Thursday, July 28, 2011

Personal Airplay, July 28, 2011

Songs that have debuted at #1 on my chart:

1. All for You - Janet Jackson (3 wks @ #1)
2. Lose Yourself - Eminem (7 wks @ #1)
3. If You're Not the One - Daniel Bedingfield (2 wks @ #1)
4. Beautiful - Christina Aguilera (4 wks @ #1)
5. Me Against the Music - Britney Spears Feat. Madonna (2 wks @ #1)
6. Ignition (Remix) - R. Kelly (5 wks @ #1)
7. Yeah! - Usher Feat. Lil Jon & Ludacris (6 wks @ #1)
8. My Boo - Usher Feat. Alicia Keys (2 wks @ #1)
9. Wake Me Up Before September Ends - Green Day (4 wks @ #1)
10. Shake It Off - Mariah Carey (2 wks @ #1)
11. Don't Forget About Us - Mariah Carey (2 wks @ #1)
12. Bleeding Love - Leona Lewis (3 wks @ #1)
13. Apologize (Remix) - OneRepublic & Timbaland (2 wks @ #1)

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Britney and Gaga Fourth Singles

Only 3-4 month in since the release of Britney's seventh album Femme Fatale and Lady Gaga's second Born This Way, both ladies are already prepped to release their fourth singles soon.

For Gaga, it's "Yoü and I" the enthralling ode to soulful '70s rock. To Born This Way what "Speechless" was to The Fame Monster and what "Brown Eyes" was to The Fame. Quite interesting that she's opted for something a little different in comparison to previous singles as prior to this her slowest single was probably "Paparazzi" and even that had a distinctive dance-pop edge to it.

Similarly, Britney's (although only half-confirmed) choice is a little different too. It's the churning, dirty-themed, electro-R&B of "Inside Out," noticeably a slower tempo than anything she's released since "Everytime" in 2004.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Rihanna "Cheers"

Cheers to the freakin' weekend! The sixth single from Rihanna's fifth album Loud is the downbeat Avril sampling "Cheers (Drink to That)." It follows the rather soft reception of the last three singles--"California King Bed," "Man Down," and "Raining Men" (what was up that release anyway). It's a cool song, although I don't know what else on the album would be a hit if they were released. "Complicated" maybe?

Winehouse's iTunes Impact

As expected, Amy Winehouse's death has caused a resurgence of her albums on iTunes (and Amazon). She currently occupies 3 of the top 10 albums and 4 songs in the top 100 songs in the US iTunes. In the UK, a similar story, occupying 3 slots in the top 10 and 6 songs in the top 100. It's a shame her discography is very small, only consisting of 2 albums and 15 singles--making it incomparable to Michael Jackson's iTunes takeover following his death in 2009, occupying 9 slots out of the top 10 songs.

iTunes Top albums (US)
1. Amy Winehouse - Back to Black
4. Amy Winehouse - Frank
8. Amy Winehouse - Back to Black
11. Amy Winehouse - Back to Black: B Sides
25. Amy Winehouse - Frank (B Sides)
70. Amy Winehouse - iTunes Festival: London

iTunes Top Songs (US)
17. "Rehab" Amy Winehouse
51. "You Know I'm No Good" Amy Winehouse
56. "Back to Black" Amy Winehouse
74. "Valerie" Amy Winehouse

iTunes Top albums (UK)

1. Amy Winehouse - Back to Black
5. Amy Winehouse - Frank & Back to Black
6. Amy Winehouse - Back to Black (Deluxe Edition)
12. Amy Winehouse - Frank
85. Amy Winehouse - iTunes Festival: London
87. Amy Winehouse - Frank (Deluxe Edition)

iTunes Top Singles (UK)

16. "Back to Black" Amy Winehouse
36. "Rehab" Amy Winehouse
40. "Tears Dry On Their Own" Amy Winehouse
46. "Love Is a Losing Game" Amy Winehouse
54. "You Know I'm No Good" Amy Winehouse
64. "Valerie" Amy Winehouse
90. "Valerie (Version Revisited)" - Mark Ronson feat. Amy Winehouse

Billboard's policy of not allowing old albums to chart on the Top 200 albums will be an annoying policy in the next few weeks, surely Back to Black will be outselling any forthcoming release (and Adele's 21) perhaps until Lil Wayne's Tha Carter IV.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Amy Winehouse, 1983 - 2011

