MTV reports: "The track was written by Brett James (who has a country pedigree, having written for Carrie Underwood), Ester Dean (Beyoncé, Usher) and Dante Jones. Brian Kennedy (Chris Brown, Rihanna, Backstreet Boys) also co-wrote and produced the track."
Blogger snags interview with his "man crush"; prime minister Vladimir V. Putin.
Michelle Obama alludes to gay families in speech to graduates at West Point: "I ask you to remember that family has always been a centerpiece of our American story. No matter how you’ve grown up, no matter how you define family, all of you have someone in your life who believed in you and pushed you."
Freshly out news anchor Don Lemon: "It's time for us, especially black people, to stop trying to pray the gay away and to get on our knees and start praying that the discrimination of gay people ends."
Michael Bublé gives marriage with the same woman another shot.
Scottish politician calls the exclusion of openly gay ministers in the Church of Scotland "old-fashioned prejudice masquerading as morality."
For Jennifer Hudson to begin her sophomore album with the lyric "I've been through some things" is to point out the obvious. If by "some things" she is referring to getting married, giving birth to her first son, dropping five dress sizes, and then having to mourn the murders of her mother, brother, and nephew — allegedly at the hands of her estranged brother-in-law — then, by all means, she's been through it. But while tragedy does not cast a pall over I Remember Me, it certainly informs it: Hudson's performance is more pointed and determined than ever before, whether she's in swagger mode ("I Got This"), retrospective mode ("I Remember Me"), or self-assuring disco anthem mode ("Everybody Needs Love"), and it's this newfound urgency that takes her into even higher levels of artistry. Still, it's almost impossible to ignore the naked sentiment behind re-recording Natasha Bedingfield's "Still Here" and Brooks & Dunn's "Believe" — two songs that both, in their own way, attempt to bridge the gap between loss and healing. Hudson might still be somewhere in between the two, but this album's sheer faith and optimism clearly point towards the light.
Pet Shop Boys The Most Incredible Thing: Original Score (Astralwerks/EMI)
It turns out that the conception that Pet Shop Boys are "composing a ballet" is somewhat misleading: The score for The Most Incredible Thing, which comes out this week as a double-disc collection, is not exactly The Rite of Spring. Which means that while the opening "Prologue" begins with an orthodox orchestral movement that Stravinsky may have even smiled upon, convention is quickly subverted by the album's second minute when "The Grind" introduces a Kraftwerk-for-choreography motif that goes on to dominate the mostly instrumental set. It's a stylistic maneuver that is both consistent and consistently baffling — the opening waltz of "The Risk" somehow makes way for a spell of pulsing guitar rock, while "The Challenge" finds itself somewhere between Pet Shop Boys, a Paris is Burning runway soundtrack, and Star Wars composer John Williams — and yet there's a never a sense that Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe have lost control. On the contrary, it's their ability to express restraint amid the necessary histrionic musical moments that makes The Most Incredible Thing actually quite incredible. The physicality of a Pet Shop Boys record has always been there, but without Tennant's vocal, the band's otherwise linear, emotive narrative has all the freedom to become a little bit unhinged — primal, even.
Kelly Clarkson's forthcoming fifth album is complete, but according to the singer, it will not see the light of day until September. "I realize that's a long time," she says, "but that's the best time to release it apparently." Details about the album are scarce, but we do know that Clarkson has recorded a version of Eric Hutchinson's blues-tinged "Why Don't You Try."
UK house icons Faithless have announced that, immediately following their last scheduled show on April 8 in London, the group will disband. In an official statement prepared by the group, Maxi Jazz explains, "After 15 years and six albums, I think we've probably made our collective point by now and that it's time to close the book and return the library." The band's final album, The Dance, was released last year.
In 1983 Queen singer Freddie Mercury collaborated with Michael Jackson on at least three songs — only one of which, "State Of Shock," was ever released. (A Mercury-less version became a top-ten hit for the Jacksons in 1984.) This week, Queen's Roger Taylor confirms that the tracks are currently being "worked on," but declines to expand on any further details for a release. "I'm not allowed to say too much about it," he told NME, "but they sound incredible."
Ellie Goulding recently returned to BBC Radio 1's Live Lounge for a session, and as is the custom on the show, she performed a never-before heard cover: Check out Goulding's version of The Knife's "Heartbeats" — which, if you'll remember, was also given a very different, but effective acoustic treatment by José Gonzalez in 2006.
Blur and Gorillaz frontman Damon Albarn has announced his latest project: Doctor Dee is a new piece of musical theater based on "the life of the 16th Century alchemist, astrologer, and spy John Dee," and is set to premiere in July. Albarn will write and star in the show, which has been scheduled to run at the English National Opera.
