Celine Dion Teases New Material

Pop diva Celine Dion is planning to release her new album, Water And A Flame, in the coming months. To reintroduce fans to her pop sensibilities and tease what’s new, Dion has begun releasing a series of studio updates, and we have the first right here on OurStage.

Opening with a clip of herself recording a new song, Dion sings Now you’re gone / There’s nothing else I want / Now that it’s over / There’s nothing else I want. To say she’s still working well within her wheelhouse would be an understatement, but as the clip gives way to Dion’s discussion of the track it’s clear she is as passionate as ever. You can view the teaser below.

Water And A Flame should hit stores over summer, but may end up delayed until the fall. We’ll post a single as soon as one surfaces online. (more…)

Sound And Vision: The Best and Worst of James Bond Themes

The 007 Effect: What getting cast as the main theme for one of the James Bond film franchise’s 23 official entries can do for a song. Alas, the results of being Bonded can be as mixed as the songs themselves.

Adele‘s brand new theme for Skyfall, aka James Bond XXIII (in U.S. theaters November 9), sure to be Top 10 or rapidly approaching that hallowed chart vicinity by the time you read this, is the first James Bond song to become a hit since the Pierce Brosnan era (1995-2002).  That was when Madonna‘s Die Another Day, from the 2002 Bond film of the same title, went to # 8 on Billboard’s Hot 100. (more…)

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Sound and Vision: An 'American Idol' Wish List– Who Should Replace Jennifer Lopez and Steven Tyler?

You couldn’t pay me to be an American Idol bigwig right now. The show is about to face its greatest challenge since the 2008 battle of the Davids (Cook and Archuleta).

The producers and the Fox network already have to worry about sagging ratings (the average viewership in season 11 dropped 23 percent to below 20 million for the first time in nine years, and the show fell from No. 1 for the season”to No. 2”for the first time since 2005), not to mention less commercially viable Idols and external competition from The Voice, The X Factor, and pretty much any reality show that promises to make a nobody a star.

Now, the producers have to deal with pleasing Mariah Carey, who has signed on as a judge next season, replacing either Jennifer Lopez or Steven Tyler, both of whom left after two years in order to focus full-time on their music careers (and in the case of Lopez, her “acting” career, too).

I once interviewed Carey for an Us Weekly cover story, and I found her to be warm, intelligent and surprisingly funny, but she’s a diva through and through. (She actually walked into the living room of her New York City hotel suite cradling her miniature dog!) Idol will reportedly pay her a very diva-like sum of between $12 and $17 million a season (a hefty and not altogether worthwhile expense, considering that Carey is well past her pop heyday), and I don’t even want to think about her list of perks and demands.

Meanwhile, there are murmurings that Randy Jackson, the last remaining original judge, currently in contract negotiations, might be moving from the judge’s table into more of a mentoring role, in an attempt to revamp the show for season 12, launching in January of 2013. Sadly, that restructuring doesn’t extend to Ryan Seacrest, the inexplicably still-highly employable host, who has signed up for another two years at a pay rate of $15 million per season. Is it too late to invite ex-judge Ellen DeGeneres back for the job they should have offered her in the first place?

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Sound And Vision: 10 Things to Look Forward to in 2012 (Featuring Soundgarden, the Stone Roses and Freddie Mercury — Alive Again!)

A US Presidential election, Summer Olympics mania (London’s calling”again!), Rihanna’s film debut (in Battleship, out May 18) and the possible end of the world. Those are a few of the things I won’t be looking forward to in the coming year. Fortunately, music will offer enough thrills to distract us from all that we’d rather forget. Here’s what’s topping my 2012 anticipation list:

1. Madonna makes fiftysomething fabulous all over again. Although I’m curious to hear what Madonna does with Nicki Minaj and M.I.A. on the final cut of “Gimme All Your Luvin'” when the single is released the last week of January, that’s not the main reason I’m excited about her upcoming twelfth studio album (due in late March), her first since turning fifty in 2008.  “Masterpiece,” a new song featured in the Madonna-directed W.E. (which goes into wide release on February 3, two days before her Super Bowl XLVI performance) and her reunion with her Ray of Light producer William Orbit, is an achingly beautiful ballad that recalls the best of ’90s Madonna while gently proving that she can still create pop magic all on her own.

2. Madonna vs. Elton John vs. Mary J. Blige vs. Chris Cornell vs. Glenn Close (!) at the Golden Globes. Too bad the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has disqualified Madonna’s “Masterpiece” from competition at the February 27 Oscars. Why? Because it’s the second song featured during the closing credits, and eligible songs must either be in the body of the film, or the tune that plays when the credits start to roll. Oscar’s loss. The January 15 Golden Globes showdown featuring five monsters of pop, rock and soul and acting will be just as star-studded”and as tough to call”as George Clooney vs. Brad Pitt vs. Leonardo DiCaprio vs. Ryan Gosling in Best Actor in a Motion Picture Drama.

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Get In The Spirit With The OurStage Holiday Playlist

Tired of the same old holiday songs? Heard one too many Celine Dion renditions of “O’ Holy Night” blasting through the department store speakers this season? Us too. But fret not, we’ve got the freshest holiday jams right here”and they’re free! We opened the “A Very OurStage Holiday” Playlist Competition in November to find the best undiscovered holiday tracks”both originals and covers”from the best undiscovered artists. Let’s just say we hit the jackpot, and we’re stoked to share these gems with our merry community. So download the “A Very OurStage Holiday” Playlist now, take a seat by the open fire with a glass of eggnog, roast some chestnuts and enjoy this special soundtrack for the season.

Track List:
Elise Lieberth“Holiday Cheer”
Ashley Matte“Christmas Time Love”
Ryan Burton“O Come All Ye Faithful”
Amanda Duncan“The Cookie Song”
Luke James“More Than Presents”
The Rosewood Project “Christmas Time”
Talain Rayne “Wake Up December feat. Tirzah Lemmens”
Kristen Marlo“Hallelujah”
Ty Mayfield“I’ll Be Home for Christmas”
Franks Sirius“White Christmas”
Sean Killingsworth“Silent Night”
Jarrod Gollihare“Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)”
Kennedy Noel“This Holiday”
McClain“God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen”
Eddie Bush“I C Christmas”