The Black Eyed Peas, Kid Cudi, and Beyonce are some of the musical acts who made our list
The Black Eyed Peas
Must Party Starters
Fergie, 34; will.i.am, 34; Taboo, 34; apl.de.ap, 34
The Peas’ pop-rap has always sounded good on dance floors, but for their fifth album, The E.N.D., they gave themselves a new goal: Craft a series of up-tempo electro jams that hit every bit as hard as the records spun by the hottest club DJs. ”In 1992, you were sitting down, trying to write dope-ass quotables and punchlines,” says will.i.am. ”Now you’re making sets to peak the crowd, like, ‘I know they’re gonna freak out when I flip this!”’
So how does Fergie compose such unforgettable couplets as ”I’m so 3008/You’re so 2000-and-late,” from this summer’s smash hit ”Boom Boom Pow”? ”A lot of my input comes from freestyles,” she says with a laugh. ”Or we’ll just be in the studio joking around.”
HAIR TODAY, GONE TOMORROW
As recording sessions for The E.N.D. wound down, the Peas took a few key trips to the hair salon. Fergie emerged freshly brunet, while Will cut off his signature dreadlocks. ”Will called me, like, ‘Yo, Tab, you know I love you, right? We’re gonna have to do something about your long hair,”’ recalls Taboo, who agreed to a trim. Adds Will: ”We gotta keep ’em f—ing guessing, and wrong all the time they guess.”
Expect The E.N.D.‘s second single, the euphoric party anthem ”I Gotta Feeling,” to reach full-on omnipresence any day now.
ON FERGIE’S MUST LIST
Kid Cudi. ”We did a [‘Boom Boom Pow’] remix with him, and I can’t wait to see what else he comes up with.”
After a mysterious eight-year absence, the singer returns July 7 with BLACK-summers’night, a powerful dose of heartbroken soul. So where’s he been? ”For me to tell you would take eight years,” Maxwell jokes. ”The short version is, I am a bit of a perfectionist. I was also questioning: ‘Is this who I am, going on stage and singing some songs? Do I do something stupid and juvenile, or am I doing something that helps the world?’ I struggled with that.”
He’s already almost done recording two follow-up albums, black-SUMMERS’night and black-summers’NIGHT, that will make up a trilogy.
ON HIS MUST LIST
Fleet Foxes’ self-titled debut. ”There’s drama there. That album’s really speaking to me now, big-time.”
Robert Pattinson and Friends
Must Musical Clique
Robert Pattinson, 23; Bobby Long, 22; Sam Bradley, 22; Marcus Foster, 23
One of these names you know. The others you might not, but their profiles are quickly rising, thanks to their songwriting work on the still-hot Twilight soundtrack. Bradley co-penned ”Never Think” with Pattinson, while Long and Foster wrote bonus track ”Let Me Sign.”
FRIENDS IN HIGH PLACES
How did three obscure musicians score such a prominent gig? They had an in: Foster and Bradley went to school with the British actor; Long met the other three at an open-mike night. (Before Twilight, Pattinson was also an aspiring singer.) Despite their friendship, their music is quite different. Bradley favors a rock vibe, Long is more folk-inclined, and Foster owes something to Tom Waits.
THIS DOESN’T SUCK
Bradley was on his way to use the bathroom when Pattinson called to say their song was going to appear in Twilight. ”I p—ed myself,” he says. Really? ”No.”
The trio will reunite at July’s TwiCon in Dallas. ”It’s going to be mental,” says Foster. Will Pattinson sit in? ”I wouldn’t turn up there if I was him,” says Long. Foster hopes to record some songs with Pattinson soon: ”It might be my stuff, or his stuff, or some stuff we wrote together.”
ON THEIR MUST LISTS
Long loves rockers the Felice Brothers, while Bradley is a fan of Vancouver singer Shera Kelly. One of Foster’s favorite actors is Christopher Walken, whose forthcoming film $5 a Day features another of Foster’s songs.
