Monthly Archives: May 2013

REWIND: The Quintessential Summer Song Turns 50

The true Boys of Summer.

The true Boys of Summer.

When you think summer, especially the music of the summer, you might think of a reggae act, like Bob Marley. He transcends the generations with his classic songs like “Get Up, Stand Up” and “Three Little Birds”, which fill the senses with summer even in the coldest months. You may also think of a country act, like Jimmy Buffett. His catalogue of fun novelties like “Cheeseburger In Paradise” and “Margaritaville” could make anyone want to join the nation of Parrotheads in their eternal poolside party. However, at least for me, the act most synonymous with the summertime is The Beach Boys, those five guys from Hawthorne, California who crowded the radio and the beaches with their hot mix of surf pop and psychedelic sounds beginning in the 1960’s. Today, we reach a milestone for one of their first big hits, a rocking and rolling boogie on a boogie board down the coast of the Golden State.

On this date back in 1963, “Surfin’ U.S.A.” reached its highest peak on the Hot 100, climbing a notch to #3, ultimately blocked out by Little Peggy March‘s “I Will Follow Him” (#2) and “If You Wanna Be Happy” by Jimmy Soul (#1). At the time, it was the group’s biggest single to date, having just hit the top 40 the previous year for the first time with “Surfin’ Safari” (#14). “Surfin’ U.S.A.” was the only song from the parent album of the same name to hit the Billboard charts, while the album itself did one spot better with a #2 peak on the Billboard 200.

If you’re a fan of music from the 50’s, you know that this classic is based around the melody of the Chuck Berry hit titled “Sweet Little Sixteen”. It went to #2 in 1958. The song was published under the same company that Berry used, Arc Music, except the only songwriter listed was member Brian Wilson. Wilson states, “I started humming the melody to ‘Sweet Little Sixteen’ and I got fascinated with the fact of doing it, and I thought to myself, ‘God! What about trying to put surf lyrics to ‘Sweet Little Sixteen’s melody? The concept was about, ‘They are doing this in this city, and they’re doing that in that city.'” Several years later, the song’s writing credits were updated to include Berry. Arc still holds the copyright to the song. (Berry also says that he likes it.)

So, why is it the quintessential summer song? Look at any list of the definitive songs of the season and you’ll find this tune on it. It’s the energetic guitar line. It’s Mike Love’s vocal. It’s the “inside, outside, U.S.A.” chants by the other members on background. It’s all those hip hangouts they namecheck. It’s the high harmonies at the end of the chorus. It’s Carl Wilson’s guitar solo. It’s the kind of song that will leave you “pickin’ out a route” to feel the warmth of the sun and all of summer’s positivity. Even if you didn’t grow up in California or didn’t know how to surf, the song made you want to. If you were a young boy back in those days, you know you wanted to impress the girl you had a crush on by hanging on the most waves. Admit it. Yes, there were other popular songs about surfing: “Surf City” by Jan & Dean (co-written by Brian Wilson), “Surfin’ Bird” by The Trashmen, etc., but “Surfin’ U.S.A.” was the one that popularized the genre and led to all the other hit songs ranking highly on the charts during that year. In fact, in 1963 alone, ten titles to the Hot 100 contained the word “surf” or a variant, up from three the year before. It was a phenomenon and a youth anthem all in one.

Even though it achieved its greatest fame in 1963, “Surfin’ U.S.A.” charted several other times, including cover versions. The song was re-released in the summer of 1974 to promote the compilation Endless Summer, a twenty-song effort of the group’s biggest hits and then some. It included a new b-side. The album was #1 for a week on the album chart while the single itself managed a #36 peak in its second go-around. A cover by then-teen singer Leif Garrett became his first top 40 hit in 1977, rising as high as #20. It’s been covered a number of times since then and on most of The Beach Boys tours ever since the song came out. I mean, it’s hard to overlook a song that started a top ten streak for them and remains popular fifty years after the song peaked out.

It may have missed the #1 spot by a few positions, but you know you wanna wax down your board and run to the crystal blue water when you hear it. Happy 50th anniversary, “Surfin’ U.S.A.”, and keep serving up those tasty waves on the airwaves.

