found Love" mercifully recaptures the top spot on the Hot 100 and spares us any more LMFAO torture. This marks nine non-consecutive weeks at the top for RiRi's Calvin Harris-produced jam. It's been two years since any song spent this long at #1 — the last one being Ke$ha's "Tik Tok," which also racked up nine weeks at the top.

As I mentioned yesterday, "We Found Love" truly seems to have eclipsed Rihanna's second Talk That Talk single "You Da One," which, after initially debuting and peaking at #14, has now dropped to #26 on the chart.

Elsewhere, Adele scores her third Top 5 hit in the States with "Set Fire To The Rain" (up to #4), Jason Mraz's iTunes-dominating "I Won't Give Up" debuts at #8 and Jessie J's "Domino" (#17) becomes her first Top 20 single.

Meanwhile, my new jam "Blackout" by Breathe Carolina inches up to #41 this week. I think that calls for a flashback...

The #1 song 20 years ago this week, back in 1992, was Michael Jackson's "Black Or White,' which was winding down from its seven-week stay at the top. Ah, high school...

Toni Braxton was in the midst of her lengthy 11-week run atop the Hot 100 with "Un-Break My Heart" 15 years ago this week. Ah, college...

Ten years ago right now, Nickelback's godawful "How You Remind Me" was #1.

And finally, Beyonce's "Irreplaceable" was enjoying its 10-week stint at the top of the Hot 100 five years ago. Hey — she might be hit-deficient these days, but at least she has Blue Ivy!

The U.S. Top 10:

1. "We Found Love" - Rihanna feat. Calvin Harris *9 weeks*
2. "Sexy And I Know It" - LMFAO
3. "It Will Rain" - Bruno Mars
4. "Set Fire To The Rain" - Adele
5. "Good Feeling" - Flo Rida
6. "The One That Got Away" - Katy Perry
7. "Ni**as In Paris" - Jay-Z & Kanye West
8. "I Won't Give Up" - Jason Mraz *new*
9. "Party Rock Anthem" - LMFAO feat. Lauren Bennett & GoonRock
10. "Someone Like You" - Adele

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Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Rihanna's "Talk That Talk" Single Art Looks Like All Rihanna's Other Single Art

"love u guys! Been missin u," Rihanna tweeted last night, along with the single cover art the title track off Talk That Talk. Clearly, though, what she's been missing more than "u" is a decent chart position for the previous single from her album, "You Da One". The Dr. Luke production is currently languishing at the very un-Rihanna-like position of #22 on the Hot 100.

So did the stealthy run of Chart Rigger's favorite song of 2011 "We Found Love" eclipse the chances of success for "You Da One"? Or is it simply the fact that, as I pointed out when the video arrived last month, the song just isn't that great?

Oh, well. We'll just call it Ri Ri's "Shut Up And Drive" of this era.


Why Not Watch Steps' Christmas Appearance On 'Alan Carr', Three Weeks After The Fact?

I've been meaning to post Steps' Christmas Day appearance on Alan Carr: Chatty Man since, well, Christmas Day. But it actually didn't pop up online until New Year's Day. And then I had way more important things to do, like ironing my socks.

Anyway, here you go — it's Steps (along with Jedward and David Walliams), nine years and 364 days after they first broke up.


Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Watch The Wanted Make Their US Debut On 'The Ellen DeGeneres Show'

UK boy band The Wanted taped their performance of their #1 summer hit (in their home country) "Glad You Came" for The Ellen DeGeneres Show yesterday, and you can either wait till this afternoon to watch it on TV...or catch it below.

Can these guys achieve the American success that eluded JLS two years ago in the States? Let's not forget that Ellen gave La Roux their big break, after which "Bulletproof" went Top 10 and the duo won a Grammy.

Plus, The Wanted — nice mouths, right?


It's Lana Del Rey-ing All Over The Place

Is it just me, or is the frenzy over Lana Del Rey the likes of which we haven't seen since Lady Gaga three years ago? (They're on the same label, by the way.)

The 25-year-old New Yorker's debut album Born To Die arrives at the end of this month (January 31), and contains her recent UK Top 10 hit "Video Games", which Lana performed on The Jonathan Ross Show on Saturday...