What is summer’s Must music reunion?
56% No Doubt
8% Faith No More
The Kanye protégé’s beyond-catchy ”Day ‘N’ Nite” is a smash. ”It’s been a roller coaster,” says the new star. ”It’s a little intense. But I love the love!”
His debut CD, The Man on the Moon: End of Day, is scheduled for fall.
ON HIS MUST LIST
Years of mounting buzz culminated in the blissful Veckatimest, which debuted at No. 8 on the Billboard 200. ”It’s hard to conceive of what that even means,” says the band’s Daniel Rossen. ”But it’s amazing!”
A tour continues through July 19.
ON ROSSEN’S MUST LIST Dirty Projectors’ eclectic art-rock suite Bitte Orca.
Must Live Act
Three reasons to catch her tour this summer.
1. You may have seen Justin Timberlake’s and Joe Jonas’ leotarded tributes to the now legendary ”Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)” video, but on stage you’ll get the real booty-rocking deal.
2. Beyoncé has spent eight months working on the show, and from her all-girl backing band and outrageous Thierry Mugler costumes to the Destiny’s Child medley and bring-down-the-house take on Etta James’ ”At Last,” it’s major.
3. Even Sasha Fierce understands an economic downturn, so 2,000 seats at every North American date will be available for a bargain $20 — though you may want to splurge and head to Sin City for the tour’s U.S. finale, a four-day run at Las Vegas’ intimate Encore Theatre at the Wynn.
Must Country Crooner
Paisley’s American Saturday Night (out June 30) finds the country superstar embracing a more emotional style. ”I feel like I’m in open-heart surgery on the Health Channel,” he jokes. ”The new frontier for me is digging in and saying, ‘I mean it.”’
Next single ”Welcome to the Future” is a hope-fueled anthem ending with a nod to Obama’s election. Paisley calls it ”my favorite thing I’ve ever put on tape. I had a hard time singing that in the studio. The first time, I had to lean against the wall for a second.”
He’s on the road until Oct. 17.
ON HIS MUST LIST
Theoretical physicist Paul Davies’ book The Mind of God.
MORE MUSIC MUSTS
Must American Invasion
For two decades, she’s been one of those Aussie treasures — like Vegemite or rugby — that never quite hooked America. But a fiercely loyal following has finally lured the pop icon into her first-ever U.S. tour, with eight dates starting Sept. 30. Expect enough room-shaking beats to keep you dancing from here to Down Under.
Must Indie Experimenters
The Brooklyn group has attracted a devoted cult of fans in recent years. This summer, they’ve broken out with the surprisingly accessible, brilliantly crafted Bitte Orca, an album that mixes R&B vocal harmonies, mellow atmospherics, noisy guitars, and Lord knows what else.
Must Disco-Punk Trio
The Portland-based trio, led by powerhouse frontwoman Beth Ditto, broke through with 2006’s huge-in-Europe Standing in the Way of Control. Now with überproducer Rick Rubin behind them on follow-up Music for Men (due digitally June 23), they just might take over the planet.
Unexpected evidence that music-industry nepotism might be a good thing. The son of Kenny Loggins (his first name is an homage to Bing Crosby) will release his soulful debut CD, Time to Move, on July 14. With a sound that’s a mixture of his father, James Taylor, and John Mayer (who plays guitar on one tune), Loggins, 28, is much more skillful than you might expect from a guy who won MTV’s 2008 celeb-kids music competition, Rock the Cradle.
Must Timeless Tunes
Beatlemania returns on Sept. 9, when the long-awaited remasters of the band’s 12 original albums finally hit stores. This marks the first sonic upgrade these discs have seen since their original CD release more than 20 years ago. Of course, you might be too busy playing The Beatles: Rock Band, out the same day, to even listen to them. First person to claim ”I got blisters on my fingers!” gets, uh, a Band-Aid.