Monthly Archives: December 2013

Syne Of The Times: Out With The Auld, In With The New

It's a "Lang" thang.

It’s a “Lang” thang.

It’s almost time for the New Year’s celebrations — time to be with friends and family and toast to 2014’s beginning, hopefully a good one at that. While tonight you’re gonna party like it’s 2013 (while it still is, of course!) one of the songs you’re bound to hear, whether on the television or sung by a crowd, is “Auld Lang Syne”. Popularized in a poem by Scottish writer Robert Burns in 1788, its use as a New Year’s anthem originates somewhere in the 20th century, even though the song itself is more about a general companionship and not exclusively about the holiday. As with any post on here, “Auld” has made its way onto the charts in several decades, so “take a cup of kindness yet” and sip on these songs:

“Christmas Auld Lang Syne”, Bobby Darin (#51, 1960)
After hits like “Dream Lover” and “Mack The Knife” the previous year, Darin charted with this around the holidays, which was the same melodically but with altered lyrics to create a more Christmas-themed record. The result was just a minor entry on the Hot 100, but he would be back in the top 40 a few months later with a cover of “(Up A) Lazy River”.

“Same Old Lang Syne”, Dan Fogelberg (#9, 1981)
Singer-songwriter Fogelberg’s first single from The Innocent Age was another of his tender ballads and went as high as #9 on the Hot 100. The song is based on the performer’s chance meeting with an old girlfriend on Christmas Eve in 1975. Most stations only play this song around the holidays nowadays, but truth be told, “Same” actually peaked in February.

“Auld Lang Syne (The Millenium Mix)”, Kenny G (#7, 2000)
Kenneth Gorelick made a name for himself with his saxophone in the 80’s and 90’s, and this rendition, which was mixed in with audio bits of significant 20th century events, was big. The album version ran almost eight minutes, and the edit was just under five. I heard this mix on the radio a total of one time, and that was one more time than I needed to hear it.

Beyond these three songs, there are a number of other songs that name-check “Auld” in their lyrics. One of the biggest came in 1999, when Will Smith rapped, “Get ready to hum “Auld Lang Syne” / ‘Cause a person that know the words is hard to find,” in one of his last top 40 (#25) hits, “Will 2K”. Plus, with many more covers from acts like the Beach Boys and Mariah Carey, you can get your fill and then some. Just consume responsibly.

Happy New Year to all you PGTC readers and see you in 2014!

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Feeling Foxy: Mammals And Music in 2014

If you’re wondering what the fox says, that would be a question for Ylvis to take, and probably one that they’re exhausted of answering. However, if you’re wondering what the fox(x) sings, then I just might have not one, but three answers for you. All out in the next few weeks in the United Kingdom, they’re bound to pop on your playlist and climb up the charts from coast to coast:

A Ray of light.

A Ray of light.

RAY FOXX featuring J. WARNER – “Fireworks (Bang Bang)”
Release Date: January 5

This producer based in London recently celebrated his 28th birthday, and what better way to top it off than with his latest single release for Strictly Rhythm Records. Foxx has charted twice before on the British charts: in 2011, debut single “La Musica (The Trumpeter)” (featuring Lovelle) spent a week at #65 before falling out of the top 75, but a few months back, a single featuring vocalist Rachel K. Collier, “Boom Boom (Heartbeat)”, debuted at #12 and spent a few weeks in the top 40. That’s a pretty significant change in two years, and given the small amount of releases this time of year, the producer and collaborator Warner could be aiming for another big hit. At least this will get you up on the floor.

Pint-sized pop machine.

He’s a pint-sized pop machine.

ELYAR FOX – “Do It All Over Again”
Release Date: January 12

He’s not even released his debut single, but this 18-year-old single has amassed over 450,000 followers between his Facebook and Twitter combined. It’s no wonder as the London-based performer is penned to be the next big teen act, with early and significant support from Capital FM, one of the United Kingdom’s most influential radio stations. After gaining a following on YouTube, Fox signed with Polydor Records last year, then left to record for RCA Records this year and looks to be one of their first hits of 2014. Given his large base, a top 5 debut wouldn’t surprise me, but whether or not his momentum will last is yet to be determined. Still, the electro-pop track is a decent start to his budding career.

