Jordin Sparks Hub




MUSIC NEWS: Book of Love, Mercury Music prize nominees, VH1 Divas, Gossip tour, Mika

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Guestblogger MODERN TONIC

The editors of Modern Tonic present a weekly music update here on Towleroad. The rest of the week, they scan the pop-culture landscape for movie, TV, book and Web recommendations in their daily email.

Road TODAY'S NEW RELEASES

There was a time in the 1980’s when you couldn’t walk into a New York City club without Book of Love’s big-beat “Boy” echoing from the rafters or the celestial vibe of their “I Touch Roses” causing ecstasy among throngs of dancers. They were the U.S. version of the New Romantics without the stupid hair and pantaloons.

Now practically a footnote, Book of Love have reunited to tour this year and perhaps they'll prove where Little Boots, La Roux, Ladyhawke and a few others gleaned their 80s inspiration. If you missed the NY electro quartet in their heyday, you get the thrill of discovery with Noble Rot’s CD-only reissues of their four albums — Book of Love, Lullaby, Candy Carol and Lovebubble — crammed with demos and remixes galore (their seminal, self-titled debut is reborn as a deluxe double-disc).Jordinsparks4

We’re not sure what Battlefield Jordin Sparks refers to on her sophomore album, but from the soulful crunch of her modern pop, we’re imagining an MTV's Celebrity Deathmatch for the crown of Modern Diva.

Demi Lovato releases Here We Go Again, a follow up to her hit debut Don’t Forget. We're dying to know if the Disney moppet will break out of the Mouse House. OK, not really.

Matthew Sweet and Susanna Hoffs — the alt-rock troubadour and the leader of The Bangles — remake Fleetwood Mac’s “Second Hand News,” Carly Simon’s “You’re So Vain” and more on Under The Covers: Vol. 2.

Soft-rock American Idol contestant Brooke White releases her debut, High Hopes and Heartbreaks — with gorgeous originals and a countrified take on Kings of Leon’s “Use Somebody.”

Also Released:  Bettye LaVette — Change Is Gonna Come Sessions; The Fiery Furnaces — I’m Going Away; Blue Roses — Blue Roses; Raphael Saadiq — Live From the Artists Den (DVD); Ian Hunter — Man Overboard; Riceboy Sleeps — Riceboy Sleeps; The Starlight Mints — Change Remains; Sugar Ray — Music for Cougars. Also, new singles from Mary J. Blige ("The One"), Nelly Furtado ("Más"), and Mr. Hudson & Kanye West ("Supernova")


Road MUSIC NEWS

Road Nominations for Britain's 2009 Mercury Music Prize have been announced. Among the ten contendersLa-roux-album-cover1 short-listed for best album by a British artist are La Roux, Florence + The Machine, Bat For Lashes, Friendly Fires and Glasvegas.

Road After a four-year hiatus, VH1 Divas will be back with a 2009 edition, and the initial line-up has been announced: Adele, Leona Lewis, Kelly Clarkson and Miley Cyrus. The show is scheduled to air September 17.

Road Gossip has announced dates for a U.S. tour starting October 7 in Washington, D.C.

Road Gym chain Equinox has enlisted Madonna, Cher, Stevie Nicks, Cyndi Lauper, Michael Bublé and other celebrities to create workout playlists for EQ Sessions, their in-house music program. Starting this fall, the lists will be highlighted on the gym's website, which will direct members to iTunes to buy the pre-organized tracks there.

Road Sony Pictures has bid $50 million for the theatrical and DVD rights to a documentary about Michael Jackson's last days, which will include footage from his final dress rehearsal for the "This Is It" shows. Paramount, Universal and 20th Century Fox were all shown footage and invited to bid as well. 6a00d8341cabbe53ef011571267404970c-400wi

Road Mika's new single, "We Are Golden," from his forthcoming album of the same name (out September  22), is now streaming on his MySpace page. The song has been chosen as the theme for this year's Teen Choice Awards.


