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

Thursday, February 28, 2013

US Chart Roundup: Three Blondes Who Probably Get A Lot Of Sex

All is right in the world as Justin Timberlake's "Suit & Tie" climbs one rung to #8 on the Billboard Hot 100 this week. Unfortunately, his follow-up single, "Mirrors," takes a plunge from its debut position of #24 to #76. Of course, JT has only just begun to promote "Mirrors," mainly during overseas gigs like his appearance at the BRIT Awards and on Germany's Wetten, Das..?

Elsewhere, One Direction's charity cover of Blondie's "One Way Or Another" climbs to #13, making it the UK boy band's third highest-charting single in the US. Honestly, I can't keep track of how many singles 1D have clogging up the charts these days. There's this one. There's "Kiss You." There's "Little Things." By the time the songs to make a dent in the charts here, the quintet have already released two more singles and banged 58 more broads a piece.

Meanwhile, One Direction's 2012 US tour opener Olly Murs cracks the Top 40 with his first US hit, "Troublemaker." This week he's at #37.

That leaves us with Emeli Sande, who makes her debut on the Hot 100 with "Next To Me," at #89. Last year the song made it all the way to #2 in the UK. Can Emeli become the one hit sensation that Ellie Goulding is around these parts?

Dare to dream sexy, kids.

The U.S. Top 10:

1. "Harlem Shake" - Baauer *2 weeks*
2. "Thrift Shop" - Macklemore & Ryan Lewis ft. Wanz
3. "When I Was Your Man" - Bruno Mars
4. "I Knew You Were Trouble" - Taylor Swift
5. "Scream & Shout" - will.i.am & Britney Spears
6. "Started From The Bottom" - Drake
7. "Stay" - Rihanna feat. Mikky Ekko
8. "Suit & Tie" - Justin Timberlake feat. Jay-Z
9. "Locked Out Of Heaven" - Bruno Mars
10. "Love Me" - Lil Wayne feat. Drake & Future

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Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Heidi Montag Recording With Mike Stock?

Dear God, how did I miss this? From the Daily Star earlier this month:
Heidi, 26, said last night that she had already met music svengali Mike Stock in a bid to make her dream come true.

And she is planning to cash in on her Celebrity Big Brother fame by releasing a single within weeks.

Heidi told the Daily Star Sunday: “I’ve been talking to Mike about the kind of track we’re going to do and he’s ­writing something for me at the moment.

“A lot of my UK fans say they love my music and are expecting more. So I’d love to be able to give that to them.”
Normally I would say this sounds like straight-up bullshit (remember when Paris Hilton was supposedly recording with Pete Waterman?), but I looked back through Mike Stock's tweets and he's re-tweeted a few of Heidi Montag and Spencer Pratt's ramblings.

Adele might as well hang up her giant wig and go sit in the corner. Music: officially saved.

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Little Boots Returns With "Motorway" Single, 'Nocturnes' Album Due In May

It's been four long years since Little Boots arrived with her debut LP Hands. Now, after releasing one mediocre single ("Headphones") and one pretty fantastic '90s house throwback ("Every Night I Say A Prayer") in 2012, the singer, whose real name is Victoria Hesketh, has announced sophomore album Nocturnes (out May 6).

"Every Night I Say A Prayer" has rightfully made the cut for inclusion on the album's setlist of 10 tracks. Another new song, "Motorway," was unveiled yesterday. It's kind of like something you'd expect to hear from Sally Shapiro.

Tim Goldsworthy of DFA Records produced Little Boots' Nocturnes, and the album also features additional work by James Ford of Simian Mobile Disco and Andy Butler of Hercules And Love Affair.

Here's the album's tracklist:

1. “Motorway”
2. “Confusion”
3. “Broken Record”
4. “Shake”
5. “Beat Beat”
6. “Every Night I Say A Prayer”
7. “Crescendo”
8. “Strangers”
9. “All For You”
10. “Satellite”


Monday, February 25, 2013

Adele Performs "Skyfall" & Wins Oscar, But Shirley Bassey Steals The Show

I truly love Adele's Platinum-selling "Skyfall," and think it deserved to win the Golden Globe, BRIT Award and, now, Academy Award that its racked up. And while her performance of the James Bond theme at the Oscars last night was truly grand...

...it was really Dame Shirley Bassey who stole the effing show with "Goldfinger."

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Sunday, February 24, 2013

UK Chart Roundup: One Direction, Justin Timberlake Soar After The BRITs

Following their performance at the BRITs this past week, the most popular young bucks in the world, One Direction, see their Red Nose Day charity cover of Blondie's "One Way Or Another" top the UK chart after selling 113,000 copies — the biggest debut, so far, for any single in the country this year.

