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Sneak Peek of This Week’s Split Issue: Eeek! With One Direction atop the Billboard 200 with their tween-swooning “Up All Night,” and The Wanted poised to drop their U.S. debut next month, we decided to go all Tiger Beat this week. Look for a cover story — which looks at the new boy-band phenom — on later today!

Sneak Preview: This week’s issue honors the legacy of Whitney Houston - that voice, her chart feats, in-the-works projects, and those in the industry whom she touched.

We will always love you.

At the heart of our special rock issue is a look into the Black Keys' evolution from neighborhood Akron kids to the elite class of rock bands that can sell out arenas in mere minutes.

The Keys’ scraggly-voiced vocalist/guitarist Dan Auerbach gets a few things straight about his genre, and any pointed accusations of “selling out”: “There’s this weird thing that happened with being a successful band, and it has to do with rich, private-college kids who rule the indie rock world - kids who never really have to worry about anything because they always have some sort of backup plan that they can safely fall into. We come from middle-class families. We’re both college dropouts. Driving around the country, paying for everything ourselves - this is the backup plan. The only plan, really.”

Read the rest of the cover story.

The evolution of a magazine cover: Watch our new Year in Music cover, featuring Adele, come together.


Simply put, Adele owned 2011. The kicky, 23-year-old British singer released her second album, the break-up requiem “21,” in February, and in barely 11 months, she has already sold more than any artist in the world, currently inching towards 13 million globally. But it wasn’t just heartbreak that made her popular. In contemporary music, Adele is one of a kind, a woman who thrives off no bells and whistles, just pure personality and talent (and the ability to make the toughest curmudgeon cry). And that’s why she’s Billboard’s Artist of the Year, both on the charts and well, in our hearts.

Despite it all, Adele has been living in exile, of sorts. After having surgery to remove a benign polyp from her throat, she was not allowed so speak for weeks, never mind sing. We emailed her a few days before she was nominated for six Grammys (by which she expects to be vocally recovered) to discuss her astronomical success and, naturally, true love. An excerpt…

Billboard: It’s been a long year. Have you found love again?

Adele: It’s been the most erratic year. It’s been fucking brilliant and exciting and emotional. Professionally, it’s been a year that will define my life forever. But because of the success, obviously things have been unearthed and people have crawled out of the woodwork publicly and privately. But that’s to be expected. And those things personally have forced me to address things I wouldn’t have. I probably wouldn’t have until my thirties.

Not having someone to share all this with made me miserable at times, to be honest. I wanted nothing more than to be in love and be loved back. That was until I remembered I was sharing it with millions and millions and millions of people!! I haven’t been ready to be in love again since summer 2009… until now. And I hadn’t met anyone along the way who has changed that.

I love that Robyn lyric from “Call Your Girlfriend”: "The only way her heart will mend is when she learns to love again." I was bitter as fuck and so sad about my relationship that “21” is about. Obviously it was intensified because the record exploded, and it was a constant reminder of him that I couldn’t avoid. But I hadn’t met anyone else. I missed him because I didn’t like feeling lonely and so I just kept going over and over the fuck-ups and resenting him and regretting our time together. But really recently, I realized that that had to happen for me to know what I want and need from myself. And of course in someone else.


"Clutch" is a word sports fans use to describe a moment in which someone recognizes the magnitude of a situation and rises to meet it.┬áIt’s a buzzer-beating jump shot, or a Hail Mary touchdown pass — a triumph instantly memorized and placed in the history books.

The idea of being “clutch” — of having a sixth sense for the defining moment — is one that Rick Ross relates to. After all, the 35-year-old Miami rapper has quietly been clutch his entire career.

More: pt. I of our Maybach Music cover story, featuring Ricky Rozay and Wale.

This week’s cover: 2011’s Top 10 Music Startups. Any guesses for our No. 1?



*British Vogue* Does that make a difference? Anyone? Bueller?

I can tell you this: They’re not going to tell me what music to record. I’m going to do it my way.

Miranda Lambert, Billboard (Oct. 29, 2011 issue)

It’s no surprise that country hell-raiser Miranda Lambert is all about shaking up the ole Nashville model.

She gets real in this week’s Billboard cover story.