Good news: Britney Spears is doing press! The pop princess sat down with her former X Factor colleague Mario Lopez on Extra for a little chat about her Shape magazine cover shoot, her upcoming album and the Vegas show that’s been rumored for the last twenty years. The bad news is that, while perfectly congenial, she still seems a little bit shut-down — somewhere between “low battery” and “a husk of her former self.” Maybe a little chattier than normal, but no light in her eyes, really. Ah, well.
She’s still fairly tight-lipped about anything particularly revealing, but did say that she and Album 8 executive producer Will.i.am have #worked #on #two #new #tracks #together, and that she’s excited about the Vegas show, so, um, there’s that. Also, she still craves fried chicken. Also, she loves her boys. Did you know that Britney loves her boys? There’s a part of me that just wants her For the Record fantasy to come true, so she can just get away from all the terrible people and terrible lights and people like Mario Lopez (who’s literally a gleaming abdomen with a smiley face emoticon painted on it) and not have to talk about this sort of thing anymore. Just her, her boys and a bucket of fried chicken. That’s the dream. More »
In March, we first announced Kia’s Sorento Serenades contest, where three nominated people would be surprised in some manner by meeting legendary vocal group Boyz II Men. Last week we presented you with Nikki and Stephen, who Boyz II Men gave a little musical backup to after Stephen proposed to his girlfriend. Now it’s time to meet Cory and Cassandra from Boston.
In the clip above, Cory talks about his loving relationship with Cassandra, who he surprises with a trip to Los Angeles. Cory brings his girlfriend to a karaoke bar, and informs us that he’s never actually done karaoke before — something that becomes quite evident when he picks up the mic and starts singing B2M’s hit “I’ll Make Love To You.” (Don’t quit the day job, Cory!) More »
There really isn’t much to say about this song that I didn’t already say when the snippet leaked a week ago, so I’ll say it again: New Beyonce. New Beyonce! New Beyonce. It’s just a guest spot on a new track from The-Dream, but it’s still something, right? Right.
So what kind of something is it? Well, it gives Beyonce a space to be a hook girl, which feels a bit odd, given the total absence of vocal pyrotechnics — frankly, LaTavia Roberson could have pulled off this hook capably — but she namedrops Billy Bob Thornton and Angelina Jolie, and that’s pretty weird/cool. Also, 2 Chainz‘s rap is great in a slightly stomach-turning sort of way (he says he’d drink your bathwater, which is just so ugh). I don’t know. It’s effectively ratchet, so if that’s what they were going for, A+ all around, but I think all parties involved can probably do better. More »
The girls of Fifth Harmony cut their teeth on The X Factor performing lushly harmonized (per the name) covers of pop hits, so when they stopped by Idolator headquarters in New York City, it only felt natural that they’d turn out a cover or two for your enjoyment — and to wit, the girls were willing to put their spin on Taylor Swift‘s album title track “Red.”
There are a bunch of things about this that are phenomenal: Camila Cabello‘s absolutely sickening vocal performance on the second verse; the way Ally Brooke demolishes those vocal runs in the last chorus; that funny moment between Camila and Normani Hamilton just before they finish the song — but the best thing about this video is how nicely the girls work together in synchronicity. They really do like each other as much as they claim to, and it comes through watching them together. More »
When faced with eloquently acknowledging a tragedy on a live show, The Voice knows the right man for the job: Carson Daly. Alright, so he’s a little awkward when he tries to broach any hard-hitting news, but at least he’s better than bubbly pipsqueak Christina Milian. The yikes of the delivery vehicles aside, The Voice appropriately acknowledges Monday’s tragic tornado in Oklahoma before starting up the performances.
Oklahoman Blake Shelton, notably affected by the natural disaster in his home state, says, “It makes it hard to sit here and do this tonight,” but he fulfills his obligations with Oklahoma in his thoughts. Usher gets serious about the things, describing competing in the final ten as “guerrilla warfare,” perhaps adding a bit more intensity to the competition than it warrants. Save the war comparisons until the final four! More »
Well! After all that speculation, our Season 3 judges for The X Factor have been unveiled — and there were some unexpected choices! (Well, one unexpected choice. Kelly Rowland had already been revealed, sort of.) The final judging panel will include Rowland alongside returning judges Simon Cowell and Demi Lovato, as well as Latin superstar Paulina Rubio.
