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

Thursday, January 30, 2014

US Chart Roundup: Katy Perry Lands Ninth #1 Single With "Dark Horse"

You know, I've pretty much avoided the existence of Juicy J as a chart entity somehow until this week, and so you can then picture me spitting coffee out all over my laptop screen when I realized he's actually Oscar winner Juicy J, of Three 6 Mafia fame. It was kind of like discovering that low rent hooker you used to throw eggs at while you bicycled past her was actually your elementary school gym teacher in drag.

Anyway, Katy Perry and Juicy J have taken "Dark Horse" to the top of the Billboard Hot 100, thus ending Ke$ha and that other guy's three-week reign with "Timber." This gives Katy her ninth #1 single, Juicy J his first, Perry a second chart topper off Prism (after Grammy loser "Roar") and producers Dr. Luke and Cirkut back-to-back #1s. (Max Martin co-produced with them.)

Katy's first chart-topping single came with 2008's "I Kissed A Girl," and so she now has the classy honor of having had #1s on all three of her major label albums (One Of The Boys, Teenage Dream, Prism).

Meanwhile, in "things you never thought you'd live to see again" territory, Jason Derulo lands his first Top 10 hit since "Ridin' Solo" (back in 2010) with "Talk Dirty" (at #6). What does one even say about that? They simply move on...

...to John Newman's "Love Me Again," which inches up to #32. Meanwhile, Shakira and Rihanna's "Can't Remember To Forget You" is now coming off like an ironic title, given that the song plunges from #28 to #61 in only its second week on the Hot 100.

On a final note, Calvin Harris and Ayah Marar's "Thinking About You" moves up six spots to #87. And there, friends, you have it...

The U.S. Top 10:

1. "Dark Horse" - Katy Perry feat. Juicy J *1 week*
2. "Timber" - Pitbull feat. Ke$ha
3. "Counting Stars" - OneRepublic
4. "Say Something" - A Great Big World & Christina Aguilera
5. "The Monster" - Eminem feat. Rihanna
6. "Talk Dirty" - Jason Derulo feat. 2 Chainz
7. "Let Her Go" - Passenger
8. "Team" - Lorde
9. "Royals" - Lorde
10. "Pompeii" - Bastille

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Tuesday, January 28, 2014

It's Kelis' "Food" Tracklist & Album Cover

So here's the cover of Kelis' Food (out April 22), which is going to sound nothing like her last LP, 2010's Flesh Tone (too bad), given that this one is produced by Dave Sitek and will be "orchestral." Subtlety goes out the window with song titles like "Jerk Ribs," "Breakfast," "Cobbler," "Fish Fry" and "Biscuits ‘n’ Gravy."

Still, Kelis is a Le Cordon Bleu-certified saucier, and so you gotta give her props for combining her passions. This is what she told me when I interviewed her for Idolator back in 2009: “I love the lifestyle of a great meal. I think food and fashion and music all go together when it’s done right.”

Food tracklist:
1. Jerk Ribs
2. Breakfast
3. Forever Be
4. Floyd
5. Runner
6. Hooch
7. Cobbler
8. Bless The Telephone
9. Fish Fry
10. Change
11. Rumble
12. Biscuits ‘n’ Gravy
13. Dreamer


Kylie & Sia Executive-Produced 'Kiss Me Once' & The Limited Vinyl Box Set Looks Amazing


Second: Warner Bros. (Kylie's US label) sent out a press release for Kiss Me Once today that notes Sia and Kylie co-executive-produced the whole album, while Sia co-wrote the album's title track. Also, the song Pharrell wrote and produced is "I Was Gonna Cancel" (catch the full tracklist here).

Third: Below is the limited edition vinyl box set for the album (out March 18). Kylie's signing 100 of them, which will be randomly sent out. I WANT ONE.

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Monday, January 27, 2014

Lana Del Rey's "Once Upon A Dream" From The 'Maleficent' Soundtrack: Listen

Alright, so this depressing broad climbed out from under the crisp, frozen bedsheets in her grimly-decorated $2 million condo she was asleep in for 37 hours straight, washed down another bottle of Paxil, slid on her sunglasses and slumped into the back of a limo long enough to black out and wake up completely delirious in a recording studio. Then some producer in a black hood tasered her snatch until she belched out some dirge that, if you actually listen closely, is a cover "Once Upon A Dream" from Sleeping Beauty.

Lana Del Rey's new trash is from the Maleficent soundtrack, a documentary where a film crew spent a week in the Pitt-Jolie household. Here's the goddamn song, and the trailer for the movie. I love the part where Angelina goes to the playground down the block from her manse and murders children.

"Once Upon A Dream"

Maleficent trailer


It's Kylie Minogue's "Into The Blue" Lyric Video

Grumpy bitches who don't dig Kylie's new song need to shove a bottle rocket up their dicks and fuck off a cliff. This broad is on a tear, so get outta her way and go eat another bowl of cunt porridge. 


This Associated Press/NPR Headline On Daft Punk Deserves An Award (Or A Punch In The Cunt)

Seriously....WHO KNEW?

