Saturday, December 26, 2015

Pop Sweep: January 2, 2016...


It's time to kick off the first of today's five "chart sweeps", checking out the songs making their debuts on the various singles and radio charts in Billboard magazine. As usual, I'll start out on the pop side of things, then later in the day move on to the latest in rock, R&B, country, and dance...

On the "big" chart, Billboard's Hot 100, which combines tallies of internet streaming (like Spotify and YouTube), radio airplay from all formats, and sales (like iTunes and Amazon MP3), Adele's "Hello" spends an eighth week on top, becoming the longest stay of her career....

The just-announced winner of the latest season of The Voice, Christian pastor and It's Pat cosplay winner Jordan Smith, places all three of his finals performances on to the Hot 100, with holiday classic "Mary Did You Know" becoming his second to make the top-40 at #24. Last week, his cover of Queen's "Somebody To Love" jumped in at #21 (and tumbles this time to #99). Again, why with the rabid screaming from the audience during this song? This isn't a song to be screeching at. Besides, his performance is pretty reedy, to be honest, considering the multitudes of amazing renditions of one of the best Christmas songs ever. And the "Wooooo!"? Really?


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The Voice runner-up, country singer Emily Ann Roberts, comes in at #56 with her take on Cam's top-10 country hit "Burning House". The original, most likely helped by the exposure, also leaps on the chart to a new peak of #29. While the teenager hits all the notes (usually a rarity on this show's faves), her performance is more technical than emotional, with the gravitas needed for this heartbreaking song not matured as yet. (And again with the f**king shrieking from the audience.)



Chris Brown returns at #64 with "Back To Sleep", the third single from his Royalty release from December 18th. The first, "Liquor", topped out at #60. Beside the date-rapey sort of lyrics, the production brings to mind the slick mid-80s soul like Loose Ends and such...


Cole Swindell previews his upcoming second album with "You Should Be Here" at #69. Of the four radio singles from his self-titled debut, the first, "Chillin' It", reached #28 on the Hot 100. Well, that's one tearjerker of a music video, featuring the voice of Cole's dad on the cellphone as he's told his son got a record deal, then by the end (five months later) at his tombstone. This'll probably by Cole's biggest hit yet, and he's only been to either #1 or #2 on the country chart.


Jordan Smith's rendition of the Sound Of Music song "Climb Every Mountain" ascends to #72. Again, like the last one, he's over-emoting the notes, like Mariah Carey with a thyroid problem. And the yelling from the audience. Stop. Just stop.


Singer/songwriter and recent Dancing With The Stars fodder Andy Grammer is back at #86 with "Good To Be Alive (Hallelujah)", my "Pop Pick of the Week". It follows his top-10 hit "Honey, I'm Good", and while that song's video relied on its viral charm of real-life couples professing longevity, this one has Andy's Chris-Isaak-like good looks and DWTS dance moves to propel it along on its unusual beat. (The single is up to #12 on the Adult Top-40 radio chart in its 14th week.)


The third entry from Voice winner Jordan Smith is his most egregious - taking my all-time favorite song, the Beach Boys classic "God Only Knows", and showboating it with mentor Adam Levine at #90. Besides the obvious producer decision to add this song for the "God" in the title no matter the theme, for the bible-thumping (and voting) audience, this luke-warm reading is worse than any more heartfelt but technically lacking karaoke. But no matter, like everyone else from the show, nobody's gonna remember this in a year. And when he stops eating his probable repressed sexuality, maybe there's some sort of artist buried in there somewhere. And does Levine looks totally chained here?


Hip-hop artist Bryson Tiller is at #20 with radio hit "Don't", as well as at #48 with "Exchange", and now adds "Sorry Not Sorry" to the mix at #95. I'm sure this is a little more enjoyable on weed, with its lazy melodic structure and N-word salad.


YouTube gone Grammy nominee Tori Kelly enters at #98 with "Hollow", her third Hot 100 hit from her debut full-length album Unbreakable Smile. It follows "Should've Been Us", which peaked at #51. The track is up at #28 on the Mainstream Top-40 chart.


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

On the Mainstream Top-40 radio panel, Justin Bieber climbs to #1 with "Sorry". It's his second #1 on this chart after "What Do You Mean"...

The artist Justin takes over for, Adele, makes up for it by jumping in at #32 with "When We Were Young"...


Jason Derulo dances in at #35 with "Get Ugly", the third single from his Everything Is 4 album. The first, "Want To Want Me", went all the way to #1 on this format. A recent "Soul Pick of the Week", it hopefully is far enough removed from that chart-topping hit to not suffer being overlooked like the cool Jackson-esque second single "Cheyenne"...


Virgin Islands duo R. City topped this chart earlier this year with "Locked Away"; they return at #40 (without the help of Adam Levine) with "Make Up".  Featuring songwriter Chloe Angelides, this one heads back to their Caribbean roots, as the colorful reggae changes over to the normal booming pop chorus...


Meanwhile, on the older-skewing Adult Top-40 format, "Hello" is on top for a fifth week...

One Direction made it to #17 on this chart with "Drag Me Down", which falls to #27 this week, while their second single "Perfect" moves in at #34. I believe this one has the potential to match the success on this format as their softer "Story Of My Life" single...


Pittsburgh native Daya, who climbs to #41 on the Hot 100, pops in here at #38 with "Hide Away". The song is also up to #14 on the Mainstream Top-40 list...


Finally, on the Adult Contemporary, or "easy listening" radio chart, last week I wondered if Adele would ride out the Christmas rush on this format. This week I'm answered as Seal's version of "This Christmas" jumps to #1. It's his second #1 on this chart; in 1995 he did the trick with "Kiss From A Rose"...

The sole new entry at # 26 is another holiday selection, as Kanisha K arrives with "I'll Be Home For Christmas". Her reading, with a bopping smooth swing beat, is pretty fresh, and she does a good job on not making the overused standard seem stale...


 I'll be back with the latest on rock radio...




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