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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, October 06, 2014

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, as Top 40 radio has some familiar faces back in rotation, but, surprisingly, they’re all being beaten out by a first timer. 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) Meghan Trainor - All About That Bass


I’m probably going to ruffle a few feathers when I say this, but I just can’t get into “All About That Bass.” It’s not that it’s a bad song, it just feels incredibly forced, and plastic, which is ironic since the lyrics are all about ignoring the media’s plastic, stereotypical, concept of beauty. Perhaps the sentiment is one of my issues with the song. It’s a sentiment we hear all the time, so it doesn’t seem original. It seems like something any songwriter could have come up with, paired with an artist that isn’t a size two, and had an instant hit with. This makes “All About That Bass” just as cliche as the cliches it’s about.

As an aside, if Trainor is really “all about that bass, no treble” her music will be completely unlistenable. I can’t imagine how engineers and producers feel when they hear those lyrics.


2) Taylor Swift - Shake It Off


I’m not a scientist (shocked?), but I’m reasonably sure that “Shake It Off” qualifies as an anti-depressant, and might possibly have the power to cure other medical conditions, as well. The outright ebullience of the song, and Swift’s appreciation of being an uncoordinated dork (I believe the phrase we’re all looking for is adorkable), make it irresistible. No, there’s no “sick beat” when she says we could have been “getting down to this sick beat,” but that’s part of the joke. I always turn up “Shake It Off” when it comes on while I’m driving, and if the rest of Swift’s experiments with 80s influences are this good, 1989 is going to rule the rest of 2014.


17) Ed Sheeran - Don't


I have no idea exactly how, or exactly when, but somewhere in the past year Ed Sheeran became one of the most interesting artists in pop music. He, along with a few others, are realizing the hopes we all once had for Justin Timberlake (who now makes music for waiting rooms) and Robin Thicke (who now makes music in hopes of winning back his ex-wife). His songwriting is incredible, and his vocals aren’t just good, they’re uniquely him. When I say that I mean you always know when a song is an Ed Sheeran song, and that’s a very good thing, because he’s become a fantastic artist. “Don’t” is a prime example of his abilities, and if you’re one of those folks who likes to do the dances from music videos... good luck.


33) Maroon 5 - Animals


Call me crazy, but the first time I heard Maroon 5’s “Animals” I didn’t have visions of a blood soaked tryst with Behati Prinsloo. I guess that’s what makes me different from Adam Levine. Well, that, and he’s married to Prinsloo, and has a pop-rock band that’s pretty much taken over the world. OK, so we’re totally different Adams. Now that we’ve made that distinction, let’s talk about “Animals,” a song that takes stalking to Discovery Channel levels, yet, because it’s Maroon 5, sounds so freaking good you’ll turn it up and ignore the fact that he’s singing about hunting down and eating his prey. OK, so not everyone ignores that, as women’s groups are up in arms about the song, but, personally, I think it’s a creepy, but really well done, obsessive anthem in the vein of Blondie’s “One Way Or Another.” Hey Adam Levine and Debbie Harry, can we get a remix/mash-up?


45) Jennifer Lopez w/ Iggy Azalea - Booty


Some songs are written as a way of expressing something deep, and personal. They’re relatable on a number of levels, and occasionally, through an artist’s introspection, reveal truths about the world at large. Then there’s “Booty.” I have to be honest, I have no idea if this song has words, or even a beat. I clicked play on the video and for around four minutes lost all concept of space and time. I just remember there was ass. Lots and lots of ass. Glorious ass. Ass so bountiful that it demands one’s full attention. Ass so spectacular sonnets could be written about it, but we’d never read, or hear, those sonnets because we’d be so distracted by all the ass. Ass so splendiferous that it quite possibly has the power to end all wars.

Did I mention the video features some ass?

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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