British soul singer Amy Winehouse dies at the tender age of 27. It's saddening to harbour the fact that she never managed to wade through the negative cloud that shadowed her life in the last few years--drugs, alchohol, public violence etc. But at times like this, why not remember her at the pinnacle of her career, which came in the form of 2006's sophomore album Back to Black, the soulful '60s pop throwback masterpiece that landed Winehouse 5 Grammy wins and sales tallying over 10 million, becoming one of the best selling albums of 2006. The album spawned worldwide hit "Rebab," the ironic opening line would later go on to haunt her last years. Following singles--"You Know I'm No Good," "Back to Black," and "Tears Dry On Their Own"--were also top 40 hits. Another great voice lost. Amy Winehouse, dead at 27.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Personal Airplay, July 21, 2011

Billboard Hot 100, July 30, 2011

1. Party Rock Anthem - LMFAO Featuring Lauren Bennett & GoonRock
3. Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.) - Katy Perry

It's a third week at #1 for LMFAO's "Party Rock Anthem," still steadily holding off Katy Perry from landing her what could be a legendary fifth #1 from Teenage Dream (and Pitbull's "Give Me Everything" from returning to the pinnacle). However, this week "Anthem" loses its bullet, while "Night" earns this week's airplay gainer award. Could next week be the week?

10. Skyscraper - Demi Lovato

Disney star Demi Lovato debuts at #10 with her new single "Skyscraper" the lead single from her forthcoming third album. It's her second top 10 following her duet with Joe Jonas of the Jonas Brothers "This Is Me" which peaked at #9 in 2008. It's a solid debut, however after a couple days at #1 on iTunes, it's plummeted to the bottom of the top 30 and without the assist of radio support--next week will most likely see the same extreme decline.

13. I Wanna Go - Britney Spears

Britney climbs 4 spots up to #13 with latest single "I Wanna Go." The song enters the top 10 on iTunes and is currently hanging around at #11 on Top 40 radio, which seems to be the perfect brew for a hopeful top 10 entry on the Hot 100 next week, which would be the first time since "(You Drive Me) Crazy" in 1999, that Spears' has entered the top 10 with a third single.

17. Lighters - Bad Meets Evil Featuring Bruno Mars

This week's digital gainer goes to "Lighters" the new single from hip-hop collaborative duo Eminem and Royce da 5'9" featuring Bruno Mars. It climbs 16 spots up to #17, just a notch short of its original peak at #16.

38. Pumped Up Kicks - Foster the People

American indie/pop band Foster the People score their first top 40 with "Pumped Up Kicks" which climbs 8 spots up to #38.

39. Right There - Nicole Scherzinger

Last week Kelly Rowland finally earned her first ever top 20 hit, this week fellow used-to-be-under achieving-pop-star-that-departed-from-a-successful-band, Nicole Scherzinger earns her first solo top 40 with "Right There," climbing 13 spots up to #39. Go Schezza!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Leona Returns!

After quite an extensive break from the charts (since February 2010 to be specific) British pop singer and former X Factor winner Leona Lewis returns with her new single "Collide," presumably the lead single from her forthcoming third album, following the soft reception of her last album Echo, which unfortunately didn't land any #1's and only spawned a measly 2 singles ("Happy" and "I Got You" her first to miss the top 10). After the abrupt end to that era, Lewis then went on to record the soundtrack to the 2009 American science fiction film Avatar, "I See You," which foolishly was never released as a proper single.

Lewis has never really altered her sound since her debut Spirit, she's always found a home in the hybrid of soft pop/rock with urban flourishes--maybe maturing a little into more mature territories for Echo, but nothing major. However, as history has foretold, there comes a time when a female pop singer must leave their comfort zone, in search for something edgier, different, out of their personal norm etc. As Mariah did with 1997's Butterfly, indulging in heavy R&B influences. As Madonna did with 1998's Ray of Light evoking a more spiritualist side of herself. As Janet Jackson did with 1997's The Velvet Rope voyaging to darker, topical pop territories.

Now, "Collide" isn't necessarily on that level of transformation, but the point is that for Leona it's a complete 180. Trading in traditional archetypal pop/rock drums, guitars and clean layered chorus for a pulsing, synth-duped production with an underpinning persistent piano backing, however still managing to highlight her blustery vocal (apparently it steals its background music from Swedish DJ Avicii "Penguin"). Lyrically, it's nothing different to "I Got You" but it's fantastic and hopefully becomes a hit for her.

