Blake Shelton tells MTV News that he reads quite a bit on Twitter about his "bromance" with fellow Voice judge Adam Levine:
"All I have to say is, it's true: I have a man crush on Adam. It blows me away people can pick up on that just by watching that on television. I want to kiss him. I want to kiss him so bad. I don't care if it's mutual or not. Can you honestly tell me that you don't have a little bit of a crush on Adam? He's sexy, is the word I'm using."
This week is a bit of double feature, in which two high profile releases vie for your attention and everyone's publicity department is on overdrive trying to steer the conversation. Here's an attempt to separate the signal from the noise:
Coldplay — Mylo Xyloto (EMI)
THEIR PUBLICIST SAYS: "Just as the album art was inspired by the work of New York graffiti artists of the 1970s, Mylo Xyloto takes its cue from the sense of freedom those artists embodied."
THE OBJECTIVE TAKE: That's a stretch considering that '70s graffiti artists in New York were largely poor and disenfranchised people expressing themselves using an untraditional canvas and Coldplay are, like, the biggest (and one of the richest) rock bands in the world using guitars and keyboards. So, OK! Hyperbole aside, the band does take some risks here — a duet with Rihanna actually sounds conventional next to the new-wave-Bruce-Springsteen vibe of "Hurts Like Heaven" — and Mylo Xylotois unlikely to kick them off their rock star perch this time around: It's a textured, satisfying, and melodically able album, and despite the attempts of adult contemporary songwriters everywhere, no one does Coldplay quite like Coldplay.
HER PUBLICIST SAYS: "The album is filled with candid, emotionally raw tunes like … 'You Love Me' (in which Clarkson witheringly tells an ex 'you’re not good enough'), 'Einstein' (the cad in question is dismissed with 'Here’s your keys, your bags, your clothes, and now get out of my place'), and the title track, which finds Clarkson putting a fresh spin on Nietzsche’s adage that what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger."
THE OBJECTIVE TAKE: Saying that "Stronger" is a "fresh spin" on Nietzsche is kind of hilarious — as if she were the first to appropriate that quote! — but otherwise, it's true: Stronger is an album of kiss-off songs to antagonist boys in the vein of some of her greatest hits. The problem with that? It depends on whether or not you believe that Kelly Clarkson's lyrics are becoming too predictable or, perhaps worse than that, too simplistic in her notions of empowerment. The songs themselves are instantly pleasurable, and some of her best yet. But there's a point in every breakup conversation where one friend must tell the other that he or she needs to move on already.
Maroon 5's Adam Levine to Fox News: "Don't play our music on your evil f*cking channel ever again." Fox News responds: "Dear Adam Levine, don't make crappy f*cking music ever again." It's just a battle where everyone loses, apparently.
From a Mess to the Masses, the new documentary film about Phoenix that aired on European television last week, is currently streaming online.
While Bright Light Bright Light is still prepping for the release of his debut album, he's still supporting his impeccable new single, "Disco Moment," and taking the time out to play an acoustic set for Gaydar Radio that reveals the depth of his synthpop songwriting. Check out these stripped down versions of "Love Pt. 2" or the aforementioned "Disco Moment" and discover why Rod Thomas might be a one-man Pet Shop Boys.
This week's essential streams and downloads? There are a lot of them: Tracy Thorn reunited with Everything But The Girl partner Ben Watt for this cover of "Night Time" — originally recorded by the xx and set to appear on an upcoming EP of the same name. The iconic R.E.M. revealed their final single ever, "We All Go Back to Where We Belong," which is set to appear on their upcoming retrospective Part Lies, Part Heart, Part Truth, Part Garbage: 1982-2011. Toronto's Diamond Rings offer up an excellent cover of Teenage Fanclub's "Mellow Doubt" for a new European single. And finally, Charli XCX — a 19-year-old London upstart whose debut single, "Stay Away," is quite likely my favorite song of 2011 so far — releases a long-awaited follow-up: "Nuclear Seasons" suggests that this girl is gunning for album of the year while she's at it.
Ever the cagey one, Robbie Williams has quit Take That (again) and has announced a new record deal with Universal and a new album for 2012. The departure, which went down earlier this year, was perfectly amiable as evidenced by Williams' new songwriting partner in the venture: Take That's Gary Barlow.
Lady Gaga isn't finished with Born This Way yet. This week, it was announced that the album will be issued in two new versions next month: Born This Way: The Remix will host studio work from Goldfrapp, Wild Beasts, Foster the People, Michael Woods, Two Door Cinema Club, Hurts, and more, while Born This Way: The Collection features the original and remix albums as well her Monster Ball at Madison Square Garden DVD.
David LaChappelle's plagiarism lawsuit over Rihanna's "S&M" video has been settled out of court for an undisclosed amount. The lawsuit, LaChappelle says, was "not personal, it's strictly business. Musicians commonly pay to sample music or use someone's beats and there should be no difference when sampling an artist's visuals."
SOUND & VISION:
FreeSol — "Role Model" (feat. Justin Timberlake)
He's still taking a break from being a pop star, but on the new album by hip-hop/rock group FreeSol, Justin Timberlake steps into the producer's chair — and takes a stab at rapping while he's at it. The result? It's somewhere between good and Saturday Night Live rap-skit — and hashtag rap is so Drake's first album! — but the band behind him is solid.
