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Adele's 'Someone Like You' is the first ballad in three years to top the Hot 100 -- or is it?


Adele’s success is certainly refreshing, and she continues to rack up accolades and records — in fact, she has a handful of new entries in the latest Guinness Book of World Records).

And some people, apparently, are even making up arbitrary turns of events in order to keep her awards flowing.

This morning, Billboard reported that Adele’s “Someone Like You,” which is currently the number one song on the Hot 100, is the first ballad to sit atop that list in over three years. They cite Rihanna’s “Take a Bow” as the last ballad to inhabit the top position.

The article is a pretty interesting read, because it gets into the psychology of radio programmers and how they approach playing songs based on tempo, as well as the way that trends dictate what the top song in the country is (thanks to the likes of Ke$ha, Britney Spears, and Katy Perry, uptempo pop tends to rule radio). There are more machinations in choosing radio playlists than you probably thought.

While that conversation is well and good, it’s built on a fundamental untruth: “Someone Like You” is not the first ballad to top the Billboard Hot 100 since “Take a Bow.” Since “Take a Bow” abdicated the position to Lil Wayne’s “Lollipop” back in 2008, at least three songs that could be described as ballads have taken the number one position.

The most obvious one is “Love the Way You Lie,” Eminem and Rihanna’s juggernaut from the summer of 2010. Though it prominently features angry rapping and a video about domestic violence, it certainly is as slow-burning as “Someone Like You.” Let’s put it another way: You certainly can’t dance to it.

There are other chart-toppers from the hip-hop world that could probably slide into the “ballad” category, including T.I.’s “Whatever You Like” and Jay-Z’s “Empire State of Mind.” Are these not ballads? Is it possible to craft a hip-hop ballad? And what is a ballad, anyway? Is there a certain set of criteria it must satisfy, or is it like the Supreme Court’s take on pornography and you simply know it when you see it?

Let us know your thoughts on balladry in the comments below. (And seriously, “Love the Way You Lie” is totally a ballad.)

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Keith Richards' memoir to become a movie -- so who should play him onscreen?

Earlier this week, Keith Richards revealed that there are plans afoot to turn his bestselling autobiography Life into a movie, according to British newspaper the Telegraph. But which actor possesses the requisite rock’n’roll swagger to embody the Human Riff?

One obvious choice is, of course, Richards’ buddy Johnny Depp, whose four Keef-inspired performances in the Pirates of Caribbean quadrilogy could be regarded as one long audition tape for the project.

Depp can also play guitar, is currently at work on a documentary about the Rolling Stones legend, and has the added advantage of being one of the biggest movie stars on the planet.

But there are a number of Richards’ fellow Brits who might consider themselves in with a chance of getting the gig, from David Tennant to Jason Isaacs to Sherlock star Benedict Cumberbatch. And let’s not forget Robert Pattinson, another hugely famous, guitar-playing thesp — and one who has experience playing a character with mixed feelings about direct sunlight.

Who would you like to see playing Keith (and, for that matter, Mick)? Let us know in the comments below.

Read more:
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‘You can’t do blow if you’re had a brain hemorrhage': And nine other ‘Life’ lessons from Keith Richards’ new autobiography

Beatles back at no. 1 on iTunes today; major artists share their favorite Fab Four tunes

There are few things surer in life than death, taxes, and the continued selling powers of the Beatles.

Today, the Fab Four bowed at no. 1 on iTunes with their mammoth 2000 hits collection 1, handily stealing the top spot from Lil Wayne’s That Carter IV and lording over the likes of Adele’s long-running 21 and Maroon 5’s newly revitalized Hands All Over, among others.

In the next few weeks, iTunes will also be rolling out the personal Beatles song picks of several contemporary stars, including Justin Bieber, Bruno Mars, Dave Grohl, Demi Lovato, Coldplay, and Ryan Adams—the last of whom we have a sneak preview of, exclusively here.

Says Adams of his own pick, “The Long and Winding Road”:

“I first heard the song in the way that you first ‘really hear’ a song—when it feels as though you’re listening with your whole body—last summer in London. I was lost in some neighborhood I was not meant to be in after a wrong turn. As the sky turned dark with mid-summer storm clouds the Glyn Johns mix in my headphones filled my skull with tremendous longing and a righteous amount of pain. I am now forever a fan after a lifetime of not being much of one. Still I will not buy a record with songs about naval craft no matter the color.”

