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Full 'Sparkle' soundtrack now streaming; Jordin Sparks calls experience 'Bittersweet'

The release of Sparkle is still a month away, but the soundtrack album is hitting several weeks earlier, on July 31.

Written largely by R. Kelly and Curtis Mayfield, the album features vocal contributions from Jordin Sparks, Cee-Lo Green, and the late Whitney Houston. A handful of the songs have already been released, and now the entirety of the soundtrack is currently streaming at Essence.

EW spoke to Sparks this weekend about the experience of making Sparkle and dealing with the aftermath of Houston’s sudden passing. “It is hard because it is bittersweet,” Sparks says. “I worked with my idol and that was a dream come true. I used to watch the Cinderella adaptation with her and Brandy every day after school. But she should really be here promoting it with me and [it's] really hard for me to be doing it alone.”

“Singing her song at the Billboard awards was the hardest thing I have ever done,” she explained. “I think the only reason I got through it without sobbing was because she’s up there watching over me.”

Check out the Sparkle soundtrack streaming exclusively over at Essence. The album is in stores next Tuesday, with the movie hitting theaters on August 17.

Additional reporting by Carrie Bell

Read More on EW.com:
‘Sparkle’ soundtrack listing: Whitney Houston’s final recordings coming July 31
‘Sparkle’: Video for Whitney Houston-Jordin Sparks duet ‘Celebrate’ debuts — WATCH
Whitney Houston duets with Jordin Sparks for ‘Sparkle’ track: Hear it here

Additional reporting by Carrie Bell

M83 set to score upcoming Tom Cruise movie 'Oblivion'

Two people on a roll right now: Tom Cruise and M83′s Anthony Gonzalez.

Cruise, whom you may remember from the widely loved Mission: Impossible Ghost Protocol will be starring in Oblivion, an upcoming sci-fi epic that will be scored by Gonzalez, also known as the French dude responsible for your favorite Victoria’s Secret commercial.

Director Joseph Kosinski (who also helmed 2010′s Daft Punk-scored Tron: Legacytold the Playlist that he “was listening to [Gonzalez's] music back in 2005 when I first wrote this story, so he was part of this from the very beginning in my mind, kind of creatively.”

Luckily, the synth-pop breakout was receptive to the idea of writing music for movies.

“I’m not afraid to do my first soundtrack on a big Hollywood movie, with a big budget and a lot of pressure,” he told the Playlist. “It’s a chance to create something big, and I’m ready for it.”

Continued Gonzalez, “This is a new adventure, so I’m going to push myself even harder and try to surprise people and move people with my music. My vision is really to have a combination of very electronic moments, very M83, and sometimes merge into something more soundtrack-y, but my kind of soundtracks.”

Sounds like good news for fans of the electro-phillic soundtrack of last year’s L.A. noir Drive!

READ FULL STORY

Justin Timberlake writes a film score; how will he fare compared to other pop-star composers?

We already know that Justin Timberlake can sing, dance, and act in whimsical Saturday Night Live sketches. (Often he will do all three of those things at once.) But can he score?

JT will add another column to his résumé when he provides the music to the upcoming film The Devil and the Deep Blue Sea, which is being directed by Bill Purple and stars Chloe Moretz and Timberlake’s fiancée Jessica Biel. Production begins this fall, which should give Timberlake enough time to promote his forthcoming Coen Brothers picture Inside Llewyn Davis.

It’s a bold but logical step for the pop star turned ever-expanding hyphenate: He has worked with some of the best production minds in modern pop music, so he knows his way around a studio. Maybe he really could be the next Danny Elfman.

Of course, before he became Tim Burton’s musical muse, Elfman was a pop star himself, knocking out quirky New Wave with Oingo Boingo. And he’s hardly the only one to make that transition: READ FULL STORY

Whitney Houston duets with Jordin Sparks for 'Sparkle' track: Hear it here

When Whitney Houston passed away back in February, she had already finished working on her final film Sparkle, a remake of a rags-to-riches flick from 1976 co-starring Jordin Sparks. That toil included Houston’s final new recordings, including the duet “Celebrate,” which just surfaced this morning.

Like all the music from Sparkle, this tag-team between Houston and Sparks was produced by R. Kelly, and his fingerprints are all over the bubbly backing track and unfussy arrangement.

Houston isn’t asked to do all that much, but the song drives home how authoritative her voice could still be and just how much Sparks’ approach owes to Whitney’s. Give “Celebrate” a spin below. READ FULL STORY

'Rock of Ages' soundtrack art and track listing revealed - EXCLUSIVE

rock-of-ages

Rock of Ages is one of the more unusual entries on this summer’s movie slate. The film, which hits theaters on June 15, is based on the jukebox musical of the same name that pays homage to the music of Journey, Twisted Sister, Bon Jovi, and a bevy of other ’80s-era hard rock.

On Broadway, the songs are the real stars of the show. But the film is top-lined by Tom Cruise, one of the biggest movie stars in the world. Most importantly, in the role of unpredictable rock star Stacee Jaxx, Cruise did his own singing for the movie (as did costars Catherine Zeta-Jones, Alec Baldwin, Russell Brand, and Malin Akerman), which means that the soundtrack album is going to be a much-coveted collection.

The soundtrack will be available on June 5, and it will feature an incredible 20 tracks worth of hard-rocking, lighter-waving goodness, kicking off with Cruise’s take on Guns N’ Roses’ “Paradise City” and ending with an all-hands-on-deck rendition of Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin’” that features Cruise, Baldwin, Brand, Julianne Hough, Mary J. Blige, and Diego Boneta.

