dispatches from the pop scene...minus the corn syrup.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Rihanna's "Where Have You Been" Video: Yeah, So?

Let's get down to brass tacks, kids: Talk That Talk sucks, "Where Have You Been" is the only other good song on the album next to "We Found Love" and Rihanna needs to go on a very long vacation.

I feel like Kylie Minogue and Michael Jackson already did this video way better back in the day. It's still a decent song. But hopefully after this flops, RiRi let's this album go and takes a much-needed break. (Though, even if she does, I feel her career peaked already with "We Found Love".)

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Annie Lennox's 'Diva' Turns 20

It should be pointed out that Annie Lennox's Diva album was released 20 years ago this past Saturday (April 28), and to commemorate the occasion, Mr. XOLondon has written a luvvly retrospective piece on it for Idolator.

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Saint Etienne's "I've Got Your Music" Finally Surfaces

Waaaaaaay back in December, we were all given a first preview of Saint Etienne's upcoming eighth studio album Words And Music By Saint Etienne via a clip of new song "I've Got Your Music". The band ended up releasing "Tonight" as the LP's first official single, but now "I've Got Your Music" is finally seeing the light of day. And it's quite magical!



After going deep into '60s pop with Good Humour, experimenting on Sound Of Water, doing electro on Finisterre and trying out the whole concept album thing on Tales From Turnpike House, if feels like this is shaping up to be the first truly Saint Etienne-like Saint Etienne album since Tiger Bay in 1994.


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Thursday, April 26, 2012

US Chart Roundup: Maroon 5 Are Relevant Again

Maroon 5 have been at it for so long — 10 years — that it's strange when you realize their new single "Payphone", which crashes into the Hot 100 this week at #3, is only their fifth Top 10 hit to date. You kind of forget that after "Makes Me Wonder" went to #1 five years ago, it was flop city for these guys until Adam Levine signed up for The Voice.

"Payphone" had been tops on iTunes since its release last week, and so its high chart position is no surprise. Maroon 5 managed to set a record for the most paid downloads (493,000) for a single in one week by a group. Which is absolutely fascinating.

Sorry, what were we talking about again? Maroon 5? I'm just gonna go bang my head against the wall for a few minutes. Ciao.

The U.S. Top 10:

1. "Somebody That I Used To Know" - Gotye feat. Kimbra *2 weeks*
2. "We Are Young" - fun. feat. Janelle Monae
3. "Payphone" - Maroon 5 feat. Wiz Khalifa *new*
4. "Boyfriend" - Justin Bieber
5. "Glad you Came" - The Wanted
6. "Wild Ones" - Flo Rida feat. Sia
7. "Call Me Maybe" - Carly Rae Jepsen
8. "What Makes You Beautiful" - One Direction
9. "Starships" - Nicki Minaj
10. "Stronger (What Doesn't Kill You)" - Kelly Clarkson

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Wednesday, April 25, 2012

It's The Wanted's "Chasing The Sun" Video

The first sign that the broads The Wanted hook up with in their "Chasing The Sun" video are up to no good is when tattoos mysteriously start appearing on each of the boy banders' hands after meeting their beautiful conquests. And when the lads start singing about staying young forever and wind up at some dark, creepy nightclub, well, you can pretty much guess what happens next: they're bitten by blood-sucking hookers.

The moral of the story: the other four of these guys should just stick to getting gang-banged by Max George on camera. That's the key to a long, lucrative career, really.

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Tuesday, April 24, 2012

The Wanted's "Satellite": Listen To The Other New Song On Their American EP

The Wanted's self-titled US EP — seven tracks, standard edition, and ten tracks plus two videos ("Glad You Came" and "Lightning"), special edition — was released today.

On this jam are two new tracks — "Chasing The Sun", the music video for which is premiering tonight on MTV, and the Ryan Tedder-penned "Satellite". And, thankfully, the latter is pretty decent!



Occasionally, when I'm feeling naughty, I think of defecting to Team One Direction. Then I hear "Glad You Came", or sexy trash like "Satellite" and "Chasing The Sun", and I realize that The Wanted are the only band I want so see jousting while naked in a pool of mustard.

PS The word "come" is in a lot of The Wanted's songs. Why is that?