Readers, do you agree? Let us know in the comments below.

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The worst songs of the '90s named in new poll -- Do you agree?

Tim Mosenfelder/Getty Images

Okay, get ready to argue: Rolling Stone just released its reader poll for the Worst Songs of the Nineties.

Yes, there are plenty of obvious choices from the Department of Terrible Novelty Songs (Right Said Fred’s “I’m Too Sexy” at No. 9, Baha Men’s “Who Let the Dogs Out?” at No.8,  Los Del Rio’s “Macarena” at No. 2) along with a few picks that we’d argue fall into the Actually Pretty Great If You’re Not Too Snobby To Admit It category (Hanson’s “MMMBop” at No. 6 and 4 Non Blondes’ “What’s Up” at No. 10)

But the thing that struck us most was that this list seems to be comprised only of people who aren’t American rocker dudes. Nearly half the groups have at least one female member (Celine Dion’s “My Heart Will Go On” ranks at No. 7), more than half come from somewhere outside the U.S. (including Aqua’s “Barbie Girl” at No. 1, and Chumbawamba’s “Tubthumping” at No. 5), and with the exception of “What’s Up,” there’s not a single rock-guitar-driven song on the list (it’s dominated by pop, though it’s also got a soft spot for rap, with Vanilla Ice’s “Ice Ice Baby” at No. 4, and country, with Billy Ray Cyrus’s “Achy Breaky Heart” at No. 3.)

Compare that with Rolling Stone‘s readers poll for the Top Ten Albums of the Nineties, which included only white-dude rockers. Though high-ranking bands like Nirvana and Radiohead are certainly worthy white-dude rockers, there’s no trace of the era’s great hip hop albums (Public Enemy’s Fear of a Black Planet, Dr. Dre’s The Chronic Biggie’s Ready to Die), or now-classic albums made by women (Hole’s Live Through This, PJ Harvey’s To Bring You My Love, Liz Phair’s Exile in Guyville).

In the sake of fairness, shouldn’t the Worst Songs of the Nineties feature a few more rock-guy bombs? What about Creed’s “Higher”? Green Jelly’s “Three Little Pigs”? Limp Bizkit’s “Nookie”?

Of course, there are also plenty of pop songs that should’ve been recognized. Personally, I’d nominate Deep Blue Something’s “Breakfast at Tiffany’s,” a blow-by-blow account of the longest, most boring conversation of all time. (And then I said… and then she said… and then I said…) Oh, and this song should be way up there.

What else do you think should be on the list?

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Spotify stalking: Everything I never wanted to know about my Facebook friends' taste in music

There are many, many good reasons to fall in love with Spotify. It’s user-friendly; it lets me share music on Facebook; it’s got that sleek, sexy lime-green-and-black getup that looks like iTunes in a little black dress.

But here’s the number-one reason I’ve become obsessed with this European social-media-meets-digital-music phenomenon ever since it landed in the US: It gives me access to the published Spotify playlists of my Facebook friends. All my friends’ music collections and listening habits are just waiting there, nakedly exposed in the public domain—and that can only mean one thing.

Yep. Bam: Spotify stalking. It’s like Facebook stalking—except more revealing, more voyeuristic, and so much more addictive. For the first time in internet history, we can check out pics of our childhood best friend’s beach honeymoon and nose around on her iTunes catalog for the other nine finalists that didn’t make the cut as her first-dance song. What’s not to love?! READ FULL STORY

What's your song of summer 2011? Tell us here


Ever since Memorial Day, LMFAO have been everywhere. They were djing the Video Music Awards. They were serenading every actor and supermodel on the CW network. They were so busy dominating Billboard’s Hot 100 chart with “Party Rock Anthem” that they managed to turn “party rock” into a noun, adjective, verb, and adverb.

So is it fair to say that “Party Rock Anthem” was the song of the summer? Hell party-rockin’ yes!

Or no, depending on your tolerance for that perpetually-psyched dancing robot guy. But whether or not you’re an LMFAO fan, there were many contenders for song of the summer in 2011.

