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. The reigning queen of the universe, Taylor Swift, currently has THREE songs in the top 30, but since everyone already knows how I feel about her (that "queen of the universe" thing was pretty subtle, right?), I'm going to take a look at some of the non-Taylor Swift songs on the chart. The chart positions I’m using are from this past Thursday, and since this is Pop Shots, you know everything is seasoned with a little bit of attitude.
3) Maroon 5 - Sugar
“Sugar” is a song that’s grown on me. Unlike the last handful of Maroon 5 singles, it didn’t initially grab me, maybe because it’s almost too joyous, but that being said, there isn’t much of a point in fighting happiness, so eventually I started turning up “Sugar” when it came on the radio. That’s still pretty much where I am with this song. It’s good, not great, but definitely a solid happy pop tune for the spring. Part of the reason it’s so high on the chart is the video, which has been played over 328 million times on YouTube. The clip is fun, creative, and really captures the vibe of the song.
4) Fetty Wap - Trap Queen
I really thought we’d reached the bottom of the barrel with Rae Sremmurd, and ILOVEMAKONNEN, but nope, now we have Fetty Wap’s “Trap Queen,” and even though he clearly can’t sing, for some God unknown reason people are buying the song. As all of you know, Auto-Tune is a computer program that can make almost anyone sound like they can sing. This is what makes it so amazing that someone like Fetty Wap can exist, as even with Auto-Tune he sounds absolutely awful. This should really be an In Living Color skit starring Tommy Davidson. I still have yet to be able to make through the entire song.
14) Nick Jonas - Chains
When Nick Jonas first debuted as a solo artist I had to write a review of his album for Soul Train’s website. I was really surprised with how good it was. Unlike a multitude of former boy band singers who have attempted to cross genres, Jonas has actually succeeded in doing so. His songwriting is more mature than Justin Timberlake’s, and although he may not have the vocal range of the former NSYNC member, he knows his limitations, and works within them to create some really good music. “Chains” is yet another worthy addition to his growing catalog of hits.
24) Tove Lo - Talking Body
Nobody does pop music as well as Swedes, and one of their most recent gifts to the US pop scene is Tove Lo. I will admit I’m a bit biased, as I interviewed her before she became famous over here, but one of the reasons I interviewed her was because I saw this coming. There’s a rawness to her writing that brings forth an undeniable honesty. She also knows how to write a really catchy song, which is why ever since “Talking Body” was released I’ve been quietly singing the lyric, “Day drunk into the night” everywhere I go. Thankfully, no one has tried to stage an intervention... yet.
31) Kelly Clarkson - Heartbeat Song
I expected better from Kelly Clarkson. “Heartbeat Song” isn’t terrible, but it’s stereotypical, and the chorus is so blunt that it lacks any sort of artistic creativity. With artists like Taylor Swift around, this kind of song is clearly second tier. Clarkson is a really talented singer, and she’s given us some great music over the years, “Heartbeat Song,” however, is just some paint-by-numbers pop shlock, and she can do better. For someone who’s distanced herself from her American Idol past, this sounds very much like an American Idol type of song.
88) LunchMoney Lewis - Bills
Chris Rock once joked that “Mo Money Mo Problems” was one of the least relatable songs ever made. LunchMoney Lewis’ “Bills” is the complete antithesis of that, as he sings about working hard to pay his bills, and put food on the table. Personally, I don’t know what I love more, the fact that there’s a song about paying your bills, or that it’s sung by a man who goes by the name LunchMoney Lewis. This one’s anthemic for anyone who’s working hard, and the video is just as fantastic as the song.
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.