Monthly Archives: February 2013

More Than Words: Song Titles That Stretch (Longer And Longer)

Boy, is that long.

Boy, is that long.

The comeback of indie rockers Fall Out Boy has also issued in a return of those long song titles with the unnecessary subtitles that were popular about five or so years ago. “My Songs Know What You Did In The Dark (Light Em Up)”, their newest single, has nine words in its main title along with a three word subtitle, totaling 12 words. However, it’s not the longest top-40 song title of all-time. In fact, two other songs by the band are on this list, which just shows how much they like the idea. Here’s a look at some of the rest of those pop hits that pack on the wordage: nine or more in the main title or twelve or more total.

(Information is provided by the Billboard Hot 100 prior to the fall of 1973 and Radio & Records/Mediabase through 2013. The list is composed of individual song titles, so double a-sided releases with two separate songs credited as opposed to a medley of them are not counted.)

There’s at least a dozen examples of top-40 singles with nine words in their main title. They range from 1965’s “May The Bird Of Paradise Fly Up Your Nose” by Little Jimmy Dickens (#15) to 1988’s “I Don’t Wanna Go On With You Like That” by Elton John (#2) to 2001’s “Stuck In A Moment You Can’t Get Out Of” by U2 (#30). Two such singles went to #1: “Tie A Yellow Ribbon ‘Round The Ole Oak Tree” by Tony Orlando and Dawn from 1973 and “When The Going Get Tough, The Tough Get Going” by Billy Ocean from 1986.

Here’s where the numbers start shrinking. Only four songs have gone top-40 with ten words in their main title. In 1976, ABBA went to #17 with “I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do”. Twenty years later, Bryan Adams rose to #20 with “The Only Thing That Looks Good On Me Is You”. The last two examples charted within less than six months of each other. From 2006, Fall Out Boy hit with “A Little Less Sixteen Candles, A Little More “Touch Me”” (#32) and then Panic! At The Disco got to #35 with “The Only Difference Between Martyrdom And Suicide Is Press Coverage”. I bet you thought that was a mouthful.

Going up to eleven words, we have two titles. The first, in 1968, was the last top ten hit for vocal group The Lettermen: the medley of “Goin’ Out Of My Head/Can’t Take My Eyes Off You”, originally by Little Anthony & the Imperials and Frankie Valli, respectively. It rose to #7, tying for their best peak position of all-time. In the summer of 1996, the only big song for the Primitive Radio Gods found itself at that same peak. It was called “Standing Outside A Broken Phone Booth With Money In My Hand”.

After Meat Loaf‘s grand comeback in 1993 with “I’d Do Anything For Love (But I Won’t Do That)”, the singer went to #20 the next year with an emotional song, “Objects In The Rear View Mirror May Appear Closer Than They Are”, which stands at 12 words total. Only one other top-40 hit made it there, but with the help of a subtitle like Fall Out Boy‘s newest release. That was “Son Of A Gun (I Betcha Think This Song Is About You)” by Janet Jackson in collaboration with Missy Elliott, Carly Simon, and P. Diddy on some remixed versions. It stalled out at #22 towards the end of 2001.

Ray Stevens is best known for big #1 hits like comedy record “The Streak” (1974) and the more Country-tinged “Everything Is Beautiful” (1970), but back in 1961, he garnered his very first hit with novelty single “Jeremiah Peabody’s Polyunsaturated Quick Dissolving Fast Acting Pleasant Tasting Green and Purple Pills”, at 13 words in length. It peaked at #35.

The Bellamy Brothers had a #1 smash on the pop survey in 1976 with “Let Your Love Flow”. Their second and last top-40 crossover single was 1979’s “If I Said You Had A Beautiful Body, Would You Hold It Against Me”, which clocks in at 14 words. It spent two weeks at #39 on the Hot 100 (Radio & Records only published a top 30 at that point) and also went to #1 on the Country chart.

In 1985, the duo of Daryl Hall and John Oates were coming off another big era in Big Bam Boom, which landed them a one-off concert at the Apollo Theater in New York City. It was recorded into a full-length live album, and one-half of their opening medley was edited into a single that climbed to #24. The full title? “A Night at the Apollo Live! The Way You Do The Things You Do/My Girl”, sixteen words in length. After that, the terrific twosome never released a single more than five words long.

