Wednesday, August 31, 2011

iTunes watch: 8/31/2011

Sorry I haven't posted in a few days. Work's been cray.

ANYWAY, so the VMA's perenially have a big effect on vaulting new singles from major artists into instant hits, and this year is no different. It looks like we have three obvious beneficiaries to this.

>1. Adele- Someone like You- This song was HUGE in the UK back in the springtime, but never thought I'd see the day when this song was at #1 on iTunes. In a time period where catalog titles are edited to take out slow parts, and songs like "No Hands" by Waka Flocka Flame and "Birthday Sex" get sped up, a piano ballad seems like a foreign concept. (the last ballad to hit #1? "Take a Bow" by Rhianna) Maybe this signals that top 40 radio is finally ready to come down from their cocaine-induced dance party?

>4. Lady Gaga- You and I- It's ironic that the same artist that ushered in the club years on top 40 radio is boldly breaking the mold again at radio with a midtempo Springsteen ballad. I honestly thought she'd benefit the most from the VMA's due to her large presence, but I'm happy that Adele might get another number 1. Another top 10 under Gaga's belt is well deserved.

>8. Beyonce- Love on Top- FINALLY A GOOD SINGLE FROM "4" IS BEING RELEASED! Seriously I can't gush enough about this song. It's 100% Michael Jackson/Whitney Houston head to toe. I thought "Party" or "Countdown" would be the next single as she shot music videos for both- but now I know why with the PREGNANCY!!! I always wonder what catalog titles will be played on the oldies station 30 years from now, and most stuff out right now is very current and probably won't hold up- look at the New Jack Swing genre from the early 90's- but these 3 will be played regularly 20 years from now.

OK, I've calmed down. Some other notables:

>5. Lil Wayne ft. Bruno Mars- Mirrors- Well, maybe "She Will" is more of a "She Won't" at this point. Of course any hook that Bruno Mars shits on right now becomes a hit, we'll see if this one sticks around.

>11. Lil Wayne- Blunt Blowin- Obviously this one won't. On any major release, the most explicit or funny song title will always get the most downloads out of sheer curiosity.

>32. Drake- Headlines- As this was #2 just 2 weeks ago, it's in the period where all the fans have bought it but hasn't had enough exposure at radio. It's a good enough song that it'll crawl back into the top 10.

>41. Nicki Minaj f/Rhianna- Fly- Ok, I love Nicki Minaj. I was bumping her "Beam Me Up Scotty" mixtape a year before anyone in the mainstream knew who she was. But seriously, her album "Pink Friday" is awful and panders to the masses. (I don't blame her though!) "Fly" makes me cringe. And it'll be a huge single due to the artist billings. Another mediocre Nicki Minaj song to hit top 40. Nicki, can you please release another mixtape? Pretty please?

>45. Red Hot Chili Peppers- The Adventures of Rain Dance Maggy- I immediately dismissed this one in one of my previous blog posts, but it seems to be gaining traction. There seems to be enough general goodwill toward the RHCP that it should be a durable enough single for the album release.

>51. Pitbull f/ Marc Anthony- Rain Over Me- The song has officially already reached its peak. SWWEEEEEEEEEEEET

>62. Tyler, the Creator- Yonkers- WHAAAAAT?! This might actually have a chance at some chart ink. I know this song is way to inaccessible for radio, but we can dream, right?

>81. Jessie J f/B.O.B.- Price Tag- I'm sorry honey- the trend is that current pop stars have distinct personalities to compliment their music, and you just don't have it. No matter how much cash the majors throw at the public on your behalf, you're not gonna make it. Sorry.

>114. Kanye West & Jay Z- Ni**as in Paris- Is there a more obvious choice for a second single? It's not even released and has been hovering around the iTunes charts since "Watch the Throne" was released. I don't find the song any better than the other tracks on the album, but hey- at least it popularizes the term "cray". My friends and I have been using the term "cray cray" for years.

>180. J.Cole- Work Out- Seriously. This guy graduated magna cum laude at St Johns, writes and produces all of his own music, and can't get a damn break. He has everything Drake has, (maybe the less distinctive voice is the problem) but has release single after single after single to no avail. "In the Morning" should have been a hit on the R&B charts. Why is there only room for one intelligent, relatable, extremely self aware artist in the mainstream?

Friday, August 26, 2011

Commentary: How music subscription services have changed my listening habits

I own over 1500 CD's. Since proudly showing my collection of 10 CD's off in show and tell during the 3rd grade, til my arrival in LA last year where I would spend about 75 dollars on music monthly, the CD has been my ultimate favorite past time. The whole anticipation of eagerly unwrapping the cellophane, the disappointment or surprise of the album booklet, and the mere listening to something new for the first time brought me so much joy. Weekly trips with my dad to Circuit City (RIP) to purchase those 2 albums for $13.99 apiece was my absolute favorite way to spend my free time. When Napster pretty much fucked the music industry back in 2000, I dabbled with it but dismissed it. The actual tangible album- the artwork, the lyrics- the whole package was essentially a part of the music itself.

Then Rhapsody happened. All the music in the world (aside from unofficial releases) available to me on my computer and my iPhone for a mere 9.99- the cost of a CD? I had to go for it... and... it is to my great disbelief and sorrow that I have yet to purchase a physical compact disc this year. The moment I realized my listening habits had changed was when I went to Amoeba Music and held PJ Harvey's "Let England Shake" in my hands for a good two minutes, deciding to buy it or not. I ultimately put it back, considering I had complete access to it on Rhapsody. I realized I had now contributed to a completely unfortunate trend- the ultimate decline of the tangible album.

For the first time, as soon as a song popped into my head, I could look for it on my phone and have it within access in 5 seconds. It blew my mind that I had immediate access to TLC's "Creep" and Ne-Yo's "Because of You", two of my favorite top 40 songs ever, within a few heartbeats. A song can appear on the radio that reminds you of that other song you absolutely love- and you're playing it in the car full blast 10 seconds later.

That being said, I feel that my music attention span has truly become a bit shorter. I've unconsciously started to gravitate towards music that is instantly gratifying to me. While I have a completely open mind about all types of music, and have found albums I love pretty much in all genres other than world or death metal, rhythm is the ultimate ear worm for me. I love percussion, bass... just the whole rhythmic aspect to songs. Given that, it seems almost alarming to me that the only album's I've given a whole lot of attention to this year are electronic and hip hop acts.