Pixie Lott "All About Tonight"

British pop singer Pixie Lott returns with "All About Tonight," the lead single from her forthcoming second album. It's a fun, synth-charged pop ditty--particuarly when the chorus kicks in. It's a little different for Lott, however in the current landscape of UK pop it fits in perfectly. I'm not crazy about it though.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Personal Airplay, July 14, 2011

Katy Perry discography:

Billboard Hot 100, July 23, 2011

1. Party Rock Anthem - LMFAO Featuring Lauren Bennett & GoonRock
4. Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.) - Katy Perry

LMFAO's "Party Rock Anthem" spends a second week at bulleted #1, but is Katy Perry still a threat? "Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.)" remains bulleted at #4 this week, however if airplay and iTunes is anything to go by, it's not over yet. Both songs are gaining steadily on Top 40 radio and in the top 3 on iTunes. Personally, I would like to see Perry earn her 5th #1 from Teenage Dream tying Michael Jackson's Bad's record for the most #1's spawned by one album.

7. How to Love - Lil Wayne
8. Good Life - OneRepublic

This week's airplay gainer (Lil Wayne's "How to Love") and digital gainer (OneRpublic's "Good Life") are successive this week, both moving up a notch earning a new peak.

17. I Wanna Go - Britney Spears

Britney's "I Wanna Go" climbs 5 spots up to #17, scoring the pop singer her 16th top 20 and her fourth highest third single after "(You Drive Me) Crazy" in 1999, "Stronger" the following year, and "Everytime" in 2004, beating out "Overprotected" (#86) "Break the Ice" (#43) and "If U Seek Amy" (#19) and It's also the third time she has scored three top 20's from one album.

19. Motivation - Kelly Rowland Featuring Lil Wayne

Congrats to Kelly Rowland, who FINALLY earns her first solo top 20 with "Motivation" climbing 2 spots up to #19. About time.

35. Love You Like a Love Song - Selena Gomez & The Scene

Selena Gomez & The Scene's "Love You Like a Love Song" climbs a pretty impressive 31 spots up to #35, scoring the Disney star and her band (ha!) their fifth top 40 single. Next week fellow Disney star Demi Lavato will also come storm into the upper reaches of the chart with her new single "Skyscraper" currently at #1 on iTunes.

36. Firework - Katy Perry


Thursday, July 07, 2011

Personal Airplay, July 7, 2011

Lady Gaga personal chart discography:

Billboard Hot 100, July 16, 2011

1. Party Rock Anthem - LMFAO Featuring Lauren Bennett & GoonRock

Electro-hop duo LMFAO's "Party Rock Anthem" rises a notch to #1, scoring the duo their first American chart-topper (also firsts for English singer Lauren Bennett and American producer GoonRock). The song displaces Pitbull's "Give Me Everything" to #2, interestingly both were sucessive chart toppers in here the UK too, "Anthem" stayed at #1 for 4 weeks (then knocked off by Bruno Mars' "The Lazy Song") then displaced by "Everything."

9. Good Life - OneRepublic

American pop/rock band OneRepublic's "Good Life" climbs 9 spots up to #9, scoring the band their 2nd top 10 single, following 2007's major hit "Apologize."

10. Tonight Tonight - Hot Chelle Rae

American pop band Hot Chelle Rae land their first top 10 with their new single "Tonight Tonight." I assume it's the lead single from their forthcoming second studio album.

22. I Wanna Go - Britney Spears

Britney climbs 7 spots up to #22 with her latest single "I Wanna Go." It's currently up to #11 on iTunes and #15 on pop radio, hopefully this means a top 20 entry next week is inevitable and hopefully this will peak higher than "If U Seek Amy" the third single from 2008's Circus which peaked at #19.

29. Best Thing I Never Had - Beyonce

Beyonce climbs 29 spots up to #29 with "Best Thing I Never Had" the second single released from her new album 4, which also tops the Billboard 200 this week. It mimics the peak of failed lead single "Who Run the World (Girls)," however chances are this peaks much higher. This Beyonce's 19th top 40 single.