Road MUSIC VIDEOS
Miranda Lambert: "Dead Flowers"
Nashville Star’s third-place finalist follows up her ’07 smash Crazy Ex-Girlfriend with this big-hooked mid-tempo country crooner from her September release Revolution.

a-ha:  "Foot of the Mountain"
Our favorite animated Norwegians look more well-preserved than their New Wave compatriots on this clip from the title song of their ninth album. If this is what years of eating salmon does for your skin tone, pass the lox now.

Big Bang: "Gara Gara Go!!"
The new single from the most popular Korean boy band. Clearly, AutoTune, Backstreet Boy worship and hip-hop style transcend all borders.

MPHO: "Running Up That Hill"
The U.K.-via-South Africa singer Mpho (pronounced Mmmm-poh) Skeef turns Kate Bush’s wailing battle-of-the-sexes into a jazzy ballad on this live clip from the so-called Brixton Pop Maverick .



Music News: Coachella! Plus Midnight Juggernauts, Chris Brown, Yaz, Madonna, STP

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GuestbloggerRobbie Daw presents a weekly pop music update here on Towleroad! Robbie runs his own site called Chart Rigger.

Since the inception of Indio, California's Coachella Music & Arts Festival in 1999, a half-dozen similar events inspired by Coachella (read: imitators) have cropped up annually across the states. The San Diego Union-Tribune sizes them all up, along with the growing festival fever sweeping the country.

Nevertheless, there's really only one Coachella, and this Friday kicks off the three-day outdoor "do" in the desert. Big-name headliners for the '08 fest include Roger Waters, Jack Johnson and the recently-added Prince, but flashier draws for the hipster set are Portishead, Kraftwerk, and Death Cab For Cutie. Other artists making a stop at Coachella this year are Hot Chip, M.I.A., Goldfrapp, Aphex Twin, Justice and Simian Mobile Disco, amongst over a hundred more.

One act to look out for this weekend is Melbourne electro trio Midnight Juggernauts. The synth-heavy Aussie act, which at times brings to mind Jeff Lynne in his E.L.O. days, gained attention after posting songs on MySpace and then meeting Justice, eventually being invited to support them on a tour last year.

Here are the videos for Midnight Juggernauts' "Tombstone" and "Into The Galaxy." Their debut album, Dystopia, sees a U.S. release from Astralwerks May 27.

Veteran alt rockers Love & Rockets just announced two warm-up shows prior to their Coachella gig: Pomona's Glass House tonight, and Cane's in San Diego on Thursday. They'll be the first full sets the trio has done in nine years. Says founding Rockets member David J to NME.com: "The time feels right for this band again. We'll be focusing on the music from our first four albums, the more guitar-based stuff."

In addition to some live content from the bands performing being available at Coachella.com, AT&T announced today it'll be exclusively webcasting from the event at AT&T Blueroom, while on-demand content will be made available next month.

If you've got tickets and aren't quite sure which stages to run back and forth between or how to plan who you want to see when, Artist Direct offers up a pretty decent preview of the festival.

Yaz_picroad.jpg Like your pop breezy, danceable, Euro-sounding and heavy on the vocoded effects? (And, no, this isn't leading up to something on Madge's new album.) Then check out Chris Brown's new single, "Forever," a new track tacked onto the re-release of Brown's latest set, Exclusive, and added to iTunes today. Bonus gay points -- not that the song needs any more -- to Chris for working with Polow da Don on "Forever," who crafted Fergie's "Glamorous."

road.jpg Back in January I mentioned the reunion of Yaz's Vince Clarke and Alison Moyet (pictured left) for their Yaz Reconnected tour. So what was it like the first time in 18 years they saw each other in person?

road.jpg "No Air" and "Tattoo" singer Jordin Sparks was forced to cancel an Earth Day show at Washington D.C.'s National Mall today, as well as several other dates with Alicia Keyes, due to an acute vocal cord hemorrhage. "Jordin is on a vocal rest, but she's expected to make a full recovery and join Alicia on tour in May," says a statement from Jive Records.