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The Grammy Awards Surprisingly Didn't Suck: A Few Random Access Memories We'll All Have

For the first time in...ever?...the Grammy Award didn't suck beyond belief. Don't get me wrong — it was still an semi-shit show with painful (Taylor Swift headbanging through whatever boring ballad she's shilling now), when-will-this-goddamn-trash-finally-end moments (da FUCK was that Metallica x Lang Lang shit?) where I thought I was on the bullet train to scorching Hell (Willie Nelson and those other corpses grunting out for Metamucil on stage). But amidst the garbage were a few salvageable segments!

1. I'm fucking glad Daft Punk won all the Grammys (five) they were up for. Good for them getting Album Of The Year, too. Seriously, can you imagine if Sara Bareilles had won? Nothing against her, but that broad did not put together the album of 2013.

2. Taylor Swift's face when she thought presenter Yoko Ono called out Red for Album Of The Year, rather than Daft Punk's Random Access Memories. Sorry, girl. Sit your ass down.

3. I actually loved the whole Macklemore/Queen Latifah/Madonna/Mary Lambert/gay marriage ceremony spectacle. Mostly because I think Macklemore is hot white trash I'm praying to have a 12-hour marathon bang fest with. And also because Madonna and Macklemore hugged. And Madge and Queen Latifah kissed. And Keith Urban cried. It was great.

4. Daft Punk's performance of "Get Lucky" with Pharrell Williams, Nile Rodgers and Stevie Wonder turned the Staples Center into an all-out party. There was so much Nile Rodgers on Grammy night, and that can never be a bad thing.

Here are all the winners from the 2014 Grammys:

ALBUM OF THE YEAR: Daft Punk, Random Access Memories
SONG OF THE YEAR: Lorde, “Royals”
RECORD OF THE YEAR: Daft Punk, “Get Lucky”
BEST NEW ARTIST: Macklemore & Ryan Lewis
BEST POP VOCAL ALBUM: Bruno Mars, Unorthodox Jukebox
PRODUCER OF THE YEAR: Pharrell Williams
BEST ROCK SONG: Paul McCartney, Dave Grohl, Krist Novoselic, Pat Smear, “Cut Me Some Slack”
BEST ROCK PERFORMANCE, Imagine Dragons, “Radioactive”
BEST ROCK ALBUM, Led Zeppelin, Celebration Day
BEST METAL PERFORMANCE: Black Sabbath, “God Is Dead?”
BEST ALTERNATIVE MUSIC ALBUM: Vampire Weekend, Modern Vampires Of The City
BEST R&B ALBUM: Alicia Keys, Girl On Fire
BEST R&B SONG: Justin Timberlake, “Pusher Love Girl”
BEST R&B PERFORMANCE: Snarky Puppy & Lala Hathaway, “Something”
BEST TRADITIONAL R&B PERFORMANCE: Gary Clark Jr., “Please Come Home”
BEST DANCE RECORDING: Zedd feat. Foxes, “Clarity”
BEST DANCE/ELECTRONIC ALBUM: Daft Punk, Random Access Memories
BEST REMIXED RECORDING: Lana Del Rey Vs. Cedric Gervais, “Summertime Sadness”
BEST RAP SONG: Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, “Thrift Shop”
BEST RAP/SUNG COLLABORATION: Jay Z feat. Justin Timberlake, “Holy Grail”
BEST RAP ALBUM: Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, The Heist
BEST COUNTRY ALBUM: Kacey Musgraves, Same Trailer, Different Park
BEST MUSIC VIDEO: Justin Timberlake feat. Jay Z, “Suit & Tie”
BEST MUSIC FILM: Paul McCartney, “Love Kisses”
BEST GOSPEL/CONTEMPORARY CHRISTIAN MUSIC PERFORMANCE: Tasha Cobbs, “Break Every Chain” BEST GOSPEL SONG: Tye Tribbett, “If He Did It Before… Same God”
BEST SPOKEN WORD ALBUM: merica Again: Stephen Colbert, America Again
BEST CHILDREN’S ALBUM: Jennifer Gasoi, Throw A Penny In The Wishing Well

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Sunday, January 26, 2014

UK Chart Roundup: Sophie Ellis-Bextor Lands Highest-Charting Album In 13 Years

The last time underrated pop doll Sophie Ellis-Bextor had an album in the UK Top 40 was nearly seven years ago, when her third LP Trip The Light Fantastic made it to #7. Her last outing, Make A Scene, unfortunately only got to #33, following an initial Russia-only release. (Ugh.)

So consider it quite a victory for Sophe that Wanderlust, a set that saw the singer ditching her dance-pop leanings and going more orchestral, debuted at #4 on the UK album today. It's her highest chart placing there since her debut, Read My Lips, valiantly appeared at #2. Chalk it up to the power of Strictly Come Dancing.

Side note: Just found this classy 2009 tweet I did regarding La Bex's third album:
Personally, I've not yet committed to listening to Wanderlust the whole way through yet. Granted, I've tried twice, but I found myself getting easily distracted from it. (Sorry, but there's, like, so much porn to catch up on.) The snow outside is lending the perfect atmosphere, however, so today is going to be the day I just dive into this thing.

