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Evanescence tops the Billboard 200 after five-year hiatus; Lauren Alaina debuts in fifth place

Evanescence

Despite a five-year break from the music scene and some major personnel changes, goth rockers Evanescence returned to the top of the Billboard 200 chart today with their self-titled third album, which sold 127,000 copies in its first week.

Though that number is far less than Evanescence’s last album, The Open Door, which debuted at No. 1 in 2006 with 447,000 copies sold, it is impressive that the Amy Lee-led band managed to move that many discs without a smash single like “My Immortal” or “Bring Me To Life.” Their current single, “What You Want” sits at number 13 on the Rock Songs chart.

Another rock band enjoyed a strong debut this week: L.A.’s Five Finger Death Punch started off at No. 3 (behind the indomitable Adele, whose 21 is STILL holding strong at No. 2) with 91,000 copies of their album, American Capitalist, sold. That’s a big jump from their 2009 record, War Is the Answer, which debuted at No. 7 with 44,000.

Last week’s chart champ, Scotty McCreery’s Clear As Day, slipped down into fourth place after a 55 percent drop to 88,000, giving him a two-week total of 285,000. Meanwhile, his runner-up, Lauren Alaina, got off to a pretty good start herself with 69,000 copies of her disc Wildflower sold in its debut week.

Ryan Adams’ Ashes and Fire and Martina McBride’s Eleven debuted with 49,000 and 40,000, respectively. Joe Jonas wasn’t as lucky. Without his brothers beside him, the “Just In Love” singer started at No. 15 with only 18,000 copies. Check out the top ten below: READ FULL STORY

Scotty McCreery sells 197,000 copies in first week: How does he stack up against other 'Idol' winners?

Scotty-McCreery_review

Apparently, you love him this big!

Scotty McCreery’s debut disc Clear As Day debuted at the top of the Billboard 200 this week, selling 197,000 copies in its first week.

That makes McCreery, 18, the first American Idol winner to top the chart since Season 2 winner Ruben Studdard’s Soulful opened at number one back in 2003. It also provides the Idol franchise a much-needed success story.

McCreery’s strong sales week improves greatly upon the 39,000 debut tally that Lee Dewyze’s Live It Up notched last year, as well as the 80,000 first week sales of Kris Allen’s self-titled 2009 offering.

Of course, McCreery didn’t sell as many albums as past winners Carrie Underwood or Kelly Clarkson, but considering the current state of the record industry, the fact that David Cook and Jordin Sparks’ sophomore albums both recently floundered, and the musical irrelevance of Ruben Studdard and Taylor Hicks these days, Idol was in dire need of a fresh star, and it looks like it’s got one with McCreery. READ FULL STORY

RCA Records retires Jive, J Records, and Arista

Entertainment Weekly has confirmed that RCA Records has folded J Records, Arista Records, and Jive into parent label, RCA. The label issued a statement to EW explaining that the move was “an effort to refresh RCA Records,” and “all label imprints (J Records, Arista Records and Jive) will now be under the the iconic RCA Records label.” Among the artists who will be affected by the change are Jive tentpoles (Britney Spears, Justin Timberlake), singers from Arista (Alicia Keys, Pink, Usher), and J Records acts, including Pitbull.

Apple made non-iPhone-related announcements yesterday too

Lost in the shuffle of Tuesday’s announcement of the iPhone 4S at the first big Apple event in the post-Steve Jobs era was the news that Apple still makes iPods, and they continue to improve on them.

First, the Nano, which has become so associated with working out (something that Apple obviously recognizes) that they might as well just call the thing the iPod Gym. The latest iteration of the Nano comes in seven different colors and will now have built-in exercise-tracking capabilities, including a calorie counter. There are now also 16 different watch face variations for people who wear their Nano to tell the time, something that probably hadn’t occurred to you to do until now. With a maximum capacity of 16 gigabytes, you won’t be able to get a ton on there, but that’s more than enough space to keep you in Eminem songs while you train for your 5K.

As for the iPod Touch, it essentially got all the upgrades the new iPhone got. There’s a new operating system, iMessage (which lets you send text messages over Wi-Fi to other people with iPods or iPhones, not unlike Blackberry’s BBM system), and access to the iCloud, Apple’s new in-the-air media storage that will make your music, photos, and other media available anywhere. The first five gigabytes are free, and then upgrades are available for a fee, topping out at 50 gigs for $100 a year. Interestingly, stuff you buy on iTunes doesn’t count toward the storage limit, which probably makes record labels and copyright holders pretty happy, as it will (theoretically) encourage people to buy more stuff legitimately so they can have free access to it.

