Music: Pop

March 15, 2011

New Music Tuesday: Exclusive Pearl Jam, American Idol, Rise Against, Britney Spears, Travis Barker, Steve Martin

Most new music comes out on Tuesdays, and each week we cull through the mountain of new releases to bring you some of the best from different genres. Click below, or find them in Napster’s New Releases/Featured Music section.

Pearl Jam, Vs./Vitalogy (Deluxe Edition) Pearl Jam, Vs./Vitalogy (Deluxe Edition) (Alternative, Rock): As seen in this week's Best Buy circular, Napster has four exclusive bonus tracks available for streaming as a preview of the combined reissue of Vs. and Vitalogy coming March 29, including new live versions of "Even Flow" and "Daughter."


Various Artists, American Idol 10th Anniversary Various Artists, American Idol: 10th AnniversaryThe Hits, Volume 1 (Pop, Rock, R&B): This compilation of favorites from the most popular Idol competitors includes music from Kelly Clarkson, Ruben Studdard, Clay Aiken and Fantasia as well as David Cook, Kris Allen, Adam Lambert and Lee DeWyze.


Rise Against, Endgame Rise Against, Endgame (Rock, Alternative): For their latest set, the Chicago punk rockers continue to develop the approach they took with their last album, Appeal to Reason. Topics like world politics and current events take shape over accessible melodies and riffs, resulting in rockers like first single "Help Is on the Way."


Britney Spears, Till the World Ends Britney Spears, "Till the World Ends" (Pop, Electronica): The second single from Spears' upcoming album, Femme Fatale, was co-written by Ke$ha along with hitmakers Dr. Luke and Max Martin and comes hot on the heels of first single "Hold It Against Me." And like that track, it's another energetic dancefloor filler.


Travis Barker, Give the Drummer Some Travis Barker, Give the Drummer Some (Rock, Hip-Hop): The blink-182 drummer recruited some of the biggest names in hip-hop, rock, and dance music for his "solo" debut — everyone from the RZA to Slash to Steve Aoki. The first single alone ("Can a Drummer Get Some") features Lil Wayne, Rick Ross, Swizz Beatz & Game.


Steve Martin and the Steep Canyon Rangers, Rare Bird Alert Steve Martin and the Steep Canyon Rangers, Rare Bird Alert (Americana):  For his second banjo album, Martin chose to record with the excellent band he took on the road with him to support The CrowAs a bonus, Sir Paul McCartney and the Dixie Chicks each provide lead vocals on a tune apiece.


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March 14, 2011

Justin Bieber's Never Say Never Breaks Records

Justin Bieber, Never Say Never (The Remixes) Justin Bieber's 3D documentary Never Say Never is now officially the top-grossing concert film and third-top-grossing documentary of all time. With over $70 million in ticket sales — and more in its first weekend than either Michael Jackson's This Is It or the Jonas Brothers' 3D Concert Experience — Bieber's Never Say Never (remix album pictured) has surpassed Miley Cyrus' Hannah Montana/Miley Cyrus: Best of Both Worlds in Concert to claim the top spot for music/concert film receipts, and without adjusting for inflation, he even beats Prince's Purple Rain. With fans lining up to see this film worldwide, it's clear that, far from abating, Bieber Fever continues to spread. Just ask these teens in Liverpool.

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March 11, 2011

Kim Kardashian, “Jam (Turn It Up)”

Kim Kardashian, "Jam (Turn It Up)" It’s a fact that many actors have been able to be successful in both movies and music. Jennifer Lopez, Brandy, Jamie Foxx, Miley Cyrus, and Janet Jackson are just a few who have been able to dominate the Pop charts while keeping solid acting careers going. Even Lindsay Lohan and Paris Hilton were able to find some success in the music business. But not every actor turned singer is so lucky. While Tyra Banks has been a big brand in modeling, TV, and movies, she didn’t find the same success in her attempt to become a pop music star; her entry into music was short-lived after the less-than-stellar response to her debut single, "Shake Ya Body" (click here to refresh your memory). And now, reality star Kim Kardashian is dipping her toe in the pop-star pool with the release of her new single, "Jam (Turn It Up)." The reviews have been mixed, but then she insists her music is only meant to raise money for charity. Anyway, if her pop foray fizzles, she won't be alone: Others who've been there and done that with less than chart ruling results include Wayne Brady, Tony Danza, Joey Lawrence, Jennifer Love Hewitt, and Nicole Kidman (to name a few). Do you think these or any other actors going into music should stick to their day jobs?

