Saturday, August 31, 2013

Dance Sweep: September 7, 2013...






We're down to my last "chart sweep" of the day, checking out the songs reaching the singles charts in Billboard magazine this week, and I'll close things out with the newest dance jams in the clubs and on the radio...

On the DJ-polled Hot Dance Club Play chart, Avicii managed to spend a second week on top with "Wake Me Up". That makes two records (with Daft Punk's "Get Lucky") to do that this year, a rare feat these days on this volatile (and somewhat rigged) chart..

As expected the top entry on the chart at #39 is Mother Monster herself Lady GaGa with what has to be another #1, "Applause", my "Dance Pick of the Week"...


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Country Sweep: September 7, 2013...






It's time for part four of today's "chart sweeps" of the new songs making the grade on the radio charts in Billboard magazine, and this time out it's the latest on country radio...

On the Hot Country Airplay chart, Keith Urban grabs his fifteenth #1 airplay hit with "Little Bit Of Everything"...

There's only one debut of the 60-place chart this week, and it belongs to Dierks Bentley, whose first single from upcoming album Riser "Bourbon In Kentucky" stalled at #45, so hastily released at #59 is "I Hold On", by default the "Country Pick of the Week"...


....and we'll close things out in 90 minutes as I bring you the latest dance jams in the clubs and on the radio....Twang On!

Soul Sweep: September 7, 2013...






We're at the "hump" of today's "chart sweeps" checking out the songs reaching the radio charts in Billboard magazine, and this time out I'm serving the latest R&B jams on the radio...

On the main R&B/Hip Hop Airplay chart, Robin Thicke's "Blurred Lines" holds steady for a sixth week at #1....

The top entry on the list at #34 is the soul "super-group" of Tyrese, Ginuwine, and Tank for "I Need"....


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Rock Sweep: September 7, 2013...

 Round two of this week's "chart sweeps" of the new songs reaching the charts at Billboard magazine is up, and now I've got the latest on rock radio....

On the aggregate Hot Rock Airplay chart, Lorde reigns for a second week with "Royals"....

Vampire Weekend claim the top debut at #32 with the second hit from their Modern Vampires Of The City set, "Unbelievers". It's already at #14 on the Triple-A format, and it's my "Rock Pick of the Week"...


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Pop Sweep: September 7, 2013...


Hey gang, it's time to kick off today's five part "chart sweeps" sampling the songs reaching the various singles charts in Billboard magazine, and as always I'll start off with the pop side of the house...

On the "big" chart, Billboard's Hot 100, which combines sales, radio airplay, and internet streaming, Robin Thicke reigns for a twelfth week with "Blurred Lines"...

Thicke's performing (and "twerking") partner on the MTV Video Music Awards, Miley Cyrus, claims the top debut of the week at #50 with the second single from her upcoming Bangerz album, "Wrecking Ball". It's a more straight-forward pop confection then it's predecessor, "We Can't Stop", which sits at #3 this week...


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Songoftheday 8/31/13 - And I like hot licks the kind I wish that I could play, and when I hear them I crank the volume all the way...


Styx - "Music Time"
from the album Caught In The Act (1984)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #40 (two weeks)
Weeks in the Top-40: 2

Today's Song of the Day is by the arena-rock group Styx, whose foray into concept-album dramatics, Kilroy Was Here, had scored them two top-ten singles with "Mr. Roboto" and "Don't Let It End". However, it created a rift within the band between the flashy showtunes style of singer Dennis DeYoung and guitarists Tommy Shaw and J.Y. Young. After the tour for that album, Shaw bolted from the group, and as a coda (and probably for contract-fulfilling reasons) they released a live set, Caught In The Act. Included on the double-album was one new song recorded before Shaw left, and brought them one more top-40 pop hit in the DeYoung-penned "Music Time". In fact, Shaw only shows up for a brief second in the clip by himself pretending to be interested in all this...


"Music Time" went to the American top-40 in June of 1984, probably on name recognition alone, since it didn't even make an appearance on the rock radio chart in Billboard, nor did it do any real business anywhere else in the world.

And for good reason - this is a horrible song. DeYoung's inflated overdoing of everything goes overboard here, and the video is more sad than laughable. It's on my own top-10 worst songs of the 80s (which is ruled by another veteran band who should know better, "Jefferson" Starship)...

Up tomorrow: the doubly-named trio needs some medicine.

Friday, August 30, 2013

twostepcub's music chart for August 30, 2013...






Hey gang, the start of a holiday weekend (in the US) is upon us, and time to roll out my top 100 tunes from the last week. Robin Thicke twerks in at #1 for a lucky seventh week, while Anna Kendrick (pictured above) makes it into my top-10. Songs by Jason Aldean, Pet Shop Boys, and Plumb make the biggest jumps (moves of 10+ places highlighted in red), while former big hits by the Zac Brown Band, Kelly Clarkson, Jennifer Lopez, Antoine Clamaran, and Miguel (finally) leave my list. Vacation again? Woohoo!