The iPod Touch tops out at 64 gigabytes (the same as the biggest iPad), but just in case you still want to cart around your entire music collection in your pocket, the iPod Classic still exists. They haven’t made any improvements on it in a while, but at 160 gigabytes, it’s still an old reliable standby, like a mud-covered pick-up truck that can still go. And just for the sake of being complete, Apple still makes the iPod Shuffle, just in case you like your music collection but don’t like choosing things from it.

Apple has sold 320 million iPods since the devices began, but how many of those have you been responsible for? And do you have a favorite iteration that you miss? Leave your iThoughts in the comments below.

Read more on EW.com:
So are you disappointed by the iPhone 4S?
Apple’s big announcement: Meet the iPhone 4S
What’s on your iPhone 5 wishlist? Voice recognition? 4G? Rainbows?

Guns N' Roses, Joan Jett, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Beastie Boys, and the Cure all nominated for Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

Yes, folks, it’s that time of the year again. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame has released its nominations for the class of 2012 and the list is as follows: Guns N’ Roses, the Red Hot Chili Peppers, the Beastie Boys, Joan Jett and the Blackhearts, the Cure, Heart, Eric B. and Rakim, the Small Faces/Faces, Rufus with Chaka Khan, War, Laura Nyro, Donovan, Freddy King, and the Spinners. Those who receive enough votes will be inducted on April 14, 2012, at the Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Ohio.

As always with the list of nominees, several questions immediately spring to mind. Will this be the year for the Beasties and the Chili Peppers, both of whom have been nominated before (as have Nyro, War, and Donovan)? Has the Hall of Fame done enough — or too much — to highlight the creative contributions of hip-hop to “rock and roll”? And will the classic, ’80s-era lineup of Guns N’ Roses reunite to play, call each other names, or compare rehab facilities?

Send us your thoughts!

Read more:
Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inducts Alice Cooper, Tom Waits
Vh1’s Top 100 Songs of the ’00s: Find the first 11 songs here! — An EW Exclusive
Radiohead drop woozy ‘Lotus Flower’ and ‘Staircase’ on ‘SNL': What did you think?

'American Idol' alum Stefano Langone signed to 19 Management

American Idol Season 10 contestant Stefano Langone has signed to 19 Management, the same company which represents fellow Idol alums like Pia Toscano, Haley Reinhart (both of whom are signed to Interscope Records), and James Durbin. He will be co-managed by Red Light Management.

Currently, Stefano isn’t signed to a label, but according to a source at 19 Entertainment, he is “in the studio” and working on music.

While he never seemed like a major contender for the Idol crown during his run the show, Stefano did seem hipper and more stylish than most contestants, and with the right production team he could fit right in with the MTV crowd.

 

Do you think Stefano will be able to parlay his Idol success into a legitimate recording career?

Read more:
Haley Reinhart sings ‘God Bless the Child’ in dim New Orleans jazz club: Watch it here
Daughtry releases new rock single ‘Renegade': What do you think?
‘Idol’ alum Brooke White releases debut single as Jack and White, ‘Gemini’ — EXCLUSIVE
Scotty McCreery’s new single ‘The Trouble With Girls': Listen to it here!

Kid Rock's album 'Born Free' quietly goes platinum after 44 weeks: What albums took even longer?

kid-rock-publicity

So, here’s some random news: Kid Rock’s latest album, Born Free, just passed the 1 million mark in album sales after a whopping 44 weeks on the chart.

Most impressively, Kid reached that number without a major hit single (“Born Free” peaked at number 31 on the Billboard Rock Songs chart), and without any help from iTunes, where he has long chosen not to release his music for download.

”I don’t have a beef with Apple, or iTunes, or any of them,” he told EW in 2008. “I do have a beef with that it seems kind of socialist of them to charge the same price for every song. What if every car cost $4,000, you know what I mean? A song from my neighbor’s garage band is not the same value as Bruce Springsteen’s ‘Born to Run.’ I just want to decide how my product gets sold with the people who sell it.”

The album’s long journey to platinum-status (technically, Born Free was certified platinum in May for shipping 1 million copies to stores, but it just crossed the 1 million copies-sold mark) has us thinking about what other albums took their sweet time to reach the milestone.

