Thursday, December 24, 2015

twostepcubchart's Best of 2015: Part Six - #50 to #41...

We're passing the halfway mark on my countdown recap of the biggest songs on my weekly music chart for 2015. If you want to catch up with what I've already posted you can click for part one, part two, part three, part four, and part five.

#50 - "Heartbeat Song" - Kelly Clarkson
          from the album Piece By Piece (2015)
          Highest rank: #14 (one week)
          Weeks on the chart: 20
          Billboard Hot 100 peak: #21
          Songwriters: Mitch Allan, Jason Evigan, Kara DioGuardi, Audra Mae

For the lead single from her lucky seventh studio album Piece By Piece, which is nominated for Best Pop Vocal Album at the upcoming Grammy Awards, Clarkson is at her best showing a strong man or woman overcoming the hurdle of a bad breakup and finding love again. With an inclusive video that tracks love overcoming heartbreak, the first American Idol proves she is the most relevant of the Idols in the pop realm.

Killer lyric: Until tonight I only dreamed about you,
                    I can't believe I'll ever breathe without you,
                   Baby you make me feel alive and brand new,
                   Bring it one more time, one more time...

(Click below to see the rest of the post)

#49 - "Make Me Wanna" - Thomas Rhett
          from the album It Goes Like This (2013)
          Highest rank: #5 (two weeks)
          Weeks on the chart: 19
          Billboard Hot 100 peak: #43
          Songwriters: Thomas Rhett, Bart Butler, Larry McCoy

Thomas Rhett Akins, Jr., who drops his surname to avoid confusion with his dad, who topped the country charts in the 90s, revisits 70s soft-rock with the fifth single from his debut album It Goes Like This (the title track made my 2013 year-end chart at #95).  And with a cloned Thomas moving around in the video, it's both eye and ear candy.

Killer lyrics: Windows down, country sound, FM on the radio,
                      Just me and you and the man on the moon,
                      Cruisin' down some old back road...

#48 - "Crystals" - Of Monsters and Men
          from the album Beneath The Skin (2015)
          Highest rank: #5 (one week)
          Weeks on the chart: 18
          Billboard Hot 100 peak: did not chart
          Songwriters: Nanna Hilmarsdóttir, Ragnar Þórhallsson, Arnar Hilmarsson

The Icelandic alternative rock band was at #4 on my year-end for 2012 with their breakthrough single "Little Talks", and the next year they ended at #7 for 2013 with "Mountain Song". Their second album arrives in the summer of this year, and the first single, the loud and brash "Crystals", brings some alchemy to the proceedings, with a fist-pumping chorus that would wake up the sleepiest pub.

Killer lyrics: Making waves in pitch black sand,
                      Feel the salt dance on my hands,
                      Raw and charcoal coloured thighs feel so cold,
                     And my skin feels so paper-thin...

#47 - "Bad Blood" - Taylor Swift featuring Kendrick Lamar
          from the album 1989 (2014)
          Highest rank: #12 (two weeks)
          Weeks on the chart: 19
          Billboard Hot 100 peak: #1
          Songwriters: Taylor Swift, Kendrick Lamar, Max Martin, Shellback

The biggest singles act in the music biz these days previewed her pop-oriented album 1989 with the cheerleader bop of "Shake It Off", which ended at #57 last year (and made a respectable #144 in 2015). Four more singles from the album drop on to the list this time out, starting with his mean-girl anthem that was more "phenom" than song, pulling favors from every corner of the "Swift Squad" to appear in the video event of the year. She even pulls rank to get the uber-hot Lamar to provide the rap interlude.

Killer lyrics: Now we got problems
                     And I don't think we can solve them...

#46 - "Prayer In C (Robin Schulz Remix)" - Lilly Wood & The Prick
          from the album Prayer (Robin Schulz) (2014)
          Highest rank in 2015: 24 (two weeks) [peaked at #15 for two weeks in 2014]
          Weeks on the chart (in 2015): 20 [spent 24 weeks in 2014]
          Billboard Hot 100 peak: #23
          Songwriters: Nili Hadida, Benjamin Cotto [Lilly Wood & The Prick]

The folk-pop song about the end of the world and blame was remixed into a cool, breezy chill-out number by German DJ Schulz, who transformed the Canadian duo's original into something different than the normal mixtape fare.  The song spend almost half a year on the chart in 2014, landing on the year-end list at #46, and this year matches that rank.

Killer lyrics: Hey, when seas will cover lands,
                     And when men will be no more,
                     Don't think you can forgive you...