This Week            Song/Artist (last week's position in parentheses)
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
1. Blurred Lines - Robin Thicke f/T.I. & Pharrell Williams (1)
2. Treasure - Bruno Mars (3)
3. Brave - Sara Bareilles (2)
4. Safe And Sound - Capital Cities (4)
5. Get Lucky - Daft Punk f/Pharrell Williams (5)
6. Demons - Imagine Dragons (8)
7. Runnin' Outta Moonlight - Randy Houser (7)
8. Cups (When I'm Gone) - Anna Kendrick (12)
9. Love Somebody - Maroon 5 (9)
10. Sweater Weather - The Neighborhood (11)
11. I Need Your Love - Calvin Harris f/Ellie Goulding (6)
12. All Over The Road - Easton Corbin (16)
13. Radioactive - Imagine Dragons (13)
14. True Love - Pink f/Lily Allen (21)
15. See You Again - Carrie Underwood (15)
16. Out Of My League - Fitz & The Tantrums (18)
17. Red Hands - Walk Off The Earth (10)
18. Mirrors - Justin Timberlake (14)
19. Bruises - Train f/Ashley Monroe (23)
20. Royals - Lorde (32)
21. Wake Me Up! - Avicii (29)
22. I Love It - Icona Pop f/Charli XCX (17)
23. Cruise - Florida Georgia Line f/Nelly (19)
24. I Want Crazy - Hunter Hayes (24)
25. I'm Alive - Michael Franti & Spearhead (26)
26. Harlem - New Politics (27)
27. Gone, Gone, Gone - Phillip Phillips (25)
28. This Is What It Feels Like - Armin van Buuren f/Trevor Guthrie (28)
29. Just Give Me A Reason - Pink f/Nate Ruess (20)
30. Don't Ya - Brett Eldredge (40)
31. Same Love - Macklemore & Ryan Lewis f/Mary Lambert (41)
32. DONE. - The Band Perry (22)
33. Recovery - Frank Turner (34)
34. Come & Get It - Selena Gomez (30)
35. Mountain Sound - Of Monsters And Men (35)
36. Little Bit Of Everything - Keith Urban (42)
37. Need U (100%) - Duke Dumont f/AME (49)
38. A Woman's World - Cher (38)
39. Alive - Empire Of The Sun (39)
40. Summertime Sadness - Lana Del Rey vs. Cedric Gervais (50)
41. Can't Hold Us - Macklemore & Ryan Lewis f/Ray Dalton (31)
42. Fire We Make - Alicia Keys & Maxwell (36)
43. Clarity - Zedd f/Foxes (43)
44. I Got You - Jack Johnson (54)
45. Reload - Sebastian Ingrosso & Tommy Trash f/John Martin (37)
46. Point At You - Justin Moore (51)
47. Should've Gone To Bed - Plain White T's (47)
48. Make Some Noise - DJ Escape & Inaya Day (48)
49. Right Now - Rihanna f/David Guetta (53)
50. Goodbye Town - Lady Antebellum (52)
51. Soothe My Soul - Depeche Mode (61)
52. Hey Pretty Girl - Kip Moore (46)
53. Everything Has Changed - Taylor Swift f/Ed Sheeran (57)
54. Crash My Party - Luke Bryan (44)
55. It's A Beautiful Day - Michael Buble (56)
56. Redneck Crazy - Tyler Farr (62)
57. Stars - Kat Deluna (67)
58. The Other Side - Jason Derulo (58)
59. La La La - Naughty Boy f/Sam Smith (63)
60. Our Song - Matchbox Twenty (60)
61. Need You Now (How Many Times) - Plumb (75)
62. Best I Ever Had - Gavin DeGraw (66)
63. Hey Girl - Billy Currington (68)
64. Love Me Again - John Newman (64)
65. Counting Stars - OneRepublic (69)
66. Vocal - Pet Shop Boys (81)
67. Body Party - Ciara (55)
68. We Can't Stop - Miley Cyrus (70)
69. You Never Know - Audio Playground f/Snoop Lion (73)
70. Let Her Go - Passenger (80)
71. Round Here - Florida Georgia Line (78)
72. Let's Just Dance - D'manti (72)
73. Skirt - Kylie Minogue (83)
74. Mind Your Manners - Pearl Jam (76)
75. If I Loved You - Delta Rae (79)
76. Age Ain't A Factor - Jaheim (77)
77. San Francisco - The Mowgli's (65)
78. Papaoutai - Stromae (86)
79. If So - Atlas Genius (84)
80. A Couple Of Forevers - Chrisette Michele (82)
81. Night Train - Jason Aldean (100)
82. When I See This Bar - Kenny Chesney (92)
83. Parking Lot Party - Lee Brice (90)
84. Ways To Go - Grouplove (94)
85. Still Into You - Paramore (97)
86. Take Back The Night - Justin Timberlake (DEBUT)
87. Lift Me Up - Five Finger Death Punch f/Rob Halford (88)
88. City Of Dreams - Dirty South & Alesso f/Ruben Haze (DEBUT)
89. Hail To The King - Avenged Sevenfold (99)
90. Big When I Was Little - Eliza Doolittle (91)
91. Anywhere With You - Jake Owen (87)
92. Out Of Time - Stone Temple Pilots (93)
93. Stay - Rihanna f/Mikky Ekko (89)
94. Pompeii - Bastille (RE-ENTRY)
95. It Goes Like This - Thomas Rhett (DEBUT)
96. Supersoaker - Kings Of Leon (DEBUT)
97. Thinking About You - Calvin Harris f/Ayah Marar (DEBUT)
98. Mission Bells - Matt Nathanson (RE-ENTRY)
99. The One - Tamar Braxton (DEBUT)
100. Trampoline - Tinie Tempah f/2 Chainz (DEBUT)

There are seven new entries on my chart (+ two that came back); the debuts are highlighted in blue and if you click on them you'll connect to their official website. And here they are after the break on video...