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Monday, April 23, 2012

Ke$ha & Wayne Coyne's "2012" Sounds Like Armageddon

If you're expecting another "Tik Tok" or "Blow" to come out of Ke$ha's collaboration with Flaming Lips frontman Wayne Coyne, then you're in for a real kick in the candy. Below is their song "2012." It'll basically have you wishing for the world to mercifully end before it's over.


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Sunday, April 22, 2012

UK Chart Roundup: Carly Rae Jepsen's Vagina Will Crush The World, Part 2

The headline says it all.

The UK Top 10:

1. "Call Me Maybe" - Carly Rae Jepsen *3 weeks*
2. "Can't Say No" - Conor Maynard *new*
3. "We Are Young" - fun. feat. Janelle Monae
4. "Ordinary People" - John Legend
5. "Laserlight" - Jessie J feat. David Guetta
6. "Somebody That I Used To Know" - Gotye feat. Kimbra
7. "So Good" - B.o.B *new*
8. "Starships" - Nicki Minaj
9. "Boyfriend" - Justin Bieber
10. "Last Time" - Labrinth

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Friday, April 20, 2012

Cheryl Cole's "Call My Name" Vs. Scissor Sisters' "Only The Horses": Which Is The Better Jam?

Cheryl Cole's "Call My Name" is a dance floor addict's wettest dream — it's basically "We Found Love", but if it had been recorded in the '80s by The Jets, produced by Stephen Hague and remixed by Shep Pettibone. Only it was recorded by Cheryl Cole.



Scissor Sisters' "Only The Horses", on the other hand, is thinking person's pop — I think it would have sounded nice on The Killers' Day & Age a few years back. Only it wasn't recorded by The Killers. It was recorded by Scissor Sisters.



Both of these songs were produced by Calvin Harris. And for once, each of these artists have released singles that don't make me want to chainsaw their respective vaginas.

So which is better, pop pickers?

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Thursday, April 19, 2012

Madonna's Full 'Rock Center' Interview

Here's Ye Olde Vampyre's interview with Harry Smith on Rock Center that aired last night. Odd that she waited till now to do any type of promo for MDNA — now that it's flizz-opped out of the Top 10 on the Top 200 in its third week — and that she chose this outlet to do so.

Anyway, there's nothing earth-shattering here. She chides Lourdes for smoking, says "it's hard to be #1" and talks about feeling tired of the game at this point.

Marvel at Madge below, pop chyldryn.



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US Chart Roundup: Gotye Goes From Down Under To On Top

It's a pretty flat week on the Hot 100, save for the fact that Gotye and Kimrba's "Somebody That I Used To Know" has become the seventh single of the year to top the chart. Strangely, we're well into April, but only one of those seven singles — Katy Perry's "Part Of Me" — wasn't released last year.

"Somebody That I Used To Know" got an added boost last week after being covered by Darren Criss and Matthew Bomer on Glee and performed by Gotye and Kimbra on Saturday Night Live.

At any rate, Gotye, who was born in Belgium but relocated to Australia when he was 2 years old, is now the first artist from Down Under to reach #1 since Savage Garden's "I Knew I Loved You" climbed to the top in 2000.

He's also only the second Belgian artist (technically) to do so, and the first since this poor broad, The Singing Nun (aka Jeanine Deckers), in 1963:



The Singing Nun, who was also known as Sœur Sourire, or Sister Smile, committed suicide in 1985 with her lesbian partner after she was unable to cough up unpaid taxes owed to the Belgian government. So invest your cash wisely, Gotye.

Over on the Top 200 album chart, Madonna's MDNA has flopped out of the Top 10 after only two weeks, as it falls from #8 to #18.

The U.S. Top 10:

1. "Somebody That I Used To Know" - Gotye feat. Kimbra *1 week*
2. "We Are Young" - fun. feat. Janelle Monae
3. "Glad you Came" - The Wanted
4. "What Makes You Beautiful" - One Direction
5. "Boyfriend" - Justin Bieber
6. "Wild Ones" - Flo Rida feat. Sia
7. "Starships" - Nicki Minaj
8. "Call Me Maybe" - Carly Rae Jepsen
9. "Stronger (What Doesn't Kill You)" - Kelly Clarkson
10. "Part Of Me" - Katy Perry

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Wednesday, April 18, 2012

The Wanted Do "Chasing The Sun" On 'The Voice'

Last night The Wanted performed "Chasing The Sun," their official US follow-up single to "Glad You Came," on The Voice. I say official because they've chucked about four promo singles on iTunes in the past month in the lead-up to their EP release next Tuesday (April 24).

