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Fall Out Boy, Ed Sheeran Cover Elton John

Fall Out Boy Visits fuseWe know, the title kind of implies this was a collaboration of sorts. But there are some collaborations that are just a little too odd to imagine, and Fall Out Boy with Ed Sheeran are among them. Though by the looks of it, something may be in the works. But for now, the two artists are simply showing their mutual love of Elton John in two separate covers, which will appear on a deluxe reissue of Elton John’s Goodbye Yellow Brick Road. Also appearing on the cover album will be Hunter Hayes, the Zac Brown Band, and many more. Check out the covers track list below.

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The 5 Best and Worst Music-Related Super Bowl Commercials Of All Time

Before you settle back into your La-Z-Boy this Sunday to watch the big game, let’s take a moment to recap some of the best and worst music-related Super Bowl commercials ever to grace your TV screen. Let’s just hope that The Flaming Lips don’t embarrass themselves in their much-hyped Hyundai ad this year.

THE GOOD

Who better to talk about the gritty determination that defines Detroit than the poster bad boy of the Motor City, Eminem? This brooding car ad actually instilled a spot of Motown pride amid the general goofiness that usually defines Super Bowl commercials. Good job, Rabbit. (more…)

The Editorialist: 5 Songs To Wake Up To This Christmas

For as much chaos and stress as the holidays can sometimes bring, there’s a certain magic that comes along with this time of year. It may be cliché, but when those Christmas lights go up and the fireplace kicks on, I can’t help but be brought back to a time of simple childhood joys like Dunkin Donuts’ Munchkins while decorating the tree, staying up all night on Christmas Eve, and tearing into presents Christmas morning.

So this year while you’re celebrating the holidays with loved ones, relax, switch on these songs, and enjoy a little background music to your holiday. Merry Christmas. (more…)

Top 25 Highest-Paid Musicians: Do Your Favorites Make The List?

Forbes has released their annual Top 25 list for the highest-paid musicians in 2012. While we may wish that it was swarming with OurStage artists (all in due time) we’re certain you’ll recognize and love more than a few of these names.

Topping the list this year is Dr. Dre with $110 million in earnings, to which he owes a great deal of thanks to his Beats headphone line. You’ll also find long time favorites Elton John ($80 million) and U2 ($78 million) among the list, with the fresh faces of Taylor Swift ($57 million) and Justin Bieber ($55 million) not far behind. Check out the full list after the jump. (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…)

Friday, August 24, 2012

Sound and Vision: Do Today's Pop Music Producers Have Too Much Power?

Something interesting recently went down atop the U.K. singles and album charts. Elton John reigned on the list of best-selling albums with a collection of 40-year-old songs, while Florence + the Machine was No. 1 on the singles chart for the first time ever. The band’s vehicle? A song that was originally produced by Paul Epworth, a regular Adele collaborator (Rolling in the Deep and He Won’t Go, the best song on 21) who had never managed to go that high in the U.K. working with the world’s biggest female pop star.

Alas, he wasn’t exactly scaling that height with Florence either”at least not alone. And therein lies the twist in this chart saga: a good beat. Those Elton John classics had been updated with a danceable 2012 electro sheen by Australian production duo Pnau on the chart-topping Good Morning to the Night, an album featuring dozens of John songs from between 1970 and 1977 crammed into eight tracks and credited to Elton John Vs Pnau, while Florence’s Epworth-produced Ceremonials track “Spectrum” was the leading single via the re-titled and remixed-by-DJ/producer Calvin Harris (for optimal under-the-strobelight consumption) “Spectrum (Say My Name) (Calvin Harris Mix).”

When Bryan Ferry sang, “Don’t stop the dance,” was this what he had in mind? Beat-driven pop where singers share star billing with the producers who boost them to the top? More than ever, the recording arts have become a producer’s medium, in much the same way that film is a director’s medium, with the behind-the-scenes talent dominating both the sound and the vision. (The stage, in singing“when it’s actually live“as in acting, remains the domain of the performer.) With a smaller pool of star producers creating a bigger bulk of the hits, pop music has become as homogenized as Hollywood blockbusters.

According to Ron Fair, a veteran music executive and producer who has worked with Christina Aguilera, Fergie and Lady Gaga, it’s a logical progression from how records are now made. A producer today is a hybrid role of producer, songwriter, and beat maker, he says. What we used to call arranging is now called making beats, so generally, the producer is the guy who walks in with the song. Back in [Beatles producer] George Martin’s and [Linda Ronstadt/James Taylor producer] Peter Asher’s day, they weren’t responsible for making songs.

Dance music, however, has always been more of a producer’s forum than middle-of-the-road pop. But with disco in the ’70s, it didn’t always show. When one remembers Donna Summer’s greatest hits, Gloria Gaynor’s “I Will Survive,” or Amii Stewart’s “Knock on Wood,” the spectacular vocals probably come to mind first, then the beat.  (more…)

Friday, August 3rd, 2012

Sound and Vision: Pop's Greatest Gender Benders – Songs That Sound Better Sung By the Opposite Sex

One of the best releases of 2012 to date is Boys Don’t Cry, an album of covers recorded by Anglo-Pakistani singer-songwriter Rumer (nee Sarah Joyce). As a vocalist, Rumer is soothing and smooth, strictly middle-of-the-road enough to earn her an invitation from U.S. President Barack Obama to perform at the White House in May, the month her album came out ” but that’s not to say she doesn’t have a slightly subversive streak.

After all, who chooses to release a collection of remakes for their second full-length studio album. (Rumer’s 2010 debut, Seasons of My Soul, earned her widespread acclaim, two Brit Award nominations, and a platinum certification in the U.K.)

Then there is the theme of Boys Don’t Cry (whose title was not inspired by The Cure song, which is not among the album tracks): Everything on it was written and performed by male artists in the ’70s. Somehow Rumer makes quintessentially guy songs like Ronnie Lane‘s “Just for a Moment” (about an instant of clarity in a drunken haze) and Neil Young‘s “A Man Needs a Maid” (title: self-explanatory) sound strong enough for a man but made for a woman.

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Tuesday, July 17th, 2012