Monthly Archives: February 2013

PROFILE: Nikki Williams Is “Glowing” And Growing

Darling Nikki.

Darling Nikki.

Meet Nikki Williams, a budding singer and songwriter who is rising among the ranks of pop music’s biggest stars. You may not know her name now, but in several months, she may just be blowing up on the charts with her debut single, “Glowing”. (Listen to the full song on YouTube.)

24-year-old Williams was born in the large city of Port Elizabeth on the coast of South Africa and made the leap to the United States at the age of sixteen, settling for a while in Nashville before moving to Los Angeles. Now, you’re probably thinking, when was the last time a new South African act broke here in the States? We’ve had soloists like Hugh Masekela of “Grazing In The Grass” fame and Dave Matthews, whose band continues to put out new material twenty years into their career, but dance and pop acts from the country crossing over to our market are virtually nonexistent. Williams is definitely hoping to change that.

She’s picked up a few years experience as a songwriter, most recently co-writing Demi Lovato’s new hit, “Heart Attack”. The song’s already gone to #1 on iTunes. She’s currently signed to Island Def Jam Music Group in the U.S., who are handling the promotion of her debut album. No title has been released. Several months ago, a video was released for the promotional single “Kill, F***, Marry”, which has accumulated nearly 800,000 views on YouTube. The atmospheric pop song may be an indication of where her full-length release is headed, with a lush vocal and a slightly subdued production. It’s not brash and in-your-face; it just seeps in and grabs a hold of you.

We’re at the point where the label is readying her first radio release, “Glowing”, which goes to the CHR format on March 19, though the song’s been readily available on the internet since November through her official YouTube account. It’s more of a dance song than “Marry”, almost similar to an Avicii composition, but for good reason. It all has to do with who’s behind the song. The single was co-written by Arnthor Birgisson, Daniel James, Leah Pringle, Bebe Rexha and Sandy Vee. Birgisson is an Iceland songwriter/producer who has been in the industry for at least fifteen years, creating hits for 98 Degrees, Jennifer Lopez and Jessica Simpson. James and Pringle are a married couple, the latter herself being a former top ten artist on the ARIA Singles Chart in Australia. Both have done work with acts like Miley Cyrus and The Wanted, among others. Rexha is a little more unknown, but she worked with some members of Fall Out Boy when they went on hiatus on a side project called Black Cards. She sang lead for them until early 2012. You’re probably most familiar with Vee’s work, as the French producer has been behind big singles for David Guetta, Katy Perry, Pitbull and Rihanna.

With all that history, you know it’s going to be a catchy song, regardless of whether you’ve heard it or not. Lyrically, it’s your standard boy comes into a girl’s life, she falls head over heels in love kind of story line. He saves her life, then she states that, “A million hearts, but you’re the only one / Who lights it up, like I’m glowing in the dark.” It’s cute, but it’s also familiar. It’s largely a repetition of one solid verse and the strong chorus that I’ve pointed out. It’s leaves a little to be desired, compared to her first overall single release. However, she has a great voice and a striking image that will carry her far. A little bit of depth could’ve helped, but it’s not the most essential thing about getting her out there. Plus, if she becomes a big star, I’m sure she’ll get around to releasing more material that showcases the variety that she’s very much capable of. For now, “Glowing” is a good introduction for her in the States, and while it may get some comparisons to current female pop singers of the day like Carly Rae Jepsen or Jessie J, Williams can hold her own.

The success of the song thus far has been reduced to Canada, where it continues to gain airplay on their Hot AC format. With a Stateside takeover just a few months away, a boost in airplay and sales will be coming in no time. Watch out for Williams coming to a radio station near you.

Buy “Glowing” on iTunes.

CONTEST: Williams’s label, Island Def Jam, is giving producers and DJs access to the stems of her song “Kill F*ck Marry” for their newest contest, which enables you to remix her song for a chance to appear on her official home page and social media sites. However, the deadline is March 25, so you better act quickly. Here are the official rules:

1. All the stems you need are at this link.
2. Create your remix of the song using these stems and the original vocals from the song (no cover versions.)
3. Upload your creation and title it as “KFM Remix – (insert your name here)” as response to this video and don’t forget to make it public. In the description of your video, include your preferred name, an email address, Facebook URL (music page or personal) and Twitter handle.

The winner will be picked based on originality, creativity, and commercial satisfaction. Again, your submission must be in by March 25. Good luck!

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All Dolled Up: Tales From The Top 40 Toy Chest

Some assembly required.

Some assembly (and musical guilty pleasures) required.

After a GRAMMY nomination for his hit song “The A Team”, British singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran is releasing a new single in the U.S., “Lego House”, though it’s not exactly new to a lot of audiences. The song peaked at #5 in the U.K. way back in November 2011. It’s also gone top ten in Australia, Belgium and Israel. Despite the song just picking up here, including a top 30 placing on Hot AC radio, it got me thinking about other toys that have made it onto the national charts. Lego products are popular enough, but how about dolls and video games? “Lego House” may be the next to join them with a run into the top 40 on the Hot 100. Supplies are limited, so buy into this post while you can.

BALLS AND BALLOONS
Whether you’re bouncing, dunking, hitting or kicking it, the ball has always been a playground favorite for kids. Only one top-40 hit has used the term referring to a toy, in which quintet The Cyrkle compared the sun to a “Red Rubber Ball”. It peaked at #2 on the Hot 100 in 1966. They continued to release singles for the next two years, though none were nearly as big.

In addition, three songs about balloons have made the top 40 over the decades. First up was The Yellow Balloon, who hit #25 in 1967 with a song also called “Yellow Balloon”, from, yes, a self-titled album, The Yellow Balloon. Fast forward to 1984 and we find the German group Nena and their only charting single, the #2 “99 Luftballons”, which was then sung in English and retitled as “99 Red Balloons”. Finally, in 1999, rockers the Goo Goo Dolls made it on the charts with “Black Balloon”. It achieved similar peaks on both the Hot 100 (#16) and CHR radio (#12).

DOLLS AND FIGURINES
Not a huge shocker, but this is the category where most of our entries are. We love dolls of all shapes and forms and they’re still popular today. Here are some of significant titles:

The first hit in the U.S. for superstar Cliff Richard also became his first #1 single in the U.K., “Living Doll”. It went to #30 on the Hot 100 in 1959. Two songs called “Rag Doll” have hit the top 40: in 1964, it was a #1 single for The Four Seasons, and in 1988, it was top 20 entry for Boston rockers Aerosmith. From the big screen, singer Dionne Warwick went to the runner-up spot in 1968 with the theme song from Valley Of The Dolls.

