Saturday, October 22, 2011

Billboard Hot 100 Summary: Wins and Fails- 10/29/2011

Sorry for the delay... I've been investing my time in other things- e.g. finding another job! We'll get right into it.


#6 Rihanna f/ Calvin Harris- We Found Love

After a rather slow start compared to other lead singles from Rihanna, it looks like "We Found Love" just may have a shot at #1. The cut finally made #1 on iTunes and is continually a greatest gainer on the airplay charts. It hasn't even made top 10 at radio yet and keeps climbing. While the song sounds like it took about 15 minutes to make, I suppose the sheer simplicity of the song and vocal-less chorus serves the junk food palate of today's current trend.

#25 T-Pain f/ Lily Allen & Wiz Khalifa- 5 O'Clock

The charts haven't been kind to T-Pain over the past two years, aside from an occasional guest feature from DJ Khaled or Pitbull. After 5 (yes, count them- 5! Reverse Cowgirl, Rap Song, Take Yo Shirt Off, Best Love Song, Booty Wurk) failed initial startup singles from the autotuner's 4th album, "rEVOLVEr", it looks like he's finally caught some momentum with the "first single" from the album. It's a new interpolation of a minor overseas Lily Allen hit from 2 years ago, and I'm honestly a bit confused as to how this song is gaining so much more momentum than "Booty Wurk" ever did. It's obvious that T-Pain's heyday peaked in 2008, but it looks like radio doesn't want to forget about him just yet.

#42 Flo Rida- Good Feeling

It turns out that the last Flo Rida album tanked so badly that it completely went beneath my radar. Anchored by the mediocre "Club Can't Handle Me", the album "Only One Flo (Part 1)" peaked at a miserable #107 on the charts, buried beneath the onslaught of major label black Friday releases. Carrying on in the tradition of Flo being the least interesting thing about his hits, "Good Feeling" takes an uncredited sample from Swedish artist Avicii. Flo Rida simply does his uninteresting, monotone rap between the sample just to take up space. The song jumped more than 30 spots to this peak, so I'm sure this will be a huge hit during the lucrative shopping season. It looks as if part 2 to "Only One Flo" (so creative!) might peak within the top 100 of the album charts.

#69 Big Sean- Dance (A$$)

As we continue to feel the influence of Lil Wayne's "A Milli", anothe copycat beat has reached the hands of another copycat artist. The Bangladesh produced landmark beat of 8 bars of snare with 8 bars of bass has been copied relentlessly by Bangladesh himself amongst other artists, but the fact is- it's still one of the hottest concepts in hip hop. The minimalist, bass driven production is easily the most appealing Big Sean has put out (which isn't saying much at all) and the remix featuring Nicki Minaj is downright lovely. I feel that I don't really get Big Sean's appeal- his style, enunciation, and overall image feels extremely bland and too normal. The first two singles from his debut, "Finally Famous", are immediate skip-over tracks for me ("My All" with Chris Brown and "Marvin & Chardonnay" with Kanye & Roscoe Dash) and definitely didn't deserve the love they recieved on the R&B charts. We'll have to see how long Big Sean lasts without the big name associates.


#61 Afrojack f/ Eva Simons- Take Over Control

I always categorize this song with Alexandra Stan's "Mr. Saxobeat", as they are two club-ready songs that earned enormous success overseas last year trying to capitalize on US radio's current house fetish. While "Saxobeat" bullets to #21 this week, "Take Over Control" tumbles beneath the onslaught of country music singles in positions 50-59, dropping 16 spots to #60. Don't count out the whole euro-dance phase just yet, as there will be plenty more of these to come. It's a rare time when there are so many similarities in what works in the US and Europe.

#88 Sean Paul f/ Alexis Jordan- Got 2 Luv U

Like Flo Rida previously mentioned, Sean Paul is coming off of an all-out failure of an album from 2 years ago, as the lead single "So Fine" only made it to #50 on the charts. Looks like the follow up to his new album will go down in the books as an even less successful performer. It's a big risk coming from a flop with a new, untested artist (Alexis Jordan from "America's Got Talent" has experienced success in Europe but remains unknown in the US) and I admire the fact that he didn't just get Nicki Minaj or Bruno Mars for an A-list guest feature- but it looks like Atlantic's gamble isn't going to pay off with this song.

