Number-Crunching The Throne: Jay-Z And Kanye West Hit #1, But Was Moving 436K Good Enough?


The big chart story this week is Katy Perry‘s record-tying fifth #1 single from Teenage Dream on the Billboard Hot 100. Below the fold, though, everyone’s talking about the #1 debut of Watch The Throne. Jay-Z and Kanye West‘s collaborative album sold 436,000 copies in its first week?the second-best single-week total of the year after the monster 1.1 million first-week Lady Gaga achieved in May (with help from Amazon) for Born This Way, but far short of the 600,000 some industry insiders had predicted.

The album’s release was unique in two key ways: its successful protection from leaks and its oddly-timed and digital-first release schedule (a Monday iTunes exclusive followed by a Friday physical release, instead of a simultaneous Tuesday release). Just as industry watched Amazon’s 99¢ Born This Way sale to determine strategies for other future releases, they watched The Throne to see how the duo’s unique strategies might affect sales.

So is 436,000 bad news? Not really. In the first place, those are still “big-boy numbers,” as Respect editor-in-chief Elliott Wilson put it to MTV News (besides which, the album’s promotion was primarily aimed at critical, not commercial, success).

More notably, that number fits neatly into the initial projections for Watch The Throne, which were shifted upwards based on the album’s first-day sales on iTunes?which turned out to be a mistake. The album may have set a new one-week iTunes sales record, but within a day of its release it had fallen to #9 on the live-updating iTunes album sales charts (and currently is languishing at #70).

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Last Lap: Wednesday’s Odds And Ends In Music News


Two Tracks From Black and White America Leak
The Lenny Kravitz tracks “Boongie Drop” and “Sunflower” likely hit the web early because they feature Jay-Z and Drake, respectively. Black and White America will be released August 30. [Billboard]

Will Smith Comeback Album May Be In The Works
Producer La Mar “Mars” Edwards tells XXL that he’s working not only on a Will Smith album, but also with T.I. and with Ashanti. [XXL]
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Hip Hop Experts Weigh In On Anne Hathaway’s “Lil Wayne” Flow

by (@unclegrambo)

There are few things more awkward in this world than when white girls try to rap. Madonna, for one, still hasn’t lived down her embarrassing “I’m drinkin’ a soy latte” faux pas from “American Life,” and she’s the Queen of Pop! (Don’t even get us started on those Alabama sorority girls.) The ever-fearless Anne Hathaway, however, took a bold step on last night’s episode of Conan and spit a few bars of an original, paparazzi-themed diss track she wrote while getting bothered by shutterbugs on the set of The Dark Knight Rises in Pittsburgh.

There’s an old saying that goes something like this: “Judge not, lest ye be judged.” Since we have spent more than a few nights drunkenly rapping at karaoke bars, and since footage of this no doubt exists on someone’s mobile phones (or security cams!), we figured we would pass on commenting on Hathaway’s lyrical prowess. Instead, we asked a panel of hip hop experts to listen to Catwoman’s flow —which she described as being performed “in the style of Lil Wayne”— and let us know what they thought. Here’s what they said:

  • ?Anne, like most of those theater nerds that we all grew up with in high school, is at least 78% percent ham (the other 22% probably being kombucha and kale?.yeesh, get that gal a burger or something) so animated Fem-inem impressions are probably how she blows off steam. Anne?s paparazzi diss rap can?t hold a candle to Natalie Portman?s classic SNL rap debut and I?m not sure how Weezy?s sappy singing love tune inspired this rant, but extra points for the Jersey shout out and ass-slapping hand gesture!?—Miss Info, Hot 97 and (Follow her on Twitter: @MissInfo)
  • ?A. Hathaway (she’s definitely earned a nickname after this) spits more like Nicki Minaj than ‘in the style of Lil Wayne.’ But, with Nicki going pop and Drizzy going dark, Weezy could use a thug in his life. Just don’t call her scuzzy.?—Jayson Rodriguez, Executive Editor at XXL (Follow him on Twitter: @JayHovaWitness)

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Exclusive Do Something! Awards Sneak: Foster The People Add Some Sonic Muscle To “Helena Beat”

by (@unclegrambo)

The 2011 Do Something! Awards don’t air until Thursday, August 18 at 9 p.m., but we were able to convince the show’s producers to let us share this awesome clip of our You Oughta Know artist Foster The People with you guys before tomorrow night’s premiere. The band performed two songs during the ceremony, Song of the Summer contender “Pumped Up Kicks” and (my personal S.O.T.S. pick) “Helena Beat,” with the same sort of enthusiasm and energy levels that have been winning them thousands upon thousands of new fans at music festivals like Coachella and Lollapalooza.