Beating them by one word is the last spot on this list by Fall Out Boy with a song they released in 2007, again, extended by an itsy bitsy subtitle. “I’m Like A Lawyer With The Way I’m Always Trying To Get You Off (Me & You)” peaked at #25, and could’ve been at the top of this list, peaking at 17 words, 14 in the main title. Alas, it only comes in second.

If you remember the charts in the early 1980’s, then you’ll probably know this song, or at least the components of it. Sometimes it was just referred to as “Medley” or “Beatles Medley” for the sake of convenience, but on the record itself and on the charts, every single song included was listed out in full. So, the longest title in terms of words to make the top 40 is (deep breath in) “Medley: Intro Venus/Sugar Sugar/No Reply/I’ll Be Back/Drive My Car/Do You Want To Know A Secret?/We Can Work It Out/I Should Have Known Better/Nowhere Man/You’re Going To Lose That Girl /Stars On 45”, a whopping forty-one words for the Dutch studio group Stars On 45. It went to #3 in airplay and #1 on the Hot 100 for a week. They charted a handful of times with other medleys on Billboard after that colossal single, but all of them had reduced titles like “More Stars” or “Stars on 45 III: In Tribute To Stevie Wonder”.

Well, that was a whole lot of words, but something tells me I’ve forgotten one or two, so I need you help. Can you think of any other hit singles that managed a length of at least nine words? Let me know in the comments or find me on Twitter at @AdamFSoybel.

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Highlights from Adam’s Top 40: February 17, 2013

Fifty shades of "Way".

This Train’s not in vain.

DEBUTS
39. Matt Hires – Restless Heart
38. fun. – Why Am I The One?
35. Fitz & The Tantrums – Out Of My League | HIGHEST DEBUT

TOP GAINERS
32. Little Mix – Wings (37)
26. Goo Goo Dolls – Rebel Beat (31)
22. Olly Murs – Army Of Two (27)
17. One Direction – Kiss You (24) | BIGGEST MOVER

THIS WEEK’S TOP TEN
10. Britt Nicole – Gold (10) | PEAK: #10
09. Pink – Try (08) | PEAK: #02
08. Ed Sheeran – Lego House (07) | PEAK: #07
07. Hunter Hayes – Wanted (05) | PEAK: #05
06. OneRepublic – If I Lose Myself (09) | PEAK: #06
05. Maroon 5 – Daylight (06) | PEAK: #05
04. Taylor Swift – I Knew You Were Trouble (03) | PEAK: #03
03. Olly Murs – Troublemaker (01) | PEAK: #01 for three weeks
02. fun. – Carry On (04) | PEAK: #01 for eight weeks
01. Train – Mermaid (02) | PEAK: #01 for one week

Top 10 Next In Line:
1. Robbie Williams – Be A Boy (2)
2. Jewel – Two Hearts Breaking (3)
3. The Saturdays – What About Us (1)
4. Benny Benassi featuring Gary Go – Cinema (-)
5. The Script – If You Could See Me Now (-)
6. A Great Big World – This Is The New Year (10)
7. Carly Rae Jepsen – Tonight I’m Getting Over You (9)
8. Serena Ryder – Stompa (-)
9. Tristan Prettyman – The Rebound (-)
10. Fall Out Boy – My Songs Know What You Did In The Dark (Light Em Up) (-)

In The Mix:
Bridgit Mendler – Hurricane
Cher Lloyd – With Ur Love
Depeche Mode – Heaven
Dido – No Freedom
Hot Chelle Rae – Hung Up
Icona Pop featuring Charli XCX – I Love It
Imagine Dragons – Demons
Kelly Clarkson – People Like Us
Maroon 5 – Love Somebody
Sheryl Crow – Easy (new)
Snow Patrol – The Lightning Strike (What If This Storm Ends) (new)
Stefano – Yes To Love
The Wanted – All Time Low
Walk Off The Earth – Red Hands (new)
Zedd featuring Foxes – Clarity

See my full chart on the M4BCC message board.

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“Shake” It Up: Will Baauer Bounce At Radio?