Not to say I don't love down-tempo stuff. I'm obsessed with psych folk, indie rock, and the classic artists as well. It's just interesting that Fleet Foxes and Bon Iver, two of my absolute favorite indie acts that released superb sophomore albums this summer to much avail, have taken a backseat to Odd Future, The Weeknd, Junior Boys, and Hercules & Love Affair. In any other music period, I would have never purchased an album by Lloyd. But because I was intrigued by his first 2 singles off the album, I downloaded the whole thing and it unexpectedly became the soundtrack for my summer. (I still highly recommend "King of Hearts"!!!)

Just like the general public, I feel that the immediate access and instant gratification from these subscription services have immediately served what we, in point... instantly gratify ourselves with. Even for me, the concept of hating the song the first time but letting it grow on you is still completely legitimate- it just seems that I'm less willing at this time to put forth the effort.

During my glorified wonderful awesome (insert any other positive adjective here) conversation with Nigel Godrich- I told him that I hadn't heard Radiohead's new album, "The King of Limbs", entirely yet. He didn't have good things to say about it- stating that it's killing the music industry. Apparently, it's an attempt for major labels to collect revenue on catalog releases while in turn sacrificing a bit of revenue for current releases. The whole business model makes sense- the music industry is desperate for cash, and will do anything for it.

It's just odd, because now you can listen to any album in one listen, not like it, and move on. You didn't fork over 15 bucks for the album, so there's no type of investment in it for you- who cares if you might like it 5 listens from now? Subscription sites like Rhapsody have saved me a WHOLE LOT of money over the past 6 months, but I feel that my drive for listening to challenging, provocative, and thought provoking music has seriously diminished. Not that it's not out there- aside from unofficial releases like mixtapes, you can bet your ass that a band will have their album on Rhapsody. It's just having that dedication- that determination- to solve the mystery of complicated albums that you'll feel rewarded more than any other type of instant gratification.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

iTunes watch: 8/25/2011

In my first segment of iTunes watch, I will be sporadically recording significant movement on the iTunes charts. As most downloads in America come from iTunes, and digital downloads are now probably the most significant factors in predicting a hit song. This allows for predictions on next week's charts.

This is as of 5:10 PM Pacific time zone on Thursday 8/25/2011

>#3 "Stereo Hearts" by Gym Class Heroes reaches bonafide hit territory as Adam Levine has obviously been the one that has benefitted from "The Voice" the most. Look for this one in the top 10 really soon.

>#4 "Cheers (Drink to That)" by Rihanna was a smash the first time I heard it, and it didn't take too long to reach upper-tier download territory. Also look for a rapid ascent up the charts next week as this gains momentum for a potential 11th #1 for the singer.

>#8 "You and I" by Lady Gaga will enter the upper realms next week- wouldn't be surprised if it hits #1 on the iTunes chart following her VMA performance on Sunday.

>#13 "Someone Like You" by Adele is gaining lots of momentum- looks like we might finally have a top 10 ballad again, folks.

>#47 "Every Teardrop is a Waterfall" by Coldplay officially won't reach the success of "Viva La Vida". Was gonna give it awhile to sink in for people, but as the album's release is approaching- looks like this one is a relative dud.

>#62 "Gucci Gucci" by Kreayshawn is a direct result of Nicki Minaj and Ke$ha breaking down barriers. Naughty white girl rapper- what other time period would this have ever worked? I can see this turning into a cheeky guilty pleasure.

>#137 "Work Out" by J. Cole seems like yet another song by the very talented producer and lyricist that hasn't gained much traction. He has deafening buzz in the hip hop community- I wonder when this guy's breakthrough will finally come.

Billboard Hot 100 Summary: Wins and Fails- 09/03/2011

#3- Lil Wayne feat. Drake- She Will

It's weird in this period of pop music that stars will release 4 singles prior to an album's release. The first two singles, 6 Foot 7 Foot and John were a bit too street for middle America, but performed decently anyway with peaks inside the top 10 and top 20. In contrast, third single, Detail-produced How to Love might be his softest, most blatant attempt at a radio hit. That's been a considerable success hovering in the middle of the top 10 for the past month or two. As we approach the release of The Carter IV Sunday night at midnight, the debut of "She Will" reminds me a lot of the chart performance of Gaga's "Edge of Glory". That song, as the 3rd buzz single from Born This Way, debuted at #3 just prior to the release of the album. Like Edge of Glory, She Will is probably going to slide down the charts for a few weeks until radio kicks in, prompting it back into the top 10. However, unless this song catches absolute fire, I think this most likely will be the song's peak position. While none of his singles have matched the success or catchiness of "Lollipop", this is setting up Weezy for another blockbuster.

#14 The Band Perry- If I Die Young

Just as Lady Antebellum paved the way 2 years ago with the 2-guys-1-girl formula with their breakout success "Need You Now", the country music industry saw a winning formula and signed another act with a very similar look and feel. "If I Die Young" has been hovering around the top 40 for some time now- it debuted on the Hot 100 back in late November, but is now crossing over to top 40/pop radio. Though LA would never play this, (they barely played "Need You Now") the song is catching fire everywhere else. I've seen this song show up on my facebook news feed multiple times over the past week as an indicator. Who knows if this will be as big as "Need You Now", but this whole 2-guys-1-girl thing is the new in thing with country crossovers. I will admit, there could be a lot worse songs crossing over to pop.

#35 Lady Gaga- You and I

This is probably the most obvious win of the week. With the release of her music video, Gaga's fourth single form "Born This Way" rockets from 96-35 in its 2nd real week of a chart run. As this was one of the top performing album tracks on iTunes when "Born This Way" was released, audience and fan reception seem to be extremely positive for this song. As it seems kind of like a homage to the style of Bruce Springsteen, John Mellencamp, Queen, 90's mainstream country/pop, it sounds completely different than anything else on house-hop obsessed top 40 radio, and I think people are ready for a change of pace as well. I'm really curious to see if country radio warms up to the song, as it definitely would fit in with the format. Her opening VMA performance will most likely contain some kind of rendition of this song- also a tactic that launched "Paparazzi" in 2009. If this plays out right, I can see this being a future #1 multi-format smash.


