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Review: Bruce Springsteen's new single, 'We Take Care Of Our Own'
Credit: Columbia Records

Review: Bruce Springsteen's new single, 'We Take Care Of Our Own'

UPDATED: New album out March 6

For his whole career, Bruce Springsteen has wrestled with the notion of what it means to be an American. Many of his songs deal with a sense of place, whether it be his home state of New Jersey or, in a larger context, the United States.

On “We Take Care Of Our Own,” the first single from his March 6 release, "Wrecking Ball," Springsteen's questions have become only more urgent as he sees America turning from a country that used to stand for “wherever the flag is flown/we take care of our own” to one where “I’ve been stumbling on good hearts turned to stone/the road to good intention has gone dry as a bone.”

[More after the jump...]

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<p>Chris New and Tom Cullen in &quot;Weekend.&quot;</p>

Chris New and Tom Cullen in "Weekend."

Credit: Sundance Selects

'Weekend' triumphs with Gay and Lesbian Critics Association

Other awards for Meryl Streep, Michael Fassbender and 'The Muppets'

You could say that Andrew Haigh's shimmery boy-meets-boy romance "Weekend" was always going to be readily embraced by the Gay & Lesbian Critics' Association. Still, given that they already have a separate category for LGBT-themed fare, the fact that the film additionally took Film of the Year -- ahead of such season heavyweights as "The Artist" and "The Descendants" -- is pretty special. (Okay, I'm just glad of all and any recognition for my favorite film of 2011.)

Oscar-shortlisted AIDS doc "We Were Here" took an equivalent brace of awards in the documentary field. Funnily enough, however, the Performance of the Year award went to the one nominee whose character has no LGBT qualifications: Meryl Streep in "The Iron Lady." Other winners, meanwhile, include the natural pairing of Michael Fassbender and the Muppets. Roth reported on the nominees last week; full list of winners after the jump.  

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Rihanna's 'We Found Love' loves the top spot on the Billboard Hot 100
Credit: AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill

Rihanna's 'We Found Love' loves the top spot on the Billboard Hot 100

Which two acts zoom 15 places into the Top 10?

Rihanna’s “Love” story with the Hot 100 continues as “We Found Love” featuring Calvin Harris spends its 10th week at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100.

The tune, which got the “Glee” treatment Tuesday night, is the singer’s longest lasting chart topper and, according to Billboard, it is the first song to spend 10 weeks at No. 1 since Beyonce’s “Irreplaceable” in 2006-2007.

Rihanna fends off a strong challenge from Adele’s “Set Fire to the Rain,” which leaps 4-2, pushing last week’s No. 2, LMFAO’s “Sexy and I Know It” down to No. 5.

Flo Rida’s “Good Feeling” jumps 5-3 and Bruno Mars’ “It Will Rain” rounds out the top 5, falling 4-3.

Katy Perry’s “The One That Got Away” stays at No. 6, though we’ll see if the new acoustic version of the song can propel it back up the chart next week. Similarly, Jay-Z and Kanye West’s “Ni**as in Paris” stays at No. 7.

Rap also dominates at No. 8 and No. 9: Tyga’s “Rack City” skyrockets 23-8 to mark his first Top 10 hit, while Snoop Dogg and Wiz Khalifa’s “Young, Wild & Free” featuring Bruno Mars moves back into the Top 10, rising 11-9.

Like Tyga, David Guetta’s “Turn Me On” featuring Nicki Minaj leaps 15 spots from 25-10, giving Guetta his fourth Top 10.

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Has 'American Idol' done more harm than good?
Credit: AP Photo/Danny Moloshok

Has 'American Idol' done more harm than good?

As Season 11 kicks off, we reflect on the sea change the show brought

As Season 11  of “American Idol” launches tonight, it’s clear  “AI” has forever changed the landscape of how we discover new artists. The biggest question is has it done more harm than good?

When “American Idol” bowed in 2002, it was touted by its detractors (and even some of its proponents) as nothing more than a glorified karaoke contest, a complaint that still is valid today, even though performers can now original songs.

Plus, the big brass ring for the winner was a major label contract: now, anyone who makes it to the final 10 or final 13 (depending upon the year) will be scouted by the majors.

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<p>The &quot;American Idol&quot; judges</p>
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The "American Idol" judges

Credit: FOX

Recap: 'American Idol' Season 11 Premiere Live-Blog - Savannah Auditions

Ryan, Randy, Steven and J-Lo begin their quest for a new singing star

Welcome, dear friends, to another season of "American Idol." It's time, once again, to search for the best young singer in our great nation, or at least the best young singer in our great nation who doesn't have a current recording contract and wasn't discovered in 10 previous seasons of "American Idol," didn't audition of "The Voice," didn't audition for "X Factor" and doesn't prefer to sing in the sort of ensemble that might be better suited for "The Sing-Off." 

