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. 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 a little Billboard singles chart analysis, as a handful of huge acts have new hits, but not all of them are striking the right chord. The chart positions I’m using are from this past Friday, and since this is Pop Shots, you know everything is seasoned with a little bit of attitude.
26. One Direction - Perfect
When all is said and done, One Direction are going to have a heck of a greatest hits album. Once they grew out of their initial phase of being a cookie cutter boy band (“What Makes You Beautiful”), they started making some really incredible, and memorable, songs ("Story of My Life," "Night Changes," "Drag Me Down"). "Perfect" is another example of the latter, as it’s one of those tunes that will get stuck in your head, and you'll find yourself quietly singing along to in places where you probably don't want to be caught quietly singing along to a One Direction song. I'm not saying that’s happened to me, but I'm also not not saying that’s happened to me.
39. Ariana Grande - Focus
I was a huge fan of Ariana Grande when the pint sized singer debuted. Her first album, Yours Truly featured five songs co-written and produced by Babyface, and led to quite a few to refer to her as "baby Mariah." Her second album, My Everything, featured less of a 90s R&B vibe, but was still very enjoyable. With "Focus," however, Grande is close to losing me. The song is hurt greatly by a terrible chorus that features Jamie Foxx, who is uncredited, doing his best(?) Mystikal impression (because it's better to have a guy imitating a guy convicted of sexual battery on your track than the actual guy convicted of sexual battery). Ignoring the chorus, which is tough to do, the song sounds like a pop artist trying to do too much in order to shed an image that might be more in her mind than in reality. Hopefully this song is not indicative of the rest of her upcoming album.
55. Fall Out Boy w/ Demi Lovato - Irresistible
I mentioned this song back in November during my last look at the charts. It was at #98, I was cranking it up every time it was on the radio, and it had a video with an adorable pug living the life. I'm mentioning it again because “Irresistible” is about to break into the top half of the chart, and there's a brand new video for the song that's an homage to NSYNC's "It's Gonna Be Me." Not only do Fall Out Boy and Demi Lovato have the whole toy store angle from the NSYNC classic, there are even appearances by Joey Fatone, and Chris Kirkpatrick, and the clip was directed by the man behind “It's Gonna Be Me,” Wayne Isham. This may very well be my favorite song out right now, and it continues the trend of Demi Lovato kicking some serious ass vocally, so the more plays "Irresistible" gets, the better.
63. Missy Elliott w/ Pharrell Williams - WTF (Where They From)
I shouldn't have to wait for a Samsung commercial to hear "WTF (Where They From)," but that seems to be the one place giving Missy's latest single regular spins. Don't get me wrong, I'm glad she's making good advertising money, but this is a quintessential Missy track, the kind that used to be a party staple. Creatively, she hasn't missed a beat (pun fully intended). This leads me to wonder, is the party vibe of 10 to 15 years ago too complex for modern audiences, or are radio playlists simply filled with less fun at the moment? You know you can all have a good cry with Adele, and still break out your wildest dance moves to Missy, 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.
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.