Arguably the most famous song about a doll hit during the summer of 1997. Danish quartet Aqua went from plastic to pop perfection with their biggest hit here., “Barbie Girl”, an ode to Mattel’s magnificent maiden. Huge sales propelled it into the top ten on Billboard, peaking at #7, but its airplay lagged behind, only reaching #21 on the CHR chart. The group had two more minor singles chart in the States, one of which was “Turn Back Time”, a bigger radio hit than “Barbie” but a no-show on the Hot 100 due to a lack of a physical single at the time.

You may as well have a pad to put all these ladies in, and singer-songwriter Priscilla Renea has just the solution. Her only charting song to date, “Dollhouse”, went to #33 on CHR radio in 2009. Lastly, for acts, we have the aforementioned Goo Goo Dolls, who had #1 radio hits like “Name” (1995) and “Iris” (1998), as well as the Pussycat Dolls, who had a string of top 5 hits at both radio and retail, including “Buttons” and “Don’t Cha”.

In addition to dolls, four songs about those G.I. Joes and Janes marched straight into the top 40. Two versions of the song “One Tin Solder” made the top 40; the original, by The Original Caste, went to #34 in 1969, and in 1971, Coven‘s take rose to #26. As for the other two songs, one sampled the other. That pair would be Martika‘s “Toy Soldiers” from 1989 (#1) and Eminem‘s 2005 single, “Like Toy Soldiers” (#34). The rapper’s song fared better at CHR radio, hitting #24. There have been many other songs with “soldier” in the title, but majority of those are addressing people and not play things.

PUPPETS
Sometimes they’re cute and sometimes they’re a little bit on the scary side. I’d like to think that all of these selections can put on a good show. Two such singles about the subject made the top 40: in 1966, the duo of James & Bobby Purify went to #6 with “I’m Your Puppet”. They ranked seven other singles on the Hot 100 through 1968. Pop quintet The 5th Dimension scored the second of them, going to #24 in 1970 with “Puppet Man”. It was their first top-40 hit of the decade and would make that portion of the charts for three more years.

Remember the Meat Puppets? They’re the only act to pack the puppet into their name. Their one crossover single, “Backwater”, went to #30 on CHR radio in 1994. (It just missed the top 40 on the Hot 100 at #47.)

STUFFED ANIMALS
From Beanie Babies to Pillow Pets, you know you at least had a few of them. Might be obvious to some of you, but the only kind of stuffed animal to make the top 40 is that lovable, hugable teddy bear. Two song titles have made it that high. One pre-dated the Hot 100, but topped the similar Top 100 for seven weeks in 1957. That was “(Let Me Be Your) Teddy Bear” by the King himself, Elvis Presley. On the other side of the charts, a beary big Country hit that spent a lone week at #40 in 1976. That one was “Teddy Bear” by Red Sovine. The song’s technically about a trucker whose handle on CB radio is “teddy bear”, but it still works. Sad song, by the way.

Of course, we can’t forget The Teddy Bears, the studio group that was Phil Spector’s first big foray into the music world. They spent three weeks at #1 on the Hot 100 in 1958 with the classic “To Know Him Is To Love Him”.

YO-YOS
I was never good with these things, even though they were pretty popular when I was younger. Two songs with “yo-yo” in the title made it into the top 40 on the Hot 100. The first, in 1971, became the second top ten hit for family group The Osmonds. “Yo-Yo” peaked at #3. The second, by the female rapper named Yo-Yo, went to #36 in the spring of 1991. “You Can’t Play With My Yo-Yo” also featured rapper turned television star Ice Cube.

You can probably sort “My Ding-A-Ling” by Chuck Berry into this category. It hit #1 during the fall of 1972. Hey, it is “silver bells hanging on a string”, right? Oh… yeah, let’s just move on.

VARIOUS TOYS
Can you believe a character from Sesame Street actually made the Billboard Hot 100? Yes, it’s true, Ernie‘s “Rubber Duckie” was cut as a single and actually hit #16 in October 1970. The creator and voice behind him, the late Jim Henson, also hit the top 40 in 1979 as Kermit The Frog, who went to #25 with “The Rainbow Connection”.

In 1973, singer-songwriter Don McLean made the top 40 with his last single of the decade, a #21 song based off of a spinning top used by children during the Jewish holiday Hanukkah. That was called “Dreidel”. Based off of the hit video game, “Pac-Man Fever” went to #9 for Buckner & Garcia in 1982. Their followup, “Do The Donkey Kong”, failed to make the top 100. Then, in 1989, the only top-40 hit for Roachford, “Cuddly Toy (Feel For Me)”, went to #25 on the Hot 100.

As for the one act to fit in here, it didn’t take a lot of thought to come up with a name like The Toys, but the New York trio hit the #2 slot in 1965 with “A Lover’s Concerto”. They charted for several more years, but didn’t have anything as big as “Concerto”. Synthpop and rock act Shiny Toy Guns have hit the Alternative chart a total of five times since 2006, but have barely made the Hot 100.

For more articles from the attic, follow the blog by clicking the tab below or follow me on Twitter: @AdamFSoybel. Hope you enjoyed!

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TURN IT UP TUESDAY: What’s New In Stores This Week (Feb. 26)

Give Peace a chance.

Give Peace a chance.

From rock to folk and a little bit of pop, here’s your guide to this week’s new releases for February 26:

  • Biggest release of the week belongs to the supergroup knows as Atoms For Peace, a side project from Thom Yorke of Radiohead. It also features Flea from the Red Hot Chili Peppers. Amok is their debut release, which is available in a few different configurations in both physical and digital form. Look for it to be strong enough for a #1 debut next week. (iTunes)
  • Emmylou Harris has been making the album chart since 1975, but her most recent release in 2011 was her first to make the top 20. On this effort, she collaborates with fellow Country singer Rodney Crowell on Old Yellow Moon. Can it break the top ten? (iTunes)
  • He’s already done a few albums of covers; why not one more? Balladeer Michael Bolton releases Ain’t No Mountain High Enough: A Tribute to Hitsville U.S.A., featuring duets with Kelly Rowland and Melanie Fiona. (iTunes)
  • Christian crossover star Britt Nicole has a reissue of her album Gold out today. The title track is currently gaining at mainstream radio. (AmazonMP3)
  • Hillsong United, comprised of members of Australia’s Hillsong Church, release their third studio album, Zion. Their last studio album, Aftermath, made the top 20 two years ago. (iTunes)
  • Johnny Marr, formerly of The Smiths, releases The Messenger, his first album as a solo artist. (iTunes)
  • No reason to be moody or blue this time around. Lead singer for the Moody Blues, Justin Hayward, puts out Spirits Of The Western Sky today, his first solo effort since 1996. (AmazonMP3)
  • Country group The Mavericks are back in attack with In Time, their first album in ten years. Lead single “Born To Be Blue” recently made the top 50 on the Country chart, their first since 1999. (AmazonMP3)

New digital-only singles that you can buy this week include:

  • “Heart Attack”, the sassy new song from Demi Lovato. Details about her forthcoming studio album have yet to be released. (iTunes)
  • “Hearts Go Crazy”, the first single from pop/rock group Parachute‘s forthcoming third album, title TBA. (AmazonMP3)
  • “It’s A Beautiful Day”, a new one from Canadian crooner Michael Bublé. It leads off To Be Loved, which is out April 23. (iTunes)
  • “The Stars (Are Out Tonight)”, a digital single from David Bowie‘s first studio album in ten years, The Next Day. The album is released in two weeks. (iTunes)

We’ll be back next week with new albums by Country singers Ashley Monroe and Luke Bryan. See you in seven!

