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Lorde, The Beatles, Lady Gaga Contribute To Philippines Relief Album

What do The Beatles, Lorde, Cher, and Lady Gaga all have in common? No, this isn’t a bad joke. In fact, it’s pretty cool. The iconic superstars will be just some of the mega-acts contributing to a new relief album for Typhoon Haiyan. Coming in at a whopping 39 tracks, Songs for the Philippines is available on iTunes, with all proceeds being donated to the Philippine Red Cross. View the track list below and donate here. Continue reading ‘Lorde, The Beatles, Lady Gaga Contribute To Philippines Relief Album’

Music Of The Presidential Inauguration: Beyonce, fun., Kelly Clarkson And More

Last night marked President Obama‘s second inauguration ceremony. Among the many celebrities and speeches of the day, we saw spectacular performances by Beyonce, fun.Kelly Clarkson, Alicia Keys, Jennifer Hudson and James Taylor.

Five-time Grammy winner James Taylor was the first to take the stage, with an acoustic rendition of “America The Beautiful.” Kelly Clarkson followed the inaugural address and performed “My Country Tis Of Thee,” while Beyonce closed the performances with “The Star Spangled Banner.”

As the ceremony ended and the Inaugural Ball commenced, Alicia Keys sang her hit “Girl On Fire,” with the simultaneously sweet and awkward title change, “Obama’s On Fire.” Jennifer Hudson provided the soundtrack for the President and First Lady’s dance, as they swayed to a cover of Al Green‘s “Let’s Stay Together” (which the president himself ad-libbed at an event last year). The band fun. then closed the evening with their hit, “We Are Young.” You can view fun.’s performance right here and the rest of the performances after the jump. Continue reading ‘Music Of The Presidential Inauguration: Beyonce, fun., Kelly Clarkson And More’

12/12/12 Sandy Relief Concert: Performances By Springsteen, Kanye, Members Of Nirvana, And More


Last night, hundreds of celebrities came together, as they so frequently do, for a benefit event at Madison Square Garden in New York City. The purpose of the 12/12/12 concert was to raise money for the victims and survivors of Hurricane Sandy as well as provide hope and support for those still struggling. Performers included Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band, Roger Waters, Adam Sandler with Paul Schaffer, Bon Jovi, Eric Clapton, The Rolling Stones, Alicia Keys, The Who, Kanye West, Billy Joel, Chris Martin of Coldplay, and probably the most talked-about performance of the night, Paul McCartney with the surviving members of Nirvana for their first reunion in twenty years.

According to Billboard, it was a powerful night of poignant entertainment, as many of the performers were from the New York/New Jersey area and chose songs that specifically related to the event. Springsteen did a Medley of “My City In Ruins,” “Working On A Building,” and Tom Waits’ “Jersey Girl.” His songs all hit home as did Adam Sandler’s comical rendition of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah,” entitled “Sandy Screw Ya.” Click the links below to watch of some of these highlight acts.

Paul McCartney with Pat Smear and Nirvana members Dave Grohl and Krist Novaselic

Adam Sandler Performing “Sandy Screw Ya” (Rewrite of “Hallelujah”)

ABC News Concert Recap

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Sound And Vision: The Best and Worst of James Bond Themes

The 007 Effect: What getting cast as the main theme for one of the James Bond film franchise’s 23 official entries can do for a song. Alas, the results of being Bonded can be as mixed as the songs themselves.

Adele’s brand new theme for Skyfall, aka “James Bond XXIII” (in U.S. theaters November 9), sure to be Top 10 or rapidly approaching that hallowed chart vicinity by the time you read this, is the first James Bond song to become a hit since the Pierce Brosnan era (1995-2002).  That was when Madonna’s “Die Another Day,” from the 2002 Bond film of the same title, went to # 8 on Billboard’s Hot 100. Continue reading ‘Sound And Vision: The Best and Worst of James Bond Themes’

Sound And Vision: Rihanna Vs. Christina Aguilera Vs. Alicia Keys: Who Will Win November’s Battle of the Divas?

