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Music News: Annie Lennox Takes The Dark Road, Plus Kanye West, Jordin Sparks, Rick Astley, Ari Gold


GuestbloggerPlease welcome Robbie Daw, who will be penning occasional music posts for us here on Towleroad! Robbie runs his own pop music site called Chart Rigger.

Though she's one of popular music's most iconic figures, Annie Lennox is gearing up to release only the fourth album of her 15-year solo career. Songs Of Mass Destruction is out October 1 throughout most of the world, and a day later in the U.S.

The video for the first single, "Dark Road," just found its way online yesterday.

Also, the album track "Sing" has leaked. "Sing" features a bevy of female guest vocalists, including Madonna, Céline Dion, Pink, Melissa Etheridge, Fergie, Beth Gibbons, Faith Hill, Angelique Kidjo, Beverley Knight, Gladys Knight, k.d. lang, Sarah McLachlan, Beth Orton, Bonnie Raitt, Shakira, Shingai Shoniwa, Joss Stone, Sugababes, KT Tunstall, and Martha Wainwright. Lennox was inspired to record the song after being involved with Nelson Mandela's Treatment Action Campaign, which fights to protect human rights and promote education for those affected by the HIV virus.

Songs Of Mass Destruction features production by Glen Ballard, who is perhaps most famous for twiddling the knobs on Alanis Morissette's Jagged Little Pill and, more importantly, Wilson Phillips' self-titled debut.

Kanye_shades_3road.jpg As we read last week, Kanye West is still waxing philosophical about homophobia within the hip-hop community. Meanwhile, some other folks seem a bit preoccupied with the sunglasses he's been sporting lately -- particularly in the video for "Stronger," his latest single that's built around a sample of Daft Punk's "Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger." In fact, there's even an entire thread devoted to the topic in the forum at, where one member incitefully wrote, "GAYEST THREAD EVER!!!!!!!!"

As it turns out West's shades were designed by Jeremy Scott, whose pop star clientele also includes Fischerspooner, Kylie Minogue, Björk and Madonna.

Elsewhere, "Stronger" unseated Robyn's "With Every Heartbeat" to become the #1 U.K. single this week.

road.jpg Recent American Idol winner Jordin Sparks has a new single, "Tattoo," hitting radio on Monday, though traditionally Top 40 stations have been lukewarm about embracing the winners of the FOX reality show. The New York Post reports that Sparks' album will be out in November, after having inked a deal with 19 Recordings/Jive. The previous five Idol winners had all been signed to RCA.


road.jpg TREND ALERT: AOL reported on it, Urban Dictionary has multiple entries for it, but if you haven't yet been "Rick rolled," hold on to your coiffed locks, because the wait is finally over. Rick rolling is essentially the process by which you email a pal, tell them they simply have to check out a crazy new video file of Lindsay Lohan yacking up her lunch in the checkout line at Fred Segal, then actually send them a link to '80s blue-eyed soul crooner Rick Astley's #1 hit from 1987, "Never Gonna Give You Up." Yeah, I don't get it, either, but in the midst of all this, one thought came to mind: just how many times did Stock Aitken Waterman cart their artists through that chintzy set for a video shoot?

Did Jason Donovan complain when he got Rick rolled under the same arches for "When You Come Back To Me"? Did Big Fun wave chiding fingers after shooting "Handful Of Promises"? (Actually, it may have been a different set for the latter, but it's easy to get distracted while watching, arguably, the gayest video ever.)

road.jpg NEWS BITES: Madonna to leave Warner Music after 25 years?

One Céline Dion fan reports from the "freaking amazing" album preview focus group.

Morrissey shacks up in New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco for six weeks.

Dr. Dre sues former label Death Row over The Chronic.

Donald Trump calls Britney Spears "a f***ing mess." Then he offers her a job.

Sheryl Crow, Avril Lavigne and Fiona Apple work themselves into a Girlfrenzy.