Back in January, the legendary songwriter, musician, and producer Nile Rodgers disclosed that he had been fighting an "aggressive cancer" since October, saying, "everything in my happy-music universe imploded." This week, however, we're happy to report that the happy-music universe is back in business: Rodgers' latest test results are cancer-free.
Of all of the post-Pete Wentz guyliner bands, Panic at the Disco always stood out for their elaborate instrumentation, verbose song titles, and dramatic sense of style. They also made an incredibly underrated album in 2008 called Pretty. Odd., which showcased a newfound love for British invasion bands like the Kinks and primed Panic well for life after emo. This week, they release Vices & Virtues — their third album overall and first as a duo, following the departure of Ryan Ross and Jon Walker in 2009. Whatever it lacks in consistency is made up for in experimentation, which one can only assume is the only way to go when half your band finds the door. Songs like "The Calendar" and "Ready To Go (Get Me Out Of My Mind)" recall the best parts of their first two records without too much nostalgia, but Vices is, at its core, seemingly more of a transition record than an endpoint.
Duran Duran's last record — produced primarily by Danja and Timbaland — was, to be honest, a bit out of their lane. Which is part of the reason why their Mark Ronson–helmed thirteenth album, All You Need Is Now, really delivers: The title track is indicative of the album's overall intent, balancing modern electronic aesthetics with classic Simon LeBon hooks that wouldn't seem out of place on a classic Duran Duran album. (One of its most successful bids, "Girl Panic!", is really only once-removed from "Girls On Film" — which, to be honest, probably needed a modern successor anyway.) Guest spots from Scissor Sisters' Ana Matronic, Kelis, and Arcade Fire's Owen Pallett round out the effort, which — despite its digital release in December — finally sees its physical release today.
In spite of the circuit haze of Peter Rauhofer and Junior Vasquez, Chicago's legendary (and openly gay) Derrick Carter has been pushing his distinct house style — which he lovingly calls "Boompty" — as a DJ, producer, and record label impresario for more than twenty years. This week he releases a 17-track mix for London's Fabric DJ series featuring Chicago staples like Justin Long, Cajmere, and Lego, in addition to longtime likeminded folk like DJ Sneak and Iz & Diz. Clubbers who don't enjoy being clubbed over the head all night with stark-and-dark tribal will find reprieve in Carter's room-enveloping sound.
While it's impossible to have predicted what a collaboration between Grizzly Bear's Chris Taylor, indie darling Twin Shadow, and Solange Knowles — sister of Beyoncé — might sound like, it seems equally impossible to have predicted that it could be this good: "Kenya" is a gorgeous and complex record — subtly melodic, carefully layered, ethereally tribal — in which Solange's performance shuns the melismatic runs of her sister's greatest hits for what turns out to be a humbler, gentler Knowles. Proceeds from the single go to benefit the Replenish Africa Initiative.
Katy B — "Broken Record"
As the go-to muse for Rinse FM DJs like Benga and Magnetic Man, Katy B quickly established her presence in London dubstep and garage quarters with last year's top-five single "Katy On A Mission." Her debut album — also titled On A Mission — is due for release on April 4, and third single "Broken Record" shows the singer dabbling with a more commercial terrain. If it weren't for the sub-bass jungle throwback of a chorus, you'd think Stargate was producing.
The Joy Formidable — "Whirring"
Welsh trio The Joy Formidable recently announced "Whirring" as their debut American single, and as far as introductions go, this is a good one: It's like a noise pop Breeders for people who loved Kelley Deal at her least sedated; it's shoegaze for people who never felt My Bloody Valentine were loud enough. If you're looking to find a more enthralling female rock singer than Ritzy Bryan this year, she hasn't shown up yet.
SebastiAn — "Embody"
SebastiAn is best known as the elusive, but popular electro DJ behind a half-dozen wildly successful singles for the Ed Banger label in Paris, but with this clip — for the lead single from Total, SebastiAn's forthcoming debut — he totally takes a backseat to that magic dancing boy. In terms of can't-stop-smiling potential, this kid rates crazy high.
Court: Male teen tried to stab, gas man to death after having sex with him. "Prosecuting counsel Jennifer Blewitt told the court the teenager had
been communicating with the man for some time through text messages
before he agreed to meet him. The pair then returned to the man’s home for sex and the younger man
left afterwards, leaving the kitchen gas turned on and unlit. Soon afterwards, Ms Blewitt said, he returned with the knife and thrust it at the man as he opened the door."