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PROFILE: John Newman Looks For “Love” In The U.K. And Beyond

He's not giving in.

He’s not giving in.

He became one of last year’s breakout stars on the scene in the United Kingdom with one of the top 20 selling singles of 2012: quite the introduction to the industry from someone who was planning on being a mechanic after his schooling. Meet 23-year-old John Newman, a singer I hope is going to make 2013 shake, rattle and soul with his first release as a solo artist. It’s only a matter of time before he makes the United States fall in “love” with him.

Newman was born in the small town of Settle in the country of North Yorkshire in England and was largely into house music through his early teens, though he soon developed an affection for his mother’s record collection full of R&B music of the 70’s and 80’s. He also found a liking for singer-songwriters like Ben Harper and Damien Rice, so, he learned the guitar and built a small studio in his home in 2005. He went to the College Of Music in Leeds, then moved to London where he played live and was eventually signed by Island Records last year. It was also in 2012 that he got his big break singing on a number-one record.

Newman was approached by the British electronic quartet Rudimental to appear on two of their songs from their album released a few weeks ago, Home. They both became singles from the effort. The first, “Feel The Love”, a dubstep number with a jazzy twist, easily claimed the #1 spot on the Singles Chart in the United Kingdom for a week in May of last year. It also did well in Australia, Belgium and Netherlands. It was never released in the United States. This also occurred with the followup single, “Not Giving In”, which also featured a vocal from Alex Clare. That only rose to #14, but it did feature similar jazz and dubstep elements. Newman could’ve chosen to gone that route with his new solo deal, but he’s decided to go in a more traditional direction, and it serves him well.

With a full-length album in the pipeline and a couple of dates scheduled in July for performances in the United Kingdom, Island Records is releasing the first single from the effort, a song called “Love Me Again”. It gets a U.K. release on July 1. “Love” is one of the songs that represents a huge musical melting pot that doesn’t particularly represent one particular era or style. His voice has the grit and soul of the south in the 60’s, like James Brown or Alex Chilton of The Box Tops. The strings that come in at the end of the chorus are easily late 70’s disco, very much reminiscent of the 1979 hit for Gloria Gaynor, the classic “I Will Survive”. The keys give off an early 90’s house vibe, similar to “How To Dance” by the Bingoboys and Princessa (1991) or “What Is Love?” by Haddaway (1993). Then, there’s the drum, which I attribute to a more modern approach; listen to the 2011 single by Olly Murs and Rizzle Kicks, “Heart Skips A Beat” and you’ll recognize the percussion line.

Now, while this setup is perfect for the United Kingdom and will likely propel his single to the top of the charts, it’s more of a puzzle for our fragmented format system here in the United States. It could be serviced to the AAA format, but it might be seen as too commercial-sounding, especially with the really polished strings part. It could go to the Hot AC format, but again, it might be seen as too edgy because of the much-layered sound of it. Then, there’s the CHR format, who would probably pass on it for sounding too dated. There in lies the problem. I may not be picky when it comes to these kinds of songs, but certainly, a lot of people would skip right over it. However, it’s his most accessible single to date when it comes to worldwide potential. I loved it from the first listen. We’ll see if a U.S. release actually comes to fruition, because we’re definitely missing out on a good thing.

He has the style in his button down and jacket and he has the sound with his seamless ability to roll through the decades without missing a beat. With a video approaching 500,000 hits on YouTube and 125,000 streams on his SoundCloud account, Newman didn’t have to wait too long for the public to love him again. It’s all right there in front of him.

Watch the video for Newman’s debut solo single, “Love Me Again”. / Pre-order “Love Me Again” on iTunes (U.K. only.)

Are you already fan of Newman’s collaborations with Rudimental and looking forward to his solo material? Are you just discovering him for the first time? Let me know! Comment below or find me on Twitter: @AdamFSoybel.