In particular, their sound was significantly fuller than it was when they played the supremely catchy “Helena Beat” here at VH1 HQ a few months back during a stripped down You Oughta Know Live acoustic set. In their rambunctious Do Something! Awards performance, they employed not one, not two, but THREE guys to tackle the song’s whirring synth melodies, which certainly got the front rows of the Hollywood Palladium up, clapping and dancing.

In addition to being a dynamic young band, Foster The People are also committed to helping out in the community. This fall, they have agreed to partner up with Do Good Bus, which helps transports citizen volunteers to and from charity sites in cities all over the country.

To catch Foster The People’s rendition of “Pumped Up Kicks,” not to mention Demi Lovato‘s first-ever televised performance of her smash “Skyscraper,” be sure to tune into the Do Something! Awards, airing on VH1 this Thursday, August 18 at 9 p.m. (That’s tomorrow, folks!)

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Kelly Clarkson Reveals Titles And Release Dates For Forthcoming Single And Album


After a handful of false-start announcements by the overeager singer, not to mention a bevy of demo leaks, Kelly Clarkson finally, officially, has a release date for her fifth studio album and its first single. The last five months have felt like a long road to a release date, ever since the singer, after recording wrapped in February, announced that the record would not be released until September. (Less than half a year pales in comparison to, say, the wait for Dr. Dre‘s Detox, but can you blame us for being enthusiastic?) But let’s not get bogged down in the false-start specifics. Here’s the news: On August 30th (two weeks from yesterday), single “Mr. Know It All” will be premiered on a live webcast on the singer’s recently relaunched website, before going on sale everywhere a week later. This single is the first from Stronger, an album due out October 25 but available to pre-order now. Get excited.

[Image: Getty Images]

Katy Perry Ties Michael Jackson’s Astonishing Billboard Chart Record For Most #1 Singles From One Album


We should have known better: never underestimate the chart prowess of Katy Perry. Back in May, we predicted that Perry’s single “Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.)” would continue the chart run of singles from the album, and sure enough, Thursday will mark the 66th straight week in which a Teenage Dream single was in the top ten of Billboard‘s Hot 100. Two weeks ago, though, we cast doubt on the prospect of “Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.)” hitting #1?and in so doing, tying what once seemed like an untoppable Michael Jackson record: five #1 singles from the same album, set with “I Just Can’t Stop Loving You,” “Bad,” “The Way You Make Me Feel,” “Man in the Mirror,” and “Dirty Diana,” all from Bad, in 1987 and 1988.

That was before the Missy Elliott remix. On this we’ll defer to the Village Voice, where, in April, Maura Johnston pointed to the late-release remix as a growing chart-goosing tactic and noting its particular success for Perry with “E.T.” (#42 before its Kanye “remix”; #1 soon after). Then on Friday, Chris Molanphy explained in his chart column “100 & Single” exactly how Perry was juking the stats: releasing a Missy Elliott remix of “Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.),” last Monday, as the song was peaking on the Airplay chart but falling on the Digital Sales chart (the two figures combine to determine the Hot 100), and furthermore discounting all versions of the track to just 69¢ at iTunes and Amazon’s mp3 store.

It worked. “Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.)” nearly matched LMFAO‘s “Party Rock Anthem” in Digital Sales this week (with the remix accounting for 25% of the downloads) and remained atop the Airplay chart. Despite huge gains in airplay and especially sales for Maroon 5‘s “Moves Like Jagger,” featuring Christina Aguilera, the single could not (yet?) match up to Perry’s single (nor could either of the other songs we predicted might compete; Bad Meets Evil‘s “Lighters” has stalled at #5, and The Throne‘s “Otis” is already out of the top 10). So it came down to LMFAO, who simply could not extend their reign atop the Hot 100 to a seventh week. This news may leave Michael Jackson fans thinking the electro duo should have named their album Sorry For Not Party Rocking Enough.

VMA Rumors: Britney Tribute To Feature Katy Perry, Ke$ha, And…Janet Jackson?


This morning’s announcement of Lady Gaga as a performer at this year’s Video Music Awards is the latest sort-of confirmation of a big VMA rumor that’s been going around since reality-TV production coordinator Johnathan Woodbeck tweeted it the day after the Britney Spears VMA promo, above, premiered. According to Woodbeck’s tweet, the show will contain a star-studded tribute medley with one song from each of Britney’s albums, followed by the presentation of a Lifetime Achievement Award (presumably the Video Vanguard Award?) by none other than Madonna. The rumored performance lineup (via Lainey Gossip):
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Black Sabbath Founding Member Quashes Black Sabbath Reunion Reports

by (@unclegrambo)

Yesterday, metalheads and headbangers the world over rejoiced when news broke that the members of Black Sabbath had squashed their 30+ year beef and were already in the process of reuniting, news that made extra sense when coupled with recent reports that the band had just reached an out-of-court settlement regarding intra-band trademark issues. The Birmingham Mail reported that guitarist and songwriter Tony Iommi revealed to them that he and original Sabbath singer Ozzy Osbourne were not only in communication once again after a longstanding feud, but that the original members of the band were planning on recording a new studio album and touring to support it. Devil horns were raised, heads were banged, and generals gathered in their masses because BLACK SABBATH WAS BACK!

