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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.
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Pop Shots - A Look At The Charts
Monday, November 25, 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. It’s been over two months since I last did this (which is far too long!), and this time around I have a current band known for making hits, a classic song making a return thanks to a viral video, and some of pop’s finest females. Oh yeah, Pitbull’s here, too, but that’s because Pitbull’s everywhere. There’s really no way to avoid him! 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.

6) OneRepublic - Counting Stars


If we were still in the era when CDs and cassettes were the only formats music was sold in, OneRepublic would be a band that pisses everyone off. Every time they release an album they have one or two truly epic singles, and a whole lotta nothin else. No one has ever said, “I really like OneRepublic’s deep album cuts.” Here’s the good news, their latest single, “Counting Stars,” is of the epic variety. It’s the kind of song that you initially love, then momentarily hate after radio ruins it by playing it for six months straight, then come back around to loving again just in time for it to be taken off the airwaves, at which point OneRepublic will be finishing up another album. Currently I crank up “Counting Stars” whenever it’s on the radio. I find the lyrics relatable, the music is fantastic, and, simply put, it’s a great pop song... just don’t ask me about it when 2014 hits!


10) Pitbull w/ Ke$ha - Timber


The first time I heard “Timber” I found the harmonica in the beat to be unbelievably annoying. Of course, as anyone who has ever heard anything Ke$ha, or Pitbull, has released knows, both of them have a knack for wearing you down until you learn to love their songs. In this case, with Ke$ha it’s easy, as she wrote a killer chorus for “Timber.” In the current pop landscape she’s reached elite status when it comes to that. In addition to her chorus, the combination of her, and Pitbull’s, personalities, which are both fun loving, and almost over the top when it comes to living it up purely for the sake of enjoyment, end up making “Timber” work. This is one of those songs you’re going to hate to admit you like when you realize you like it. It’s just something you’re going to have to deal with.


25) Bon Jovi - Livin' on a Prayer


I did a double take when I saw “Livin’ on a Prayer” listed at #25 on the Billboard Hot 100. The song, which was off of Bon Jovi’s 12x platinum 1986 album Slippery When Wet, has been a bar staple since it was first released (and if the DJ doesn’t drop it out when the “whoooooa” part comes to let the crowd yell it, he, or she, should be banned from DJing for life. FOR LIFE!). My first thought was some realty show contestant must have sung it on The Voice, or The X Factor, but apparently the chart placement was due to a spike in popularity of a video from 2009 of a Celtics fan lip syncing it. The video found its way to Utrend.tv last month (it’s also on YouTube), and was viewed 11 million times, due in part to being shared 1.6 million times on Facebook, ultimately resulting in “Livin’ on a Prayer” getting 5.1 million streams, and a spot back in the top 25. In a related story, K-Fed wants to get that guy’s number to see if he’ll do something similar for “PopoZao.”


27) Sara Bareilles - Brave


A few weeks ago I mentioned how Sara Bareilles’ “Brave” has become one of my favorite songs on the radio. Yes, the song is incredibly saccharine, but f*ck it, there’s nothing wrong with a catchy tune with a positive message (and yes, I note the irony in saying “f*ck it” before talking about positivity). I’m convinced “Brave” is one of those songs that will be in rotation forever because it’s utterly impossible not to like it. Well, I guess you could dislike it, but that would make you a pretty humongous jerkface. As an aside, the video is also tremendous, and makes me want to dance in a library again. Wait, did I just say “again?” Oh those wacky grad school nights!


28) Selena Gomez - Slow Down


Back in August, the day before Selena Gomez’s “Slow Down” was released to radio, I made the, admittedly not all that crazy, prediction, “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.” Lo and behold we are now nearing the end of fall, and the beginning of winter, and “Slow Down” is showing no signs of, well, slowing down. Gomez is actually in a unique position in pop music right now. With Katy Perry and Miley Cyrus hitting listeners with ballads, Ke$ha doing collaborations rather than releasing singles, and Gaga off in her own universe, Gomez is one of the only female artists with a dance pop song in rotation this fall/winter. Yes, Britney Spears has new music coming out, but for the time being, if you want to shake your ass, you’re going to be shaking it to Selena. Speaking of shaking asses, I’d love to see Selena Gomez shaking hers. If she’s reading this, can she post a Vine for me, or something? Hook a writer up!


90) Ariana Grande w/ Big Sean - Right There


“Right There” is one of my favorite songs, off of one of my favorite albums of the year. It combines the incredible baby Mariah vocals of Ariana Grande, great guest verses from Big Sean (one of the only mainstream rappers I actually like), and the same Jeff Lorber Fusion “Rain Dance” sample that was used on Lil’ Kim’s “Crush On You,” to make something current pop/R&B fans can get into, that will also take older fans back to a time when they listened to the radio on a regular basis. There’s so much genius going on with Grande’s Yours Truly, due in no small part to Babyface’s involvement with the project, and “Right There” is a shining example of when a bunch of musical minds come together and everything goes right.

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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