Saturday, February 28, 2015

Songoftheday 2/28/15 - When I was seventeen I did what people told me, did what my father said and let my mother mold me but that was long ago...

"Control" - Janet Jackson
from the album Control (1986)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #5 (one week)
Weeks in the Top-40: 13

Today's Song of the Day is by Janet Jackson, whose breakthrough album Control had already scored the artist a #1 pop hit with "When I Think Of You" as well as two other top-5 single with "Nasty" and "What Have You Done For Me Lately". For the fourth single from the project Janet went with the title track, the perfect distillation of her attitude and musical signature (helped by producers Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis) for the album. The music video ran over nine minutes and featured Janet's Good Time co-star Janet Dubois...

"Control" became the fourth top-5 pop hit from the album in January of 1987. The single topped both the R&B and Dance Club Play chart (the latter for three weeks). Internationally, the song was a more moderate success, reaching the top-20 in Canada, New Zealand, and the Netherlands, but just stopped short of the top-40 in England at #42.

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Friday, February 27, 2015

twostepcub's music chart for February 27, 2015...

Friday's here, and it's time to run down my top 100 tunes from the previous week. Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars remain on top for a fifth week, while Cage The Elephant (pictured above) jumps in to the top 10. The biggest gainers come from Axwell & Ingrosso, Madonna, and Seether (moves of 10+ places highlighted in red), while former big hits from Brad Paisley and Sam Hunt drop out. I'm gonna find that groundhog and strangle it!

This Week              Song/Artist (last week's position in parentheses)
1. Uptown Funk! - Mark Ronson f/Bruno Mars (1)
2. Lips Are Movin' - Meghan Trainor (3)
3. Thinking Out Loud - Ed Sheeran (4)
4. Jealous - Nick Jonas (2)
5. Take Me To Church - Hozier (6)
6. Cigarette Daydreams - Cage The Elephant (12)
7. Ghost - Ella Henderson (7)
8. Shut Up And Dance - Walk The Moon (18)
9. Like A Cowboy - Randy Houser (10)
10. I'm Not The Only One - Sam Smith (8)
11. Make Me Wanna - Thomas Rhett (17)
12. I Bet My Life - Imagine Dragons (14)
13. Call My Name - Avery Sunshine (9)
14. From Eden - Hozier (11)
15. Centuries - Fall Out Boy (5)
16. Budapest - George Ezra (16)
17. Blank Space - Taylor Swift (13)
18. Just Getting Started - Jason Aldean (22)
19. Something From Nothing - Foo Fighters (15)
20. Make You Better - The Decemberists (25)
21. Stolen Dance - Milky Chance (19)
22. Go All Night - Gorgon City f/Jennifer Hudson (20)
23. R U Mine? - Arctic Monkeys (27)
24. I Lived - OneRepublic (21)
25. Mean To Me - Brett Eldredge (30)
26. The Hanging Tree - James Newton Howard f/Jennifer Lawrence (31)
27. Waves (Robin Schulz Mix) - Mr. Probz (23)
28. Lampshades On Fire - Modest Mouse (36)
29. Riptide - Vance Joy (29)
30. Love Me Harder - Ariana Grande f/The Weeknd (34)
31. Heroes (We Could Be) - Alesso f/Tove Lo (26)
32. I See You - Luke Bryan (32)
33. Reason - Erasure (28)
34. All Of You - Betty Who (41)
35. Talladega - Eric Church (35)
36. Something In The Water - Carrie Underwood (24)
37. Take It On Back - Chase Bryant (39)
38. Blind Heart - Cazzette f/Terri B! (38)
39. Right Now - Mary J. Blige (49)
40. Kansas City - The New Basement Tapes (42)
41. Nobody - Kem (51)
42. Living For Love - Madonna (57)
43. Lonely Tonight - Blake Shelton f/Ashley Monroe (47)
44. Geronimo - Sheppard (48)
45. Prayer In C (Robin Schulz Mix) - Lilly Wood & The Prick (45)
46. Sugar - Maroon 5 (54)
47. Animals - Maroon 5 (33)
48. Lonely Eyes - Chris Young (58)
49. Figure It Out - Royal Blood (37)
50. Stay With Me - Sam Smith (50)
51, Homegrown Honey - Darius Rucker (55)
52. Blame - Calvin Harris f/John Newman (40)
53. Dangerous - Big Data f/Joywave (53)
54. Something New - Axwell & Ingrosso (70)
55. I Like You - Tony Moran f/Debby Holiday (56)
56. Drinking Class - Lee Brice (60)
57. The Heart Wants What It Wants - Selena Gomez (61)
58. 7/11 - Beyonce (62)
59. Sun Daze - Florida Georgia Line (59)
60. I Am Machine - Three Days Grace (64)
61. Ain't Worth The Whiskey - Cole Swindell (65)
62. Zero - Nikkole (52)
63. Heartbeat Song - Kelly Clarkson (71)
64. Love Me Like You Do - Ellie Goulding (74)
65. Outside - Calvin Harris f/Ellie Goulding (73)
66. Beg For It - Iggy Azalea f/MO (68)
67. Everywhere - MYNC & Mario Fischetti f/Deborah Cox (67)
68. World - Gia (44)
69. Every Breaking Wave - U2 (69)
70. Rollercoaster - Bleachers (82)
71. Shake It Off - Taylor Swift (46)
72. Up - Olly Murs f/Demi Lovato (72)
73. Til It's Gone - Kenny Chesney (43)
74. Unholy - Wolfgang Gartner (78)
75. Same Damn Life - Seether (90)
76. Wrapped Up - Olly Murs f/Travie McCoy (76)
77. Wrong Club - The Ting Tings (87)
78. Wrong Side Of Heaven - Five Finger Death Punch (66)
79. Dearly Departed - Shakey Graves (84)
80. Bartender - Lady Antebellum (81)
81. Night Changes - One Direction (86)
82. Let Me Know - Tamar Braxton f/Future (92)
83. Style - Taylor Swift (89)
84. What We Ain't Got - Jake Owen (88)
85. Chasing Time - Azealia Banks (85)
86. Time Of Our Lives - Pitbull f/Ne-Yo (DEBUT)
87. Shotgun Rider - Tim McGraw (77)
88. Homegrown - The Zac Brown Band (DEBUT)
89. What's Best For You - Trey Songz (79)
90. Say You Do - Dierks Bentley (DEBUT)
91. Words - Christina Perri (91)

