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 few songs I didn’t imagine growing on me have become downright enjoyable, one of my faves seems to have righted the ship, and the queen of the universe has released a bit of a dud. 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.
9. Justin Bieber – Love Yourself
As much as I hate to admit it, sometimes a Maple Leif Garrett (aka Justin Bieber) song ends up growing on me to the point where I actually enjoy it. This was the case with “As Long As You Love Me,” and it’s the case once again with “Love Yourself.” Co-writer Ed Sheeran, who I suspect wrote the vast majority of the song, is mostly to blame. That dude can freakin WRITE. The cheekiness of telling a former significant other to “go and love yourself” is smile inducing, and the line, “My mama don’t like you, and she likes everyone,” might be the line of the year in pop music. Damn you, Ed Sheeran! You made me like a Justin Bieber song!
10. G-Eazy x Bebe Rexha – Me, Myself & I
Speaking of songs that have grown on me, “Me, Myself & I” has become another one of those songs, and all the credit goes to Bebe Rexha for her killer chorus. G-Eazy’s raps are good, but nothing new. In fact, his verses are basically a more radio friendly version of Eminem’s “The Way I Am.” That said, “The Way I Am” came out 16 years ago, so the current generation of hip-hop fans probably think of it as an oldie (ouch!), and the emotion is still a legitimate one, so I’ll give G-Eazy a pass on that. Bebe Rexha really makes the song for me, as her voice is unique, and full of personality. I appreciate that in a singer, and have been a fan of hers since seeing her at Warped Tour last year. Wooo oooh! (you were supposed to read that in her voice)
15. Ariana Grande – Dangerous Woman
Yes, yes, yes, a thousand times yes! THIS is the kind of song Ariana Grande should be doing! “Dangerous Woman” totally makes up for the disaster that was “Focus.” In fact, let’s just consider “Focus” Grande’s “Pop Ya Collar” (the Usher song no one wants to remember). Focusing (heh) on “Dangerous Woman,” this song takes advantage of Grande’s soaring, soulful, vocals, and is the logical musical progression for someone who, despite the way she’s been marketed, is much more a singer than a sex kitten.
Incidentally, I tweeted my friends Blind Benny asking them to put together a cover of “Dangerous Woman,” because I know they would do an AMAZING job. Where you at, Jade and JD?
26. Nick Jonas w/ Tove Lo – Close
I’m down for pretty much anything Tove Lo is involved in. She’s an incredible songwriter, a great singer, and throws a heaping amount of emotion into everything she does. I also think Nick Jonas is pretty darn talented. In fact, I was big on him all the way back when I reviewed his solo debut, which featured members of Prince’s old band, The New Power Generation.
“Close” is a song that’s pretty much three minutes and 57 seconds of pure sex, and the video is, as well, as Jonas and Tove Lo make every attempt to get close to each other. “Close” also fulfills our weird requirement of having one pop song per summer that features steel drums. Hey, don’t look at me, I didn’t make the rules.
78. Taylor Swift – New Romantics
The first time I heard “New Romantics” I thought, “Man, whoever this is, they sound like a cheap Taylor Swift knock-off.” Upon learning it actually is Taylor Swift, I grimaced a bit. I’ve never been shy about admitting I’m a big fan of Swift’s work, but “New Romantics” is a throwaway song. There’s a reason it wasn’t on 1989, and with a handful of songs left on 1989 that still haven’t been released as singles, songs that are far better than “New Romantics,” it’s a bit confusing as to why she chose to release it. It’s not awful by any stretch of the imagination (so no, I won’t reference Usher’s “Pop Ya Collar” again), it just doesn’t measure up to her other work. Also, I can’t help but laugh at the voiceover style used for the video, because it reminds me of the girls’ voiceovers in Spring Breakers, right down to the overanalyzing of every moment in life. I’m still a huge Taylor Swift fan, but this song’s a pass for me.
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.