#32 Pitbull ft. Marc Anthony- Rain Over Me

I am proud to announce that I am 80% sure that Pitbull's third single from "Planet Pit" (ugh, given LA radio the title is probably accurate) won't achieve the status of "Give Me Everything" or even "Hey Baby (Drop it to the Floor)". Though it was climbing at a swift pace to #30, this week it drops to #32 without a bullet. That should hopefully indicate the peak position. What happened here? Is Marc Anthony simply too washed up for American artists and not as appealing of a feature? I respect the bold cause to try to relaunch his career, but maybe it's also because it's just not as strong of a song. For an album that was intentionally made so that every song could be made a radio single, we'll have to see what happens in the coming weeks and how fast RCA follows it up. However, I could be totally wrong about this. We'll see in the coming weeks. Any type of momentum Pitbull has- I want killed right now with the Kodak endorsements and everything.

#51 Lupe Fiasco ft. Trey Songz- Out of My Head

Possibly since late May or early April, Power 106 (LA's "hip hop" station) has been playing a super mediocre song with two completely indistinguishable voices. I found out about a month ago it was actually this song, and it made total sense. No rapper I can think of has descended so quickly in terms of quality, yet achieved that much more popular success. I listened to his first album, "Food & Liquor", maybe 100 times over, but he didn't achieve commercial success until the, again, mediocre "Superstar" made a decently sized dent in the charts. I am aware that record label politics came into play with the album this song is taken from, and that Lupe Fiasco really didn't want some of these singles released. "Out of My Head" barely scratched the #40 position before sliding down the charts. What I don't understand is why this song tests so well for LA radio- it's been on heavy rotation for months on all top 40 stations. Lupe Fiasco is a true talent, but one better served off of a major label. It's just a shame the quality of music vs. commerical appeal are like a see-saw rather than going hand in hand.

8/25/2011 Song of the Day- Radiohead- How to Disappear Completely (2000)

My general listening habits can be summed up into two categories- pre Radiohead's Kid A and post Radiohead's Kid A. I was 14 when I started to notice a strange marketing campaign for a then pretty much unknown band to me. There were strange, abstract commericals on MTV on commercial breaks for TRL, (which I watched regularly) advertisements in Billboard magazine, (I've been reading Billboard since I was 11) and to top it all off- the album debuted at #1 on the charts. So on a mild day in October of 2000 on a trip with my grandparents to Columbus, Indiana for a day of shopping, we stopped by a Target, was intrigued by the album and decided I wanted to buy it. At the checkout, the woman gave me a rather odd look once she saw the album cover, and was looking for a parental advisory sticker given I was 14 at the time. (given- southern Indiana is just as conservative as rural Kentucky)

After a mass amount of sleeper success with "OK Computer", Radiohead did a complete 180, invoking an eerie, spacious, electronic album influenced by krautrock and the dark aspects of electronica. As "Faded" by SoulDecision was one of my favorite songs at the time, I didn't get the album at first, which frustrated me. I'd sit downstairs by my computer with my portable CD player (hey, remember those?) and try to make something out of it. Why is every song so complicated yet minimalistic at the same time? What are all of these baffling noises and croons? Finally, after maybe a month had gone by, during maybe the 6th or 7th trudge through the album, it finally clicked. It was a revalation. Not only had my mind been officially expanded, but the foreign concept that a pop song can be more than hooks and melodies came to fruition.

Radiohead was essentially my gateway drug. I'd always been obsessed with music, but my focus completely changed. Out was Contemporary Christian music like Jars of Clay or dcTalk and vh1-centric bands like Matchbox 20, and in were lesser known artists that pushed the envelope- like Jeff Buckley and Sonic Youth. I remember hyping my brother up about Radiohead so much after my awesome discovery that I convinced him to buy "The Bends" while I bought "OK Computer" at the same time. I became such an obsessive fan that I convinced my dad to drive me to Ear-X-Tacy (the go-to indie record store in Louisville) at midnight to purchase their subsequent album, "Amnesiac".

The song "How to Disappear Completely" is by far my favorite song from my favorite album of all time, and I don't know why I've waited this long on my blog to discuss my favorite band ever. It's a very sparse, lengthy tune- repeating the phrase "I'm not here/ This isn't happening". I don't think I completely interpreted that at 14 accurately, but it was pretty much the coolest set of lyrics I'd ever stumbled upon. The very slow buildup to an emotional climax in the song was almost a foreign concept to me, and it was so much more rewarding because of it. Hell, the whole album is amazing, and many may argue that "Idiotheque" or "Optimistic" is the album's zenith- but I'll argue tooth and nail that this is Kid A's best song.

I actually met the producer of the album, Nigel Godrich, during a random encounter at work back in March. I told him how profound of an influence Radiohead has had on my music intake over the years, and he was genuinely appreciative of my admiration. I remember specifically asking him- "So, in recording Kid A- was everyone other than Thom Yorke kind of like- Uhh, what the hell are we doing?" He responded nonchalantly, like he was talking about his best friend, "Oh, there was lots of bickering, but it all worked out." It was so weird to place something so monumental to me in a simple human form. Regardless, Radiohead will always be the end-all/say-all band for me. I've always been obsessed with music, but as I've said- Radiohead was my gateway drug for music. They are the voice of my generation, the way Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd were for the previous.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Opinion: OFWGKTA (Odd Future Wolf Gang Kill Them All)

If you haven't heard of OFWGKTA, don't sweat it. You're about to when they wreak havoc on the VMA's next Sunday, as Tyler the Creator's "Yonkers" video is (very well deservingly) nominated for video of the year. Odd Future is a collective of very young rappers and producers (we are talking 17-21 years of age) similar in numbers to the Wu Tang Clan, but that's where the similarities stop.

These guys have absolutely filthy lyrics. Like, as in Eminem getting a PG-13 rating in comparison. They lyrics are abrasive, violent, misogynisitic, anti-christian, homophobic, and racist. (for example- "raped a pregnant bitch and told my friends I had a threesome") Their production and sound is very challenging and peculiar for their age- think of The Neptunes and Madlib joining forces on a trip to hell and back. They blew up last year in the music blogging world after group leader Tyler the Creator released his debut "Bastard", pretty much becoming the first and prime example of a group virtually unknown to the general public, yet superstars on music blogs and websites.

Their fanbase right now consists of an odd mixture of late teens/early twenties mainstream hip hop listeners and indie hipsters/bloggers. I believe that the former got hooked on the novelty aspect of the band- teens their age being naughtier than any artist of relevance has ever been? The latter is because of the ironic artistic merit from their innovative beats and captivating wordplay.