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“Eyes” On The Prize: Pop Goes To The Pupils

To see or not to see… that’s not really a question, but it is the subject of today’s post. Two songs are taking the field with “eyes” in their song titles: two very different artists from two very different countries going to two very different formats. Whether you’re swaying to the summer breeze of a pop melody or swaying to the dreamy flavor of a romantic rendezvous, we’ve got all sorts of mood music packed up for the beach and the boats. So, take a swim into this look at two new singles and put your goggles on. Your eyes are going to need them. Let’s go on then.

"Pretty" serious stuff.

“Pretty” serious stuff.

CODY SIMPSON – “Pretty Brown Eyes”
Release Date: at radio now

16-year-old Cody Simpson has been recording for three years now, releasing his first single in Australia back in 2010, “iYiYi”, featuring Flo Rida. He’s gained a pretty large fanbase, and since 2011, has been managed by Scooter Braun, who also manages teen singer Justin Bieber. After a few EPs and one studio album last year called Paradise, Simpson is back with a second full-length release in stores on July 16, titled Surfer’s Paradise. I guess he really likes the idea of chilling in a pleasurable place. This is the first single from it, which is not a hot Mint Condition cover (for those of you 90’s fans out there), and was issued to mainstream radio during this past week. In a world of Justin Bieber, Austin Mahone and Conor Maynard, among other young male singers, Simpson has struggled just as the latter two have to break the American scene, especially when it comes to radio. Two of his prior singles have been serviced here, one in the summer of 2011 (“On My Mind”) and one late last year (“Wish U Were Here” featuring Becky G) that have struggled to pick up airplay and never really go anywhere with limited larger market support. A video for the song premiered late last month and has amassed three million views on YouTube thus far. It’s your typical summer video with Simpson shirtless at the pool, trying to impress a few ladies that just happen to be there. We’ll see if the results for this single are “pretty” for Mr. Simpson and crew.

No way to "Close" the era.

No way to “Close” the era.

MICHAEL BUBLÉ – “Close Your Eyes”
Release Date: June 24 (U.K.)

It’s been several months since singer Michael Bublé began on a peppy note with the lead single from To Be Loved: the international hit, “It’s A Beautiful Day”. It’s still going strong here in the U.S. at several music formats. Now comes word via a weekly release schedule that Bublé is moving onto a second single overseas. “Close Your Eyes” is a change of pace from that first release, a full-fledged ballad that’s based around a piano and string accompaniment before gradually adding guitar and drum. The song was co-written by our favorite Canadian crooner, long-time collaborator Alan Chang (who has been behind all of his original song releases) and, in a bit of a surprise, Jann Arden. She’s another Canadian singer, far more successful in her native country, but best known in the States for her 1996 hit in which she looks for some advice to give on how to be “Insensitive”. It went to #12 on the Hot 100. (Sadly, Bublé has never been that high, only going to #24 with his biggest single to date, “Haven’t Met You Yet”.) This choice should come as no surprise to his diehard fans; it’s a favorite among them, with a tender lyrics about a woman who is “one of a kind… an angel dressed an armor/You’re my life and my safe harbor.” Though “Close Your Eyes” only has a release date in Europe at this point, it will likely serve as the second single in the United States as well once 143 and Reprise stop pushing “Beautiful” at radio. His American tour begins in September.

What song will you be keeping your “eyes” on this summer? Don’t blink or you might miss them topping the charts. Comment below or find me on Twitter: @AdamFSoybel.

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BEHIND THE GROOVE: Better Off A Clone

That beat hits "Hard".

That beat hits “Hard”.

He may not create the most original production numbers, but somehow, he manages to keep cranking out the hits with no stop in sight. That would be the work of 45-year-old David Guetta, the DJ and producer originally from Paris, France. He’s collaborated with the top names in music, becoming one of the most recognizable names on the pop scene today. His latest single, “Play Hard”, features R&B singer Akon and Ne-Yo. It’s already charted internationally, with top ten peaks in Austria, Belgium, Germany, Italy, Switzerland and the United Kingdom, just to name a few of the countries. Now, it’s headed for the United States this summer. “Hard” is based around a dance sample that you may recognize that also has some roots in the 80’s pop scene. Let’s go behind the groove and see how this record was spun together.