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March 10, 2011

Matthew Morrison, "Summer Rain"

Matthew Morrison, "Summer Rain" Matthew Morrison, better known as Will Schuester on Glee, just became the second cast member to branch out and release solo material while in the midst of his Glee fame. Mark Salling was the first to venture out in the pop scene with his own music, and while his debut album, Pipe Dreams, didn't have the same instant impact as any of his Glee tracks, that doesn't mean it will be the last we'll hear from him. Honestly, we're a little surprised that more of the very talented cast haven't been flooding the market with their own releases, so maybe Matthew Morrison's single, "Summer Rain," is a sign of things to come. The track is from the lighter side of pop/rock and is reminiscent of singer-songwriters such as Jason Mraz and Jack Johnson. It's quite a change of pace from his sultry take on Prince's "Kiss," a duet with Gwyneth Paltrow on the newly released Glee: The Music, Volume 5.

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Sheryl Crow, Alicia Keys, Madonna, Missy Elliott, More: Napster Playlists Featuring Women

As we continue our celebration of Women's History Month, we thought it would be nice to highlight some of the many Napster playlists focused on music made by women. These are from all different genres and styles, so have a look, click on whatever sounds good to you, and let's hear it from the ladies!

American Women American Women Popular roots music and country hits from some of the top female artists in America. Includes songs from June Carter Cash, Loretta Lynn, and Sheryl Crow.

Hot R&B Female Vocalists Hot R&B: Female Vocalists: Some of the hottest tracks and biggest hits from major stars, including songs from Keyshia Cole, Fantasia, Alicia Keys, and Beyoncé.

Essential Lite Female Vocalists Essential Lite: Female Vocalists: Great soft pop and ballads from many eras, featuring artists such as Peggy Lee, Blossom Dearie, and Roberta Flack.

Women of Comedy Women of Comedy: Hilarious bits from the funniest females in stand-up comedy, including Ellen Degeneres, Sarah Silverman, Sandra Bernhard, and Lisa Lampanelli.

Legendary Ladies of Country Legendary Ladies of Country: Unforgettable female stars of the '60s and '70s who paved the way for today's generations. Includes Patsy Cline, Dolly Parton, and Loretta Lynn.

Grrrl Power Grrrl Power: Celebrate the women of alternative rock with a slew of classic tracks from such mainstays as the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Hole, PJ Harvey, and more.

Pioneering Women of the Blues Pioneering Women of the Blues: Though blues artists tend to be men, a surprising number of women have made a crucial impact, including Billie Holiday, Bessie Smith, and Ida Cox.

Pop Divas The '80s Pop Divas: The '80s: A platinum setting of hits from some of the decade's most glittering solo female superstars, including Madonna, Cyndi Lauper, Debbie Gibson, and more.

Female Jazz Vocalists of Today Female Jazz Vocalists of Today: Music from stellar comtemporary vocalists informed by both traditional and modern jazz. Features Dianne Reeves, Cassandra Wilson, and Diana Krall.

Composing Women Composing Women: Works from female composers working in what was once a male-dominated field. Includes Barbara Strozzi, Fanny Mendelssohn, and Meredith Monk.

Women of Contemporary Christian Music Women of Contemporary Christian Music: The most uplifting tracks from female artists leading the way in CCM, featuring Francesca Battistelli, Bethany Dillon, and Heather Hedley.

Ladies First Female MCs Ladies First: Female MCs: Get in touch with the first ladies of hip-hop. But don't expect them to go easy on you—these MCs, including Missy Elliott, Salt-N-Pepa, Queen Latifah, are fierce.

