Name: Adam Bernard Home: Fairfield, Connecticut, United States About Me: Entertainment journalist with 15+ years of experience. Supporter of indie music. Lover of day baseball, fringe movies, & chicken shawarma. Part time ninja. Nerdy, but awesome. See my complete profile
Welcome to your weekly dose of pop world musings. Covering all things pop culture, this week I’m hopping into my time machine again, this time setting the coordinates for 15 years ago this week. Remembering back to October of 2001, I was a young, upstart, music journalist just getting his feet wet. J. Lo and Ja Rule's "I'm Real" topped a Billboard Hot 100 that was replete with R&B songs, and a post 9/11 renewed patriotism saw Whitney Houston's version of "The Star Spangled" reemerge at #6.
In addition to those songs, there were a plethora of debut singles from emerging artists who would go on to become gigantic stars. So without further adieu, let’s dive into this classic Billboard Hot 100 from 15 years ago this week. Of course, since this is Pop Shots, you know everything is seasoned with a little bit of attitude.
2. Alicia Keys - Fallin'
"Fallin'" was the song that made us stop everything, and pay attention to a young artist named Alicia Keys. The lead single off of her debut album, "Fallin'" made Keys a household name in 2001, and although her musical output isn't what it used to be, she remains a household name to this day.
15. Eve w/ Gwen Stefani - Let Me Blow Ya Mind
Who could have guessed that teaming up the first lady of Ruff Ryders with the lead singer of No Doubt would have resulted in a classic? I’m glad somebody did, because not only was “Let Me Blow Ya Mind” fantastic, Eve and Gwen Stefani teamed up again for Gwen's remake of "Rich Girl." The two toured together earlier this year, proving they're still a killer combo.
17. Michelle Branch - Everywhere
"Everywhere" was Michelle Branch’s debut single, and with it she announced her presence as part of the second wave of TRL pop stars, a wave that focused a bit more on musicality (Avril Lavigne, Vanessa Carlton, Alicia Keys, etc.). The song was appropriately titled, as it was seemingly everywhere in 2001, and that was fine with me, because it was a great tune.
74. Shakira - Whenever, Wherever
Shakira was already a well established star in the Latin music world when "Whenever, Wherever" debuted on the Billboard Hot 100 15 years ago this week, but this was the song that broke her into the US market, and made her a hip-shaking star in the States. Word is those hips don't lie, but let's face it, even if they did we'd be fine being lied to by them, because ... Shakira.
93. Linkin Park - Crawling
The second single by Linkin Park, "Crawling" represented the maturation of nu-metal, and the fact that the genre was going to stick around a little while longer. For quite a few years, nobody did angst like Linkin Park, and "Crawling" was one of their angsty best.
And with that, my time is up for the week, but I'll be back next week with more shots on all things pop.
I first heard the music of Carlos Ferragamo when he made an appearance on one of Jimmy ValenTime's songs. Since then, I've been listening to his work, and anticipating what's next from the artist who named his company Allergic to Failure.
What's next has become what's now, and that would be Ferragamo's latest single, "Celebrate." Triumphant horns open the track, making it seem one part hip-hop song, one part announcement of royalty, and in the midst of braggadocios raps, Ferragamo slips some real gems into his rhymes, like, "White folks sold Blacks for a better life / seen Blacks get rich off of selling white."
Check out "Celebrate" and celebrate Carlos Ferragamo.
If you needed any more proof that the ‘90s are back, on September 30th, Letters to Cleo released its first new music as a group in 17 years. The five song EP was fan funded through PledgeMusic, and the band is supporting it with five tour dates throughout the country, from October 20 through November 19.
With the band ready to hit the road again, I caught up with Letters to Cleo frontwoman Kay Hanley to talk a little band history, including their reaction to their rise to fame, the time she ended up in handcuffs in a squad car and the fangirl moment gone bad that temporarily broke her heart.
This week's NYC Scene Report features the singer-songwriter stylings of Valentina, Ryan-O'Neil giving us a rock tinged song about "Sunday Morning," indie rock band Aircrafting coming in with the "Tides," and hip-hop renaissance man iAreConscious telling us about the "Shorties on the Bloc."
* As you all know, I'm a huge fan of going out and discovering new artists at shows. My latest awesome discovery is Valentina, a singer-songwriter I saw at Pianos when she was the opening act on a bill that included Halycine.
Based in Brooklyn, and skilled at playing multiple instruments, Valentina wowed the crowd, myself included, whether she was on her keyboard, or her guitar. She has a fantastic stage presence, and vocals that are equally impressive.
Check out "No Pain Without You" for a taste of Valentina's work. I expect to be featuring her here a lot in the near future.
* Singer-songwriter Ryan-O'Neil is no stranger to the NYC Scene Report, as I've been writing about him for years. What's most impressive about O'Neil is that he seems to reach new heights with each of his releases. Unlike a roller coaster, O'Neil's musical output is akin to an escalator moving upwards.