As they are pretty much the most blatantly offensive band making waves today, it took me awhile to form an opinion on their lyrical content. I've always been a bit hesitant about rappers who use the word "faggot" a lot, (except perennial fave Ghostface Killah) but I think to myself- they are ripping on everyone and not just the gays. If I'm offended by their use of the word, I should be even more offended at their attitude towards women. For me, as long as the music is there and some kind of artistic vision can be seen, I frankly don't care about the lyrical content. These guys never could have existed in any other musical time period- imagine a major label taking these guys under their wing and trying to market them.

An entire new generation now has instant access to all of the music in the world. Tyler the Creator cites some of his main influences as Portishead and Stereolab. When in any other time period would an inner city teenager from a broken home have access to 2 of the most influential electronic acts of the past 20 years?

I don't think Odd Future will ever become truly mainstream or a household name. (besides being demonized from the conservative community as with Alice Cooper, Marilyn Manson, etc) Besides the potential R&B superstar member Frank Ocean, their sound is too inaccessible for mainstream ears. I was pleaseantly suprised upon my first exposure to Odd Future, baffled that normal 20 year olds would warm to the production. It took a good while for Tyler's new album (and my first true exposure to them) "Goblin" to sink in. But from the sheer music alone- the group is collectively producing challenging, provocative, and refreshingly, genuinely NEW music.

It can be ENDLESSLY debated that popular music has reached its cultural and artistic zentith already- and I constantly look for ways to disprove that. Odd Future, along with The Weeknd, are two of the very few artists producing truly new music that would have been impossible to exist at times other than 2011.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

8/20/2011: The Weeknd feat. Drake- The Zone

I feel like I've listened to more R&B this year than any other genre in 2011. It's hard to find consistently evolving genres- I'm always looking for what's new under the sun. It seems like the social media age and immediate access to all kinds of music has had a huge influence on the R&B community. The Weeknd's first mixtape, "House of Balloons", was released to deafening hype and rapturous reviews. For the first time, we have a potential megastar self-producing tracks with Beach House and Cocteau Twins samples. For a genre that is notorious for providing a few hit singles off of an album with corresponding filler on the rest of the album, R&B has gained credibility amongst the indie community in a similar sense to the turn of the millenium, when Maxwell, D'Angelo, and Erykah Badu released their career defining albums. As fresh as they sounded back in 1996-1999. Just as these artists gave the genre a face lift, so will this new generation of "blogger artists".

The song's almost 7 minutes long, and the atmospheric interlude between The Weeknd and Drake's verses- when has that ever happened before in R&B? The unconventional notions of indie experimentalism and mainstream R&B are finally colliding, and The Weeknd will be remembered as the artist (along with the OFWGKTA collective) that really merged it and created a splash.

As with Frank Ocean, these two artists will become absolute stars over the next year or two. And as for the song itself I'm blogging about... nothing really needs to be said. I guess the most notable thing is that this is really one of the few completely new things happening in music, in ANY genre. Which is why I'm so crazy about it.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Hot 100 Chart Analysis- 08/27/2011


1. Katy Perry- T.G.I.F. (Last Friday Night)

This is a very special win, in fact one of the most monumental achievements in pop music history. Katy Perry has now scored 5 number 1 singles off of her album Teenage Dream, tying Michael Jackson for the record of most #1's off of one album. Mariah Carey, Paula Abdul, and Janet Jackson come close with 4 each off of their albums, all occurring between 1989-1991. It's especially notable considering the digital age and the immediacy of access to music- Last Friday Night has been available to consumers for a full year now, and people have much more access to music through various outlets than in 1988 when Jackson initially broke the record. The reducing of the price of the single to 69 cents on iTunes, along with a newly released remix featuring Missy Elliott, (I've MISSED HER!!) helped edge "Party Rock Anthem" for the spot, but what really pushed her over the edge is how insanely huge it is at radio- it spends its 2nd week at #1 on Radio Songs with a bullet. Will she try for a 6th? "Peacock", while racy for radio even by today's standards, could be a huge smash. I will also admit that unabashedly love the video for "Last Friday Night".

25. Rihanna- Cheers (I'll Drink to That)

God, her album "Loud" is chock full of hits. This is the 8th single off the album, and it's only been out since the Christmas rush of 2010. I can say without a doubt that this might be her 4th #1 single off of Loud (thus tying aforementioned Mariah, Paula, and Janet) if digital sales are strong enough. It was an absolute hit the first time I heard it, and I'm not surprised they waited this long to release it. Surely this will be the last single from the album. It's actually a very smart strategy to wait and release one of the best songs on the album as a late-term release to keep album sales momentum. Though both Katy Perry and Rihanna's album sales numbers are very low considering their popularity, keeping an artist on the radio for as long as possible is key.

#70 Dev- In the Dark

It's by sheer coincidence that my 3 winners of the week (and one loser) are solo female artists- but really, we live in an era of solo female artist dominance. Los Angeles supports their local artists like no other, and Dev has been a mainstay on top 40 here since "Like a G6". Jumping from #92-#70 in one week, her new single "In the Dark" seems to have the momentum for top 40. Given her talk-speak style and lack of strong vocals, it seems like her success is a direct result of Ke$ha. The song itself is pretty catchy, and I'm all for LA artists making it big.


#18 Beyonce- Best Thing I Never Had

If I didn't know Beyonce's 3rd and 4th singles (Party and Countdown) off of 4 didn't have massive appeal and potential to be blockbusters, I would have immediately dismissed 4 as a flop. Run the World (Girls) was an interesting song but completely lacks melody or anything memorable other than the already heavily sampled Major Lazer's "Pon de Floor". I give her credit for having the balls to release such an unconventional single, but Columbia overcompensated severely with the release of "Best Thing I Never Had"- an average ballad released in a sea of turbo pop and house-hip-hop top 40. I'm honestly surprised it became a top 20 hit- it really attests to Beyonce's sheer star power. When she finally releases a song that current radio listeners can warm up to (without compromising with gimmicks and current trends) the album just might take off. Columbia has publicly stated they find 4 an "18 month" album, and the album has 3 absolutely killer potential singles. Can we please just get this average skip-over track out of the way and get to the GOOD songs on 4?