A chick with Clarity.

A chick with Clarity.

FOXES – “Let Go For Tonight”
Release Date: February 23

You best know her as the vocalist on DJ Zedd‘s massive hit, “Clarity”, a top ten single on the Hot 100, but now the 24-year-old singer born in Southhampton is preparing for her first solo album, Glorious, due on March 3. “Let” is the followup to “Youth”, another track from the forthcoming set, which just missed the top ten in the U.K. last year. Initially released as a stand-alone track in 2012, as heard in the link above, the song’s been rerecorded for the full-length set, though the single version is not available yet despite some updated remixes floating around. The original is pretty beautiful and understated, so I hope the revamped cut is just as great and gives her another shot at U.S. chart success.

Which Fox or Foxx do you think will scurry up the survey? Elyar Fox, Foxes or Ray Foxx? Let me know! Comment below or click the “Get Social!” tab to find PGTC on social media.

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Highlights from Adam’s Top 40: December 29, 2013

"Story" time.

The right Direction.

40. Keane – Won’t Be Broken
39. James Blunt – Heart To Heart
38. Kes – Gimme Your Love
37. Gary Barlow & Elton John – Face To Face | HIGHEST DEBUT

35. Bastille – Bad Blood (40)
32. Peter Thomas featuring Betty Who – All Of You (38)
28. Karmin – I Want It All (35)
21. MAGIC! – Rude (26)
15. Boy & Bear – Southern Sun (24) | BIGGEST MOVER
10. Fitz & The Tantrums – The Walker (15)

10. Fitz & The Tantrums – The Walker (15) | PEAK: #10
09. American Authors – Best Day Of My Life (07) | PEAK: #01 for one week
08. Gary Barlow – Let Me Go (10) | PEAK: #08
07. Passenger – The Wrong Direction (04) | PEAK: #01 for two weeks
06. The 1975 – Girls (03) | PEAK: #01 for one week
05. Christina Perri – Human (08) | PEAK: #05
04. The Fray – Love Don’t Die (06) | PEAK: #04
03. Bastille – Of The Night (05) | PEAK: #03
02. A Great Big World – Say Something (02) | PEAK: #02
01. One Direction – Story Of My Life (01) | PEAK: #01 for three weeks

Top 10 Next In Line:
1. Strange Talk – Climbing Walls (2)
2. Disclosure featuring Sam Smith – Latch (4)
3. Delta Rae – Chasing Twisters (-)
4. Lea Michele – Cannonball (10)
5. Kodaline – Love Like This (5)
6. James Durbin – Parachute (-)
7. Mary Lambert – She Keeps Me Warm (-)
8. The Vamps – Can We Dance? (-)
9. tyDi featuring Carmen Keigans – Live This Lie (-)
10. MKTO – God Only Knows (-)

In The Mix:
Crosses – The Epilogue
Daft Punk featuring Julian Casablancas – Instant Crush
Daughtry – Battleships
Gabriel Rios – Gold
John Butler Trio – Only One
Los Lonely Boys – Don’t Walk Away
Naughty Boy featuring Sam Smith – La La La
New Politics – Tonight You’re Perfect
OneRepublic – Burning Bridges
OneRepublic – I Lived
Parade Of Lights – We’re The Kids
Passenger – All The Little Lights
Sara Bareilles – Goodbye Yellow Brick Road (Live)
The Killers – Just Another Girl
The Wild After – Lesson Learned
twenty one pilots – House Of Gold

Chart Notes:

  • Biggest Mover on the countdown this week belongs to Australian quintet Boy & Bear, who leap from 24-15 with their first hit, “Southern Sun”. It’s the first single from their album Harlequin Dream, which debuted at #1 on the ARIA Albums Chart a few months ago. The band will be doing a small tour in Canada and the U.S. this upcoming spring. (I covered “Southern Sun” in a post recently as it heads to U.S. radio.)
  • This week’s Highest Debut at #37 brings two legends together for the price of one. “Face To Face” is the name of the song and an appropriate one too, pairing 42-year-old Gary Barlow and 66-year-old Elton John, two of the most significant British singers and songwriters of all-time. It’s the second release to chart from Barlow’s Since I Saw You Last; first single “Let Me Go” is still top ten. This also makes John the oldest act to ever make my top 40.
  • At #38 is the only American act to debut this week: California newcomer Kes is in with “Gimme Your Love”, from his EP Audio Justice. The full EP is available to stream here. With an 80’s influenced sound, including shades of Prince and The Jacksons on this hit, he’s sure to see some big coverage in the new year. (See what producer and writer Matt Rad had to say about the singer in my interview with him.)
  • “Bonfire Heart” only rose to #33 a few months back, but with a followup titled “Heart To Heart”, James Blunt‘s certainly got a lot of, you know, heart. The second single from Moon Landing debuts this week at #39. Blunt’s been to the top twice and now has a total of ten top 40’s.
  • Lastly, at #40, is the latest single from British quartet Keane. “Won’t Be Broken” is taken from The Best Of Keane and follows “Higher Than The Sun”, which recently hit #7. It’s the band’s fifteenth entry on my personal chart since 2004.

(See my full chart on the M4BCC message board)

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ADAM’S TOP 40 FLASHBACK: December 26, 2004

The flashback "comes" and goes.

The flashback “comes” and goes.

Welcome back for another edition of Adam’s Top 40 Flashback! Every Saturday, the day before my new top 40 goes up for the week, I’ll be featuring a past countdown straight from chart files of Adam’s Top 40. They’re all here — the hit songs, the songs that flopped, and the songs that may be a little embarrassing to reflect on. This is one more chart from my high school days, just a day after Christmas, and it was bitterly cold in the heart of another New England winter. Here’s a look at my top 40 from December 26, 2004:

40. PHIL COLLINS, “Tearing And Breaking”
39. LOW MILLIONS, “Eleanor”

Biggest Mover:
CARBON LEAF, “Life Less Ordinary” (38-27) (11 spots)

10. GWEN STEFANI featuring EVE, “Rich Girl”
Taking a large leap into the top ten this week from #18 was this second single from Love. Angel. Music. Baby., Stefani’s first solo album. First single “What You Waiting For?” spent a week at #1 on my chart, though it experienced a fast rise and fast fall at radio and retail. Teaming up with producer Dr. Dre and rapper Eve, “Rich” took in some riches and led to the album’s biggest hit, “Hollaback Girl”.

09. JOHN MAYER, “Daughters”
It’s weird to think that Mayer never wanted this as a single, because this bluesy ballad became the most successful one from his second album, Heavier Things, cracking the Hot 100’s top 20. It remains his biggest era for me with two other top 5 hits: “Bigger Than My Body” (#1 for 6 weeks) and “Clarity” (#4). He has yet to make my chart with any of the three singles off his latest album, Paradise Valley.

08. SOULDECISION, “Kiss The Walls”
After hitting it big in 2000 with “Faded”, this trio took some time off before coming back as a quartet for second album Shady Satin Drug. Co-produced by Nile Rodgers, it tanked, but two of its singles reached my chart: “Cadillac Dress” and this, which peaked at #5. They’ve since split, but leader Trevor Guthrie recently appeared on a single with DJ Armin Van Buuren, “This Is What It Feels Like”.

07. KELLY CLARKSON, “Since U Been Gone”
It’s the song that put producer Dr. Luke on the map and gave Clarkson one of the biggest hits of her career — at least on a national level. With a #2 peak on the Hot 100 and seven weeks at #1 on CHR radio in the spring of 2005, we were jamming out to this anthem for some time. On my top 40, “Since” fizzled out at #7 for two weeks before dropping. Even bigger hits would be down the line for her.

06. NAOMI STRIEMER, “Fall Behind”
This is probably the most obscure song in the top ten, but a lot of members on the one of the message boards I posted on rallied behind this New York singer’s debut release. Striemer, unfortunately, was another victim of Epic Records, with a single that went nowhere at radio and an album that was shelved. Now independent, “Fall” was finally released on her The Green Album in the fall of 2009.

