Saturday, November 27, 2010

Video Vault: Ryan Star Performs At Citywalk (2006)

I had a bunch of videos deleted from my old YouTube channel that I've been meaning to re-upload, so I'm going to start doing a Video Vault feature here. These two were amongst some of my very first videos on my old channel - Ryan Star performing at Universal Citywalk in August of 2006. This was the first time I saw Ryan live outside of the RockStar: Supernova studio. This was right after Ryan had sung "Back of Your Car" on the show, and he did it again at Citywalk for this performance (with a surprise guest vocal from Storm Large). He also did a cover of Violent Femmes' "Blister in the Sun".

Back Of Your Car:


Blister In The Sun:

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Video Of The Day - Adam Sandler's Thanksgiving Song

Wishing all of you a Happy Thanksgiving with the best Thanksgiving song EVER, from Adam Sandler on Saturday Night Live, circa 1992:

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Amazon Black Friday Deals

Black Friday sales can be daunting, so I'm going to point out a few Amazon.com deals here for those who want to shop from the comfort of their own homes. An "I browse so you don't have to" kind of thing.

I'm not sure when these deals end, so if you see something, you might want to jump on it!

Mp3s:
Sara Bareilles - Kaleidoscope Heart - $1.99
Taio Cruz - Rokstarr - $1.99
Sade - Soldier of Love - $1.99
Arcade Fire - The Suburbs - $1.99
Rascal Flatts - Greatest Hits Volume 1 - $1.99
Far East Movement - Free Wired - $1.99
Vampire Weekend - Contra - $1.99
Interpol - Interpol - $1.99
Weezer - Hurley - $1.99
John Lennon - Power To The People - The Hits - $1.99
John Mayer - Battle Studies - $1.99
Train - Save Me, San Francisco - $1.99
Jack Johnson - In Between Dreams - $1.99
Lady Gaga - The Fame Monster - $1.99
Kanye West - My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy - $3.99
Ne-Yo - Libra Scale - $3.99
Robyn - Body Talk - $3.99
Bon Jovi - Greatest Hits - $4.99
Jay-Z - The Hits Collection, Vol. 1 - $4.99
Rihanna - Loud - $4.99
Eminem - Recovery - $4.99
Nelly - 5.0 - $4.99

Electronics:
Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS7 digital camera w/ HD video - $249.00 (I have this camera. I cannot emphasize how awesome it is. Video quality is outstanding!)
Canon PowerShot SX210 digital camera w/ HD video - $199.99 (Friday only)

Keep checking back - I'll post more as I find them.

Kris Allen Debuts New Song At Last Show

For his last show on the Lifehouse tour, Kris Allen pulled out all the stops, debuting a brand new song (replacing the similar-vibed "Is It Over") in Portland. He confirmed after the show that the song is called "Leave You Alone", written by him and Cale Mills.

Luckily, my friend April was there, and she got it recorded on her iPhone and quickly uploaded to YouTube:



Early verdict: It's got the bluesy rock that I love so much about live "Is It Over", plus the passionate vocals. He really uses his full range here - going deftly from his lower to middle range and then to a great falsetto at the end. I think my friend Mer said it best: "This is like if IIO, Bright Lights, and Andrew had a baby."

I really, really like this. I can't wait to see how this song progresses.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Kris Allen Audibles A New Mashup In Temecula

Kris Allen certainly has a knack for mashups. He has mashed up Kanye West's Heartless with Coolio's Gangsta's Paradise, Swell Season's Falling Slowly with U2's With Or Without You and worked those songs into his concerts. Saturday night at Pechanga, he added a new mashup to his repertoire, and it wasn't even planned. Kris audibled Michael Jackson's "The Way You Make Me Feel" in the middle of his usual "Everybody Wants To Rule The World". It's genius. The openings of both songs sound a bit similar. Also genius? Kris's band, who had no idea this was going to happen. These guys are so in tune with each other, it's amazing.