Eh, close enough, but not quite.

Eh, close enough, but not quite.

It’s exploded all over the Internet; in fact, your office may be next to upload a version on YouTube. One person is casually grooving to a funky-sounding song, and fifteen seconds in, a whole group of people are swaying to the beat in crazy costumes. In just thirty seconds, a viral sensation was born. Jimmy Fallon’s crew did it; so did Ryan Seacrest’s morning show. In fact, various versions have been popping up over the last two weeks, but it’s turned into a phenomenon over the last four or five days, totaling thousands of separate videos. It’s based off of the song “Harlem Shake”, credited to a 23-year-old producer from New York whose real name is Harry Rodrigues, but who goes by the stage name Baauer. It originally was released last spring but went largely unnoticed outside of a few compilation albums featuring mainly underground material. Now, it’s suddenly been rediscovered by millions of people watching all over the world, ready to boogie down to the infectious beat of the song and laugh a little bit at people’s creativity when it comes to making an Internet video.

In the States, Baauer is on Mad Decent Records, a company started by the producer Diplo, and its sub-label Jeffrees. He’s also signed to LuckyMe Records, a small company based out of the United Kingdom, where an EP of his is in production and will be out later this year. The song isn’t his first official release (a song called “Dum Dum” was issued last year) but it is the rising star’s first song to get some attention and in a big way. The song is obviously a hit at retail. “Harlem Shake” is now #3 on iTunes in the United States, as well as in the United Kingdom. (Look for a top 5 placing on the U.K. Singles Chart this weekend, which is purely sales-based.) It’s also #2 in Canada and #1 in Australia. Yet, with every huge song to come off of YouTube, there also a few problems associated with it.

First of all, it’s a viral hit and a novelty song all rolled into one. I mean, we just got over PSY‘s “Gangnam Style” recently, do we really need another one of these singles to blow up? It’s certainly not going to be easy following a music video that has over 1.3 billion hits on the web. Yet, they are two different songs incorporating two different styles of music. I guess we have no choice. The song’s already doomed to have a short shelf life, so we may as well enjoy it while it lasts and of course, prepare a spot for “Harlem” and Baauer on the list of the biggest one-hit wonders of all-time.

Then, there’s the composition itself. It’s a grimey-sounding record that’s largely instrumental in nature despite the “do the harlem shake” line and a few sound effects. Plus, people generally only know it from the first thirty seconds of the song; why would they be inclined to listen to the whole thing? That’s going to really hurt it, especially in leading into my last point. The last fully instrumental single to make the top 40 at CHR was “Sandstorm” by Darude in 2001. We’ve also had singles crossover from Europe to the States that are largely instrumental, but have a limited vocal in either a foreign or nonsensical language, like 2005’s “Axel F” by Crazy Frog and 2011’s “We No Speak Americano” by Yolanda Be Cool & DCUP. The thing is, neither of those three songs have made it out of the 30’s at this specific format despite a decent pace at retail. “Harlem Shake”, which is far bigger sales hit than any of these were, could likely do the same if the trend dies down faster than we think.

Lastly, as I began to explain, there’s the issue of radio. It’s not accumulating airplay very quickly here in the States, possibly because it hasn’t officially been serviced yet. It’s also on a really small label, so it would need to be picked up by a major one in order to get the proper promotion. The leader thus far at top-40 radio is WNOW-FM in New York City, with nine detections recorded in the past few days, followed by KHTT-FM/Tulsa and KSXY/Santa Rosa, CA with six, with additional small airplay in cities like Los Angeles, Miami, Nashville, Philadelphia, San Diego and Washington, DC. With all the electronic dance music on playlists at the format, it probably won’t struggle to fit in on the airwaves, but a #56 placing on the Hot 100 isn’t going to cut it when “Gangnam” just went to #2 for a month and a half on the Hot 100.

Whatever you may think of the song, it’s going to be around for a while and pushed to the point where you can’t stand it any longer. Hey, we could always have a rerelease of the “Harlem Shuffle” to counter it, couldn’t we?

Let me know what you think of the song and the trend based off of it in the comments or on Twitter: @AdamFSoybel.

