Monthly Archives: February 2013

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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Filed under Personal Charts

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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Filed under Charts/Trade Papers, Music News, Playlists, Retro

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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Filed under Charts/Trade Papers, Music News, Single Reviews

Billboard, Please Stop Changing Your Chart Methodology Every Week. Love, Adam.

Getting to the chart of the matter.

Getting to the chart of the matter.

Dear Billboard,

Hi, paying customer and budding music journalist here. I think we need to sit down and have a talk. My dear Hot 100, I know you’re turning 55 this year, and I know you want to stay “hip and trendy” as any father would. You’ve now done it by adding video streaming data from YouTube into your chart formula as announced yesterday per the groaning of social media that Baauer‘s “Harlem Shake” is the new #1 song in the country. In fact, all of your cousins, the genre-exclusive charts, are doing the same thing. Oh, Billboard, sweet Billboard, you change your chart methodology more than you change your socks and underwear and it’s a little bit concerning. Let me remind you of what happened when you changed your formula to the Hot 100 in the past.

In 1968, you made your first minor change, as far as I can see, which put less emphasis on airplay in the top half on the chart, while it was fully allowed from positions 51-100. Hmmm. Seems rather odd, but OK, it worked for some time and the overall flow of the chart didn’t see any drastic changes.

June 9, 1973 marked a major overhaul in your formula under the direction of Tony Lanzetta due to a dropping list of sales reporters, so data from jukeboxes accumulated for nearly half of the total weight of the overall chart. Whoa. This was also the first date when computers tabulated the chart rather than being done by human. Way to go, technology! There were also changes to both how a song achieved a starred position, a “new entry” arrow, and the crediting of songwriters on the chart, which was awesome for those individuals who always wanted to see their named printed in the industry bible. Overall, it was necessary given what was happening in the industry, and for this, I’ll give you a pass. Although, we all could have done without Kris Kristofferson‘s 19-week run in the top 40 for “Why Me”. It peaked at #16. The slower chart runs eventually faded away.

In February 1982, you decided that you needed to further change the star system so that an open star, or superstar, meant a single exhibited by airplay and sales gain and a regular star (or bold star) meant a single just had a sales spike. Plus, how could I neglect to mention that no star at all meant that all you gained was a rejection sticker, a toss into the trash bin, etc. Yes, I know you want to forget when “Even The Nights Are Better” by Air Supply fell from 6-42 in a week on the September 25 chart or when “The Beatles Movie Medley” by The Beatles fell from 20-92 on the June 5 chart under that methodology. It was a sad time for all, especially for those acts that spent four, five and six weeks at their peak position because they couldn’t move down until they lost their star. Boy Meets Girl‘s unintentional ode to the matter in 1988 perfectly sums up that period. Luckily, this was reversed during the next year and everyone could breathe a sigh of relief. P.S. you also changed your name to the Billboard Hot 100 during the fall of that same year. Poor Pop Singles Chart. The first #1 single under the change was “Islands In The Stream” by Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton. Ironic that we’re talking about streams now. History repeats, I suppose.

Then, we get to November 1991, which will forever be known as when the Hot 100 became the Lukewarm 100. These changes were made under chart director Michael Ellis. Sales were tabulated by SoundScan via the bar code label you see on products; airplay was tabulated via Broadcast Data Systems and now accumulated for not just pop stations, but rhythm and eventually rock and country stations. That was good. However, the way the ratio was edited at the time, everything urban-related ranked so highly and now spent double-digit weeks at #1 as opposed to just a few frames in the past. I’m looking at you, Boyz II Men. 13 weeks at the top for “End Of The Road” and 16 weeks for your collaboration with Mariah Carey, “One Sweet Day”? Somebody call the chart police. It was a mess. Songs went all over the place. Random limited physical releases ranked oddly. Hit singles that did well on airplay couldn’t chart because a physical single was needed to make the Hot 100. I don’t think I need to go any further than that.

In December 1998, you finally changed the rule on not allowing album cuts to chart on the Hot 100, which was probably the best conclusion you’ve ever come to even if it was a few years late. I realize that you weren’t the ones to tell record labels to stop producing physical singles and focus on full-length albums, but The Rembrandts, No Doubt and The Cardigans, among others, would still like a word with you on the matter. Bart Simpson was pretty offended that you didn’t do the bartman as well. Even Cashbox could do that.