Check out video here from blkeener:



It was amazing live. KRIS was amazing live. This show was probably the best opening act set I've ever seen. He and the band were on fire and really got the crowd. The whole sell-out crowd was standing for Live Like We're Dying, and when Kris came out into the crowd for Come Together, he couldn't get very far up the stairs because he got mobbed hard-core. He also stopped to take pictures, sign stuff, get hugs. It was crazy. Lifehouse was terrific too - one of the best shows I've seen from them this year.

More video:
Is It Over, from ocamy24

I didn't bring back any video of Kris' set from the last two shows due to literally being right in front against the barricade (didn't want to be rude, wanted to enjoy it, blah blah blah), but I do have some goodies on the photo front, as well as a couple of Lifehouse videos and photos, so check back later for some updates.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Kris Allen Alright With Me Video

I don't know if this is the official music video, but if it's not, it should be. Kris Allen posted to YouTube a video for his latest single "Alright With Me" as a thank you to his fans, tweeting, "Hey everyone this past year has been off the wall! Album...Touring...and everything that goes with it. The reason that it is all worth it is because of the fans. You guys care so much and make this the best job out in the world. Here is something for you guys to take a gander at. Hope you enjoy!"



This is seriously the most adorable video ever. It's basically performance footage, backstage hijinks and Kris and his band singing, playing and goofing around. ADORBS. I don't know who made the video, but if it's homemade, it sure doesn't look it. Good stuff, guys!

ETA: Kris's friend Matthew Leonard directed and edited the video. I. Am. Impressed.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Video Of The Day: "Neil Young", Bruce Springsteen Sing Whip My Hair

Bruce Springsteen was Jimmy Fallon's guest on Late Night, and The Boss joined "Neil Young" (Jimmy Fallon) on a folk-y cover of Willow Smith's "Whip My Hair". And it actually sounded ..... good. WOW. And LOL.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Usher Tour Will Make You Go OMG

Thanks to VH1, I was able to go to the Usher concert on Sunday in Anaheim. I won a VH1 twitter contest, and one of the prizes was two tickets to a concert of VH1's choosing in my home city. I was hoping it would be a) someone I liked and b) on a date I could go, and thanks to Jennifer at VH1, I was able to get tickets to this awesome show.

The seats were incredible - on the left side just off the floor, which is my favorite place to sit in an arena concert. We were close to the stage and able to see everything.

I came in too late to see the first opening act, Miguel, but was there for the second opener, Trey Songz. I must admit I wasn't familiar much with his music, other than "Bottoms Up" and "Say Ahh", but I really enjoyed his set. Didn't hurt that he's really good-looking and took off his shirt. Ahem. Trey Songz could definitely headline his own shows. The crowd went nuts for him, and he really played to every section of the arena, even going so far as to call people and whole sections in the top out individually. He certainly made a connection with the audience. He also busted out a few covers for the noobs like me who don't know his music, and they were pretty great. He did an R&B-flavored "Use Somebody", which I think might be my favorite version of that song by anybody. He also sang a few lines of Rihanna's "Love The Way You Lie", which sounded really good, and added a little of "In Da Club" into "Say Ahh". I got video of two other songs he did: Panty Droppa and Jupiter Love. Unfortunately (or fortunately) he didn't sing "LOL :-)" (I wanted to see that for the lulz).

Use Somebody:


Love The Way You Lie:


Usher's set was pretty spectacular staging-wise and dance-wise. I've been mostly going to rock/pop concerts all year, where you didn't see much more than a light show, so this was a bit different for me. It was really entertaining. Vocally it wasn't the best, but with this kind of show, you're not really there to hear perfect vocals. You just sit back and watch the spectacle, and sing and dance along. It was a lot of fun. The choreography was, at times, jaw-dropping. Check out the opening number, "Monstar". Talk about pulling out all the stops.