#57 Jason Derulo- Don't Wanna Go Home

Jason Derulo had 3 top 10 hits with his debut, on the back of an Imogen Heap sampled track, which pretty much solidified him as a relevant pop star of this era. Early indications of a sophomore slump are evident, as the first single from his second album, "Don't Wanna Go Home", peaked at #14 and is now rapidly descending the charts. The song itself, the millionth to sample of Robin S's dance classic "Show Me Love" sounds insanely uninspired- the desperation for a strong sophomore lead single is evident as it gives into every current trend. I mean, the song isn't a flop by any means- it peaked at #14. The problem is establishing an artist without a distinct personality and a good (but not unique) voice from the fierce competition.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Commentary: Country is the new Top 40 Pop

A few times a week, I like to investigate the top-selling songs on iTunes. It's a huge indicator of future hits- the results of purchases are immediate- thus accelerating a fad or trend in music. For example, when "Moves Like Jagger" by Maroon 5 hit #3 this week, it's been #1 on iTunes since the early last week- so the industry suspected it. (Don't even get me started on how The Voice saved Maroon 5's career)

Right now, country music seems to parallel a similar template in late 1990's adult pop music. It was a time when VH1 hits dominated the radio- any female artist with a hint of individuality and a guitar or piano- Paula Cole, Jewel, Shawn Colvin, Sarah McLachlan, Natalie Merchant, Sheryl Crow to name a few- could hit top 40. The only difference in the world that I see between their pop hits and today's country top 40 is the addition of fiddle guitar and a twanged voice. (hell, that's all Jewel had to do to make her unsuccessful attempt at a country crossover career) It makes total sense that Darius Rucker of Hootie & the Blowfish found massive success these past few years, despite being black. Former top 40 artists like Uncle Kracker (of Kid Rock and "Follow Me" fame) recently experienced a country top 10 with "Smile", and is currently on a huge tour with Kenny Chesney. Bon Jovi experienced a huge career resurgence by making a country album, and their subsequent tour created one of the most successful tour runs of the year.

In the same light, the lines between country and adult top 40 have come blurred recently as well. While country crossover singles (Faith Hill's "Breathe", Lonestar's "Amazed", etc) have occasionally fared well on the chart, you only have to look at this week's adult top 40 chart to see that The Band Perry's "If I Die Young" is the greatest gainer of the week, and artists like Lady Antebellum regularly make chart appearances due to the success of "Need You Now".

When it boils down to it, there is simply a certain segment of the United States that prefers inoffensive, catchy, conventional music. Since the early 2000's hip-hop Murder Inc/50 Cent era, Vh1 type pop music has existed as the exception and not the norm. Looking at present day's charts- groups like One Republic have success due to Ryan Tedder being one of today's most popular songwriters, a fluke hit transition to mainstream success a few times a year, and perennial artists like Pink. Colbie Callait occasionally breaks the Adult Top 40 barrier for a hit, while legacy artists like Rob Thomas,

For this specific audience, music is treated like less of an extracurricular hobby, and more like a byproduct of what happens to be playing on the radio. The audience of vehemently anti hip-hop and anti-electronic is shrinking as the 2 aforementioned formats are becoming ever more dominant. It makes total sense that the line is being blurred between the two formats.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Thanks for visiting!

Well, the blog is going public today. If you are checking it out for the first time, THANK YOU for showing interest. My main goal for this website is to provide commentary and information in a subject I am competely obsessed with and compassionate about. The title is a reference to my favorite album from the decade I was born- Sonic Youth's 1988 album Daydream Nation. I hope you enjoy and come back to visit for daily updates!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

8/15/2011- Jay Z & Kanye West ft. Frank Ocean- Made in America (2011)

Do I even need an introduction for this? The music world and blogs have been in a frenzy over the release of Watch the Throne, and is targeted to sell over half a million units in its first week. The 11th track from the album, "Made in America", instantly became the standout track off the album for me upon first listen.

In lead single Otis, the term "luxury rap" is coined. I can't think of a more accurate description from such a blockbuster of an album- 2 of the most powerful MC's- hell- musicians in the world rapping over the best beats money can buy, concurrently rapping about the things they can buy. Gears switch on "Made in America", a more conscious, socio-political statement, repeatedly referencing Coretta Scott King, Malcolm X, and Sweet Baby Jesus.

If unfamiliar, OFWGKTA member Frank Ocean, arguably the most buzzed about R&B artist in the genre currently, creates an instantly recognizable and addictive chorus. Even if a bit uninspired, the song has substance. 'Ye and Z offer earnest, heartfelt verses- but the real story for the song is a much blogged about artist earning his first legitimate exposure to the mainstream.

The song is basically a potential single and radio smash waiting to happen.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

8/14/2011- PJ Harvey- Good Fortune (2000)


This is the song that started my obsession with PJ Harvey. If unfamiliar, she started the class of out of the box female artists like Tori Amos and Bjork. Check out the most amazing magazine cover from British music magazine Q:

Polly Jean Harvey just released her latest album, Let England Shake, earlier this year to the warmest reception an album of hers has recieved since 2000's Stories from the City, Stories from the Sea, which is her most accessible and one of her biggest successes. An English artist writing a song about her love for New York eerily released a year before 9/11. There are conspiracy theories that This Mess We're In, the track she did with Thom Yorke for the album, predicts the attacks.


Harvey at her most accessible. She's known to be a challenging artist with each concurring album sounding nothing like her last. The closest thing to a pop song she's ever done, and the most appropriate starting point for her expansive catalog. It's notable that this is one of her happier songs, considering most of her songs, most notably her earlier work, is filled with angst and unsatisfaction. (And I feel like some bird of paradise/ My bad fortune slipping away/ And I feel the innocence of a child/ Everybody's got something good to say)

Also check out this great AV Club article about her:

Friday, August 12, 2011

8/13/2011- Yeasayer- I Remember (2010)

Yeasayer is what I call the ultimate consensus band. Whenever I'm in a car with people, at a party, hell- whenever an acquaintance asks me to put something on, the first thing I turn to for immediate pleasure is Yeasayer's 2010 album Odd Blood. I see a lot of influence from Animal Collective's Merriweather Post Pavillion- a releatively inaccessible band finding a balance between their trademark and pop hooks- to much success.

The song "I Remember" is a pathetically sweet love song that hits all emotional cores if applicable. The song is unabashedly indulgent with plenty of stadium rock percussion and arpeggios that don't usually belong to indie bands. The melody is extremely easy to follow and becomes a total earworm by the end of the song the first time you listen. If you have a special someone on your mind, prepare your heart to melt. ("You're stuck in my mind... all the time")

Who knows? Yeasayer has 4 absolutely killer singles from their breakthrough album "Odd Blood"... Highly recommended.