road.jpg Things are rolling along for the reunited Stone Temple Pilots. Meanwhile, think you have the chops to blow Slash away?

road.jpg Though it peaked at #3 on Billboard's Hot 100 stateside, Madonna's "4 Minutes" became Madonna's 13th single to top the U.K. chart on Sunday. She's racked up 12 #1s in the U.S. so far, spanning from 1984's "Like A Virgin" to 2000's "Music." Can you guess the other 10? (They're listed here.)

road.jpg Perhaps the reason Sony BMG chief Clive Davis was shafted last week was for licensing this song, which recently spent two months at #1 in Germany, for an American release.

road.jpg Forty-five seconds of new music from Franz Ferdinand has leaked.

The_weepiesroad.jpg TODAY'S NEW RELEASES:

Ashlee Simpson's third album, Bittersweet World, featuring production by Timbaland and Chad Hugo of the Neptunes.

Hideaway, the third LP from indie folk-pop duo The Weepies. Last year the band collaborated with Mandy Moore on her album Wild Hope.

Elephant Shell, the debut from Canadian indie band Tokyo Police Club, who share a label (Saddle Creek) with Conor Oberst's Bright Eyes.

From Donny... With Love, a collection of covers and standards from 50-year-old crooner and cheeseball Donny Osmond. Incidentally, despite there being six songs with the world "love" in the title here, the singer's own 1989 hit, "Soldier Of Love," remains absent.


Music News: Scissors Sisters Give Thanks, Plus Robbie Williams, Whitney Houston, David Beckham, Blake Lewis

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

Yesterday saw the release of the new Scissor Sisters' documentary and concert DVD Hurrah: A Year Of Ta-Dah, and the band -- in this case Babydaddy -- made sure to thank Towleroad and its readers for supporting them thus far.

Hurrah features a full 90-minute concert recorded at London's O2 Arena, as well as an hour-long documentary that follows the band on their recent world tour. In an interview with Gay.com, Jake Shears had this to say about the DVD: "It's the first time fans have seen us on our own terms, in our natural environment. And it's a really great picture of what it's like on the road. I think there are some preconceptions about us that will be demystified. I can only speak for myself, that people might have preconceived notions of what I'm like personally. It could be different than what people actually might think. Some people think I'm on 100 percent of the time, but that's only 50 percent true."

Robot_guitarroad.jpg In what might be a very un-rock 'n' roll move, Gibson unveiled its self-tuning Robot Guitar (pictured right) this week, which retails around $2,300. A Les Paul guitar from the company, sans self-tuning, goes for about $1,400. Product review site CNet is quick to point out the downside of the instrument.

road.jpg Robbie Williams has never made it a secret that he detested the time he spent in 90's boyband Take That, but a song on his last solo album about Nigel Martin Smith, the group's former manager, has landed the singer in hot water to the tune of £500,000, or roughly $1 million.

road.jpg See if you're already up on any of Rolling Stone's 10 Artists To Watch For In 2008.

Pimpcroad.jpg Rapper Chad "Pimp C" Butler, one half of duo Underground Kingz (or UGK), was found dead in L.A.'s Mondrian Hotel yesterday. UGK were probably best known by mainstream audiences for their appearance on Jay-Z's 2000 hit, "Big Pimpin'." Bun B, Chad's UGK partner, guested on Beyoncé's 2006 #1-charting single, "Check Up On It." In a statement, Jive Records CEO Barry Weiss said, "We mourn the unexpected loss of Chad. He was truly a thoughtful and kind-hearted person. He will be remembered for his talent and profound influence as a pioneer in bringing southern rap to the forefront. He will be missed and our prayers remain with his family and Bun B. I've known Chad since he was 18, and we loved him dearly and he was a cherished member of the Jive family." Earlier this year in the pages of Ozone magazine Pimp C called Russell Simmons "ol' dick-in-the-booty" and R&B star Ne-Yo an "Old Gay Ass." He later attempted to rescind the comments, Stereohyped reported, but wasn't so successful. Said Pimp C: "That statement about Russell Simmons had nothing to do with his sexual orientation. It had more to do with a disagreement [we had]. I don’t know if the man likes Martians, squirrels or whatever, so I ain’t gonna speak on something that I didn’t see. It’s no gay-bashing with me. It’s just, be proud of what you are, instead of hidin’ in the closet. And if ya fuck boys in the ass, then don’t be tryna fuck with the girls, too, poisoning the pussy population wit’ ya shitty ol’ dirty-ass dick."

