Video Premiere: The Fray, “Heartbeat”

by (@fdot415)

The Fray is back with “Heartbeat,” which picks up where their hit “You Found Me” (off their self-titled, Grammy-nominated sophomore effort) left off in 2009. With such a lag time between new albums, the October release of “Heartbeat” as the first single off their forthcoming album, Scars And Stories definitely got pulses The Fray fans racing again.

Now the Denver quartet has collaborated with director Justin Francis (Weezer, Eminem, Black Eyed Peas) to create a video companion to the Billboard Hot 100-cracking track. In the clip, the guys frolic on the beach with some lovely ladies. A bonfire, night swimming and a jam session ensues. For such a moving and sweeping song—the lyrics were inspired by the despair lead singer Isaac Slade witnessed while traveling through Rwanda and South Africa—the visuals are definitely on the lighthearted side, but the ethereal loveliness of the tune definitely shines through.

So, the good news is that we’ve got a new single and a new video. The bad news? The album doesn’t drop until Feb. 7. Way to dangle a carrot, guys!

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Lady Gaga Reads The Foreword To Her New Photo Book And Dedicates The Publication To Her “Little Monsters”

by (@kat_george)

Lady Gaga reclines on a couch in a spangled dress and lavish hat, reading the foreword for her forthcoming collaborative photo book, which she worked on with the king of creep, photographer Terry Richardson. Dedicating the book to her “little monsters,” Gaga is every bit the Mother Monster we expect her to be, and the foreword is both eloquent and inspiring in the left of center way that Gaga has become renowned for. And while we’ve always been a bit wary of the controversial Richardson, hearing Gaga speaking of him so whimsically and reverently has piqued our interest in the joint project.

Gaga reads, “I’m convinced that we much push the boundaries of culture through love and acceptance. There is not moment to strange, no angle unflattering, no circumstance relying on blind artifice and never a time that I feel embarrassed or unsafe. Awakened into me is a perverse liberation, inspiring me to feel that it is OK to view yourself as hyper-human. This is how Terry views me. I am so real, he says, that I am unreal.” The book itself is said to be revealing, with the no-holds-barred visuals that Richardson and Gaga have built their names on.

Lady Gaga Reads Terry Richardson’s Photo Book Foreword [Just Jared]

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The World Television Premiere Of The iHeartRadio Festival Is Coming To VH1 On November 23

by (@unclegrambo)

VH1 is excited to announce the world television premiere of the iHeartRadio Festival, which will be airing next Wednesday, November 23. As you’ll recall, this festival took place back in late September of this year, and featured performances by the likes of Lady Gaga, Nicki Minaj and Coldplay. You’ll be able to catch all the highlights from that two-night spectacular beginning at 10 p.m. ET/PT next week.

For the complete details of our Thanksgiving Music Festival, check out this press release that just went over the wires…

VH1 GIVES VIEWERS A THANKSGIVING CORNUCOPIA OF MUSIC PROGRAMMING WITH THE WORLD PREMIERE OF “IHEARTRADIO MUSIC FESTIVAL,” MICHAEL JACKSON’S THIS IS IT, “THE ROCK & ROLL HALL OF FAME 25TH ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION”

AND “QUEEN ROCK MONTREAL”

New York, NY- November 17, 2011- The music harvest is bountiful at VH1 this Thanksgiving with exclusive events featuring today’s biggest artists! Beginning Wednesday, November 23 at 10 p.m. ET/PT, music lovers can begin their Thanksgiving feast with a hearty portion of music by their favorite artists with the world television premiere of Clear Channel’s “iHeartRadio Music Festival” taped September 23rd and 24th, 2011at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. This show-stopping concert, which celebrated the launch of the new iHeartRadio, Clear Channel’s free, industry-leading digital radio product, includes performances by Carrie Underwood, Coldplay, Jennifer Lopez, Lady Gaga, Steven Tyler and many more.