....and in the Corinthia Hotel London.

Next up for Del Rey: Saturday Night Live this weekend. An EP containing "Video Games," new single "Born To Die," "Off To The Races" and "Blue Jeans" was added to iTunes today.

Below is the tracklist for Born To Die.

1. Born To Die
2. Off To The Races
3. Blue Jeans
4. Video Games
5. Diet Mountain Dew
6. National Anthem
7. Dark Paradise
8. Radio
9. Carmen
10. Million Dollar Man
11. Summertime Sadness
12. This Is What Makes Us Girls


Monday, January 09, 2012

Rockin' Republican Kelly Clarkson Sings On 'Saturday Night Live'

The Republican Kelly Clarkson was the musical guest on Saturday Night Live this past weekend. And, trust, if you happened to be in Texas this weekend and have a radio on, it's all you heard about. Because Texas likes its Kelly Clarkson and Texas likes its Republicans.

The Republican Kelly Clarkson performed her two Stronger singles, "Mr. Know It All" and "What Doesn't Kill You (Stronger)."

Anyone else looking forward to Lana Del Rey on next week's SNL?


Sunday, January 08, 2012

UK Chart Roundup: Flo Rida's "Good Feeling" Is No "2 Become 1"

Flo Rida's Etta James- and Avicii-sampling "Good Feeling" finally scrapes its way to #1 this week, while "Levels," the Avicii-sampled tune in question, jumps up to #3. This marks the Flo's third trip to the top of the UK chart, following "Right Round" and "Club Can't Handle Me."

But why continue extending my fingers by typing about this flop rapper, when we can jump back in time and look at the following:

Five years ago this week in, in 2007, Leona Lewis' X Factor winner's tune "A Moment Like This" (which was originally Kelly Clarkson's American Idol coronation single five years prior) was in the middle of its four-week stretch atop the UK chart.

Meanwhile, Daniel Bedingfield's debut single "Gotta Get Thru This" was #1 at this point in time 10 years ago. I remember hearing the song on some UK chart countdown show streamed over the Internet, and then going to buy the import single at the now-defunct Perfect Beat store in West Hollywood.

And Spice Girls' third single "2 Become 1" was wrapping up its three-week stint at #1 15 years ago this week.

We were a bit behind on the Spice mania here in the States, as their debut single "Wannabe" didn't reach the top of the Hot 100 until late February in 1997.

The UK Top 10:

1. "Good Feeling" - Flo Rida *1 week*
2. "Paradise" - Coldplay
3. "Troublemaker" - Taio Cruz *new*
4. "Levels" - Avicii
5. "Mama Do The Hump" - Rizzle Kicks
6. "Dance With Me Tonight" - Olly Murs
7. "Earthquake" - Labrinth feat. Tinie Tempah
8. "Domino" - Jessie J
9. "We Found Love" - Rihanna feat. Calvin Harris
10. "Dedication To My Ex" - Lloyd feat. Andre 3000 & Lil Wayne

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Saturday, January 07, 2012

Sky Ferreira Dresses Up In Madonna Drag For 'V Magazine'

I'm never quite sure what direction poplet Sky Ferreira's "career" is going (nor, I'm guessing, does she), since it's been pretty much downhill on the music front, post-"One." But who knew that, looks-wise, she'd turn out to be the best Madonna imitator out of the bunch (and there are a bunch)?

Frequent Madge collaborator Mario Testino shot these pics of Sky for the music issue of V Magazine. Appropriately, they've got me spinning "Dress You Up" on an infinite loop.

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Friday, January 06, 2012

My Penguin Prison Interview

I've interviewed 10 Best Pop Singles Of 2011 honoree Penguin Prison for Idolator. Below is just a sample of this ground-breaking piece of journalism.

“I remember having a Michael Jackson doll when I was around 5 years old. And I remember having the Thriller album on vinyl and playing it on a Fisher Price record player."

Go read!

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Goldfrapp Fly Through "Melancholy Sky"

As we draw nearer to the February 7 release (in the US, February 6 overseas) of Goldfrapp's The Singles, the other new song included, "Melancholy Sky," has surfaced online.