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Songoftheday 8/30/13 - No more timing each tear that falls from my eyes, I'm not hiding the remedy to cure this old heart of mine...


Dan Hartman - "I Can Dream About You"
from the albums I Can Dream About You and Streets Of Fire (Original Soundtrack) (1984)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #6 (two weeks)
Weeks in the Top-40: 16

Today's Song of the Day is by the late singer/songwriter Dan Hartman, who came from Pennsylvania's capital city of Harrisburg to join the Edgar Winter Group, blues rockers led by the albino band namesake. Dan made the top-20 with them with "Free Ride", which he wrote and sung lead on.

After leaving the group in 1976, and after a couple of rock releases, Hartman took a left turn to disco, and in 1978 reached the top-40 on the US chart with "Instant Replay", which also topped the dance chart, and featured future Kiss guitarist Vinnie Vincent and Saturday Night Live bandleadre G.E. Smith. His follow-up album, Relight My Fire, produced one of the best all-time disco epics ever with the title track with Loleatta Holloway on vocals.

When the 80s dawned and disco waned, Dan tried to go more softer, but even though he had his first adult-contemporary hit with "All I Need" in 1981, its legacy wasn't as bright as his disco fare. Three years later, he released I Can Dream About You, named for the song he initially pitched to Daryl Hall & John Oates, but ended up recording himself. It was picked up for the movie Streets Of Fire, and it gave Dan his biggest solo pop success...


"I Can Dream About You" became Hartman's sole top-10 pop hit in August of 1984, while also reaching that level on the adult-contemporary (#7) and the dance play charts (#8) in Billboard. In England, it took a re-release a year later for it to catch on, eventually making it to #12, while going to #3 Down Under in Australia.

The song fit right in the wheelhouse for those who like their pop "pure" (a la Huey Lewis)...

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Thursday, August 29, 2013

Aussie Sweep: August 29, 2013...


It's time to catch up with what's new "down under" as I serve up the records reaching the official music singles chart in Australia, as Katy Perry's "Roar" runs up to #1. This makes the three lead singles from each of her major albums all chart-toppers ("I Kissed A Girl" and "California Gurls" are the others)...

The top entry at #20 is British singer/songwriter/Voice mentor Jessie J with "It's My Party". It's the second single from her upcoming sophomore album Alive; the first, "Wild", went to #6 earlier this year. This one sounds more like the dance fare of "Domino"...


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Album Sweep: August 31, 2013...


Well, I'm down to the last "sweep" from last week to catch up with, and it's the new records making the Top 200 Albums chart in Billboard magazine. As usual I've included links to buy anything if available...

Country A-lister Luke Bryan sells an amazing 500 thousand plus of his fourth regular studio album Crash My Party to debut at #1. It's his third release to top the big chart, after 2011's Tailgates & Tanlines and the compilation from his EP releases Spring Break...Here To Party.



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Brit Sweep: August 29, 2013...






Well, my catch-up continues as I'm back with what normally would be Sunday's British music chart recap, as Ellie Goulding sticks around for a second week at #1 with "Burn"...

The top entry on the chart at #3 is Austrian dance music group Klang Karussell ("Sound Carousel"), whose international hit "Sonnentanz" ("Sundance"), which went top 10 all over Europe, gets English lyrics sung by Londoner Will Heard and subtitled "Sun Don't Shine" ....



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Songoftheday 8/29/13 - And maybe love is letting people be just what they want to be the door always must be left unlocked, to love when circumstance may lead someone away from you and not to spend the time just doubting...


Howard Jones - "What Is Love?"
from the album Human's Lib (1984)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #33 (three weeks)
Weeks in the Top-40: 4

Today's song of the day is by singer/songwriter/keyboardist Howard Jones, who broke through the din of new wave bands with his one-man (and a mime) act with the bouncy "New Song" which made the American top-40 in the spring of 1984. For the follow-up, Jones released a moodier and more pensive piece called "What Is Love?". Cowritten with lyricist and spiritual writer Bill Bryant, the minor-key hook-filled record became his biggest hit at home, and scored more success in the States, even with its rather pessimistic refrain of "does anybody really love anybody anyway?"...


"What Is Love?" became Jones' second top-40 hit in America in June of 1984, while going as high as #2 on the British singles chart, the highest he would ever get there. It also went top-10 in Germany (his only one there), Norway, and Sweden, and remains one of his best-loved tracks.

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Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Dance Sweep: August 31, 2013...



It's time to wind down this week's belated "chart sweeps" with the latest dance jams on the radio and in the clubs according to Billboard magazine...