It’s been a bumpy ride for The X Factor: Season 1 saw the more-or-less incoherent Paula Abdul team up with the hugely unlikable Nicole Scherzinger and the authoritative-but-not-particularly-great-television L.A. Reid, resulting in mediocre ratings; Season 2 brought out the big guns with Britney Spears and Demi Lovato replacing Abdul and Scherzinger, but not even Spears could save the show’s ratings. Now, it seems, Cowell’s going for interesting characters: Lovato has proven her mettle as a capable and empathetic judge with a lot of insight to share, while Rowland already has experience judging The X Factor in the UK (where she proved to have a ton of character), and Rubio — while a lesser-known commodity in the United States — is enormous in Latin America and has been a judge on The Voice in Mexico. More »
Backtracking is our recurring look back at the pop music that shaped our lives. Our friends may come and go, but we’ll be spinning our favorite albums forever.
DMX ’s debut is a landmark hip-hop album, but it’s also a pop album (as in, popular), which is utterly hilarious. It’s Dark and Hell Is Hot, released on May 19, 1998, went straight to No. 1 its opening week, and it went 4x Platinum in just over two years. That’s despite the fact that it was a sociopathic, off-putting collection of shouted rhymes about righteous vengeance and nihilistic violence paired with grimy, foreboding beats. So how did such a carnival of misery and carnage become such a mainstream hit?
Teenage boys, mainly. DMX’s debut may have been the product of a grizzled 27-year-old street hustler, but it was an album for kids half his age. Pubescent males know not about subtlety, and the album had a mindlessly overt potency. When my friends and I were 14, the album’s energy matched ours (the motherfucker was barking!), and the CD’s fury broke through our relentless clatter of imbecility.
But the album had appeal beyond the mallrats because DMX (real name Earl Simmons) and primary producer Dame Grease created a suffocatingly dark stomp that was a whisker shy of being a concept album, with hooks that were just as badass as the MC. And that’s how it became the bleakest of pop beasts. More »
Did you hear?
:: E! has set the premiere date for The Wanted Life, the new reality series that follows British boy band The Wanted and their chaotic lives. The new series will air on June 2 at 10 p.m. [Zap 2 It]
:: Following the news that he’ll be returning to The Voice, Cee Lo Green is also planning to release three projects this year! Backstage at Billboard Awards he said there will be new albums from Goodie Mob, Gnarls Barkley and Cee Lo himself. [Billboard]
:: The Saturdays‘ Rochelle Humes has given birth to her first child, a daughter named Alaia-Mai. The singer took to Twitter to announce the news, writing “Mum is doing great & baby is amazing! We are both overjoyed! Thanks for your love X.” [Daily Mail]
:: J. Cole has just released the grim album cover for his forthcoming Born Sinner (dropping June 18). He explained the album’s theme to MTV: “I like my album themes to be metaphors because it gives me the freedom to speak about something else that’s going on in my life, so the Born Sinner thing is not about church, it’s not even about religion. It’s using that as canvas to get other messages across and that’s what the album will be.” [Rap Radar]
:: Coachella, arguably the most-hyped of all music festivals, has announced its 2014 dates. The festival will take place over two weekends: April 11-13 and April 18-20. Better start booking flights now! [Pitchfork]
:: Avril Lavigne‘s unexpected relationship with Nickelback‘s Chad Kroeger is about to become official. The singer sat down with MTV to talk wedding plans, saying that it’s going smoothly. She’s also planning to debut her fifth album in September. No word if there’ll be a duet with her future husband. [MTV]
After the jump, find out which music acts you can catch on TV today. More »
Finally! Whether it’s to distract from the (apparently false) pregnancy reports, or just because Beyonce was sick of people harping about her ubiquity being paired with a dearth of new music, somebody has posted new Beyonce music. Yes, “Grown Woman” has hit the Web, and we can finally hear how it sounds in full, separated from Bey’s ultra-fierce Pepsi ad.
It’s a frenetic, globetrotting dance track with a tribal rhythm, chants and a descending bass line that sounds like a sped up version of the one in Justin Timberlake‘s “Pusher Love Girl.” A feisty Bey declares “I can do whatever I wawnt,” and that includes giving us a song that sounds nothing like what anyone was expecting. It’s almost like this track is destined to be the theme song to the next Women’s World Cup or something.
“Grown Woman” was reportedly co-written by The-Dream and produced by Timbaland. Hear it below, and then check out the song’s lyrics. More »