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 Pop Shots is hitting you with some Billboard singles chart analysis. It’s been seven weeks since I last did this, and A TON has happened since then, so I felt it only made sense to once again break down who’s climbing the charts, who isn’t, and what I really think of some of today’s biggest songs. The chart positions I'm using are from the Billboard Hot 100 as it was listed on Billboard.com this past Friday, and since this is Pop Shots, you know everything is seasoned with a little bit of attitude.
4) Taylor Swift - We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together
You don’t want to like this song. It’s yet another rant about yet another ex, and she sing-talks most of the way through it, but because it’s Taylor Swift it manages to be fun rather than annoying. Could you imagine Avril Lavigne singing the exact same song? It would be unbearable. That being said, I’m not sure how much longer Swift can keep hitting us with songs about ex-boyfriends before people go from viewing her as a pitiable jilted ex, to wondering exactly how many people she’s been dating. Also, there’s going to be a limit on how many times we’ll accept that she’s the victim of an evil boyfriend before we start to think she just has really bad taste in members of the opposite sex. For the time being, however, Swift has another post-breakup anthem on her hands. The video also gives us the revelation that everyone in her band is a furry.
9) Alex Clare - Too Close
It’s kind of amazing how an ad campaign can give a song new life. “Too Close” came out in 2011, but was ignored at the time. Dubstep’s influence hadn’t fully penetrated pop radio, and Alex Clare wasn’t a name anyone knew, so he wasn’t going to be the one to break it. Fast forward one year, and one commercial for Internet Explorer, later, and “Too Close” is a monster hit, and a great representation of where one subsection of pop music is headed. Clare’s vocals are incredible, the lyrics are top notch, and the beat is undeniably great. The only negative about this song is that whenever it comes on the radio it makes me think of a sh*tty web browser. Without that commercial, however, who knows if we’d have ever heard this song at all, so at least IE has done one thing right.
15) Nicki Minaj - Pound The Alarm
With “Pound The Alarm” Nicki Minaj has managed to do the impossible, she’s created a song that is both incredibly annoying AND incredibly fun. It’s the song you hate yourself for turning up. I realize with a definition like that I just made it sound like the next generation of reggaeton, but let’s be real, no one liked reggaeton! “Pound The Alarm” is like a four minute party, with all the good parts, like the fun and hooking up, along with all the bad parts, like the puking and fighting, wrapped up together. Depending on what part of the song is on I will either tell you I like it, or I can’t stand it. I imagine that’s exactly what hanging out with Nicki is like, as well.
26) Train - 50 Ways To Say Goodbye
I’m beginning to think Train is one of the most underrated bands around. They consistently make great music, and know how to write really amazing songs. I have a feeling they’re going to be one of those bands where ten years from now we’re going to look back at their catalog and say “all those songs were theirs!?!?” Their latest single, “50 Ways To Say Goodbye,” is both heartfelt and hilarious, and it’s the first time in quite a while that a mariachi band has been worked into a pop song. The video for “50 Ways To Say Goodbye” is also amazing. It features numerous comical death scenes, lead singer Patrick Monahan pleading to the grim reaper in a grocery aisle, and David Hasselhoff consoling Monahan in the produce section. There is nothing to dislike about this. Nothing!
62) Karmin - Hello
I wasn’t the biggest fan of Karmin’s “Brokenhearted,” but “Hello” is a completely different story. This is just a straight up great pop song. Yes, they’re interpolating the classic “hello, hello, hello, how low” line from Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” and yes, that familiarity is part of the reason why the song works so well, but it’s impossible to deny how well this turned out. “Hello” is high energy, and Amy’s flow is essentially what Nicki Minaj would sound like if Nicki could string thoughts together and craft full sentences rather than repeating the same word over and over again. I also gotta give props to anyone bold enough to shout out Nebraska in a rhyme. You just don’t hear that very often, like at all, other than in this song. I’m not sure what the shelf-life is going to be for Karmin as a group, but we can certainly enjoy “Hello” right now.
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.