On the DJ-polled "Hot Dance Club Play" chart, Avicii leaps from #6 to the top with "Wake Me Up!"...

The top entry at #30 is Selena Gomez with "Slow Down". It's the followup to her #1 club hit "Come & Get It"...


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Country Sweep: August 31, 2013...






I'm back with part four of this week's "chart sweeps" sampling the songs reaching the radio charts in Billboard magazine, and now it's time for the newest on country radio...

On the Hot Country Airplay chart, Brett Eldredge holds at #1 with his first chart-topping hit, "Don't Ya", for a second week...

The top entry at #51 is sibling trio the Band Perry with the third single from their Pioneer album, "Don't Let Me Be Lonely". It follows two #1s, "Better Dig Two" and "DONE."...


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Soul Sweep: August 31, 2013...






We're at the "hump" of this week's belated "chart sweeps" checking out the latest songs reaching the radio charts in Billboard magazine, and now I've got the newest on R&B radio...

On the main R&B/HipHop Airplay chart, Robin Thicke hangs in for a fifth week at #1 with "Blurred Lines" with T.I. and Pharrell Williams...

The only new song on the chart at #48 is Sevyn Streeter with her first hit, "It Won't Stop"...


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Rock Sweep: August 31, 2013...


Hey gang, it's round two time for this week's belated "chart sweeps" tracking the songs reaching the radio charts in Billboard magazine, and now I'm up to the latest on rock radio...

And in a development as important (if not more so) to the GaGa/Perry chase on the pop chart, after two dozen weeks at #1, Imagine Dragons' "Radioactive" has been deposed to #2 on the Hot Rock Airplay chart, and it took the first chart-topping solo female hit to do it as Lorde's "Royals" is the new champion on the aggregate rock list. Congrats!

The top entry on the main rock radio chart at #41 is neo-metal veterans Korn with the first single from their upcoming October release The Paradigm Shift. "Never Never" is already at #21 on both the Mainstream and Active rock formats, and it's my "Rock Pick of the Week"...


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Pop Sweep: August 31, 2013...






Hey gang, since I was away last weekend, I didn't have the chance to catch up on my "chart sweeps", but since it was a big week release-wise, I can't let it go (OCD that I am)...so here's part one, sampling the pop hits making the charts at Billboard magazine...

On the "big" chart, the Billboard Hot 100, Robin Thicke holds tight to #1 for an eleventh week with "Blurred Lines". It's the longest stay on top since the Black Eyed Peas' "I Gotta Feeling" racked up 14 weeks at #1...

Well, technically, this was the week of the "battle of the rabid fangirls", as both Katy Perry and Lady GaGa's new records saw their first week of sales. But even though Katy sold over twice as much as Mother Monster, since her record leaked to radio and slipped on the chart last week, "Roar" growls from #85 to #2, while GaGa claims this week's top debut on the chart and takes my "Pop Pick of the Week" with "Applause" at #6. This makes an even dozen top-10 hits for the singer, who topped the Hot 100 with "Just Dance", "Poker Face", and "Born This Way"....


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Songoftheday 8/28/13 - She's got hair down to her fanny she's kinda jet set, try undo her panties...


ZZ Top - "Legs"
from the album Eliminator (1983)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #8 (two weeks)
Weeks in the Top-40: 12

Today's Song of the Day is by the Texan blues-rock trio ZZ Top, whose 1983 synth-driven masterpiece Eliminator did as much to bring back the keyboard to heavy metal as Van Halen's dabblings with it. The first single from the set, "Gimme All Your Lovin'", reached the pop top-40, while third single "Sharp Dressed Man" became their most lasting classic song to date. The fifth single from the set would prove to be the band's biggest pop hit yet.

Although co-writing credit on the record was shared between lead guitarist/singer Billy Gibbons, bass-man Dusty Hill, and drummer Frank Beard (the one without the beard), only Gibbons played and sang on "Legs", with the musical backdrop provided by engineers Terry Manning and Linden Hudson (who later sued for credit). Add a video where the trio are again just props behind the hot girls in the desert in a Cinderella/Pretty Woman fantasy, and you've got an MTV monster waiting to happen...


 "Legs" became the first of the band's two singles to reach #8 on the US pop chart in July of 1984, while topping out at #3 on the rock radio list as well. The record was also remixed for club play, and went to #13 on the dance club chart, proving the trio's crossover potential with their synth-y sound. Internationally, the record was their only top-10 hit in Australia at #6, while also going top-10 in neighboring New Zealand as well as Canada and Ireland. In the UK, "Legs" walked up to a respectable top-20 placing...

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Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Kraut Sweep: August 27, 2013...






I'm back with the latest songs to make the grade of the official sales charts in Germany, as Avicii's "Wake Me Up" holds for a sixth week at #1...

The top debut is be Jamaican dancehall singer Sean Paul with "Other Side Of Love". Rocketing in at #3, he's only been higher once with "She Doesn't Mind" which climbed a step higher in 2011..


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French Sweep: August 27, 2013...


Hey gang, it's time to cross the Atlantic to check out the songs reaching the official sales chart in France this week, as Stromae's "Papaoutai" holds on for a fourth week at #1...