Anyway, last week I mentioned that The Wanted have yet to record anything that matches the giddy high of "Glad You Came". This song, however, comes close.

I hope it made Xtina's thong snap.

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Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Maroon 5's New Single "Payphone" Is Desperate But Fun

First of all, Maroon 5's upcoming album Overexposed is executive produced by Max Martin. That should tell you a lot — mainly that, after years of having semi-hits and flops as far as singles, the band is keen to keep the "Moves Like Jagger" momentum going.

Enter Max's henchmen Benny Blanco and Shellback, and chart-topping Pittsburgh rapper Wiz Khalifa, who was stapled onto the irresistibly catchy "Payphone".



It's hilarious how over-the-top pop this track is. I figured "Moves Like Jagger" was a one-time thing for the band. But no, Adam & Co. are clearly willing to sell their souls for a hit.

Thank God.

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Nelly Furtado's "Big Hoops (Bigger The Better)" Kinda Sucks, Let's Face It

You'd think that after taking six years off from releasing an English language pop album, Nelly Furtado would return with something amazing as the lead single from the forthcoming The Spirit Indestructible (out June 19). Alas, no — she returned with this:



The Rodney "Darkchild" Jerkins-produced "Big Hoops (Bigger The Better)" is quite a loud, Auto-Tuned, all-over-the-place mess, no? It's a real shame, considering that Nelly's three chart-topping singles from her 2006 - 2007 golden period — "Promiscuous," "Say It Right" and "Give It To Me" — were all solid jams produced by Timbaland.

In fact, one wonders why she didn't return to the studio with Timbaland for at least one song to bridge the gap between Loose and this album. Instead, she worked with Salaam Remi, Darkchild, Tiesto, Bob Rock and John Shanks (plus Fraser T. Smith, who did a song on the deluxe version of the LP).

Here's hoping there's better material lying in wait.

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Sunday, April 15, 2012

UK Chart Roundup: Carly Rae Jepsen's Vagina Will Crush The World

Death snatch.

The UK Top 10:

1. "Call Me Maybe" - Carly Rae Jepsen *2 weeks*
2. "Boyfriend" - Justin Beiber *new*
3. "Somebody That I Used To Know" - Gotye feat. Kimbra
4. "Climax" - Usher *new*
5. "Starships" - Nicki Minaj
6. "She Doesn't Mind" - Sean Paul 
7. "We Are Young" - fun. feat. Janelle Monae *new*
8. "Level Up" - Sway *new*
9. "Turn Up The Music" - Chris Brown
10. "Drive By" - Train

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Friday, April 13, 2012

Alphabeat's "Vacation" Video: Watch

Good news, Alphabeat fans - the "Vacation" single was finally added to US iTunes recently. Good news, Alphabeat fans part 2 - the "Vacation" video premiered today.

It's a fun-filled, pastel-colored affair that's as upbeat as the song itself. The only issue I really have with it is that Troels, the hot drummer, has his clothes on. The least he could have done was drop his pants and show everyone in Alphabeatland his ass or something.

So, in that case, the video is kind of a ripoff.

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Thursday, April 12, 2012

It's Adam Lambert's "Never Close Our Eyes"

For his second Trespassing single, Adam Lambert was given a Bruno Mars-penned song from 2010. Thankfully, "Never Close Our Eyes" is more "total jam" than tired leftover. Of course, it kind of reminds me of "Moves Like Jagger," which means I could be sick of it after hearing it on the radio 5,043 times. But, really, what are the odds of that happening?

Naturally Dr. Luke is on production chores here.



And here's Bruno's version:

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Steps 'On The Road Again': Preview

As mentioned last month, the follow up to Steps Reunion begins airing this month (on April 23) on Sky TV in the UK. This six-part trash is called On The Road Again, and it follows Steps as they "prepare for their sell out tour and life back on the road as a fabulous five-some."