The vocal sample:
“Here Comes The Rain Again”, Eurythmics (#4, 1984)
Annie Lennox and David Stewart made quite a name for themselves in the 1980’s, forming as Eurythmics in 1980 after splitting from their bands at the time. The two are best known for their 1983 single, “Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This)”. It went to #1 on the Hot 100 in the fall. “Here Comes The Rain Again” was the third chart single for the duo, which mixed new wave production with the strings of a disco record, marrying them into a dramatic pop sound. The song debuted on the national charts just after the new year in 1984, peaking at #4 in late March and became their second biggest hit behind “Dreams”. They last hit the Hot 100 in 1989 with a minor single, though they’ve reunited on two occasions after taking a hiatus in 1990 to small sales. Both have also seen solo success, most notably for Lennox in the mid-90’s.

Followed by:
“Better Off Alone”, Alice Deejay (#27, 2000)
This group out of the Netherlands consisted of a pack of disc jockeys and producers, as well as one singer, Judith Pronk, who is heard on this recording and throughout their sole album, Who Needs Guitars Anyway? The group interpolated one phrase out of “Rain”, the simple “talk to me”, which was plucked out of the line “Talk to me like lovers do.” Combined with one other line, “Do you think you’re better off alone?”, and a thumping post-disco production, “Better Off Alone” became an international smash for the group. While it got a lot of play in major cities here in the United States, it didn’t catch on on a national level, and only peaked at #27 on the Hot 100 that summer. “Back In My Life”, the followup single to it, got limited mainstream airplay and a top 30 peak on the Dance/Club Play Chart. They broke up in 2002.

Samplers:
“Say Yeah”, Wiz Khalifa (#119, 2008)
After putting out a few mixtapes and independent albums, rapper Khalifa signed to Warner Brothers Records in 2007. “Say Yeah” was the first song to sample Alice Deejay‘s dance ditty, looping the instrumental part of it, but with little promotion, the song bubbled under the Hot 100 at #111 before falling off the radar. It was his only single to be released with the label as the two parties had disputes over promoting what would have been his major label record, First Flight. After parting with them in 2009, he soon signed to Atlantic Records and went to #1 on the Hot 100 with “Black And Yellow” in 2011. Though it appears the promotion of his latest album, O.N.I.F.C., has been halted after two singles, he still appears as a featured artist on Sean Kingston‘s newest release, “Beat It”, which also features Chris Brown.

“Play Hard”, David Guetta featuring Akon and Ne-Yo (2013)
Now, we come to 2013 and find this collaboration. David Guetta has been hitting in the U.S. charts since 2008 to varied success with an array of solo males and females. Guetta’s 2011 album, Nothing But The Beat, has been rereleased two times since it first came out. Five singles from that original album made it onto the Hot 100, including top ten hits with Nicki Minaj, Sia and Usher. A second collaboration with Sia from the 2.0 edition failed here several months ago, and now this seventh overall single from it goes to radio in about two and a half weeks. Akon, our favorite screeching cat, hasn’t gone top ten in three years – since the last song he did with Guetta, “Sexy Chick”. Ne-Yo‘s “Let Me Love You” went to #4 late last year, but a followup single failed, so it’s a mixed bag here. Stay tuned to see what happens with this.

For more on your favorite music, from sampling to singles to statistics, keep it here on the blog or follow me on Twitter: @AdamFSoybel.

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SINGLE PREMIERE: Andy Grammer – “Crazy Beautiful” (+ Lyrics)

He's a "Beautiful" boy.

He’s a “Beautiful” boy.

We kept our heads up and I guess we weren’t looking down because, lo and behold, there’s new music from Andy Grammer on iTunes this week! It’s a new EP featuring three songs: “Crazy Beautiful”, the likely first single from his forthcoming second album, a b-side, “I Choose You”, and a live version of “Beautiful” performed live in Boston. Both new songs are in studio versions, though they’ve been performed live on Grammer’s Spring tour for several weeks now. No information is available about the new album, but if this is a preview of the overall sound of it, I think it’s going to be a nice treat. Grammer goes more for an electro-pop sound on “Beautiful”, his dedication to a girl that’s a little bit edgy but still manages to tickle his fancy. “Crazy Beautiful” was featured on the May 27 episode of the ABC show The Bachelorette and Grammer will be performing the song in-person on the June 3 episode. Enjoy!