Now, it's not that I'm a staunch Head First enthusiast (although it was my favorite album of 2010), but there's just something altogether slow, Seventh Tree-esque and patience-testing about "Melancholy Sky" and "Yellow Halo."

Still, in the grand scheme of things, the 'frapp's jams will nine times out of ten prove to be better than most garbage clogging up the radio waves, and this is no exception.

Mellow out, man:


Thursday, January 05, 2012

US Chart Roundup: The Best-Selling Albums And Singles Of 2011

When the most exciting thing on the Hot 100 is the fact that Jessie J's "Domino" has climbed to #21 and become her highest-charting single to date in the US (Worst Single Of 2011 honoree "Price Tag" only scraped its way to #23), it's time to focus elsewhere.

And so let's look at the final 2011 year-end sales figures for albums and singles. In what will surely be a furious shock to everyone's system, Adele managed to claim both the best-selling single ("Rolling In The Deep," 5.81 million downloads) and album (21, 5.82 million). This marked both the first time any single topped 5 million paid downloads within a year, and the highest sales for an album since Usher sold 7.98 million copies of Confessions back in 2004. To celebrate, Adele went out and snagged herself a new boyfriend.

The 10 Best-Selling Albums Of 2011

1. Adele, 21 (5.82 million)
2. Michael Buble, Christmas (2.45 million)
3. Lady Gaga, Born This Way (2.1 million)
4. Lil Wayne, Tha Carter IV (1.92 million)
5. Jason Aldean, My Kinda Party (1.58 million)
6. Mumford & Sons, Sigh No More (1.42 million)
7. Drake, Take Care (1.25 million)
8. Justin Bieber, Under The Mistletoe (1.25 million)
9. Jay-Z & Kanye West, Watch The Throne (1.23 million)
10. Lady Antebellum, Own The Night (1.2 million)

Adele wasn't the only artist to breeze past the 5 million download mark — LMFAO's "Party Rock Anthem" wound up being the second best-selling single, at 5.47 million. But she is the only artist to have two songs in the Top 10 for year-end singles.

The 10 Best-Selling Singles Of 2011

1. Adele, “Rolling In The Deep” (5.81 million)
2. LFMAO, “Party Rock Anthem” (5.47 million)
3. Katy Perry, “E.T.” (4.83 million)
4. Maroon 5 feat. Christina Aguilera, “Moves Like Jagger” (4.11 million)
5. Pitbull, “Give Me Everything” (3.87 million)
6. Foster The People, “Pumped Up Kicks” (3.84 million)
7. Adele, “Someone Like You” (3.75 million)
8. Cee Lo Green, “Forget You” (3.72 million)
9. Nicki Minaj, “Super Bass” (3.61 million)
10. Lady Gaga, “Born This Way” (3.48 million)

In looking over all these cash cows, it turns out I own three of the top albums (the first three) and seven of the singles (I skipped "Party Rock Anthem," "Give Me Everything" and "Super Bass"). How many do you have?

The U.S. Top 10:

1. "Sexy And I Know It" - LMFAO *2 weeks*
2. "We Found Love" - Rihanna feat. Calvin Harris
3. "The One That Got Away" - Katy Perry
4. "It Will Rain" - Bruno Mars
5. "Good Feeling" - Flo Rida
6. "Party Rock Anthem" - LMFAO feat. Lauren Bennett & GoonRock
7. "Ni**as In Paris" - Jay-Z & Kanye West
8. "Set Fire To The Rain" - Adele
9. "Someone Like You" - Adele
10. "Stereo Hearts" - Gym Class Heroes feat. Adam Levine

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Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Fun. And Janelle Monae Have A Bar Brawl In Their "We Are Young" Video

I'm glad there's finally a music video for fun.'s "We Are Young" — i.e. the song that Glee made popular in the early December "Hold On To Sixteen" episode. Because now you can actually tell which part Janelle Monae sings in.

I'm convinced the lead singer guy is actually Ducky from Pretty In Pink. But, anyway, his voice is so high, I was never able to pick out where Janelle was in the song.

Meanwhile, Monae will allegedly be releasing two new albums this year. Let's hope that, if they're overly hyped up, they actually live up to it, unlike The ArchAndroid.