Femmes Fatales Femmes Fatales: Devastatingly seductive sounds from the dark side of alternative music, including music by Björk, PJ Harvey, Portishead, Morcheeba, and more.

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March 09, 2011

Phil Collins Bows Out After All

Phil Collins, Face Value Following a strange flurry of press reports that he would be retiring and a denial of said reports through a publicist, Phil Collins has posted a letter on his website indicating that he is indeed "calling it a day." He also tackles some of the issues raised in all that press — issues that were raised due to interviews Collins did with FHM and Rolling Stone, where he came off sounding positively bummed out and strange. Example: "I don't think anyone's going to miss me. I'm much happier just to write myself out of the script entirely. I'll go on a mysterious biking holiday and never return. That would be a great way to end the story, wouldn't it?" Or this, from the Stone interview where he also talks about his interest in the Alamo and "paranormal energy" indicating he may have acutally fought there in a past life: "Phil Collins will disappear or be murdered in some hotel bedroom, and people will say, 'What happened to Phil?' And the answer will be, 'He got murdered, but, yeah, anyway, let's carry on.' That kind of thing." Well. We can see why he might want to address this. Collins' letter says he isn't quitting music because of bad press, feeling unloved, or feeling like he no longer fits in, but rather so he can be a full-time father to his two young sons. (That's more like it.) And he accepts at least part of the blame for being portrayed as a "tormented weirdo," writing, "Some of the things mentioned...have been said by me in various interviews, but said as asides with a smile on my face and in passing...This clearly doesn't come over in print and I should know better." And after thanking his fans for their continued support, he insists "there's no need for the straitjacket." Sounds healthy enough to us! If Collins has been off your musical radar for awhile, let us remind you of the man's many, many hits (through both songwriting and drumming) on both his solo albums and with Genesis, as well as some adventurous fusion with his "other" band, Brand X.

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Katy & Rihanna, Taylor & Nicki, Ke$ha & Britney, Lady Gaga & Willow: Pop's Female Friendships

Katy Perry, Rihanna, Ke$ha, Nicki Minaj With both International Women's Day yesterday and Women's History Month officially in full swing, we thought it'd be nice to look at some friendships that have developed among women in the pop world. The cliché that women are all catty to each other is easily dispelled by examples such as Rihanna and Katy Perry. These two are known to be BFFs and made headlines during Katy's bachelorette party. And although they seem like the model of professional camaraderie, what about Taylor Swift and Nicki Minaj? The country-pop superstar recently revealed her love of hip-hop's leading lady and even rapped along with one of Nicki's tunes. Who knew that T. Swizzle could rap? Ke$ha and Britney Spears, meanwhile, seem like another perfect pair. Brit's newest dance-pop single, "Till the World Ends" was penned by Ke$ha, who has said, "it's an honor to write for one of pop music's biggest icons." And finally, as if to prove that age differences don't matter when it comes to friendships in the pop world, none other than Mother Monster herself, Lady Gaga, says that 10-year-old Willow inspired her to "whip her hair" during her "Born This Way" Grammy performance. So here's to all the women of today's pop scene and the friendships that have been established; we can't be the only ones waiting for a Katy and Rihanna duet, right?

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March 08, 2011

New Music Tuesday: Exclusive Pearl Jam, Glee Cast, Lupe Fiasco, Sara Evans, R.E.M, Avril Lavigne

Most new music comes out on Tuesdays, and each week we cull through the mountain of new releases to bring you some of the best from different genres. Click below, or find them in Napster’s New Releases/Featured Music section.

Pearl Jam, Vs./Vitalogy (Deluxe Edition) Pearl Jam, Vs./Vitalogy (Deluxe Edition) (Alternative, Rock): Napster has four exclusive bonus tracks available for streaming as a preview of the upcoming combined reissue of Vs. and Vitalogy on March 29. The exclusive tracks include previously unreleased live versions of "Even Flow," "Once," and "Daughter."


Glee Cast, Glee, The Music, Volume 5 Glee Cast, Glee: The Music, Volume 5 (Pop, Soundtracks): The latest volume from the series about everyone's favorite glee club includes the "Thriller/Heads Will Roll" mash-up, The Human League's "Don't You Want Me," "Kiss" and "Landslide" featuring Gwyneth Paltrow, and two original songs, a first for the series.