Sweet November is about to spawn another monster. Not a beast like the ugly, twisted child Morrissey warbled on about in 1990, but three beauties in the monster diva throwdown of the year. It will be the month in which three of pop’s biggest female players–Rihanna, Christina Aguilera, and Alicia Keys—all release new albums. Who’ll emerge “triumphant”—to quote the title of top diva Mariah Carey’s new single, from an album that won’t be released until March of 2013, long after the diva dust settles? Read on… Continue reading ‘Sound And Vision: Rihanna Vs. Christina Aguilera Vs. Alicia Keys: Who Will Win November’s Battle of the Divas?’

Chart Catfight!: Look Who’s Hot on Carly Rae Jepsen’s Tail in the Battle of the Pop Divas!

Carly Rae Jepsen is in luck. It looks like she won’t have to ensure the continuation of her celebrity run after “Call Me Maybe” falls from its current summit by relying on the hoopla generated by her own Nipplegate—nude photos that ended up being someone else’s.

Thanks to a call from Adam Young, the one-man band behind Owl City, Jepsen is about to relight the fire under her rising star the old-fashioned way: with a new hit. “Good Time,” her duet with Owl City, just debuted at No. 18 on Billboard’s Hot 100, which means that her breakout No. 1 single won’t forever be alone on her hit list.

It’s pop symbiosis at its most effective: He saves her from that pop purgatory known as one-hit wonderdom, where he had been languishing since 2009, when the Owl City single “Fireflies” hit No. 1 on the Hot 100, and she helps get him out of it. Sure Katy Perry could have accomplished the same thing in the middle of a dead sleep, but that hardly would have been a meeting of near-equals.

Continue reading ‘Chart Catfight!: Look Who’s Hot on Carly Rae Jepsen’s Tail in the Battle of the Pop Divas!’

Soundcheck: Hot Summer Hip-Hop

The 2012 BET Awards were held Sunday night in Los Angeles, setting the tone for a sizzling summer of new music from some of hip-hop’s biggest names. Beyoncé took home the trophy for Best Female R&B Artist while Nicki Minaj nabbed Best Female Hip Hop Artist for the third year in a row.

Whitney Houston was given one final farewell from a group of very talented loved ones including her mother, Cissy Houston, who sang “Bridge Over Troubled Water” to a sobbing crowd. Mariah Carey and Angela Bassett, along with the rest of Houston’s Waiting To Exhale cast mates, also delivered heartfelt tributes.

Performances from Chris Brown, D’Angelo, and Kanye West provided previews for some of this season’s most anticipated releases. Brown’s album, Fortune, was just released on July 3.  Last weekend, Brown was honored at the 2012 BET Awards winning Best Male R&B Artist after he gave a power-packed performance of “Turn Up The Music” and “Don’t Wake Me Up” to a turned up crowd who can’t help but be mesmerized by his unrivaled dance moves and brightly painted bare chest. His newest singles dropped last week and included one Drake diss and two crazy collaborations; “ Mirage” featuring Nas and “Get Down” featuring B.o.B., as well as one stellar solo offering, “Trumpet Lights”.  Continue reading ‘Soundcheck: Hot Summer Hip-Hop’

Sound and Vision: Can Taylor Swift Do Joni Mitchell Justice?

Taylor Swift has yet to top Billboard’s Hot 100, but who needs a No. 1 pop single when you’ve sold more than 20 million albums (as of March of 2011), been named Entertainer of the Year twice in a row by the Academy of Country Music (in 2011 and 2012), been awarded the 2010 Hal David Starlight Award by the Songwriters Hall of Fame (an honor previously bestowed upon John Mayer and Alicia Keys) and won an Album of the Year GRAMMY (in 2010, for Fearless, her second album)? She makes every princess of pop this side of Adele seem like an underachiever.