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SINGLE PREMIERE: Parachute – “Hearts Go Crazy” (+ Lyrics)

Let's go "Crazy".

Let’s go “Crazy”.

Here’s another song premiere from a great band who I’ve enjoyed in the past few years, Parachute. The single is entitled “Hearts Go Crazy” and it goes to digital retailers tomorrow after being delayed by a week for unknown reasons. The band was originally known as Sparky’s Flaw before changing their name to Parachute, VA, though they quickly dropped the VA part and simply became Parachute. (The “VA” part is still visible on their first single cover; it’s highlighted in a blue color.) You may remember that the band’s first hit song, “She Is Love”, was originally featured in a Nivea commercial before it began climbing the charts, hitting #14 on the Hot AC survey during the summer of 2009. A followup single, “Under Control”, went top 30 on the same format and also got the Nivea treatment. It was then that they also dropped their first album, Losing Sleep, which hit #40 on the Billboard 200 thanks to some big placing on iTunes at the time. It landed them a spot of Kelly Clarkson‘s tour that same year and into the spring of 2010, where they also gained a worldwide following, particularly in Europe.

Two years ago, the band released their second album, The Way It Was, which featured my favorite single by them to date, “Something To Believe In (Jeremiah)”. It spent three weeks at #1 on my personal chart and, again, hit that #14 spot on the Hot AC chart. “Kiss Me Slowly” followed that, hitting #20, and the band took a trip on the road again that summer with the Goo Goo Dolls and Michelle Branch. (They and Branch stopped by the station I work at around that time to perform mini acoustic sets; both were great. Branch was promoting a song “Loud Music”, which became a minor hit.) We haven’t heard much of them since, but lead singer Will Anderson has been performing some solo gigs as of recent, so it’s good to see the band back together and ready to introduce their new material.

“Crazy” is a new sound for them, finding themselves on the verge of an art-pop sound reminiscent of the Gotye and Kimbra duet, “Somebody That I Used To Know”. (Listen to the DJ Mike D remix of it; that more closely resembles this song.) Yet, it’s brought back down by the more mainstream polished pop arrangements of bands like OneRepublic or even Panic! At The Disco‘s material from a few years back. Point is, it’s familiar, yet mysterious at the same time, and it provides a good balance. Their lyrics suffer for me a little bit in the quality department with their easy rhymes; both of their prior leadoff singles are stronger, especially “Believe”, but that’s not going to be what draws people in with this particular track. It’s good, but it’s a grower. Perhaps it’s a little bit more instant for you. Stream the song below and let me know what you think of it! I’m on Twitter at handle @AdamFSoybel.

Stream “Hearts Go Crazy” on SoundCloud.

“HEARTS GO CRAZY”

[VERSE 1]
I want your love, I want your heart
They try so hard, to keep us apart
They say I will treat you bad
But I’mma be the best thing you ever had
I’m gasoline and you’re the spark
You set me off here in the dark
In your kiss, your fingertips
We get too close
We’ll be burning out of control

[CHORUS]
Young hearts go crazy
Just do what you came to do
Let your lovin’ never come down
It belongs to me and you (me and you, me and you)
Young hearts go crazy
With the sound of something new
Young hearts go crazy
Me and you (x4)

[VERSE 2]
You give me a little high
All I need to get me by
Say the word, I cut the tie
If we can run
If we can run, I know we can fly

[CHORUS]
Young hearts go crazy
Just do what you came to do
Let your lovin’ never come down
It belongs to me and you (me and you, me and you)
Young hearts go crazy
With the sound of something new
Young hearts go crazy
Me and you (x4)

[MIDDLE 8]
Oh-oh oh-oh oh-oh oh-oh (x2)
You give me a little high (Oh-oh oh-oh oh-oh oh-oh)
All I need to get me by (Oh-oh oh-oh oh-oh oh-oh)
Say the word, I cut the tie (Oh-oh oh-oh oh-oh oh-oh)
If we can run
If we can run, I know we can fly (fly x2)

[CHORUS]
Young hearts go crazy
Just do what you came to do
Let your lovin’ never come down
It belongs to me and you (me and you, me and you)
Young hearts go crazy
With the sound of something new
Young hearts go crazy
Me and you (x4)

Oh-oh oh-oh oh-oh oh-oh (x2)

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SINGLE PREMIERE: Michael Bublé – “It’s A Beautiful Day” (+ Lyrics)

That's what makes you "Beautiful".

That’s what makes you “Beautiful”.

Our favorite Canadian crooner is back! 37-year-old Michael Bublé returns with his first regular studio album in three-and-a-half years, To Be Loved, which is out on April 23 here in the States. Of course, his 2011 seasonal release, Christmas, rocked the charts once again this past holiday season, with two singles from it being released to radio: “Cold December Night” and a virtual duet with Bing Crosby, “White Christmas”. They both did particularly well on his core format, adult contemporary radio. I’m sure you caught his NBC special as well. However, we’ve been due for some original music from the guy for a few years now. It’s been over two years since “Hollywood” was released and I loved that one a lot. It peaked at #1 on my chart for two weeks, his third song to make it to the top. Now, our first taste of some new selections from the album comes via the first single from the effort, a sunny little single called “It’s A Beautiful Day”. It’s one of several original songs on the album, which includes duets with Bryan Adams, Naturally 7 and Reese Witherspoon. There are some interesting cover choices as well, though it appears we’re getting more original content from him this time around than on previous albums. More information about that is on iTunes, which you’ll see a link for below.

This song essentially picks up where “Haven’t Met You Yet” left off, except that now Bublé has met the girl, it sounds like she ain’t all that. She wants to be friends, but he’s played that game before and he’s heard it all. Plus, she ends up running off! Rude. I mean, too bad for her. Even if this ends up being your new soft rock break-up song, it’s surprisingly cheerful. He’s happy that she’s out of his life. He wants to be free. It’s like everything around him turns into a musical where he’s the star. I can see the video already. He struts through the streets, patrons twirling out of restaurants with plates in hand, cyclists in formation on each side of him. It would be a flash mob like no other. Hey, maybe it will happen. In the end, I guess he got his wish. It’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood and Mr. Rogers didn’t even need to stop by. How charming. He has a smooth mix of drum, guitar, piano and some strings behind him at times, but it all blends together into a musical masterpiece that will please all of Bublé’s fans. I mean, how can you not smile when he’s smiling too?