After the jump, The Feeling's Dan Gillespie-Sells, Ari Gold and the today's new releases.

road.jpg In England, Dan Gillespie-Sells, The Feeling's openly-gay frontman, made a dapper appearance at Virgin's V Festival over the weekend...


...while across the pond, Ari Gold performed at here lounge in West Hollywood.

During his set, Ari performed his new single, "Where The Music Takes You." His new album Transport Systems will be released October 2.

Rilo_kileyroad.jpg TODAY'S NEW RELEASES: Former Savage Garden singer Darren Hayes' third solo album, the two-disc This Delicate Thing We've Made, featuring production by Justin Shave.

Brooklyn-based rapper Talib Kweli's Eardrum, featuring guests Norah Jones and UKG, with production by Kanye West and

Rilo Kiley's fourth album, Under The Blacklight. It's also the indie band's debut on Warner Bros.

Kala, the sophomore album from London-based Sri Lankan artist M.I.A.

Country singer Travis Tritt's The Storm, featuring tracks co-written by Rob Thomas, Richard Marx and Diane Warren.

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  1. annie lennox is a genuine goddess, and one of the very few pop diva performers worthy of respect.

    meanwhile, as for that hack Jeremy Scott... those unfortunate glasses have been around for decades, they were sold at Fiorucci in the 70's. who the Hell is Kayne West's stylist... Phillip Block ??

    Posted by: A.J. | Aug 21, 2007 12:24:34 PM

  2. I love me some Fiona Apple. Glad to see she's doing the show...brilliant.

    Posted by: Davey | Aug 21, 2007 12:25:54 PM

  3. Towleroad: In your Kanye West post, 'incitefully' should be 'insightfully'...

    Posted by: paul | Aug 21, 2007 12:28:44 PM

  4. PAUL: Actually, it works either way in this case :-)

    Posted by: Becks07 | Aug 21, 2007 12:36:06 PM

  5. Can we stop heaving the term "diva" around. It means, roughly, distinguished woman singer. However, it has taken on the extra baggage of said woman singer being egotistical, demanding and difficult.

    Annie used the title quite ironically for her solo debut and since then, every halfwit lady who scores a #1 dance hit is labeled a "diva" by gay men who use the term so often, it's lost all meaning.

    Posted by: Marco | Aug 21, 2007 12:58:16 PM

  6. MARCO: Stop being such a damn diva!

    Posted by: Becks07 | Aug 21, 2007 1:00:31 PM

  7. LOL @ BECKS07!!!

    Posted by: Derrick | Aug 21, 2007 1:13:27 PM

  8. No. You're using it wrong!!!!! Maybe?


    Posted by: Marco | Aug 21, 2007 1:25:29 PM

  9. Annie Lennox, yawn. The diva comeback I'm waiting for is Donna Summer next spring.

    Posted by: Johnny | Aug 21, 2007 1:26:10 PM

  10. I loves me some Annie Lennox, but why oh why does she keep putting out this depressing music? I don't need to have music bring me down, I want it to lift me up. I wish she would rock out again!

    Posted by: sad, sad, sad | Aug 21, 2007 1:29:04 PM

  11. Annie Lenox always seems to strike the right tone and the right message in her music for the time in which we live. I worship her for that...

    Posted by: Robert In WeHo | Aug 21, 2007 1:47:05 PM

  12. Annie Lennox is so wonderful. Her music makes me cry it's so great! That video is awesome. She's matured and her beauty is now kind of a haunted look, which is perfect. I have always loved her...she is the perfect artist for someone with depression (just don't tell your psychiatrist).

    She was wonderful also in the great movie "Edward II" (she should do more movies). She is the genuine article. A true artist. This album will for sure be on my fall "must buy" list.

    Posted by: Jordan | Aug 21, 2007 1:47:14 PM

  13. ...and OMigod, Ari Gold is hot!