In the "battle" between Katy Perry and Lady GaGa's fangirls, it's Mother Monster who wins with her single "Applause", which comes in as the top entry at #3. She topped the charts in this country only twice with "Poker Face" and "Bad Romance"...


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Songoftheday 8/27/13 - Early in the morning I can't sleep I can't work and I can't eat, I've been drunk all day can't concentrate...


Rod Stewart - "Infatuation"
from the album Camouflage (1984)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #6 (two weeks)
Weeks in the Top-40: 13

Today's Song of the Day is by Rod "The Mod" Stewart, who started 1984 a little behind, as his album Body Wishes became his first studio set in almost twenty years to not spawn a top-10 hit, though "Baby Jane" did make the top-20 (and #1 in his native Britain) and follow-up "What Am I Gonna Do" reached the top-40.

For his 13th album, Camouflage, Rod brought back his old friend Jeff Beck to handle guitar, and his playing featured prominently on the first single, "Infatuation". Written by Rod and produced by Michael Omartian, the song is a "big pop song" with an awesome guitar hook and great horn backup. For MTV, he also rolled the gimmick of the "alternate ending" video, where either he gets the girl or he doesn't...


"Infatuation" brought Rod back to the top-10 on the American pop chart in July of 1984, while also reaching #5 on the rock radio chart. In Britain, though, it was reversed, as it peaked at #15 (pretty much where his #1 UK hit peaked here). It brought him back to MTV's A-list (courtesy of the video), and he kept that up for the rest of the 80s.

And if you would've asked young adult me what my favorite Rod song was, I would've answered this one in a heartbeat. It's basically a song that rides on the sheer machinery of its production, and the video is really well-done.

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Monday, August 26, 2013

Robbed Hit of the Week 8/26/13 - Queen's "I Want To Break Free"...


Queen - "I Want To Break Free"
from the album The Works (1984)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #45

This week's "robbed hit" is by the British rock band Queen, who started out 1984 with what would be their last top-40 pop hit in the US, "Radio GaGa". The follow-up to that single, "I Want To Break Free", was written by bass player John Deacon, and featured a hilarious video that put all four members of the group in drag (singer Freddie Mercury is especially awesome in a Tracey Ullman kind of way)...


But while "I Want To Break Free" was a huge hit around the world, going top-10 everywhere and topping the chart in Holland and Austria (it topped out at #4 in the UK), the single stalled at #45 in the States. Perhaps the over-the-top video was too much for Reagan-era lunkheads. Oh well. The song is their campiest triumph, and one of my faves of the band.

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Songoftheday 8/26/13 - Love come down upon us till you flow like water, burning with the hope of insight..


Icicle Works - "Whisper To A Scream (Birds Fly)"
from the album Icicle Works (1984)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #37 (two weeks)
Weeks in the Top-40: 4

Today's Song of the Day is by the new wave band from Liverpool Icicle Works, who came together in the early 80s under singer/songwriter Ian McNabb. Their first release to gain notice in Britain was a jangle-pop single called "Birds Fly (Whisper To A Scream)". Written by McNabb and produced by Hugh Jones, who also helmed acts with a similar sound like Echo & The Bunnymen and Simple Minds, the track originally sputtered in the lower tenth of the chart. Their followup, "Love Is A Wonderful Colour", did much better, peaking at #15 in the UK in 1983. On that popularity, "Birds Fly" was re-released, and did a little better, reaching #52. At this point, the bands' debut album was also released in the US, and like new wave bands like the Fixx and Wang Chung, they did much better over here, as the re-titled "Whisper To A Scream (Birds Fly)", became their first and only pop hit...


"Whisper To A Scream (Birds Fly)" reached the top-40 in June of 1984. It would be their only hit on the Hot 100, though in 1987 they scored a top-20 modern rock hit with "High Time". Though the band never again made the top-40 in their native Britain after "Love Is....", they managed to place a dozen singles in the bottom half of that country's top-100 up till 1990's "I Still Want You".

But a  truckload of 1990's janglepop (I'm looking at you, Toad the Wet Sprocket) owe a lot of their sound to this little band.

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Sunday, August 25, 2013

Songoftheday 8/25/13 - I see you under the midnight all shackles and bows high shoes with the cleats a clickin' a tempermental glow...


The Cars - "Magic"
from the album Heartbeat City (1984)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #12 (three weeks)
Weeks in the Top-40: 11

Today's song of the day is by the Boston new wave group the Cars, who came back from a year break with their biggest album Heartbeat City, which already produced a top-10 hit with "You Might Think". For their follow-up they went all power-pop with another (lead singer) Ric Ocasek-penned song that producer Mutt Lange polished within the edge of its life. With it, they rented out the Hilton mansion for the music video which featured Ric on a clear plastic box to look like he's 'walking on water'. It's a "one-trick-pony" gimmick that MTV ate up like it was the second coming...


Besides the ultimate cheese of the video, the song was hook heaven, and it topped the rock radio chart, as well as going top-10 in Canada and top-20 in the US..

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Saturday, August 24, 2013

Songoftheday 8/24/13 - Take your baby by the hand and make her do a high hand stand, take your baby by the heel and do the next thing that you feel...