View Photo Gallery

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Tuned In: Lykke Li Is Transformative On Letterman

by (@kat_george)

Swedish songstress Lykke Li performed “Silent My Song” from her newest album, Wounded Rhymes, on Letterman last night. Ignore Letterman’s cringe-worthy introduction to the performance, and you’ll find a hauntingly different Lykke Li. Experimenting with a darker side in Wounded Rhymes, Lykke Li metamorphosed from the saccharine sounds of Youth Novel with an naturalness that is soul baring in its honesty. From “Get Some” to “Sadness Is A Blessing” and now “Silent My Song,” Lykke Li is turned inside out in a marvelously macabre transformation.

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VH1 DIVAS Celebrates Soul First Look: Jennifer Hudson

by (@unclegrambo)

It’s just over a month until VH1 DIVAS Celebrates Soul airs on VH1, and we’re already doing backflips of excitement about this year’s lineup, which will feature Mary J. Blige, Jill Scott, Florence + The Machine, Kelly Clarkson, Jessie J and Jennifer Hudson. Regarding the latter, we’re excited to reveal this new promo image of the Grammy- and Oscar-winning singer/actress J. Hud! We haven’t heard any advance word about what songs she’s planning on performing that night, but seeing as how one of the featured soul-music capitals we’ll be spotlighting is her hometown of Chicago, we’re sure she’s got some exciting tricks up her sleeve about how to best honor the rich musical legacy of the Windy City.

Wondering where the images of the other ladies are? Well, you can check out Entertainment Weekly to see Kelly Clarkson, USA Today for Florence + The Machine, MTV.com for Jessie J, Entertainment Tonight‘s The Insider for Jill Scott, and TheYBF.com for Mary J. Blige!

VH1 DIVAS Celebrates Soul will air exclusively on VH1 on Monday, December 19 at 9 p.m. ET/8 CT. Stay tuned to these pages for more updates as they come in!

RELATED: VH1 DIVAS Celebrates Soul On December 19 With Mary J. Blige, Jennifer Hudson, Kelly Clarkson And More [VH1 Blog]

VH1 Unplugged: Kelly Clarkson Sneak Preview: “What Doesn’t Kill You (Stronger)”

by (@unclegrambo)

It’s finally here! We’re only 11 hours or so away until the online premiere of VH1 Unplugged: Kelly Clarkson, the full five-song set of which will arrive tonight at 7 p.m. ET. We’ve already shared sneak previews of Kelly’s emotionally-charged rendition of “Dark Side” and her killer cover of Carrie Underwood’s “I Know You Won’t”, but since we can barely contain our excitement about this amazing set, we thought we’d whet your appetite this morning with another exclusive reveal.

To that end, please enjoy Kelly’s take on “What Doesn’t Kill You (Stronger),” the second single off her new LP, Stronger. Even with “Mr. Know It All” sitting pretty at #3 on the Billboard Hot 100, “What Doesn’t Kill You” is experiencing a great deal of chart success itself; it cracked the Top 20 on this week’s chart. Kelly has described this driving, upbeat empowerment anthem as “one of my favorite songs on the record, purely because it makes me want to work out … and I don’t like working out!” Well, whether she likes (or admits) to working out or not, we can confirm that Kelly looked stunning in the red bandage dress she wore to her Unplugged taping.

Be sure to come on back to VH1.com this evening at 7 p.m. ET/4 p.m. PT when we reveal the full VH1 Unplugged: Kelly Clarkson set. And don’t forget to set your DVRs to record VH1 at 11 p.m. ET/PT tomorrow night to see this truly amazing Unplugged performance in glorious high-definition.

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Last Lap: Katy Perry Threw A Wild West Themed Birthday Party And Yeah, It Was Sexy As Hell

by (@kat_george)

Katy Perry Posts Photos Of Her 27th Birthday Party In LA Last Weekend
Katy Perry celebrated her 27th birthday last weekend and with a Wild West themed party. The birthday girl looked uber cute in her pink cowgirl get up and matching pink pigtails. If we were Katy, we’d be living out all our teenage dreams too. Sigh. [Idolator]

Nicole Scherzinger’s Debut Solo Album Is The New Detox
X-Factor host and ex-Pussycat Doll Nicole Scherzinger has been working on her debut solo LP since 2006 but, apparently, it still needs some work. Earlier this year, Interscope had announced that it would be released November 15, but then they pushed it back to December. Now, the record is scheduled to come out “sometime in 2012.” [Billboard.biz]

