TIME Music

Paul McCartney Tried Writing a Protest Anthem for Garner Demonstrations

"The Night That Changed America: A GRAMMY Salute To The Beatles" - Roaming Show
Paul McCartney performs onstage during "The Night That Changed America: A GRAMMY Salute To The Beatles" on Jan. 27, 2014 in Los Angeles. Larry Busacca—Getty Images

"I was thinking recently about all these protests"

Paul McCartney has not given up on writing a protest anthem for demonstrations against the killing of Michael Brown and Eric Garner.

“I was thinking recently about all these protests in New York and around the country,” he told Rolling Stone, “I thought it would be great to put something down about that, just to add my voice to the thousands of people walking in the streets.”

Nonetheless the former Beatle had to scrap his initial attempt to write a song, amid a struggle to find the right tone. “I’m not giving up on it,” he said.

Read more at Rolling Stone.

TIME Music

Madonna Unexpectedly Releases 6 New Songs After Leaked Tracks

Great American Songbook Event Honoring Bryan Lourd - Inside
Madonna attends The Great American Songbook event honoring Bryan Lourd at Alice Tully Hall on Feb. 10, 2014 in New York. Kevin Mazur—Getty Images

The singer urged fans not to listen to "incomplete" songs leaked earlier this week

Madonna released six new songs from an unreleased album on Saturday, in a surprise move meant to counter the leak of “incomplete” tracks that were shared online earlier in the week.

Madonna called the surprise release an “early Christmas gift” to her fans, the Associated Press reports, adding that she hoped the completed tracks might deter fans from listening to the leaked songs, which she said were unfinished demos that were not yet ready for release.

The songs come from her newest album, Rebel Heart, which was slated for a March release date. Her publicist said the singer would release more tracks on February 9.

TIME Television

7 Great Music Moments in The Colbert Report

Television personality Stephen Colbert smiles while taping the "The Colbert Report" on Dec. 8, 2014.
Television personality Stephen Colbert smiles while taping the "The Colbert Report" on Dec. 8, 2014. Bloomberg—Bloomberg via Getty Images

In honor of the end of the nine-year show

Bring on the tears: The Colbert Report ends its run with tonight’s episode. While Stephen Colbert the person will of course be fine — he’s taking over for David Letterman on The Late Show — “Stephen Colbert” the character’s future is much less certain. One thing is for sure: It’s the end of one incredible, zeitgeist-y era.

In honor of the end of the nine-year show, we rounded up some of Colbert’s best music and musician-related segments. Appreciate his genius by rewatching 7 of our favorite clips below.

1. Colbert’s Christmas Special
Elvis Costello and Stephen Colbert want to shoot a Christmas special; there’s just one problem: A bear in the woods. So instead, this Christmas special revolves around Costello and Colbert in a cabin with a series of visitors stopping by to sing — including appearances from Toby Keith, Willie Nelson, Feist and more. The album version of this episode went on to win a Grammy.

2. Vampire Weekend Versus The Black Keys
In a 2011 appearance, Vampire Weekend-er Ezra Koenig and the Black Keys‘ Patrick Carney & Ezra Koenig (both Best Alternative Music Album nominees) faced off on Colbert about which of them was a bigger sellout — and managed to make a strong statement about the state of the music industry in the process.

3. The Decemberists
The Decemberists knew a good PR opportunity when they saw one, so when Colbert accused the band of stealing his green screen idea, the group fired back and challenged Colbert to a guitar shredding content on his show. Small problem: Colbert hurt his hand, so he had to get Peter Frampton to fill in. The whole thing was judged by (pre-scandal) Eliot Spitzer and even “friend of the show” Henry Kissinger. It was an iconic episode in terms of showing that just about everyone was willing to come have fun with Stephen.

4. “Oopsie Daisy Homophobe”
LL Cool J and Brad Paisley‘s duet “Accidental Racist” was, at best, ill advised. So it was no surprise when Alan Cumming stopped by Colbert to help him in debuting their own song in the same vein, “Oopsie Daisy Homophobe.”