Most of the changes between then and 2012 were positive ones. Digital download sales were ushered in from February 2005 so that airplay wasn’t the king of the formula, which was urgently needed at that point since the CD single was dead. Online streaming from two sources became a component of the chart in August 2007, not extremely necessary but it did help boost some songs that did well from that method and weren’t downloaded as much.

So, now we get to the point where things get ridiculous and look desperate because you weren’t able to change certain stipulations about the chart when they actually happened the first time. Michael Jackson‘s death in 2009 prompted a ruling on older songs to re-enter just after Whitney Houston‘s sudden death in February 2012. In May, you introduced an On-Demand Songs chart, which meant even more streaming was included into the Hot 100 and denied Justin Bieber a #1 debut with “Boyfriend” despite selling 500,000+ copies in its debut week. It wasn’t up for streaming until the next week. Genre-specific charts looked like tragedies in November when the traditional airplay-only tabulation turned into a combination of sales, streaming and spins, even from crossover airplay. Rihanna‘s “Diamonds” debuted at #1 on the R&B chart despite little airplay at Urban radio; Taylor Swift‘s “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together” vaulted 21-1 on the Country chart despite being pulled at the format. PSY‘s “Gangnam Style” confined to the #2 spot for seven weeks on the Hot 100 prompted this newest change on YouTube streams to be counted. I know, you’re trying to right your wrongs, but it comes at suspicious moments and doesn’t make you look good. Four changes within one year isn’t what consumers and chart-watchers are looking for, especially at the times when the method changes. They want continuity and accuracy. You’re just asking for trouble from rabid fanbases who want their favorite singer or band at the top.

Equating a 30-second video on YouTube to one full view to count towards your chart is like saying that a 30-second radio ad that plays background music counts as one full spin towards a song or that buying one song on iTunes should be counted as an album. It does not work that way and you know it very well. 103 million views for “Harlem Shake” on YouTube didn’t come from viewers watching a video of the whole 3-minute song. It was those random 30-second clips that everyone and their friend’s workplace put together. If a 30-second clip is now considered an entire song, then why do artists bother making three and four minute compositions? What is a song? Their weight should be determined by length, not by overall statistics. 30 seconds of “Shake” equals just under 16% of the full song listened to.

Counting the views from official channels by artists, labels and VEVO are fine by me. I think they would fit nicely into the chart. Everything else, however, is a deal breaker. You do have the power to control this and I would expect that something will change again in the next few months given your recent history.

As frustrated as I may be, there’s nothing that I, as one single blogger, can do. My friend, don’t fret, and don’t shed any tears over the matter. It will be okay. Just remember that Cashbox and Record World are holding a place for you if you don’t realize the errors of your way before you can fix them in a timely manner. (Also, you don’t change your methodology every week. My apologies on that error.)

Sincerely yours (and Sweet Sensation didn’t need YouTube to get a Hot 100 hit),
Adam Soybel

(Chart changes I referenced can be found at this link.)

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The Pitch Is Back: Two “Cups”, One Girl (And A Hit To Boot?)

Nobody's Perfect, but this might come close.

Nobody’s Perfect, but this might come close.

You may not have seen it when it was in movie theaters (though it earned just over $65 million at the North American box office), but Pitch Perfect has proven to be quite the hit on DVD, where it’s been exposed to a much wider audience than in its initial release. The film revolves around rival a cappella groups, the Barden Bellas and the Treblemakers, at several competitions, but this is no Glee. It’s a lot more comical, especially thanks to actress Rebel Wilson in the role of Fat Amy. The holiday season was good to it as people exchanged their gift cards for the film, and the soundtrack has also done phenomenally, cracking the top 5 on the Billboard 200 album chart a few weeks ago and selling over 250,000 copies to date. Three songs from that album cracked the Hot 100 in January, two of them medleys of prior songs as performed by the various groups.  Now, that third song, an original composition from the one of the biggest sleeper hits of last year is actually being sent to radio as a single and could end up on your local station.