road.jpg Some folks caught David Beckham, who has apparently taken up photography, at last night's Spice Girls gig in San Jose, California: "David slipped in after the show had started and took a seat in the front row, right next to the stage. He tried to disguise himself by pulling a blue baseball cap over his face but you couldn’t miss him or his huge camera. Everyone around him was on their feet dancing and cheering but David kept his bum on the seat to steady his shots."

road.jpg Perhaps the writing's on the wall? This week, 2007 American Idol runner-up Blake Lewis' album was released. Meanwhile, AI winner Jordin Sparks' self-titled debut drops from #10 to #18 on Billboard's album chart after only two weeks.

road.jpg Whitney Houston performed "I Will Always Love You" and "Heartbreak Hotel" at the Live And Loud festival in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia last week. You can watch clips here.

Batforlashesroad.jpg THIS WEEK'S NEW RELEASES: (Another unusually slow week for the holiday shopping season.)

The two-disc Rufus Wainwright Does Judy At Carnegie Hall, which features a 36-piece orchestra and a recreation of Judy Garland's legendary 1961 concert.

Nelly Furtado's live Loose: The Concert, which is also available on DVD.

Rockin' indie. girl group Bat For Lashes' "What's A Girl To Do?" EP, which also features the quirky video.

Hits sets from country star Trace Adkins (American Man: Greatest Hits, Vol II) and the ever-posthumously-prolific 2Pac (The Best Of 2Pac, Pt. 1: Thug and Pt. 2: Life).

Glass Candy's upbeat, electro-charged B/E/A/T/B/O/X.


Music News: Rhino Opens The Brit Box, Avenue D, Mariah Carey, Jordin Sparks, Daft Punk

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

BritboxCheers, Rhino! Aiming at the holiday market, Warner Bros.' specialty label unleashes the massive, four-disc Brit Box: U.K. Indie, Shoegaze And Brit-Pop Gems Of The Last Millenium today. It's a pretty extensive compilation that is the perfect gift for any Anglophile of the generation who, while we Americans were being bombarded with early '90s grunge culture and flannel (and the watered-down Collective Soul/Everclear guitar pop that followed), spent their teen years videotaping MTV's erstwhile Sunday night alternative rock program 120 Minutes just to catch a glimpse of the latest Charlatans or Soup Dragons clip coming over magically from across the ocean.

Overall, The Brit Box aims to present the listener one song from each of the players in the ravey Madchester, Brit Pop and Cool Britannia scenes, as well as ones released during the commercialized collapse of the latter once Tony Blair was elected Prime Minister. Each disc is broken up by periods of years, and the first one (1984 - 1990) gets it right with all the influences; The Smiths, The Cure, Cocteau Twins, Echo And The Bunnymen and The Primitives. The key '90s staples are present: songs that reveled in the mundanity of everyday British life such as Blur's "Tracy Jacks", Pulp's "Common People" (below, left), Saint Etienne's "You're In A Bad Way" and Oasis' "Live Forever".

Stone_rosesOf course, the fatal flaw with undertaking a project this massive is that it's virtually unfathomable to include just "She Bangs The Drum" by The Stone Roses (pictured) -- arguably the band that kicked off the Brit Pop movement, and the reason this box set exists -- and not include "I Am The Resurrection", "Fool's Gold" or "I Wanna Be Adored" (let alone their whole first album).