Look for this one to, not shockingly at all, be a huge seller and a good-sized hit on the adult contemporary survey. If “Yet” could crossover to CHR radio, maybe this one will have a chance closer to the summer months. The format’s taking more chances now then when that prior single was a hit, so it bodes well for him. Until then, get your fill with the link and lyrics below. Have a “beautiful” time listening!

BUY “IT’S A BEAUTIFUL DAY” ON ITUNES.
Listen to a 90 second preview of the song.

IT’S A BEAUTIFUL DAY

[VERSE 1]
I don’t know why
You think that you could hold me
When you can’t get by by yourself
And I don’t know who
Would ever want to tear the seam of someone’s dream
Baby, it’s fine, you said that we should just be friends
Well, I came up with that line and I’m sure
That it’s for the best
If you ever change your mind, don’t hold your breath

[PRE-CHORUS]
‘Cause you may not believe
That baby, I’m relieved
When you said goodbye, my whole world shined

[CHORUS]
Hey hey hey
It’s a beautiful day and I can’t stop myself from smiling
If I’m drinking, then I’m buying
And I know there’s no denying
It’s a beautiful day, the sun is up, the music’s playing
And even if it started raining
You won’t hear this boy complaining
‘Cause I’m glad that you’re the one that got away
It’s a beautiful day

[VERSE 2]
It’s my turn to fly, so girls, get in line
‘Cause I’m easy, no playing this guy like a fool
Now I’m alright
Might’ve had me caged before, but not tonight

[PRE-CHORUS]
‘Cause you may not believe
That baby, I’m relieved
This fire inside, it burns too bright
I don’t want to say “so long”, I just want to say “goodbye”

[CHORUS]
It’s a beautiful day and I can’t stop myself from smiling
If I’m drinking, then I’m buying
And I know there’s no denying
It’s a beautiful day, the sun is up, the music’s playing
And even if it started raining
You won’t hear this boy complaining
‘Cause I’m glad that you’re the one who got away

[MIDDLE 8 + END]
‘Cause if you ever think I’ll take up
My time with thinking of our break-up
Then, you’ve got another thing coming your way
‘Cause it’s a beautiful day
Beautiful day
Oh, baby, any day that you’re gone away
It’s a beautiful day

For more song premieres, follow the blog by clicking the tab below or follow me on Twitter: @AdamFSoybel.

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SINGLE PREMIERE: Demi Lovato – “Heart Attack” (+ Lyrics)

On the "Attack".

On the “Attack”.

What a night that was. Halfway through the Oscars, someone decides to leak Demi Lovato‘s new single on the world-wide web. How fun!

The first single from Lovato’s upcoming album, due out this spring, is called “Heart Attack”. It was originally supposed to premiere on Ryan Seacrest’s radio show this Friday, but due to the leak of the song last night, its web premiere on that site was moved up to midnight (though it suffered due to a traffic overload, I’m betting you were stuck in it) and it went to iTunes very early this morning. (There’s a link for it below in big letters, you can’t miss it.) It’s currently top 30 on the digital retailer as I’m writing this post. This shouldn’t interfere too much with her label’s strategy for this new release, but I imagine it was a bit of a surprise from them that it got out this early. Lovato began revealing lyrics on her Facebook page several days ago and she couldn’t even get through the chorus before someone taped a recording off a computer and just put it out for the world to hear. Oh well. At least the song’s good. Also, let’s clear it up right now, this is not a hot Olivia Newton-John remake. Could you even imagine if that happened?

With an electro-pop beat and lyrics with a bit more of an edge, there’s a noticeable difference between it and the singles released from her last album, Unbroken. It sort of reminds me of Jordin Sparks‘s “Battlefield” in parts of the lyrics, but it looks like Ryan Tedder didn’t take part in this. Official credits belong to Lovato, Mitch Allan, Jason Evigan, Sean Douglas, and Nikki Williams. Evigan recently worked with Cher Lloyd on a track for her album, Sticks & Stones. Williams is a singer herself and her debut single in the States, “Glowing”, goes to radio next month. With some emotional-sounding strings and a guitar line lucked straight out of a StarGate single, this is definitely the hit that Lovato needs to keep flying up the charts in no time. The lyrics are accessible enough for her younger audience, especially the “Ken doll”/”basketball” rhyme, while her older audience will enjoy Lovato’s evolution into a little more polished material.

BUY “HEART ATTACK” ON ITUNES.

“HEART ATTACK”
(Lovato/Allan/Evigan/Douglas/Williams)

[HALF-CHORUS]
Puttin’ my defenses up
‘Cause I don’t wanna fall in love
If I ever did that
I think I’d have a heart attack

[VERSE 1]
Never put my love out on the line
Never said yes to the right guy
Never had trouble getting what I want
But when it comes to you, I’m never good enough
When I don’t care
I can play ’em like a Ken doll
Won’t wash my hair
Then make ’em bounce like a basketball

[PRE-CHORUS 1]
But you make me wanna act like a girl
Paint my nails and wear high heels
Yeah, it’s you, make me so nervous
Then I just can’t hold your hand

[CHORUS]
You make me glow, but I cover up
Won’t let it show, so I’m
Puttin’ my defenses up
‘Cause I don’t wanna fall in love
‘Cause if I did that
I think I’d have a heart attack (x3)

[VERSE 2]
Never break a sweat for the other guys
When you come around, I get paralyzed
And everytime I try to be myself
It comes out wrong like a cry for help
It’s just not fair
Brings more troubles than it all is worth
I gasp for air
It feels so good, but you know it hurts

[PRE-CHORUS 2]
But you make me wanna act like a girl
Paint my nails and wear perfume
For you, make me so nervous
Then I just can’t hold your hand

[CHORUS]
You make me glow, but I cover up
Won’t let it show, so I’m
Puttin’ my defenses up
‘Cause I don’t wanna fall in love
If I ever did that
I think I’d have a heart attack (x3)

[MIDDLE 8]
The feelings I lost in my lungs
They’re burning, I’d rather be numb
And there’s no one else to blame
So instead I’ll take off in a run
I’m playing too close to the sun
And I burst into flames

[CHORUS]
You make me glow, but I cover up
Won’t let it show, so I’m
Puttin’ my defenses up
‘Cause I don’t wanna fall in love
If I ever did that
I think I’d have a heart attack (x5)

Don’t forget, you can follow the blog by clicking the tab below or follow me on Twitter: @AdamFSoybel. Thanks for stopping by!

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Home “Sweet” Home: A Collection Of Chart Candy

This sweet talkin' woman won't slow down.

This sweet talkin’ woman won’t slow down.