Usher pretty much sang all of his big hits plus stuff from his new album. He's got enough hits to do a medley towards the end, and he did "Confessions Pt. 1" & "Confessions Pt. 2", "My Boo", "I Need A Girl" and "Lovers & Friends" together. The one part of the show that kind of lost me was when he brought an audience member on stage and sang to her while basically turning the show into a private bedroom session. It felt very intrusive and really took me out of the show, to be honest. Plus, it felt very staged. But outside of that particular performance, everything else was really entertaining, and Usher played to all parts of the arena, including way in the back when he got on a moving platform above the audience. Pretty cool.

One of the big highlights for me was the dancing in "You Make Me Wanna". Go watch this. It's queued up to the part that made me jump up in glee. SICK.

I also really enjoyed "DJ Got Us Fallin' In Love Again" and "OMG":





A couple other songs I got were "U Remind Me" and "Little Freak".

Monday, November 15, 2010

Lee DeWyze Sweet Serendipity Video Premiere

VH1.com has the premiere of Lee DeWyze's music video for his first single "Sweet Serendipity" from his album Live It Up, which is out in stores now.

The video, which was directed by Matt Stawski (Hey Soul Sister), is really cute! (Not cute, however, is that thing growing on Lee's chin. It does him no favors. Seriously, dude, shave that off.)

Video Of The Day: Andy Grammer Keep Your Head Up

Andy Grammer and VEVO had an interactive Choose Your Own Adventure type of music video for his song "Keep Your Head Up", letting viewers pick the scenarios in the music video as it happened. The most-popular scenes were put in the final cut of the music video, which also has a cameo by Rainn Wilson.

For those of you who played along, you can see if the scenes you chose made the cut (I only had 2. LOL oops). And if you didn't participate earlier, you can still do so here: Interactive Video

Final Cut:

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Video Of The Day: Martina McBride Joins Lady Antebellum In Chattanooga

Martina McBride joined Lady Antebellum on stage last night during Lady A's headlining show in Chattanooga, joining the group for a cover of Pat Benatar's "Hit Me With Your Best Shot". Lady Antebellum tweeted after the show, "She gave us our 1st tour and 2nite she came to rock on our 1st headlining tour! Love you @martinamcbride!"

Friday, November 12, 2010

Video Of The Day: Jeff Goldblum, Biz Markie - Just A Friend

Actor Jeff Goldblum and rapper Biz Markie teamed up with Jimmy Fallon and the Roots to perform Biz Markie's 90's hit "Just A Friend" on Jimmy's show last night. Jeff Goldblum played piano and "rapped" the verses, and Biz Markie jumped in with the drunken chorus, along with Jimmy. CLASSIC.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Kelly Clarkson Sings With Jason Aldean At CMAs

Kelly Clarkson performed a duet with Jason Aldean at the Country Music Awards on Wednesday night. The ballad - "Don't You Wanna Stay" - is on Jason's new album, which just came out this week. The two of them received a very well-deserved standing ovation at the end of their performance.

Check out the HD video by lavenderstripes here:



You can download the song at iTunes or Amazon.com.

Idol Promo No. 3 - Winners Talk About The Impact Of The Show

A brand new American Idol season 10 promo came out with yesterday. This is the third commercial that has been aired and the second one featuring all nine winners. In the latest video, the winners talk about the impact the show has had on their lives. There is also new footage interspersed in here to show just what the show has helped these Idols accomplish now, such as Jordin Sparks signing autographs on Broadway and Carrie Underwood performing on stage. It's a nicely-done piece. I hope they continue to show pieces like this until the show returns.

Video courtesy vinmancufanclub4:

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Sara Bareilles Sings F*ck You/Gonna Get Over You

Sara Bareilles sang a cover of Cee-Lo's "F*ck You" into her own "Gonna Get Over You" at her concert in New York City Wednesday night. She is so awesome. And her live shows are amazing! Go see her if she still hasn't come to your town yet!