Likewise, while it's nice that Suede's "Metal Mickey" is included, it's almost a crime to not be able to hear the drugged-up "Animal Nitrate" as well. Its fetishized, gender-bending video (above, right) was curiously banned in the U.K. in 1993 for featuring Suede frontman Brett Anderson kissing a man, albeit one wearing the mask of a pig.

Ultimately, The Brit Box is a great beginning and a nostalgic reminder of worthy music that may have passed the Stateside listener by. For those looking for a proper taste of Brit Pop, though, check out the self-titled debuts from The Stone Roses and Suede, as well as Pulp's Different Class, Oasis' Definitely Maybe and Saint Etienne's So Tough.

As well, John Harris' excellent 2004 book Britpop!: Cool Britannia And The Spectacular Demise Of English Rock is a highly recommended account of the genre.

NOTES:

Aved

road.jpg There's sure to be some crying at the discotheque...or at least in the sweaty, beer-drenched corners of hipster hole-in-the-walls around the world. New York-based electroclash duo Avenue D (pictured right), known for their explicit club hits "Do I Look Like A Slut?" and "The Sex That I Need", have decided to call it quits after six years. Daphne and Debbie, former proteges of DJ and producer Larry Tee, had this to say in their email newsletter: "...as you may have already guessed: AVENUE D IS BREAKING UP. It's been a great six years, (thanks to all of you) and we are ready to move on to new things. Now the good news: We are going to have TWO FINAL SHOWS!!!! DEC.1ST - BROOKLYN, NY @ AREA 51 which is also our BIRTHDAY PARTY! DEC. 29TH (or 28th) - MIAMI, FL @ STUDIO A. Even more good news: we will be releasing 3 CDs and a DVD along with our breakup...also our current albums are now available on the iTUNES STORE."

road.jpg On the complete flipside of The Brit Box, Universal has finally issued Nirvana's Unplugged In New York on DVD. In addition to featuring a highly strung-out Kurt Cobain (just watch those teeth grind!), the set contains the full set list that didn't all make it on air for the November 1993 performance, as well as a behind-the-scenes documentary on the broadcast and unedited rehearsal footage. With the stage covered in funereal flowers, it's both eerie and sad to watch now knowing Cobain was dead five and a half months later.

Arjanwrites_dd_miami2007road.jpg Music blogger Arjan snagged an interview with Duran Duran's John Taylor, who is currently promoting the band's new album, Red Carpet Massacre. The handsome bassist commented on DD's gay appeal: "We just appeared, perhaps, to be very open. We took our image very seriously. It was not a macho presentation. It was a presentation that had its roots in glamour, and, you know, there was an ambiguity to it, I suppose. And I think the sound and the look and the subject matter made it sort of appealing to a gay audience. It was certainly not threatening. I would think we have an audience that any gay man or woman is gonna feel comfortable in."

road.jpg Best Buy and Live Nation, the firm Madonna recently signed a music deal with, have teamed up to exclusively release Mariah Carey's The Adventures Of Mimi live DVD at Best Buy retail outlets. The double disc, available December 4, contains extras including Spike Lee's 15-minute spoof, Loves & Haters, starring Carey as herself.

Daft_punk_2TODAY'S NEW RELEASES:

Daft Punk's Alive 2007, a live set recorded at the Palais Omnisports de Paris-Bercy sports arena in France this past summer. There is also an enhanced version available with an enhanced CD containing 50 pages of photographs and five bonus tracks.

The surprisingly none-too-shabby self-titled debut from this year's American Idol winner, Jordin Sparks. Despite a few bland ballads, it's not a bad little pop album. It's also one of the first offerings from an Idol champ that Clive Davis hasn't had an executive-producing hand in.

Dreaming Out Loud by Ryan Tedder's band, OneRepublic. The album contains the original version of "Apologize" as well as the remix by Timbaland that's currently in the Top 10 of the Billboard Hot 100. Incidentally, Tedder also co-wrote and produced the current #1 single in the U.K., "Bleeding Love" by last year's X Factor winner, Leona Lewis.