Monday, July 04, 2011

Album Reviews

Bon Iver - Bon Iver (4/5) American indie/folk band Bon Iver's critically acclaimed debut For Emma, Forever Ago was praised for its capitalization on sheer sensitivity. It was indeed a beautifully constructed set--heartfelt and endearing--rigorously tugging on an emotional melancholic chord, further showcased with its minimalist approach to folk; disquieting guitar strings, hollow drums patterns and Justin Vernon's delicate vocal. Following it up, without replicating, would always be a difficult task--Bon Iver seems to counteract the bands knack for intimate, stripped-down folk. The sounds, while still subdued, seems more fulfilled with a wider range of backing instruments further pushing the dynamic. It's certainly not as disheartening. Opening track "Perth" introduces a sweet melody, with gentle guitar chords and an underpinning hush hush military drum. "Minnesota, WI" is delightfully subtle; twiddling acoustic guitars, layers of soft synths and swooning horns. Its subtlety is echoed throughout the album, maybe save for "Hinnom, TX" which sonically seems to verge on the harsher, with its persistent, pulsing synth-keyboard tones and piercing falsetto which then segues into "Wash." backed by only strings and poignant piano keys, is the album at its disquieting peak. As a whole, this can sound a little bland but on the other hand works more apparently as a beautiful, wonderfully-composed and restraint piece of work. And also a nice follow-up to is predecessor. Best: Perth, Minnesota WI, Wash, Calgary, Towers, Michicant

Gillian Welch - The Harrow & The Harvest (4/5) Similar to Bon Iver, there is a distinct sensitivity in American bluegrass/folk singer Gillian Welch's fourth album The Harrow & The Harvest that seems to tug on an emotional chord--exuding a sense of heartbreak, desperation and emptiness, mimicked by the minimalist matching of acoustic guitars, drums, percussion and Welch's dejected vocal. Lovelorn "DarkTurn of Mind" painfully illustrates the contemplative awkwardness that love poses in a relationship, while opening track "Scarlet Town" hangs on a vengeful thread. "The Way It Goes" a mid-tempo about companionship turned sour, has a classic old-fashioned, folkish aura--it wouldn't sound out of place in the '60s. The album closes on the somber "The Way the Whole Thing Ends," a bluesy approach to folk, that hits all of the right notes. I'm not in love with it, maybe I just tire of the same sound over and over again but The Harrow & The Harvest is a good album, especially lyrically, it's awesome in that perspective. Best: Dark Turn of Mind, The Way It Goes, Scarlet Town, The Way the Whole Thing Ends.

Taking Back Sunday - Taking Back Sunday (3.5/5) American rock band Taking Back Sunday release their fifth album. It's my first exposure to the band (this was a recommendation from a friend). I was expecting an All Time Low approach to rock, but this is heavier, much heavier, although maybe not as hard going as maybe Creed or Avenged Sevenfold. First track "El Paso" features a band of screeching vocal, gouging electronic guitar chords and heavy drums. Fortunately (at least for the mainstream listener) things to do lighten up, "Faith (When I Let You Down)" re-introduces a possibly more accessible, familiar rock/pop although with still quite a punchy chorus. Same goes for "Best Place to Be a Mom" which reminds me a lot of British rock band You Me at Six. As enjoyable as some of the songs are, the album does seem to battle between the more heavier and softer rock sounds throughout which can get a little overbearing, until closing track "Call Me In the Morning" which is a more restraint rock ballad. Best: Call Me In the Morning, Best Place to Be a Mom, Faith (When I Let You Down), Who Are You Anyway?

Sunday, July 03, 2011

Personal Chart #1's So Far

Here are the singles that have topped my personal chart so far this year. I like the way Wikipedia compiles songs that have topped the Billboard Hot 100, so I tried to emulate it (click to enlage):

Friday, July 01, 2011

Personal Airplay, June 30, 2011

Update: Personal Chart YTD Top 10:

1. This Is Why We Fight - The Decemberists (6 weeks @ #1)
2. Price Tag - Jessie J feat. B.o.B. (3 wks @ #1)
3. Rolling In the Deep - Adele (2 wks @ #1)
4. Someone Like You - Adele (1 wk @ #1)
5. E.T. - Katy Perry (#2)
6. Born This Way - Lady Gaga (1 wk @ #1)
7. Fuckin' Perfect - P!nk (2 wks @ #1)
8. Hold It Against Me - Britney Spears (1 wk @ #1)
9. What's My Name - Rihanna (4 wks @ #1)
10. The Whilhelm Scream - James Blake (2 wks @ #1)