It’s been a great year on the Billboard charts for country music artists like Carrie Underwood and Zac Brown Band. Last week’s Billboard 200 numbers are in, and Zac Brown Band scored big, holding down the No. 1 spot for Uncaged. Uncaged debuted with sales of 234,000, higher than predicted. With eight No. 1 singles in their catalog and their 2010 No. 1 album You Get What You Give there’s no surprise the group would soar to the top. Behind the seasoned ban at No.2 is R&B newcomer Frank Ocean. Read more…
50 CENT SHOWS SUPPORT FOR FRANK OCEAN
Haters be warned that, unless you want a taste of that famous 50 beef, you may want to give the Channel Orange artist a second chance, because 50 thinks that “Anyone that has an issue with Frank Ocean is an idiot.” [MTV]
ARETHA FRANKLIN WANTS TO BE AN IDOL JUDGE
Jennifer Lopez and Steven Tyler are both out, and so Aretha Franklin figures she and Patti LaBelle should have in at the Idol judging table. Why not! [CNN]
It’s true. People don’t buy albums in massive numbers like the distant days of the 80s or 90s where going triple platinum wasn’t uncommon. That said, R&B sensation Frank Ocean is projected to do big numbers after digitally releasing Channel Orange a week early on iTunes after his appearance on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon. The Def Jam artist is expected to open with 110,000-125,000 sales just from an iTunes release, which is pretty impressive considering he’s a new artist and had no additional retail push. Considering veteran Usher opened with 128,000 for Looking 4 Myself and Chris Brown topped charts at No. 1 with 134,000 sales for Fortune‘s opening week, Ocean’s slated success is a testament that fans will buy what they believe is quality music. Read more…
ADAM LAMBERT PLAYS FREDDIE MERCURY IN LONDON
Glambert dazzled the Hammersmith Apollo in London, where he filled in for the front man on Queen classics like “Another One Bites the Dust” and “We Will Rock You.” [RS]
Frank Ocean is winning! Following the buzz around his sexuality Ocean decided to use his own website to address the rumors once and for all. Days after revealing he’d fell in love with a man at 19, Ocean shocked everyone by releasing the digital version of his debut album Channel Orange a week early. The Internet went bananas quickly making it the No. 1 album on iTunes a couple of hours after its release. While we were busy indulging in the Stevie Wonder-esque voice over eloquent songwriting in Channel Orange, speculations were made regarding if Ocean’s early release was due to the massive support he received in opening up about his sexuality. ‘Was it a publicity stunt?’ was a common question tossed around like rice thrown at weddings. According to EW.com, Def Jam claims the early release was “all part of Channel Orange‘s unusual marketing strategy.” A marketing strategy that worked, might we add. Read more…
Rising R&B star Frank Ocean made his network TV debut on Late Night With Jimmy Fallon last night, creating a tsunami of trending topics along the way. A few hours before Fallon aired at 12:30 a.m., Pitchfork reported that Ocean’s highly anticipated Channel ORANGE LP would be hitting the iTunes Store at midnight, a full week before the album’s official July 17th street date; it promptly went straight to #1 on the charts, where it still sits at this time. Proving that he “gets it,” Ocean has also made his major label debut available to stream in its entirety on his Tumblr; as a result, the Internet is sure to be dominated by conversation about Frank Ocean again today, much like it has been for the last week and some change.
Ocean performed “Bad Religion,” a track off Channel ORANGE, aided by a string section and the legendary Roots crew. If you interpret the lyrics in a literal fashion, it can be read as a harsh critique of Islam (“If it brings me to my knees, it’s a bad religion”). However, peel back a layer or two and the song takes on an entirely different meaning, one in which Ocean struggles to deal with a love that’s both unreciprocated and, in the eyes of most of the world, unconventional. “This unrequited love/To me is nothing but a one man cult/Cyanide in my styrofoam cup/I could never make him love me,” he plaintively confesses, shedding some additional light on last week’s controversy regarding Ocean’s sexuality. It’s a bold statement from a very promising artist, and we look forward to spending a lot more time with the album over the coming days and weeks.
Elsewhere on late night…
BEYONCE TAKES TO TUMBLR TO SHOW SUPPORT FOR FRANK OCEAN
In a short poem written for the man who wrote (and sometimes sings) “I Miss You” for her, Bey calls Ocean brave, free, and inspirational. Amen. [Beyonce]
PAUL MCCARTNEY IS TEAMING UP WITH HALO CREATORS FOR NEW PROJECT
The former Beatle has hooked up with the team behind the hugely popular video game Halo to make some new music for, well, nobody knows yet. Nevertheless, this sounds like a project worth keeping an eye on. [RS]
PEARL JAM DIEHARD GETS HIS DREAM SET
Superfan Brian Farias has been to 108 Pearl Jam shows but none so special as the 109th, when the band played a setlist (complete with two encores!) he had drafted for them. [RS]
DO YOU DRIP.FM?
Music nerds, behold! Based on HBO’s “quality, consistency and catalog” model, this new music subscription service “drips” new releases straight from the labels to your inbox several times a month. [LAWeekly]
KEEP COOL IN JAMES HETFIELD’S SUNGLASSES
The “road dog” Metallica frontman is releasing “faster than a speeding riff” pair of shades through Sutro Eyewear. And for just $219.99, they’re yours! [Vulture]
EXTRA! EXTRA! READ ALL ABOUT IT
In the New York Times this weekend, Frank Ocean talks about love and life and his new album; and James Murphy talks about his almost starring role in Noah Baumbach’s since slashed The Corrections adaptation. And to soundtrack your reading, “Sweet Life,” a Pharrell assisted leak from Channel Orange. Happy weekend! [NYT/NYT / Fader]
Frank Ocean’s courage was all the rave on social media as folks were celebrating their 4th of July with booze and barbeque. In light of a few headlines speculating about Frank’s sexuality, he decided to put the rumors to rest by releasing a “thank you’s” letter on his Tumblr that he’d originally intended to include in his upcoming album Channel Orange. In the letter he didn’t officially “come out” as gay or bi-sexual, but he admitted that his first love was a man. Like us, a legion of fans, celebrities included, were overjoyed with his transparency and bravery. Most of all, we were happy he finally could write the words: “I feel like a free man.” Read more…
Summer, summer, summertime…time to sit back and unwind. Hey, if that’s how Will Smith recommends to spend the months of June, July, and August, who am I to argue? As my colleagues Bené and Zara have attested, summer’s a time to be spent outdoors with friends, preferably with a boombox in proximity. We’re going to start counting down the 2012 Song Of The Summer very soon, but for now, here are three songs that I’ll be hitting repeat on all summer long.
NOMINATION: Icona Pop, “I Love It”
EXPLANATION: Why do Swedes make the best pop music? Someone really ought to research this! While we all anxiously await for someone else to do the heavy lifting with that essay, I’m going to be bouncing around my apartment cranking this electro-pop earworm all the way up to 11, shouting “I DON’T CARE!” like a madman. The pulsating beats that dare you not to bounce up-and-down while pumping your fists (not fist pumping, though, because that’s lame), the crazy catchy sing-along melodies, the fact that it clocks in at exactly 3 minutes … all of these ingredients create a perfect recipe for a summer jam.