This gives the boy band a third chart-topping single in England, following "What Makes You Beautiful" and "Little Things," and one does have to wonder: how did it all go so very wrong for The Wanted?

Elsewhere, Justin Timberlake's second The 20/20 Experience single "Mirrors" climbs to #4 after his first live performance of the song at the BRITs.

I feel like I love this song so much because it sounds just like *NSYNC. And, really — is that such a bad thing?

The UK Top 10:

1. "One Way Or Another" - One Direction *new* *1 week*
2. "Thrift Shop" - Macklemore & Ryan Lewis feat. Wanz
3. "Harlem Shake" - Baauer
4. "Mirrors" - Justin Timberlake
5. "I Could Be The One" - Avicii vs. Nicky Romero
6. "I Knew You Were Trouble" - Taylor Swift
7. "When I Was Your Man" - Bruno Mars
8. "Stay" - Rihanna feat. Mikky Ekko
9. "Only Love" - Ben Howard
10. "Clown" - Emeli Sande

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Duran Duran's 'The Wedding Album' Turns 20 (My Nick Rhodes Interview)

A week ago I interviewed Duran Duran's Nick Rhodes for both the 20th anniversary of the band's The Wedding Album and Rhodes' side project TV Mania. You can check out both below:

* Duran Duran's The Wedding Album Turns 20: Backtracking

* Nick Rhodes: 7 Questions About TV Mania's Bored With Prozac And The Internet?

The Wedding Album (technically a self-titled LP from the Durans) had a huge impact on me when it was released in 1993. I was still only a teenager then, yet old enough to have been a Duran Duran fan as a kid (thanks to MTV), during the band's '80s heyday.

My best friend at the time latched onto "Ordinary World" and the whole album from the get-go, and we played the cassette (!) in our cars wherever we went that year. I still consider "Come Undone"  to be one of the finest singles of the 1990s.

Eventually, I saw Duran Duran on tour twice that year: in Cleveland, with Terence Trent D'Arby as opening act, and in Pittsburgh with The Cranberries in tow, two months before they blew up big with "Linger."

Meanwhile, holy s***:

It was a huge honor to speak with Nick Rhodes, and it'd definitely one of the interviews I'll never forget. 

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Thursday, February 21, 2013

US Chart Roundup: Baauer's "Harlem Shake" Debuts At #1 Thanks To New Rules

You've seen this Internet meme by now:

And after only two weeks online, it's received 22 million views. Cue up Billboard revising its Hot 100 chart rules once again, so that YouTube streams are now factored alongside other streaming services, digital sales, physical sales and radio airplay. That makes for Baauer's "Harlem Shake," the song featured in the clip above, debuting at #1 this week, thus becoming only the 21st single to enter the chart at the top.

Pity the YouTube-fueled "Gangnam Style," which was trapped at #2 for weeks last fall behind Maroon 5's "One More Night." If only time and history had been on your side, PSY. Alas, it's now Baauer who has the distinction of being the first artist to top the Hot 100 in the new YouTube rule era.

Elsewhere, with Justin Timberlake's "Suit & Tie" still riding high in the Top 10 (at #9 this week), his follow-up single (apparently it's official)  "Mirrors" debuts at #24 following the song being made available on iTunes the night of the Grammys.

The U.S. Top 10:

1. "Harlem Shake" - Baauer *new* *1 week*
2. "Thrift Shop" - Macklemore & Ryan Lewis ft. Wanz
3. "Stay" - Rihanna feat. Mikky Ekko
4. "Scream & Shout" - will.i.am & Britney Spears
5. "I Knew You Were Trouble" - Taylor Swift
6. "Ho Hey" - The Lumineers
7. "Locked Out Of Heaven" - Bruno Mars
8. "When I Was Your Man" - Bruno Mars
9. "Suit & Tie" - Justin Timberlake feat. Jay-Z
10. "Started From The Bottom" - Drake

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Sunday, February 17, 2013

UK Chart Roundup: I'm Kind Of Stanning For Gabrielle Aplin

Gabrielle Aplin's debut LP English Rain will be released on April 29, and a third single titled "Panic Cord" will come along before that (in March). But until then, her second single off the album, "Please Don't Say You Love Me," has debuted at #6 on the UK chart. This follows her chart-topping cover of Frankie Goes To Hollywood's "The Power Of Love."