05. TYLER HILTON, “When It Comes”
You may remember this guy from acting on The WB’s One Tree Hill or perhaps from movies like Walk The Line, but it was back in 2004 that a then 21-year-old Hilton was climbing high with his debut single. He made my chart two times after “When”; in 2005, “How Love Should Be” got as high as #12, and in 2006, a cover of John Waite‘s “Missing You” went to #25. He still records independently.

04. SEAL, “Walk On By”
With his take on a classic as originally performed by Dionne Warwick, the British soul singer gave the song some new life to a new audience. “Walk” was first featured on the performer’s greatest hits compilation, Best 1991–2004, and garnered some minor sales in several countries. It also went to Adult Contemporary radio in the U.S. to little notice. His last album thus far, Soul 2, was issued in 2011.

03. MAROON 5, “Sunday Morning”
Earth, Wind & Fire and No Doubt both took the title into the pop top 40 in the 90’s and Maroon 5 just wanted to join the party with a “Sunday” of their own. Following “She Will Be Loved”, this climbed at a moderate clip before stalling out at #3 for five straight weeks, becoming the fourth consecutive top 5 single from their Songs About Jane album. The band is still very much active today.

02. DARREN HAYES, “Darkness”
To be “Pop!ular”, I helped Hayes be popular on my top 40 chart when that first single from 2004’s The Tension And The Spark spent three non-consecutive weeks at #1. This followup release didn’t do nearly as well internationally, but after some time at #2, it would also spend a couple of frames atop of my survey in early 2005. He last charted in 2012 with another top ten hit, “Stupid Mistake”.

01. GREEN DAY, “Boulevard Of Broken Dreams”
Spending a fourth week on top was this monster smash which you couldn’t avoid on both the Alternative and CHR airwaves; not bad for a band who was ten years into their charting days at that point. “Boulevard” would prove to be the trio’s biggest hit ever, spending a total of seven weeks at #1 on my top 40. It was certified 2x Platinum and boosted sales of parent album American Idiot to the tune of 6 million copies in sales as of earlier this year. They last charted in the fall of 2012 with “Oh Love”, which just missed the top 20.

Check back next Saturday for another Adam’s Top 40 Flashback and don’t forget to follow the blog by using the tab below or find PGTC on social media by clicking the “Get Social!” tab at the top of the page.

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POP! Across The Pond: Brit Hits Looking For A U.S. Break

Can you feel the rush? The rush of digital music activity, that is. Every year, the running, or rather, the redeeming of the iTunes gift cards is in full swing as many songs receive a year-end boost. Since it’s a worldwide event, it’s nice to look at where things stand in other countries as an uptick in sales may indicate a push for a wider release. I plucked out three singles from the British charts not only because they’re garnering some post-Christmas gains in the U.K., but because they all have U.S. potential from 2014. Will they actually make it? From the worlds of dance and pop, you decide:

He's in love with being Queen.

He’s in love with being Queen.

STORM QUEEN – “Look Right Through”
U.K. peak: #1 (November 2013)

Originally from the small town of Wayne, New Jersey, DJ Morgan Geist took on this stage name and first released “Look” three years ago to little attention on the Queens-based label, Environ Records. The seven-and-a-half minute song was eventually picked up by Defected Records and then Ministry Of Sound, and earlier this year, a much shortened version (edited down to 2:30) of the vocal mix as remixed by MK (producer Marc Kinchen), propelled it to the top spot on the Singles Chart and to #3 in nearby Scotland. Elsewhere in Europe, the song’s been, overall, hit or miss, but this doesn’t mean it can’t be big in America. That hit remix was released digitally here three weeks ago, and with a viral music video at over 4 million views, that lion leaping all over the hotel hobby may be checking into a suite at the top of the Hot 100.

Lose yourself to "Dance".

Lose yourself to “Dance”.

THE VAMPS – “Can We Dance?”
U.K. peak: #2 (October 2013)

This new British band was fully formed by 2012 (initially just a trio a year prior) and consists of Connor Ball, Tristan Evans, James McVey and Bradley Simpson. The lead single from their forthcoming album was co-written by Bruno Mars and the superstar Norwegian songwriting team Espionage. Available in a number of physical and digital EPs and singles, it was #1 in the midweeks survey but officially made its U.K. debut on the charts in the runner-up position behind OneRepublic‘s “Counting Stars”. A followup release, “Wild Heart”, another Espionage production along with writer Jamie Scott of Graffiti6, is out in three weeks. With a big pop sound and a little bit of edge, the girls go crazy for them in Europe and Australia, where the song is now top 30. Is the U.S. next to bust a move? Get ready to shake and shimmy.