The best part from the below preview: Lisa saying, "Claire's had a few wobbles, especially when it comes down to the choreography."

Yes, we get it, Lisa — she's chunky.

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US Chart Roundup: The Wanted Vs. One Direction - Which Team Are You On?

It occurred to me this week that The Wanted's self-titled album that was supposed to be released in the US on April 24 has now been downgraded to an EP. Strange, I thought, given that they've been riding high on the Billboard Hot 100 ("Glad You Came" moves back up to #3 this week) since the year began.

That said, The Wanted's UK rivals One Direction are nipping at their manly heels, as "What Makes You Beautiful" flies up to #4 in its second week within the Top 10. I think the last time two British boy bands appeared in the upper tier of the US chart at the same time was, um, well...never.

On the the "Iris"/Wanted post I put up yesterday, two anonymous commentators had this two say about the band's album downgrade:

Anonymous #1: "There is 'Deluxe Version', which has 10 tracks, which essentially makes it an album. The 'EP' is only being released to whet appetites for their second album, 'Battleground', which will be released this fall in the U.S."

Anonymous #2: "The Wanted's spin factory downgraded the album to an 'EP' in fear that its charting would pale in comparison to One Direction's (true story) album performance. Besides the fact that 1D seems to have stolen their thunder, the fear was largely based on the fact that half the tracks had been around for over a year and a half now and the relative lack of strength of the new songs they recorded (most of the new tracks they recorded were cut and deemed 'average'). For the Anonymous poster above me - Battleground is NOT being released this fall (other than an unofficial introduction onto ITunes, but that doesnt count); however their new International album (US/UK release) should be ready for a late November release date."

For what it's worth, here's where I stand with these two: "Glad You Came" is the fucking jam. I like "What Makes You Beautiful" and "Stole My Heart" off 1D's Up All Night album enough, but they're no "Glad You Came". However, The Wanted have yet to record a song as good as "Glad You Came". So at the end of the day, these guys are all only as good as their songs (and Max George's abs and butt) — which is pretty much the way I felt about Backstreet Boys and *NSYNC back in the day.

Elsewhere, fun.'s "We Are Young" is #1 for a sixth week, and has now sold over 3 million downloads — crazy, considering it's only April, and Adele's "Rolling In The Deep" was the best-selling single of all of 2011 at 5 million.

Jennifer Lopez's "Dance Again", another collaboration with in-demand (read: overused and generic) producer RedOne, debuts at #27. It might be kind of perfect, if it wasn't for the presence of Pitbull.



And on a final note, Ellie Goulding's "Lights" inches its way up to #60. At this rate, it should be in the Top 10 by February 2014.

The U.S. Top 10:

1. "We Are Young" - fun. feat. Janelle Monae *6 weeks*
2. "Somebody That I Used To Know" - Gotye feat. Kimbra
3. "Glad you Came" - The Wanted
4. "What Makes You Beautiful" - One Direction
5. "Boyfriend" - Justin Bieber
6. "Starships" - Nicki Minaj
7. "Wild Ones" - Flo Rida feat. Sia
8. "Stronger (What Doesn't Kill You)" - Kelly Clarkson
9. "Part Of Me" - Katy Perry
10. "Call Me Maybe" - Carly Rae Jepsen

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Wednesday, April 11, 2012

The Wanted Cover Goo Goo Dolls' "Iris"

Below is a nice video of The Wanted doing an acoustic cover of Goo Goo Dolls' 1998 City Of Angels soundtrack hit "Iris". It was taped during a promotional visit to San Diego's Slacker Radio recently. You're eyes are not deceiving you, either — that's really Tom and Siva playing guitar.

When I saw these guys on their small US tour in January, they busted out this cover on stage. (It was the B-side to "Glad You Came" overseas.)



Meanwhile, it appears as if The Wanted's upcoming self-titled US debut release (out April 24) has been downgraded from an album to an EP.

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If You Blinked Yesterday, You Missed The Release Of Bim's "Scream"

UK boy-girl duo Bim released their new spanking new single "Scream" yesterday, and it's available on iTunes (in the States, too). It'd be a shame if you didn't love it. The song is kind of a jam.