Anyway, here's the video for the pretty rad dance track "Rather Be," the first #1 single — and only the second Top 20 hit — for Clean Bandit:

Below that, British boy band Vamps trump British girl group Neon Jungle in a battle of the ol' ticker, as the former's "Wild Heart" debuts at #3 while the latter's "Braveheart" contends with a #4 entry.

The UK Top 10:

1. "Rather Be" - Clean Bandit feat. Jess Glynne *new* *1 week*
2. "Happy" - Pharrell Williams
3. "Wild Heart" - Vamps *new*
4. "Braveheart" - Neon Jungle *new*
5. "Timber" - Pitbull feat. Ke$ha
6. "Hey Brother" - Avicii
7. "Trumpets" - Jason Derulo
8. "Million Pound Girl (Badder Than Bad)" - Fuse ODG
9. "Control" - Matrix & Futurebound
10. "Riptide" - Vance Joy

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Kylie Minogue's 'Kiss Me Once' Tracklist & Release Date Revealed Via iTunes Pr-Order

Looks like that March 16 release for single "Into The Blue" got scotched when the song leaked last week. Kylie Minogue's upcoming 12th album Kiss Me Once will be made available for pre-order on iTunes tomorrow (January 27), and "Into The Blue" will come as part of the package. (Thank God — because no one's going to care about this song if her crew waits till March.)

Furthermore, it looks like Kiss Me Once will now be out on March 18. Below is the tracklist for the "Special Edition" of the album.

And, seriously — let's all take a moment to ponder the fact that there are songs called "Sexy Love," "Sexercize" and "Les Sex." I hope at least one of these is as iconic as X's "Nu-Di-Ty."

1. Into The Blue
2. Million Miles
3. I Was Gonna Cancel
4. Sexy Love
5. Sexercize
6. Feels So Good
7. If Only
8. Les Sex
9. Kiss Me Once
10. Beautiful
11. Fine
12. Mr President (bonus track)
13. Sleeping With The Enemy (bonus track)


Saturday, January 25, 2014

It's Little Mix's "Word Up!" Single Cover

Here's the official single cover art for Little Mix's upcoming UK Sports Relief charity cover of "Word Up!" It's a far better listen than Cameo's nasally original, and probably the first Little Mix song that I've truly liked. (I'm picky as F, I know.) Listen to this hot trash here.


Katy B Performs "Crying For No Reason" Rather Excellently On 'The Graham Norton Show'

The worst thing you could do is forget that Katy B's Little Red album is out on February 10 (in the UK, though I'm told a US release is in the works, as well), and that it contains the unbelievably perfect synth ballad/dance gem "Crying For No Reason."

Katy hit up The Graham Norton Show last night for a performance of the track, and it was so on-point that I'm not entirely convinced she wasn't lip-syncing. Either way, the song is a 10, the staging was amazing and that's that.


Thursday, January 23, 2014

Kylie Minogue's 'Kiss Me Once' Album Cover Is Absolutely Flawless In Every Way

Kylie's 12th album. There are no words. Lead single, if you need a reminder, is "Into The Blue." This era is off to an astoundingly good start.


US Chart Roundup: Ke$ha Tweets (Again) From Rehab, Calvin & Ayah Finally Arrive

First thing's first: The Queen Of Soul & The Charts Ke$ha has given yet another update on her rehabilitation via Twitter, but this time the tweets apparently came directly from the singer as opposed to her "friend":

I'm really rooting for this broad, and I think I'll send her something classy like a pair of my boxer briefs as a gift once she gets out of rehab. Everyone could use that kind of cheering up, frankly.

Anyway, her party jam "Timber" maintains its perch on the top of the Billboard Hot 100 for a third week, and at this point I'm guessing Ke$ha and each of the other 10 writers on the track have earned at least $117 in royalties. Invest that shit wisely, hookers.

Elsewhere in the Top 10, we bid adieu to Avicii and Imagine Dragons, and room is made for Lorde's "Team" to jump in at #8 (hooray — she's not a one-hit wonder!) and Bastille's "Pompeii" to slide up to #10. Funny enough, I just hit up the Pompeii exhibit at the Franklin Institute during a trip to Philadelphia this past weekend. Ain't that a kick in the pants?

Other trash worth noting: Ellie Goulding's "Burn" slightly reverses course and moves up to #14 (it originally peaked at #13), Lady Gaga's "Do What U Want" hovers in limbo at #19, John Newman's "Love Me Again" inches up one spot to #35 and, would you look at that, Calvin Harris and Ayah Marar's fantastic "Thinking About You" creeps into the chart at #93.

Oh, and how could I forget — Shakira and Rihanna's "Can't Remember To Forget You" has a so-so debut at #28. Let's see if it sticks around in the Top 40 next week?

