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Name: Adam Bernard
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About Me: Entertainment journalist with 20 years of experience. Supporter of indie music. Lover of day baseball, and B-movies. Part time ninja. Kicked cancer’s ass. My memoir, ChemBro, is out now!
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Pop Shots - A Look At The Charts
Monday, February 24, 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. There are a host of songs currently populating the airwaves that make us happy, while some just make us cringe, and I’m taking a look at a half dozen of those hits ranging from Pharrell’s latest, to the abomination that is “Achy Breaky 2.” The chart positions I’m using are from the Billboard Hot 100 as it was listed on Billboard.com this past Friday, and since this is Pop Shots, you know everything is seasoned with a little bit of attitude.

2) Pharrell Williams - Happy

This song was released four months ago, so it could be argued that it took people a while to get happy. Thankfully, listeners finally started enjoying life, and this amazing song. Pharrell’s been doing his thing as a songwriter, producer, singer, and rapper, for 24 years now (his first credit was on Wreckx-n-Effect’s “Rump Shaker”). He doesn’t age because he’s actually a vampire. OK, he’s not really a vampire, but you kinda believed that for a second, didn’t you? “Happy” is a song that will live on forever. It’s fun, positive, and just makes you feel good. For all we know, it might even have the ability to cure diseases. I mean, has any doctor tried yet? I think they should.

30) John Newman - Love Me Again

Speaking of slow builds, John Newman’s “Love Me Again” was released back in May of 2013, but is just now breaking into the Top 40. I feel like we’ve all heard it used in either some ad campaigns, or television shows, but we’re hearing it in full now, and it’s a great song. Unfortunately for Newman, it also screams one hit wonder, as it has essentially the same timeline, and feel, of Alex Clare’s “Too Close.” Remember Alex Clare? We might be asking the same question about John Newman six months from now, but for now we should say, “Hello, Newman,” and enjoy “Love Me Again,” and its fantastic mix of retro-cool, and modern pop.

32) DJ Snake & Lil Jon - Turn Down For What

Let’s be real here, no one knows how this qualifies as a song. The lyrics are borderline non-existent, as Lil Jon manages to say even less than usual, and the beat is there solely to shake the walls. That being said, “Turn Down For What” is pretty much the ultimate combination of crunk and EDM, and it’s impossible to sit still when it’s on. Of course, if you’re trying to sleep, and your neighbors are blasting this, you’ll probably have a few answers for Lil Jon’s query, “Turn down for what?” but unless that’s the case, this is a mindless gem that works because its sum is greater than its parts. Calling it a song still might be an imaginative stretch, but it is pretty fun when you’re in the right mood.

62) Tegan and Sara w/ The Lonely Island - Everything Is AWESOME!!!

I like Tegan and Sara. I like The Lonely Island. “Everything Is AWESOME!!!,” however, is a little too saccharine for my taste. While The Lonely Island have some fun verses, the overly sweet chorus ruins the entire song for me. Whereas Pharrell’s “Happy” has just the right amount of positivity to make you feel good, “Everything Is AWESOME!!!” shoves that positivity down our throats. I get it, the whole “living your dream,” and being “part of a team,” is meant to guide kids in the right direction, since this is from the soundtrack to The Lego Movie, but kids are smart, it didn’t have to be that overt. The song is on its way to being a huge hit, though, so maybe I’m just a cranky old man.

80) Buck 22 w/ Billy Ray Cyrus - Achy Breaky 2

The only reason this song is on the Billboard Hot 100 is morbid curiosity (YouTube views count towards the charts). There is literally no redeeming value to “Achy Breaky 2.” Interestingly, according to mix108.com, Buck 22 isn’t the complete no-name many of us think he is. He’s actually Damon Elliott, son of singer and actress Dionne Warwick and musician/actor Bill Elliott. He owns his own record label, Confidential Records, and has worked with everyone from Britney Spears to Willie Nelson in a production role. Why he decided to take part in this monstrosity is a mystery. Even more of a mystery, why a producer would be on a track with such horrible production. Let’s just try to pretend this never happened.

84) Christina Perri - Human

After “Jar of Hearts” came and went, Christina Perri looked like a classic one hit wonder. If you told me we’d hear from her again, I’d have asked what you were drinking and/or smoking. Of course, I’ve been known to be wrong from time to time, and judging by Perri’s reappearance on the charts with “Human,” it looks like she’ll at least be a two hit wonder. “Human” fits into a similar mold as “Jar of Hearts,” both emotionally, and stylistically. Perri has impressive vocals, and this kind of power ballad is right in her wheelhouse. I may have written her off before, but I have a feeling we’ll be hearing Perri’s “Human” for quite a while (I have to be right on at least one Christina Perri prediction, 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.


posted by Adam Bernard @ 7:00 AM  
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