Sure, she may be a flash in the pan, but I can totally be on board for Gabrielle with this album.

The UK Top 10:

1. "I Could Be The One" - Avicii vs. Nicky Romero *1 week*
2. "Thrift Shop" - Macklemore & Ryan Lewis feat. Wanz
3. "Harlem Shake" - Baauer *new*
4. "Stay" - Rihanna feat. Mikky Ekko
5. "White Noise" - Disclosure feat. AlunaGeorge
6. "Please Don't Say You Love Me" - Gabrielle Aplin *new*
7. "When I Was Your Man" - Bruno Mars
8. "Drinking From The Bottle" - Calvin Harris feat. Tinie Tempah
9. "Clown" - Emeli Sande
10. "Get Up (Rattle)" - Bingo Players feat. Far East Movement

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Thursday, February 14, 2013

It's Justin Timberlake's "Suit & Tie" Music Video

Much like the song itself, the video for Justin Timberlake's current Top 10 single "Suit & Tie" is a throwback affair that does little to further the singer-turned-actor-turned-back-to-singer's pop status — nor does it harm it. It's just kind of there.

JT and his suave, debonair pals mug for the camera all Rat Pack style in the black and white clip, performing with an orchestra and pulling some fancy dance moves along the way. Jay-Z is also in the house for his guest rap, though notably absent is producer Timbaland, who frequently was visible on screen with Timberlake in the FutureSex/LoveSounds and Shock Value days.

"Suit & Tie" climbed up to #8 this week on the Hot 100. Here's hoping the far superior "Mirrors" is the next official single off upcoming album The 20/20 Experience.

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US Chart Roundup: Justin Timberlake's "Suit & Tie" Back In The Top 10, Ke$ha Takes A Plunge

It was a brief, one-week stay for Pink's "Try" and Calvin Harris and Florence Welch's "Sweet Nothing" in the Top 10 of the Billboard Hot 100, as they get bumped out now for the the likes of the returning "Suit & Tie" by Justin Timberlake, Maroon 5's "Daylight" and Bruno Mars' "When I Was Your Man." JT's "Suit & Tie" peaked three weeks ago at #4, and is now back up to #8 after two weeks spent outside the Top 10.

Meanwhile, someone who isn't looking to be entering the upper tier of the chart with their latest single is Ke$ha, whose "C'mon" drops from its so-far peak position of #27 to #29. And since it's time once again to check in with Ke$ha Career Death Watch, let's try and locate where her album Warrior is on the Billboard 200.







Scroll...Aha! There it is. #93. Brava!

Elsewhere, Olly Murs continues to climb with his breakout US hit "Troublemaker," which is up to #49, while Rihanna's "Stay" is at #57. Expect it to fly up the chart next week, following RiRi's performance of the snooze dirge of the Grammys and the video's premiere earlier this week.

The U.S. Top 10:

1. "Thrift Shop" - Macklemore & Ryan Lewis ft. Wanz *4 weeks*
2. "Locked Out Of Heaven" - Bruno Mars
3. "Scream & Shout" - will.i.am & Britney Spears
4. "Ho Hey" - The Lumineers
5. "I Knew You Were Trouble" - Taylor Swift
6. "Don't You Worry Child" - Swedish House Mafia feat. John Martin
7. "Daylight" - Maroon 5
8. "Suit & Tie" - Justin Timberlake
9. "When I Was Your Man" - Bruno Mars
10. "Beauty And A Beat" - Justin Bieber feat. Nicki Minaj

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It's Rihanna's "Stay" Video

There is no way in hell I can watch this for more than 15 seconds.

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Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Frankmusik Releases 'Far From Over' EP, Premieres "Map" Video

It's been two years since the world at large heard any new music from Frankmusik, save for a couple offbeat song releases here and there. But tonight, just in time for Valentine's Day, the 27-year-old Brit offered up his four-track Far From Over EP as a download on his official site, kindly asking for a donation to Oxfam in return.

Upon the first spin of the tracks — "Captain," "Thank You," "Map" and "The Line" (listen to all four here) — it's clear that Vincent Frank is back to the sound that made his debut LP Complete Me such a joy. (It also seems that, after he produced Erasure's last LP, that duo's older material has rubbed off on him.)

Here's the video for "Map":


Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Justin Timberlake's "Mirrors" Is My Favorite Song Of 2013 So Far

I haven't been this excited for a pop song in god knows how long. Yes, Justin Timberlake's new promo single "Mirrors" (available with pre-orders of The 20/20 Experience on iTunes) sounds like it was lifted from his previous album, 2006's FutureSex/LoveSounds. Yes, it's another collaboration with Timbaland. And yes, it's that good.