It’s still gaining on the radio even if it’s fallen back a bit on the Hot 100, but the single between producer Calvin Harris and singer Florence Welch is a hit, “Sweet Nothing”. It peaked at #1 in the United Kingdom back in October, but we’re always late when it comes to these kind of songs from overseas. In fact, “Nothing” peaked at #10 on the Hot 100 just last week. Today, we’ll be taking a look at some pretty sweet facts when it comes to these pop confections. Although we had some “sweet” singles in the 60’s like Brenda Lee‘s similarly titled “Sweet Nothin’s” (#4, 1960) and Neil Diamond‘s “Sweet Caroline” (#6, 1969), this list will be focused on those songs that hit the charts since 1970. The Harris/Welch collaboration marks the 25th song to pull off the feat since then. Get ready to sink your teeth into this.

(Information is based on the Hot 100 from 1970-1989. The Radio & Records airplay chart is used after 1990.)

THE 70’s
The 70’s were the sweetest of the decades of the list with eleven different top ten singles. Of them, only one went to the #1, the very first of them: “My Sweet Lord”, the 1970 single by George Harrison. It held down the top for three official charts and a one-week holiday break for a combined amount of four weeks. Another went as high as #3: Tony Orlando and Dawn‘s “Say, Has Anybody Seen My Sweet Gypsy Rose?” from 1973. Four top ten titles from 1971 featured the word “sweet” in them, the most of any year regardless of the decade on this list. They were “Sweet Hitch-Hiker” by Creedence Clearwater Revival (#6), “Sweet And Innocent” by Donny Osmond (#7), “Sweet Mary” by Wadsworth Mansion (#7) and “Sweet City Woman” by The Stampeders (#8). The latter two acts are generally considered one-hit wonders, though The Stampeders would find their way back to the top 40 for a grand total of one week in 1975 with a cover of “Hit The Road Jack”.

Of the other five, three were by groups: Commodores (“Sweet Love” – #5 in 1976), Lynyrd Skynyrd (“Sweet Home Alabama” – #8 in 1974) and Rufus with Chaka Khan (“Sweet Thing” – #5 in 1976). Two singer-songwriters finish our look at the decade: Carole King, who went to #9 in 1972 with “Sweet Seasons”, and James Taylor, who in 1975 went to #5 with his remake of “How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved By You)”. The original version by Marvin Gaye went to #6 ten years prior. A third version by Jr. Walker & the All Stars just missed the top ten in 1966.

THE 80’s
The sugar lingered into the electronic 80’s with another eight “sweet” top tens, including two #1 songs in “Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This)” by Eurythmics (1983) and “Sweet Child O’ Mine” by Guns N’ Roses (1988). Another two besides those chart-toppers were the debut top-40 singles on the Hot 100 for the respective two acts. In 1981, Franke and the Knockouts scored a #10 hit called “Sweetheart” and in 1986, Anita Baker rose to #8 with her soulful “Sweet Love”. On the other hand, one was also the last top-40 single for a solo male singer, Michael McDonald, with his #7 “Sweet Freedom” from 1986. McDonald continued to make the Adult Contemporary survey from several more decades.

Rounding out the pack are two #5 singles by Air Supply (“Sweet Dreams”, 1982) and Sade (“The Sweetest Taboo”, 1985) and a #7 charter from Juice Newton, 1982’s “The Sweetest Thing (I’ve Ever Known)”. “Taboo” was the second of two number-one singles for the band on the Adult Contemporary chart; “Thing” was the first of four number-one Country hits for Newton.

THE 90’s
Here’s where things cut off sharply. Despite a lot of close calls by acts like Mary J. Blige, Mötley Crüe and Sarah McLachlan, only two songs made it to the top ten during the 90’s and both within a few months of each other. In late 1995, Mariah Carey and Boyz II Men created a massive duet in “One Sweet Day”. It officially spent eight frames at the top between 1995 and 1996, though a two-week holiday freeze in-between technically lifts that total to ten weeks. It fell pretty sharply after it peaked, but understandably so. The other song to pull off the trick was “Sweet Dreams” by La Bouche, their second hit on the pop chart. It peaked at #5.

THE 00’s
For eleven years, not a single “sweet” song could break the top ten. How sour! That curse was broken in 2007 by a gal named Gwen and her Harajuku girls. That, of course, is Gwen Stefani, and she just missed the coveted top spot in 2007 with “The Sweet Escape”, featuring Akon. It was the highest ranking #2 single on that year’s end of the year chart. Returning as a featured artist the next year, Akon, along with rapper Lil Wayne and singer Niia were all included on Wyclef Jean‘s #10 single, “Sweetest Girl (Dollar Bill)”. Lastly, before “Sweet Nothing” came along, the most recent top ten title that brought the “sweet” factor was “Sweet Dreams” from the multi-talented Beyoncé. It reached #5 in 2009.

What song do you think is the sweetest of the sweet? Let me know in the comments or on Twitter: @AdamFSoybel.

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Highlights from Adam’s Top 40: February 24, 2013

Long Train runnin'.

Another Pat on the back.

DEBUTS
40. Robbie Williams – Be A Boy
39. Benny Benassi featuring Gary Go – Cinema | HIGHEST DEBUT

TOP GAINERS
33. Matt Hires – Restless Heart (39)
26. Fitz & The Tantrums – Out Of My League (35) | BIGGEST MOVER
17. Olly Murs – Army Of Two (22)
06. Pink featuring Nate Ruess – Just Give Me A Reason (12)

THIS WEEK’S TOP TEN
10. Britt Nicole – Gold (10) | PEAK: #10
09. Hunter Hayes – Wanted (07) | PEAK: #05
08. Phillip Phillips – Gone, Gone, Gone (11) | PEAK: #08
07. Taylor Swift – I Knew You Were Trouble (04) | PEAK: #03
06. Pink featuring Nate Ruess – Just Give Me A Reason (12) | PEAK: #06
05. Olly Murs – Troublemaker (03) | PEAK: #01 for three weeks
04. OneRepublic – If I Lose Myself (06) | PEAK: #04
03. Maroon 5 – Daylight (05) | PEAK: #03
02. fun. – Carry On (02) | PEAK: #01 for eight weeks
01. Train – Mermaid (01) | PEAK: #01 for two weeks

Top 10 Next In Line:
1. The Script – If You Could See Me Now (5)
2. Serena Ryder – Stompa (8)
3. One Direction – One Way Or Another (Teenage Kicks) (-)
4. Jewel – Two Hearts Breaking (2)
5. Carly Rae Jepsen – Tonight I’m Getting Over You (7)
6. A Great Big World – This Is The New Year (6)
7. The Saturdays – What About Us (3)
8. Fall Out Boy – My Songs Know What You Did In The Dark (Light Em Up) (10)
9. Tristan Prettyman – The Rebound (9)
10. Florida-Georgia Line – Cruise (-)

In The Mix:
Anna Kendrick – Cups (When I’m Gone) (new)
Bridgit Mendler – Hurricane
Cher Lloyd – With Ur Love
Icona Pop featuring Charli XCX – I Love It
Imagine Dragons – Demons
Kelly Clarkson – People Like Us
Maroon 5 – Love Somebody
Matt Cardle – Lately (new)
Nikki Williams – Glowing (new)
Sheryl Crow – Easy
Snow Patrol – The Lightning Strike (What If This Storm Ends)
The Band Perry – Better Dig Two (new)
The Wanted – All Time Low
Walk Off The Earth – Red Hands
Zedd featuring Foxes – Clarity

See my full chart on the M4BCC message board.