His latest single is "Sunday Morning," a rock tinged song about a woman who is walking in stilettos on a Sunday morning, wearing the same clothes as the night before.
Check out the video, and enjoy the story all of us have at one point seen, and some of us have experienced.
* As sad as it may be to admit, there are no more beach days left in 2016. That said, we can revisit the vibe of warm summer days with the debut video from Brooklyn indie rock band Aircrafting.
The clip, which is for their song "Tides," features plenty of summertime scenery, which is an appropriate setting for the beach-y tune.
"Tides" is off of Aircrafting's recently released debut album, Dreamers, on which they were reportedly looking to explore the "cosmic" American music scenes. I don't know how cosmic the beach is, but you can definitely enjoy spacing out to this one.
* You’d be hard pressed to find a time when hip-hop renaissance man iAreConscious isn’t working on a project. That said, with all the projects he’s been working on, his music had seemingly taken a backseat. Realizing this, he recently sent out the following message to everyone on his email list:
"I just thought about how I don't talk about, or share, much music. Mostly because I haven't been making much over the last few years, and when I do, I've gotten into a habit of not even making any announcement, just making it available to whomever stumbles upon it."
"April 1st, 2016 I made available a project entitled FOOL. It's a time release multi-media project. Over the weekend I added a new piece of audio to this collage of sound, and invite you to check it out."
That piece is "Shorties on the Bloc," and you can check it out right here.
For more of the best of NYC’s indie music scene, come back next Wednesday, and check out the archives for previous columns.
The Bay Area has always been a hotbed for hip-hop, giving us countless great acts, such as E-40, Lil B and Hieroglyphics, just to name a few. Larry June is looking to add his name to that list of luminaries.
Harnessing an incredible work ethic that has led to more mixtapes than many artists release in an entire career, June’s life up to this point hasn’t been without its share of trials and tribulations, including one literal trial.
Welcome to your weekly dose of pop world musings. Covering all things pop culture, this week Pop Shots is hitting you with thoughts on everything from Solange becoming a chart-topper, to Drake breaking records, to a former member of Blink-182 reaching for the stars ... literally, and since this is Pop Shots you know everything is seasoned with a little bit of attitude.
* Solange earned her first #1 album on the Billboard 200 chart, as A Seat at the Table beat out Bon Iver’s 22, A Million for the top spot this past week. Despite this, Beyonce and Jay Z will still probably have Solange’s seat be at the kids' table at Thanksgiving.
* Drake announced he's postponing the remainder of his Summer Sixteen tour due to an ankle injury. You know the only reason I'm writing about this is because it's another opportunity to post a wheelchair Jimmy picture.
* In better news for Drake, the Canadian rapper broke the record for the most American Music Awards nominations in a single year, earning 13. This bests Michael Jackson's previous record of 11. Interestingly, Drake has never won an AMA. Perhaps there's some sort of anti-Canadian bias going on when it comes to choosing the winners.
* Craig David, yes THAT Craig David, "What's Your Flava" Craig David, returned to the top of the U.K. album chart with his latest release, Following My Intuition. Your move, Jon B.
* Death Cab for Cutie dissed Donald Trump in a song titled "Million Dollar Loan." It's the first installment of what will reportedly be a 30-day series of anti-Trump songs from artists including R.E.M., and Aimee Mann. I'm no fan of Trump, but doesn't a song insulting him for building his career with the help of a million dollar loan seem just a bit hypocritical being that many of these artists have likely enjoyed million dollar loans from their record labels?
* In 2015, Billy Joel closed out Long Island's Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum with the arena's final performance before it went through $130 million worth of renovations. On April 5th, 2017, he'll be the first to play the renovated version of venue. In a related story, Billy Joel's ex-wife, Christie Brinkley will also go through $130 million worth of renovations, but it's unlikely Joel will be asked to perform at any opening.
* One of the more random revelations from the latest WikiLeaks release is that former Blink-182 member Tom DeLonge had an email exchange with Hillary Clinton's campaign chairman, John Podesta, about aliens. This begs the question, how did the guy from Blink-182 come to have the email address of Hillary Clinton's campaign chairman? Don't you dare say ...
* Rod Stewart was knighted at Buckingham Palace this past week by Prince William. The honor reportedly had nothing to do with wanting his body, or thinking he’s sexy.
* In a related story, Right Said Fred weren't honored by Prince William, as they were deemed too sexy.
And with that, my time is up for the week, but I'll be back next week with more shots on all things pop.
B-Listers are a select group of artists that were featured in my Artist Of The Week series that ran every Monday from April of '06 to April of '11. All of these artists have two things in common; extreme talent, and a flight path far too under the radar for my liking. They took on the title of B-Listers as they embraced being featured by me, Adam B. Check out the AOTW Archives for all the interviews.