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Katy Perry tops YouTube's list of 2014's most-played music videos

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YouTube recently compiled a list of the platform’s most-played music videos worldwide for the first half of 2014. It’s sort of an unofficial chart for the most popular songs of the year so far for the entire globe. Unsurprisingly, songs with a World Cup hook have done particularly well.

Katy Perry’s ridiculously popular “Dark Horse” tops the list, predictably, with a staggering 485 million plays. Shakira takes both second and third place with her Rihanna-featuring “Can’t Remember to Forget You” and the World Cup-themed version of her single “La La La,” with the official 2014 World Cup song “We Are One (Ole Ola)” right behind it. Iggy Azalea’s summer-dominating “Fancy” and Frozen‘s “Let It Go” official sing-along video both made the list, but the come behind the Chainsmokers’ calculatedly viral “#Selfie,” which has racked up over 183 million views.

Internet rap sensation Yung Lean didn’t make the cut, but if his “Yoshi City” video can rack up a half-billion or so views in the next couple months he still could make the year-end list.

Here’s our exclusive playlist:

Danny Trejo talks about starring in Train's 'Angel in Blue Jeans' video

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Danny Trejo is an American treasure. At age 70, the star of Machete and Machete Kills (and possibly a third installment entitled Machete Kills Again… in Space) still projects the same inimitable badass vibes he’s been bringing to the screen since he broke into the business with 1985’s Runaway Train.

Which keeps him in high demand. Along with his usual packed schedule of projects, he recently starred in the video for “Angel in Blue Jeans,” the folk-pop-inflected lead single from Train’s upcoming album, Bulletproof Picasso, which includes a truly uncanny moment where he lip-syncs lead singer Pat Monahan’s part.

Trejo, who’s as affable offscreen as he is intimidating when he’s in character, talked to EW about the experience.

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Hear Lana Del Rey's 'Ultraviolence' remixes

Unofficial remixes of the title track from Lana Del Rey’s new Ultraviolence have been popping up all over Soundcloud since the album dropped last month, but the first batch of sanctioned versions just got posted yesterday.

Like her past remixes, which have come from everyone from drum-and-bass pioneer Photek to surrealist political rap group Das Racist, the “Ultraviolence” reimaginings pull together three very different acts who push the song in distinctly different directions: PBR Streetgang roughs it up with a harsh electro edge, Sonic Matta transforms it into a smoothly bumping emulation of classic house, and the Penelopes use the original’s wah-wah guitar part as the basis for a disco-inspired version drenched in strings, brass, and deliciously cheesy ’70s electronic effects.


Jangle-rockers Twin Peaks made us a playlist of 'catchy jams'

In a pop landscape that’s becoming increasingly dominated by synthesizers, Chicago has emerged as a bastion of good old-fashioned guitar rock. Underage quintet the Orwells are currently at the movement’s forefront, but right behind them are another young group from the Windy City: Twin Peaks. Earlier this year they toured with the Orwells, and recently they played the Pitchfork Music Festival.

The momentum Twin Peaks have been accumulating is about to get a big boost with the release of their second album, Wild Onion (out August 5 on Grand Jury), which is packed with sugary-sweet, jangly hooks and an endearing sort of reckless post-adolescent attitude. (Front man Cadien Lake James played Pitchfork in a wheelchair due to a shenanigans-related injury.)

EW reached out to the band members and asked them to put together a playlist, and bassist/singer Jack Dolan delivered one imaginatively titled “Jack’s Catchy Jams,” complete with commentary on each selection.

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Nick Jonas marks solo debut with new single 'Chains'

Nick Jonas will always be a Jonas Brother, but his latest single proves he’s ready to shed that official title. The just-released “Chains” is a sultry slow-jam with a heavy bass beat, nothing like the pop songs of his past.

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M.I.A. and Partysquad release 'Gold'

Dutch DJ duo Partysquad were part of the sprawling crew of producers behind M.I.A.’s brilliant and noisy Matangi album, helping bring to life the Shampoo-referencing standout track “Double Bubble Trouble.” M.I.A.’s returned the favor now by appearing on the pair’s new Partysquad Summer Mixtape 2014. Along with a remix of “Double Bubble Trouble,” the 77-minute DJ mix also features a brand new collaboration with the Sri Lankan-born singer.

With its rowdy pile-up of handclaps, whistles, Caribbean rhythms, and woozy, pitch-bent synthesizer horns,”Gold” would have fit in well on Matangi. Actually, it sounds quite a bit like a Diplo production–Partysquad co-authored Major Lazer’s cacophonous reggae/EDM hybrid “Original Don”–so it does a pretty good job of suggesting what it might sound like if the creative partnership of M.I.A. and the DJ hadn’t flamed out as spectacularly as their romantic one.