Below are parts of my writeup of the song on Idolator:

The string-laden cut starts off with triumphant-sounding synths before a familiar drum loop kicks in. (We hear you, “What Goes Around… Comes Around”!) And then there’s the buoyant chorus, which has Timberlake harmonizing with himself via multi-tracked vocals, lamenting, “I don’t wanna lose you now, I’m looking right back at the other half of me!”

Clocking in at over eight minutes, “Mirrors” also recalls Justin’s epic FutureSex/LoveSounds single “LoveStoned/I Think She Knows” — except this is even longer than that one. The song just keeps going, and going, and going, almost wiping out any bad taste “Suit & Tie” initially left. (Though, we admit, the latter is sort of growing on us. Sort of.)

A classic Timbaland breakdown, complete with alien-esque, distorted vocal samples kicks in around 5:34. That said, overall, “Mirrors” sounds much more polished than the majority of the producer’s output from the last seven years.

Not really much to add there. This one will be sticking around — if only in my own ears — for some time to come.

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Sunday, February 10, 2013

UK Chart Roundup: Fall Out Boy Are Happening Again


The UK Top 10:

1. "Thrift Shop" - Macklemore & Ryan Lewis feat. Wanz *1 week*
2. "White Noise" - Disclosure feat. AlunaGeorge
3. "Get Up (Rattle)" - Bingo Players feat. Far East Movement
4. "Clown" - Emeli Sande
5. "My Songs Know What You Did In The Dark" - Fall Out Boy *new*
6. "Scream And Shout" - will.i.am feat. Britney Spears
7. "Drinking From The Bottle" - Calvin Harris feat. Tinie Tempah
8. "Stay" - Rihanna feat. Mikky Ekko
9. "I Knew You Were Trouble" - Taylor Swift
10. "Bassline Junkie" - Dizzee Rascal

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Thursday, February 07, 2013

US Chart Roundup: Pink, Calvin Harris, Florence Welch & Tegan And Sara All Hop Into The Top 10

On the same week the video for Pink's third The Truth About Love single "Just Give Me A Reason" premiered, her second single off the album, "Try," hops into the upper-most tier of the Billboard Hot 100 (at #9). Including the Christina Aguilera, Mya and Lil Kim collab "Lady Marmalade," this marks Pink's 13th Top 10 hit in the US overall. So basically, despite being sick to death of "Try," I'll be hearing that shit for years to come when I flip on the radio.

Just below that, Calvin Harris and Florence Welch's 2012 UK chart-topping "Sweet Nothing" slides up to #10. This gives Calvin his first US Top 10 as a lead artist, and Florence her first Top 10 overall her. Sexy.

Meanwhile, over on the album chart, Tegan And Sara's Heartthrob debuts at #3, besting the #21 peak of their previous highest-charting album Sainthood.


The U.S. Top 10:

1. "Thrift Shop" - Macklemore & Ryan Lewis ft. Wanz *3 weeks*
2. "Locked Out Of Heaven" - Bruno Mars
3. "Scream & Shout" - will.i.am & Britney Spears
4. "Ho Hey" - The Lumineers
5. "I Knew You Were Trouble" - Taylor Swift
6. "Don't You Worry Child" - Swedish House Mafia feat. John Martin
7. "Beauty And A Beat" - Justin Bieber feat. Nicki Minaj
8. "F**ckin Problems" - A$AP Rocky, Drake, 2 Chainz, Kendrick Lamar
9. "Try" - Pink
10. "Sweet Nothing" - Calvin Harris feat. Florence Welch

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Pink & Nate Ruess' "Just Give Me A Reason" Video Wants Me To Like It

Trying to sum up some enthusiasm for this new Pink video, "Just Give Me A Reason," which also feature's fun.'s Nate Ruess. It's the third single from her album The Truth About Love, and the clip features a bear with creepy glowing eyes atop a bed that Pink is writhing around on in a misty haze.

I dunno. I've already lamented the watered-down feel of her songs over the past few albums. This one isn't doing much to change my mind.

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It's Justin Timberlake's 'The 20/20 Experience' Album Cover

The hateration toward Justin Timberlake's "Suit & Tie" and now his album cover for The 20/20 Experience needs to stop. I actually think this is a far better artistic display than appeared on, say, the last albums by Nicki Minaj, Justin Bieber, Lady Gaga, Beyonce, Rihanna, Usher, Ke$ha and Christina Aguilera combined.

