WENNComebacks from one of the world's biggest stadium rock bands, the original M.I.A. and Victoria Beckham's former arch-nemesis all feature in this week's guide to the best recently-unveiled tracks.Neneh Cherry – "Blank Project"Although Neneh Cherry has kept herself busy via collaborations with jazz trio The Thing and trip-hop collective Cirkus, it's been 17 years since her last solo LP, Woman. An intense Four Tet-produced account of a love-hate relationship, the title track from her forthcoming fourth studio effort proves she remains as compelling as ever.Solange – "Cash In"After kicking off the year in style with the stunning True EP, the most interesting Knowles sister now ends it with another gorgeous slice of leftfield R&B taken from her Saint Heron compilation – the first release on her own boutique label Saint Records.Sophie Ellis-Bextor – "Young Blood"Capitalising on her current run on Strictly Come Dancing, the UK's most well-spoken pop star abandons the elegant electro she made her name with in favour of a lush and cinematic baroque-pop ballad which certainly bodes well for her upcoming fifth album Wanderlust.Royksopp – "Something In My Heart"Accompanied by the yearning James Blake-esque tones of The Irrepressibles' Jamie McDermott, the Norwegian duo confirm their status as kings of electro-pop heartbreak with a typically dreamy blend of chugging synths, melancholic melodies and slow-motion beats.U2 – "Ordinary Love"Following the commercial disappointment of 2009's experimental No Line On The Horizon, U2 now go back to basics with their contribution to the new Nelson Mandela biopic. Produced by Danger Mouse, "Ordinary Love" combines a resonant piano hook with The Edge's familiar echo-drenched riffs a to produce the band's most quietly affecting single in years.
Lady Gaga / InterscopeDespite all the pretentious talk of 'putting art culture into pop music,' the majority of Lady Gaga's third studio album, ARTPOP, sticks to the same kind of EDM-lite blueprint that has defined the charts during her two-year absence. However, there are at least a handful of occasions where the 27-year-old offers something more in keeping with her self-hyped creative vision. Here's a look at five of the most leftfield moments from the 'reverse Warholian expedition.'"Aura"Recently used in the trailer for her big-screen debut Machete Kills, album opener "Aura" begins with an intriguing Spaghetti Western-style intro and an even more intriguing murder confession before disappointingly veering off into generic dubstep territory."Jewels N' Drugs"Gaga has flirted with rap before on hook-ups with Kid Cudi and Wall-E, but she's never approached it with as much gusto as on "Jewels N' Drugs," a trap-hop collaboration with Too Short, T.I. and a warp speed-breaking Twista which will no doubt utterly bewilder most of her Little Monsters."My ARTPOP could mean anything"After clubbing everyone over the head with her artistic intentions, Gaga now claims that the real message behind ARTPOP is entirely open to interpretation on the album's slightly contradictory title track."Mary Jane Holland"Gaga certainly hasn't been afraid to admit to her experiences with illicit substances in the past but she takes it to new levels on a rave-pop pro-weed anthem which almost makes Snoop Dogg appear anti-drug."Dope"Despite vowing to give up her vices in order to save her relationship, Gaga sounds suspiciously inebriated as she bizarrely slurs her way through the album's obligatory Broadway-style ballad.
WENN/Chris JepsonThose eleven artists who will walk away from London's The Roundhouse empty-handed on Wednesday night shouldn't feel too disheartened as while the Mercury Prize remains arguably the most prestigious award in British music, it's by no means a guarantee for a long-lasting career. Indeed, although the likes of Arctic Monkeys, Dizzee Rascal and two-time winner PJ Harvey have only gone from strength to strength since picking up the £20,000 cheque, the history of the ceremony is littered with artists who disappeared off everyone's radar virtually the moment their name was read out. Here's a look at five forgotten recipients.Roni SizeInstrumental in drum 'n' bass' mainstream breakthrough, Roni Size's win over Radiohead's OK Computer and The Prodigy's The Fat Of The Land with his 1997 debut, New Forms, may have come as a shock but certainly wasn't undeserved. However, the dreadlocked producer then appeared to scurry back into the underground almost as quickly as he'd escaped from it. Talvin SinghArguably the most leftfield winner, Talvin Singh's re-interpretation of Indian classical music on 1999's OK beat the likes of Blur's 13 and The Chemical Brothers' Surrender to the prize. A William Orbit-esque career path appeared to await when Madonna recruited the tabla player for 2000's Music but his contribution only appeared as a Japanese bonus track and his subsequent releases sank without trace.Ms DynamiteHailed as the voice of her generation, Ms Dynamite's blend of hip-hop, R&B and socially-conscious lyrics enamoured the judges enough to award her inventive debut, A Little Deeper, the prize back in 2002. However, preachy 2005 follow-up Judgement Days forgot to include any semblance of a tune, while her peace-loving reputation took a bit of a battering a year later when she pleaded guilty to punching a male police officer.KlaxonsThe leading figures of the mid-'00s nu-rave scene, The Klaxons triumphed over Amy Winehouse's Back To Black in 2007 with their trippy debut, Myths Of The Near Future. But originally rejected by their label for being too experimental, second album Surfing The Void was released to near total apathy in 2010.Speech DebellePerhaps the reason for the panel's play-it-safe approach in recent years, Speech Debelle was a virtual unknown before she was unexpectedly handed the prize ahead of Florence + The Machine and La Roux with 2009's Speech Therapy. Responsible for the lowest-selling Mercury Prize winning album ever (just 15,000 copies), she still remains a virtual unknown.