At the age of twenty-two, Swift has accomplished what it takes some icons entire careers and then some to achieve. (Neither Bruce Springsteen, nor the Rolling Stones, nor Aretha Franklin, nor Madonna, nor Eminem, has yet to win an Album of the Year GRAMMY.) But it’s Swift’s latest honor, being the frontrunner for the role of Joni Mitchell in the upcoming film Girls Like Us, a biopic based on Sheila Weller’s book about the lives of Mitchell, Carly Simon and Carole King in the late ’60s, that has her detractors—and some fans even—protesting “Too soon!” and wondering “Who? Her?“  Continue reading ‘Sound and Vision: Can Taylor Swift Do Joni Mitchell Justice?’

Sound and Vision: The Fall of R&B: How Pop Is Selling Its Soul for a Dance Beat

Remember the days when R&B and hip hop was the sound of pop? From the ‘90s to the mid ‘00s, music’s most dependable hitmakersMariah Carey, Whitney Houston, Toni Braxton, Boyz II Men, R. Kelly, Usher, Brandy, Monica, Alicia Keys, Destiny’s Child and Beyoncé, among themspecialized in “crossover” soul, climbing both the R&B charts and the Hot 100 in tandem.

But lately, something strange has been happening on Billboard’s R&B /Hip-Hop Songs chart: A hit is no longer necessarily a hit. Just because a song is big in the R&B sphere doesn’t mean it’s big anywhere else. For the week ending April 7, 2012, only one song in the R&B/Hip-Hop Top 10Tyga’s “Rack City”had managed a comparable placing on the Hot 100.

The song at No. 1, Beyoncé’s “Love on Top,” which had been there for multiple weeks, was way down at No. 54 on the Hot 100. (It briefly entered the Top 40 last September, debuting and peaking at No. 20 after Beyoncé performed it at the MTV Video Music Awards.) Meanwhile, there wasn’t a single R&B diva in the Top 40 aside from Janelle Monae, who got there by guest-singing on rock band fun.’s No. 1 hit “We Are Young.”

What happened to pop’s soul? There’s a disconnect between the pop and R&B charts that hasn’t been so pronounced since the days when Michael Jackson’s label, CBS Records, threatened to pull all of its artists from MTV if the then-fledgling network didn’t play Jackson’s “Billie Jean” video.

Continue reading ‘Sound and Vision: The Fall of R&B: How Pop Is Selling Its Soul for a Dance Beat’

BTJunkie Shuts Down: Is This The End of the Era of Free Downloads?

And so it goes: The war against filesharing and illegal downloading has officially begun. Earlier this week BTJunkie, one of the largest BitTorrent networks on the Internet, announced that it was shutting down for good.

“This is the end of the line my friends,” says the ominous message on their homepage. “The decision has not come easy, but we’ve decided to voluntarily shut down. We’ve been fighting for years for your right to communicate, but it’s time to move on. It’s been an experience of a lifetime, we wish you all the best!”

This, of course, is following the FBI’s recent takedown of filesharing Web site Megaupload.com. Currently, the Web site’s founder Kim “Dotcom” Schmitz is under arrest, $50 million worth of assets were seized along with cars, guns, and valuable artworks that Schmitz had in his possession. Also supposedly involved with the Web site was Alicia Keys’ husband Swizz Beatz, who was rumored to be Megaupload’s CEO.

Of course, BTJunkie isn’t the only Web site that has begun to take defensive action.  FileSonic, FileServe, and Upload.to have all disabled their filesharing capabilities.

All this recent activity has brought to question where the future of music acquisition is headed. Let’s face it; many if not most of us have used some of these Web sites. Some of us even rely on them. But with more and more of them shutting down, and with SOPA and PIPA looming over the horizon, its no wonder that the Internet has taken a turn for the hostile. Piracy and illegal downloads have plagued the entertainment industry longer than we can remember, and now these industries are biting back. So where does that leave your average listener?

Well, the thing about the Internet is that someone will always find a way to bypass the system. We would hope that, in the future, the music industry might even take a hint from one of these Web sites and revolutionize the entire system of acquiring new music. For now, it looks like we’ll just have to go back to feeding our money to The Man…

 

 


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