8/12/2011: Karen Dalton- It Hurts Me Too (1968)

And now for something completely different.

Karen Dalton is an obscure folk singer I stumbled upon while obsessed with the freak-folk genre in college. Her life was actually quite notable and interesting- Bob Dylan cites here as one of his main influences. She never recorded original material- only covers- and was stubborn of recording in a studio. In fact, she was tricked into recording her first album, not knowing it was being recorded. Her voice might be the most unique, beautiful and excruciating voices you'll ever hear- I've literally typed and erased 5 descriptions of her voice and none quite describe it accurately. Think Billy Holliday, Bob Dylan, Antony Hegarty, Devendra Banhart and Robert Johnson. Many artists today continue to discover her and continue to be influenced by her unconventional voice.

This isn't my favorite song of hers, by far. To find her best work, look to her 2nd album, "In My Own Time". This is just really the only video footage this day and age that we are left with of this incredible talent. Karen Dalton battled with drugs until her death in 1993, of which she was rumored homeless at the time. Of the minimal footage we have of this lost legend, at least we have this:

Billboard Hot 100 Summary: Wins and Fails- 8/20/2011


8. Maroon 5 ft. Christina Aguilera- Moves Like Jagger

"Moves Like Jagger" is Maroon 5's first top 10 hit since their #1 "Makes Me Wonder" five years ago. I had fist placed this song in the "gimmick" category, as it was debuted on the show "The Voice". It took me awhile to realize that this gimmick actually had the momentum to become a decently sized pop hit. True, Maroon 5 is an established band, but their last album's singles didn't exactly spark fireworks on the charts. I dismissed it originally as I have all songs spawning from a reality show- have Lee DeWyze, Crystal Bowersox, Scott McCreery, or Pia Toscano gained any traction recently? I mean, the last American Idol to gain any traction was Adam Lambert, and even he had trouble finding acceptance at radio at first. Either way, "Moves Like Jagger" has reigned the iTunes charts for a week now, and it looks like a semi-comeback for them. "The Voice" is the best thing that ever happened to Adam Levine and Christina Aguilera- two successful pop stars with recent missteps that have now been compensated for.

13. Foster the People- Pumped Up Kicks

It seems that once or twice a year, a random left-field act breaks the mainstream. Usually I can see it coming- e.g. La Roux's "Bulletproof" or Gnarls Barkley's "Crazy". But really- this one had me baffled at first. Yes, the song has a catchy chorus of killing peers over shoes, (?) but thousands of indie pop artists have songs with hooks out the ASS that would catch fire at top 40. (Robyn, Holy Ghost!, Cut Copy) I guess what I'm left with from this song is- good for them, a non mainstream band infiltrated the top 40... but at the same time- of all bands and all songs- why was it them? The song is on track to make top 10, solidifying them for relevancy until this time next year.

41. Jennifer Lopez ft. Lil Wayne- I'm Into You

Well, the Jennifer Lopez comeback has officially arrived. It is also now official that TV is the primary medium for a washed up pop star to regain relevancy. Let's look at where JLo was before the 2010 season of American Idol aired. Her last album was 2006's "Brave", which didn't produce any hits and fell off the charts immediately. After that, several singles released (anyone remember "Fresh Out the Oven"?) to absolutely no interest. She hooks up with Lady Gaga's producer RedOne, debuts her song on her employer's show, and consequently becomes a massive hit. I find the showing of her new single every bit as important and relevant to her previous chart hit. It's an extremely average song that doens't exactly play in your head upon recent listens- it pretty much has everything a current pop song needs without that special spark to make it- well- special. The fact that it bulleted to #41 this week as a normal single without any TV tie-in means that A) it will make top 40 next week and that B) Jennifer Lopez has (unfortunately) officially returned to relevancy on the pop charts.


#60: Rihanna- California King Bed

What the hell was Def Jam thinking when releasing this as a single? With every song on the album a potential single, (and after a successful run of 3 #1 singles) and in a music period of top 40 running on cocaine, she releases a hook free soft rock ballad? The song peaked at #37 on her name alone, which really attests to Rihanna's general popularity and staying power. Her label immediately recognized this, as they immediately dropped "Cheers (Drink To That)," and it rockets from 91-50 this week. It could be a potential 4th #1 from "Loud", keeping Rihanna as the only artist on pace to possibly beat Mariah Carey or The Beatles for the most #1 singles of all time. SERIOUSLY. Actually, I'm gonna post "Cheers" because "California King Bed" puts me to sleep.

#81- Red Hot Chili Peppers- The Adventures of Rain Dance Maggy

I've gained a respect for this band over the years- learning of their origins. I never realized how trailblazing they were in fusing so many genres together before it was cool- and their rise to superstardom was backed upon their totally fluke hit "Under the Bridge". Since then, they've been funk-rock top 40 hit makers with ups and downs over the years, and "The Adventures of Rain Dance Maggy" sounds 100% exactly what I'd expect from them. Unless the song gains traction at top 40 (which it has chance of), I'd now put these senior rockers as a "legacy band"- an album every few years with no radio singles or chart accomplishments accompanying a massive sold out tour that makes millions.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

OPINION: Britney Spears

In March of this year, something strange happened with my listening habits. For the first time- with guilty curiosity and a sense of uneasiness, I searched for Britney Spears and listened to all of the album cuts from her new album, "Femme Fatale".

Honestly, Britney and I have had a mostly hate relationship through the years. When Britney Spears broke back in 1999, (at 13 years old) I stayed busy maintaining a Sixpence None The Richer fansite (hey now- I was into Christian music at the time and I about pissed my pants when a band I'd been listening to for 3 years at that point scored a massive mainstream hit with "Kiss Me") and listening to VH1 friendly pop and adult top 40. However, by the time "Baby One More Time" hit #1, I was already growing tired of the boy band/sugar pop of the day. Though I secretly found the song super catchy, my indie snob days as a hater were slowly developing. That came to fruition when the album that changed the way I listen to music was released- Radiohead's "Kid A."

Throughout the years, I loathed her music and media overexposure. Although- when she went bonkers in 2007, I was laughing my ass off at her shaved head antics. That all changed with an unlikely source: a South Park episode.

If you haven't already seen the notorious episode, it depicts Britney has a helpless, stressed pop star suffering from the public eye. Stan, Kyle, Kenny, and Cartman find that they could get tons of money by taking a photo of her. Britney finally caves to the point that she literally blows her head off- still lives but has more than half of her head missing. The only sound she can produce is a nasty gargling sound, but the label puts her in the studio as if nothing's wrong. The episode ends with Britney Spears dying from an influx of hundreds of photographers honing in and snapping picture after picture.

