Name: Adam Bernard Home: Fairfield, Connecticut, United States About Me: Music journalist with 15+ years of experience. Supporter of indie artists. 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, because focusing on the untimely passing of the legendary Whitney Houston would be far too depressing, and, at this point, redundant, and the Grammys, like all awards shows, weren't that interesting, Pop Shots is hitting you with some Billboard singles chart analysis. It’s been far too long since I’ve done this (the last time was in September!), so I felt it was high time to break down who’s making moves, and what I really think of their latest hits. The chart positions I'm using are from the Billboard Hot 100 as it was listed on Billboard.com last week, and since this is Pop Shots, you know everything is seasoned with a little bit of attitude.
1) Kelly Clarkson - Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You)
For teenage girls everywhere, somewhere between a pint of Ben & Jerry’s and being ready to date again is the music of Kelly Clarkson. It fits like a glove. Clarkson has a million dollar voice, and can belt it out with the best of them, but has a very specific subgenre of pop music she’s decided to not just occupy, but be the mayor of, and that’s the “my boyfriend wasn’t any good, I’m better off without him,” niche that seemingly every song she releases fits into. “Stronger,” not surprisingly, continues with this theme, and with a whole bunch of girls being disappointed on Valentine’s Day, it will probably be around for a little while.
12) Gym Class Heroes w/ Neon Hitch - Ass Back Home
Here’s the not so dirty little secret you need to know about Gym Class Heroes - when someone else sings the chorus for them it’s almost a guaranteed hit. Think about it, “Cupid’s Chokehold” and “Clothes Off!!” both featured Patrick Stump, “Stereo Hearts” had Adam Levine on it, and even Travis’ “Billionaire” featured Bruno Mars. With that in mind it was a safe bet that “Ass Back Home,” which features Neon Hitch, would be huge. Travis McCoy is a great songwriter, and on this one he really embodies what it’s like to attempt to have a relationship while being a touring artist. If there was a category for Realest Song of the Year, “Ass Back Home” would be the first nominee of 2012.
31) Toby Keith - Red Solo Cup
The fact that it’s taken this long for someone to honor the Red Solo Cup in song form is shocking. Of course, most people who truly appreciate the Red Solo Cup are rarely in any condition to write, or sing, about it. Thankfully, Toby Keith not only honored the keg staple, but did so sounding like he’d been drinking out of one for a little while. The only drawback to this song is that Roger Clemens is in the video for a few seconds, but I can handle seeing that dirtbag as long as “Red Solo Cup” is the musical accompaniment.
40) Breathe Carolina - Blackout
Keeping with the drinking theme, we have Breathe Carolina’s “Blackout.” Honestly, I don’t understand why this song isn’t more popular. It’s the kind of campy party song that would be a number one hit if Ke$ha was singing it. Females have dominated pop music for a while, especially pop music with a party ideology, so that could be one reason why “Blackout” hasn’t reached top ten status yet, or maybe it’s just to aggressive for some folks (which would go with the whole male thing, so...). Who knows? Clearly the guys of Breathe Carolina aren’t taking themselves seriously with “Blackout.” I think the clown, gorilla, ninja saxophone player, and chocolate sauce make that fairly obvious. This is meant to accompany a night of lunacy and I hope that somewhere it is.
47) Colbie Caillat - Brighter Than The Sun
Colbie Caillat is the antithesis of the current crop of pop starlets. The 26 year old fits more in the traditional singer/songwriter mold, and is actually really talented at both of those things. “Brighter Than The Sun,” with it’s breezy feel, positive lyrics, guitar playing, and hand claps, is a breath of fresh air in a time when thumping basslines and computer generated music is dominating the airwaves. This is not to say that thumping basslines aren’t good, too, but as The Fresh Prince once so eloquently put it “all that hardcore dance has gotten to be / a little bit out of control, it’s cool to dance / but what about a groove that soothes that moves romance.” “Brighter Than The Sun” is that pop palette cleanser.
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.