Here's video, from SonyMusicCollegeDept:

Idol Winners Promo - Version 3

And yet another version of the American Idol 60-second commercial featuring its nine winners is out. Version 3 shows them in reverse order, starting with reigning champ Lee DeWyze and ending with inaugural winner Kelly Clarkson. They also used a new song, which Google tells me is called "If You Believe".

Click here to watch the new version.

Click here to watch the previous two versions.

Crystal Bowersox Album Tracklist + New Cover With Corrected Grammar

Crystal Bowersox released the tracklist and updated cover for her upcoming album, Farmer's Daughter, which is scheduled to drop Dec. 14.

Thankfully, Jive Records corrected the grammar mistake that was on the original cover art they leaked earlier (they had it as Farmers Daughter, without the apostrophe). They did not, however, catch the misspelling of album contributor Chad Kroeger's name on the announcement on Crystal's website (they spelled it Kroger).

The album has eight songs written solely by Crystal, two co-writes, a Buffalo Springfield cover, a Chad Kroeger/Kara DioGuardi masterpiece, and a song written by Crystal and her husband. And no mention of the first single. Hmmm ...

The track list:
1. Ridin With The Radio
2. For What It’s Worth
3. Farmer’s Daughter
4. Holy Toledo
5. Lonely
6. Hold On
7. On The Run
8. Kiss Ya
9. Speak Now
10. Mine All Mine
11. Mason
12. Arlene

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Crystal Bowersox Sings At Vh1

Crystal Bowersox performed a couple of acoustic songs at VH1 last week, which they made available on their website today. Curiously, her lead single, "Hold On", isn't included amongst the videos. Hmmm ...

Farmer's Daughter:

Ridin' With The Radio:

Jolene (Ray Lamontagne cover):

You can also read a review by MTV's Jim Cantiello, who was there for last week's performance.

Monday, November 08, 2010

Josh Groban - Before We Begin Tour, San Diego

Josh Groban is prepping for his Nov. 15 release of his new album, Illuminations, with a four-leg sold-out Before We Begin Tour. The second stop on the tour was on Sunday night in San Diego.

Josh had stated that the intent behind the mini-tour was to get ready for a bigger tour after the album release and to let the fans in on the preparation process by bringing them into his living room. Fittingly, half of the stage had a living room setup, with two couches, a rug and lamps, while the other half had the musical instruments set up.

With the intimate set-up, fan interaction was a big part of the show, whether called for or not. For the most part it was, but that didn't stop me from rolling my eyes at the people who kept shouting "ALLY MCBEAL!" or "YOU RAISE ME UP!". Or stop Josh from ignoring them. Heh. One guy yelled a couple of times to bring the dog back (Josh's dog was with him on the sofa when the curtain was raised), and Josh answered him back by quipping, "This is why you should never share a stage with animals or children."

Josh did conduct Q&As between songs. Hilariously, one of the first questions asked was "When are you coming back?". The guy had sung two or three songs at that point. He got some good mileage over that question, using self-deprecating humor to joke about the audience wanting him to leave while simultaneously asking him back. He was also asked if he was going to work with David Foster again. I don't know the backstory with him and Foster, but I got the impression that Josh working with rock producer Rick Rubin on this new album may not have gone over so well with Foster? Regardless, Josh said they'd be working together on the next album, maybe next year.

During one of his Q&As, Josh was asked about how he trains his voice for both classical and pop singing (or something to that effect). He went into some story about singing karaoke (and demonstrated by singing the opening line of "Don't Stop Believing" and a made-up second-line about the song behind too high) and how his voice would sound like Bill Clinton (with another impersonation) the day after. Later, while introducing "Higher Window", which he co-wrote with Dan Wilson of Semisonic, he sang a line of "Closing Time."