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Rebecca Black Is Not Content To Be William Hung

by (@kat_george)

Internet meme Rebecca Black has just released a video for her third single, “Person Of Interest,” and we’re scratching our heads about what this all means. After her first single, “Friday,” literally devoured the Internet back in February and racked up 167 million views, Black found a strange sort of fame as a viral sensation. In short, Black didn’t necessarily become famous because people liked her music (although we’re sure there were some who did), but because people were intrigued by her.

In July, Black released her second single, “My Moment,” which was no “Friday,” but not exactly a sophomore slump, either. It has been viewed almost 30 million views, which is less than 20% of her “Friday” total, but still, that’s 30 MILLION VIEWS. But now that’s she’s released her 3rd single under her own label, RB Records, we’re curious to see if the Law Of Diminishing Viral Returns will hold true, or if Rebecca Black can figure out a way to truly succeed.

The main issue at hand seems to be this: Rebecca Black is not content to be William Hung. Instead of embracing (or completely retreating) from her viral infamy, Rebecca instead decided to pursue the path of becoming a “serious” artist. No, not “serious” like a Thom Yorke or PJ Harvey, but “serious” in the way that pop stars like Katy Perry are serious about their brand and the artistic choices they make. To that end, both the video and the song “Person Of Interest” are intentionally inoffensive and innocently youthful, complete with Black’s flair for overly-obvious lyrics and matching visuals. The song seems designed to appeal strictly to tweenagers, and it very well may end up doing so. It most certainly does not, though, hold any sort of appeal for the cooler-than-thou hipster quotient who embraced the over-the-top ridiculousness of “Friday” and helped propel her into the spotlight in the first place. Who knows if this gambit will end up paying off, but at this point, it seems pretty clear to us that Rebecca Black is savvy enough to recognize that in order for her to build an audience, she first has to destroy the one she already has.

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This Ain’t Backpack Rap: The Emergence of Backpack Rappers in Mainstream Hip-Hop

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Kanye West claims to be the first rapper with a Benz and a backpack, but these days it looks like several backpack rappers are carrying around more than just a pad and a pen. In the past year, there’s been a wave of underground MCs surfacing their way to the mainstream top and collecting checks on their way up. These youthful spitters are penning a modern hook to the already played backpack rap era of the 80s and 90s. With the recent success of backpack rap from such conscious rappers as Kanye, Lupe Fiasco, and Kid Cudi, the new school of backpackers is painting a different, more open road in the hip-hop lane.

So, what exactly is “backpack rap”? It’s a sub-genre of hip hop that’s traditionally known for being void of the glitz and glam that comes with being a rapper, or as rapper Drake put it, “the money, cars, clothes, and hoes.” In other words, it is less concerned with “making it” and instead focuses more on issues surrounding social awareness. However, backpack rap today has taken on a new look. The hip-hop underground scene that’s getting play includes the alternative and indie side of hip-hop, rather than the political, intellectual stereotype of the genre. It’s the youthful sound and mix of genres that takes these MCs from backpackers to Benz owners, not to mention the sound that’s sitting atop this week’s Billboard charts (more on that in a bit).

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The VH1 Tuner Podcast Debuts With Special Guest Kelly Clarkson

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If VH1 were to have its own zodiac, it would be the year of Kelly Clarkson. Tomorrow (November 17), we’re premiering VH1 Unplugged: Kelly Clarkson on VH1.com at 7 p.m. ET. In December, Kelly returns to VH1 for a performance on VH1 Divas Celebrates Soul. And today, we’re happy to present our first-ever weekly VH1 Tuner Podcast, hosted by Jim Shearer of VH1 Top 20 Countdown fame, with an all-Kelly Clarkson edition. In this episode, Jim chats with Kelly about Stronger, her relationship status, wanting to collaborate with Adele, her video for “Mr. Know It All,” and how she feels about being our very first podcast guest. Enjoy the audio now and look for us soon in iTunes.

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