5. Pussy Riot interview
When you think of people who might not fully understand Colbert’s shtick, members of Pussy Riot seem likely. Oh, how wrong viewers were. Despite speaking through a translator, nothing was lost in translastion and the women were able to joke around with Colbert better than most of his guests. Look how delighted Colbert is when the women explain, “We’ve had two years practice hiding things from searches.”

6. Better Know A Beatle
Paul McCartney
stopped by the show for a very special one-hour Colbert, or, as it was introduced, Stephen Colbert’s Tribute to Having Paul McCartney on His Show, Featuring Paul McCartney, With Special Guest Stephen Colbert.

7. Kendrick Lamar
Colbert was a great champion of musicians (and the tie-in corporate sponsors). Just look at Pepsi Presents StePhest Colbchella ‘012: Rocktaugustfest. So it’s fitting that his final musician interview was buzzy; take it away, Kendrick Lamar.

This post originally appeared on Billboard.

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TIME Music

Listen to Miguel’s Super-Sultry Surprise EP

Dom Perignon With Alex Dellal, Stavros Niarchos, And Vito Schnabel Celebrate "Metamorphosis" Art Basel Miami Beach
Miguel attends Dom Perignon Celebrates "Metamorphosis" Art Basel Miami Beach at Wall at W Hotel on December 4, 2014 in Miami Beach, Florida. Andrew Toth—Getty Images

Take some private time and hear the crooner's new songs

While you were sleeping, the world got a little bit sultrier thanks to a surprise three-song EP from Miguel. Somehow, it makes perfect sense that the man who loosed “Adorn” (a.k.a. the most sexed-out love jam ever) upon the world would release his new EP in the middle of the night.

The seemingly unnamed EP features three unadulterated slow-burning jams that show Miguel is still very much at the top of his game. The EP’s opener, the slick “NWA”, features L.A. rapper Kurupt letting his rhymes slither over a funky guitar track while Miguel’s voice soars underneath. “HollywoodDreams” is a steamy number built around sharp hooks, muddy guitars and yearning vocals that could easily stand in for a b-side on his full-length, Kaleidoscope Dream. The closing track “Coffee”—which Miguel teased on Instagram a few months ago—is a sultry knee-buckler. Listen to in private, just to be safe.

 

TIME Music

Some Genius Mixed the Serial Theme With Notorious B.I.G.

Fill the Serial void with this mashup

There are certain indisputable facts that are too unpleasant to think about — the whole sitting-will-kill-you thing, the rise of antibiotic resistant superbugs, the knowledge that Benedict Cumberbatch is getting married and the fact that there are no more episodes of Serial‘s first season.

The highly addictive podcast’s season finale was released yesterday and while there are other books, television shows and podcasts to enjoy while waiting for the show’s TBD second season, the end of the podcast has left a void.

Luckily some genius felt our pain and decided to help fill that gaping void by mashing up the Serial theme music with the Notorious B.I.G.’s “Somebody’s Gotta Die,” a song choice that brings to mind this Clickhole article that claims a superfan has agreed to be murdered to ensure a second season of the podcast.

It’s the Notorious B.I.G., so be aware that the lyrics are NSFW and decidedly not PC:

[H/T Digg]

TIME Music

Jennifer Lawrence’s Hunger Games Song Gets the Dance Remix No One Asked For

"The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1" Party - The 67th Annual Cannes Film Festival
Jennifer Lawrence attends the "The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1" party at the 67th Annual Cannes Film Festival on May 17, 2014 in Cannes, France. Mike Marsland—WireImage

The surprise hit song takes on a new life

Jennifer Lawrence may hate “The Hanging Tree” — her song from The Hunger Games: Mockingjay—Part One, reportedly even breaking into tears the day she had to sing on camera — but the world can’t seem to get enough of it.

Not only did the single from Mockingjay land at No. 29 on the charts in the U.K., but now the song has gotten the remix treatment. The original track was a haunting, acoustic song with lyrics penned by The Lumineers and The Hunger Games author Suzanne Collins, but the remix is a club-ready jam that might even get some radio play.

Lawrence may think she sings like “a tone-deaf Amy Winehouse”, and claimed that singing in public is one of her biggest fears, but the remixed single isn’t all that bad. Not that she should give up her day job or anything.