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Let’s Dance: Producers Taking Over The Pop Scene

Tired of hearing the same old Calvin Harris and David Guetta-produced songs on the radio day after day? After a while, they all seem to sound the same. Well, here are four producers who haven’t seen a lot of chart success to date in the U.S., but watch out! They’re climbing towards the top of the turntables (and station playlists) with their new releases to the CHR format. Check them out and don’t be afraid to shake a little something once you pump up the volume.

You've got a "Friend".

You’ve got a “Friend”.

AFROJACK & CHRIS BROWN – “As Your Friend”
Current Position: #36

25-year-old Nick Van de Wall has been on the charts in his native Netherlands since 2006, but is slowly finding a following in the United States. You probably best know Afrojack from his 2011 single, “Take Over Control”, featuring vocalist Eva Simons, though he also had a featured credit on Pitbull‘s big smash “Give Me Everything”, which went to #1. His latest single is another big anthem featuring Chris Brown, which will likely discourage some listeners from pressing play. However, the guy’s a decent singer and I’m trying to separate the personality from the musician. (I obviously don’t condone what he’s done in his personal life in the last few years.) I’ve listened to his dance-leaning singles quite a bit like “Turn Up The Music” and “Yeah 3X”, and this one is no exception. It’s big and in-your-face, maybe a tad too harsh-sounding for mainstream radio, but it gets the job done. Brown hasn’t made the top ten on the format since 2011. Let’s see if this one gets the job done. It’s already entered the top 40 despite some fierce competition.

Boys on film.

Boys on film.

BENNY BENASSI featuring GARY GO – “Cinema”
Current Position: #50

Sometimes it takes mere weeks to have hit, sometimes it takes years. The latter statement neatly fits in with this song from Italian DJ Benny Benassi and English singer Gary Go that was originally released in Europe two years ago, yet is just now becoming a hit record at mainstream radio. The highest position it achieved in its initial release was #20 in the United Kingdom, though it made the top 40 in a few other European countries. The song’s sold north of one million copies in the United States as well, but has never made the Hot 100 or the Dance/Club Play Chart. How come? Lackluster radio support, especially at top-40 radio, though it finally seems to be picking up now. By the way, Gary Go‘s 2009 single, “Wonderful”, was a #1 hit on my personal chart. Great tune. The song’s been issued to radio in two forms: the original mix, and a remix done by Skrillex. It’s already built up a good-sized audience given its positioning on the chart, so, don’t be surprised if this one finally becomes the hit it was determined to be for the last twenty-odd months.

"One" more try at Pop success.

“One” more try at Pop success.

AVICII vs. NICKY ROMERO – “I Could Be The One”
Current Position: not listed; just released

Two producers, one track, and neither of them sing on it. Sweden’s Avicii meets Nicky Romero from the Netherlands on this single, which features a Swedish studio singer named Noonie Bao on it. Bao’s been credited as the main vocals on other album by Swedish acts in the past few years, though none of them have hit Stateside. Romero’s never released here either, and Avicii made a minor hit in the States out of “Levels”, the original composition that sampled Etta James‘s “Something’s Got A Hold Of Me” before Flo Rida started rapping all over it in “Good Feeling”. Of course, with that kind of feeling, it went to the top. “One” has already been a top five hit in Finland, Ireland and Sweden and is likely to be the new #1 single in the United Kingdom on this weekend’s chart reveal. Whether that will translate into perhaps a late spring or early summer hit in the U.S. has yet to be seen, but it’s already zipping up the Dance/Club Play survey with an impressive 44-22 leap on the February 16 edition. As the title suggests, it could be the one to break them all here.

Not a hot John Mayer remake.

Not a hot John Mayer remake.

ZEDD featuring FOXES – “Clarity”
Current Position: not listed; below the top 50

Anton Zaslavski is only 23-years-old, but he’s made a name for himself as Zedd, releasing singles for about three years now. He’s also the main producer behind Lady Gaga‘s forthcoming ARTPOP album, due later this year. The Russian-born producer made a minor splash on the mainstream scene last year with “Spectrum”, which featuring a vocal from Matthew Koma, but it quickly faded away despite a #1 placing on the Dance/Club Play chart. (Koma is best known as the boyfriend of pop singer Carly Rae Jepsen.) This new release topped the same chart, but this time, it’s Foxes singing the song, an English dance artist who hasn’t seen any exposure here before. His star is definitely climbing fast; in fact, he co-produced the recent Justin Bieber/Nicki Minaj top ten entry, “Beauty And A Beat”. The song goes for adds on March 5, but is already starting to rise on iTunes and get a little bit of pre-impact play. Look for this one to do the damage that “Spectrum” couldn’t last year.