Active Child — "Playing House" (feat. How To Dress Well)
"Playing House" actually premiered last month, but it got swept up in all the fall new release business around here. So I'm righting that wrong now: Active Child's debut album, You Are All I See, is one of this year's more gorgeous records, and "Playing House" is one of its more plaintive moments — a sullen synthpop song dressed up like a heartbroken R&B opera. It's like they invented something new here, and really, I don't get to say that too often.
Stars — "Dead Hearts"
The Five Ghosts is as haunting as its title suggests, so the idea of shooting a clip for "Dead Hearts" at a funeral is an appropriate one. The trick, then, is transmitting loss without veering into literal maudlin tropes or devolving into total darkness. So it's no small feat that Stars made the most optimistic video about death you can imagine.
Olly Murs — "Dance With Me Tonight"
He lost the 2009 UK X Factor competition to Joe McElderry, but these days, Olly Murs is making #1 singles and trafficking in the kind of feel-good vintage pop-soul that Will Young used to make before he went electro. (After releasing a debut album to disappointing numbers, McElderry is, inexplicably, singing opera now.) "Dance With Me Tonight" is the ebullient second single to come from Murs' upcoming second album, In Case You Didn't Know.
Singer and The Voice judge Adam Levine didn't hold back in a recent Out magazine interview in which he accused rival show American Idol of covering up its contestants' homosexuality.
"What’s always pissed me off about Idol is wanting to mask that, for that to go unspoken,” Levine told the magazine. “C’mon. You can’t be publicly gay? At this point? On a singing competition? Give me a break. You can’t hide basic components of these people’s lives. The fact that The Voice didn’t have any qualms about being completely open about it is a great thing.”
Now Nigel Lythgoe, an American Idol producer and judge on So You Think You Can Dance, has responded, telling Entertainment Weekly that he doesn't consider contestants' sexuality to be a relevant issue for his shows:
I didn’t understand why we’re talking about contestants being gay or not gay. I don’t go into my dentist and say, “Are you gay?” I don’t say to contestants on So You Think You Can Dance, “Are you gay?”
What does it got to do with me? What does it got to do with anybody? When does privacy stop in this country?
If somebody wants to say they’re gay, it’s up to them. You don’t expect us to turn around and say, “Are you gay?” Why would we do that? — “By the way, he’s a Catholic and he supports Obama and here’s his sexuality” — what does that have anything to do with singing talent? Maybe it does for Adam Levine, but not for me.
Lythgoe goes on to discuss Adam Lambert, an American Idol runner-up who came out after his season had ended. "He must have come out before being on Idol, he just didn’t talk about it on Idol," said Lythgoe.
He went on: "And why should he [talk about it]? Is every actor going on television going to say, 'I’m only playing the part of a straight man, I’m really gay'? There’s no reason that I would see why anybody that goes on television should start coming out with who they are, what they are, what they’re sexuality is, who they’re going to vote for or what their religion is."
For his part, Lambert says he felt like his sexuality was "out of my control" during his time on Idol, primarily because he was not allowed to do any solo interviews.
Blake Mycoskie, founder of the popular TOMS shoe brand, has been working with the anti-gay group Focus On The Family.
Why LGBT and Muslim communities should collaborate: "Religious and LGBTQ identities are important, and when we try to tuck them away in some dark and dusty corner we lose something integral... The Muslim and LGBTQ communities face common challenges that stem from the same problem—that diverse communities don’t have robust and durable civic ties. This is why the Muslim and LGBTQ communities ought to be strong allies."
Want to see the trailer for Sarah Palin's movie, The Undefeated? Here it is.
New York Yankees' captain Derek Jeter hit the 3000th homerun of his career today, making him the 28th major league player to do so and the first from his team.
Head for the Hollywood Hills: Kate and William are in Los Angeles.
Like so many of us, The Denver Post wants President Obama to take a stand on marriage equality: "[Obama] has long opposed DOMA, but he has also famously said his views on same-sex marriage were 'evolving.' It is expected his view will evolve, at a politically opportune time, from support of civil unions to support of same-sex marriage. But evolution moves slowly, and gay marriage backers are understandably impatient... The president must makes his views clear. There can be no change without Obama's leadership. The time for half-way steps is over. It's time for Obama to lead the charge."
North Carolina "religious" leader Peter Lucas Moses is accused of killing a 4-year old boy because he thought the boy was gay: "Sometime in October 2010, prosecutors told the judge, one of the women told the defendant [Moses] that Jadon had hit another child's bottom, and Moses retaliated because he thought the boy might be homosexual - partially because the child's father had left his mother... The defendant took the boy into the garage, where music and the Lord's Prayer in Hebrew blared, and a gunshot sounded." Moses is also accused of killing one his "wives" because she was barren.
Happy Birthday to the world's newest nation, South Sudan.
The Nation also investigated Marcus Bachmann's "ex-gay" counseling service: "Information obtained by The Nation suggests that Bachmann & Associates therapists do, in fact, try to change sexual orientation. It also sheds new light on the Bachmanns’ embrace of the controversial ex-gay movement and related psychological approaches, which portray homosexuality as a disease to be rooted out."
XXL magazine takes a look at homophobia in hip-hop: "When it comes to homophobia, hip-hop doesn’t have the best track record. 'Faggot' and other anti-gay slurs have been used as generic insults on wax throughout the genre’s history... However, recent events suggest a more complicated picture. In fact, while violence, misogyny and materialism may be with hip-hop for a long time, there are signs that the culture’s attitude toward gays may be changing."