Watch previously unreleased Woodstock footage of Crosby, Stills & Nash

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The Oscar-winning 1970 concert documentary Woodstock celebrated its 40th anniversary a few years ago, but Warner Bros. is already re-revisiting. The new three-disc Blu-ray set, fittingly titled Woodstock 40th Anniversary Limited Edition Revisited, features the film’s four-hour director’s cut, two discs of extras, and a souvenir pack filled with reproductions of articles on the concert from Life magazine and The New York Times, a pair of reproduction concert tickets, and an embroidered iron-on patch with the classic dove-and-guitar logo.

While 40 years seems like a long time for footage from the festival to remain unreleased–especially when you consider that nostalgia for Woodstock seems to have kicked in before everyone had even exited the grounds–the set features a clutch of previously un-issued performances from some of the lineup’s biggest names (as well as Sha Na Na). Here’s an exclusive look at one such clip, of Crosby, Stills & Nash singing their classic “Helplessly Hoping”: READ FULL STORY

'Billboard' Hot 100 recap: Magic! stays on top but has new challengers

OK this is getting ridiculous. Aside from a few songs trading positions and one relatively drastic two-slot drop for Jason Derulo and Snoop Dogg’s “Wiggle,” the Top 10 is exactly how it was last week, making it a solid month since there was anything close to a shakeup at the top of the Hot 100.

Luckily, for those of us who prefer an active and exciting pop chart that isn’t being smothered by the unstoppable combination of “Fancy” and “Rude,” help may be on the way, in the form of a few could-be hits waiting for ignition.

Pharrell Williams’ “Come Get It Bae” just released its video yesterday, and its Miley cameo and “women of all shapes, sizes, and colors are beautiful” theme have already earned it over a million plays. The clip is already on its way to “Blurred Lines”-style popularity, so while this week it’s only at No. 60, down four spots from last week after nine weeks on the chart, a viral boost from the video could give it the momentum to turn things around and make its way toward the Top 10. It doesn’t hurt that the song’s stripped-down, clap-happy beat brings back some of the original Neptunes flavor that made Williams a star in the first place.

Kiesza’s “Hideaway” video has been out since February, racking up over 60 million views in that time, but it’s just now cracked the Hot 100 with its debut at No. 97. The fact that it’s still gaining popularity nearly half a year later bodes well for it, and its hooky amalgam of pop and house, redolent of early ’90s club-pop divas like Cathy Dennis, is at the bleeding edge of current retro tastes, if that makes any sense. Plus its video is the type of shamelessly corny fun that’s hard to deny, even if you’re the type of hipster who’s supposed to be mad that they shot it in Williamsburg.

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Jenny Lewis' 'The Voyager' started as a challenge from Ryan Adams

Jenny Lewis’ excellent new solo album The Voyager doesn’t officially arrive until this Tuesday, July 29, but you can currently stream it in its entirety over at Amazon Music. It’s a remarkable album, full of sweet summertime memories and vivid storytelling.

Several of the tracks from The Voyager have already been released, including the Hollywood cross-dresser assisted “Just One of the Guys,” the breezy “She’s Not Me,” and the stark, heartbreaking title track. READ FULL STORY

Robin Thicke's 'Paula' doesn't seem to have fixed his marital problems

 A new report from TMZ suggests that Robin Thicke has given up his quixotic quest to win back his estranged wife Paula Patton, “telling people in his camp” that the marriage “has collapsed.” The L.A. home that the two shared until Patton moved out in February is also up for sale now, which makes the split seem even more final. Apparently recording a deeply creepy and not-very-good record that no one wants to buy isn’t the key to winning back a lost lover.

If Thicke really is throwing in the towel, it raises the question of whether this whole Hail Mary of a concept album/plea for forgiveness was really worth the effort. Calling the mission off after not even an entire month suggests this may have all just been a poorly conceived, poorly executed idea that wasn’t any more effective than leaving your ex a bunch of long, drunken voicemails (which Paula feels like for most of its running time).

But anyhow: If Paula Patton finally calls it quits, and she keeps on refusing to engage the celebrity gossip machine, we could finally be seeing the light at the end of the tunnel of this whole awkwardly tacky episode. And if Thicke doesn’t come roaring back in the next six months or so with the best R&B record ever recorded, we might even be done talking about him at all.

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