It really amused me how quickly Josh can go from total dork to serious classical singer in an instant. One minute he's making Teletubbie noises, then several seconds later he's singing a classical song in a different language. So hilarious. He's also very self-deprecating and self-aware. For example, he was talking about social media and said there was a guy who tweeted: Do you think when Josh Groban is recording music he thinks "OK, but will people be able to professionally figure skate to this?" He thought it was funny. And said it's much better than saying "Who's Josh Groban?", although he does get that a lot. He also talked about his stint on Glee and said that one of the A Cafellas from his episode was in line at his show the previous night in Palm Desert. He also said that he asked Ryan Murphy to write him as a creep and that one of his greatest honors was having Jane Lynch say "Kiss my ass, Josh Groban!"

One of THE highlights of the night for many people, I think, was Josh singing "Broken Vow." Before the song, he asked if there were any long-time couples in the audience. A couple in the orchestra section volunteered that they had been together for 39 years, so Josh invited them to listen to the next song on stage with him. This prompted a 20-something guy near me to stand up and ask Josh if he could bring his 89 year-old grandmother up on stage (omg this was the sweetest thing EVER. I think she was about to start crying when she got up there), and another guy yelled out asking if he and his husband could go up too, so they made their way up on stage as well. Additionally, a woman who had approached the stage before all this happened asking for some wine (no, really. This happened.) got on stage, as did another woman who snuck up behind Josh and squeezed her way onto the couches. The girl who creepily yelled out that his music was playing at her mother's wake did NOT make it on stage (Oh. Em. Gee.)

I don't remember all the songs he sang (mostly because I don't know the titles of the Spanish or Italian songs). The songs I do recall him singing were:

"Changing Colours" (Great Lake Swimmers cover)
(Spanish song - maybe "Un Dia Llegara"?)
"February Song"
"Hidden Away"
"Gira con Me"
"Cinema Paradiso (Se)"
"Higher Window"
"Broken Vow"
"Play Me" (Neil Diamond cover)

Encore:
"Wandering Kind" (instrumental - piano and accordion)
"Per Te"

It was a great concert. He may not have sung a lot of songs, but it was really such a unique opportunity with the constant interaction and chatter with the fans. And when he did sing, WOW. His voice is seriously one of the best voices I've ever heard. He sings with such clarity and perfection. And his voice fills up the room so easily. He probably could have sung without a microphone. That's how strong his voice is.

They weren't allowing video-taping (and were being VERY vigilant about it), but I ninja'd two videos anyway.

"February Song":


"Per Te":


Photos:

Sunday, November 07, 2010

Adam Lambert, Daughtry Featured In Now Vol. 36

The latest Now That's What I Call Music compilation CD, Now Vol. 36, features two songs from American Idol alumni - Adam Lambert's "If I Had You" and Daughtry's "September". The CD is available everywhere on Tuesday.

In the first half of the CD are all the current-ish Top 40/rhythmic hits from the likes of Katy Perry, Usher, Nelly and B.O.B. The second half are the HAC hits from artists like Maroon 5, Sara Bareilles and Paramore.

The track list is:
1. Teenage Dream - Katy Perry
2. DJ Got Us Fallin' In Love - Usher/Pitbull
3. Take It Off - Ke$ha
4. If I Had You - Adam Lambert
5. Dynamite - Taio Cruz
6. Just A Dream - Nelly
7. Deuces - Chris Brown feat. Tyga & Kevin McCall
8. Magic - B.o B. feat. Rivers Cuomo
9. Memories - David Guetta feat. Kid Cudi
10. Misery - Maroon 5
11. Animal - Neon Trees
12. Secrets - OneRepublic
13. King Of Anything - Sara Bareilles
14. The Only Exception - Paramore
15. September - Daughtry
16. Stuck Like Glue - Sugarland

NOW What's Next Bonus Tracks
17. Maybe - Sick Puppies
18. Bang Pop - Free Energy
19. Tennessee Me - The Secret Sisters
20. Suspicious Minds (Viva Elvis) - Elvis Presley

Saturday, November 06, 2010

Video Of The Day: Cary Brothers - Belong

Here's another song I discovered through a TV show - "Belong" by Cary Brothers. It was used on Grey's Anatomy, on the third episode this season (Superfreak). This song reminds me very much of Ryan Star's "The First Time" with the piano and the dynamics.