92. Freestyle - Lady Antebellum (94)
93. FourFiveSeconds - Rihanna, Kanye West and Paul McCartney (97)
94. Wherever Is Your Heart - Brandi Carlile (DEBUT)
95. Black Sun - Death Cab For Cutie (DEBUT)
96. Young Blood - Bea Miller (DEBUT)

97. Heartbeat - Mat Kearney (DEBUT)
98. Like I Can - Sam Smith (RE-ENTRY)

99. Cassy O' - George Ezra (DEBUT)
100. Move - Jenevieve X (DEBUT)

There are nine songs making their debut on my chart this week (highlighted in blue), and if you click on any of them you'll connect to their official website for tour dates, music, bios, and more. And here they are on video, after the break...

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Songoftheday 2/27/15 - Ms. Cristina drives a 944 satisfaction oozes from her pores...

"Welcome To The Boomtown" - David + David
from the album Boomtown (1986)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #37 (one week)
Weeks in the Top-40: 3

Today's Song of the Day come from the mainstream rock duo David + David, who may be better known as songwriters as well as musicians on Sheryl Crow's Tuesday Night Music Club album. But years before that, David Baerwald and David Ricketts had their own act, and released one of the best rock albums of the 80s, Boomtown. Drawing on the trodden down workingman class that also inspired Springsteen and Mellencamp, David and David's music had a more melodic sheen to it, but between the more introspective insights on love and Baerwald's growling voice, it was a steady companion in my Walkman that year. The first single from the set, "Welcome To The Boomtown", Got them exposure on pop radio as well...