And, as stated before, "Suit & Tie" came across as treacly at first, but the song, like "SexyBack" (with me at least), has proven to be an absolute grower. I mean, as far as radio-worn pop goes, I'd really much rather hear this while jetting down the freeway at 65 than "Beauty And A Beat" or "Thrift Shop."

Anyway, Tom Munro-photographed image above ties (ba-ziiiing) in with the whole "Suit & Tie" theme. And below is the album's tracklist.

1. "Pusher Love Girl"
2. "Suit & Tie"
3. "Don't Hold the Wall"
4. "Strawberry Bubblegum"
5. "Tunnel Vision"
6. "Spaceship Coupe"
7. "That Girl"
8. "Let the Groove Get In"
9. "Mirrors"
10. "Blue Ocean Floor"


Tuesday, February 05, 2013

RuPaul Tweets Wisdom

Good point.


It's Hurts' "Miracle" Video & 'Exile' Tracklist

Hurts have premiered the video for their very own rendition of Coldplay's "Paradise"-meets-"Princess Of China" — aka lead Exile single "Miracle." The UK duo also unveiled the 12 tracks that will make up their sophomore album (out in the home country on March 11).

I'm guessing "Mercy," "Only You" and "Help" aren't Duffy, The Platters and The Beatles covers, respectively?

Watch scantily-clad ladies in leather and chains below.

Exile tracklist:
1. Exile
2. Miracle
3. Sandman
4. Blind
5. Only You
6. The Road
7. Cupid
8. Mercy
9. The Crow
10. Somebody To Die For
11. The Rope
12. Help


Monday, February 04, 2013

Beyonce & Destiny's Child's Super Bowl Performance Falls Short Of Madonna's In Viewership

The thing I was most excited to see during Beyonce's Super Bowl performance at the New Orleans Superdome was the reunion of Destiny's Child on stage. But even though they trio tore through "Booytlicious," "Independent Women, Pt. 1" and "Single Ladies (Put A Ring On It)," the whole thing seemed a little underwhelming.

And so, my favorite thing about the entire 13-plus-minute extravaganza is the above screen grab.

All in all, Beyonce's halftime gig was watched by 100 million US viewers, which is about 14 million less than Madonna's record-breaking performance at last year's Super Bowl.

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Sunday, February 03, 2013

UK Chart Roundup: Diane Birth Pulls A Sia, Finally Lands A Hit Thanks To British Rapper Devlin

Awwww. Good ol' Diane Birch. I interviewed her back in spring 2009 for a trashy gay site that's since had the plug pulled on it, and the thing I remember most about her is that our scheduled 15-minute chat turned into an hour-long conversation about vinyl records and different old albums we both liked.

That was also the year that, by December, had her name being mentioned repeatedly as a sure thing for a Best New Artist Grammy nomination, thanks to her stunning, Brill Building-esque debut LP Bible Belt. Alas, that never happened. She quietly released an EP of covers, The Velveteen Age, in late 2010, then seemed to slip out of sight — until now.

Her misty Bible Belt track "Rewind" has been reworked into a rap jam that premiered in December last year by Devlin. Diane appears in the video and (re-)sings the chorus, et voila — the song is now a Top 10 hit in the UK. Just call Diane Birch the new Skylar Grey/Dido/Sia?

The UK Top 10:

1. "Get Up (Rattle)" - Bingo Players feat. Far East Movement *2 weeks*
2. "Thrift Shop" - Macklemore & Ryan Lewis feat. Wanz
3. "Scream And Shout" - will.i.am feat. Britney Spears
4. "I Knew You Were Trouble" - Taylor Swift
5. "Stay" - Rihanna feat. Mikky Ekko
6. "Drinking From The Bottle" - Calvin Harris feat. Tinie Tempah
7. "Animal" - Conor Maynard feat. Wiley
8. "Clown" - Emeli Sande
9. "My Life" - 50 Cent feat. Eminem & Adam Levine
10. "Rewind" - Devlin feat. Diane Birch *new*

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It's Hurts' 'Exile' Album Cover

In what is absolutely no surprise at all, Hurts' cover art for sophomore LP Exile (out March 11) looks very Pet Shop Boys by way of Kraftwerk.

The video for Coldplay-leaning lead single "Miracle" is set to premiere on February 4.


Friday, February 01, 2013

Shayne Ward Is Really Naked For 'Attitude', If That's OK With You?

I'm so happy this guy has set his music career aside for the moment, because he's had some of the finest butt-naked pop star moments of the last three years.

And here I thought that Attitude Magazine app was going to be useless...