Cary is touring this fall with Sara Bareilles.

This is a live performance of the song, taken in Albany earlier this summer, by rekayaksn:



You can download the song at iTunes or Amazon.

Friday, November 05, 2010

Video Of The Day: Sleeperstar - "I Was Wrong" On Vampire Diaries

Vampire Diaries has been doing a stellar job with music selection lately. A few weeks ago, they chose "I Need To Know" by Kris Allen for a pivotal scene. This week, they used "I Was Wrong" by Sleeperstar (iTunes | Amazon.com) in a big dramatic scene between Damon and Elena where he proclaims his love for her but then makes her forget the moment (HELLO, LET'S STEAL A PLOT LINE FROM ANGEL, OK?!). Great song, though, and it works great with the scene. The song has been climbing up the iTunes charts since the show aired.

Thanks to @Nic_Leigh for bringing the song into my twitter feed yesterday!

Here's the scene:

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Video Of The Day - William Shatner Sings F*ck You

William Shatner delivered another classic musical performance, singing/speaking his version of Cee-Lo's "F*ck You" on Lopez Tonight Wednesday.

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

New Kids On The Block, Backstreet Boys Touring Summer 2011

Two of the biggest boy bands in history will be touring together this coming summer. They're a good 10-15 years past their prime, but New Kids on the Block and Backstreet Boys are joining forces for what is already looking like a hot-ticket tour. New Kids had a successful reunion comeback in 2008 (Natasha Bedingfield and Lady Gaga opened for them on tour!) and toured again in 2009. Backstreet Boys also went out on tour in 2009 and made a surprise appearance at a New Kids concert this past June.

The two groups (NKOTBSB for short. LOL) will perform together at the American Music Awards on Nov. 21. They will have their first joint interview with Ryan Seacrest on his morning radio show on Monday, perhaps with tour dates?

Meanwhile, you can check out their new website, www.nkotbsb.com, where they have a promo video from their first photoshoot.

Video Of The Day: Josh Groban - Hidden Away

Josh Groban premiered the video for "Hidden Away", his first single from his upcoming album Illuminations, today on Popeater.com. The video is his first in four years. He said the song was, "about people needing the kind of life shaken out of them. It's about people who are waiting for that release. It could be somebody coming home from work, a friend - but the song itself is about people who need to be woken up inside."

Josh will be performing four special shows in small venues before the album comes out on Nov. 15. I'll be at the San Diego show on Sunday, so check back next week for some goodies from there.

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Kris Allen Answers Twitter Questions, Hilarity Ensues

This was part Q&A, part (mostly) comedy. In a video Q&A posted at KrisAllenOfficial, Kris answered some Twitter questions in some, um, interesting places. With vintage Kris Allen random-ass humor, he proclaimed his love for Keith Urban in a bathroom stall, took out not only his underwear but also Powerade out of a dryer in a laundry room, pretended to be a truck driver while talking about Sesame Street and tickle fights, laid in his bunk on the tour bus with photos of Antoine Dodson and Keith Urban hanging above his bed, and brought out his body double.

Really.

Watch this awesome video here:



And if you like that song playing the background of the video, it's his new single "Alright With Me". Go get it if you don't have it.

Video Of The Day - Ronnie & Clyde

Yes, I am late to the party. But perhaps there are some, like me, who hadn't seen this video yet. I just saw it and was doubled over in my office trying not to howl with laughter. It's SNL's latest Digital Short - Ronnie & Clyde - featuring Rihanna and Shy Ronnie, played by Andy Samberg, holding up a bank.

Monday, November 01, 2010

Idol 60-Second Promo Updated

A modified version of the American Idol Season 10 promo featuring all nine Idol winners aired after the World Series on Monday night. The new version shows David Cook, Kris Allen and Lee Dewyze in the audition process as opposed to on the Idol big stage.