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THE FRIDAY FORTY: Top 40 Boy Bands of the Last 25 Years

Happy Friday! Welcome to a special edition of an occasional segment I’m putting together called The Friday Forty. Consider it a definitive list on all sorts of music-related topics (and much better than those VH1 lists!)

With newer boy bands all over the charts and older boy bands reuniting one after the other, I give you the list of the top 40 boy bands of the past 25 years as tabulated by myself. You may call them man bands or R&B groups, but in the end, these youngsters all comprised boy bands that we listened to on the radio or saw in concert. Rankings were based off of CHR airplay peaks from Radio & Records and Mediabase 24/7, and additional points were added in for #1 songs and main-credited solo or duo hits. Entries were not counted prior to January 1988, so some groups may not have their entire chart life counted. Also, worldwide success is not factored into this list; it’s solely U.S.-based data. With all that said, let’s get the chart started.

Just missing the top 40 are 3T, BoyzoneBrother BeyondDru Hill and Immature.

40. THE BOYS (One entry)
(Biggest hit: “Dial My Heart”, #16 in 1989)

39. H-TOWN (One entry)
(Biggest hit: “Knockin’ Da Boots”, #15 in 1993)

38. PERFECT GENTLEMEN (One entry)
(Biggest hit: “Ooh La La (I Can’t Get Over You)”, #13 in 1990)

37. WESTLIFE (Two entries)
(Biggest hit: “Swear It Again”, #21 in 2000)

36. THE CLICK FIVE (Two entries)
(Biggest hit: “Just The Girl”, #17 in 2005)

35. 5IVE (Three entries)
(Biggest hit: “When The Lights Go Out”, #15 in 1998)

34. 112 (Three entries)
(Biggest hit: “Peaches And Cream”, #15 in 2001)

33. TAKE THAT (One entry, plus two solo by Robbie Williams and one by Gary Barlow)
(Biggest hit: “Back For Good”, #9 in 1995)

32. SOUL FOR REAL (Two entries)
(Biggest hit: “Candy Rain”, #21 in 1995)

31. JAGGED EDGE (Three entries)
(Biggest hit: “Where The Party At?” [featuring Nelly], #11 in 2001)

30. ANOTHER BAD CREATION (Two entries)
(Biggest hit: “Iesha”, #21 in 1991)

29. MINT CONDITION (Two entries)
(Biggest hit: “Breakin’ My Heart (Pretty Brown Eyes)”, #10 in 1992)

28. BIG TIME RUSH (Three entries)
(Biggest hit: “Music Sounds Better With You” [featuring Mann], #26 in 2012)

27. JOE PUBLIC (Two entries)
(Biggest hit: “Live And Learn”, #2 in 1992)

26. NEXT (Three entries)
(Biggest hit: “Too Close”, #6 in 1998)

25. SOULDECISION (Two entries)
(Biggest hit: “Faded”, #6 in 2000)

24. SILK (Two entries)
(Biggest hit: “Freak Me”, #3 in 1993)

23. B2K (Four entries, plus two solo by Omarion)
(Biggest hit: “Bump, Bump, Bump” [featuring P. Diddy], #3 in 2003)

22. THE WANTED (Three entries)
(Biggest hit: “Glad You Came”, #1 in 2012)

21. NO MERCY (Three entries)
(Biggest hit: “Where Do You Go?”, #3 in 1996)

20. BLACKSTREET
Out of New York City, this quintet scored a #12 hit in early 1997 with “No Diggity”, which featured Dr. Dre. They remained hot on the R&B scene and scored two other top-40 hits on the pop survey, the last of them in 1999. They disbanded shortly afterwards, then came back for an album in 2003 before calling it quits again. Several members went onto solo success and hit records as a member of other groups.

19. NEW EDITION
After parting ways with Bobby Brown, the group managed a #8 peak with “If It Isn’t Love” in 1988 and three charting singles from a reunion in 1996. Solo efforts by Johnny Gill  and Ralph Tresvant were included in the total, though Brown’s solo efforts were not since he had left. If the countdown encompassed all of their releases, the group would’ve ranked much higher.

18. BELL BIV DEVOE
Speaking of New Edition, this side project by Ricky Bell, Michael Bivins, and Ronnie DeVoe was an instant success in 1990, with back-to-back top tens “Poison” and “Do Me!” Two other minor singles followed before the three took a break, eventually reuniting with their old band in 1996. They still perform together as a trio.

17. LFO
From Boston, the Lyte Funky Ones scored a big summer single with 1999’s appropriately titled “Summer Girls”. Of their six singles to make the airplay chart, “Every Other Time” was their biggest, reaching #10 in 2001. Though they attempted a comeback in 2009, it fizzled quickly. Lead singer Rich Cronin passed away in 2010.

16. BBMAK
These three Brits had a breakthrough in 2000 when they reached #8 with their first and biggest single, “Back Here”. Three other top-40 hits followed, the last one coming in 2002. All three members pursued music in some form after the band’s breakup, most notably Christian Burns, who took a solo dance route and Stephen McNally, who fronts a band called 10 Reasons To Live.

15. JONAS BROTHERS
With Disney aiding their career, these three brothers from New Jersey took the charts by storm in 2007 and accumulated four top-40 hits within a year. “Burnin’ Up” remains their biggest song, hitting #12 during the summer of 2008. Their last entry to date in 2009 brought their total to five, but the band is planning to release a new album this year. One minor solo single for brother Joe Jonas, “See No More”, is added into their total.

14. SHAI
The four men of this group all went to college together in Washington, D.C. and after passing on a demo tape to a local disc jockey who got it on air, their song blew up and became one of the only all a cappella singles to make the top 40: “If I Ever Fall In Love”, from 1992, reaching #3. Another single, “Baby I’m Yours”, hit the same position in 1993. After four pop hits, they charted several other songs on the R&B chart until 1996.

13. O-TOWN
Hey, hey, they’re not The Monkees, but this quintet formed on ABC’s Making The Band in 2000. Their first of five singles, “Liquid Dreams”, became a minor entry in early 2001, but it was their follow-up, a big ballad called “All Or Nothing”, that launched them into the #1 spot at CHR radio. They last hit the top 50 in 2003. One solo release by Ashley Parker Angel, “Let U Go” from 2006, is included in their total.