The U.S. Top 10:

1. "Timber" - Pitbull feat. Ke$ha *3 weeks*
2. "Dark Horse" - Katy Perry feat. Juicy J
3. "Counting Stars" - OneRepublic
4. "Say Something" - A Great Big World & Christina Aguilera
5. "The Monster" - Eminem feat. Rihanna
6. "Let Her Go" - Passenger
7. "Royals" - Lorde
8. "Team" - Lorde
9. "Story Of My Life" - One Direction
10. "Pompeii" - Bastille

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Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Chart Rigger Turns 9: Here's A Nice 2005 Pop Playlist To Crank Up & Celebrate With

Last night on the Chart Rigger Facebook wall, longtime reader Kye Miller posted the following:

It was a tongue-in-cheek but lovely sentiment on what coincidentally happened to be the eve of this very blog's nine-year anniversary. NINE YEARS of ups and flops.

Thinking about what I was doing nine years ago right now (other than writing the very first post on this site), what was going on in the world and where my life was at makes my head spin. But rather than get super sappy (because, let's face it — nine years isn't, like, 10 years or anything), I figured I'd slap together a saucy Spotify playlist of the songs that soundtracked 2005, from early January to the end of the year.

Maybe they were songs that you and I both enjoyed. They were definitely ones that were on heavy rotation throughout those early months of cranking out trash here on Chart Rigger. So, here you go, and as always, thank you so much for reading.

By the way, seriously — what were you doing in 2005?

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Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Ke$ha's "Friend" Tweets An Update From Rehab

Recovering pop queen Ke$ha may not have access to Twitter while she undergoes rehabilitation for "an eating disorder," but "a friend" was given access to the current chart-topping soul legend's account and offered the following updates today:

Wouldn't it be a hoot if this whole rehab thing was a ruse to try to give legal standing to any reason to get out of the whole Dr. Luke contract thing? If that's the case, I hope it works. He needs to be kicked in the dick for the shitty music he's cranked out in the last two+ years.


Little Mix Cover "Word Up!" For Charity & It's Better Than Cameo's Version

UK bimbette troupe Little Mix have taken on the duty of releasing the official Sports Relief charity single in 2014, and they've in turn offered up a cover of Cameo's 1986 hit "Word Up!" It's not going to be on the US edition of their sophomore LP Salute, which is out February 4, but, oh well — here you go:

This trash is out in the UK on March 16, aka Kylie Minogue "Into The Blue" Day. Meanwhile, the original version will forever remind me of elementary school roller skating parties and gross bus rides with Aquanet sluts.


George Michael's First Album In 10 Years, 'Symphonica', Out In March

This old broad is putting out a Phil Ramone-produced album of orchestral versions of his own songs and some covers on March 17, and it's called Symphonica and ZZZZzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz ZZZZzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz ZZZZzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz ZZZZzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz ZZZZzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz ZZZZzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz ZZZZzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz ZZZZzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

TRACKLIST (Deluxe Edition):
  1. Through
  2. My Baby Just Cares For Me
  3. A Different Corner
  4. Praying For Time
  5. Let Her Down Easy
  6. The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face
  7. Feeling Good
  8. John And Elvis Are Dead
  9. Roxanne
  10. One More Try
  11. Going To A Town
  12. Cowboys and Angels
  13. Idol
  14. Brother Can You Spare A Dime
  15. You Have Been Loved
  16. Wild Is The Wind
  17. You've Changed


Miley Cyrus' Art For Her 'MTV Unplugged' Special Better Than The Show Itself?

Miley Cyrus continues to prove that it's comedy, not music, that matters with the promo art for her upcoming MTV Unplugged special (airing January 29). I feel like the last time MTV did one of these it was with Florence + The Machine or Adele or someone...it's been a few years.

There's supposed to be a special guest or something, too. Let's hope it's one — if not both — of her tits.


Monday, January 20, 2014

It's Stine Bramsen's "Prototypical" Cover Art & Preview Clip

The other week I tossed out a video featuring Alphabeat's Stine Bramsen belting out her new solo single "Prototypical" live. The song is now available to purchase from Danish iTunes as well as Stine's own website (for those other 6.5 billion people not living in Denmark).

Here's a preview clip of the studio version of "Prototypical," in case you need a bit more prodding:

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Sophie Ellis-Bextor's 'Wanderlust' Is Out Today

Well, gosh — January 20 really creeped up on the world, didn't it? Just a reminder that the first interesting release of 2014, Sophie Ellis-Bextor's slowed-down, string-laden Wanderlust, is out today on iTunes worldwide.

I've only given it what I would say is half a listen, so no opinion on the LP just yet. Sounds like a grower, though?


Sunday, January 19, 2014

UK Chart Roundup: Eylar Fox Outfoxes Shakira And Rihanna's Hyped-Up Duet

This really could have gone either way for new teen pop boy tartlet Eylar Fox, but so far so good: His debut UK single, the on-point, stomping guitar/dubstep jam "Do It All Over Again," has nicely worked its way to entering the chart at #5. Not bad, but then there was really no competition as far as new releases here in mid-January, was there? Well, yes there was — a pretty high profile song kind of flopped by comparison (see below).