#45 - "Centuries" - Fall Out Boy
         from the album American Beauty/American Psycho (2015)
         Highest rank: #5 (one week)
         Weeks on the chart (in 2015): 16 [spent seven weeks also in 2014] 
         Billboard Hot 100 peak: #10
         Songwriters: Patrick Stump, Pete Wentz, Andy Hurley, Joe Trohman [Fall Out Boy]; J.R. Rotem, Justin Tranter, Michael Fonseca, Suzanne Vega

Interpolating Suzanne Vega's "Tom's Diner" into the beginning of the first single off their latest album, the mainstream pop/punk outfit showed their mastery of the video medium again with their homage to the gladiators. Having a one-word title for a change may have simplified them returning to the top ten for the first time since 2007's "This Ain't A Scene, It's An Arms Race". (In 2013 they appeared on the year-end chart at #66 with "My Songs Know What You Did In The Dark".)

Killer lyrics: Mummified my teenage dreams,
                     No, it's nothing wrong with me,
                     The kids are all wrong,
                     The stories are off,
                     Heavy metal broke my heart...

 #44 - "Invincible" - Kelly Clarkson
           from the album Piece By Piece (2015)
           Highest rank: #13 (five weeks)
           Weeks on the chart: 18
           Billboard Hot 100 peak: did not chart
           Songwriters: Sia Furler (Sia), Jesse Shatkin (Belief), Stephen Mostyn, Warren Felder (Oak)

This empowerment anthem has the imprint of songwriter Sia, who sings back-up on this "phoenix rising" theme that many of her fans aspire to.

Killer lyrics: No one hears the silent tears collecting,
                     'Cause it's being weak, but strong in the truth I found,
                      I have courage now, gonna shout it out,
                     Teacher, I feel the dots connecting...

#43 - "Marvin Gaye" - Charlie Puth featuring Meghan Trainor
          from the album Nine Track Mind (upcoming in 2016)
          Highest rank: #7 (one week)
          Weeks on the chart: 19
          Billboard Hot 100 peak: #21
          Songwriters: Charlie Puth, Julie Frost

Pop singer/songwriter Puth, from posh Rumson, New Jersey, was a perfect compliment to Nantucket-bred Meghan Trainor on this retro-style mid-tempo dance swayer, following his cameo in the video for Meghan's "Dear Future Husband" clip. Puth, who sang the chorus on the summer mega-smash "See You Again" from Fast And Furious 7, proves the new generation has hope with a prom full of lovers of all stripes and sexualites. All with using the Motown legend as a verb.

Killer lyrics: We got this king size to ourselves,
                      Don't have to share with no one else,
                      Don't keep your secrets to yourself,
                      It's Kama Sutra show and tell...

#42 - "Dreams" - Beck
          from the single release (2015)
          Highest rank: #3 (two weeks)
          Weeks on the chart: 17
          Billboard Hot 100 peak: did not chart ["bubbled under" at #106]
          Songwriter: Beck

After surprisingly winning the Grammy for Album of the Year with the dreamily ethereal Morning Phase, Beck took a left turn with this jam that didn't sport a music video and an album that's still to appear. With a psychedelic funk sound that reminds me of AWOLnation leader Aaron Bruno's former band Under The Influence Of Giants, the electro-pop exercise is another one to blast out the car speakers (which I did on the way to P-Town this year)...

Killer lyrics: Now can these broken wings free me,
                     About a light-year from reality,
                      If you want to fall in a dream,
                     You could put the weight right onto me...

#41 - "Jealous" - Nick Jonas
          from the album Nick Jonas (2014)
          Highest rank: #2 (five weeks)
          Weeks on the chart (in 2015): 16 [also spent three weeks in 2014]
          Billboard Hot 100 peak: #7
          Songwriters: Nick Jonas, Nolan Lambroza (Sir Nolan), Simon Wilcox

The former Disney teen-idol fodder tried his hand apart from his brothers five years ago with the band The Administration with modestly successful results; this time he reinvented himself as the successor to George Michael/Justin Timberlake/Robin Thicke (yes, really) with this slinky march into your booty area. Smartly targeting appearance in gay clubs (as well as his acting turn on Ryan Murphy's Scream Queens) proved the power of being comfortable with being lusted after by all sorts.

Killer Lyrics: ​​​I turn my chin music up,
                      ​And I'm puffing my chest,
                      ​I'm getting ready to face you,
​                      You can call me obsessed...

On Monday I'll return to the countdown as we enter the top 40, with two British vocal powerhouses that got deserved exposure here, a neo-soul singer wanting her props, an alt-rock queen runs aground, and more. And watch out this weekend, with a bonus post of the 25 songs that "bubbled under" my own year-end chart, with some great music from a disco legend, this generation's "I'll Be Missing You", rock newcomers with some abbreviated cursing, and more...

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