Monday, December 21, 2015

twostepcubchart's Best of 2015: Part Three - #80 to #71...

It's time to pick back up on my recap of the biggest hits on my weekly chart from the past year. You can also check out what I've covered in part one (click here) and part two (click here)...

#80 - "Cool For The Summer" - Demi Lovato
          from the album Confident (2015)
          Highest rank: #7 (two weeks)
          Weeks on the chart: 15
          Billboard Hot 100 peak: #11
          Songwriters: Demi Lovato, Max Martin, Alexander Kronlund, Savan Kotecha, Ali Payami

It's been a year for pre-fab pop princesses to see a resurge, as records from Selena Gomez, Demi Lovato, and, yes, Nick Jonas brought them back to mainstream pop radio. Demi's "Cool For The Summer", a slice of Katy Perry-esque electro-pop that dabbled with bisexuality in the lyrics. However the noise around her singing shielded any questioning parents as their daughters (and some hip sons) danced along.

Killer lyric: Take me down into your paradise
                    Don't be scared cause I'm your body type
                    Just something that we wanna try...

#79 - "Could Have Been Me" - The Struts
          from the EP Have You Heard (2015)
          Highest rank: #7 (two weeks)
          Weeks on the chart: 15
          Billboard Hot 100 peak: did not chart
          Songwriters: Adam Slack, Luke Spiller, Josh Wilkinson, Red Triangle [Rick Parkhouse & George Tizzard]

This British rock band from Derbyshire released "Could Have Been Me" in their home country back in 2013 to not much notice, along with a mid-charting album, but after some high-profile stints like opening for the Rolling Stones, they have broke through in the Colonies with this thumping sing-a-long about living life like grabbing the bull by its horns. Their follow-up "Kiss This" is a treat as well, and the album still has yet to be released stateside.

Killer lyric: Don't wanna live as an unsung melody
                    I'd rather listen to the silence telling me
                    I can't hear you, I won't fear you...

#78 - "Stay With Me" - Sam Smith
          from the album In The Lonely Hour (2015)
          Highest rank in 2015: #19 (one week) [spent 14 wks at #1 in 2014]
          Weeks on the chart (in 2015): 20 [spent 32 more weeks in 2014]
          Billboard Hot 100 peak: #2
          Songwriters: Sam Smith, Jimmy Napes, William Phillips (Tourist), Tom Petty, Jeff Lynne

After being the biggest hit on my year-end chart in 2014, spending over three months at #1, the British singer with the angelic voice made it a solid year on my chart by the end of its run in 2015. The song was only made more powerful by Smith's "coming out" during the initial rumblings of this record's promotion, and validated by its Grammy wins for Song and Record of the year in February of this year. Crossing over to the R&B chart and extending its "life" with an alternate version featuring Mary J. Blige, it's the simple hymn of one man pining for companionship after a hook-up and that's what makes this song so fresh every time. (This song added Tom Petty and Jeff Lynne to its songwriter list, because of its supposed resemblance to "I Won't Back Down", but besides some sketchy chord changes, I don't see it.)

Killer lyric: Guess it's true, I'm not good at a one-night stand
                    But I still need love 'cause I'm just a man...

#77 - "Tonight Looks Good On You" - Jason Aldean
         from the album Old Boots, New Dirt (2014)
         Highest rank: #13 (two weeks)
         Weeks on the chart: 17
         Billboard Hot 100 peak: #46
         Songwriters: Rhett Akins, Dallas Davidson, Ashley Gorley

Aldean continued his dominance on the country charts, as this fifth #1 hit in a row smolders with a desire that wins him over Luke Bryan in the "booty-call" race. Maybe its because his voice cuts clearer than Bryan's "younger Jim Nabors" tone and the guitars ring truer in the mix.

Killer lyric: There's something bout the way you're smilin'
                    Making them stars fall right on cue...

          from the album Old Boots, New Dirt (2014)
          Highest rank: #8 (one week)
          Weeks on the chart: 16
          Billboard Hot 100 peak: #54
          Songwriters: Rhett Akins, Ashley Gorley, Chris DeStefano
...and here we are again with Aldean, who had made #74 on my 2014 year-end list with "When She Says Baby". Sharing two of the three songwriters from the previous song, this rock-country hybrid shared its lady-seducing charms. He's lumped in with the "bro-country" phenomenon, but he does sing with more darker emotions and at least he's one of the few left to keep the cowboy hat.
Killer lyric: The way you look at me baby I don't know
                     If we even gonna make it to the party...
          from the album Get Weird (2015)
          Highest rank: #12 (one week)
          Weeks on the chart: 16
          Billboard Hot 100 peak: #67
          Songwriters: Ed Drewett, Camille Purcell, Edvard Erfjord, Henrik Michelsen

The pre-fab winners of the eighth season of the X Factor UK (and the sole group winners) have gelled into a unit as cohesive as One Direction, and they been aiming for the American market for a while, already scoring two top-ten albums. It looked like this massive British hit, which spent three weeks atop the UK chart, would make their breakthrough in the States. It's an international crime that it didn't quite do so, though it got much support from their American fans. Especially with this super-fun video take-off of Potter-style antics. Muggles don't understand.