After all the hype, Shakira and Rihanna's pair-up, "Can't Remember To Forget You," has turned out to be quite anticlimactic. The song goes into the UK chart at #11, which isn't as spectacular as all involved were probably hoping for — but at least its better than "Waka Waka (This Time For Africa)," Shakira's previous UK Top 40 single fared (it peaked at #21). It's also higher than Rihanna's last UK single, "What Now" (#25), made it.
So I guess you'll just have to get over it, everyone.

The UK Top 10:

1. "Happy" - Pharrell Williams *3 weeks*
2. "Timber" - Pitbull feat. Ke$ha
3. "Hey Brother" - Avicii 
4. "Trumpets" - Jason Derulo 
5. "Do It All Over Again" - Eylar Fox *new*
6. "Million Pound Girl (Badder Than Bad)" - Fuse ODG 
7. "How Long Will I Love You" - Ellie Goulding
8. "Control" - Matrix & Futurebound
9. "The Monster" - Eminem feat. Rihanna
10. "Turn Back Time" - Sub Focus

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It's Kylie Minogue's "Into The Blue": Listen!

Because I was on a little weekend trip away to Philadelphia, the first time I listened to Kylie Minogue's new single "Into The Blue" was on my iPhone this morning. Not the most ideal sound system to take in such elegance, and so I wasn't truly blown away by the first offering from the pop icon's upcoming 12th album until I finally got home this evening and blasted that shit on the ol' Bose.

Quite simply, "Into The Blue" sounds like and instant Kylie classic. It's miles ahead Rita Ora's "How We Do (Party)," which co-writer Kelly Sheehan also had a hand in, and the pop-dance delight thankfully eradicates any bad taste still left in fans' mouths by last year's misfire "Skirt."

My only lament: "Into The Blue" has arrived online a full two months ahead of its March 16 release date, which I feel is more thank likely going to harm its chances at chart success.

What do you think of the song?


Friday, January 17, 2014

10-Legged Ho Machine Danity Kane Now 8-Legged Ho Machine: Listen To "Bye Baby"

NOTE: I haven't posted a Pop Conspiracy post since 2008, but no time like the present to get back to cheap glamour, gang.

Revered music legends Danity Kane, affectionately known at one time around these parts as Caterpussy aka 10-Legged Ho Machine, are back — minus two legs and one pussy — to breathe new life into Art and Pop, and have offered up this world-altering new future smash called "Bye Baby."

It's actually not bad, but it's giving me major shades of (get ready for an obscure reference) Hear'Say's #6-charting, career-killing UK flop "Lovin' Is Easy" from 2002.

I think it's just that funky, disco-y guitar vibe underneath a similar vocal melody in both songs. Am I nuts for thinking these tracks sound alike?

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Gwen Stefani Joins Instagram And Says She's Having Another Kid Or Something Or Other

Gwen Stefani has taken the self-involved plunge and joined Instagram, where today she announced, "I was ready to hand over the crown. but I guess I am still queen of the house. #itsaboy #surroundedbyboys" 

Honestly would have preferred the announcement of another solo album, given that the last one bit and so did the 2012 No Doubt album, but, oh well.

By the way, Love. Angel. Music. Baby. was released 10 years ago. Thank about that for a day or two.

By the way, Part 2: I'm on Instagram, too. Giva a fella a follow?


Kylie Minogue's "Into The Blue" Lyrics

Kylie Minogue posted the above pic of  handwritten lyrics to her upcoming single "Into The Blue" (out March 16) on Facebook. But since I can't read that shit, I'm very thankful that someone scoured the PopJustice forum and posted the typed-out lyrics on Idolator today.

And they are:

Verse 1:
I drew the smile upon my face
I paved the road that would one day leave me lonely
No angels too good to fall from grace
If she lets go of whatever keeps her holy
But I’m still here holding on so tight
To everything I left behind
I don’t care if the world is mine
Cause this is all I know
When I got my back up against the wall
Don’t need no one to rescue me
Cause I ain’t waiting up for no miracle
Yeah, tonight I’m running free
Into the blue, into the blue
With nothing to lose, into the blue
Verse 2:
I’m not ashamed of all my mistakes
Cause through the cold, I still kept the fire burning
These memories that I can’t erase
Always remind me I’m on an endless journey
But I’m still here holding on so tight
To everything I left behind
I don’t care if the world is mine
Cause this is all I know
When I got my back up against the wall
Don’t need no one to rescue me
Cause I ain’t waiting up for no miracle
Yeah, tonight I’m running free
Into the blue, into the blue
With nothing to lose, into the blue
I’ll go where nobody knows
Wherever the wind is blowing
Even if I’m alone
When I got my back up against the wall
Don’t need no one to rescue me
Cause I ain’t waiting up for no miracle
Yeah, tonight I’m running free
Into the blue, into the blue
With nothing to lose, into the blue


Thursday, January 16, 2014

US Chart Roundup: Ke$ha Keeps Killing It

Ke$ha's "Timber" is top dog on the Billboard Hot 100 for a second week, and given that she's one of 11 writers credited on the track, I'm going to think positively and assume that her toilet paper and her toothpaste are now totally covered by royalties while she's in rehab. Complete win!