"...Boomtown" reached the American pop top 40 in December of 1986, while climbing to #8 on the Mainstream Rock chart in Billboard magazine. Their second single, "Swallowed By The Cracks", didn't make the pop chart but did reach #14 on the Mainstream Rock chart in Billboard. That was followed by my personal favorite, "Ain't So Easy", which made it to #51 on the Hot 100 and #17 on the rock radio list. The duo would go on to do backup work while Baerwald embarked on a solo career, but if you're a fan of 80s mainstream rock music, this album is an essential listen for a look into the California experience to compare to Mellencamp's heartland sensabilities and Springsteen's Eastern storylines.

Up tomorrow: A newly crowned R&B/pop queen has some self-reserve.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Aussie Sweep: February 26, 2015...

It's time to head Down Under to check out the songs making their way on to the official singles chart in Australia this week, as British singer Ellie Goulding lands her first #1 hit here with "Love Me Like You Do" from the 50 Shades Of Grey soundtrack...

Florence & The Machine, the alternative rock act from England, claims the top debut of the week at #16 with "What Kind Of Man". They've had three top-10 hits in this country, with "Never Let Me Go" reaching #3, while lead singer Florence Welch's collaboration with Calvin Harris, "Sweet Nothing", went a notch higher in this country...

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Songoftheday 2/26/15 - When I'm hurt then I come on strong I wanna break down, but I just keep it in...

"Foolish Pride" - Daryl Hall
from the album Three Hearts In The Happy Ending Machine (1986)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #33 (one week)
Weeks in the Top-40: 5

Today's Song of the Day comes from pop singer/songwriter Daryl Hall, whose second album apart from his wildly successful act with John Oates, Three Hearts In The Happy Ending Machine, earned him his first solo hit with the top-5 "Dreamtime" in the fall of 1986. The second single from the project, "Foolish Pride", didn't stray from his Hall & Oates work either...

"Foolish Pride" became Daryl's second and final solo top-40 pop hit in the U.S. in December of 1986. The record also went to #21 on the adult contemporary (or easy-listening) radio chart (besting the success of "Dreamtime" there), and even crossed over to the R&B chart at #91. Across the ocean, "Foolish Pride" was his biggest solo hit at #25.

A third single from the set, "Somebody Like You", peaked at #57 but became his biggest American adult contemporary hit at #11. After that, he rejoined Oates for a bit before releasing another solo album, I'm In A Philly Mood, in 1993, which gave him his most recent minor pop hit with the title track. Hall still managed to hit the charts in England through the 90s, and his single with the Sounds Of Blackness neo-gospel/house act for the FIFA soccer tournament in the States, "Gloryland", went to #36 in the UK. His last hit on the British chart was a duet with Dusty Springfield, "Wherever Would I Be", which came not long before she passed away.

Most recently, Hall's solo work has shown up on the American adult contemporary charts, with "Talking To You" reaching #16 in 2011.

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Wednesday, February 25, 2015

German Sweep: February 25, 2015...

Here's the top ten hits in Germany this week, according to their official singles chart.

1. "Love Me Like You Do" - Ellie Goulding (DEBUT)
2. "Cheerleader (Felix Jaehn Remix)" - Omi (1)
3. "The Hanging Tree" - James Newton Howard featuring Jennifer Lawrence (2)
4. "Uptown Funk!" - Mark Ronson featuring Bruno Mars (3)
5. "FourFiveSeconds" - Rihanna, Kanye West, and Paul McCartmey (6)
6. "Firestone" - Kygo featuring Conrad (8)
7. "Break The Rules" - Charli XCX (4)
8. "Outside" - Calvin Harris featuring Ellie Goulding (5)
9. "Take Me To Church" - Hozier (10)
10. "Walk" - Kwabs (7)

There's a brand new #1 single in Germany this week, and it's from British singer Ellie Goulding with "Love Me Like You Do" from the 50 Shades Of Grey soundtrack. That gives her two top-ten hits in this country, as her former #1 collaboration with Calvin Harris, "Outside", sits at #8...

Songoftheday 2/25/15 - I relive the same old dream day and night, memories of love I knew...