12. ALL-4-ONE
Hailing from California, this quintet has the distinction of releasing three covers in a row, which all went top three: in chronological order, the #2 “So Much In Love” (The Tymes) from 1994, followed by the #1 “I Swear” later that year and the #3 “I Can Love You Like That” in 1995 (both by John Michael Montgomery.) After an original song tanked in 1996, they were done on pop radio, and were dropped a few years later. They’ve been between labels since, with some small AC and R&B singles every few years.

11. JODECI
When two groups of brothers got together in North Carolina, their soulful sound gave them a string of pop and R&B hits. Taken under the wing of then-executive P. Diddy, the quartet put three singles from their debut album, Forever My Lady, into the top 40. It wasn’t until 1993 that they attained their only top ten hit, a live version of “Lately” from MTV Unplugged. It peaked at #6. After one more top-20 single in 1994, the group’s crossover success was done, but brothers K-Ci & JoJo made their mark several years later with songs like 1998’s “All My Life” (#2). Four of their singles were mixed into the total.

…and now, for the top ten boy bands on the chart.

"Feels good" to rank up here.

“Feels good” to rank up here.

10. TONY! TONI! TONÉ!

Oakland’s finest had been working on records for several years before they finally made it onto the pop survey in 1990 with the #15 “Feels Good”, from their album, The Revival. The trio had their greatest success in 1993 when they mixed new jack swing and soul on their #2 hit, “If I Had No Loot”, which was a followed by a slower song, “Anniversary”, which topped out at #5. After one more top-40 hit in 1994 and a minor entry in 1996, Raphael Saadiq left the group, but they still continue on today with a replacement singer. He’s seen some minor R&B hits, but a whole lot of critical success. He’s even currently appearing in a car commercial. The group hasn’t recorded any new material since the 90’s.

Still playing hard to get.

Still playing, but not hard to get.

09. HI-FIVE

Five friends from Texas came together in 1989, got signed to Jive Records, and I’m sure there were high-fives all around. The group only managed to place four songs onto the airplay chart, the fewest of any act in the top tier of this list, but the first three all went top ten: 1991’s “I Like The Way (The Kissing Game)” (#2) and “I Can’t Wait Another Minute” (#9), plus 1992’s “She’s Playing Hard To Get” (#4). After an additional top-20 single the next year, the quintet scored several other moderate R&B hits before disbanding shortly afterwards. Lead singer Tony Thompson died in 2007. They band returned in 2012 with new members and a self-released single, but it failed to chart.

Sealed with a "Kiss".

Sealed with a “Kiss”.

08. ONE DIRECTION

Surprised to see them so high? The five boys who came together on the U.K. version of The X Factor in 2010 have a made a significant mark on the charts in just under a year in the States. Both their debut album Up All Night and second release Take Me Home entered at #1 on the Billboard 200 album chart last year. Only one of their radio releases has gone top ten, however: “What Makes You Beautiful”, which peaked at #4 last June. Yet, each of their four followup releases have gone top twenty, and this has all happened within ten or eleven months. They’re huge. They just released a Comic Relief cover of Blondie‘s “One Way Or Another” this week. Unsurprisingly, it’s a smash. They’ll be around for a while.

Bopped 'til the dropped (off the charts.)

Bopped ’til the dropped (off the charts.)

07. HANSON

Take three brothers from Texas, given them six letters to play around with, and what do you get? A blockbuster hit. “Mmmbop”. It spent nine weeks at #1 from May to July 1997, and though radio wanted to get rid of it as quickly as they DJs put it on the air, you can’t help but recognize it as one of the key tracks that led to the growth of bubblegum pop in the late 90’s. The group had four top-40 hits following it, but not one matched the peaks that their biggest single rose to. (“Where’s The Love?” did hit the top ten, however.) After seven airplay entries ending in 2004, the boys are still together today recording on their own independent label.

Give them just one spot (un lugar.)

Give them just one spot (un lugar.)

06. 98 DEGREES

Things were just heating up with this four-man group from Ohio when their first single, “Invisible Man”, went to #10 in 1997. It wasn’t until 1999 that the group did considerably well on the teen circuit with songs like the #4 “The Hardest Thing” and the #5 “I Do (Cherish You)”. They reached their commercial peak by 2000 with Revelation and their last top ten, “Give Me Just One Night (Una Noche)” (#7) before their airplay and sales fell off quickly the next year. After the band broke up, Nick Lachey famously married Jessica Simpson, did a reality show, divorced, and wrote a whole album of breakup songs called What’s Left Of Me in 2006. The title track went to #5 and a followup to #25, both included in their total. The quartet is back together and releasing 2.0 in May on eOne Records.

Caught in a Badd romance.

Caught in a Badd romance.

05. COLOR ME BADD

Discovered by Robert Bell of Kool & The Gang, the quartet based out of Oklahoma made a name for themselves beginning in 1991 with the #2 single “I Wanna Sex You Up”, featured in the film New Jack City. The group has eight top ten singles to their credit, including one #1, “I Adore Mi Amor”, and another #2, “All 4 Love” (1992). After a failed album in 1998 that gave them their last of ten airplay charters, the group disbanded, but most went onto solo projects. The most successful of them, Sam Watters, produced and wrote/co-wrote singles for Anastacia, Jessica Simpson and Natasha Bedingfield. The three other members recently reunited and are looking to put out new music this year.

Can't block these boys out.

Can’t block these boys out.

04. NEW KIDS ON THE BLOCK

After his success with New Edition, producer Maurice Starr decided to try his luck with a caucasian version of the band, originally signed as Nynuk before changing their name. Sales were slow to start, but after 1988’s “Please Don’t Go Girl” became a national top ten hit, the group hit superstardom. In 1989, they placed six songs into the top 40, including #1’s “I’ll Be Loving You (Forever)” and “Hangin’ Tough”. Step By Step and its title track soon followed in 1990, but after a backlash and accusations of lip syncing, the five members parted in 1994 after ten hits. After a reunion in 2008 which brought in two other top-40 entries, the New Kids plan on releasing an album in April called 10 before going on tour. Two solo singles apiece by Joey McIntyre and Jordan Knight also boosted their ranking.

It's gonna be them.

It’s gonna be them.

03. *NSYNC

Formed by Lou Pearlman in the mid-1990’s, they invaded Europe before capturing the hearts of millions of girls in the United States in 1998 with songs like “I Want You Back” and “Tearin’ Up My Heart”, both #5 hits. By 2000, they had hit their full potential with a huge #1 single for ten weeks, “Bye Bye Bye”, followed by “It’s Gonna Be Me”, which spent six weeks at the top. It propelled parent album No Strings Attached to 2.4 million copies in sales in its first week alone, a record which will likely never be beaten. Celebrity followed in 2001 with three additional top ten hits, bringing their total of top-40 hits to 11 before they broke apart in 2002. JC Chasez and Justin Timberlake pursued solo careers; the former has two top-40 singles to his credit, and the latter has eleven main credits (which are all included in the group’s total.) Timberlake’s also acted in several movies, including The Social Network.

