Remember when American Idol winners actually had hit singles? The last such performer to come out of the show and achieve such a feat was Phillip Phillips, whose four-times Platinum “Home” currently stands as the best-selling Idol winner’s song to-date.
Hoping to repeat the success of that one and follow-up “Gone, Gone, Gone,” another Platinum-selling single, Phillips today offers up “Raging Fire,” the first taste of his yet-to-be-titled sophomore LP (due out something this spring). The song, to be quite honest, plays like a shelved Coldplay B-side — not that there aren’t worse things to aim for. “Raging Fire” was written by Phillips, produced by Gregg Wattenberg (Train‘s “Hey, Soul Sister”) and employs just enough radio friendly, anthem-like instrumentation and sing-along melodies to please the singer’s fan base as well as much of the mainstream public at large.
Head below to see if “Raging Fire” has you burning up, and catch Phillip as he performs the song on American Idol this week (on March 6). More »
Janelle Monae and Charli XCX each recorded covers of Robert Palmer‘s hallmark of cheesy ’80s swagger “Simply Irresistible.” While it would’ve been cool if this were just some cosmic coincidence, it was actually for E!’s Live From The Red Carpet Oscar coverage Sunday night (March 2). Still, the results are pretty cool! Monae’s version is faithful to the original, giving the synths a funk-era twist, and adding a bridge with sweeping strings.
Charli, however, turns the song into a hyper bit of electro-pop-punk, with her squiggly and scuzzy version more in line with her “Allergic To Love” release. And despite the faster tempo, somehow Charli’s is longer than Janelle’s.
Hear both interpretations below. More »
For a ceremony honoring the year in cinema, there was an awful lot of pop music stealing attention away from all the movie stars at the 2014 Academy Awards Sunday night (March 2). Acts like Pharrell, U2, Bette Midler and Pink crashed the party for some stirring performances amidst all the speeches and montages. We already got you that Pharrell performance (here it is if you missed it), and now we’re rounding up the rest.
U2 performed their Oscar-nominated track “Ordinary Love” drum circle-style, with Bono working the crowd as usual. Idina Menzel (or, “Adele Dazim” according to John Travolta) belted out the eventual Best Original Song winner “Let It Go” from Frozen. Pink was on hand, sans trapeze, for a performance of “Somewhere Over The Rainbow” to celebrate The Wizard Of Oz turning 75. And the legendary Bette Midler made her Oscar performance debut with “Wind Beneath My Wings” following the In Memoriam montage.
Check out Pink up top, and head below for the rest of the performances. More »
Coldplay announced their sixth LP Ghost Stories and previewed new track “Magic” last night after the Academy Awards (perhaps some form of protest for their Hunger Games: Catching Fire song “Atlas” not getting nominated?), and now the song is streaming in full. It begins as an intimate number built on a simple drum machine beat and plaintive piano chords, with some electronics twinkling in the background. Eventually, though, it swells into an acoustic singalong with the requisite Edge-indebted guitar lines and Chris Martin‘s falsetto chant.
When combined with previously released “Midnight,” it certainly seems the Brits are toning down their trademark grandeur in exchange for a more minimalist, atmospheric set of songs. Hear “Magic” below. More »
Did You Hear?
:: RuPaul‘s “Geronimo” video stars Julian Serrano, the YouTube sensation best known for twerking in his apartment. RuPaul sings, Serrano shakes and America wins for this proper display of twerking. [Buzzfeed]
:: Beck performed March 1 on Saturday Night Live, to celebrate his third album Mellow Gold (and single “Loser”) turning 20. He also played “Wave” and “Blue Moon,” off his new album Morning Phase. [Stereogum]
:: Lupe Fiasco released “DopeBoysAtAllStarWeekend,” a high-octane rap track that nods to the 2013 NBA All-Star Game in Houston. Will it be included in his new album Tetsuo & Youth? [Rap Radar]
:: Gwen Stefani gave birth to a baby boy on February 28. Apollo Bowie Flynn Rossdale is her and Gavin Rossdale‘s third son. [NPR]
:: Juicy J offered some sage advice for attending the Oscars. “Just don’t be drunk. Be sober the whole show.” He should know — in 2006, Three 6 Mafia won the Best Original Song award for Hustle & Flow‘s “It’s Hard Out Here for a Pimp.” [MTV]
After the jump, find out what music you can catch on TV today. More »
Surprise! Just as the 86th Academy Awards were wrapping up and most people with common sense were heading to bed (or were already there), Coldplay‘s new album Ghost Stories was made available on iTunes to pre-order. Nine tracks make up the LP, including the experimental “Midnight,” the video for which premiered last week, and new single “Magic,” available as a download when you pre-order the album.
Ghost Stories has a May 19 release date. The album marks Coldplay’s sixth studio set to-date, and their first since 2011′s Grammy-nominated Mylo Xyloto.
Catch a clip of the band’s new mid-tempo number “Magic,” plus the album’s tracklist, below. More »
Disney’s Frozen was a multiple winner at the Academy Awards on Sunday (March 2), as the film with the chart-topping soundtrack took home awards for Best Animated Feature and Best Original Song. Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez‘s composition “Let It Go,” the original song in question, was performed live at the event by Frozen cast member Idina Menzel…or, as John Travolta introduced her during one of the night’s most eyebrow-raising moments, Adele Mazim. Okey-doke.
Upon winning the Oscar, Robert Lopez earned his EGOT status — that is, he’s now an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony award winner. In addition to Frozen, Lopez previously collected various statues for his work on musicals Avenue Q and The Book Of Mormon, as well as the Nickelodeon TV series Wonder Pets. More »
The shorts! THE HAT! The chart-topping anthem! Pharrell Williams made an early splash on Oscar night by opting for a pants-less look on the red carpet. Then he went and got Academy Award nominees Meryl Streep, Lupita Nyong’o and Amy Adams on their feet by jumping into the audience during his performance of Best Original Song contender “Happy,” a tune that also happens to be the #1 single in both the US and the UK this week.
Watch Pharrell don another piece of headline-grabbing headwear and belt out his joyous Despicable Me 2 smash at the Oscars above. More »
Bruce Springsteen opened his March 1 concert at Auckland, New Zealand, by covering Lorde‘s “Royals.” His solo, acoustic version contained a few choice edits — you can call him King Bee, for one — and would stray from the original’s melody, but it also showed why he related overall to the Pure Heroine anthem.
Springsteen stuck to playing an acoustic guitar and a harmonica, but eventually he played the original’s beat by pounding his fist on his guitar’s body. Around then, he hoarsely cursed because he can (“And every fucking song’s / gold teeth, Grey Goose…” ). And he repeated one of Lorde’s lyrics as if for emphasis, if not with his 1973 debut Greetings from Asbury Park, N.J., in mind: “And I’m not proud of my address, in a torn-up town / in a torn-up town …”
Watch Springsteen cover “Royals” after the jump. More »