"Love Is Forever" - Billy Ocean
from the album Love Zone (1986)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #16 (three weeks)
Weeks in the Top-40: 11

Today's Song of the Day comes from the Trinidadian pop/dance singer Billy Ocean, whose Love Zone album had already spun off three top ten pop hits in America with "When The Going Gets Tough, The Tough Get Going", the title track, and the #1 "There'll Be Sad Songs (To Make You Cry)". The fourth single from the album was the ballad, "Love Is Forever", was written by the artist with producers Wayne Braithwaite and Barry Eastmond, and had the same vibe as his top-5 ballad from his last album, "Suddenly"...

"Love Is Forever" became the fourth song from Love Zone to make the American pop top-20 in December of 1986. The ballad was even more popular on easy-listening radio, topping the Adult Contemporary chart for three weeks, as well as making the top-10 on the R&B chart. Internationally, the record reached the top-40 in Canada and England.

Up tomorrow: A blue-eyed Philly soulster has delusions of grandeur.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

French Sweep: February 24, 2015...

Here's the top-10 hits in France this week, according to their official singles chart, as Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars spend a ninth week at #1 with "Uptown Funk!"...

1. "Uptown Funk!" - Mark Ronson featuring Bruno Mars (1)
2. "Take Me To Church" - Hozier (2)
3. "Christine" - Christine and the Queens (9)
4. "Saint Claude" - Christine and the Queens (RE-ENTRY)
5. "Earned It"  - The Weeknd (DEBUT)
6. "FourFiveSeconds" - Rihanna, Kanye West & Paul McCartney (4)
7. "Are You With Me" - Lost Frequencies (6)
8. "Stay With Me" - Sam Smith (RE-ENTRY)
9. "Thinking Out Loud" - Ed Sheeran (5)
10. "Avenir" - Louane (10)

Canadian alt-hip-hop/soul artist the Weeknd leaps in at #5 with his first top ten hit in this country, "Earned It", from the soundtrack to 50 Shades Of Grey...

Songoftheday 2/24/15 - I must've dreamed a thousand dreams, been haunted by a million screams...

"Land Of Confusion" - Genesis
from the album Invisible Touch (1986)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #4 (one week)
Weeks in the Top-40: 15

Today's Song of the Day comes from the British progressive rock-gone-pop trio Genesis, whose 1986 album Invisible Touch had already scored the band their first #1 hit with the title track and a top-5 follow-up with "Throwing It All Away". The third single from the set, "Land Of Confusion", had the same white-boy funk backdrop as some of Phil Collins' solo ventures, and a sped-up BPM to augment the sense of paranoia in the lyrics from guitarist Mike Rutherford. The music video featured puppets from the popular British show Spitting Images done as the group as well as some world leaders and entertainment icons...

"Land Of Confusion" became the third top-10 pop hit from Invisible Touch in January of 1987, while climbing to #11 on the Mainstream Rock radio chart in Billboard magazine. Internationally, the record made the top-10 in Canada, Germany, Ireland, Switzerland, and the Netherlands, but in their native England it stopped short at #14 (surprising, considering the popularity of the video).

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Monday, February 23, 2015

Robbed hit of the week 2/23/15 - Midnight Star's "Midas Touch"...

"Midas Touch" - Midnight Star
from the album Headlines (1986)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #42

This week's "robbed hit" comes from the soul/funk band Midnight Star, who had finally scored their big pop crossover with their first #1 R&B hit "Operator" in 1985. A year later, the group released their sixth studio album, Headlines. The title track climbed to #3 on the R&B chart, and was a minor pop hit as well. The second single, "Midas Touch", was much more in the post-disco vein of "Operator". Written by band keyboardist Bo Watson and featuring the production of the Calloway brothers from the group, it seemed to be destined for pop radio as well...

While "Midas Touch" went to #7 on the R&B chart, the single stalled right under Billboard's top-40 at #42 in November of 1986. Not long after that, the Calloway brothers would leave Midnight Star to form their own self-named act, which hit the top-10 with "I Wanna Be Rich". Meanwhile, the rest of the band eked it out for a couple more albums, returning to #3 on the R&B list with "Don't Rock The Boat" in 1988. They last appeared on the singles chart with "Luv-U-Up" in 1990 (#58). The Calloways reunited with the band in 2002 for one album that got unnoticed.