Yes, that’s right, Anna Kendrick‘s solo song, “Cups”, is being sent to mainstream radio. The stripped-down ditty goes for adds on February 26 through Republic Records and will now bear the title “Cups (When I’m Gone)”, which I guess makes it sound more complete to those program directions on the fence about it. The album version runs just under 80 seconds (77 to be exact), which makes it the second-shortest song to ever hit the Billboard Hot 100. It recently peaked at #64 thanks to strong digital sales, though it has since fallen into the 70’s. Nevertheless, it’s managed to sell over 300,000 copies since it was first released digitally, a huge total for, basically, something that sounds like an unfinished demo of a song. (Here’s the scene of the movie where it’s used.)

As you can hear, the song only features Kendrick’s vocal and the sound of claps and cups hitting the table as the entirety of the arrangement, which is a little too light to get airplay on most cases. Cue a second edit of “Cups”, a new version which essentially sounds like it took a backing track by Mumford & Sons and slapped it onto the original edit. It doesn’t sound too strange, to be honest, but a song from a movie only has so much shelf life before it gets old, especially one that’s so short. (It’s extended in its second version.) However, given the picture’s growing audience, maybe it can continue to build throughout spring and lead Kendrick to a more consistent singing career. If Jennifer Love-Hewitt, Hilary Duff and Lindsay Lohan could all make the transition from acting to singing and score multiple top-40 hits, why can’t she? So far, the only station to pick it up is on satellite radio, but look for more adds to come closer to its add date.

If that’s not enough, here’s one more achievement for you. Should the song make the top 40 on CHR radio, Kendrick would be only the fourth act to hit the chart that was born in the state of Maine, following Rick Pinette and Oak (“King Of The Hill”, 1980), Howie Day (“Collide” and “She Says”, 2004-5), and Spose (“I’m Awesome”, 2010). Given that list, it would also make her the first solo female to pull off the trick. How about that? Kendrick’s a great vocalist, so I have no doubt that she’ll be given some sort of bigger recording contract after all is said and done, especially if the single does indeed become huge. Popular radio’s been taking some real chances lately. You may just be missing it when it’s gone.

Buy the original version of “Cups” on iTunes. Buy the new radio version of “Cups” on iTunes. Let me know what you think about this surprising news in the comments or on Twitter: @AdamFSoybel.

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Cruises and Caskets: Is Mainstream Radio Due For A Twangover?

On the heels of a topic I just posted about the relevance of folk music on mainstream radio comes an interesting an occurrence on Country radio. Both “Ho Hey” by The Lumineers and “I Will Wait” by Mumford & Sons currently rank in the top 60 according to Billboard. It’s hard enough to break a new Country act on the survey, so I’m sure a few people are at least a little annoyed that they’re taking up space. This, however, brings up the idea of country acts crossing over to the pop survey. Hunter Hayes has managed a decent-sized hit with “Wanted” off of his recent GRAMMY buzz. Could other acts follow? Here are two recent #1 songs on the Country chart that I think could make successful leaps.

Hold the Line. (Crossovers aren't always on time.)

Hold the Line. (Crossovers aren’t always on time.)

FLORIDA GEORGIA LINE featuring NELLY – “Cruise”
Billboard Country Airplay #1: December 15-29 (three weeks)

The duo of Brian Kelley (from Florida, at right) and Tyler Hubbard (from Georgia, at left) got together back in 2010, recording some independent EPs. Last year, they signed to Republic Nashville Records, and their partnership has struck all the right notes. They recently took this song to the top of the Country chart in Decemb er. It’s sold north of 2 million copies in download sales from just that push. Republic Records and their Nashville department handled the Country promotion of the record; their main division is taking on the CHR side of this. The summer-sounding song is your typical back road banjo bash, filled with incorrect grammar (“Baby, you a song”; I’m in a English major, deal with it) and musical references that will have your 14-year-old daughter wondering if the Marshall Tucker Band sounds anything like One Direction. (Spoiler alert: They don’t.) Most of all, it’s been remixed with St. Louis rapper Nelly. Surprisingly enough, it’s not all that bad. In fact, I think I prefer it to the original. There’s an added line of hand clips in the arrangement, while the guitars are brought down, the twangy ones significantly. The rapper’s section is harmless too. Coming off of “Hey Porsche”, I think this is more refreshing. However, the song’s going to run into some problems down the road. There’s also a question of whether the Southern localization of the lyrics (“every little farm town” and “south Georgia water”, for example) would turn mainstream listeners off up north or out west. It’s a pretty polarizing record depending on who you talk to, but once those young girls see our fellows at the gas station, they’ll likely be fueling up for more. Follow-up single “Get Your Shine On” is already top 15 on Billboard’s Country Airplay survey, no surprise there, and parent album Here’s To The Good Times is in stores now.