This song is shining.

This song is shining.

WILKINSON – “Afterglow”
U.K. peak: #8 (October 2013)

From playing drums to making his own beats in college, Mark Wilkinson’s been surrounded by music for some time now. After placing songs on compilations and as stand-alone single releases for several more years, the DJ and producer finally released a full-length album, Lazers Not Included, through RAM Records in October. “Afterglow”, featuring an uncredited vocal from Becky Hill, became a breakout hit from the effort, debuting at #8 on the Singles Chart and experiencing a slow descent down the top 40, including five weeks in the top 20. Followup single “Too Close”, featuring Detour City, will be available in a remixes package on February 9. It may be a percussive-driven dance song, but it also works well in an acoustic setting (search for the BBC Live Lounge version), which is always a sign of a well-crafted tune.

Which of these three do you think will make the biggest splash in the States? Is there one I didn’t list that you think can do better? Let me know! Comment below or click the “Get Social!” tab to find PGTC on social media.

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REWIND: A Boxing Day Box Set Of Year-End Top Tens

If you’re a fan of my weekly top 40 chart, Adam’s Top 40, and all of the year-end posts I’ve been writing over the past ten days or so, thanks for following along! If you missed any of the action from my Top 100 of 2013, you can look back through the archive. (Congrats to Passenger once again on this year’s #1, “Let Her Go”.) Back on Labor Day, I did a special top tens post of all the charts dated the Sunday before the holiday. So, in a similar vein, on this Boxing Day 2013, here are all the top tens from my tabulated year-end surveys from the past ten years, 2003-2012, presented in chronological order. Enjoy!

2003 Year End Chart

Don't "Worry", be happy.

Don’t “Worry”, be happy.

1. Jason MrazThe Remedy (I Won’t Worry) (seven weeks at #1)
2. BoomkatThe Wreckoning (six weeks at #1)
3. Fountains Of WayneStacy’s Mom (six weeks at #1)
4. Boomkat – What U Do 2 Me (four weeks at #1)
5. All-American Rejects – Swing Swing (three weeks at #1)
6. 3 Doors Down – When I’m Gone (#3)
7. Stacie Orrico – Stuck (#3)
8. Maroon 5 – Harder To Breathe (#2)
9. Dido – White Flag (#2)
10. Jewel – Intuition (two weeks at #1)

2004 Year-End Chart

This chart has taken control of them.

This chart has taken control of them.

1. Maroon 5This Love (nine weeks at #1)
2. Darren HayesPop!ular (three weeks at #1)
3. Switchfoot – Meant To Live (one week at #1)
4. Evanescence – My Immortal (four weeks at #1)
5. Maroon 5 – She Will Be Loved (one week at #1)
6. Ashlee Simpson – Pieces Of Me (#2)
7. Three Days Grace – (I Hate) Everything About You (#3)
8. Avril Lavigne – My Happy Ending (#2)
9. Ryan Cabrera – On The Way Down (six weeks at #1)
10. Switchfoot – Dare You To Move (two weeks at #1)

2005 Year-End Chart

"Tomorrow" today.

“Tomorrow” today.

1. Duran DuranWhat Happens Tomorrow (six weeks at #1)
2. Howie Day – Collide (three weeks at #1)
3. Daniel Powter – Bad Day (six weeks at #1)
4. Michael Bublé – Home (#3)
5. Weezer – Beverly Hills (#2)
6. Kelly Clarkson – Behind These Hazel Eyes (four weeks at #1)
7. Kelly Clarkson – Because Of You (three weeks at #1)
8. D.H.T. – Listen To Your Heart (#2)
9. Rob Thomas – This Is How A Heart Breaks (two weeks at #1)
10. Josh Kelley – Only You (#3)

2006 Year-End Chart

"High" and low.

“Bad” turned good the second time around.