The 20th anniversary edition of U2's Joshua Tree. In addition to being available in CD and double-vinyl format, the deluxe edition features a 36-page booklet and bonus disc of B-sides and rarities, and the box set edition features the bonus CD, a 56-page hardcover book and concert DVD.

D-Sides, a collection of remixes, B-sides and bonus tracks from Gorillaz. In a review of the collection, Entertainment Weekly notes in its current issue, "Much of the album would've been lucky to appear on the flip side of a vinyl single back when people bought such things...B-Minus Sides might've been more accurate."


Music News: Amazon Goes Digital, Plus Duran Duran, Kurt Cobain, Madonna Rihanna, Ne-Yo

Earbud_2GuestbloggerPlease 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.

Venison, artichoke tapenade and Doritos? I guess at this point we shouldn't be surprised Amazon.com's got these items for sale. And starting today, one-stop shopping at the online store could be fully realized with the launch of Amazon MP3 Beta, a service offering MP3 files compatible with iTunes and Windows Media Player, free of Digital Rights Management restrictions (meaning you can play the tracks on iPods or any MP3 player, use them on multiple computers and burn them onto CDs as many times as you like). Amazon is offering up a library of more than 2 million songs, with their Top 100 downloads priced at 89 cents, while most others are 99 cents. The Top 100 albums are $8.99, while other albums range from $5.99 to $9.99.

Not all artists and labels are on board, though...especially not ones still requiring the DRM restrictions. A search for Justin Timberlake and Britney Spears, for instance, prompts a disclaimer noting that while Amazon doesn't offer these catalogs as MP3s, "more titles are being added daily". You're then presented with the offer to go back into the ol'-fashioned Amazon music store, where your Justin or Britney tunes are sure enough available on trusty CD. Just don't forget to throw the Doritos in your shopping cart.

Kurtroad.jpg Duran Duran's new single "Falling Down," featuring and produced by Justin Timberlake, is available as of today from the U.S. iTunes store. The press release for DD's forthcoming Red Carpet Massacre album is up now on the band's official site, which reveals the writing and production credits for each track.

road.jpg Kurt Cobain: About A Son, a documentary focusing on the late Nirvana frontman (pictured left), will see its U.S. premiere at the Los Angeles AFI Film Festival in early November. A year before his death in 1994, Cobain was featured in a cover story for The Advocate. Though he often had a penchant for exaggerating and twisting the truth in interviews, he did reveal the following: "I used to pretend I was gay just to fuck with people. I've had the reputation of being a homosexual every since I was 14. It was really cool, because I found a couple of gay friends in Aberdeen [Washington] - which is almost impossible. How I could ever come across a gay person in Aberdeen is amazing! But I had some really good friends that way. I got beat up a lot, of course, because of my association with them."

road.jpg The New York Post is claiming that Madonna just might embark on a world tour starting late next summer, to coincide with her 50th birthday. This rumor wouldn't be too much of a stretch, given that she'll have no doubt released a new studio album long before that.

road.jpg Ne-Yo has written songs for some of today's young crop of twentysomething divas: Beyonce, Britney Spears, himself. Below is the classy video for his duet with Rihanna, "Hate That I Love You," in which she flounces about half-naked on a bed and he strolls around town decked out like Cary Grant.

200pxgimme_more_2road.jpg TODAY'S NEW RELEASES:

Foo Fighters' Echoes, Silence, Patience & Grace, produced by Gil Norton, who worked with the band on their 1997 album, The Colour And The Shape.

Songs About Girls, the first solo album from Black Eyed Pea Will.i.am.

Melissa Etheridge's The Awakening, her ninth studio album, and first post-breast cancer.

Sub Pop act Iron And Wine's The Shepherd's Dog.

"Gimme More," Britney Spears' new single. Originally to be released next week , perhaps Jive thought they'd better capitalize on the wave of publicity -- albeit negative -- while they can.

"Tattoo," the first single from American Idol winner Jordin Sparks' upcoming November release.


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

Annielennox

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 AllHipHop.com, 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.

Rickrolled

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.

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


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