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 I’m hitting you with a brand new edition of 5 Songs on the Radio that Don’t Suck. The last time I did one of these was back in November, and the reason for the three month wait is because Top 40 radio doesn’t exactly move at the speed of a race car. In fact, it’s more like a race car bed – stationary for extended periods of time until someone decides to rearrange the room.
So while three of the five songs from the November installment of this column are still going strong, a handful of new singles have broken through that are nice additions to Top 40 playlists.
Of course, since this is Pop Shots, you know everything is seasoned with a little bit of attitude.
Halsey – Without Me
Longtime readers of this site know that I’ve been on the Halsey bandwagon since 2015, when I named her Badlands album my album of the year. Her latest single, “Without Me,” has been out for a while now, and recently became her first number one song as a lead artist.
I’m not only stoked to see Halsey blowing up, I’m stoked that she’s doing so without compromising her songwriting, or musical style/vibe. As a bonus, “Without Me” references Justin Timberlake’s “Cry Me A River,” and who doesn’t love a great “Cry Me A River” reference???
Mark Ronson with Miley Cyrus – Nothing Breaks Like A Heart
I immediately fell in love with this song when it first came out. Miley Cyrus is an artist I keep forgetting is crazy talented, but every time she releases something new it’s a reminder that she isn’t style over substance, she has those qualities on more of a level playing field.
On “Nothing Breaks Like A Heart” Miley once again shows us that she can, and will, continue to have a career as an adult artist, and can do so in pretty much any genre she chooses.
Ava Max – Sweet But Psycho
If you miss The Fame era Lady Gaga, Ava Max is here to save you. Her current single, “Sweet But Psycho,” sounds like it could have been a lost track off Gaga’s debut album, and Ava has a voice that could easily be mistaken for Gaga’s.
This is not to say Ava is a Lady Gaga clone – we haven’t heard enough of her work to make any such assertion – but with “Sweet But Psycho” we can get those 2008 vibes.
Foster The People – Worst Nites
Even though I’m on the East Coast, this song is, in a word – relatable.
“All my worst nights are the best times” is a lyric that should, at least occasionally, apply to a night out. Yeah, you had three drinks too many, and you missed the train you wanted, but you did it with people you love, and that’s what counts.
I consider this song a joyous celebration of friendship, although having been to L.A. I kinda laugh at the lyric, “West Coast stealing all my shut-eye.” Your bars close two hours earlier than ours do in NYC!
Dan + Shay – Tequila
Dan + Shay’s “Tequila” has been on the Hot Country Songs chart for over a year, but it wasn’t until just a few weeks ago that I heard it on a Top 40 station. Could this be a crossover a long time in the making? It has a number of qualities that make this a distinct possibility – it’s country enough, but also has the feel of a pop song. Plus, it’s about heartbreak, which is a pop staple.
I wouldn’t be surprised to see pop audiences embrace this one, and keep it going strong for another year.
And with that, my time is up for the week, but I'll be back next week with more shots on all things pop.