Are there any other EDM favorites you could see doing well on popular radio and the Billboard Hot 100? Let me know in the comments or on Twitter: @AdamFSoybel.

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Draw Back Your Bow: Cupid Finds Love On The Charts

Top of the Class.

A very Classy Valentine’s Day.

Happy Valentine’s Day! Time to break out the candy and the flowers. Of course, one of the significant figures of Valentine’s Day is Cupid, the Greek god of affection and desire. With his bow and arrow in hand, he’s ready to strike both lovers in love and lovers of music. You see, the guy hasn’t done half-bad for himself being immortalized in a handful of hit singles. Time to spread out your wings as we take a look at a box full of sweet singles spread out over the decades.

“CUPID”
Three separate songs entitled “Cupid” have entered onto various Billboard lists. Arguably the most famous of the “Cupid” songs appeared on the charts for the first time in 1961, when a then 30-year-old Sam Cooke took it to #17, which seems rather low given the song’s legacy. Alas, it happened many times back in the day. A discofied remake by Tony Orlando & Dawn became the group’s last top-40 hit on the Hot 100, spending two weeks at #22 in March 1976. (They continued to hit the adult contemporary chart through the next year before breaking up.) The highest-ranking version of the song came in 1980, when R&B group The Spinners took it to #4 in 1980 in a medley with an original tune, “I’ve Loved You For A Long Time”. The latter part was written by composer and producer Michael Zager, best known for his minor 1978 hit “Let’s All Chant” with his band. It was also the group’s last top-40 hit, though they had some minor success on the R&B chart for several years afterwards.

In 1997, male R&B quartet 112 became a big act on Urban radio, thanks in part to their third single, a totally different “Cupid”, which went to #13 on the Hot 100. They released several albums from the late 90’s through the mid 00’s. Finally, just last year, a third song called “Cupid” made the Billboard charts, the genre-specific Adult Pop Songs survey. This song, done by Canadian singer Daniel Powter, went to #36 over the summer. It missed the Hot 100. Of course, you know him from his #1 hit, 2006’s “Bad Day”. A Christmas remix of “Cupid” did basically nothing for the song and he hasn’t released anything new since.

“CUPID’S CHOKEHOLD”
After a failed single in the fall of 2006, the band struck gold with a rerecorded version of this song, which became a hit in 2007. It was originally recorded two years prior. It featured Patrick Stump of Fall Out Boy singing the chorus and sampled Supertramp‘s “Breakfast In America”, released a single to minor success in 1979. With strong sales and big radio play, it went to #4 on the Hot 100 in April and also spent five weeks at #1 on the CHR airplay chart. They pulled off the same track (#4 Hot 100/#1 CHR) with their 2011 single, “Stereo Hearts”, featuring Adam Levine of Maroon 5.

“STUPID CUPID”
The very first of the “Cupid” title to make the Hot 100 was this Connie Francis tune from 1959. It went to #14 in August of that year. The song was co-written by Neil Sedaka, who released his own version the same year (though it didn’t hit the U.S.) and has been recorded several other times since then. Francis had several top ten hits after this single, including the #1 “My Heart Has A Mind Of Its Own” in 1960, before last making the top 40 in 1964.

“THE CUPID SHUFFLE”
Chances are that you’ve done the dance at some point or at least heard the song. Originally a regional hit in the South, it spread nationwide, and by August 2007, the only charting single for Cupid (born Bryson Bernard) made it to #66 on the Hot 100 and just missed the top 20 on the R&B chart. You may remember that he tried out for The Voice last season singing none other than his only hit. He paid the price for it; none of the judges selected him and he doesn’t anything significant since the appearance.

Here’s wishing you a Happy Valentine’s Day! Do you have any favorite songs to celebrate the occasion? Let me know in the comments or on Twitter: @AdamFSoybel.