Songoftheday 2/23/15 - I've heard talk of blind devotion, lovers through thick and thin...

"Is This Love" - Survivor
from the album When Seconds Count (1986)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #9 (two weeks)
Weeks in the Top-40: 13

Today's Song of the Day comes from the rock band Survivor, who had scored their second big hit from the Rocky film franchise when "Burning Heart" from Rocky IV hit #2 in the winter of 1986. At the end of the year, the band released their second album with new lead singer Jimi Jamison, When Seconds Count. The first single, "Is This Love", written by band guitarist Frankie Sullivan and keyboardist Jim Peterik, followed that mainstream bread-and-butter workhorse rock they have been successful with but haven't really grown from...

"Is This Love" became Survivor's fifth and final top-10 pop hit in January of 1987. The single also crossed over to both the Mainstream Rock (#27) and Adult Contemporary (#25) charts, proving their ability to straddle the line between power and safety in listeners' ears. It would be the only single from the album to make the pop top=40. They released a follow-up album, Too Hot To Sleep, in 1988, and while "Didn't Know It Was Love" scraped the top-40 on the mainstream rock chart, it was only a minor pop hit, as was their next single, "Across The Miles", which did manage to climb to #16 on the Adult Contemporary list. 

After a greatest hits set Jamison left the band for a solo career, and since then both he and former lead singer Dave Bickler had been shuffling in an out of the band's touring schedule. Sadly, Jamison died in September of last year from a stroke exasperated by drug use.

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Sunday, February 22, 2015

Brit Sweep: February 22, 2015...

It's time to check out the new songs making their way on to the official singles chart in the UK this week. First, I've got to say to all the other chart geeks out there that the Official Chart Company in that country did an awesome job revamping the look of their website, which Billboard should take note of (they can't even get their own charts right months after their roll-out, issuing "Hot Shot Debut" to their "Greatest Gainer" week after week; but I digress...)

The top song of the week in Britain for a third week is Ellie Goulding with "Love Me Like You Do"...

There's only one new track in the top-40, and it's English neo-house duo LuvBug with their second top-40 hit and my "Brit Pick of the Week" "Revive (Say Something)" at #17. Last year their "Resonance" went to #13...

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Album Sweep: February 28, 2015...

Hey gang, it's time to kick off this week's "album sweep", sampling the albums making their debut on the Top Album Sales chart this week in Billboard magazine. As usual, I've included links to buy any of the new sets, as well as some of the artists' other work.

The top-selling album on the chart is Canadian-born rapper Drake with his "mixtape" If You're Readying This It's Too Late, selling just under a half-million copies in America in its first week. It's his fourth #1 album in this country, including all three of his full-length studio albums like 2013's Nothing Was The Same...

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Songoftheday 2/22/15 - Got a job that's okay but they've got me workin' night and day...

"C'est La Vie" - Robbie Nevil
from the album Robbie Nevil (1986)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #2 (two weeks)
Weeks in the Top-40: 16

Today's Song of the Day comes from pop/soul singer Robbie Nevil, who went from writing songs for the likes of the Pointer Sisters to landing a solo deal of his own, releasing his self-titled debut album in 1986. The first single from the record, "C'est La Vie", came in the non-photo single cover above, and unless you saw the music video, you'd swear he was a black guy with a song that made the top-10 on the R&B chart. Even then, they did the "sepia-tone" trick that they would copy with Jane Child...

"C'est La Vie" climbed to the runner-up spot on the American pop chart in January of 1987, staying in the top-40 for four months (tying Gregory Abbott's "Shake You Down" for the longest stay of 1987). The record also crossed over to the R&B chart at #7, and topped the dance club play chart for a week. Internationally, the single was a huge success, going to #1 in Canada and Switzerland, #3 in England, and #2 in Germany, New Zealand, Ireland, and Sweden. And as time would progress, Robbie proved his talent was greater than "one hit wonder" territory.

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