Thanks to ISBinLA for uploading!



The first version:

INXS To Release Tribute Album With Guest Vocalists

INXS will release a tribute album, Original Sin, in November (Nov. 5 in Australia, Nov. 30 in Canada), with a few tracks having other musicians such as Rob Thomas, Pat Monahan and Ben Harper on lead vocals and John Mayer on guitar.

This is the tracklist for the Canadian version of Original Sin:
1. Drum Opera (Jon Farriss/INXS)
2. Mediate (Featuring Tricky)
3. Original Sin (Featuring Rob Thomas & introducing DJ Yalediys)
4. Never Tear Us Apart (Featuring Ben Harper and Mylene Farmer)
5. Beautiful Girl (Featuring Pat Monahan)
6. New Sensation (Featuring Deborah de Corral)
7. Just Keep Walking (Featuring Dan Sultan)
8. Mystify (INXS Featuring Loane with special guitar performances by John Mayer & Kirk Pengilly)
9. To Look At You (Featuring Kav Temperley)
10. KICK (Featuring Nikka Costa)
11. Don’t Change (INXS)
12. The Stairs (Featuring JD Fortune)

A couple of interesting omissions/swaps here. It was previously reported that Brandon Flowers was singing "Beautiful Girl" (Pat Monahan now is) and Ben Harper was doing "Devil Inside", and that Rob Thomas recorded "Never Tear Us Apart" (now sung by Ben Harper) and "Need You Tonight". So Brandon Flowers is out altogether, as is Vanessa Amorosi. And "Need You Tonight" didn't make it either.

I'm not feeling the "Never Tear Us Apart" swap. I know this whole album is about reinventing/reinterpreting INXS's great songs, but this is the one song that I feel like you shouldn't really reinvent. It's too iconic. And too brilliant. I've heard two different versions of Ben Harper doing this song, and I'm not sure which one made the album - it might be this one since it's listed on the album as being with Mylene Farmer. But there's an exclusive audio preview with just Ben Harper that was posted on INXS's website. I prefer the solo one to the duet one between the two, but I'd really prefer if they had left Rob Thomas on it. He sang it with INXS live (VIDEO), and he stayed pretty true to the original.

One song that I've heard that retains the INXS sound is the last track, "The Stairs" with JD Fortune, who won Rock Star: INXS back in 2005 to become the band's lead singer. JD recorded an album with INXS, Switch, and toured with the band for a couple of years. There were stories about him being kicked out, but it appears as if that whole issue was based on miscommunication, and JD has been performing with the band again (at the Olympics and the AFL Grand Final, among other places) and will be touring with them next year in Australia. I'm glad. I always thought JD was the one most "right for our band, INXS". He may have been portrayed as a bit of a reality villain on the show, but I don't think anyone there wanted to be INXS's lead singer half as much as he did, and he clearly loved the band and their music. Plus, there's no denying that his voice fits INXS like a glove. It's eerily similar to the late Michael Hutchence, and I've always thought that he did so much justice to their old songs.

"The Stairs" is another song that JD did justice to. I'll admit that my first introduction to this song is with JD's vocals, as they sang this in their encore in concert. I had never heard it prior to that, and I immediately fell in love with it. In this new recording, JD still stays pretty true to the song, except that he gives it a more modern twist with a spoken word section towards the end. It's a really cool touch. The song is already out on Canadian iTunes and has been released to rock radio.

The other song that has been sent out to radio (CHR/HAC) is Rob Thomas' "Original Sin", which is also available now on Canadian iTunes. It's, um, different. I'm not quite sure how to feel about this one. It has this Euro-dance beat to it, and I don't really equate Rob Thomas with that kind of music. You can listen to the song at the link in the track list. There's also an edit out on YouTube that someone did that's a little bit better. 

Original Sin should be out in the U.S. on Jan. 11, 2011.