Can you "Dig" it?

Can you “Dig” it?

THE BAND PERRY – “Better Dig Two”
Billboard Country Airplay #1: February 23 – March 2 (two weeks)

Yeehaw! Our favorite trio of siblings Kimberly, Neil and Reid are back with the current #1 song on Country radio that is also top 40 on iTunes. It was quickly certified Gold within two months of releases and Platinum status isn’t far behind given the continued popularity of it. Big Machine has done a great job of promoting their releases, including this one which stands at the top for a second week. If you strictly know them from hearing “If I Die Young” on your local adult contemporary or pop station a few years ago, then you have a right to be concerned about a potential crossover from it. Two songs in a row about death from them, and it’s two people this time? I would certainly be worried too. Alas, they do have other songs in their catalogue. In fact, they’ve had six top-40 singles on Country radio, the last five (including “Dig”) which have gone top ten. The arrangement would probably need to bare a slight change if the label’s looking for a decent amount of airplay. The crossover mix of “Young” went heavy on the guitar and drum to mask a lot of the strings on the album version. However, the twangy sounding guitars shouldn’t be a huge problem for most program directors as they fit in with the current sound. The group’s second album, Pioneer, is due on April 2. A second single at Country radio, “Done.”, is currently gracing the top 40 on Billboard’s most recent update. That one could do even better than “Dig”, but hey, one song at a time. Perhaps it will see its time in the crossover spotlight later this year.

Who could be next to see the crossover treatment? I would venture to guess that Carrie Underwood‘s “Two Black Cadillacs” or Hunter Hayes‘s “Somebody’s Heartbreak” could make decent chartings at adult contemporary radio, maybe even Lady Antebellum’s “Downtown”. How about you? Do you want to hear these Country hits in-between your favorite dance and pop songs? Let me know in the comments or on Twitter: @AdamFSoybel.

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TURN IT UP TUESDAY: What’s New In Stores This Week (Feb. 19)

Genius Of Love.

Genius Of Love.

If things are looking really barren this week… well, you’re right. Not a lot of big names again in the album department, but there are a few singles of note that are available for purchase. Here’s your new release roundup for February 19:

  • Indie rockers Atlas Genius, a quartet out of Australia, release their debut album this week, When It Was Now. It will likely be the top debut on next week’s album chart unless there’s a digital-0nly EP that I’m missing. First single “Trojans” hit the top five on Alternative radio and followup “If So” goes for adds soon. (iTunes)
  • Another band out of the land down under also puts out their first album in five years today. Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds put out Push The Sky Away. (iTunes)
  • Hard rockers Buckcherry are also out with Confessions. Their last two studio albums went top ten on the Billboard 200 album chart. (iTunes)
  • Ever wanted to hear your favorite pop and rock stars singing the tales of the sea? Nope, I didn’t either, but a compilation entitled Son Of Rogues Gallery: Pirate Ballads, Sea Songs & Chanteys is released today, so get it before you and it walk the plank. (iTunes)

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

  • “Almost Home”, a more pop-oriented number from American Idol judge and diva Mariah Carey. It’s featured on the soundtrack to the upcoming movie Oz The Great And Powerful. (iTunes)
  • “Entertainment”, the latest from French band Phoenix. It should be a big hit on the Alternative chart. (AmazonMP3)
  • “Hey Porsche”, already top 40 at CHR radio for rapper Nelly. (iTunes)
  • “One Way Or Another (Teenage Kicks)”, a charity single for Comic Relief in the United Kingdom as performed by One Direction. As expected, it’s getting a worldwide release, becoming the first Comic Relief single to do so. (iTunes)
  • “Rebel Beat”, the first single from the latest album by the Goo Goo Dolls, Magnetic. (iTunes)
  • “We Own Tonight”, a new track from the forthcoming New Kids On The Block album, 10. (iTunes)

We’ll be back next week with new albums by Thom Yorke side project Atoms For Peace and a rerelease from Christian singer Britt Nicole. See you in seven!

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