Ke$ha was at #1 this very week four years ago with "Tik Tok," the lead single off her debut album Animal. And if we also throw in 2010 single "We R Who We R" and her feature on Flo Rida's 2009 hit "Right Round," the New Queen Of Soul has spent a total of 18 weeks on top of the Hot 100 throughout her storied career.

I'm so glad this ho is back in top form and yelling "timber!" all the way to deposit her $14 check at the bank! VIVA LA GLAMOUR!

The U.S. Top 10:

1. "Timber" - Pitbull feat. Ke$ha *2 weeks*
2. "Counting Stars" - OneRepublic
3. "The Monster" - Eminem feat. Rihanna
4. "Dark Horse" - Katy Perry feat. Juicy J
5. "Say Something" - A Great Big World & Christina Aguilera
6. "Let Her Go" - Passenger
7. "Royals" - Lorde
8. "Wake Me Up!" - Avicii
9. "Demons" - Imagine Dragons
10. "Story Of My Life" - One Direction

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Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Morrissey's Got A New Deal With Capitol + A Novel, An Album & A Tour On The Way

I've been on the biggest Morrissey kick (yet again) since December, when I started reading his Autobiography — a book I made sure to include in Idolator's year-end coverage because of these quotes, among many, many others.

But re-discovering the genius of Morrissey's wit is like reuniting with a childhood friend, in that you kind of pick up where you left off, regardless of how long you've been apart. In my case, I let Moz drift away after 2006 album Ringleader Of The Tormentors, of which I wrote on this blog almost eight years ago, "...overall the songs aren't as immediately catchy as the ones on You Are The Quarry. Oh well, diehards will like it, no doubt."

It was true, too: You Are The Quarry, released two years before Ringleader, was a perfect return to form for Morrissey — one that produced four consecutive Top 10 singles in the UK. Alas, by the time 2009's Years Of Refusal rolled around, I refused to even give it a listen. (Let me know — was/am I missing anything?)

But Morrissey is never far from my heart. I've been a fan since the final Smiths LP, Strangeways Here We Come, was released in 1987, when I was but a tween. My hardcore, impressionable years of devotion to all things Moz were 1988 (Viva Hate) through 1992 (Your Arsenal). (See this post, also from eight years back, about when I was a teen and trekked to Pittsburgh to Morrissey live, only to have him cancel once the audience was seated and waiting eagerly.)

So here we are in the Morrissey Renaissance of 2014. News came today that the Manchester crooner has signed a two-album deal with Capitol Records, and his 10th studio LP — Morrissey's first in half a decade — will see a release in the latter half of this year. Recording will commence in France next month with Grammy-winning producer Joe Chiccarelli (The Killers, The White Stripes). Also in the works: A tour and a novel (?!?).

Exciting stuff. And until all that goes down, I've been delving into the 2009 three-CD collection The HMV/Parolophone Singles: '88 - '95. It's literally ever single released in that time period, plus all the B-sides.


Gary Barlow And Howard Donald Tweet About Take That Being Back In The Studio

Following the release of Gary Barlow and Robbie Williams' UK chart-slaying studio albums, the members of Take That were back in the studio working on material for their follow-up to 2010 LP Progress and 2011 EP Progressed.

The confirming tweets went a little something like this yesterday:
So far there's still no word on whether sometimes-member Robbie will be joining the band for this album, but it's all very good news. Especially since I'm guessing the album will be out just ahead of Christmas, with a tour to follow next spring/summer, and I'll be on the market for another European vacation. (In the meantime, I'm off to Italy again this spring, after being there in 2011 for Take That's show in Milan.)

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Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Justice For JoJo: The Singer Extracts Herself From Blackground, Signs With Atlantic

Let's get one thing straight, in case it wasn't clear already: With 2006's "Too Little, Too Late," JoJo turned out one of the best songs off the previous decade — and she did it at the age of 15.

Ever since then, the singer has struggled to free herself from a ridiculous, mind-boggling contract situation with her label Blackground — a company that, by all accounts, refused to release JoJo's third album. As of today's news, however, we can finally call Blackground her former label.

The Los Angeles Times reported this evening that a lawsuit filed last year in New York State Supreme Court has resulted in JoJo being extricated from her Blackground obligations, and she's been signed with Atlantic Records (home of Bruno Mars, Janelle Monae, T.I. and Wiz Khalifa, among others) since December:
Among her complaints in the suit was that Blackground and Da Family failed to release her third album despite delivery and acceptance of recordings and that the labels neglected to pay producers and “other vendors" she collaborated with.

More important, she argued that because her deal with the labels was signed when she was a minor, laws in both New York and California stipulated that she could not be bound to the contract after a period of seven years.
Altogether, it's a happy ending for one of the most tragic pop injustices in recent years.