Lupe Fiasco, LASERS Lupe Fiasco, LASERS (Hip-Hop/Rap): Originally titled LupE.N.D., since it was to be the Chicago rapper's last album, this set was tied up in label limbo until fans demanded its release. LASERS expands to Love Always Shines Everytime, Remember 2 Smile, and features "Words I Never Said" and "The Show Must Go On."


Sara Evans, Stronger Sara Evans, Stronger (Country): After a six-year hiatus, the country superstar releases a new album of material. With personal issues behind her, she's now ready for a major comeback, starting with the album's lead single "A Little Bit Stronger," which was also featured in the movie Country Strong.


R.E.M, Collapse Into Now R.E.M, Collapse into Now (Rock): Not many groups can boast 15 studio albums under their belts, but R.E.M. isn't just any group. For their latest, they go for a more expansive sound, enlisting guests including Patti Smith, Eddie Vedder, and Peaches. Their first single is "Mine Smell Like Honey."


Avril Lavigne, Goodbye Lullaby Avril Lavigne, Goodbye Lullaby (Pop, Rock): After several setbacks and delays, the Canadian pop star's latest album finally sees the light of day after two-and-a-half years in the making. Lavigne's writing can be found on all of the album's tracks, including the current single "What the Hell."
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March 07, 2011

Josh Groban Sings into, Then Eats, Banana for
Sara Bareilles

Josh Groban and a banana This is really a post about Sara Bareilles' new single and video, but we just have to say: Josh Groban is a comedian. You might not know it from his music alone, which tends to be quite serious, but he's really been a cut-up lately. Just a few weeks ago he turned up on Jimmy Kimmel singing Kanye West 's tweets, and now here he is in an off-the-wall cameo in the super-fun new video for "Uncharted," the aforementioned new Bareilles single. We've previously made known our affection for Ms. B and her album Kaleidoscope Heart, but we're especially glad that she and the powers that be chose "Uncharted" as the follow-up to "King of Anything," which has enjoyed a very long chart run. "Uncharted" is a great song, and now it has a cool YouTube-style video to go with it: It's filled with clips of people like Groban, professor Ben Folds, Maroon 5's Adam Levine, Pharrel Williams,  and even Jennifer Nettles from Sugarland lip-synching to the song, dancing, and generally goofing off. And for good measure, viral lip-synch master Keenan Cahill also figures prominently. (Bareilles is in it, too, in a black-and-white message-in-a-bottle story intercut with all the cameos, but we don't see her face until the very end, and then only for a second.) Bareilles says this clip is "about as personal as it gets," because she's such a fan of her fans and fellow performers: "This is about being a fan of people who take chances, who are fearless, who have integrity, and go off into the world saying yes to what's around them," she explains. Everyone in this thing is cool as far as we're concerned, especially Jennifer Nettles, who just about steals the show—in her pajamas, no less. But it's Groban, deadpan with banana, who really gets us, because you just don't see that every day. Way to go, Grobanator.

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NAACP Image Awards Music Recap

John Legend, NAACP The 42nd Annual NAACP Image Awards took place last Friday to honor, as always, outstanding people of color in film, television, music, and literature. In case you missed the show, here are the deets on the music portion of the show: Pre-teen prodigy/phenom Willow showed exactly why she's a "21st Century Girl" by taking home the Outstanding New Artist Award (beating the likes of B.o.B, Bruno Mars, Jason Derulo, and Nicki Minaj). Although that win may have left some scratching their heads, the following wins were entirely in line with expectations: Usher for Outstanding Male Artist, Mary J. Blige for Outstanding Female Artist, John Legend & The Roots for Outstanding Duo, Group, or Collaboration, Mavis Staples for Outstanding Gospel Album, Fantasia's "Bittersweet" for Outstanding Song, and John Legend & The Roots' Wake Up! for Outstanding Album. For years, the NAACP Image Awards have entertained us while recognizing outstanding talent, and this year did not disappoint.

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