Foster the People scored an unlikely chart victory this week, enjoying a fifth-week sales bump for their debut album Torches, which rose from 48 to 46 on the Billboard 200 this week. It probably helps that “Pumped Up Kicks” hit #1 on the Alternative Songs chart after slipping to #2 last week. Now remixers and mashup DJs The Hood Internet have premiered an “official” (their scarequotes) remix, featuring a slightly chopped-up take on the song and a verse from Hollywood Holt. Our favorite part is actually just after the MC finishes, when the vocals are layered, out-of-sync but on-beat, to harmonize with themselves.
Have you heard the latest Lady Gaga rumor? It’s a doozy. Investigative journalist and author Ian Halperin tells Star that “Gaga barely ate for weeks at a time to fit into her costume,” that “Part of the reason she wears wigs and makeup is because her hair is falling out and she’s covered in red blotches, both side effects of [lupus],” and that “she has done every drug conceivable,” all according to her friends and his other sources. “She’s morphed into this caricature called Lady Gaga, who isn’t even a real person. The girl known as Stefi to her friends and family has all but disappeared.” Gasp! These are serious allegations!
Wait a second. This sounds like the same combination of actual fact stretched to the edge of glory believability, carefully-phrased but non-libelous implications, and juicy but impossible-to-disprove conjecture that characterized the Sandra Bullock-Jesse James sex-tape rumor, or that poorly-sourced book that insisted that Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie were on the verge of breaking up. Who wrote those again? Oh yeah?investigative journalist and author Ian Halperin.
We have to say, Halperin’s rumor-mongering is extraordinarily skillful. He may even be our generation’s Robert Harrison. He lays out a diagnosis of anorexia, leaving readers to draw the conclusion. He springboards off Gaga’s revelation a year ago that she’s genetically predisposed to lupus to fashion a fable about her costumes. He uses variety of drug use to imply regularity of drug use. And certainly no one can deny his claim that “she’s morphed into this caricature called Lady Gaga, who isn’t even a real person.”
So while we’re extremely skeptical of Halperin’s claims, we do have to admit he can spin a good yarn. And while nothing can top his claiming, after the death of Michael Jackson, to have predicted the death of Michael Jackson, this Gaga tell-all may be his next-best work.
An unreleased Nicki Minaj track called “We Miss You” surfaced last night thanks to Funkmaster Flex, and with its memorial lyrics like “Why?d you have to leave in July on a peaceful and serene summer night?” and “You said that you would leave these streets, and I know you did not mean in a bodybag,” many marveled at what sounded like references to the murder of her older cousin Nicholas Telemaque on Sunday night in East Flatbush, Brooklyn, on a song that probably could not have been recorded and released in such a short period while Minaj was on tour with Britney Spears.
Minaj cleared up the confusion earlier today on Twitter. “Tho the lyrics of ‘We Miss You’ eerily depict the circumstances surrounding my cousin’s death, I wrote & recorded that song on 5/24/2010. It was sent to Mariah Carey & Keyshia Cole over a year ago for a possible feature. It didn’t make Pink Friday due to clearance issues. It’s an unauthorized leak. Thank u ALL for your kind words and well wishes.”
If there is an actual subject of the song, it’s likely the man mentioned in Nicki’s verse over French Montana‘s “New York Minute” on the Young Money Menage mixtape. In one of the rare mentions of New York as her hometown, she eulogizes, in order, rapper Stack Bundles, “my man, down before he even got a cap and a damn gown,” and Sean Bell.
It’s been over five years since the Red Hot Chili Peppers released Stadium Arcadium, their last (double) album of original material. In the intervening years, the band has undergone some very turbulent times, times which saw guitarist John Frusciante –who many consider to be the band’s “secret sauce”– leave the group and bassist Flea seriously consider doing the same. However, the bond between Anthony Kiedis, Flea and drummer Chad Smith ended up prevailing and the guys, along with new guitarist Josh Klinghoffer, will be releasing their new LP, I’m With You, this August.
Yesterday afternoon, the band released the album’s cover, designed by bad boy British artist Damien Hirst. It’s an oddly conceptual choice and supremely “arty” choice by the Chili Peppers, whose previous album covers have generally either been fairly literal in their interpretations of the album’s themes (see: Californication, Stadium Arcadium) or designed to reinforce the public perception of the band as embracers of hedonism (see: Mother’s Milk, Blood Sugar Sex Magik). It’s also supremely sterile for a band that’s known for having a funky, slinky, sexy sound that’s anything but sterile.
When pressed for comment on it, Kiedis told Classic Rock magazine that, “It’s an image. Its art. Iconic. We didn?t give it it?s meaning but it?s clearly open to interpretation.” So then, what’s YOUR interpretation of it? Is it a bold statement about Big Pharma? Did the Chili Peppers want to memorialize an old lady who recently swallowed a fly (that perhaps died)? If you have any theories, we’d love to hear ‘em.
The July/August 2011 issue of XXL comes out next week, but some newsstands have broken street date, giving us a peek at the Lil Wayne cover story by Shaheim Reid. In the magazine’s own preview of the story last month, Lil Wayne quipped that without an external deadline, his albums would never be done: “When [manager Cortez Bryant] call me and tell me and say, ‘You got such and such date is your deadline to stop,’ I be like, ‘Aight.’ ‘Cause I never stop recording, obviously. So it?s just on him to say, ‘Okay, stop. We?re gonna pick these songs, and that?s the album.’ That?s how we do it.”