Sadly, though, it seems that Tony Iommi was misquoted by an overzealous journalist. He corrected the misreported information in a statement posted on his official website,

“I’m saddened that a Birmingham journalist whom I trusted has chosen this point in time to take a conversation we had back in June and make it sound like we spoke yesterday about a Black Sabbath reunion. At the time I was supporting the Home of Metal exhibition and was merely speculating, shooting the breeze, on something all of us get asked constantly, ‘Are you getting back together?’ he said. Thanks to the Internet, it’s gone round the world as some sort of ‘official’ statement on my part, absolute nonsense. To my old pals, Ozzy, Geezer and Bill, sorry about this, I should have known better.”

Bats of the world, you’re safe for now. We repeat, for now

Black Sabbath reunion? Tony Iommi dismisses report [OTRC]

[Photo: Getty Images]

Do The Red Hot Chili Peppers Measure Up To These Five Iconic Rooftop Performances?


The Beatles‘ last public performance, on the roof of 3 Savile Row on January 30, 1969, has become iconic since being included in the Let It Be film, and the Red Hot Chili Peppers are the latest to pay homage to the Beatles’ performance, in the Marc Klasfeld-helmed video for “The Adventures of Rain Dance Maggie.” It takes more than just a rooftop and a PA to make a truly iconic rooftop performance, and five have stood above the rest; we’ve listed them chronologically. Check them out, and let us know in the comments if you think Kiedis and co. measure up!

1987: U2, “Where The Streets Have No Name”
U2 were deep in Beatle-appreciation mode when they shot the video for “Where The Streets Have No Name” on a roof in Los Angeles, at the corner of Seventh and Main, which a radio announcer in the video describes as “not one of your more fun neighborhoods.” (Oh, 1987.) The video is a pretty direct homage, down to the shots of police trying to shut the performance down, though Bono looks less like a Lennon and more like an Eddie Vedder style icon. On U2′s tour that same year, the band covered “Helter Skelter,” which Bono introduced, (as heard on live album Rattle and Hum,) “This is a song Charles Manson stole from the Beatles. We’re stealing it back.”

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Red Hot Chili Peppers Get Back To Venice Beach For “The Adventures of Rain Dance Maggie”


It’s always Christmas somewhere on the Internet. Yesterday saw the leak of Lady Gaga‘s “Yoü And I” video, and today we’re excited to share “The Adventures of Rain Dance Maggie,” the new Red Hot Chili Peppers video that was slated to premiere tomorrow. The quartet rocks a rooftop in Venice Beach in an homage to the BeatlesLet It Be performance.

Eagle-eyed readers may have noticed that when we shared a 30-second sneak preview on Monday, we credited the video to director Marc Klasfeld, not VMA-nominated artist Kreayshawn, who’d originally been tapped to direct, and who even reblogged a picture of the slate from on set. What happened? So far, the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ camp isn’t talking, although bassist Flea did tweet, “for those asking, the Kreayshawn vid just didnt work out, that happens sometimes, i think Kreayshawn is awesome and a great artist.” Maybe she and the band just had irreconcilable ideas about what the video should be. In any case, barring some sort of leak, it’s doubtful that the Kreayshawn-shot footage will see the light of day.

That’s alright with us?Klasfeld did a fine job with this clip?a simple performance piece enlivened by its setting. The one absent Let It Be element is disapproving police or security, which was a good exclusion. 5-0 would have made this oceanside sunset performance significantly less chill.

The highlight of the video (other than, for punk fans, the Off! cap Anthony Kiedis sports at first) is guitarist Josh Klinghoffer. The Red Hot Chili Peppers haven’t changed much in their performance style or look (though they’re much more likely to wear more clothing than their occasional “one sock apiece” performances) but Klinghoffer is the new guy (brought in when his pal John Frusciante announced he wouldn’t be rejoining the band after their hiatus). At 31, he’s also a generation younger than the other guys, and his excited performing style is the diametric opposite of Frusciante’s laid-back lead guitar. To put it another way, Klinghoffer plays guitar like a bassist. Note in particular his solo, which he performs as though the guitar is leading him around and he can’t help but do its bidding. There’s nothing wrong with the Chili Peppers we know and love, but the fresh dynamic Klinghoffer brings to the table is a welcome addition.

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