1. Daniel Powter – Bad Day (ten weeks at #1; sixteen total)
2. Natasha Bedingfield – Unwritten (ten weeks at #1)
3. James BluntYou’re Beautiful (eight weeks at #1)
4. Rob Thomas – Ever The Same (#3)
5. Bo Bice – The Real Thing (three weeks at #1)
6. Snow Patrol – Chasing Cars (four weeks at #1)
7. KT Tunstall – Black Horse And The Cherry Tree (two weeks at #1)
8. John Mayer – Waiting On The World To Change (four weeks at #1)
9. Michael Bublé – Save The Last Dance For Me (#3)
10. Daniel Powter – Lie To Me (#2)

2007 Year-End Chart

The sonic sound of Tonic.

It wouldn’t “Leave” the top.

1. Emerson HartIf You’re Gonna Leave (eight weeks at #1)
2. NickelbackIf Everyone Cared (#2)
3. Michael Bublé – Everything (four weeks at #1)
4. Five For Fighting – World (three weeks at #1)
5. Maroon 5 – Makes Me Wonder (eleven weeks at #1)
6. Daughtry – It’s Not Over (#5)
7. Boys Like Girls – The Great Escape (#3)
8. dbClifford – Simple Things (six weeks at #1)
9. Lifehouse – First Time (#2)
10. Roz Bell – Yesterday Man (#2)

2008 Year-End Chart

"Love" on top.

“Love” on top.

1. Leona Lewis Bleeding Love (fourteen weeks at #1)
2. Jason MrazI’m Yours (one week at #1)
3. ColdplayViva La Vida (two weeks at #1)
4. Colbie Caillat – Realize (five weeks at #1)
5. Emerson Hart – I Wish The Best For You (four weeks at #1)
6. Lifehouse – Whatever It Takes (one week at #1)
7. Maroon 5 – Won’t Go Home Without You (#4)
8. Daniel Powter – Next Plane Home (six weeks at #1)
9. The Last Goodnight – Stay Beautiful (#4)
10. Delta Goodrem – In This Life (#3)

2009 Year-End Chart

Just press Fray.

Just press Fray.

1. The Fray You Found Me (three weeks at #1)
2. ShinedownSecond Chance (#2)
3. The ScriptThe Man Who Can’t Be Moved (eight weeks at #1)
4. Rob Thomas – Her Diamonds (eight weeks at #1)
5. Taylor Swift – You Belong With Me (two weeks at #1)
6. Taylor Swift – Love Story (three weeks at #1)
7. The Fray – Never Say Never (#2)
8. Gary Go – Wonderful (three weeks at #1)
9. Kelly Clarkson – My Life Would Suck Without You (#2)
10. David Cook – Come Back To Me (#2)

2010 Year-End Chart

Treat her like a Lady.

Treat her like a Lady.

1. Lady AntebellumNeed You Now (eleven weeks at #1)
2. Adam Lambert – Whataya Want From Me (two weeks at #1)
3. Nickelback This Afternoon (three weeks at #1)
4. The Script – Breakeven (one week at #1)
5. Neon Trees – Animal (four weeks at #1)
6. Lifehouse – Halfway Gone (#3)
7. Katy Perry – California Gurls (five weeks at #1)
8. Maroon 5 – Misery (six weeks at #1)
9. Colbie Caillat – I Never Told You (#2)
10. Sara Bareilles – King Of Anything (#2)

2011 Year-End Chart

She sets fire to the reign.

“Rolling” up the charts.

1. Adele – Rolling In The Deep (six weeks at #1)
2. Andy Grammer Keep Your Head Up (#2)
3. Jason Aldean featuring Kelly Clarkson – Don’t You Wanna Stay (four weeks at #1)
4. The Band Perry – If I Die Young (#2)
5. Parachute – Something To Believe In (Jeremiah) (three weeks at #1)
6. Lady Antebellum – Just A Kiss (#2)
7. Matt Nathanson – Faster (three weeks at #1)
8. Coldplay – Every Teardrop Is A Waterfall (seven weeks at #1)
9. The Script – Nothing (four weeks at #1)
10. Jessie J – Price Tag (#2)

2012 Year-End Chart

Here comes the "Sun".

Foot loose and fancy “Free”.

