Saturday, December 19, 2015

Pop Sweep: December 26, 2015...


Hey folks, I'm ready to roll out the first of this week's "music sweeps", checking out the songs making their way on to the various charts in Billboard magazine this week. As usual, I'll start out on the pop side of things, then move on to the latest in rock, R&B, country, and dance. And away we gooooo...

On the "big" chart, Billboard's Hot 100, which combines tallies of sales (like iTunes and Amazon MP3) along with internet streaming (like YouTube and Spotify) and radio airplay from all formats, Adele's "Hello" reigns supreme for a seventh week, tying her run with "Rolling In The Deep"...

In a quiet pre-holiday week, the top debut comes from the singing competition spectacle The Voice, whose (SPOILER) winner, chunky bespectacled pastor singer Jordan Smith, lands all the way at #21 with his performance of the Queen single "Somebody To Love" from the semifinals. Mind you, nobody is going to even remember who this guy is in a year (like all the other fodder inserted for storyline into this reality show about four singing stars names Blake, Gwen, Adam, and Pharrell), but throwing an anthem sung by a gay man into the Bible-thumper crowd is practically heretic. Yes, he has a strong voice, but, man, there is nothing creepier than these people appropriating songs like "Somebody To Love" to the "Lord".


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(Special props to Brenda Lee, whose 1958 holiday standard "Rockin' Around The Christmas Tree" becomes the second seasonal song to re-enter the Hot 100 at #44. The single's best showing on the big chart was in 1960 when it climbed to #14.)

As Selena Gomez reaches the top ten with her second single from her Revival album, "Same Old Love", another track from the record, "Hands To Myself", arrives at #77, helped by a "lip dub"-style video featuring Victoria's Secret models. The song, supposedly attempting to be like Prince, ends up just being kind of creepy, like her appearance, with is just so much pedo wrapped in designer clothes. Like her face hasn't grown into her body, and the cooing just feels like Chris Hansen's gonna show up in a rap break.


Brooklyn rapper Dawin makes his debut at #89 with "Dessert", with a little help from Mr. Whip/Nae Nae himself, Silento. Starting off like a 90's R&B boy-band track laden with Auto-Tune, it gets buck-wild when the break comes, along with a frantic panda. Welcome to your open-window car tune for the week.


Country singer Granger Smith drives in at #93 with his breakthrough single "Backroad Song". A by-the-numbers country-crossover song if there ever was one, with catchwords checked off like a lucky bingo board, at least Smith's voice sounds pleasantly low enough, and the harmonies carry the chorus.



Another rap artist, G-Eazy, sees his second album When It's Dark Out come on to the Albums Sales chart at #4, and while the radio single "Me, Myself, & I" leaps into the top-40 at #36, two more tracks from the set enter the Hot 100 on their own. First at #94 is "Random", the first song on the album (after the intro). A basic brag track, nothing really more.


The next two entries feature Chris Brown as a guest artist. Is he the Pitbull of this year? Is this ever going to stop? First at #97 is rapper Rick Ross with Brown on "Sorry", with the craziest misogynistic pandering of a video. Who really would sleep with this guy if he didn't have money?


...while at #98 is Brown with the other G-Eazy newbie, "Drifting", which also features newcomer Tory Lanez (who's at #30 with "Say It"). The better of the two debuts, it rides on a clouded (and alcohol/drug-induced) haze, although more misogynistic lyrics sneak in.



And now on to the pop radio format charts...

On the Mainstream Top-40 radio panel, "Hello" is on top for a fourth week...

German DJ/producer Robin Schulz lands at #39 with "Sugar" featuring Canadian singer Francesco Yates. A former international smash, its smooth approach to booty-shaking beats belies the crazy video accompanying it...


Rachel Platten walks in at #40 with "Stand By You". The song, already at #7 on the Adult Top-40 chart at #19 Adult Contemporary, is another soccer-mom anthem like her breakthrough "Fight Song"...


Meanwhile, on the older-skewing Adult Top-40 chart, Adele holds at #1 for a fourth week...

The Weeknd jumps in at #33 with "In The Night". With a sheen like that of his "Can't Feel My Face" hit, this song undoubtedly will have the same type of success...


Indie-pop duo The Score come in at #40 with "Oh My Love", which previously was an almost-Top-40 UK hit. The uplifting love song is my "Pop Pick of the Week"...


Lastly, on the Adult Contemporary, or "easy-listening" radio chart, Adele remains on top for a fifth week. How long can she keep the rush of holiday programming from taking over? Seal's "This Christmas" is the biggest contender at #3...

Elizabeth Chan has the sole debut at #29 with "Christmas In The City". Two years ago, her "Fa La La" was a favorite of mine, and while this is a bit more subdued, its earnest charm hits the right note for the New York locals...


 That'll do for the start of this week's musical journey...I'll be back with the latest on rock radio...



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