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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.
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Pop Shots - A Look At The Charts
Monday, August 12, 2013

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. This includes some women we love, some folks who have changed, and a collaboration that was long overdue. 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.

23) Lana Del Rey & Cedric Gervais - Summertime Sadness


Ninety nine times out of a hundred, remixes aren’t as good as the original. “Summertime Sadness,” however, is one of the rare exceptions, as Cedric Gervais’ production breathes new life into the song. Some might even say his production doesn’t just breathe new life, but breathes all the life, into it. Personally, I turn this remix up every time it’s on the radio, and after also enjoying Del Rey’s previous effort, “Young and Beautiful,” I might be turning around on her music, and believe me, that has been a long trip for me to make as I wasn’t a fan of her when she was being hyped up. This remix to “Summertime Sadness” is further evidence that the right producer can make all the difference in the world, and coming back from a horrific SNL performance is possible (somewhere, Ashlee Simpson just read that and called her manager).


52) Ke$ha w/ will.i.am - Crazy Kids


You know how I just said 99 times out of 100 remixes aren’t as good as the original? This would be an example of the 99. To be perfectly honest, even though I loved Ke$ha’s Warrior, “Crazy Kids” wasn’t one of my favorite songs on the album, and the addition of a mediocre verse from will.i.am doesn’t exactly improve the situation. All that being said, I still like the sentiment of the song, and the chorus is great, both the edited and unedited versions of it. Ke$ha is still the queen of unabashed individuality in pop music (Gaga tries hard, but for Ke$ha it’s natural), and that shines through on “Crazy Kids.” If anyone from her team is reading this, please release “Warrior” as the next single. “Crazy Kids” will do for now, but we know she has better!


68) Paramore - Still Into You


I have incredibly mixed feelings about Paramore’s latest, “Still Into You.” On the one hand, it’s a really well put together pop song. On the other hand, they used to be one of the biggest names in pop-punk, and for as much as I can hear the potential for punk in Hayley Williams’ vocals during each verse, the song throws that potential away by going pure pop for the chorus, both musically and vocally. The band has been slowly going down this path, it’s been six years since “Misery Business,” and “crushcrushcrush,” so it’s not like anyone can claim they didn’t see this coming, but I’m holding out hope “Still Into You” isn’t an indicator of what we’ll be hearing from Paramore from here on out. They still have the ability to kick ass, and I’d like to hear them do so again in the near future. If this is the new Paramore, however, I’m not sure I’m still into them.


74) Karmin - Acapella


Karmin is a duo that I always seem to underestimate, but their music never fails to grow on me. Case in point, last summer’s smash hit, “Hello,” which went from being something I kind of liked, to something I loved, after repeat listens. There’s a distinct personality to their music, and Karmin’s latest, “Acapella,” is another fun song. Again, it took me a few listens to really get into it, but I love the use of double entendre with the word “acapella,” not only meaning a lack of musical accompaniment, but in this case also meaning no longer needing the accompaniment of a significant other. If your mind is in the gutter, which mine occasionally is, the line “I’ma do it acapella” can also be construed as a wink-wink nudge-nudge implication of self-love. The video for “Acapella,” with its multiple monochromatic looks, is clearly inspired by Destiny’s Child’s “Say My Name,” and also features the best use of toast in a music video in recent memory.


85) Pink w/ Lily Allen - True Love


As soon as I heard Pink and Lily Allen had collaborated on a song my first thought was, “This makes perfect sense, why hadn’t it happened before?” Both of them can be cheeky, angry, and happy all at the same time, in the same song, and they manage to do just that with “True Love,” an effort that has me wishing they would do an entire album, or at least an EP, together. Pink and Lily Allen see relationships differently than typical pop artists, and they know how to voice their unique views. On “True Love” they sing about how their anger with a person indicates they also love them. It’s a decidedly adult concept for modern pop, realizing that strong emotion can go both ways. Neither of these women are about to “Love You Like A Love Song,” but judging by “True Love,” you wouldn’t want them to.


NR) Selena Gomez - Slow Down


Speaking of loving you like a love song, Selena Gomez’s latest, “Slow Down,” won’t be released to radio until Tuesday, but anyone who doesn’t think it’s going to instantly rocket up the charts hasn’t been paying attention. No, it’s not a cover of the Brand Nubian classic, “Slow Down” (now you really want to see her give that a try, don’t you?), instead it’s a killer dance-pop track with a ridiculously dope beat change when it goes into the chorus. Clearly not a little girl anymore, Selena lets us know she’s “ready for inspection,” and tells us she’s “good with mouth to mouth resuscitation” (which means if the whole pop thing fizzles out she would make a great lifeguard. That would also give me the opportunity to print up “Selena Gomez Saved My Life” t-shirts, and make a small fortune.). This song will be in heavy rotation on Top 40 radio beginning tomorrow morning, and will probably remain there throughout the fall, and into the winter. Submit to it now, there’s no fighting it!

And with that, my time is up for the week, but I'll be back next week with more shots on all things pop.

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