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"American Restoration"

 "American Restoration"

Credit: History Channel

HitFix Interview: Rick Dale of 'American Restoration' talks about making grown men cry

The fix-it mastermind says second season will hold more challenges

Rick Dale, the main man behind the History Channel's "American Restoration" (Wed. at 10 p.m.) is clearly a pro at fixing almost anything -- but he can't do anything to stop the waterworks from some of his clients. "There's crying [this season]," he admitted during a recent phone interview. "Even from me. It's so emotional, and I'm very passionate about what I do. These people bring in a piece of their lives, and we're bringing their memories back to life."  

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<p>AIR at New York's Museum of Modern Art</p>
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AIR at New York's Museum of Modern Art


Credit: EMI

AIR talks 'Le Voyage Dans La Lune' with New York film fans

What did the French composers have to say about their Méliès landmark material?

For fans of the French electronic duo AIR, a trip to the moon is fairly routine.

 “All our music from the last 15 years has been inspired by the moon,” said one-half of the pair Nicolas Godin at New York’s Museum of Modern Art last night (Jan. 17).
 
His partner Jean-Benoit Dunckel concluded, that in this latest case: “People are going to be tired of it… but we had no choice.”
 
He’s referring to AIR’s new album and soundtrack experience “Le Voyage Dans La Lune” (“A Trip to the Moon”) out via Astralwerks on Feb. 7. Originally conceived as a 15-minute modernist score and “narrative structure” to the Georges Méliès’ 1902 film of the same name, the themes are expanded into a full, standalone album, informed by the craggy lands, creepy moon creatures and strong-headed space explorers of that trailblazing silent film.
 
AIR was approached to participate after almost two decades of work had gone into restoring an original, hand-painted reel of the film; as documented in Martin Scorsese’s recent “Hugo” (and the book that yielded it) Méliès’ did a knock-up job in nearly destroying all of his works himself, but eight months ago at the 2011 Cannes Film Festival, “La Lune” made a return to the big screen, more than a century after it was created.
 
And AIR only had one month before its premiere to create its soundtrack.
 
The result is in the film and on the full-length album: 11 playful, daunting and sometimes psychedelic tracks include guest contributions from Victoria Legrand from Beach House and Au Revoir Simone. In the film, those voices help to build tension or to bring a human element to the otherwise spacey instrumental landscapes.
 
When it comes to this particular space journey, human nature is a problem, said the duo. While Méliès’ original vision of “La Lune” was a comedy – what was then considered to be a “blockbuster” feature-length film– the musical duo brought conflict and drama to the soundtrack due to the “colonialism” in the film. Dunckel said he “felt sorry for the moon,” with the rocket in his eye. Godin said “La Lune” even makes him sad, because the space travelers’ “colonial mentality” reminded him of Conquistadors, as they came and eliminated the moon men and even took one captive.
 
Check out a clip from the film and exclusive tracks on Air’s website.
 
A bridge between what Godin called “funny and darkness”: that’s why he incorporated in some braying farm animals into the score as the astronomers sat bickering over their trip, “always doing some stupid noise.” Au Revoir’s contribution was a nod to Roman Polansky’s “Rosemary’s Baby,” while the bickering sounds at the film’s beginning hearkens back to “Planet of the Apes.” Both are films, notably, about invasion.
 
I had a chance to ask the duo about their desire working specifically in soundtracks, considering they previously released their score to Sofia Coppola’s “The Virgin Suicides” (2000). Godin described the music in “La Lune” as the dialogue (considering it was a silent film), and that it didn’t serve the same function as a traditional Hollywood soundtrack.
 
But furthermore, their joy in crafting this particular music was that there were no cooks in the kitchen lengthening or shortening scenes, that the final edit was in front of them, with no possibility or their hard-fought conceptions would be wasted due to post-production.
 
“It was from 1902, there was no chance it would be longer or shorter. I said ‘Look, you can give me the sh*ttiest cut of the movie you want but I want one thing. I want the final edit,” Godin said. “So we knew what we were going to do will stay forever.”

 

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<p>Adele</p>

Adele

Credit: AP Photo

Adele makes it sweet 16 on the Billboard 200 with '21'

Both David Crowder Band and Snow Patrol debut high

Adele’s “21” turns Sweet 16 as the title spends its 16th non-consecutive week at No. 1 on the Billboard 200.