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Sunday, April 08, 2012

UK Chart Roundup: Bow Down To Carly Rae Jepsen

I'm so glad that my stan-dom for Carly Rae Jepsen's "Call Me Maybe" has influenced the world enough to cause the song to top the UK chart this week. It's a real testament to the power of persuasion and Carly Rae's powerhouse soul vocals.

Meanwhile, given that this Canadian broad is affiliated with Justin Bieber (his manager Scooter Braun signed her up for exploitation representation in the US), I just assumed she was some teen pop tart. But no! She's 26 going on 27. (As opposed to 26 going on 29 or 43.)

But let's get down to brass tacks. Odds of Lady Jepsen being a one-hit wonder? Possibly. Odds of her having this big hit all over the world then charting another single at like #21? Count on it.

Whatever. This jam is already a contender for the upper half of my best of the year list.

The UK Top 10:

1. "Call Me Maybe" - Carly Rae Jepsen *new* *1 week*
2. "She Doesn't Mind" - Sean Paul
3. "Somebody That I Used To Know" - Gotye feat. Kimbra
4. "Starships" - Nicki Minaj
5. "Turn Up The Music" - Chris Brown
6. "Part Of Me" - Katy Perry
7. "Titanium" - David Guetta feat. Sia
8. "Wild Ones" - Flo Rida feat. Sia
9. "Next To Me" - Emeli Sande
10. "Last Time" - Labrinth

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Friday, April 06, 2012

My Interview With Andrew Dawson, Who Is Producing The New Pet Shop Boys Album

You may recall that Pet Shop Boys have a new album coming out this fall, which was recorded in Los Angeles with Grammy winner Andrew Dawson taking up production chores.

I had a talk with Andrew for Idolator, where he said the Boys are making "their first L.A. record" that has "that classic L.A. sound."

Catch the full interview here. (I'm thrilled, by the way, that the PSBs themselves have linked to it!)

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Thursday, April 05, 2012

US Chart Roundup: Justin Bieber, One Direction & Carly Rae Jepsen's Pop Attack

I feel like I've said this a handful of times while riffing on the Hot 100 over the years, but this week I truly believe this is one of the most pop-filled Top 10s since this blog has been online.

Once again we have fun.'s "We Are Young" at #1, furthering its stance as the best-selling single of the year. The band keep Justin Bieber's "Boyfriend" from topping the chart. (Yes, I just wrote that sentence.) That said, the Bieb's new single sold 521,000 downloads in its first week. And much like his Chris Brown "Forever" knockoff "Never Let You Go," it might wind up being a secret guilty pleasure on the iPod D'luv,

Meanwhile, with Adele's "Set Fire To The Rain" and David Guetta and Nicki Minaj's "Turn Me On" tumbling out of the Top 10, room is made for One Direction's "What Makes You Beautiful" at #9 (look out, The Wanted!) and Carly Rae Jepsen's "Call Me Maybe" at #10. And we all know how I feel about "Call Me Maybe."

But seriously, did you ever think you'd see two Australian singers, an artist from New Zealand, two British boy bands and two Canadian pop tarts in the US Top 10 at the same time in this day and age?

The U.S. Top 10:

1. "We Are Young" - fun. feat. Janelle Monae *5 weeks*
2. "Boyfriend" - Justin Bieber *new*
3. "Somebody That I Used To Know" - Gotye feat. Kimbra
4. "Glad you Came" - The Wanted
5. "Stronger (What Doesn't Kill You)" - Kelly Clarkson
6. "Starships" - Nicki Minaj
7. "Wild Ones" - Flo Rida feat. Sia
8. "Part Of Me" - Katy Perry
9. "What Makes You Beautiful" - One Direction
10. "Call Me Maybe" - Carly Rae Jepsen

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Wednesday, April 04, 2012

Madonna's 'MDNA' Tops US Album Chart

Ye Olde Vampyre's is no doubt feasting on a bowl of chyldryn this morning in celebration. MDNA sold 359,000 copies in its first week, enough to easily put it at #1 on Billboard's Top 200. This marks Madge's eighth chart-topping album, which puts her in second place among broads, just behind Barbra Streisand, who has nine.