Wang Chung - "Dance Hall Days"
from the album Points On A Curve (1984)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #16 (one week)
Weeks in the Top-40: 10

Today's Song of the Day is by the British new-wave group Wang Chung, who scored their first top-40 hit in the spring of 1984 with "Don't Let Go". The follow-up release, written by singer Jack Hues, was the nostalgic "Dance Hall Days", which brought them an even bigger success. This original video used rare color film footage from the director's father...



"Dance Hall Days" reached the American top-20 in July of 1984, while almost doing the same in their native Britain, topping out at #21 and becoming their only top-40 hit. The single also went to #8 on the rock radio chart, as one of the biggest new wave hits on that format, as well as topping the dance club play chart in Billboard for a week.

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Friday, August 23, 2013

twostepcub's music chart for August 23, 2013....



Hey gang, the weekend is just about here, and time for my top 100 tunes from the last week. Robin Thicke holds on to #1 for a sixth week, while country hunk Randy Houser (pictured above) moves up in the top-10. Former hits by Fall Out Boy and Darius Rucker leave my chart, while tracks by Avicii, Lorde, and Depeche Mode make the biggest jumps (moves of 10+ places highlighted in red). Chi-Town here I come!

This Week          Song/Artist (last week's position in parentheses)
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
1. Blurred Lines - Robin Thicke f/Pharrell Williams & T.I. (1)
2. Brave - Sara Bareilles (3)
3. Treasure - Bruno Mars (4)
4. Safe And Sound - Capital Cities (2)
5. Get Lucky - Daft Punk f/Pharrell Williams (5)
6. I Need Your Love - Calvin Harris f/Ellie Goulding (7)
7. Runnin' Outta Moonlight - Randy Houser (9)
8. Demons - Imagine Dragons (8)
9. Love Somebody - Maroon 5 (10)
10. Red Hands - Walk Off The Earth (6)
11. Sweater Weather - The Neighbourhood (15)
12. Cups (When I'm Gone) - Anna Kendrick (17)
13. Radioactive - Imagine Dragons (13)
14. Mirrors - Justin Timberlake (11)
15. See You Again - Carrie Underwood (16)
16. All Over The Road - Easton Corbin (26)
17. I Love It - Icona Pop f/Charli XCX (14)
18. Out Of My League - Fitz & The Tantrums (20)
19. Cruise - Florida Georgia Line f/Nelly (19)
20. Just Give Me A Reason - Pink f/Nate Ruess (18)
21. True Love - Pink f/Lily Allen (36)
22. DONE. - The Band Perry (12)
23. Bruises - Train f/Ashley Monroe (33)
24. I Want Crazy - Hunter Hayes (32)
25. Gone, Gone, Gone - Phillip Phillips (25)
26. I'm Alive (Life Sounds Like) - Michael Franti & Spearhead (27)
27. Harlem - New Politics (29)
28. This Is What It Feels Like - Armin van Buuren f/Trevor Guthrie (24)
29. Wake Me Up! - Avicii (51)
30. Come & Get It - Selena Gomez (30)
31. Can't Hold Us - Macklemore & Ryan Lewis f/Ray Dalton (21)
32. Royals - Lorde (52)
33. Jump Right In - The Zac Brown Band (23)
34. Recovery - Frank Turner (34)
35. Mountain Sound - Of Monsters And Men (35)
36. Fire We Make - Alicia Keys & Maxwell (28)
37. Reload - Sebastian Ingrosso & Tommy Trash f/John Martin (37)
38. A Woman's World - Cher (38)
39. Alive - Empire Of The Sun (39)
40. Don't Ya - Brett Eldredge (41)
41. Same Love - Macklemore & Ryan Lewis f/Mary Lambert (46)
42. Little Bit Of Everything - Keith Urban (44)
43. Clarity - Zedd f/Foxes (43)
44. Crash My Party - Luke Bryan (40)
45. People Like Us - Kelly Clarkson (31)
46. Hey Pretty Girl - Kip Moore (42)
47. Should've Went To Bed - Plain White T's (49)
48. Make Some Noise - DJ Escape & Inaya Day (48)
49. Need U (100%) - Duke Dumont f/AME (59)
50. Summertime Sadness - Lana Del Rey vs. Cedric Gervais (55)
51. Point At You - Justin Moore (53)
52. Goodbye Town - Lady Antebellum (54)
53. Right Now - Rihanna f/David Guetta (63)
54. I Got You - Jack Johnson (64)
55. Body Party - Ciara (45)
56. It's A Beautiful Day - Michael Buble (58)
57. Everything Has Changed - Taylor Swift f/Ed Sheeran (61)
58. The Other Side - Jason Derulo (66)
59. Bullet - Rokelle f/Dave Aude (47)
60. Our Song - Matchbox Twenty (62)
61. Soothe My Soul - Depeche Mode (81)
62. Redneck Crazy - Tyler Farr (77)
63. La La La - Naughty Boy f/Sam Smith (69)
64. Love Me Again - John Newman (74)
65. San Francisco - The Mowgli's (50)
66. Best I Ever Had - Gavin DeGraw (71)
67. Stars - Kat Deluna (82)
68. Hey Girl - Billy Currington (70)
69. Counting Stars - OneRepublic (73)
70. We Can't Stop - Miley Cyrus (75)
71. It's Not Over - Chaka Khan (57)
72. Let's Just Dance - D'manti (76)
73. You Never Know - Audio Playground f/Snoop Lion (78)
74. Live It Up - Jennifer Lopez f/Pitbull (60)
75. Need You Now (How Many Times) - Plumb (87)
76. Mind Your Manners - Pearl Jam (80)
77. Age Ain't A Factor - Jaheim (79)
78. Round Here - Florida Georgia Line (86)
79. If I Loved You - Delta Rae (84)
80. Let Her Go - Passenger (90)
81. Vocal - Pet Shop Boys (DEBUT)
82. A Couple Of Forevers - Chrisette Michele (83)
83. Skirt - Kylie Minogue (93)
84. If So - Atlas Genius (85)
85. This Is My Goodbye - Antoine Clamaran (65)
86. Papaoutai - Stromae (89)
87. Anywhere With You - Jake Owen (72)
88. Lift Me Up - Five Finger Death Punch f/Rob Halford (88)
89. Stay - Rihanna f/Mikky Ekko (67)
90. Parking Lot Party - Lee Brice (94)
91. Big When I Was Little - Eliza Doolittle (100)
92. When I See This Bar - Kenny Chesney (96)
93. Out Of Time - Stone Temple Pilots (97)
94. Ways To Go - Grouplove (99)
95. Adorn - Miguel (91)
96. Dear Darlin' - Olly Murs (92)
97. Still Into You - Paramore (DEBUT)
98. Best Song Ever - One Direction (98)
99. Hail To The King - Avenged Sevenfold (DEBUT)
100. Night Train - Jason Aldean (DEBUT)

