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 a little Billboard singles chart analysis, as we have new faces in high places, a pop star I’m still a little unsure about, a rap duo you wish you could hate, and the latest single from one of the best damned vocalists around.
The rankings are taken from this past Wednesday’s chart, and since this is Pop Shots, you know everything is seasoned with a little bit of attitude.
2. Bebe Rexha w/ Florida Georgia Line – Meant To Be
Frequent readers of Pop Shots know I’ve mentioned this more than a few times, but I first wrote about Bebe Rexha’s foray into country music back in December of last year. A bold pop artist who has never lacked intensity, it was interesting to me that Rexha was doing a country song. After one listen, however, it became clear she could thrive in the genre, and thrive she has.
With Taylor Swift becoming a 100% pop artist, there was a open space on Top 40 radio for a country inspired pop song, and whether people realize it or not, most folks actually like music with a little bit of country influence in it. The success of “Meant To Be” is more proof of that.
The only thing blocking “Meant To Be” from being #1 is “God’s Plan” by Drake, and with country songs usually having a longer life span than hip-hop songs, Rexha and Florida Georgia Line should find their way to the top spot soon.
6. Zedd w/ Maren Morris & Grey – The Middle
Speaking of predictions, I haven’t exactly been shy about reminding folks that I totally called Maren Morris crossing over into pop way back in October of last year.
It’s kind of wild – Bebe Rexha has launched herself to new heights by going from pop to country, while Maren Morris has launched herself to new heights by going from country to pop. It just goes to show that no two paths are the same, and trying out other genres can reap huge rewards.
I don’t see Morris going pure pop, a la the aforementioned Taylor Swift, but I could definitely see her releasing a Red-like album at some point in the near future.
19. Camila Cabello – Never Be The Same
I’m not entirely sure I get the whole Camila Cabello thing. I could never tell any of the Fifth Harmony women apart vocally when they were a group, and now as a solo artist, Cabello, at least in my opinion, doesn’t really have an identity.
“Havana” was a huge hit, and deservedly so, and now we have “Never Be The Same,” another catchy pop song that will undoubtedly make its way into the Top 10. The songs, however, sound nothing alike, and this includes the vocals. They might as well be by two totally different artists.
For a young artist, having an identity is huge. Just being a pop artist means you’re reliant on every song being a hit, and the first time a single flops, you’re done. Taylor Swift was the country girl next door. Ariana Grande was the girl with the huge voice and R&B flavor. Who is Camila Cabello? I still don’t know. “Never Be The Same” is a really good song, but nothing about it, or Cabello, makes me think it has to be a Camila Cabello song.
51. Rae Sremmurd w/ Juicy J – Powerglide
Their lyrics are utterly meaningless. Their interviews are somewhere between unintelligible, and purposefully stupid. If you wanted to, it would be really, and I mean really easy to dislike Rae Sremmurd … but they’re having so much fun, and their hooks are so damned catchy, that you’re far more likely to find yourself enjoying their antics, and singing along to their music.
“Powerglide” is yet another Rae Sremmurd song you won’t be able to get out of your head.
Every generation needs their silly party rappers, and for the current generation Rae Sremmurd are those rappers.
73. Demi Lovato – Tell Me You Love Me
A couple of times on every album of hers Demi Lovato likes to remind us that she’s one of the best vocalists on the planet. Her latest single, “Tell Me You Love Me,” is one of those times.
If no one told you this was a Demi Lovato song you might think it was an old school R&B diva making a comeback. A ridiculously powerful vocal performance, it’s that damned good.
Adele frequently gets praised as the best vocalist in pop music, but at this point Demi’s name needs to be mentioned alongside her. She’s in the class. Heck, she might be head of that class.
(FYI – The song starts at around the 2:30 mark of the video)
And with that, my time is up for the week, but I'll be back next week with more shots on all things pop.