According to the RIAA, the answer is quite a few: Coldplay plugged along for 59 weeks to earn a platinum certification for their debut album, Parachutes, which came out in 2000. Buckcherry’s 2006 album, 15, spent 1 year and 9 months (93 weeks) working towards that number. Flyleaf’s All Around Me, meanwhile, took 2 years and 9 months (about 143 weeks!) to reach platinum status following its 2006 release. Jason Mraz’s We Sing, We Dance, We Steal Things took its sweet 43-week time, while Mumford and Sons’ Sigh No More spent 53 weeks working to reach the coveted plateau.

Unlike Mumford, who had a high-profile Grammy gig and rode a wave of critical buzz, or Mraz, who produced a long-germinating über-hit with “I’m Yours,” Kid Rock managed to sell 1 million albums (after a solid, but not huge 189,000 debut week) without many accolades or promotions besides “Born Free” being named the official song of the 2010 MLB playoffs on TBS.

What do you think caused Born Free to slowly chug along to success? And what helps others like it?

Read more:
Born Free album review
Kid Rock: A 2008 Entertainer of the Year

'Community' star Danny Pudi is suddenly everybody's music video muse: Watch him here

Perhaps Community star Danny Pudi is jealous of the attention that co-star Donald Glover (a.k.a. Childish Gambino) has received in the music world, because all of a sudden he’s the music video star du jour (think of him as a more indie-centric Tawny Kitaen or Alicia Silverstone).

In Raphael Saadiq’s clip for “Day Dreams,” Pudi stands in for the artist and goes on a fantasy shopping spree buying things for his girlfriend that he cannot afford. It’s a fun, frothy clip that shows off Pudi’s lip-syncing skills (which appear formidable) and relies on the same sort of goofy charisma that fuels his performance as Abed Nadir.

In the video for Jones Street Station’s “The Understanding,” Pudi pulls off some more dramatic moves. The plot follows Pudi as he wanders around the streets of New York, buys the world’s smallest camera to take a series of photos of strangers, seduces a woman in Central Park, and then finally ends up in a recording studio with the band (along with said woman, who is revealed to be a producer).

In a frustrating missed opportunity, Pudi literally plays out the lyric “survive on tea and toast” (he’s actually drinking tea and eating toast in a diner) but doesn’t play out the lyric right after that, which is “shake your fist at an angry ghost.” Come on, Pudi! Shake that fist at, say, this ghost.

Though the clips show two different sides of the actor’s personality, they also have a handful of parallels. Each one has Pudi shopping, and they both find him engaging with strangers. He only passes bad checks in the Saadiq clip, though it would have been amusing had that somehow gotten worked into Jones Street clip, too.

Check out both videos below, and let us know which side of Pudi you prefer in your music videos in the comments below. READ FULL STORY

Drew Barrymore talks directing Supervideo for band Best Coast and chooses her five favorite music videos -- EXCLUSIVE

Drew Barrymore latest project has taken her behind the camera once again. The actress (on screen next in February 2012’s Everybody Loves Whales) and director (2009’s Whip It) has gone behind the camera once again to helm a clip for garage-pop trio Best Coast’s single “Our Deal,” featuring young Hollywood breakouts Chloë Moretz (Let Me In) and Tyler Posey (Teen Wolf) in a dreamy homage to The Warriors and West Side Story. The 10-minute MTV Supervideo, a concept developed by the network and executive producer Kashy Khaledi, also features appearances by Alia Shawkat, Miranda Cosgrove, Donald Glover and Shailene Woodley. “I’m so inspired by music,” says Barrymore. “So many performances and emotions and feelings enable an actor on set if you play live music.” We asked the star to pick a few of her all-time favorite clips. READ FULL STORY

Leona Lewis may or may not have stolen her new single 'Collide': Listen here and decide

Leona Lewis has had a hard time trying to get back to the Oprah-approved level of success she attained with her smash single “Bleeding Love” a few years back, and her latest single “Collide” isn’t going to do her any favors.

For one thing, it is not awesome: EW’s Tim Stack declared it “a misguided dip into dance-pop” that “lands with a major thud” in his review of the track, which appears in the forthcoming issue of the magazine. (In other words, it’s no “Buffalo Stance.”)

But the other thing that may stand in her way is the fact that she has been accused of stealing the track wholesale from dance artist Avicii. They have had a track called “Penguin” that has been circulating for a few months, and Lewis’ “Collide” is little more than her singing over their track. READ FULL STORY

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