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What The Pluck? The Rise (and Inevitable Fall) of Folk Music on Mainstream Radio

They've made this place their "Home".

They’ve made this place their “Home”.

From mandolins to violins, there’s no denying that folk is the hot genre now both at radio and at retail. Once a music style that could only make Alternative listeners happy, it’s now fully made its way into the mainstream through key records like “Ho Hey” by The Lumineers and “Home” by Phillip Phillips, which have both made the top ten. It’s refreshing to many listeners who are tired of hearing the same old dance and pop material on their regular station, who can now skip seamlessly from a booming beat to a banjo. I feel as though I’m in that category, to an extent. However, it’s also very polarizing at a format which typically caters to teens; it’s not as though Mumford & Sons have the boyish looks of One Direction or The Wanted. With lots of recent GRAMMY nominations (and a few wins by Mumford & Sons) as well as a continual push of other new folk-based acts to crossover, it seems that 2013 will be an even bigger year for the genre in terms of its wider success. Yet, it’s bound to fall at some point. How long will this folk explosion last? Here’s why I think a backlash is coming sooner than you think.

Folk’s transition into pop music is a complicated thing because it’s technically two trends coming together at once. One is the genre itself, which I’ve already talked about: more organic sounds, more attention to lyrics, minimalistic arrangements and final product, etc. It’s far different from your glossy 3 1/2 minute pop single by Rihanna or Taylor Swift. The second of the two is a more basic item found in the composition: the incorporation of one-syllable words used as a call-and-response measure. In the aforementioned “Ho Hey”, we hear the emphatic “HO!” followed by a “HEY!” and these are repeated for the duration of the single. In “Little Talks” by Of Monsters And Men, it’s reduced to just a “HEY!” which is heard several times in the post-chorus exclusively. It’s just like any other temporary fad as of recent; remember the saxophone solos in songs like Katy Perry‘s “Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.)” and the whistling in Foster The People‘s “Pumped Up Kicks”? Exactly like that. It makes the song catchier while bucking a popular trend that’s blown up at the time. However, unless someone new comes along that tries to recreate this concept in the same sort of pattern, this is where it ends. The followup to “Little Talks” is “Mountain Sound”, which uses claps, but it’s not as distinct as the shouts. “Stubborn Love”, however, does have a sort of call-and-response section, but it’s not nearly as catchy as the one in “Ho Hey”. At least “Keep your HEAD UP!” and “LOVE!” don’t strike me that way. I don’t think either one will do well at mainstream radio for that and a number of other reasons, but that’s just my opinion. Point is, once one domino falls, so does the other. If the sing-along songs go, folk will eventually retreat.

For those of you who believe that history repeats itself, the folk-based movement reminds me a lot of what happened twenty years ago at the CHR format. By the early 90’s, a lot of the hair bands like Mötley CrüePoison and Whitesnake were on their way out of the mainstream consciousness. Some, like Bon Jovi and Def Leppard, were able to adapt their sound by promoting softer sounding records, but for the majority of groups, 1991 and 1992 was basically their curtain call. At the same time, a sub-genre of rock out of the Pacific Northwest began gaining attention nationwide and in 1992, this resulted in a hit single that led a movement into the depths of grunge. You can probably guess that I’m referring to Nirvana‘s top ten hit, “Smells Like Teen Spirit”. Several months later, the Red Hot Chili Peppers made it to #1 on the format with “Under The Bridge”. While not a grunge band, the song set the mood for other slower tempo songs by bands like Pearl Jam, Radiohead and Stone Temple Pilots to hit the chart, which then led to even more obscure alternative bands making the top 40. I mean, remember when Letters To Cleo and Mazzy Star had top-40 hits? Punk bands also hit the survey: Green Day, The Offspring, etc. Alternative, grunge and punk took over the format, which only furthered CHR’s identity crisis, and led it to dismal ratings for several years. Even Z100 in New York City, the biggest pop station in the United States, had an Alternative lean in the mid-90’s. It was good for fans who wanted to rock, but stacked next to records by Ace Of Base, Elton John and Mariah Carey made it a mess overall. Ratings increased several years later when boy bands and teen female singers became popular and pushed a lot of Alternative crossovers into smaller rotation slots, eventually to Hot Adult Contemporary radio as the 2000’s began.

