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 Pop Shots is hitting you with some Billboard singles chart analysis. There’s a lot of great music on the charts right now, including two songs that have embraced the tortoise mentality in their respective climbs, each taking over a year to make the impact that have today. The chart positions I'm using are from the Billboard Hot 100 as it was listed on Billboard.com this past Thursday, and since this is Pop Shots, you know everything is seasoned with a little bit of attitude.
1) Pink w/ Nate Ruess - Just Give Me a Reason
Every once in a while a song comes along that upon first listen you know is destined to be played on “Lite” FM radio stations, and in dental practice waiting rooms, until the end of time. Pink’s “Just Give Me a Reason” is one of those songs. It doesn’t stray very far from the typical adult-contemporary pop mold, and deals with the kind of relationship issues everyone from eighth graders to old folks can understand on one level or another. Musically it doesn’t get too harsh, and the focus stays on the chorus, which gets stuck in your head very quickly. Every high school kid trying to get a lost love back probably quotes this song in texts to their former significant other. While all of this may seem like I’m saying “Just Give Me a Reason” is a bad song, I’m not. We need songs like this, and it just so happens Pink does them better than anyone else right now. It’s just funny to think this is the same woman who sang “U + Ur Hand.”
23) Selena Gomez - Come & Get It
In today’s pop world Selena Gomez and Demi Lovato are the new Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera, and while Demi is in her personal wheelhouse belting things out on songs like “Heart Attack,” Selena is at her best when she’s doing songs where her vocals can seamlessly become one with the beat. On “Come & Get It” she achieves this once again. Easily one of the most addictive songs on the radio right now, “Come & Get It” could seemingly be at home being played just about anywhere. It’s a genuinely likable song, and the beat gives the entire thing a unique vibe the likes of which we haven’t heard since the infamous Truth Hurts song Dr. Dre got sued over due to a sampling issue.
36) Emeli Sandé - Next To Me
Emeli Sandé’s “Next To Me” is a song that has taken far too long to work its way up the chart, but hopefully this means it will also have the slowest of descents down it. I first heard “Next To Me” over a year ago, yes over a year ago, and was blown away. The entire world seemed to be blown away by Sandé when she performed at the 2012 Olympics’ opening and closing ceremonies. So why has it taken over a year for “Next To Me” to get serious radio airplay (and why do they insist on calling it a “new” song?)? Beats the heck out of me, but at this point let’s just enjoy the fact that something filled with so much heart and soul is in heavy rotation.
41) AWOLNATION - Sail
Much like “Next To Me,” AWOLNATION’s “Sail” has had quite the slow build. This video for the song was released in the fall of 2011, and a portion of the song was featured in a BMW commercial last year, yet not until right now, in the Spring of 2013, has the single started to make an impact on radio. Personally, I’m glad it finally has, because “Sail” is a really great song, and it’s like nothing else on the radio right now. Every time I hear it I get the kind of feeling I had when I first heard Beck’s earlier work. Both artists have a similar way of playing with sound and creating something great out of what others wouldn’t even think to put together. Plus, it makes me want to yell “Sail” at random times during the day. I dare you to play it and not feel the same way!
66) Avril Lavigne - Here’s To Never Growing Up
Here’s your big test, everyone who claims to hate Nickelback. Chad Kroeger has a co-writer credit on his fiance, Avril Lavinge’s, latest, “Here’s To Never Growing Up,” and it’s really obvious where his impact is felt most - the chorus. This makes “Here’s To Never Growing Up” sound like a Nickelback song, and the worst part about it is it works really really well. Avril clearly wrote the verses of “Here’s To Never Growing Up,” and the entire song has her faux rebellious attitude, but man oh man, that chorus is going to get stuck in your head, and you’re going to hate yourself when you find yourself humming it later in the day. For as much as we want to mock them, Avril Lavigne and Chad Kroeger are a killer combination here. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
93) Little Mix - Wings
Does the UK ever get tired of trying to recreate the Spice Girls? Judging by the sudden appearance of Little Mix, I’d say the answer is evidently not. OK, so Little Mix has four, not five, members, but each one is a different “type,” although not quite as radically exaggerated as the original Spice Girls, and the lyrics of “Wings” are straight Girl Power. Their singing isn’t bad, in fact, some of it’s quite good, and the hand claps are pretty great, so you might find yourself turning this up, but at the same time, anyone over a certain age will have the distinct feeling that they’ve heard this before.
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.