British school calls emergency assembly over sex change of 12-year-old boy: "What has really upset the parents is that the school didn't see fit to
send us a letter first so we could explain it to children in our own way. Maybe we could have explained sexual politics and encouraged our kids
to be more sensitive. They were simply told, 'You may notice one pupil is not present in this
assembly – that is because the pupil is now a girl'. The girl, as she now is, will go through hell because of how this has
GLB teens at higher risk for eating disorders: "Among males, the highest risks were seen among homosexuals -- who were
seven times more likely to report bingeing and nearly 12 times more
likely to report purging than heterosexual males."
Inside the secret rallies of Maine marriage equality foes: "The interesting revelation: That it was apparently the Family Research
Council's Tony Perkins who requested the media shut-out. Weird,
considering this is a man who has never met a camera lens to which he
wouldn't lend a talking point."
European Parliament condemns homophobic legislation in Lithuania: “It is particularly alarming that the Lithuanian parliament succeeded
in passing homophobic legislation under the pretence of child
protection, when it is clearly in the best interests of young people to
have as much information as possible on these issues. Open discussion
among young people is the best way to tackle discriminatory attitudes
and the high suicide rates of young people who come out as gay or
Shirley Tan and her family advocate for immigration in D.C.: "The Tan-Mercado family met with several members of Congress, the staff
of numerous additional Congressional offices, and, in a West Wing
meeting, White House staffers to press for new cosponsors for the
Uniting American Families Act and the House Reuniting Families Act, as
well as for inclusion of lesbian and gay binational families in
comprehensive immigration reform."
India High Court to consider appeal of historic ruling decriminalizing homosexuality: "In taking up the appeal, the highest court is responding to a petition
by two private citizens who claimed they were deeply hurt by the
judgment 'inasmuch as it seriously affects them and fellow countrymen
in all spheres of their lives, personal as well as social.'"
Australian PM Kevin Rudd says ban on same-sex marriage will remain: " Rudd said his government's position remained unchanged amid media speculation that he would face a groundswell of support for same-sex marriage at Labor's national conference, due to begin in Sydney on Thursday. 'We are consistent with the policy we took to the last election,' he told public broadcaster ABC."
Officials place no restrictions on Gay Pride parade in Belfast: "We respect the views of those who are organising the Pride parade
and those who wish to express their opposition. Just as with any other
parade where there is disagreement the commission believes it is
paramount that all concerned treat each other with respect and show
tolerance towards the view of wider society. We welcome the
assurances we have received in regards to the stewarding of the parade
and the general conduct of the participants."
Kissimmee, Florida City Commissioner wants to add "In God We Trust" to city's logo because he thinks it will help rid the nation of unsavory things like gays, abortion, and pot. Otero: "This nation has been moving toward more liberal postures such as
homosexuality, gay marriage, abortion and the legalization of
marijuana. I'm against that way of thinking. Those are not
the values upon which this nation was founded. I think we need to fight
for the values we're losing."
Chicago's first openly gay alderman Tom Tunney asks if City Hall should set aside business contracts for LGBT-owned companies: "Tunney asked Corporation Counsel Mara Georges whether any other
municipality has a 'category' that defines 'LGBT as a qualified
minority.' Georges said she knows of no such category anywhere in the United States. But, she didn’t slam the door. 'We are certainly happy to talk to you about it and whether that’s something we should attempt to pursue,' Georges said."
Bill in Uganda would ban free speech on behalf of LGBT people: "Recently, [Minister of State for Ethics and Integrity James Nsaba] Buturo said that once the two bills are passed into law, it will be an offence to publish and distribute literature on homosexuality.
He also said it would become impossible for homosexuals to address press conferences and attract people to support their cause."
Gay cruise to visit Cayman Islands again: "Three years ago, Atlantis Events brought 3,200 gay tourists to
Cayman. A small number turned out to protest when the passengers came
ashore in 2006, but the visit passed off without much disturbance. Mr. Yuan said he believed people’s attitudes had changed since 1998,
and that the tourism industry in Cayman had extended a welcome to
Atlantis and its customers."
ACT UP veteran and film and music critic Robert Hilferty takes own life.
Boy George says Elton John helped him through prison experience: "Elton offered me love and support from both himself and David
[Furnish]. He also sent me a lovely music player...Stephen Fry, Matt Lucas, Antony Hegarty and Holly Johnson wrote to
me too. The only time I got emotional in prison was when I got letters
from friends. People that beforehand I wouldn’t have thought I could
UN grants official status to LGBT Brazilian organization: "The victory for the Brazilian Association of Gays, Lesbians and
Transsexuals marks the third consecutive year the U.N. Economic and
Social Council has overturned a decision by a 19-country committee
blocking gay groups from participating in the global body's debates."