Jan Persson/Getty ImagesFollowing the 1991 tragic death of Freddie Mercury, undoubtedly one of the greatest showman of all time, it seemed unthinkable that the remaining members of Queen would even consider trying to find someone capable of filling his massive platform boots. And yet from one-off performances with Elton John and George Michael to a string of dates with American Idol runner-up Adam Lambert to a world tour and album with Paul Rodgers, Brian May and Roger Taylor have continued to showcase the band's iconic back catalogue with various different replacements. With fun.'s Nate Ruess the latest frontman to appear alongside the rock legends at last weekend's iHeartRadio Festival, here’s a look at five other potential candidates who embody the spirit of The Great Pretender.
Robbie WilliamsSay what you like about the former Take That star but he sure knows how to work a crowd. Williams has already been in the studio with Queen having recorded a cover of "We Are The Champions" for A Knight’s Tale and reportedly came close to fronting their 2005 reunion tour. But he's yet to make that giant leap and join them on stage.
MikaMika even referenced Mercury directly in his 2007 breakthrough hit, "Grace Kelly." And although his star has diminished considerably since, his natural flamboyance and piercing falsetto still makes him a credible contender.
Justin HawkinsAnother name who was touted in the press before Queen settled on Rodgers, Justin Hawkins channelled the bluster and pomp of the band's '70s era perfectly with The Darkness' debut album, Permission To Land. A virtuoso guitarist, the catsuit-clad rocker could also offer some neat interplay with May.
Russell BrandA leftfield choice which would no doubt enrage Queen's loyal fan base, the former Mr. Katy Perry may be best-known for his witty dictionary-swallowing way with words. But his roles in Get Me To The Greek and Forgetting Sarah Marshall, not to mention his London Olympics Closing Ceremony performance, proved he's got what it takes to be a rock star.
Marc MartelThe least known but possibly most obvious choice to do their classic hits justice, Marc Martel was personally chosen by Taylor to front the officially-sanctioned covers band for the recent Queen Extravaganza Tour following a YouTube-uploaded audition which displayed a highly impressive uncanny vocal resemblance to his idol.
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It often happens - you walk out of a movie and have forgotten the plot, the acting, who was actually IN the movie...but the music stays with you...and stays...and stays. You don't mind the songs taking up residence in your head and wind up buying the soundtrack, thus making it a good thing that you went to this bad flick. Here are some of the most mediocre movies with great soundtracks.
1. Purple Rain (1984)
Can't remember a thing about the movie, but "When Doves Cry" is still stuck in people's brain for decades. Prince's outfits here also gave Dave Chappelle infinite fodder for his comedy. The rock legend even used Chappelle dressed up as him for the cover of his latest single.
2. Singles (1992)
This soundtrack had such music legends like Alice in Chains, Pearl Jam, Soundgarden while the movie's biggest draw was a long-haired Matt Dillon. Somehow, I think the music people got it much better.
3. Rocky IV (1985)
Russian menace Ivan Drago couldn't break this soundtrack - it was packed with such great music from Survivor, Kenny Loggins, and of course...James Brown. No wonder Rocky Balboa was inspired to come back and beat him. Oops. Sorry, spoilers.
4. Batman Forever (1995)
Val Kilmer wasn't the best Bruce Wayne, portraying him as possibly the most bland billionaire/superhero in cinema history. He made Michael Keaton look caffeinated by comparison. Really big hit songs by U2 and Seal helped make the soundtrack memorable, though. Music videos for both tunes got really heavy rotation on MTV, back when music was the primary impetus behind the channel, not reality TV.
5. The Crow (1994)
This movie got notoriety with Brandon Lee's death during filming more than from being good. The soundtrack was not a tragedy, though. It rocked, though - with the Stone Temple Pilots, Nine Inch Nails, The Cure and Rage Against the Machine. While it did spawn a couple of sequels, people don't really remember the original.
6. Juice (1992)
This was an OK movie that had the late Tupac Shakur in it, but it had an all-star rap soundtrack, including Naughty By Nature, Eric B. and Rakim, EPMD and Big Daddy Kane. Decades from the movie's release, people are still listening to songs like "Uptown Anthem", but the movie languishes in history.
7. The Beach (2000)
This movie sank faster than the boat in Leo DiCaprio's previous one (some film called Titanic), but it was buoyed by a soundtrack that included dance/electronic movie gods Underworld and Leftfield.
8. American Graffiti (1973)
This is a decent film that some dude named Harrison Ford appeared in before he became known as Han Solo, but it had so many great oldie songs on the soundtrack that you felt like you were transported back to 1962.
9. Vanilla Sky (2001)
This was a forgettable Tom Cruise vehicle, which was rare at the time since everything he touched turned to gold at the time the movie came out. The film has some beautiful music, including Sigur Ros' "Svefn g Englar," so we can thank the movie for raising awareness of that awesome band, at least.
10. Threesome (1994)
This was NOT an adult film, but starred Lara Flynn Boyle, Adam Baldwin, and Josh Charles. The soundtrack had several great artists, including Duran Duran, U2, Bryan Ferry and Tears For Fears - which means they should have at least titled that "More than A Threesome."
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Moviemaker Jerry Bruckheimer has added video-game developer to his resume--after teaming up with a gaming company for the first time.
The Pirates of the Caribbean producer will now work in partnership with MTV Games to develop original concepts for brand new computer experiences.
He tells MTV.com news, "I think the New Year is upon us, and we all make our New Year's resolutions. It's time to set our creative energies into other areas I haven't been in before, so it's a perfect time for me."
And he admits he will bring the same leftfield approach to his video-game making as is displayed in his moviemaking.
He adds, "I think the same kind of stuff we bring to television and films. We always want to look at things a little differently from other people. Pirate films were dead for a long time, and we put Johnny Depp in it and created an unforgettable character. We did the same thing with fighter pilots in Top Gun and dancers in Flashdance. So we're just trying to see things a little differently."
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