Download “Crazy Beautiful” and the rest of the EP on iTunes. / Listen to “Crazy Beautiful” performed live in Boston.

“CRAZY BEAUTIFUL”
(Andy Grammer, Kevin Griffin & James Moore)

[Verse 1]
She’s got big brown eyes and tangled hair
Voguing in her underwear
And nothing is better than doing nothing together now
She’s got a toothbrush as a microphone
Belting out the Rolling Stones
I’m the last one to stop her
Can’t believe that I got her

[Bridge]
We get so close, kissing like Eskimos
It’s a little bit much
I know, I do

[Chorus]
Isn’t she cra-crazy beautiful
Isn’t she stra-strange and wonderful
And I think I love her more than I even understand

[Verse 2]
She’s got a classic style that’s all her own
Smile you can hear through the telephone
She says she’s a rebel, but she’s way too sentimental
She’s precious even when she’s mad
Gets angry and I start to laugh
And I know that it’s nothing
She’s just pushing my buttons

[Bridge]
We get so close, kissing like Eskimos
It’s a little bit much
I know, I do

[Chorus x2]
Isn’t she cra-crazy beautiful
Isn’t she stra-strange and wonderful
And I think I love her more than I even understand (Ooh, ooh ooh ooh)

[Middle 8]
She’s a little bit wild, a little bit mad, a little bit uh oh, beautiful
Wild, a little bit bad, a little bit uh oh
And I never could know her too well
Oh, still I never want anyone else

[Chorus x2]
Isn’t she cra-crazy beautiful
Isn’t she stra-strange and wonderful
And I think I love her more than I even understand

[End]
She’s a little bit wild, a little bit mad, a little bit uh oh, beautiful
Wild, a little bit bad, a little bit uh oh
And I think I love her more than I even understand

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TURN IT UP TUESDAY: What’s New In Stores This Week (May 21)

Play that Punky music.

Play that Punky music.

You ready to get lucky with some cool albums this week? Here’s what’s going down in Record Town for the week of May 21:

  • Huge release this week for the electronic duo Daft Punk as their first album since 2005, entitled Random Access Memories, hits stores today. First single “Get Lucky” with Pharrell Williams is an international smash and is by far their biggest hit yet in the United States. It will certainly translate into their highest debut sales week, but just how high will it go? We’ll just have to wait and see. (iTunes)
  • Rockers Thirty Seconds To Mars take flight with their fourth studio effort, Love Lust Faith + Dreams. Lead single “Up In The Air” is sitting comfortably in the top 5 on Alternative radio. (iTunes)
  • Originally due last year, the debut album by rapper French Montana is out this week, titled Excuse My French. New single “Freaks”, featuring Nicki Minaj, is currently at Urban radio and doing decently so far. (iTunes)
  • Indie rockers The National are out with their first album in three years, Trouble Will Find Me. Their last album debuted at #3 on the Billboard 200. (iTunes)
  • Riding high on their Alternative hit called “Harlem”, Denmark-based trio New Politics are in stores this week with their second album, A Bad Girl In Harlem. (iTunes)
  • Hootie’s gone Country again. The third album from Darius Rucker, True Believers, is out this week, featuring the #1 Country song “Wagon Wheel”. (iTunes)
  • Singer-songwriter Beth Hart, best known for her 1999 single “L.A. Song”, and guitarist and singer Joe Bonamassa put out their second record together, SeeSaw. (iTunes)
  • From “Surfin’ U.S.A.” to surfing the web for their latest album, The Beach Boys are out with a 40+ song compilation from their recent concerts, Live – The 50th Anniversary Tour . (iTunes)
  • The jazzy and snazzy Jamie Cullum is back with his new album, Momentum. (iTunes)
  • Lastly, the soundtrack to the motion picture Fast And The Furious 6 is out this week, featuring 2 Chainz, T.I., and more. (iTunes)

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

  • “Aw Naw”, a new single from Country singer Chris Young. (iTunes)
  • “Diaper Money”, a comical concoction from The Lonely Island. (iTunes)
  • “Somebody Else”, new from R&B singer Mario and rapper Nicki Minaj. It samples “Remember The Rain” by 21st Century, which hit #100 on the Hot 100 in 1975. (iTunes)

Next week will likely see a holdover at #1, but count on new releases from Alice Chains, John Fogerty and Little Mix to shake things up. A preview is coming in seven!