Killer lyric: Full of honey,
                   Just to make him sweet
                   Crystal balling,
                   Just to help him see...

#74 - "Girl Crush" - Little Big Town
          from the album Pain Killer (2014)
          Highest rank: #3 (one week)
          Weeks on the chart: 15
          Billboard Hot 100 peak: #18
          Songwriters: Hillary Lindsey, Lori McKenna, Liz Rose

The winner of the CMA awards for Single and Song of the Year, written by three very successful women songwriters, was also one of the genre's most controversial, with lyrics about being obsessed over the woman who is with the man she truly loves being misconstrued as a veiled lesbian love song. In fact, the song is so full of pain and desperation that what it veils is the singer's true history with the man she craves. Whether it's an ex who broke her heart or someone she even more hurtfully cannot ever have, is something truly universal between the sexes, and really what the heart of country music is about, telling stories about real life. And I tell you, I've lived this song too many times. Especially this year. It's up for Grammys for Song of the Year and Country Song, and deserves them both. (This song was the follow-up to "Day Drinking", which "bubbled under" my year-end chart of 2014 at #119.)

Killer lyric: I want her long blonde hair, I want her magic touch
                   Yeah, ‘cause maybe then you’d want me just as much...

 #73 - "The Wolf" - Mumford & Sons
           from the album Wilder Mind (2015)
           Highest rank: #15 (two weeks)
           Weeks on the chart: 17
           Billboard Hot 100 peak: did not chart, "bubbled under" at #102
           Songwriters: Mumford & Sons (Marcus Mumford, Ben Lovett, Winston Marshall, Ted Dwane)

The third album from this British band was the one where they took a leap from their folk-rock base into an electric medium, much like Dylan in the 60s. And this all-out throwdown rocker expressing the desire of a man who pretty much lives for her romantic validation is the sonic highlight of the set. And you get them crashing Bonaroo in a wedding dress and such.

Killer lyric: Leave behind your wanton ways
                    I want to learn to love in kind
                   'Cause you were all I ever longed for...

#72 - "I Lived" - OneRepublic
          from the album Native (2013)
          Highest rank: #17 (two weeks)
          Weeks on the chart (in 2015): 15 [spent 8 weeks in 2014]
          Billboard Hot 100 peak: #32
          Songwriters: Ryan Tedder, Noel Zancanella

The pop/rock band from Colorado's Native album was released back in the spring of 2013, but in 2015 there still were hits sprouting from it, like this motivational anthem that sported a truly inspiring video, featuring a fan who thrives overcoming the hardships of living with cystic fibrosis. Last year OneRepublic had two songs in my year-end top 40 with "Love Runs Out" at #31 and "Counting Stars" at #36 (the latter also made my 2013 year-end chart at #41).

Killer lyric: Hope that you fall in love, and it hurts so bad
                    The only way you can know is give it all you have
                    And I hope that you don't suffer but take the pain
                    Hope when the moment comes, you'll say...

#71 - "Homegrown" - The Zac Brown Band
          from the album Jekyll & Hyde (2015)
          Highest rank: #22 (four weeks)
          Weeks on the chart: 21
          Billboard Hot 100 peak: #35
          Songwriters: Zac Brown, Wyatt Durrette, Niko Moon

   Like Mumford & Sons, this country-jam band took some risks and expanded their musical horizons with their first studio album in three years, Jeckyll & Hyde. With a fluid mix from country to hard rock to electro-pop to old-style standard, it was definitely an interesting listen as well as a fulfilling one. This lead single was a great distillation of the idea, starting with the roaring wall of guitars before the classic-country harmonies and guitar-pickin' kick in for the verses. They remain the most substantial of the mainstream country bands.

Killer lyric: It's the weight that you carry from the the things that you think you want...

I'll be back tomorrow with an Irishman in the garden, a Congregation seeking Nirvana, an Australian family jumps for joy, and more.


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