A quote that surfaced today clarifies the issue:Tha Carter IV is being held up not by Weezy’s lack of a deadline, but by quality control. “I just don?t have the record. These n****s’ beats been sucking. I?m putting it out there: you producing, what y’all doing? Get right, man. Step it up. This is coming from a rapper. One of the best rappers. I ain?t saying I’m the best no more; because these n****s is too good these days. I got old. But damn, y’all n****s’ beats is terrible! [Chad Ochocinco walks into the room] These n****s’ beats sound like Ochocinco made them.”
As you may have noticed, Jason Derulo is our Posted artist for July. He’s currently on a whirlwind promotional tour in Europe for “Don’t Wanna Go Home,” the Song Of The Summer contender and lead single off his forthcoming sophomore LP Future History. The song is burning up the charts worldwide, and hit #1 in the UK, so Derulo has been doing a lot of press. You can see as much on his Posted page, where his Twitter and Facebook feeds are full of references to 4:30am calls (and let’s not forget the jet lag from the time difference). But we’ll let Derulo himself tell you about it. Take it away, Jason!
Break In Notorious B.I.G. Murder Case: Confessed Accessory After the Fact Gives Testimony
Less than a month after an alleged confession by an accessory to the 1994 gun violence against Tupac Shakur, Clayton Hill, a former member of the Nation of Islam, has confessed to helping dispose of the handgun used to murder the Notorious B.I.G. in 1997. He implicates a member of the Nation of Islam whom he only knew by a pseudonym and could not positively identify when shown photographs of the prime suspect. Hill told HipHop DX that all of this information was revealed to federal investigators in October 2010 in exchange for a reduced sentence for his wife (so she could raise their daughter). He also notes that it will be included in his forthcoming e-book, Diary of an Ex-Terrorist. [HipHop DX]
A New Alleged Kelly Clarkson Demo Leaked!
The swiftness with which uploads are getting taken down suggests it might actually be a track slated to appear on her upcoming album. It’s called “Let Me Down.” Good luck finding a stream before the Web Sheriff does. [Popdust] Read more…
Scotty McCreery’s Walmart-exclusive five-songs-for-five-dollars American Idol Season 10 Highlights EP sold 40,000 copies in the past week?enough to hit #10 on the Billboard 200?but even though he won American Idol, the big news today isn’t his chart performance but the official announcement that Interscope Chairman Jimmy Iovine signed ninth-place finisher Pia Toscano. Iovine’s in-house mentoring was a strong guide for this season’s contestants?at least, until the voters at home voted Toscano, an Iovine favorite who’d hewed closely to his guidance, off the show. Iovine was, in fact, rumored to have signed Toscano just days after being eliminated, but no confirmation existed until late yesterday.
Toscano has spent the three months since her elimination working on a debut single, “an acoustic guitar and beat-driven track” written by Esther Dean, composer of Rihanna’s “S&M,” “Rude Boy” and “What?s My Name.” The Hollywood Reporter had previously revealed that Toscano was hard at work on an album, with production from Rodney Jerkins. So even if the Interscope signing really was recent, one would assume the deal has been in the works since her elimination, as was rumored.
What does that mean for Scotty McCreery (not to mention second-place finisher Lauren Alaina)? Both artists signed to Interscope’s country imprint, Mercury Nashville, which certainly means they’ll have their shots at a music career, but not as the crossover artist Iovine was hoping Idol would produce this year. Under his guidance, Interscope has been hard at work to break Pia Toscano in the pop world. If their plans succeed, McCreery could be an American Idol in name only.
Last week, when the first sales projections for Beyonc?‘s fourth solo studio album 4 came in, Columbia Chairman Rob Stringertold Billboard.biz that the figures were a “vindication” after rumors swirled about the album facing trouble despite repeated denials from the label. Now that the official figures are in, how much of Stringer’s claim is legitimate and how much is spin?
As chart positions go, 4 had a smashing first week, hitting #1 with a bullet on the Billboard 200, selling 310,000 copies?over three times the closest competitor. But the specifics of the sales figures tell a slightly different story. The #2 album is Adele’s 21, which, with 95,000 copies sold this week, marks the first of its nineteen chart weeks that the album hasn’t sold at least 100,000 copies. That kind of longevity is unlikely to be repeated by Beyonc? (or anyone else) this year.
School’s out for summer in most of the Northern Hemisphere. That means it’s Alice Cooper season! We spent most of our holiday weekend relaxing, but the legendary shock rocker spent it jetsetting around Europe, making guest appearances at big shows, like Ke$ha‘s in Oslo, Norway yesterday. (Actually, he’s opening a couple of Scandinavian Iron Maiden shows this week, but it’s more fun to think Alice Cooper went to Europe to pop up on stage with Ke$ha.) Above, watch his appearance during her cover of “School’s Out.”
The young pop star tweeted excitedly about the appearance afterward: “ALICE F?KING COOPER. or what i call him, dad,” then “thanx for coming to Oslo to do SCHOOLS OUT with me dad #alicecooperisaLEGEND pictures coming soon. ; ) LEGEND. F?KING LEGEND.”
Ke$ha may be the closest any pop star has come to being a spiritual heir for him, but hers wasn’t the only concert that Cooper appeared at: just three days earlier, he joined Foo Fighters onstage in Milton Keynes, an hour north of London. Dave Grohl gave him a lengthy adulatory introduction, insisting, “If it wasn’t for [Alice Cooper], Pat Smear would’ve never bought a guitar.” Here they are performing “School’s Out” and “I’m Eighteen”: Read more…