1. Graffiti6Free (four weeks at #1)
2. Gotye featuring KimbraSomebody That I Used To Know (seven weeks at #1)
3. fun. – Some Nights (eight weeks at #1)
4. Ed Sheeran – The A Team (one week at #1)
5. Train – Drive By (three weeks at #1)
6. Train – 50 Ways To Say Goodbye (#2)
7. Graffiti6 – Stare Into The Sun (three weeks at #1)
8. fun. featuring Janelle Monáe  – We Are Young (two weeks at #1)
9. Adele – Set Fire To The Rain (two weeks at #1)
10. Grouplove – Tongue Tied (two weeks at #1)

Which year’s top ten is your favorite? Let me know! Comment below or click the “Get Social!” tab to find PGTC on social media.

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Adam’s Top 100 of 2013: #1, Passenger – “Let Her Go”

Once and for all, Passenger is in the driver's seat.

Once and for all, Passenger is in the driver’s seat.

#1 for twelve weeks, 40+ weeks in the top 40

Chart Run (including 2014 Chart Year thus far):

In The Mix entry date: skipped
Top 40 debut: March 24, 2013
First week at #1: May 12, 2013

Music Video:

As I sit here writing this final year-end post, I can’t think of a better way to end the countdown than with this song, a song that literally took over my world for the past nine months and counting. There’s no other way to put it. It was Mike Rosenberg, better known as Passenger‘s “Let Her Go” that led me to write this Profile post on March 22, which got tweeted out by Nettwerk Records CEO (!) Terry McBride (who, by the way, called it a “brilliant article” – I mean, whoa!) and was used in an email campaign for Nettwerk and marketing/radio promotion group, The Artist Cooperative. (Thanks to Bob Divney, who heads the group’s Marketing department and Promotion for their AAA and Rock formats releases.)

It was also that post that landed me a few interviews with Nettwerk in May, and then, thanks to my constant nagging to the program director (I’ll admit it), Mr. Rosenberg himself performed at my current job in an acoustic set back in August. He was wonderful and met every expectation I had about him. I may not have been picked for the job, nor do I remember a lot except for some bits and pieces about that summer day, but the one thing that’s remained a constant all this time is the artist, his lyrics, and his songs. That’s the heart of this post, not what happened to me. After all, if I hadn’t seen his song place on the ARIA Singles Chart and then look up the music video, things would’ve turned out very differently on this year-end survey, but of course, I’m glad things ended up the way the did.

Ready, set, "Go".

Someone’s pretty in pink. (The shirt, not the cheeks.)

“Let Her Go” was recorded way back in March 2011, written and co-produced by Rosenberg, along with Chris Vallejo. It was initially released in July of last year and marketed to AAA radio in the fall, where it peaked in the mid-30’s before falling off the radar. Then, suddenly, the song took off in Europe, and then Australia and New Zealand, and nearly every country it touched, it became at least a top ten hit. The same can be said of the United States, where it finally broke the Hot 100’s top ten several weeks ago. It’s so far peaked at #9, but there’s still life left in it. “Let” has been certified for shipments of nearly 3.5 million copies and, in worldwide sales, is at the 5 million mark.

On my personal chart, “Let Her Go” debuted at #36 in late March and took a quick ride up to #1, where it spent twelve consecutive weeks there. It holds the all-time record for longest consecutive run at the top for a male act and longest run at #1 overall in five years. The two followup singles, “Holes” and a rerelease of “The Wrong Direction”, also spent time at the top. Now, it’s just the latest single to reach the 40 week mark. Should it make it to 50, it will rank as the second-longest running song ever. That’s a little ways away, but I thought I would just put it out there.

The Passenger shrine, if you will.

The Passenger shrine of sorts. (Poster, Vinyl, CD and “Let Her Go” promotional CD.)