#98 Jennifer Lopez- Papi

While I'm sure the video for "Papi" is selling Dodge/Chrysler/Jeep a ton of Fiat 500's, it's not exactly electrifying the charts. Def Jam shouldn't have released "I'm Into You" as the 2nd single from the album, as it seems that all of the momentum from "On the Floor" was wasted on a single that would have been a success 3 years ago. I honestly thought that "Papi" would be a more of a success than a failure, but we must remember that JLo is currently more relevant than any time since 2003- and given her limited talent- it should be considered a success.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Billboard Hot 100 Summary: Wins and Fails- 10/15/2011


#7 B.O.B. f/ Lil Wayne- Strange Clouds

I'm slightly taken aback that B.O.B.'s new song could have that much of a stronger chart showing than Rihanna and Kelly Clarkson's new digital singles, but I guess we shouldn't underestimate the power of Weezy talking about weed. B.o.B. is one of those artists that is continually the least interesting part of his songs- his guest features (Bruno Mars, Hayley Williams, Rivers Cuomo) have continually outshined his bland, been-there-before verses, but apparently the public was hungry for a B.o.B. comeback. It's catchy enough and will gain some traction on rhythmic stations, but I do feel that #7 will be the song's peak. I see the song performing similarly to last year's "Right Above It" with Weezy and Drake, debuting strongly at #6, with significant gains in airplay over the next few months, though the tapering of the digital sales will keep the song hovering around the lower rungs of the top 20 for awhile.

#26 Alexandra Stan- Mr. Saxobeat

As I've already heard the song about 1,000 times on LA radio, it looks like it's gaining traction everywhere in America. Capitalizing on two new fads- european dj meets pop radio and the resurgence of the saxophone, (see "Edge of Glory", "T.G.I.F. (Last Friday Night)" and "In The Dark") the song that 2 years ago would have only been successful across the pond is now a legitimate force to be reckoned with. As there doesn't seem to be much of an identity behind Alexandra Stan, as the voice seems quite interchangeable, I expect her to be a one hit wonder.

#35 Jay-Z & Kanye West- Ni**as in Paris

I'm still waiting to see how a live DJ refers to the unadulterated title- it's already entertaining enough to see how they alter the last part of the song when the beat breaks. As true 100% hip-hop becomes more scarce at top 40, leave it to the kings of the genre to keep servicing quality hip-hop to the masses. It's their second top 40 from "Watch the Throne", as "Otis" barely missed the top 10 on the back of digital sales. Oh, much props to Jay-Z for finally exposing the term "cray" to the masses.

#62 T-Pain f/ Lily Allen & Wiz Khalifa- 5 O'Clock

T-Pain has had an awfully rough time trying to gain traction for his new album. This seems like the 100th single released- lets see... Take Your Shirt Off, Reverse Cowgirl, Rap Song, Best Love Song, and Booty Wurk. It looks like the troubles aren't over, as just a few days ago- Jive Records dissolved into its parent record label, RCA. So who knows if we'll ever get his forthcoming studio album (almost 2 years delayed) "rEVOLVEr", but really- are there that many hardcore T-Pain fans out there? The actual song "5 O'Clock" borrows from a Lily Allen single from the UK- and the end result really isn't bad at all- but as I thought "Booty Wurk" was a surefire smash- I'm not really sure what audience reaction to expect from T-Pain's singles anymore.

#81 Lloyd f/ Andre 3000- Dedication to my Ex (Miss That)

One of my favorite singles of the year, a quasi-sequel to Cee-lo's "Fuck You!", has finally made its debut on the Hot 100. It's been getting airplay in LA for a few months now, but it seems that it's struggling to gain traction at R&B radio as it seems to have stalled just outside of the top 40 on that chart for now. The radio edit takes away a bit of the song's novelty and edge, but it's still a great, classic sounding tune with an all too rare and underappreciated Andre 3000 guest spot.


#12 Lady Gaga- You & I

OK, so it's not really a "fail" per se- but we now know for a fact that "You & I" has reached its final peak at #6 on the charts. I had a few fabricated high hopes for this song- after all, the sound has massive appeal for middle America, and the general public seems to be starved for something other than the four-on-the-floor music Gaga ironically helped usher in. Don't get me wrong- the song had a successful chart run- but the song's chart performance lets us know that the song isn't exactly going to be a career defining song for her.

#48 Nickelback- When We Stand Together

Any new Nickelback chart debut is a fail for America. Especially with such a calculated, glossed over song, and such a lousy, pandering song title like this. I mean, these Canadians have been exploiting the wallets of the red states for a good while- why don't we go ahead and get a Rick Perry feature on here? Peaking with 2005's "All the Right Reasons", Nickelback has diminished with the coinciding depletion of top 40 rock music from the airwaves. At least they're one of the many casualties I'm thankful for.