This week there's a meager four debuts on the chart (highlighted in blue), and if you click on any of them you will connect to their official website. And here they are on video after the break...

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Songoftheday 8/23/13 - I get up in the evening and I ain't got nothing to say, I come home in the morming I go to bed feeling the same way...


Bruce Springsteen - "Dancing In The Dark"
from the album Born In The USA (1984)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #2 (four weeks)
Weeks in the Top-40: 15

Today's Song of the Day is by New Jersey's pride Bruce Springsteen, who became part of the pop pantheon in 1984 with his album Born In The USA. After gigging in a string of bands, one of which earned his the nickname of "The Boss", Bruce was signed to Columbia Records and released his debut album Greetings From Asbury Park in 1973. But despite his devoted local fanbase, there was nothing of a stir nationally for his first two albums. All that changed with Bruce's "Spector moment".

Taking over a year to record Born To Run, the wall-of-sound epic glory of the title track was totally worth it, and gave Bruce his first top-40 pop hit, while landing his famously on the covers of both Time and Newsweek in the same week. But while the growing amount of album rock stations were playing his songs religiously, mainstream pop radio was leaving him alone as an artist in the late 70s (as disco ruled), though his songs were becoming big hits for artists like the Pointer Sisters ("Fire"), Patti Smith ("Because The Night"), and most impressively, 60s British Invasion holdovers Manfred Mann, who topped the chart with his "Blinded By The Light". All this gave Bruce the exposure that his lack of radio exposure as a singer wasn't.

But all things come in a circle, and as disco "died" in the beginning of the 80s, and rock radio became a juggernaut of a presence on music culture, Springsteen found himself with a renewed career, as his The River double-album in 1980 scored him a top-10 hit with "Hungry Heart", and the album was his first to go to #1 in Billboard. Bruce could have built on this straight away and had another pop mega hit, but instead he took a left turn and released the acoustic folk-rock missive of Nebraska, one with no "hits" but tons of amazing imagery and emotional storylines. I was a huge fan of this decision, and the risk involved, which still delivered a top-10 album, though not as widely remembered as his "bigger" works, it remains in my opinion probably his most influential individual work to date.

Which brings us to 1984. With a few songs left over from the Nebraska sessions (including future hits "Cover Me", "I'm On Fire", and the future title track), Bruce readied his next album, Born In The USA. But after his manager Jon Landau insisted he include a "big hit record" in the mix, he went and hastily wrote what would be the first single, "Dancing In The Dark". With a danceable backbeat and a video showing off his newly buffed body (and doing what would eventually be the Carlton Shuffle with a pre-Friends Courtney Cox), the song would unwillingly (for him) become his big breakout to pop radio...



"Dancing In The Dark" spent a month in the #2 spot in June of 1984 (kept from the top but two other huge acts, Duran Duran and Prince the latter with his own "breakthrough" single). It did reign on the rock radio chart as expected for six weeks. Internationally, the single went top-10 practically everywhere, though it took a re-release for it to reach #4 in the UK.

I have to say that I hated the song when it was released. Loathed it. As a long-standing fan of the "Boss", it seemed against everything his music was about. The bouncy "pop anthem" chords. The seemingly inane chorus. Most especially the body. Yes, the body. I just couldn't get past the Rambo-lite transformation Bruce took in this video. It was like he went from the moody pre-emo kid (without the makeup) to being the frat guy. And apparently Bruce didn't like the song as well (eschewing it from concerts for a long time). But underneath the visuals and the chorus/production is a biting lyric in the verses that does sync with the outcast that he's always been. So I can reconcile with the song at this point (though it'll never be on my list of favorites).

