Mell Hall’s ‘Knock Knock’ Sets Australian Club Chart Record

Mell Hall’s debut single “Knock Knock” has knocked up a new record, for most consecutive weeks atop Australia’s official club chart.

“Knock Knock” (via Club Sweat) is the Adelaide producer’s first single, her first No. 1 and, now, her first record-setter.

Featuring vocals from Sydney artist Thandi Phoenix, the track notches eight weeks atop the ARIA Top 50 Club Tracks chart for the longest consecutive stint at No. 1, beating a record that stood for nearly 13 years.

The previous record belonged to fellow Australian Zoe Badwi’s “Release Me,” which dominated the ARIA club chart for seven-straight weeks in 2008.

“Knock Knock” opened its chart account 11 weeks ago, before going on to claim the top position, with Hall becoming only the fifth Australian solo female artist to get there.

“Knock Knock” also becomes the first ARIA club chart leader to feature two Australian female artists in collaboration, and it marks Thandi Phoenix’s first appearance on the tally.

“So grateful to see my debut record getting so much love,” comments Hall. “Knock Knock” was a “joy to make, a joy to work with Thandi Phoenix and knowing that it brings audiences and my peers alike joy, what more could a girl want!? Big love to Team Sweat for the endless support. Feeling the moment for Women in Dance Music, girls to the front!”

Charts compiler ARIA comments: “It’s very exciting to see Mell Hall continue to break barriers, make history and represent women in dance music in such a fantastic way. Congratulations from all of us at ARIA, we can’t wait to dance again.”

ARIA’s charts are based on data collected from a combination of physical and digital retailers, and music-streaming services.

Adele’s ‘Easy On Me’ Offers a New Type of Raw Power

Upon first listen, “Easy On Me” masquerades as classic Adele.

The hallmarks of the British superstar’s best-selling brand of pop are all there on her feverishly anticipated new single — the stately piano-and-vocals intro of “Hello,” the extended chorus syllables of “Someone Like You,” the subtle yet crucial bridge placement of “When We Were Young.” And then, of course, there’s Adele’s voice, as soulful an instrument as exists in modern music, and the primary reason she’s been able to transcend any trends that may be inhabiting the world whenever she returns to our orbit. Hearing that irreplaceable tone breathe the words “There ain’t no gold” in the opening seconds of “Easy On Me” induces precisely the same goosebumps as “Hello… it’s me…” did six years ago.

Yet “Easy On Me,” which leads Adele’s forthcoming album 30, is not more of the same, no matter how closely parts of the track (which Adele created with longtime collaborator Greg Kurstin) resemble her past smashes. Instead of offering more tear duct-ravaging balladry focused on long-gone exes or scorned romances, “Easy On Me” presents a different type of devastation: a plea for understanding, following a breakup that has caused too much collateral damage.

“There ain’t no room for things to change / When we are both so deeply stuck in our ways,” Adele sings, her words decisive and her voice determined to get her point across. Throughout, Adele balances anthemic phrasing (can’t you already picture a crowded karaoke bar belting out “Go e-e-e-e-easy on me, baby”?) with pointed imagery (“I know there is hope in these waters / But I can’t bring myself to swim / When I am drowning in this silence” is the song’s biggest knockout). Adele has already suggested that 30 will try to explain her divorce to her young son — a complex topic, and not typical for pop radio. But with “Easy On Me,” Adele sells the concept with grand gestures toward the search of empathy, presenting a tearjerker about forgiveness instead of a fight.

“Easy On Me” will likely be inescapable this fall, just as “Hello” was six years ago; such is the continued commercial might of Adele. What a pleasure it is, though, to grow alongside her, to witness how her singular talent will synthesize the different phases of life into full-length statements that capture the mainstream’s attention. With “Easy On Me,” Adele has approached a painful experience with wisdom and grace. She’s entered 30, and she sounds ready to share what it’s like.

ARIA Board Strips Denis Handlin of His Icon Award

BRISBANE, Australia — The fallout rumbles on from an explosive documentary into Denis Handlin’s long reign at Sony Music Australia and New Zealand, with ARIA revoking his Icon Award.

The decision was announced by means of an email from ARIA, distributed early Friday afternoon, local time.

“The Board of ARIA has today resolved to withdraw the ARIA award made to Denis Handlin in 2014,” reads the brief message.

The trade body’s Icon Award is periodically presented at a VIP ceremony in Sydney, in the hours prior to the annual ARIA Awards.

Just five ARIA Icons have been awarded. The first went to the late Mushroom Group founder Michael Gudinski in 2013, followed by Handlin, Sebastian Chase (2016), Roger Davies (2017) and Michael Chugg (2019).

ARIA’s u-turn follows the Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s premiere Monday night (Oct. 11) of Facing the Music: The Sony Music Scandal, a 47-minute documentary which exposed the “culture of fear, harassment and bullying” in a workplace Handlin led for 37 years.

The following day, trade body Q Music revoked the honorary award presented to Handlin at the 2020 Queensland Music Awards, in his hometown Brisbane.