Paloma Faith Teams Up With Pharrell For "Can't Rely On You": Watch The Video

This broad is nuts. Recognizing this, Pharrell approached Paloma Faith at the Met in New York, they swapped digits and the result is "Can't Rely On You," a funky, Staxxy, not entirely un-"Blurred Lines"-y number whose vibe is completely contradicted by the oh-so-serious imagery that appears in the overly dramatic video clip that accompanies the song. It's perfect.

"Can't Rely On You" is the lead singe from Paloma's upcoming third album A Perfect Contradiction, which is due out later in the year.

Side note: I once described Paloma as "the latest low-grade Amy Winehouse knockoff to wander out of the hooker coop." That's pretty good.


Monday, January 13, 2014

Foster The People Return With New Single "Coming Of Age" + 'Supermodel' Album Cover

I was 100% blown away by Foster The People upon their arrival in 2011, and seeing them live (twice) — essential for getting the full experience with the band — was a total pleasure. Mostly because bassist Cubbie Fink is a hot piece to watch jiggle around on stage.) So here we are in 2014, three years after the trio's debut LP Torches, and thankfully there's new music on the horizon.

"Coming Of Age," the very Foster The People-esque lead single from upcoming sophomore album Supermodel (out March 14), premiered today. It doesn't find Mark Foster & Co. veering too far off the path they've already been traveling down, save for a few Beach Boys influences in there — but that's not a bad thing. "Coming Of Age" is a great reminder of the fact that, really, we were all just settling for fun. until the next Foster The People album came along, anyway.

Here's the Supermodel cover art (which you actually see put together on the side of a building in the time-lapsed "Coming Of Age" video above), and below that is the upcoming album's tracklist.

1. Are You What You Want To Be
2. Ask Yourself
3. Coming Of Age
4. Nevermind
5. Pseudologia Fantastica
6. The Angelic Welcome Of Mr. Jones
7. Best Friend
8. A Beginner’s Guide To Destroying The Moon
9. Goats In Trees
10. The Truth
11. Fire Escape
12. Tabloid Super Junky


It's Shakira & Rihanna's "Can't Remember To Forget You": Listen To The Big Pair-up

So you know how everyone squeezed four tubes of toothpaste into a cored-out watermelon, carved a dick-sized hole in the side of it then fucked it until they pulled out at the final moment and shot Crest slop all over the wall when it was announced that Shakira and Rihanna were doing a duet? ........... Just me? Okay.

Anyway, "Can't Remember To Forget You" is on iTunes now, and you're probably better off just sticking with "Timber" as far as pop pair-ups go. Saaaahrry.

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Lea Michele's Title Track From New Album 'Louder' Premieres, And It's Properly Poppy

A third track from Lea Michele's upcoming pop album Louder has premiered, and this time it's the LP's title track. Billboard points out that the straight-up pop song was written by Colin Munroe, Jaden Michaels (Carly Rae Jepsen's "Drive" and Candice Glover's "I Am Beautiful") and Anne Preven (Natalie Imbruglia's "Torn").

Harmless stuff that, if anything, indicates Lea's album (released February 28) is on track to be a surprisingly fun ride.


Lily Allen's "Air Balloon" Is Appropriately Bratty: Listen To Her New Song

Lily Allen is back with her third new song in as many months, following her UK chart-topping cover of Keane's "Somewhere Only We Know" and the pop parody "Hard Out Here." And I know everyone blew fizz and sludge out of their thongs over the latter, but this track, "Air Balloon," is a much more enjoyable listen to me.

Basically it sounds like something a 5-year-old would sing while tripping on acid, complete with references to a very alive Kurt Cobain and hanging out "in the sky." Musically, it's her most Lily Allen thing since "Fuck You."


Sunday, January 12, 2014

UK Chart Roundup: Pharrell's "Happy" Back At #1

While Pitbull and Ke$ha's "Timber" is riding high in the US, Pharrell's "Happy" manages to knock it off the top of the UK chart and spend a second non-consecutive week at #1. Depressing as fuck, you say? I'll second that.

The UK Top 10:

1. "Happy" - Pharrell Williams *2 weeks*
2. "Timber" - Pitbull feat. Ke$ha
3. "Hey Brother" - Avicii 
4. "Trumpets" - Jason Derulo 
5. "Million Pound Girl (Badder Than Bad)" - Fuse ODG
6. "How Long Will I Love You" - Ellie Goulding
7. "Control" - Matrix & Futurebound
8. "The Monster" - Eminem feat. Rihanna
9. "Animals" - Martin Garrix
10. "Drunk In Love" - Beyonce feat. Jay Z

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'...Baby One More Time' Turns 15: My History With Britney Spears' Debut Album In 1999

Two straight-up pop albums came into my possession in early 1999 and soundtracked the final months that propelled me out of my existence in Western Pennsylvania and into my life in Los Angeles. One of them was Britney Spears' debut album ...Baby One More Time, released 15 years ago today (January 12, 1999). The other one was Steps' Step One, but let's just stick with Britney here, shall we?