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Hot Fun In The Summertime: What Is This Year’s Song Of The Summer?

These hits are hotter than the sun.

These hits are hotter than the sun.

Summer is almost upon us and things are just heating up on the music charts. There are so many fresh sounds on the radio and at retail, but some of them will succeed, while others will fade, never to be heard from again. Only one can be the Song Of The Summer, and the list is the endless this year.

Your typical Song of The Summer would debut in the CHR top 40/50 sometime between mid-April and early May and go to #1 between late June and mid-July, holding its grip on that top spot for at least five or six weeks, sometimes eight, sometimes more. Some classics include *NSYNC‘s “It’s Gonna Be Me” (2000), Mariah Carey‘s “We Belong Together” (2005) and Katy Perry/Snoop Dogg‘s “California Gurls” (2010). Not all years are this clean-cut, but this is just your average situation. With the rapid pace of the CHR format now, including number-one songs that don’t have long runs at the top, anything can happen. Some of these songs made the top 50 in late March; others may not peak until August. Who knows? It’s still early, but here are ten songs I’m thinking could take the title of Song Of The Summer (and why they should and shouldn’t be it) and a few others I considered:

ANNA KENDRICK – “Cups (When I’m Gone)”
Current Position: #27 (CHR) / #41 iTunes
Why It Should: It’s simple, it’s fun and it’s catchy. Plus, don’t you want to brag to your friends about how you can do the clap-slap routine from the Pitch Perfect movie when they can’t? They’ll get pitch slapped.
Why It Shouldn’t: Pitch Perfect was out in October of last year. That seven-month long wait has cost it some valuable time. Plus, the new folky sounding instrumental just makes the song sound juvenile. Eh.

ARIANA GRANDE featuring MAC MILLER – “The Way”
Current Position: #15 (CHR) / #14 iTunes
Why It Should: She’s being touted as the next Mariah Carey and she’s got the chops to prove it. Grande’s first chart hit is a winner with teens, especially those who know her from Nickelodeon’s Victorious.
Why It Shouldn’t: Will she weather the storm of other young singers like Demi Lovato and Selena Gomez? The Disney girls have a leg up on her. Miller as a guest rapper probably wasn’t the best selection.

BRUNO MARS – “Treasure”
Current Position: #31 (CHR) / #119 iTunes
Why It Should: Ahoy, mateys! Cap’n Mars is sailing his soulful ship into treacherous waters, but his retro feel and lyric about finding a female first mate should guide his crew as they charter this hot charter.
Why It Shouldn’t: The last third single by Mars, “The Lazy Song”, broke his streak of #1 singles. Will history repeat itself? Download sales are a bit low at this point, with the song ranking below the top 100.

DAFT PUNK featuring PHARRELL WILLIAMS – “Get Lucky”
Current Position: #21 (CHR) / #9 iTunes
Why It Should: If you wanna funk things up, then this is your song. It’s a groovy gem that brings the French duo and American producer/singer together. The clubs love it and so does the mainstream audience.
Why It Shouldn’t: We suddenly care about Daft Punk now? The 70’s influence may not appeal to a younger audience. Plus, Pharrell Williams, though hot again, will be played out by the end of the summer.

FLORIDA GEORGIA LINE featuring NELLY – “Cruise”
Current Position: #14 (CHR) / #8 and #25 iTunes
Why It Should: It’s going to be everybody’s new driving song. You’ll be rolling your windows down in no time. Oh, and you know you want to imitate their thick Southern accents. “Baby, you a sawng.” Exactly.
Why It Shouldn’t: To a Country audience, this was their “Song Of The Winter”. It peaked at #1 in December. “Cruise” is one of the more polarizing records of the bunch; you either love that twang or despise it.