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Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Watch La Roux's Elly Jackson, Emma Bunton & Lulu On 'Absolutely Fabulous'

Absolutely Fabulous is back for three new episodes to celebrate the show's 20th (Good God!) anniversary. The first two eps have already aired in the UK on BBC, while the short new series premieres stateside on Logo this coming Sunday, January 8.

Anyway, second episode "Job" is packed full of British ladies of song. Lulu and Emma Bunton are back as Edina's clients, and La Roux singer Elly Jackson appears briefly in a fantasy sequence at the Royal Albert Hall, singing "Walking Down The Road" (which Ab Fab viewers will recall as Eddy's nonsense song from the 2003 episode "Schmoozin'," in which she accidentally recorded her own singing over a lost Beatles tape).

Below is the full episode. It's about 28 minutes long. Jump to about 13:10 for the La Roux bit.

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Monday, January 02, 2012

Scissor Sisters Unveil "Shady Love" Video, Shine A Light On Azealia Banks

I like Scissor Sisters. But they had a slight (or maybe not so) problem with last album Night Work where, for having taken four years to release a new record, their sound hadn't really changed all that much. And after teasing in early 2010 with the astounding buzz jam "Invisible Light," the lead single wound up being the lackluster "Fire With Fire."

Well, switching up their sound is no longer an issue. The Scissters have offered up the clubby and hip hop(!!)-leaning "Shady Love" as the first taste off album #4. The track's chorus sounds similar to that of Kelis' "Milkshake" — which is interesting, given that "Shady" Love" is produced by Boyz Noise, who worked on Kelis' last album, Flesh Tone (not to mention remixed said SS tune "Invisible Light").

"Shady Love" also features up and coming NYC rapstress Azealia Banks, who, along with Lana Del Rey and a dozen other broads, is set to "break out in 2012."

Meanwhile, Jake Shears own rapping here has him sounding like a cross between Eminem and Cazwell. Odd — but enjoyable! Bring on the album.

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Sunday, January 01, 2012

UK Chart Roundup: Coldplay's "Paradise" Is The First #1 Single Of 2012

Months after the song first mylo-xyloto'd its way into the public consciousness, Coldplay's "Paradise" has finally climbed to the top of the UK singles chart, and thus becomes the first #1 single of 2012 in the band's home country.

Quick — flashback time! The #1 single in the UK this time last year was Matt Cardle's "When We Collide," his X Factor coronation song, and a re-titled cover a Biffy Clyro's "Many Of Horror."

The #1 single in the UK this week 10 years ago was Robbie Williams and Nicole Kidman's cover of Frank and Nancy Sinatra's "Somethin' Stupid."

And the #1 single in the UK this week 20 years ago was Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody", which had surged in popularity 15 year's after its initial release following the death of Freddie Mercury in 1991. (Here in the States, "Bohemian Rhapsody" peaked at #2 on the Billboard Hot 100 later in 1992 thanks to its inclusion on the Wayne's World movie soundtrack.)

Anyway, "Paradise" is a far classier jam than LMFAO's "Sexy And I Know It" — i.e. the first stateside chart-topper of the year. The Official Charts Company notes that every artist who reaches #1 this year will be presented with an Official Singles Chart Number 1 Award, to mark the 60th anniversary of the UK’s Official Singles Chart.

The rest of the singles roundup has shuffled around more than usual thanks to the onslaught of iTunes gift cards making their way to the hands of music buyers during the holidays.

Over on the album chart, Ed Sheeran's + is #1, while Steps' The Ultimate Collection flies up 31 positions to #35 after the band's Christmas Day appearance on Alan Carr: Chatty Man.

The UK Top 10:

1. "Paradise" - Coldplay *1 week*
2. "Dance With Me Tonight" - Olly Murs
3. "Good Feeling" - Flo Rida
4. "Wherever You Are" - Military Wives
5. "We Found Love" - Rihanna feat. Calvin Harris
6. "Cannonball" - Little Mix
7. "Lego House" - Ed Sheeran
8. "Earthquake" - Labrinth feat. Tinie Tempah
9. "Sexy And I Know It" - LMFAO
10. "Mama Do The Hump" - Rizzle Kicks

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