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…
Mumford & Sons Debut New Song on Colorado’s KBCO
When we got Mumford & Sons in the studio for their VH1 Unplugged taping, the band mentioned trying out new material on the road before heading into the studio with it. Nevertheless, no live recordings of decent quality have surfaced until this weekend, when the band performed a yet-untitled song on the air at KBCO. Fans have been calling this song “Home.” [Paste]
Justin Timberlake May Use MySpace To Launch A Talent Competition
So says his manager, Johnny Wright. If Wright is to be believed, Timberlake is as enthused about possibilities for the future of MySpace as he is unenthused about possibilities for the future of his recording career. [MTV News]
In other chart insights, the summer of Pitbull continues to roll along nicely. “Give Me Everything,” which features Ne-Yo, Afrojack and Nayer, just hit #1 on the Billboard Hot 100, which factors both sales and radio airplay in its formula. The song seems unescapable at the moment; Pitbull and Ne-Yo performed it both on the Today Show and The Voice last week alone, continuing to give it some much needed momentum as we begin to approach the dog days. But as huge as this song is in its current incarnation, we can’t help but wonder how big it would’ve gotten if Shakira had sang the hook (as she was originally supposed to)?
One other interesting factoid for you S.O.T.S. watchers out there. If you check out the Top 100 songs on Metrolyrics, a site that is solely dedicated to helping readers find out what some of their favorite vocalists are actually singing, their current number one is “Super Bass” by Nicki Minaj (which seems to be making a nice run of its own right now). If we were to take a guess as to why this song is popping over the rest, we would have to say that the speed at which Nicki raps probably confuses a lot of her listeners, so getting a helping hand with the lyrics really comes in handy when, like Taylor Swift and Selena Gomez, someone asks you to start spontaneously rapping!