Ariana Grande Expands on ‘My Everything’: Track-By-Track Review


Ariana Grande’s debut album Yours Truly was released almost exactly a year ago, and over the past 12 months, the former Nickelodeon star has transformed from pop artist you ought to know to an undeniable superstar, with three singles in the Top 10 of the current Hot 100 chart, a slot opening the MTV Video Music Awards, red-hot dating rumors and millions of followers watching her every move. Grande is expanding as both a brand and a musician: as her profile has gotten bigger, she has pulled more sounds into her repertoire while keeping her biggest weapon, a remarkable vocal range, as a steady foundation. As a full-length, Yours Truly succeeded due to its consistency, with R&B producer Harmony Samuels concocting a buttery sound for Grande to embrace and keeping the subject matter uniformly kid-friendly. My Everything acknowledges that winning formula and disregards it, instead opting to turn Grande into a dance artist, a pop artist, a soul artist and an artist capable to singing the line “Picture me and you making/Making sweet love/Baby, give it to me” with no hesitation.

Guardians’ Vaults to Summer Box-Office Lead With Weekend


Walt Disney Co.’s Guardians of the Galaxy, the new group of movie superheroes mined from Marvel’s comic-book lineup, officially became Hollywood elite as stars of the biggest summer film in the U.S.

“Guardians of the Galaxy,” released Aug. 1, took in $17.6 million this weekend to lead in U.S. and Canadian theaters, Rentrak Corp. said today in an e-mailed statement, vaulting past “Transformers: Age of Extinction,” which had been No. 1. The Disney film, about a lesser-known group of misfit Marvel characters, has generated $251.9 million in domestic ticket sales as of this weekend, making it No. 1 for the season.

Box office report: ‘Turtles’ tops ‘Guardians’ with $65 million


Turtle Power does exist after all. The heroes in a half shell surpassed industry and analyst expectations by more than $20 million, raking in an estimated $65 million in its first weekend in theaters. With an additional $28.7 million from 19 international territories, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, which cost $125 million to produce, has earned $93.7 million globally. No wonder Paramount has already announced plans for a summer 2016 sequel.

Watch Chris Brown Cover Sam Smith’s ‘Stay With Me’

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Chris Brown took to Instagram to share a humorous rendition of Sam Smith‘s single, “Stay With Me.”

Breezy changed the heartfelt In the Lonely Hour ballad into something more facetious, singing: “Oh, won’t you stay with me / ‘Cause I bought your new weave / Now I’d done spend my cheese / Bitch, you owe me.”

The singer-songwriter, who was released from jail two months ago, has stayed busy; dropping in on the ESPYs, kickballing with Diddy‘s stepson, gnoshing on exotic deliciacies and generally doing pretty well. The singer is scheduled to go to trial in D.C. no earlier than October for an assault charge stemming from an altercation last October.

He is also currently in the studio putting the final touches on his oft-delayed album, X, slated to drop on Sept. 16.

Box office report: ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ scores a record-breaking $94 million weekend


Marvel’s got a new star (or five) in its roster: Guardians of the Galaxy launched to an estimated $94 million this weekend in 4,080 theaters, setting a new record for an August debut. (The previous winner was 2007’s The Bourne Ultimatum, with $69.3 million.) That’s the third biggest opening of 2014 so far, behind Transformers: Age of Extinction ($100 million) and Marvel’s Captain America: The Winter Soldier ($95 million). It’s also the seventh best opening in history for a non-sequel (or sixth if you count Marvel’s The Avengers as a mega-sequel), outpacing other superhero series debuts such as 2011’s Thor ($65.7 million) and 2011’s Captain America: The First Avenger ($65.1 million). One more fun stat: Guardians is Marvel’s ninth (!) consecutive No. 1 movie, a streak that reaches back to Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance (2012), which debuted at No. 3.

Guardians’ music from the ’70s back at top of charts


Thanks to Guardians of the Galaxy, 1970s pop stalwarts Blue Swede, the Raspberries, Redbone and the Runaways are finding themselves at the top of the charts again.

The movie soundtrack Guardians of the Galaxy: Awesome Mix Vol. 1 is No. 1 on both the iTunes and Amazon digital-album lists (and No. 2 in Amazon’s overall CD sales) with a crop full of AM standards. Yet the tunes also factor into the narrative of the blockbuster Marvel Studios space opera.

“We may not know the name or the band that sings it, but we know the songs,” says director James Gunn, who cherrypicked hits of yesteryear in choosing his soundtrack. “Keeping the attachment to Earth helps to keep the movie grounded throughout the whole thing.”