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

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Rebecca Black Pulls “Friday” Off Of YouTube
Sorry, kids, there be no getting down this Friday, for TMZ reports that teen superstar Rebecca Black —who, you’ll recall from our interview with her at the OMAs, “does not believe in getting nervous”— is engaged in a beef with her record label, Ark Entertainment. Until they get their issues settled, YouTube is “Friday” free. Some might argue that’s a good thing, but those people would be wrong. [TMZ]

Premieres: Matt & Kim Video, J. Cole Single, Lady Gaga Video (Imminent)
OMA favorites Matt & Kim premiered the video for “Block After Block” over at MTV.com; the first single from J. Cole’s forthcoming debut full-length went out to radio today (and can be heard below); the video for Lady Gaga’s “Edge of Glory” will premiere during So You Think You Can Dance tonight.

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Robyn Dodges Attempts To Ignite Drama With Tourmate Katy Perry

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“Discreet; No drama,” Robyn advertises herself on Craigslist 2010 single “Fembot,” and she lives up to her reputation: Ever since the news broke in January that she’d be opening for Katy Perry‘s California Dreams Summer Tour (which began June 7 in Atlanta), those who see the two performers as opposite ends of a musical spectrum have tried to reconcile the pairing. Before Robyn played Radio City Music Hall in February, Sophie Harris at Time Out New York thought she’d found an angle: asking Robyn if she was a fan of Perry’s music. The Swedish singer wisely dodged, “You know what? I have to go now,” but her non-answer was printed?and thus read?as if it were a de facto no, and footage from an earlier interview with MTV implied confirmation.
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At Storytellers, Maxwell Pleads For The Troops To Come Home

by (@Lacezilla)

On the surface, Maxwell’s “Fistful of Tears” comes off as a song that’s urging a woman to shake her unnecessary insecurities and, in the process, perhaps save him some unnecessary grief. Lyrics like “all you got to do is raise up, face up, stay up, all things will heal” make sense under that context and resonate deeply, so when the sultry singer revealed to our VH1 Storytellers audience that the song’s inspiration was actually drawn from the war in the Middle East, we were taken aback. But as he explains in the above sneak, Maxwell’s song-writing is a “three-prong experience,” alllowing him to apply (1) what he’s going through personally, (2) what he sees going on in the world, and (3) what he hopes the listener will get out of it, and therefore, our previous interpretation may still stand.

Before performing the powerful ballad in this clip, Maxwell candidly opens up about his opinions on the “religious war” that has been waged by the US, advocating a peaceful coexistence for all. “I hate the fact that we’re fighting, I can’t wait for the troops to come back,” said the R&B veteran, adding, “If your God is name this, and my God is named that, I’m cool.” And despite the fact that Max hates to name drop, he delivered this information via a story about being in the studio with Mary J. Blige and Anthony Hamilton, taming his somewhat reclusive mystique and making the story all-the-more juicy. Just as we were nodding our heads in new-found understanding, however, the soul singer brought us back full circle, noting that the song is also about trying to show someone “how great they are, when they can’t see how great they are.” A-ha! Not only was our original theory right after all, but it seems Maxwell also stayed true to his trusty three prongs– touching on both his life and world observations, all while allowing us to decode and evaluate for ourselves.

Five Burning Questions About Britney’s Femme Fatale Tour

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Britney Spears kicks off her two-month Femme Fatale summer tour (with Nicki Minaj supporting) tonight in Sacramento (it wraps up August 13 in Toronto). Tomorrow, poorly-shot phone videos will give us an idea of what the performances will look like, but until then, there are five burning questions on the lips of fans and observers alike. Here’s a breakdown of what the answers might be:

HOW ARE TICKETS SELLING?
Britney’s fanbase was up in arms when Ticketmaster first offered presale tickets for the August 2 Nassau Coliseum stop of the tour (see for example the March 29 Perez Hilton post on the topic)?but the story cooled?when other venues’ prices were revealed to be less high. Nevertheless, a few Ticketmaster searches for tonight’s show found a number of options available for 8 seats in a row in the $47 ticket range (the second-lowest after the sold-out minimal-quantity $27 tickets), on both upper and lower levels of Sacramento’s Power Balance Pavilion. This is after 1,400 tickets (at the $47 and $87 price points) were discounted on Groupon (to $30 and $52 respectively). All told, over 18,000 tickets were sold at discounted prices through Groupon for fifteen of the first 24 dates of the tour. The Groupon deals for shows in Seattle, Winnipeg, Minneapolis, and Atlanta actually expired before all available discounted tickets were sold. A sixteenth Groupon deal is currently active for the August 6 Atlantic City date?and all of this is before tickets for August 9th’s Hartford, CT show have even gone on sale. All told, the shows look to be under-attended in smaller cities, even as, in metropolitan areas like Greater New York City, new shows have been added. It remains to be seen whether this could have been remedied by better price optimization, or whether the tour’s ambition was more outsized than its actual draw.

AFTER LACKLUSTER PERFORMANCES IN RECENT VIDEOS AND AWARD SHOWS, IS BRITNEY STILL A WORLD CLASS PERFORMER?
Not-quite-unbiased source Perez Hilton witnessed a dress rehearsal of the show, and moderately praised the show, comparing it favorably to the 2009 Circus tour and recent television appearances. He estimated that 40% of the show is sung live, compared to 0% in 2009. He also answers the question no one really wants to put into words: “Is it Old Britney? No.” (He refers, of course, to Spears prior to her knee injury, public media troubles, conservatorship, etc.)