[H/T Vulture]
TIME Music

Sam Smith Is The First Singer To Sell a Million Albums on Both Sides of the Atlantic This Year

Z100's Jingle Ball 2014 Presented By Goldfish Puffs - Show
Sam Smith performs onstage during iHeartRadio Jingle Ball 2014 at Madison Square Garden on Dec. 12, 2014 in New York City. Mike Coppola—Getty Images

The British singer's debut was the first album to hit the milestone in both the U.S. and the U.K.

British crooner Sam Smith’s album, In The Lonely Hour, passed the one million sales mark in the U.K. this week, which makes the debut the first album to sell a million copies in both the U.K. and the U.S. in 2014.

Upon hearing the news from the Official Charts Company (OCC), 22-year-old Smith said, “Thank you so much to every single person who has purchased my album.”

Other acts that have hit the one million sales mark include Ed Sheeran and Taylor Swift, though neither act hit the milestone on both sides of the Atlantic.

The Guardian notes that 2014 was a year that initially saw sluggish music sales, but with “almost 35% of all albums are sold in the Christmas rush,” the last few weeks have seen a few artists — such as Smith — to thrive.

[Guardian]

TIME Music

Chris Martin Jokes That Angelina Jolie Told Him to ‘Write Me a Song, or Else’

Chris Martin performs with U2 during a surprise concert in support of World AIDS Day in Times Square in New York City on Dec. 1, 2014 Carlo Allegri—Reuters

"There was also a guy holding a knife to my throat"

Chris Martin was forced into composing the song “Miracles” for Angelina Jolie’s movie Unbroken. At least if we believe the Coldplay singer’s own jocular account.

“I got a message that said: ‘Meet in this undisclosed location,’” Martin explained when Vulture asked him about the song’s backstory at a recent Hollywood luncheon. The message apparently continued: “You’ll be blindfolded and picked up by seven ex-Navy SEALs.”

Martin adds: “So they kidnapped me, hit me over the head, and sprayed me with mace. When I woke up, I was in an office, and Brad Pitt was doing push-ups as Angelina Jolie was just sitting there with her crown on. There was also a guy holding a knife to my throat, and she said, ‘Write me a song, or else.’ And Brad Pitt said, ‘Yeah. What she said.'”

Then followed, according to Martin, an American Idol–esque tryout.

“We wrote a song and then she said, ‘It’s through to the final eight,’ and then we had live eliminations at her house,” Martin continued. “We came in second, but the main guy chickened out.”

Unbroken will be in theaters on Christmas Day.

[Vulture]

TIME viral

Watch Tom Hanks Wannabe Nick Jonas Play the Giant Keyboard at FAO Schwartz

Kind of a 'Big' deal

Singer Nick Jonas had a pretty Big moment at the FAO Schwartz in New York City on Tuesday.

Jonas went to the iconic toy store to sing his hit Jealous while playing the giant keyboard:

“I had to pay homage to the man Tom Hanks,” Jonas wrote on Facebook. Hanks made the keyboard famous in the 1988 movie Big:

There were no reports that Jonas played Heart and Soul as an encore.

TIME Television

Watch Jenny Slate as Marcel the Shell Sing Fleetwood Mac on Conan

"Landslide" didn't take Marcel the Shell (with Shoes On) down

Jenny Slate has many credits to her name: a brief stint on Saturday Night Live, a reoccurring role as Mona-Lisa in Parks and Recreation and a star turn in Obvious Child, but she is perhaps best known for her work as a tiny tiny shell (with shoes on).

The comedian stopped by Conan Tuesday night and used some of her couch time to talk about her creation, the beloved talking snail (?), Marcel the Shell. It turns out that Marcel isn’t just talking anymore, but covering pop songs, too. Slate showed off the shell’s skills by singing a few lines of Fleetwood Mac’s “Landslide,” telling Conan O’Brien, “just a little bit because I don’t want you to have to pay.” Stevie Nicks would be so touched.

Slate noted that Marcel the Shell’s voice is “so little, so little,” but as Conan points out the adorable univalve sure has some “big lungs.”

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