#72 Iyaz f/ Travie McCoy- Pretty Girls

I wrote a few weeks back about this single being the one to anchor the all-important sophomore album, but it looks like this one's a no-go. After tumbling from 51-72 this week on the Hot 100, it looks as if initial audience reaction is tepid. Iyaz doesn't have a very distinguishable voice, and will need another gimmick or stronger guest feature to land a hit worthy of the sophomore album.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Billboard Hot 100 Summary: Wins and Fails- 10/08/2011

It's been a relatively slow week this week, with most of the top 10 remaining stagnant. Let's get right into it:


#2 Adele- Someone Like You

Yes, the song has already peaked and has spent the past few weeks at this very position. However, the piano-driven ballad soars 9-2 on the usually stagnant Radio Songs chart, while holding firmly at #1 currently on iTunes. Adele continues to break every single rule in the Pop Music 2011 instruction guide as it seems the song will continue into a lengthy chart run at #1 after this week. As the major labels and big players contin ue to unravel their big guns for the holiday shopping season, I don't expect the song to pass "Rolling in the Deep"'s 7-week stint. But again, you never know. As I found on another website, "Someone Like You" is the first ever piano and vocal only song to ever hit #1 in Rock & Roll history. 2011 is the year of Adele.

#10 LFMAO- Sexy and I Know It

It took this song 4 weeks to get into the top 10. A second single from an established duo's sophomore "album" goes top 10 in less than a month- even more notable in the fact that the song has been available for download since the album came out this summer. Even more notable and puzzling is the fact that the song has no redeeming quality, no memorable hook- not even a memorable BASSLINE! Seriously, I guess stupidly self-empowering chorus and the Lonely-Island esque "I Work Out!" line is enough to push the greek kids and coke abusers over the edge. I get that they are coming off the biggest song of the year with "Party Rock Anthem", but when we look back in 20 years-(like Starship, Milli Vanilli, and Jessica Simpson before them)- we will all question why the hell we were listening to this in the first place. OK, I'll stop hating. Congrats LMFAO. But your 15 minutes are ticking.

#42 New Boyz f/Chris Brown- Better With the Lights Off

The California teen hip-hop duo New Boyz scored their first hit by capitalizing on a popular west coast dance movement, "jerking", (I kid you not) with 2009's "You're a Jerk", similar to Cali Swag District's 2010 hit "Teach me How to Dougie". They were able to somehow continue their success with a B-R&B song with B-list R&B star Ray J, "Tie Me Down", at the very least erasing any one-hit wonder labels. Like their first single, their second album's singles have been a blatant attempt to exploit current pop trends. While, the first single, "Break my Bank" w/ Iyaz didn't catch on, the Cataracs-(Like a G6) produced-"Backseat", complete with a cameo from Dev, scraped the top 40 earlier this year. Now it looks as if the third single, with help from Chris Brown, will break the top 40. I don't see the song keeping the momentum into the top 20, as it's very Pop&B by numbers, but these guys have a pretty big urban teen folowing- so I'm not counting anything out.


#16 Rihanna f/Calvin Harris- We Found Love

It looks like it's a bit too much too soon, as people seem to be suffering from Rihanna fatigue. Let's take a look at where her past lead singles have vaulted to the week they became available:

A Girl Like Me- S.O.S.- #1
Good Girl Gone Bad- Umbrella- #1
Rated R- Russian Roulette- #9
Loud- Only Girl (In the World)- #3

Given, with the exception of last year's "Only Girl", the previous three had a few weeks to gain exposure at radio- I'll give you that. But also given the fact that a new Rihanna lead single is usually all but guarenteed a top 10 debut, this matches Kelly Clarkson's "Mr. Know it All" debut 3 weeks ago, which has since almost fallen out of the top 40. I don't expect that to happen with this song, as it's so blatantly club driven that the Europop producer of the song is listed on the feature. It's not a bad song- a typical fist-pumping club beat with a simple, repetitive chorus. Rihanna will still sell tons of records and continue to be one of the biggest forces in pop music- I just think that the song would have been a bit more successful if Def Jam hadn't rushed into this project. It's proven that people will buy and support the Rihanna brand no matter what time of year.

#33 Colplay- Paradise

I really don't mean to hate on Coldplay so much. Their first 2 albums were fantastic before they went the stadium rock route- but who can blame them? Either way, it's looking less and less evident that Coldplay will get any support from Top 40 radio for their forthcoming album, and is proving that "Viva La Vida" was the exception and not the rule. The release date for "Mylo Xyloto" nears in about 3 weeks, Capitol must be worried. As the first single, "Every Teardrop Is a Waterfall" was serviced to top 40 and didn't gain traction, I don't see any difference with "Paradise", as both songs share a similar aesthetic. It's a pleasant, introspective, typical Coldplay- and it could do quite well if the timing is right. But if I had to make a bet as to if this would ever get KIIS 102.7 exposure, I wouldn't take it.