The documentary, noted QMusic CEO Kris Stewart, “laid bare the undeniable fact that the culture under Denis Handlin’s leadership at Sony came at significant human cost.”

He continued, “toxic workplaces, be they in the office, boardroom, on stage or behind, have no future in Australian music. We cannot, and should not accept nor celebrate this kind of culture. The future of music must be one that is safe, supportive, and equitable for all.”

ARIA, for which Handlin served as chairman of the board over two separate stints, issued its own response on Tuesday.

“No one should feel unsafe, harassed, discriminated against, or bullied in the workplace,” its statement read. “ARIA will continue to work towards safety, inclusion and equality across the music industry including through the cultural change process that was started in May this year. We will listen to the voices that need to be heard and provide our wholehearted support every step of the way.”

Handlin accumulated a vast collection of prestigious honors in a 51-year-long career with Sony Music, which abruptly ended June 21.

In light of the Four Corners exposé, a growing chorus of industry insiders have turned to social media to demand Handlin hand back his awards.

Mark Poston, former chairman of EMI Music Australasia and the first LGBTQ+ head of an Australian music label, addressed the ABC’s investigation in an op-ed published Wednesday by The Industry Observer.

“I believe the immediate action needed is for ARIA is to strip Denis Handlin of his ARIA Icon Award,” he wrote. “I put it to you that this man is anything but an icon. You could say he is iconic for all the wrong reasons – that would be a better summary. Perhaps the right way to frame this might be that this particular kind of Icon must never be allowed to exist ever again.”

Reports of the domestic Sony Music company’s toxic work environment surfaced in recent months in The Sydney Morning Herald, The Guardian and other mainstream news outlets.

Earlier this year, as those investigations shook the local industry, Sony Music Entertainment launched a review into the ANZ company’s workplace culture.

“We take all allegations of bullying, harassment and other inappropriate behavior from our employees very seriously and investigate them vigorously,” reads a statement issued by Sony Music Entertainment.

Sony Music Entertainment’s review is understood to be ongoing.

Coldplay’s ‘Music Of The Spheres’ Is Spinning: Stream it Now

Coldplay’s career keeps on spinning with the release today (Oct. 15) of Music Of The Spheres, their ninth studio album.

At the stroke of midnight, the British alternative rock outfit dropped Spheres, spanning 12 songs including the previously-released tunes “Higher Power,” “Coloratura” and “My Universe.”

Last week, Coldplay blasted onto the Billboard Hot 100 chart at No. 1 with “My Universe,” a collaboration with BTS, marking the Brits’ first leader since 2008’s “Viva La Vida” and giving both groups appearances on the Rock & Alternative Airplay and Alternative Airplay charts, reaching the No. 20 and No. 23 spots, respectively.

Chris Martin and Co. will support the album with the Music Of The Spheres World Tour, due to play a stadium near you next year. But first, Coldplay will test some of their new tunes with a concert next Friday (Oct. 22) at the new Climate Pledge Arena in Seattle, with the action streamed live for free on Amazon Music, Amazon Prime and Twitch.

In an effort to make the forthcoming tour as sustainable as possible, the band announced that all the shows will be powered by 100% renewable energy.

Music Of The Spheres can be streamed in full below.

Kelly Clarkson’s ‘When Christmas Comes Around…’ Album Arrives With Festive Ariana Grande Duet: Listen

It felt like Christmas morning on Friday (Oct. 15) when Kelly Clarkson released her brand-new holiday album When Christmas Comes Around…

The 15-track project, released via Atlantic Records, includes covers of classic holiday anthems, such as “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree” and “Last Christmas,” plus new collaborations, including the swoon-worthy duet “Santa, Can’t You Hear Me,” featuring her fellow The Voice coach Ariana Grande. “Santa, Can’t You Hear Me” is an original song, co-written by Clarkson and Aben Eubanks and produced by Jason Halbert.

Clarkson released the sassy seasonal lead single “Christmas Isn’t Canceled (Just You)” in late September. When Christmas Comes Around… is the second holiday album Clarkson has released, following 2013’s Wrapped in Red, which topped Billboard’s Top Holiday Albums chart and peaked at No. 3 on the all-genre Billboard 200 tally.

When Christmas Comes Around… captures how different the holidays can be for all of us during the varying stages of our lives, and I hope everyone can find something on the record they relate to,” Clarkson said in a press statement. “Hopefully the happier songs, but if not, hey… you’re not alone!”

Listen to When Christmas Comes Around below.

Drake Calls Adele ‘One of My Best Friends in the World’ as He Celebrates Her New Song ‘Easy On Me’

When Adele dropped “Easy On Me” — the lead single from her upcoming fourth album 30 — she had one of her “best friends in the world” in her corner: Drake.

The superstar rapper took to his Instagram Story on Thursday (Oct. 14) to tell fans what they likely already knew: Adele had just released a new song, her first new music since 2015’s blockbuster 25 album.

“One of my best friends in the world just dropped a single,” Drake wrote with a smiley emoji, tagging Adele and finishing the message up with, “WOIIIIIII.”

