I’ve got to admit, I’m actually very excited about R.E.M.‘s upcoming Collapse Into Now LP. I’m even more excited thanks to The Frontloader. What has Louie done to pique my interest? Well, he’s posted three songs from the album, which arrives on March 8th. Give ’em a listen-hopefully you’ll have better luck than me actually getting to the tracks (I think my browsers have been possessed by aliens)!!

Lil Kim is still on a rampage against Nicki Minaj, and the rumor mill is suggesting that she may be bringing the Queen of Hip-Hop Soul into it. A few gossip websites have reported that Kim and MJB were recording a diss record aimed at Nicki and Keyshia Cole, a rumor that thankfully turned out to be false (more accurately, Kim took to her Twitter to deny the rumors). I would assume that Mary J. has moved beyond the petty disputes. She’s officially reached grande dame status, and although that’s not to say that the bitchiness will stop (look at Gladys Knight and Patti LaBelle vs. Aretha Franklin for proof), it’s at least done in a more classy way. Secondly, Mary J. is still a major star. Kim is not. Joining forces with Kim to go at Nicki and Keyshia would be way beneath Mary and it would make her look desperate-even more desperate than the Drake cameo and the auto-tune on her so-so last album. Finally, you don’t go after someone who’s beneath you. Mary J’s a legend. Nothing against Keyshia, but she has a long way to go before she can match MJB’s sales, influence, or the quality of her records.

Finally, in “I’m Kinda Excited” news, Lady GaGa has announced a February 13th release date for her new single, “Born This Way”. It will be the first single from her sophomore (sort of) album which bears the same title. I’m curious to see which direction GaGa goes in with this next record. She could play it safe or totally go off the deep end, which would be a million times more interesting. I can’t say I’m much of a fan of hers from an image perspective, but she knows how to write a fuckin’ hook. Hopefully those pop smarts will result in another strong effort from her.

Speaking of R.E.M., did you know that today is Michael Stipe’s birthday? Let’s celebrate with one of my favorite R.E.M. songs of all time.

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