IMAGINE DRAGONS – “Radioactive”
Current Position: #23 (CHR) / #6 iTunes
Why It Should: It’s part rock, part dubstep and wholly a hit. It spent three months at the top of the Alternative chart and is moving fast at the CHR format. It’s been a pretty consistent top ten seller as well.
Why It Shouldn’t: “Radioactive” doesn’t feel like a CHR #1 in the making. Plus, did we all forget that Alex Clare‘s “Too Close” came out year and is essentially the same song? It may be too brash for some ears.

JENNIFER LOPEZ featuring PITBULL – “Live It Up”
Current Position: #30 (CHR) / #27 iTunes
Why It Should: After a hot performance on American Idol, it looks like Lopez is back in the spotlight. It’s a dance-pop anthem about being carefree and seems to be catching on alright. Make love, don’t fight.
Why It Shouldn’t: RedOne’s sound is tired, and this is the third top-40 single for both artists together. Also, your typical CHR teenager isn’t going to understand at least half of Pitbull‘s rap for being in Spanish.

MARIAH CAREY featuring MIGUEL – “#Beautiful”
Current Position: #19 (CHR) / #13 iTunes
Why It Should: This is probably the most understated song out of the bunch. The modern-day equivalent of a Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell duet, it’s got every social media site and music world buzzing.
Why It Shouldn’t: Now the American Idol is done for the year, Carey has lost a large platform to promote her material. Plus, on a format that is ageist, wouldn’t a younger artist easily be able to take the title?

ROBIN THICKE featuring PHARRELL WILLIAMS and T.I. – “Blurred Lines”
Current Position: #41 (CHR) / #3 iTunes
Why It Should: “Blurred” is Thicke’s most pop-friendly single to date and with a viral video approaching 20 million views, its audience keeps growing. A performance on The Voice recently helped substantially.
Why It Shouldn’t: Thicke’s only had one minor top 40 entry before at the format and that was a ballad. The T.I. features skews the track to an Urban audience, which may turn off a more conservative station.

SELENA GOMEZ – “Come And Get It”
Current Position: #8 (CHR) / #4 iTunes
Why It Should: Oh, hello there. This is the highest of all the songs on the list, sliding into the top ten just over a month into its chart run. Jelena may be on and off, but this Indian-influenced song is definitely on.
Why It Shouldn’t: It’s trying too hard to be a Rihanna song (and music video as well.) While staying vague lyrically, it is a little more provocative for her; younger fans (and all of their parents) may not approve.

Other choices considered:
Avril Lavigne, “Here’s To Never Growing Up”
If you’re going to be singing Radiohead at the top of your lungs, make sure you don’t auto-tune it like Lavigne has. Radio, for the most part, gave up on this one quickly, but its sales are still moderately well.

Calvin Harris featuring Ellie Goulding, “I Need Your Love”
“Lights” took forever to reach #1 on this format and radio hasn’t wanted anything from her since it. “Anything Could Happen” tanked; this collaboration with Harris could go top 20 before its chart run ends.

Jason Derülo, “The Other Side”
Doesn’t stray from his core sound, but the success of the single seems forced: a lot of label investment without substantial digital sales. Plus, the song is disposable. It won’t be remembered by the end of the year.

Maroon 5, “Love Somebody”
Though radio has recently picked up the song, its sales haven’t caught up to it yet. It follows three consecutive number-ones from the same album, but this one may not be so lucky in continuing that streak.

will.i.am featuring Justin Bieber, “#thatpower”
The hashtag hit is still going strong on the airwaves, but it seems to have peak digitally. will.i.am‘s album is also a dud. It’s loaded with other collaborations; something could easily replace this song.

Zedd featuring Foxes, “Clarity”
It’s a breakthrough single for Zedd and the EDM genre in general, but it appears that “Get Lucky” is going to be the dominant dance single this summer. This song’s also been around for several months now.

You’ll also be hearing new songs from Britney Spears, Demi LovatoMiley CyrusPitbull, and Rihanna on your radio this summer, but they’ll likely all be too late to be the biggest song of the season. It’s competitive out there! Let me know what song you think will come out on top in the comments or on Twitter: @AdamFSoybel.

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