Adele and Drake’s friendship has been well-documented over the past few years, with the British singer attending the rapper’s birthday party in 2019 and later sending him b-day wishes via InstagramHappy birthday to one of the kindest and funniest people I’ve met @champagnepapi.” She also told fans during her surprise Instagram Live session over this past weekend that Drake’s Certified Lover Boy is her favorite album of 2021. Maybe he’ll return the favor when 30 is released on Nov. 19.

Adele’s last three albums — 1921 and 25 — have all reached the top five on the Billboard 200, with the latter two hitting No. 1. Her last album, 25, spent a staggering 10 weeks at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 and earned the album of the year Grammy, selling 3.38 million copies in its debut week — the biggest sales week for an album since MRC Data began tracking point-of-sale purchases in 1991.

See Drake’s Instagram Story post and listen to “Easy On Me” below:

Megan Thee Stallion Has Her Own Popeyes Franchise & ‘Hottie Sauce’ in New Deal

Megan Thee Stallion is many things: multi-platinum rapper, culture mover, outspoken activist and now… Popeyes franchisee.

Announced Thursday (Oct. 14), the “WAP” superstar has signed a wide-ranging deal with the global fast-food company that includes her very own Popeyes restaurants, a new hot sauce (Megan Thee Stallion Hottie Sauce) and co-branded merchandise. As part of the agreement, the rapper also will be making, in tandem with Popeyes, a six-figure donation to Houston Acts of Kindness, a charity “whose mission is to promote empathy and compassion while encouraging selfless concern for the welfare of others in the Houston community.”

Starting Oct. 19, Megan Thee Stallion Hottie Sauce will be available in the U.S. and 14 other countries across the globe, both as an add-on to Popeye’s original chicken sandwich or as a standalone dipping sauce for its chicken nuggets. This will mark the first time the fast-food chain has released a new variation on its chicken sandwich.

The hot sauce — created in a collaboration between Megan Thee Stallion and the Popeyes culinary team — is described as having “a sweet, yet bold flavor with a hint of spice, inspired by Megan’s sassy personality,” according to a press release, which adds that the sauce is made with honey, cider vinegar and Aleppo pepper. U.S.-based Popeyes Rewards members will earn 100 bonus points when they order any eligible Megan Thee Stallion Hottie Sauce menu item on the Popeyes app or online, while supplies last.

Also dropping on Tuesday at 12 p.m. EST is the first of three exclusive co-branded merch collections, Thee Heat, which will be available at TheeHottieSauce.com. The collection includes bikinis, long-sleeve shirts, hats, tumblers and Popeyes chicken tenders plush dog toys. Current Popeyes Rewards members and anyone who enrolls in the program before Monday (Oct. 18) will receive exclusive information and early access to the limited-edition drop. Fans can sign up at TheeHottieSauce.com to receive updates on the two additional merch collections, which are slated to go on sale next month. All three collections were developed in tandem with creative agency Harper & Scott.

Popeyes has not yet announced where Megan Thee Stallion’s new restaurants will be located, though her hometown of Houston seems a safe bet. The release notes only that she has been “approved” to become an owner. In a statement, Popeyes Americas president Sami Siddiqui said the company “look[s] forward to working closely” with Megan Thee Stallion “over many years as she begins her journey as a restaurateur.”

With its franchisee element, the Megan Thee Stallion’s Popeyes partnership seems to be the most involved and long-term of any recent celebrity-fast food deal, which have grown in frequency over the past couple years. Last year McDonald’s began recruiting a new crop of A-list talent to promote its restaurants, including Travis Scott in September 2020, J Balvin in October 2020, BTS in May and Saweetie in August for its much-hyped “famous order” campaigns, some of which also included limited-edition merch items for fans. Last October, The Wall Street Journal reported that sales at McDonald’s Corp. rose 4.6% in July, August and September — a spike McDonald’s credited to its Travis Scott collaboration. Forbes later estimated that Scott pulled a cool $5 million-plus from the endorsement and another $15 million from merchandise sales.

Burger King also struck similar deals last year with Nelly, Anitta and Lil Huddy, while Taco Bell made a big splash in August when it named Lil Nas X its honorary “chief impact officer” in a wide-ranging campaign tied to the release of the singer’s first full-length studio album, Montero.

To celebrate the new partnership, the fast-food chain and Megan Thee Stallion created a video teaser that can be viewed below. The Western-inspired video features Megan along with her alter-ego, Tina Snow, who forces the rapper to give chase after making off with her hottie sauce. The full clip will feature an appearance by Megan’s French bulldog 4oe as well as nail art by Coca Michelle, costumes by Zerina Akers and visual effects, created by McFlyy, which pay tribute to Megan’s well-documented love of anime.

“I’m appreciative of Popeyes commitment to empowering Black women and look forward to opening Popeyes Restaurants,” said Megan Thee Stallion in a statement. “Teaming up with Popeyes is such a milestone in my journey and evolution as an entrepreneur. I’ve always been a fan of the Popeyes brand and I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to join the brand and help create the new Megan Thee Stallion Hottie Sauce for their line-up.”