That episode changed my opinion of her, and for the first time, gave her some sympathy. All of a sudden, she became the laughing stock and tabloid fodder to the recovered underdog that everyone was suddenly cheering for.

Now, I'm not giving Britney credit where credit isn't deserved. She's still and always will be Jive's puppet. Yes, she's worked extremely hard over the years and is deserving of her success. She also has the best case scenario of any current pop star in the world- minimum effort with maximum reward. Britney doesn't have to do anything but lay down a vocal track, let the best producers money can buy (Max Martin controls the pop charts) and watch the singles shoot up the charts. Even in concert, she's notorious for lip synching on stage, and her dancing obviously isn't what it used to be. It's funny that stars today like Gaga and Beyonce work their asses off day in and day out with incredible voices and songwriting talent- and by default, they are classified in the same category as pop diva.

That being said, I got over my snobbery toward Britney starting with Blackout. In the middle of her insane period, including her disastrous performance and music video for "Gimme More", the album was actually met with positive reviews. It dawned on me. The less Britney Spears is consciously there, and the more weight the production of her songs take- the better the song.

It's also perfectly convenient for her that the current music trends have shaped into the auto-tuned second disco era- perfect for a pop star whose sound was tailor made in the studio. Also, by 2008, Britney had been around for almost 10 years. As for me with Lisa Stansfield, your first true music love stays with you for life, and those same pre-pubescent 9 and 10 year olds from 1999 being 20 today- the nostalgia factor has certainly been a contribution to her ongoing massive success. While Lisa Stansfield has one of my favorite voices ever, she recorded above average for-the-time pop albums that sound very much like the year they were released. But in my mind, her sound is immaculate and I'd bend over backwards to see any kind of media exposure for her, let alone a comeback.

"Femme Fatale" is a decent album that serves its purpose- a major label churning out hit songs. And it's working- radio has NEVER been this receptive to Britney up until this point. While the credits should technically read "Max Martin (or whomever) ft. Britney Spears" in terms of contribution to the song, she gets the pick of the litter among potential hit songs.

Nostalgia and her production team are the 2 main reasons behind her unprecedented comeback, and I've learned to put my pride aside and just enjoy great pop music. Hey, if Britney rejected "I Wanna Go", it would have gone to any of the other pop stars of today. Separating the music from the artist is sometimes a quite political process, but recently- I've learned to just enjoy the music and go with it.

I can officially say I now take a neutral stance on Britney Spears.

Sorry guys, I just have to post her legendary 2007 VMA performance.

Monday, August 8, 2011

8/11/2011 M.I.A.- Paper Planes (2008)


DUH, you know this song. When I dug through my brain for some of my favorite songs in recent memory, I thought about the best live shows I've been to. I saw M.I.A. in concert back in May of 2008 in Chicago, and seriously haven't seen a better show since. She had about 100 people on stage with her at one point, and it was honestly difficult to recognize or pinpoint the real M.I.A., but the presentation and energy were beyond exhilirating.

That being said, I don't know if there's a song this past decade that I've listened to more than "Paper Planes", or that I've liked more than "Paper Planes". My best friends and I used to drink and dance to it pretty much every weekend for 6 months, THEN it decided to become a fluke hit on the back of the new Judd Apatow movie trailer "The Pineapple Express". The song was a blockbuster, eventually peaking at #4 on the Hot 100, transforming her from blogger and indie circle's idol to international star. It's M.I.A.'s signature world music influence with a rhythm that has swagger for miles.

I never really paid attention to the lyrics until the song was used in "Slumdog Millionaire", The song's political lyrics are every bit as current and essential as the mesmerizing beat. Since, she's grown a horrible ego and released a sub-par 3rd album... I guess everyone deals with fame differently. It would be such a shame if this song were her peak.

Billboard Hot 100 Summary: Wins and Fails- 8/13/2011


#2 Katy Perry- TGIF Last Friday Night (Airplay Gainer)
Katy Perry is *this close* to making chart history. After Califoria Gurls, Teenage Dream, Firework, and E.T. all peaked at #1 for multiple weeks, the remix with Missy Elliot pretty much puts "T.G.I.F. Last Friday Night" in the position to become the 5th #1 single from the album. It should be also noted that Michael Jackson's run of 5 #1 singles only ran for 1 or 2 weeks, while Perry's has reigned for 6,2,3,4 respectively. Particularly, I'm not a huge fan of her, but her record success on the chart should be lauded.

#3 Nicki Minaj- Super Bass
What a fluke hit. She's released about 1000 singles from her too-fluffly debut Pink Friday (I'm sorry but I love the mixtapes much more) and this song was originally just a bonus track. It's turned out to be not only her biggest hit thus far, but it seems as if she's truly transitioning into music's A-list.

#9 Britney Spears- I Wanna Go
Didn't intentionally mean for the wins to be all female solo artists this week, but Britney has set a personal record this week. Before her Til the World Ends peaked at #3 on the back of a remix with Ke$ha and Nicki Minaj. Bulleting into the #9 position, this is the first Britney album to yeild 3 top 10 singles.

And who's to blame her- she has the best producers money can buy- she's simply a vessle for their creativity. It's just fascinating how Britney has transitioned from trainwreck to braindead pop superstar hitmaker. Though the whole "Fk You, Fk You, You're Cool, Fk You, I'm out" deal is pretty hilarious.


#68 T-Pain- Booty Wurk (One Cheek at a Time)
While T-Pain was the king of disposable autotune pop music from 2006-2009, he did produce some pretty solid guilty pleasures. (e.g. "Bartender" with Akon, "Shawty" with Plies) The past year, the music industry seems to have left him behind as he's released about 5 singles that have failed to gain traction. I at least thought this single with the semi-novelty of the title and deep bass line similar to what Bangladesh would produce- that it would do a little better. Unfortunately, looks like another non-starter for T-Pain.

#90 Enrique Inglesias- Dirty Dancer (ft. Usher & Lil Wayne)
I'd like to personally thank the American public for not making this song a bigger hit. I'll admit, "I Like It" was catchy, but "Tonight I'm Fucking You" just seemed like a lame, contrived cash grab. "Dirty Dancer" feels just downright gimmicky, and I think the American pulbic finally caught on, as the song really isn't that good and barely made the top 20 on the back of digital sales.