The same sort of thing is happening now. A lot of crossover rock bands that did particularly well on CHR in the early-to-mid 2000’s (3 Doors Down, Linkin Park, Nickelback, etc.) have seen their last significant success at the format and are now strictly being relegated to the Hot AC chart in addition to some limited Alternative or Active Rock play. This also includes acts like Lifehouse and Matchbox Twenty, and Train will be at this point (again) in another few years. None of these examples are hair bands, it’s true, but they’ve been shafted for our dear folk acts, who I’ve mentioned several times. It started last year with the slow rise of “Home”, the signature record this time around, and has blown up at this point. Pretty soon, new singles by Matt Hires and The Dunwells, twisted around in folky goodness, may be joining them. They’re already picking up station additions at the lighter formats. Yet, again, how do we transition from a Pitbull song to a Mumford & Sons song to a Britney Spears song at Top 40 radio? It sounds awkward as heck. Yes, it’s great that variety has once again shined through, but is too much of something a good thing? Oh, and don’t you try to tell me that every pop song sounds the same and every folk song doesn’t. Same twang. Same instruments. Same slight rasp in the vocals. It’s all there. Some stations are more committed to playing these songs; other radio companies hold off on these kind of singles until they make it up to a certain point in airplay for the sake of maintaining a Rhythm lean. Question is, what will be the shift that takes down folk if there is any? If there’s not, will we be looking at a massive free fall like we did two decades ago?

This post isn’t meant to bad mouth folk music. I think it’s awesome that programmers and fans alike can share in a good song or two and that a genre that’s been under-appreciated at this type of radio in the past can be rejoiced. My main concern is with the CHR format itself and how relevant it can be if it keeps going the way it’s going. While it could once regularly appeal to older listeners just as it is today, it’s not going to be sustained for years to come. There’s no doubt that, in the meantime, established artists will begin to play around with folk instruments in their new material in the same way that rock bands tried out disco-influenced singles in the late 1970’s. However, with the attention span of top-40 radio today, which is quick (albeit, not as quick as in the 70’s and 80’s), folk may be out of fashion tomorrow. Who knows? For the moment, it’s here to strum on, but don’t say I didn’t warn you when radio tells those folk folks to “pluck off”.

How do you feel about folk music’s sudden rise? Do you want it to stay around or go away? I’d love to hear your thoughts. 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. 12)

Straight from the "Heart".

Straight from the “Heart”.

It’s two days after the GRAMMY Awards… feeling the letdown yet? Well, there’s still new music out this week, though labels don’t traditionally pack the schedule with albums and singles this week. Nevertheless, here are your new releases for February 12:

  • Pick Of The Week for this week is the new EP by singer-songwriter Matt Hires, Forever. The four-song release is a nice mix of twangy tunes (First single “Restless Heart” and “The Sound Of Falling In Love” and more straight-forward pop/rock ditties (the title track and “Signal In The Sky”.) It’s a digital-only EP, but a full-length album will be following on May 6, The World Won’t Last Forever. “Heart” should be making my personal chart in next one or two weeks. (AmazonMP3)
  • Only a few million of you watched Smash‘s return to NBC last week, but the television show puts out Bombshell this week, a packed 22-song album from the fictional musical that the show is producing based on the life of Marilyn Monroe. (iTunes)
  • Brushfire Records artist Matt Costa returns with a self-titled effort, which features first single “Good Times”, currently impacting AAA radio. (iTunes)
  • Gabrielle Aplin, who had a big hit on the U.K. charts last year with her cover of Frankie Goes To Hollywood‘s “The Power Of Love”, returns with “Please Don’t Say You Love Me”. It’s released as an EP here today. (AmazonMP3)
  • Rockers Bullet For My Valentine return with Temper Temper, their first release in three years and fourth studio album overall. (iTunes)
  • After releasing a Christmas album last September, Jeremy Camp puts out a regular studio album, Restless. (iTunes)

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

We’ll be back next week with new albums by rockers Atlas Genius and Buckcherry. See you in seven!

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