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Dream On: The Top Ten Music Videos That Take Place In Dreams

by (@unclegrambo)

Ever since the dawn of the eighties when the music video revolution took place, musicians and directors alike have used the medium to unleash ideas and visions that often start bubbling up from the subconscious. When you think about it, this strategy makes perfect sense; since songs rarely have linear plots and generally only run 3-4 minutes in length, it’s can be a challenge to cram an entire “traditional” story into a music video. So videos tend to work best when they use music and imagery to create a mood that’s dreamlike in nature, rather than telling a story that starts at point A and definitively ends at point B.

Despite the fact that a lot of videos rely on dreamlike imagery, very few, in fact, actually literally take place in dreams themselves. However, after taking in Bon Iver‘s lush video for “Calgary” yesterday, we found ourselves really wanting to explore what other videos also took place in dreams. We admittedly fell down a bit of a YouTube rabbit hole, in a good way, and we wanted to share our results with you. So, without further ado, here is our list of the Top Ten Music Videos That Take Place In Dreams.


10) The Chemical Brothers, “Let Forever Be”
A woman finds weird reflections of herself as she goes about her day, because it turns out she’s having that dream where she goes about her day?you know, the one where you try to trick your brain into thinking you’re already up. This video visualizes the brain’s process of figuring itself out. Also there are nods to Busby Berkeley. (NM)

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Tuned In: Hanson Tell Kimmel Audience To “Give a Little”

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“Give a Little” may have already conquered VH1′s Top 20 Countdown over a month ago, but Hanson proved the single still has life to it when they took to the outdoor stage on last night’s Jimmy Kimmel Live! For those who missed the boat on this catchy single, the trio’s poppy performance was the perfect primer. Fresh off their video cameo in Katy Perry‘s “Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.),” they jammed not with Kenny G, but with Kimmel’s house band, the Cletones, who provided the horns for “Give a Little”?another 2011 single, lest we forget, with a sax solo (though well past-due for Song Of The Summer).

Elsewhere on late night?
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Exclusive: Beyoncé’s Camp Insists 4 Will Arrive On June 28

by (@unclegrambo)

Over the last few days, the Internet has been running wild with rumors that Beyoncé‘s latest album, 4, had been pushed back by Columbia Records from its planned June release date to the fall. According to unsubstantiated reports that appeared on various gossip blogs, an “emergency meeting” was called after execs at her label declared the album to be “too concept edgy and extreme” for American tastes. After the difficulty that the first single from the record, “Run The World (Girls),” had gaining traction on radio and in sales, these rumors seemed especially viable.

Adding fuel to the fire was Beyoncé’s Facebook statement last week after 4 leaked and started appearing on file sharing services, a message that included her stating that “this is not how I wanted to present my new songs.” Some interpreted that to mean that she was just upset about the leak, while others theorized that she had not completed work on the songs yet.

However, we here at VH1 decided to go straight to the source to find out once and for all whether or not 4 was officially being pushed back until fall. Sony Music, the parent company of Columbia Records, has yet to make an official statement on the matter, but we went directly to Beyoncé’s publicist this morning and received this statement from her team:

“Beyonc?’s album, 4, will be released on June 28.”

Well, Beyoncé fans, there you have it! Important distinction: As you’ll note, they didn’t say “is scheduled to be released on June 28,” they definitively said “will be released on June 28.” We will keep you abreast of any further developments to this story as they happen.

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

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Our Wednesday roundup is hip-hop heavy: a shocking assault-related confession, an in-depth profile of Eminem and Royce Da 5’9″‘s duo Bad Meets Evil, and an indie rock Kanye cover:

Betrayed Friend of Former Rap Mogul Jimmy Henchman Claims Responsibility For November 1994 Tupac Shooting
After receiving word that his former associate Jimmy Henchman had accused him of turning state’s witness on him, Dexter Isaac, currently serving life in prison, has confessed to accompanying the shooter of Tupac Shakur at Manhattan’s Quad Studios in 1994?the first act of gun violence in the East Coast-West Coast conflict that ultimately led to the deaths of both Notorious B.I.G. and Tupac. Isaac claims Jimmy Henchman paid him $2,500 for the hit. [AllHipHop]
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Ke$ha Would Rather Hear “Till The World Ends” Than Anything She Sings, But Has No Misgivings About Selling It

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Vulture caught up with Ke$ha at amfAR’s NY Inspiration Event at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City last night to ask about “Till the World Ends.” Specifically: “Why would she turn over such an obvious smash to Britney Spears, when she could have kept it for herself?” Her answer:

“That song,” Ke$ha explained, “I?ve never been more proud of anything in my career… It really solidifies me as a songwriter in the pop music world, which is what I consider myself first and foremost. So it actually is really, really exciting for me when I hear [Britney] sing it. Like, when I hear my own songs on the radio I have to kind of turn it down or change the radio or whatever. When I hear that, I f****** blow the speakers out and I order everybody to dance.”

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Lady Gaga, Little Monsters Offer “Big Hug” To Clarence “Big Man” Clemons

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In the first official word following saxophonist Clarence Clemons‘s stroke on Sunday, Bruce Springsteen released a statement about his ailing E Street Band member stating that “all initial signs are encouraging” and that “this is a time for us all to share in a hopeful spirit that can ultimately inspire Clarence to greater heights.”

Lady Gaga couldn’t wait that long. On Monday she tweeted a request for get-well messages and by this morning the Haus of Gaga had edited together and uploaded a thirteen-minute video of messages from Gaga and her Little Monsters, viewable above. Gaga recorded her introduction just after taping yesterday’s performance, for the French X Factor quarterfinals, of “Edge of Glory” and “Judas.”

In all, the video is a touching tribute, and while young, female fans predominate, the montage does serve to showcase the wide range of Little Monsters out there?like this shirtless bro with the I Want to Believe poster, who jammed Clemons’s “Thunder Road” solo in the background of his message:

We can only echo the sentiments of everyone involved in the video. Get well soon, Big Man.