Her tally gives the unsinkable album that longest weeks at No. 1 since the “Titanic” soundtrack which ruled for that long a period in 1997-1998.  In the SoundScan era, which began in 1991, only five albums have spent 16 weeks or more at No. 1 and the album to beat remains the soundtrack to “The Bodyguard,” which logged 20 weeks at the top. So in order to set the record, “21” needs to spend, somewhat poetically, 21 weeks at No. 1.

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<p>A scene from &quot;Bullhead&quot;</p>

A scene from "Bullhead"

Credit: Drafthouse Films

'Bullhead,' 'Pina,' 'A Separation' included on foreign language shortlist

France's 'Declaration of War' and Mexico's 'Miss Bala' snubbed

The biggest surprise about the nine-film shortlist for the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar is, well, how unsurprising it is. Seven of the titles I predicted yesterday are on it; the two films I didn't, Morocco's "Omar Killed Me" and Taiwan's "Warriors of the Rainbow," are the kind of could-have-been-anything choices that we know to expect (or not to expect, as it were) by now. Presumed frontrunner "A Separation" naturally made the cut and festival favorites "Pina" and "Bullhead" are present and correct -- as is the semi-obligatory annual Holocaust drama, in the shape of Agnieszka Holland's "In Darkness." Check, check, check.

The general predictability of the list makes it harder than usual to speculate what three films may have been rescued by the executive committee. There's nothing as outwardly subversive as "Dogtooth" or "Confessions" in the group, which suggests to me that the committee may have had their hands full saving consensus critical favorites: if they really did have to come to the rescue of a film like "A Separation," as has been rumored, that narrows the window for a truly "difficult" film like "The Turin Horse" to slide in.

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<p>LL Cool J</p>

LL Cool J

Credit: AP Photo

LL Cool J named host of the 54th annual Grammy Awards

'NCIs Los Angeles' star is first host in seven years

LL Cool J will host the 54th annual Grammy Awards, marking the first time the music awards show has featured a host in seven years.

The move makes sense for several reasons:  LL Cool J has hosted The Grammy Nominations Concert Live since its inception three years ago; he’s a two-time Grammy winner himself, and then, of course, The Grammys air  on CBS and LL Cool J stars in “NCIS Los Angeles,” which runs on CBS. Plus, he’s a fun and genial host with a broad appeal.

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<p>I&nbsp;didn't get to review this week's &quot;How I&nbsp;Met Your Mother,&quot;&nbsp;but you could have still discussed it on our new message boards.</p>

I didn't get to review this week's "How I Met Your Mother," but you could have still discussed it on our new message boards.

Credit: CBS

How I met our HitFix boards

Now you can talk about even more shows than I have time to cover

I obviously don't write about every interesting show on television, nor do I write about every episode of every show that I cover.(*) Not remotely enough hours in the day for that. Sometimes, my taste will overlap exactly with some of you, and other times there will be shows you love that I never write about, or even watch. On occasion on the old blog, I'd do open threads for people to discuss whatever shows they liked that I wasn't writing about, but they tended to get unwieldy, and at times turn into extensive, detailed discussions of shows I (and others) hadn't seen yet but intended to at some point. So I stopped doing them after a while.

(*) People keep asking me, for instance, when my review of this week's "How I Met Your Mother" is going up, and the answer is that it's not. I took a couple of days off post-press tour, with all but one post over the last two days (the "Cougar Town" premiere, which I wrote in 10 minutes while my son was napping next to me) being something I'd written in advance. I liked the episode well enough (it was very broad but still felt "HIMYM"-y enough to work) but I'm just going to jump ahead to reviewing the next new episode when it airs.

My favorite thing about this blog, both at the old location and this one, has been the community that developed around it. I'm not writing just to hear myself talk, but to start a conversation that you guys have kept going so smartly for so long. But that conversation is always limited to whatever it is I'm watching. (Or to the shows being covered by Fienberg, Liane and on Monkeys as Critics.) There hasn't been an avenue for this great collection of TV fans to talk about a show if it's not on my radar...

...until now.

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"Absolutely Fabulous"
Credit: BBC America

'Absolutely Fabulous' 20th anniversary special to make U.S. premiere

Logo will air the latest exploits of Patsy and Edina in February

Sweetie darling, it's time for yet another "Absolutely Fabulous" special to make its U.S. premiere on Logo (Mon. Feb. 6, 10:30 p.m.). Commemorating the 20th anniversary of the series, the special will pick up where the last left off, as Patsy and Edina lumbered into the 21st century.

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