Not quite the "end of the road."

Not quite the “end of the road.”

02. BOYZ II MEN

After looking up to New Edition all their lives, this quartet from Philadelphia got their big break in 1989 when the members of Bell Biv Devoe heard them at a local tour stop and were impressed. Michael Bivans eventually agreed to manage the group, leading to their 1991 debut album, Cooleyhighharmony, and the #5 smash “Motownphilly”. They were an overnight success, scoring three other top five singles by the end of 1992. They were perhaps best known for their songs that struck around for a while at the peak of the pop chart, even when the overall speed of the survey had a quick turnover. “End Of The Road” was #1 for six weeks in 1992, the same amount of time “On Bended Knee” stayed at the top in 1994 and into 1995. However, it was their duet with Mariah Carey, “One Sweet Day”, that managed the longest run at the top spot: eight weeks, from December 1995 to February 1996. Their last minor charting single came in 2000 and after a run of thirteen top-40 hits, they were finally done. They group downsized to a trio several years ago and made a few albums of cover songs. Their last original studio album, Twenty, came out in 2011.

All you could "Want" in a boy band.

All you could “Want” in a boy band.

01. BACKSTREET BOYS

Well, we’ve come to the cream of the pop, the top-ranking boy band of the latest twenty-five years based on airplay data. Another of Lou Pearlman’s acts, the quintet based out of Florida officially began their journey in 1993 and released their first single in the U.S., “We’ve Got It Goin’ On”, in the fall of 1995. It just dented the CHR top 40. After finding incredible success in Europe, the Boys gave it a second go in the States and produced a #2 hit in 1997’s “Quit Playing Games (With My Heart)”, the first of ten consecutive top ten hits from the group. In that impressive chain, two number one singles: 1999’s “I Want It That Way” and 2000’s “Show Me The Meaning Of Being Lonely”. Parent album Millenium sold 1.1 million copies its first week, a record at the time, and 9.5 million in its first year alone. Black & Blue opened with 1.6 million first week in the fall of 2000, but the singles had less of an impact on the charts and the album eventually sold less than half of what Millenium did. After going on a hiatus for several years, the band has put out several studio albums since 2005, but they clearly haven’t matched up in airplay or sales compared to their efforts at their peak. Nevertheless, they’ve been going strong as a group for twenty years now and have a total of 18 top-40 hits, and that’s something to be respected. They recently went the independent route for a Christmas single and plan to release new music in 2013. However, their legacy will always be their late 90’s hits, the videos, the TRL appearances, the pandemonium, etc. They truly deserve the #1 spot on the this list.

That’s going to do it for this Friday Forty. Hope you enjoyed this look back in boy band history, and let me know if I missed any along the way! Or, suggest a topic for the next Friday Forty! Leave a comment below or contact me on Twitter: @AdamFSoybel.

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Easy Ryders: Crossing Over From Canada

There are two particular new releases that came to mind from two new acts from Ontario, Canada. I say new acts in the sense that they haven’t issued a radio release in the States before, but both have been around for a few years and are ready to take on the States. Can these artists from up north travel the same way on the charts? Bring it on! (Oh, and bring down some maple syrup, would ya?)

She's got a ticket to Ryde.

She’s got a ticket to Ryde.

SERENA RYDER – “Stompa”
Release Date: February 25 (AAA radio)

30-year-old Ryder hails from Toronto and has been recording for over a decade, but it’s been just within the past few years that she’s been putting out material to a larger audience thanks to her record deal with EMI’s Canada division. She first made Canada’s Singles Chart in 2007 with “Weak In The Knees”, the first release from If Your Memory Serves You Well, which was introduced to me by my friend Mike from The Max Online. It was more of a folk-driven song, but I liked it for a while, and it ended up peaking at #49 in her native country and went Gold, as did the album. (It never ended up making my personal chart.) Followup single “Calling To Say” did better, edging up to #40. 2008 brought her next album, Is It O.K., which also went Gold but didn’t place any singles really highly. I remember listening to “Little Bit Of Red”, the first single, for a few weeks before eventually tiring of it, and it peaked at a disappointing #82. I’m guessing that people thought that was it for her given her diminishing peaks, but she came roaring back in 2012 with a major hit in “Stompa”, which marked a significant change in style for the singer into a more rock-influenced sound. It worked; the song’s gone top ten in Canada and garnered her another Gold certification for both the song and parent album Harmony. With that success behind her, her U.S. label, Capitol Records, is ready to bring her into the United States and onto adult album alternative radio, where the song will be a perfect fit. It meets nicely in the middle between a Joan Jett & The Blackhearts record from the mid-80’s and Adele‘s soulful yet biting song that is 2011’s “Rumour Has It”. With lyrics about putting away your troubles and getting lost in the sound of the music, everyone should be able to like it. Look for the song to have quick ride (or ryde if we’re still going for puns) up the charts. I’m certainly rooting for it.

Don't Walk away from this one.

Don’t Walk away from this one.

WALK OFF THE EARTH – “Red Hands”
Release Date: March 18 (Hot AC radio)

Remember when Gotye and Kimbra‘s “Somebody That I Used To Know” blew up and a video went viral of a quintet singing along to the song while all of them played the guitar at the same time? Look no further than this group out of Burlington, who first got together in 2006 and recorded two independent albums together. When their cover video made them an internet sensation, they landed a spot on The Ellen DeGeneres Show and got signed to Columbia Records, who picked up the song and distributed it digitally. It became a top-20 hit in Canada and went Platinum, though it didn’t out peak the original composition, of course. In terms of bigger projects, the label has thus far released a four song EP by the band called R.E.V.O. in October. A full-length album, also bearing the same name, will be out on March 19. At same time, the band has been continually putting up new videos of both original songs and cover versions of popular songs, like Taylor Swift‘s “I Knew You Were Trouble”, which was recognized by the artist last month. Their first song to be issued to radio here in the States is “Hands”, which has already been a minor entry in their native country. While not an acoustic track like most of the material they seem to be synonymous with, it should be a hit with those listeners who like fun., Jason Mraz and Michael Franti & Spearhead. It has the same sort of organic but full studio sound that those acts do well, with a heavy drum beat and sing along chorus. Although, given our sensitivity to gun control and shootings in the news lately, a line like “that gun is loaded/but it’s not in my hand” may be a little much for some people at radio at the current time. Otherwise, it’s a fun and playful tune that will get you clapping along this summer.

What do you think of these two songs? Are they hits in the making or will they not make the rankings? Let me know in the comments or on Twitter: @AdamFSoybel.

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