Among the ubiquitous radio singles: Katy Perry’s “Last Friday Night (TGIF),” Hot Chelle Rae’s “Tonight Tonight,” Foster the People’s “Pumped Up Kicks,” Lady Gaga’s “Edge of Glory,”  Britney Spears’ “I Wanna Go,” Maroon 5’s “Moves Like Jagger” (feat. Christina Aguilera), Bruno Mars’ “The Lazy Song,” Black Eyed Peas’ “Just Can’t Get Enough,”

The club tracks: Nicki Minaj’s “Super Bass,” Pitbull’s “Give Me Everything,” Rihanna’s “Cheers (Drink to That),” Chris Brown’s “Look at Me Now” (feat Lil Wayne and Busta Rhymes), Kanye West and Jay-Z’s “Otis,” Big Sean’s “My Last” (feat. Chris Brown), Meek Mill’s “Imma Boss” (feat. Rick Ross), Kreayshawn’s “Gucci Gucci,”

The slow-burners: Lil Wayne’s “How to Love,” DJ Khaled’s “I’m On One” (feat. Rick Ross & Drake), Jason Aldean’s “Dirt Road Anthem,” Miguel’s “Sure Thing,” Brad Paisley and Carrie Underwood’s “Remind Me”

The shoulda-been hits (a.k.a. the stuff I’m adding to the list just because I love it): Dierks Bentley’s “Am I the Only One,” Martin Solveig’s “Get Away From You,” Ida Maria’s “Cherry Red,” Wild Flag’s “Romance,” The Knux’s “Run” (feat Kid Cudi), Swizz Beatz’s “Everyday (I’m Coolin’)” Eleanor Friedberger’s “My Mistakes.”

What am I missing? Tell us your favorite songs of the summer in the comments below.

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Does Auto-Tune have any place in country music? Listen here and decide


First pop, now country music. T-Pain, you’ve won.

The JaneDear girls, an up-and-coming female duo that shimmied onto the country scene with their self-titled debut in February, are releasing their third single, “Merry Go Round,” next month, and it’s sure to raise a few eyebrows.

The rollicking, fiddle-laced track features a hefty dose of Auto-Tuned vocals, the kind that sound more at home on Top-40 radio than country stations.

Listen to the song below: READ FULL STORY

Where are all the solo female country stars?

Want to hear a staggering statistic?

In the last four weeks, there has been only one song by a female solo artist in the Top 30 of Billboard‘s Hot Country Songs chart: “Sparks Fly” by Taylor Swift, which currently sits at number 23.

Meanwhile, on the pop charts, Lady Gaga, Katy Perry, Adele, Britney Spears, Rihanna, and Nicki Minaj continue to dominate.

Country music in 2011 is apparently a man’s world. But it shouldn’t have to be!

Where is the love for Kellie Pickler’s rough-and-tumble new single, “Tough?” Why did Sunny Sweeney’s latest track, the heartfelt “Staying’s Worse Than Leaving,” stall at number 41? Why won’t Sara Evans’ “My Heart Can’t Tell You No” take off at radio? Does Nashville have a problem with female singers right now?

Before you all jump down my throat—Listen, I know that Lady Antebellum includes singer Hillary Scott. I know that Kimberly Perry provides the vocals for The Band Perry. I know Carrie Underwood is a guest on Brad Paisley’s “Remind Me.” I know Thompson Square is one-half female. I know that Kelly Clarkson sings on Jason Aldean’s “Don’t You Wanna Stay” and that Grace Potter is featured on Kenny Chesney’s “You and Tequila” But all these ladies are successful alongside men—where are the solo country females?! READ FULL STORY

Blake Shelton names the Top 10 voices in country music. Do you agree?

Tonight on SiriusXM’s The Highway, channel 59, Blake Shelton—who’s currently atop the Billboard 200 album chart with the highest debut of his career—will host a special called “Blake Shelton’s Top Ten Voices in Country Music” at 6 p.m. ET.

You’ll have to wait till then to hear his countdown, but Sirius, which snapped this pic of him signing the autograph wall at its studio, did give us a sneak peek of his picks in alphabetical order: READ FULL STORY

Countess Luann of NYC 'Housewives' releases new single: Hear it and weep

Sometimes one brash atrocity follows closely on the heels of another.

But Countess LuAnn of the NYC Real Housewives was kind enough to wait more than a year before unleashing her second single, “Chic, C’est La Vie,” on the world.

This comatose club thumper is an ode to the “money power and romance” that fill LuAnn de Lesseps’ waking hours. “Life is but a dream/When every day you’re living is featured on TV,” she asserts, but this music video itself indicates that perhaps her musical moments are best left undocumented by camera, tape recorder, or human ear. Watch it here: READ FULL STORY

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