Below are some random memories of early 1999 and Britney's arrival:

* Already owning the "...Baby One More Time" CD single and the Sabrina The Teenage Witch soundtrack — which contained on its tracklist the Britney song "Soda Pop" — I bought ...Baby One More Time at Kmart in my hometown on the day it was released, 15 years ago today. I remember there was snow on the ground, and I was running errands that day before going to work in the afternoon.

* I was working at a Blockbuster Video and living with my parents while saving money, post-college, to move to L.A. that spring. I had just bought a used laptop off a co-worker, but I didn't have Internet access on it, so sometimes I used a borrowed Web TV system to get online, or I'd just go to the local public library and use their computer to check my email.

* My favorite ...Baby One More Time songs were all the Max Martin/Cheiron ones: the title track, "Sometimes," "(You Drive Me) Crazy" and — my absolute favorites — "Born To Make You Happy" and "I Will Be There."

* I was, what one would say, stanning hard for "Born To Make You Happy" and "I Will Be There." when that album came out. Perhaps not so coincidentally, a brief, month-long fling with a 21-year-old guy named Ed had just ended one week before Britney's album came out (I was a rebound and he eventually, of course, got back together with his ex), and so lines like "I don't know how to live without your love" and "give one more chance to show you how much I care, I'll be there" suddenly seemed very poignant.

*  My diary from that time period is filled with page after anguished page about Ed: "It was only a month and maybe we had nothing in common, I will miss him and will probably never forget him." Yeahhhhh...I was watching the WB a lot then. Felicity was my jam.

* Britney performed her chart-topping debut single "...Baby One More Time" on the Late Show With David Letterman in 1999 and her vocals were actually live. Watch below — it's like seeing a rare bird before it was in captivity.

* I went to see that Alicia Sliverstone/Brendan Fraser movie you don't remember called Blast From The Past in early February with my friend Meg, and on the way to the theater I gave her a cassette tape that had ...Baby One More Time on one side and Steps' album on the other. I wonder if she still has that? That was a good combo in 1999, and it probably doesn't sound too shabby now.

* I liked "Sometimes," the second single released off the album, but I didn't love it. The song was kind of a snoozy follow-up to "...Baby One More Time" — but then again, what wouldn't be?

* Meg and I moved to the West Coast in May of 1999, just before Britney's first tour kicked off. Steps opened for her Los Angeles. I tried to buy tickets but they were sold out.

* I heavily questioned why "I Will Be There" was never given a proper single release at the time. Way to drop the ball, Jive.

* When I got to L.A., I took a hammer and smashed that used laptop I had bought from my co-worker at Blockbuster in Pennsylvania six months earlier. It barely worked, and it felt good to pulverize that flop machine in the living room of my tiny apartment on Melrose Avenue.

* My first job in Los Angeles: executive assistant at Summit Entertainment, the production company that later gave the world The Hurt Locker and the Twilight movies.

* I get that the "Stop Remix" Of "(You Drive Me) Crazy" sounded way more modern than the album version back then, but I still kind of love the heavy metal guitars in the album version.

* Does anyone remember Britney's cameo on Sabrina The Teenage Witch in 1999 — or her eerily prophetic lines in that scene about feeling lonely and going crazy?

* Britney was basically inseparable from her backup dancer TJ Espinoza back then, wasn't she? That guy was way up in her business.

* I often wonder if my extreme love for "Born To Make You Happy" cursed its chances for an American single release.

* The age-old dilemma: The album version of "Born To Make You Happy" or the "Bonus Remix," with the acoustic guitar intro and Britney clearing her voice? (Grab the latter off Britney's 2009 singles collection.)

* Oh, look — there's TJ Espinoza again, in the screen image for the "Born To Make You Happy" video below.

* To-date, ...Baby One More Time has sold roughly 14 million copies in the United States alone. That's about twice the US sales of In The Zone, Blackout, Circus, Femme Fatale and Britney Jean combined.

* Other album released in 1999 include Backstreet Boys' Millennium, TLC's FanMail, Christina Aguilera's self-titled debut, Macy Gray's On How Life Is and Destiny's Child's The Writing's On The Wall.

* Books I read in 1999: The Perks Of Being A Wallflower, The Mysteries Of Pittsburgh and Catcher In The Rye.

* This (below) was me in 1999. I took that photo for a Pittsburgh casting agency in February 1999 and got three days of work as an extra in the Michael Douglas/Tobey Maguire movie Wonderboys:

* Also an extra in Wonderboys: then-Carnegie Mellon University student Michael McMillian. (You may know him now as Reverend Steve Newlin on True Blood.) Five years later I interviewed him for Instinct Magazine, following his starring role in the 2004 movie Dorian Blues.

* Another extra in Wonderboys: Jason Levis, who was a member of the band Cherry Monroe. (He's pictured below, far left.) In 2005, they had a Billboard Hot 100 chart hit with the song "Satellites." He and I wrote letters back and forth to each other for about a year after I moved to L.A., and I have a photo or two of him I took on the set. I hope he's doing well.

 * This was Britney in 1999:

Happy 15th Anniversary, ...Baby One More Time. You helped make my life way more fun.

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