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Thursday, August 22, 2013

8 of the 80s: 8/22/13 (1988)...


I'm ready for this week's 80s throwback, and this time I'm delivering up eight more nuggets from 1988, the year of the Tompkins Square Park Police Riot protesting a curfew...

Depeche Mode - "Never Let Me Down Again"
from the album Music For The Masses (1987)
Billboard  Hot 100 peak: #63
Songwriter: Martin L. Gore


Indeed. One of the best solo road trip songs ever. Erotic and mournful at the same time.

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7 of the 70s: 8/22/13 (1978)...


Hey gang - it's time to serve up seven more nuggets of seventies realness, and this week I'm back to 1978, the year Pope Paul VI died, succeeded by John Paul I, who only was pope a month before dying as well...

Yvonne Elliman - "If I Can't Have You"
from the albums Saturday Night Fever (Original Soundtrack) and Night Flight (1978)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #1
Songwriters: Barry, Maurice, and Robin Gibb


The Hawaiian singer had the fourth #1 pop hit from the iconic disco soundtrack album after the Bee Gees were going to give her "How Deep Is Your Love" instead.

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Songoftheday 8/22/13 - I thought that dreams belonged to other men, 'cause each time I got close they'd fall apart again...


Mike Reno and Ann Wilson - "Almost Paradise"
from the album Footloose (Original Soundtrack) (1984)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #7 (two weeks)
Weeks in the Top-40: 13

Today's Song of the Day is yet another hit single from the insanely popular soundtrack to the Kevin Bacon movie Footloose. After the title track by Kenny Loggins topped the chart, Bonnie Tyler's epic "Holding Out For A Hero" made the top-40. Then the bubbly "Let's Hear It For The Boy" by R&B singer Deniece Williams scored the movie a second #1 hit, while post-disco trio Shalamar made a respectable showing in the top-20 with "Dancing In The Sheets".  The next single to reach pop radio was a duet between the lead singers of two big-name mainstream rock acts Mike Reno of Loverboy and Ann Wilson of Heart. At the time, it was actually Reno that had the momentum, as his group scored back to back top-10 albums, while Heart at the time of Footloose was in a dry spell, with their last top-40 hit "This Man Is Mine" sputtering at #33 in 1982 and being dropped by their label after their next record failed to even make a top-40 hit. (Of course now their legacy's are pretty much switched)...

"Almost Paradise", written by singer/songwriter Eric Carmen (who would go on to soundtrack success himself with "Hungry Eyes" from Dirty Dancing) and the film's screenwriter Dean Pitchford, was promoted as the "love theme" to the movie, and as such became as ingrained in viewers heads as Bacon's dance moves...



"Almost Paradise" became the third and last top-10 hit from Footloose in July of 1984. It also topped the adult-contemporary (easy listening) radio chart for a week as well.

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Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Aussie Sweep: August 21, 2013...






Hey folks, it's time for another trip down under to check out the songs reaching the official sales chart in Australia this week...

There's a new #1 hit here, and it's the second in Australia for American soul/dance/pop singer Jason Derulo with "Talk Dirty". Featuring rapper 2 Chainz, it's a departure from his usual fluffy disco, like his other chart-topper, 2009's "In My Head"...


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6 of the 60s: 8/21/13 (1968)...


Hey gang, I'm back with another half-dozen nuggets from the 60s, and this time I'm back to 1968, the year the Republicans nominated and won the presidency with Richard Nixon. Yep.

The Rascals - "People Got To Be Free"
from the album Time Peace: The Rascals Greatest Hits (1968)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #1
Songwriters: Felix Cavaliere, Eddie Brigati


This anthem of tolerance was the #1 song when I was born. I revere that fact more than my astrological sign in shaping who I am as a person.

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Songoftheday 8/21/13 - I'm all out of hope one more bad dream could bring a fall...


Billy Idol - "Eyes Without A Face"
from the album Rebel Yell (1983)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #4 (two weeks)
Weeks in the Top-40: 14

Today's song of the day is by that lovable punk-rocker Billy Idol, who's "slow-burn" debut album eventually caught him a pop radio audience and gave him two top-40 singles with "Hot In The City" and "White Wedding". With these hits in hand Billy released his second full-length album Rebel Yell in 1983, but the first single, the raucous title track, missed the top-40. For its follow-up he went a completely different route, and ended up with his first huge pop hit, "Eyes Without A Face". A song inspired by a French horror movie (the backup vocal says the name Les Yeux Sans Visage), it starts out all sweet and ballad-like until Steve Stevens' guitar rips in and all bets are off...


"Eyes Without A Face" was Idol's first top-10 single in July of 1984, while also topping out at #5 on the rock radio chart (his third top tenner). In his native Britain the single was his first to reach the top-40 (at #18), and also made the top-10 in Germany. It would solidify his standing as the punk guy that mainstream radio can play, and was the first punk song most moms would know.

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