While Vampyre's previous LP Hard Candy "only" opened with 280,000, MDNA had a special promotion tied in with it where those who purchased tickets for Madonna's upcoming tour had the option to receive a copy of the album, either a physical or download version, as part of their purchase. Those who chose to receive a copy contributed to the first-week sales.

Clever.

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It's Garbage's "Blood For Poppies" Video

Garbage are back after seven years next month with new album Not Your Kind Of People (out May 15), and thankfully the music is awesome and Shirley Manson is still a creepy space alien.

Below is the video for first US single "Blood For Poppies," which plays like both a noir-tinged romp through Los Angeles and a jarring homage experimental French cinema.

I love this band.

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Tuesday, April 03, 2012

Two Clips Of Steps Covering Lady Gaga's "Judas" In Belfast Last Night

Don't get me started on how over it I am that I'm not able to attend the Steps concert I have tickets for in London on April 19.

ANYWAY, the band's Ultimate Tour kicked off at Belfast's Odyssey Arena last night. Appropriately, Lee and Faye look like they were the most scantily-clad during the show (The Sun has some photos up, while PopJustice posted a few videos), and Lisa looked the most like a drag queen in her butterfly garb.

Surprisingly, the band mashed up their 1999 cover of Kylie Minogue's "Better The Devil You Know" with Lady Gaga's 2011 single "Judas". (Though, actually, in Steps Reunion, the band mention that "Judas" sounds like one of their old songs, so perhaps it's not so suprising.)

Anyway, here are two different clips of them doing Gaga:





Suddenly this song doesn't sound so annoying anymore.

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Monday, April 02, 2012

Original Sugababes Linuep Sign Million-Pound Deal, Working With Xenomania

As a bit of an update on the reunion of the original three members of SugababesKeisha Buchanan, Siobhan Donaghy and Mutya Buena — a report has surfaced (via The Sun) that the three broads have now signed a £1 million label deal with Polydor. For legal reasons, they've got to settle on a new name, as well. (How about Cupcakez? Splendahoes? Honeyhookers? Candythongz?)

Anyway, the over-the-hill ex-babes (they range in age from a geriactric 26 to a walker-needing 27) are said to be working with everyone from "Next To Me" songstress Emeli Sande to production team Xenomania on new material.

This sounds like the classiest reunion since 98 Degrees. Personally, I always thought the best Suga era was the Keisha/Mutya/Heidi Range one, but anything's better than the abomination that is the current lineup operating under the name.

Bring it back to sexy good jams, ladies.

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Sunday, April 01, 2012

UK Chart Roundup: Madonna's "Girl Gone Wild" Is #1 While 'MDNA' Album Flops

Madonna's latest single "Girl Gone Wild" achieves far greater success on the UK chart than previous single "Give Me All Your Luvin'" did, as it becomes the Material Broad's first #1 single since "4 Minutes". It also marks Ye Olde Vampyre's first Top 10 hit in the country since "Celebration" reached #3 in 2009.

Meanwhile, despite topping the album charts in nearly a dozen countries so far, Madonna's 12th studio LP MDNA has limped into the UK chart at a lowly #27. Quite a contrast from Hard Candy, which somehow landed at the undeserving position of #1 back in 2008. Perhaps it's time for Madge to finally slither back into the coffin and go down for the Fynal Nap?

Oh, just kidding. April Fool's Day! MDNA is #1 in the UK, giving Her Tradgesty a 12th chart-topping album — a feat that now puts her ahead of Elvis Presley as the solo artist with the most #1s.

And as for "Girl Gone Wild" — total flopsville! Lady beater Chris Brown's generic shit track "Turn up The Music" is the #1 single.

Hoo-razzly-dazzly!

The UK Top 10:

1. "Turn Up The Music" - Chris Brown *new* *1 week*
2. "She Doesn't Mind" - Sean Paul
3. "Starships" - Nicki Minaj
4. "Part Of Me" - Katy Perry
5. "Somebody That I Used To Know" - Gotye feat. Kimbra
6. "Ill Manors" - Plan B *new*
7. "Wild Ones" - Flo Rida feat. Sia
8. "Titanium" - David Guetta feat. Sia
9. "Last Time" - Labrinth
10. "Next To Me" - Emeli Sande

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