Read on for the rest of the track list, revealed exclusively here at EW.com. READ FULL STORY

What is the most '90s movie soundtrack of all time?

Last weekend, I stumbled across my new favorite blog on the Internet.

It’s written by a dude named Chris who is on an ongoing quest to decide which film released between 1990 and 1999 is the most ’90s movie of all time. He uses a handful of rotating criteria, like whether or not the plot of the film could be executed using today’s technology and social customs, the extreme ’90s-ness of the fashion, the use of outdated technology (like pagers and gigantic laptops), and whether the stars of the film are inextricably linked to the decade.

“The Quest” has been going on for a year, but I was so enamored of the idea that I ran through dozens of posts in a single afternoon, internally debating the merits of the scoring system and trying to decide whether or not Angelina Jolie is tethered to any particular era (and even if she isn’t, Hackers is still a paragon of ’90s-ness).

Top scoring entries so far include Don’t Tell Mom the Babysitter’s Dead (major points based on the impossibility of the plot in today’s technological landscape), Clueless (obvious nods to several different levels of fashion as well as the Mighty Mighty Bosstones), and Encino Man (a winner just based on the presence of Pauly Shore, perhaps the most ’90s a person has ever been).

That walk down memory lane appealed to me not only because I have so many personal memories tied up in movies like Happy Gilmore, Mallrats, and I Know What You Did Last Summer, but also because ’90s film soundtracks are about the only compact discs I still buy.

Whenever I’m in a used record store (especially in a city I’ve never visited), my first stop is always the soundtracks, where incredible relics like Twister and Batman Forever live in permanently unloved rotation. I’ve amassed a pretty thorough collection that acts as a remarkable summation of the times — especially the ones that were clearly curated to appeal to fans of the associated movies (and the ones that weren’t are even more mind-blowing).

So naturally, I started thinking: What ’90s movie soundtrack is the most ’90s? READ FULL STORY

Pitbull drops 'Men In Black' soundtrack tune 'Back in Time': Hear it here

pitbull-blog

The summer of 1997 was pretty much ruled by Will Smith. The original Men in Black was a gigantic box office hit (it was the second-highest grossing film of ’97, behind a little flick called Titanic), and the Fresh Prince’s soundtrack tune “Men in Black” was ubiquitous on MTV and radio (it never charted on the Hot 100 because it was actually never released as a commercial single, but it dominated the Airplay chart all summer).

Five years later, Men In Black II hit theater screens, and Smith dropped another movie-centric single in “Black Suits Comin’ (Nod Ya Head).” Neither the film nor the single were as adored as the first versions, though both still did well.

Perhaps sensing his grip slipping, Smith has handed off the soundtrack duties on the forthcoming Men in Black III to Pitbull, who delivered “Back in Time” yesterday. It’s a song that plays on the new film’s time travel plot, and no, it is not just a cover of Huey Lewis & the News’ song from Back to the Future (though that would have been both ballsy and awesome).

Instead, it’s Pitbull speed-rapping over a sample of Mickey & Sylvia’s “Love Is Strange,” which you’ll recognize from yet another film soundtrack. Give it a spin below. READ FULL STORY

Get ready for Katy Perry in 3-D, 'Part of Me' in theaters this summer

Get your 3-D glasses ready, Katy Perry fans. The pop star is bringing blue wigs and whipped-cream bras to a theater near you. The singer is teaming up with Paramount to make the leap to the big screen with 3-D documentary-style film on her life on and off screen. We can only assume it will be a hybrid of her recent California Dream world tour, life on the road, and snippets of her personal life.

The “Teenage Dream” singer tweeted: “Finally, my movie coming out with Paramount this summer! It’s called Katy Perry: Part of Me Presented In 3D! #KP3D.’ READ FULL STORY

The Death Set cram Spider-Man, Super Mario, Godzilla, and 'Troll 2' into hyperactive 'They Come For Us' video: Watch it here!

Music videos are a tough game — it’s impossible to get anyone but the core fan base to watch them, and just about all the ideas have already been done.

(In that sense, making a video is a lot like running for president, though slightly less expensive and way less embarrassing.)

So when Australian hardcore combo the Death Set decided to put together a video for their song “They Come For Us,” they went all in: “They Come For Us” includes just about everything in a jumbled pop-culture junkie’s skull — appropriate, since the song will run over the closing credits to the upcoming found-footage horror anthology film V/H/S, which screens at South By Southwest next week and will be on demand in August.

It begins as a simple homage to a famous scene from Back to the Future, but then quickly ups the ante, trotting out nods to The Simpsons, Batman, Troll 2, and a bevy of other ephemera. Give the clip a spin below, and see how many references you can pick up. READ FULL STORY

Whitney Houston biopic reportedly already in the works, Rihanna's name mentioned for lead role

Only two weeks after Whitney Houston’s passing, rumors are already circulating about a tell-all book to be penned by her ex-husband Bobby Brown and a biopic being put together by longtime mentor Clive Davis.

In fact, the U.K.’s Daily Mail thinks that Rihanna is the favorite to play Houston, with Jennifer Hudson, Vivica Fox, and Jordin Sparks also apparently on the short list.

All of those ideas remain simply rumors—and pretty flimsy ones as well; the names largely seem less like genuine casting news than an arbitrary collection of black actresses.

So let’s assume that Rihanna, whose first film role will come this May in the board-game-turned-big-screen-action-flick Battleship, is not exactly a lock for the part, despite the fact that the two women share a pop-star background and complicated relationships with guys named Brown.

However, Houston’s biography is so rich that it seems inevitable that it will end up on the big screen one of these days. Assuming that, who should take on the title role in The Whitney Houston StoryREAD FULL STORY

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