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December 24, 2013 | By Mikael Wood
In 2011, on his holiday album "Under the Mistletoe," Justin Bieber came on like Mariah Carey's kid nephew - a sort of pint-sized vocal prodigy - in a squeaky-clean duet with the singer on her "All I Want for Christmas Is You. " Not anymore. Two Christmases later, Bieber is nearing the end of a year in which he's done about as much as possible to shake off the childlike innocence that helped establish him as one of pop music's biggest (and most polarizing) acts. The incidents will be familiar even to casual followers of celebrity gossip: the heated run-in with a photographer in London, the unauthorized spray-painting of walls in South America and Australia, the urination into a mop bucket in a New York restaurant.
December 22, 2013 | By Randy Lewis
The raison d'être of Stevie Wonder's annual holiday concert is the collection of toys for needy children in the Southland, something he's done enthusiastically for 18 years now, each edition featuring a different lineup of friends, musical colleagues and family members. Saturday's installment of Wonder's House Full of Toys at the Nokia Theatre, however, may have given the biggest gift of all to the audience of about 7,000: the first-ever performance of his landmark 1976 double album “Songs in the Key of Life” in its entirety.
December 20, 2013 | By Salvador Rodriguez
Shazam has updated its iPhone app to tag songs, TV shows and more all on its own, no longer requiring  users to open the app and tap a button whenever they want to tag something. The feature, called Auto Shazam, comes turned off by default, but users can turn it on by switching a toggle once they've downloaded the latest update for the app. Once turned on, Auto Shazam will remain on in the phone background and listen for audio that it can tag while users go about their day doing other things.
December 16, 2013 | By Randall Roberts
Near the end of the first of Jeff Tweedy's four-night residency at Largo in Los Angeles, the Wilco founder started discussing the set like he was doing a post-game interview.  "There wasn't anything left to give," he wryly observed,  phlegmy and on the verge of a cold with a throat that over the evening had started to break. "I feel like I left my best stuff out there on the field," he added. He was kidding, but the Chicago-based rock/folk/country guitarist and songwriter had a point.
December 16, 2013 | By Glenn Whipp
The film academy has released its list of the 75 songs that will be competing for the 2014 original song Oscar. Taylor Swift, U2 and Coldplay are on it. So is "Let It Go," the pop power ballad from Disney's animated "Frozen" that every 12-year-old girl already knows by heart. "The Great Gatsby" has five songs on the list. So does "Kamasutra 3D. " "Austenland" has four, and there's ... Wait. What? There are five songs nominated from "Kamasutra 3D," a movie that, judging from its trailer , looks like a glossy mashup of "Spartacus," "Pirates of the Caribbean" and a Zalman King compilation reel (not that there's anything wrong with that ... and, wow, the music must be great!
December 14, 2013 | Carly Milne, Milne is a Los Angeles freelance writer
Like a great lot of self-professed Angelenos, I'm a transplant. I was living in Northern California until the bursting bubble of the first dot-com boom, but my husband had grown up here. There was nothing left for us after the Internet dust had settled, so we found ourselves heading south. It wasn't a move I was overly enthused about, yet somewhere along the line, the city and its sprawl seduced me into an enduring affair I never expected. It started slowly. At first, we moved to the outer outskirts -- Rancho Cucamonga, to be exact -- and spent our time acclimating to the heat as we job-hunted in a direly dry economy.
December 13, 2013 | By Barbara Demick and Jung-yoon Choi
BEIJING - It is North Korea's version of a youth revolution, and it's making a lot of people nervous. At 30, Kim Jong Un may well be the world's youngest head of state. His brother, Kim Jong Chul, two years older, is best known as an avid Eric Clapton fan but is also said to keep an eye on the leader's security. And the youngest of the Swiss-educated siblings, 26-year-old sister Kim Yo Jong, is seen frequently as an aide-de-camp to the leader. With Thursday's execution of their uncle, Jang Song Taek, and the purge of his cronies, this impatient new generation of the Kim family dynasty appears to be kicking out the adults.
December 13, 2013 | By Randall Roberts, Los Angeles Times Pop Music Critic
When Beyonce surprised the populace overnight by releasing her self-titled new record exclusively through iTunes, she did so with typical grandiosity. The biggest pop star in the world didn't just flip the switch to sell digital versions of her songs.  Rather, she dropped a thick, vivid package featuring a digital booklet, 14 songs "mastered for iTunes" (whatever that means), a big-budget video for each and a few extra clips. In the process, she suggested a new course for album presentation in the digital music age -- and charged a hefty $15.99 for the pleasure.  Said videos are sequenced after the last track ends, but suggest another story than the music-only version.
December 13, 2013 | By Carolyn Kellogg
Superstar Beyonce did two astonishing things Thursday night: Release a complete album without any promotion or advance notice, and sample Nigerian writer Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. Adichie, who lives part of the year in the U.S., is the author of the acclaimed 2013 novel "Americanah," a smart and surprisingly funny take on race and gender in contemporary society. In 2008, she was awarded a MacArthur "Genius" Fellowship, after the publication of "Half a Yellow Sun," a historical novel set during Nigeria's bloody Biafran war. Adichie appears on Beyonce's track "Flawless.
December 12, 2013 | By Barbara Demick and Jung-Yoon Choi
BEIJING - Jang Song Taek, the uncle by marriage of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, was executed for attempting to seize power for himself, the official news service reported early Friday. In a rambling report, the Korea Central News Agency denounced the "despicable human scum Jang, who was worse than a dog," and said he had attempted to "overthrow the state by all sorts of intrigues and despicable methods with a wild ambition to grab the supreme power. " PHOTOS: Kim Jong Un uncle labeled traitor The execution, after a trial this week by a military tribunal, is the most public purge of a top echelon official in North Korea in decades and raises concern about the increasingly erratic leadership of 30-year-old Kim Jong Un, believed to be the world's youngest head of state.
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