    Posted by: Jordan | Aug 21, 2007 1:49:32 PM

  14. This is officially the gayest video ever:

    Posted by: JOHN IN MANHATTAN | Aug 21, 2007 1:53:10 PM

  15. Annie Lennox... as always captures my heart. That video gave me chills and tears. I can not even begin to express how excited I am for this album to finally reach my ears. It feels like an eternity since "Bare" came out.

    And I agree with Jordon... she is haunting in so many ways.

    Posted by: BVC | Aug 21, 2007 2:17:26 PM

  16. "...for twiddling the knobs on Alanis Morissette's Jagged Little Pill and, more importantly, Wilson Phillips' self-titled debut."

    That's an odd hierarchy there... Wilson Phillips has had more of an impact on pop culture than "Jagged Little Pill"?

    Posted by: Theo | Aug 21, 2007 2:18:01 PM

  17. Rick Rolled came from the fact that when people heard this song, they thought it was a big black man singing, but when they saw the video it was actually a stringy white guy (who had strange gay leanings???)

    So being rick rolled only refers to the fact that you're getting something completely different than what you expected.

    Posted by: kyle | Aug 21, 2007 2:18:35 PM

  18. Theo, methinks he meant that tongue-in-cheek.

    Posted by: Alex Krycek | Aug 21, 2007 2:21:15 PM

  19. Judging from that picture of Ari Gold, it appears he was playing the recreation hall of the local senior citizens' center. Who the hell is Ari Gold anyway? Ditto for Robyn, Jordan Sparks and Kala.

    Aside from fat housewives in suburban Des Moines, no one cares about Celine Dion. Ditto Travis Tritt.

    Morrissey was important twenty years, not so much.

    Did anyone, aside from 15 year old girls, ever listen to Britney Spear's music? She's a hack...why report on her?

    Talib Kweli...I'm sorry, who?

    Dr. Dre...excuse me while I throw up.

    Thank you for the coverage of Annie Lennox...sure she's pop and she's a little obvious, but at least she's talented.

    Dan Gillespie-Sells is queer, out and HOT (and his music is tolerable).

    Posted by: peterparker | Aug 21, 2007 2:26:31 PM

  20. Yes while the British were churning out hit after hit that topped the worldwide music charts (except in the US). America was elevating Rap music to the levels of Wagnerian high opera to soothe the angst of pampered white suburban teens. The rest of the World got “Handful of Promises” while we here in the USA got “Mama Was a Crackhed But She Tried”

    Posted by: ggreen | Aug 21, 2007 2:31:10 PM

  21. Peter Parker think of Talib Kweli as an out of the way club in Brooklyn your crazy friend (fiend) convinced you to go against your better judgement - the kind where you end up dancing your ass blue and macking with all kinds of dudes - and one curiously fetching girl but you end up leaving with the DJ and a subtle but certain feeling that New York will always be the city you call home - Think of Talib Kweli like that and you will probably dig his new album - here's a link to the first single "Listen"

    Posted by: Giovanni | Aug 21, 2007 3:22:20 PM

  22. Had to watch that Annie video twice... she totally captivtes me.

    I live 4 blocks from Here Lounge, wish i had stopped in to see me some Ari, he's fine.

    Posted by: Chux | Aug 21, 2007 3:24:50 PM

  23. I don't know what it is about Annie, but she just gets me every time. Getting her album without question.

    Posted by: Aman-About-Town | Aug 21, 2007 7:50:02 PM

  24. Annie is a very gifted artist, her music is timeless and her voice just gets better with time! I only wish that Ms. Cyndi Lauper was invited to sing with her on this album. I will definetely buy her new album!

    Posted by: Josh | Aug 21, 2007 11:22:03 PM

  25. Giovanni,

    Thanks for the explanation about Talib Kweli. I checked it out on iTunes. Didn't like it. Not even a little bit. If I'm going to listen to rap/hip-hop I'll take the muscial stylings of Saul Williams of Blackalicious or Atmosphere. Thanks though!


    Posted by: peterparker | Aug 21, 2007 11:55:42 PM

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