Name: Adam Bernard Home: Fairfield, Connecticut, United States 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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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 some familiar names are back in heavy rotation, and a band that’s gone through quite a few changes seems to have finally found their footing. The chart positions I’m using are from last Monday, and since this is Pop Shots, you know everything is seasoned with a little bit of attitude.
1. Ed Sheeran – Shape Of You
I think it was pretty obvious to everyone from the moment “Shape Of You” first impacted radio that it was going to be a monster hit. I’m not sure any of us, however, could have predicted it would skyrocket to the top quite so quickly. It’s a safe bet that this will be a song we’ll hear well into spring, and I don’t know about you, but I’m perfectly fine with that.
13. Rihanna – Love On The Brain
I’m not normally a Rihanna fan, but for “Love On The Brain” she went with an old school soul music vibe, and it’s the absolute best she’s ever sounded. While I wish she’d have ditched the curse words, as they really take away from the song, I would love to hear Rihanna do more songs like this one. I didn’t know she had this in her, but now that I do … more please!
19. Shawn Mendes – Mercy
While Shawn Mendes was launched into the stratosphere thanks to his ubiquitous hit, “Stitches,” which he followed up with another bouncy pop favorite, “Treat You Better,” with his latest single, “Mercy,” he’s gone the route of the pop ballad, and he’s doing it pretty darn well. It’s no surprise that he waited to release this type of song, as for most pop artists their third single is their ballad. Not every pop artist can pull it off, but for Mendes, it suits him well.
23. Clean Bandit w/ Sean Paul & Anne-Marie – Rockabye
I know I’m a bit biased, because I interviewed their violinist back in 2014, but I’m very happy to see Clean Bandit getting a second run in the U.S. Their sound is completely unique, melding electronic, and classical, music, to create a brand of pop that’s fresh, and fun. With “Rockabye” they’re joined by Sean Paul and Anne-Marie for a song about a single mom. The music will move your body, while the lyrics will move you emotionally.
59. Train – Play That Song
Train is a band that has perfected the art of creating songs that will forever be played in the waiting rooms of dentist’s offices. As much as you may want me to mock this, I can’t, because they’re songs we all hum along, and tap our feet, to. They stick with us for one reason, or another, and Train’s latest, “Play That Song,” is yet another one of those songs. It’s cute, inoffensive, and could’ve been released any time over the past 20 years and it would have fit into pop radio, and “Lite FM,” playlists. Love ‘em, or hate ‘em, this is classic Train.
69. Hey Violet – Guys My Age
It’s time for a quick story. I interviewed Hey Violet back when they were known as Cherri Bomb. This was for issue #30 of Substream, which hit newsstands in the summer of 2012. Fast-forward five years, and the band has gone through a lineup change, and their sound has moved from hard rock, to pop-rock. While it took me a little while to get used to the shift in genre, “Guys My Age” is an undeniable pop song. With an obvious Lolita vibe (stay away from them, R. Kelly!), the electro pop-rock sound gets its hooks into you right from the start, and refuses to let go until you’re singing along.
Side note: If you’re me, this isn’t exactly the best song to be caught singing along to at a stoplight. Not saying it’s happened, but you all know my predilection for car stereo sing alongs.
And with that, my time is up for the week, but I'll be back next week with more shots on all things pop.