8/10/2011 Sly and the Family Stone- A Family Affair (1971)


There's no doubt about it- Sly & the Family Stone is one of the greatest R&B/soul groups in history. After an extremely successful run of pioneering soul music in the 1960's, Sly fell to the pressures of fame and became an addict, which contributes to the fact that their catalog is relatively brief. The album this was pulled from- There's a Riot Goin' On- captures Sly's slow descent into drug addiction and hallucination. It's also by far their most criticially acclaimed album- a perfect balance of genius and, unfortunately, the effects of hard drugs on creativity. The song was a huge hit- #1 on the pop charts, which is strange because of all my years listening to classic radio, the song tends to be overlooked compared to say, his other #1 hit, Everyday People.


The song is notable for being the first #1 single in history to use a looped drum machine, so technically it could be considered the first electronic #1 song ever. The most interesting thing about the song "A Family Affair" is Sly's vocal delivery. He simply seems out of it, slurring words and appearing slightly off beat, which would prove influential. The strange vocal delivery is especially puzzling to me given the context of the early 70's, especially given it was a #1 hit. At the time, Sly was so hot that he probably could have turned anything into a major hit. This song would come to be Sly's last huge song. After this, he continued his downward spiral and stayed out of the public spotlight.

The song has been countlessly sampled by R&B and hip-hop artists over the years, most notably by the Black Eyed Peas on the song Weekends. (this is pre-Fergie and before they lost their credibility) And I'm sure Mary J Blige's monster hit of the same name (the song never says "Family Affair"- why not "Hateration" or "Dancery"?) wasn't named out of the blue.

8/9/11- Prince- Uptown (1980)

I figured since my first post was about a soon to be hit across multiple formats, that I'd follow it up with a true hidden jem.

"Uptown" was released a few years before Prince's breakthrough song, "1999" was released. By 1980, Prince had one successful single to his name- 1979's I Wanna Be Your Lover, which almost made top 10. In context, Prince was still an obscure, androgynous R&B star on the brink of stardom.

"Uptown" is a pretty damn immaculate, lost disco tune. One of the highlights from his critically acclaimed Dirty Mind, the best part of the song is the break in the beat at the in the second verse, which has turned out to be highly influential even in today's pop songs. He explicitly addresses his percieved feminitity-

"Baby didn't say 2 much - she said, "Are U gay?"
Kinda took me by surprise, I didn't know what 2 do
I just looked her in her eyes and I said, "No, are U?"

So, as the rest of the story goes... 1999 vaults him into buzzworthy, and Purple Rain makes him an ultimate superstar. Sign O' the Times becomes the Sgt. Pepper of the 80's, and label controversy and opposition ultimately destroys his run of successful singles.


It really seems like a simple song given the production of today's standards, but the song is notable for a few things. The album the single was hosted from, "Dirty Mind", feature songs about oral sex, homosexuality, and incest- quite racy for 30 years ago. I mean seriously- check out this awesome album cover. It's a standard disco tune with an awesome melody that would have been a huge hit post Purple Rain. Only hardcore Prince fans seem to be familiar with his pre-1999 albums, (though I may be naive as I was still 6 years from being born) but they are definitely worth checking out.

8/8/2011: Lloyd ft. Andre 3000- Dedication to my Ex (Miss That) (2011)

For my first song, instead of picking a classic- I'll pick one that's current, pretty much on the brink of becoming a major hit.

Lloyd has always been a second tier R&B star, scoring a few top 20 hits, most notably the song You with Lil Wayne. After his third album, Girls Around the World) he split with declining Murder Inc (responsible for Ja Rule and Ashanti) and signed with Interscope. I don't know how the hell he did it, but he secured one of the hottest hitmakers to produce his ENTIRE ALBUM. (a la Justin Timberlake with Timbaland, Usher with Jermaine Dupri, MF Doom with Madlib, MF Doom with Danger Mouse, you get the picture) Wikipedia Polow's resume- his mark on pop and r&b has been massive and undeniable. For the particular track "Dedication to My Ex (Miss That)", they obviously saw that "Fuck You" by Cee-Lo was a massive hit, seeing that retro soul mixed with obscene lyrics works in very special and unique instances.

The explicit part is that it references "pussy" over 30 times. (!!?) It's one of those songs tailor made for radio, as the G-rated version has switched the dirty word to "lovin." (as is the rest of the album) with glossy production and an instantly retro feel, circa 1960's with the rhythm and keys imparticular. I've always been a fan of Lloyd's voice- most notably for the uniqueness in a sea of undistinctive peers like Trey Songz. On first listen- immediately catchy. I knew the song was a hit the first time I heard it, and my intuition was confirmed when I heard it on AmpRadio 97.1 in LA last week, a full week before it was scheduled to be serviced to radio. The extremely selective Andre 3000 of Outkast provides a nice little 16 bars to accompany. Expect to be sick of this song in a few months.

Track 1- Intro

Music is my #1 obsession. I own over 1500 albums, I am a walking billboard chart encyclopedia, and I constantly read about artists on Wikipedia. That being said, I feel that my knowledge of music and good writing skills should be put to use.

I moved to Los Angeles a year and a half ago to pursue my dream of working in the music industry- marketing and promotions specificially. I've done quite a bit of research about the industry and it's history- especially in its relation to the artists they represent. I find that the major label system seems like an antithesis to artistic will and integrity. Not wholly, but with almost every true artist- Prince being a prime example- it seems like I'd be working for the enemy. However, I'd still do anything for a fucking mail room job at a label. It seems unreachable

So here's what the blog is going to be about. I love so many different musical genres- it would be easier to list what I don't listen to:

Mainstream Country (too calculated, contrived, and plastic)
Mainstream Rock (see my thoughts on mainstream country)
Teen Pop (see my thoughts on mainstream country)
House/Trance (too repetitive and not cohesive enough for me)
Contemporary Christian/Gospel (really? i need a reason for this?)
Pitbull (he is my ANTITHESIS!!!!!)

So pretty much everything indie, pop, r&b, hip hop, electronic, post punk, new wave, progressive rock, girl group, classic rock, 80's shenanigans, grunge, jazz, blues, you name it.

My goal is to keep up with this every day, though with 11 1/2 hour shifts at work, some days may have to suffer. I've started about 5 blogs before that I never kept up with- but this seems like a clear enough concept that will inspire me enough.