Sometimes, you feel defensive about an artist even when you can’t claim to have discovered them, heard their music first, and whatnot. I mean, I first heard Passenger earlier this year; there are tons of people out there who have enjoyed Rosenberg’s music since the act was a band back in 2007 with their only full-length release, Wicked Man’s Rest. It’s so easy to put yourself in that position even when you know it’s not right. I’m guilty of it. However, from my post being recognized to the phone interviews to actually meeting the guy, I sort of felt like I was justified in that role. It at least gave me hope that maybe something could happen for me in my current situation to the point where I could look back 15 or 20 years from now and say, “Hey Mike, remember that one time I posted this and you responded “Hope so too :)” and that whole chain of events spiraled into motion?” It’s just a dream for now. Luckily, there’s still work to be done: a new album in 2014, more touring, etc., and I’d love to be a part of it.

Congratulations to Nettwerk Records, The Artist Cooperative, and the radio staff at Warner Bros. Records for a breaking a really talented artist with a meaningful set of songs here in the States. I know there was pressure to deliver on a slow burner of a song that’s done wonders internationally, but everything’s falling into place now. Most of all, it’s the man himself, Passenger, who deserves the credit for creating a song with a message that was relatable on so many levels of relationships and experiences. It’s one of those rare universal songs, both lyrically and success-wise. I can’t wait to see what happens in 2014.

“…and so ends the countdown of the year that just passed / and for the number one artist, it won’t be his last / but I heard him exclaim, ere he topped the charts right / Merry Christmas to all, and to All The Little Lights.”

Purchase Passenger on iTunes: “Let Her Go” ::: All The Little Lights ::: iTunes Session (EP)

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Adam’s Top 100 of 2013: #2, fun. – “Carry On”

They don't call 'em mellow yellow.

Bad to the cone. (Hey, #2 of the year is pretty sweet.)

First Chart Entry: “We Are Young” (#1 for two weeks, 2012)
Biggest Hit To Date: “Carry On” (#1 for eight weeks, 2012-3)

#1 for eight weeks, 34 weeks in the top 40

Chart Run:

In The Mix entry date: September 9, 2012
Top 40 debut: October 14, 2012
First week at #1: December 2, 2012

Music Video:

When three local acts decided to split, one member of each formed a trio, and in 2008, that new act became fun., consisting of Jack Antonoff, Andrew Dost and Nate Ruess. Even then, I bet they couldn’t have imagined what the last two years or so would’ve looked like for them, but they hit in a big way with huge hooks and a sound all their own. Their last of three #1’s in a row on my personal chart holds down the runner-up spot of my Top 100 of 2013.

“Carry On” was written by the three members and producer Jeff Bhasker, a song about persevering even when the moment is rough. Often compared to works by Guns N’ Roses and Queen for its anthemic feel and harder rock touch, it was a critical favorite and received much fan support both live and on sales and streaming. Thus, it was an easy choice to become the third single from Some Nights and did moderately well in territories like Canada and the U.S., where it went top 20. It also went top ten on several international airplay charts.

As seen above, “Carry On” entered into consideration for my chart on September 9 of last year, the same week that previous single “Some Nights” was spending its eighth and final frame at #1. As not to disrupt its run too quickly, “Carry” bubbled under my chart for about a month and then entered on October 14. It took just five weeks to go top ten and then hit #1 in its eighth week, also running a length of eight frames at the top. So, why is “Carry” their biggest hit when “Some” spent the same amount of time at #1? Well, “Carry” is farther ahead in points than “Some” ever totaled. “Carry” achieved a massive 21 weeks in the top ten and 29 in the top 20, which really built up its numbers.

I would also be remiss to not mention that the reason it had an extended run in the top 20 falling down the survey was, in part, due to the Boston Marathon bombings on April 15, a really sad and tragic day for all of this around this area. During the manhunt for the two suspects and into the aftermath of it all, one of the local stations played a custom mix of “Carry On” with audio clips of victims, police officers and other witnesses to the event. I guess it served as a message that we all could, indeed, carry on and be Boston Strong in the face of such a horrific day. We move forward, but we never forget.

I also don’t think I’ll forget the impact that this band had on me with their second album, Some Nights. With three #1 singles in a row and a fourth top ten hit, they had one of the best debut eras in my chart’s history. I’m not sure if we’ll see the band in action on the charts again in 2014 as member Jack Antonoff and his band Bleechers will be releasing their debut album on RCA Records in the new year. Although, if it’s early enough, I think a Q4 surprise from the trio may just be an explosive. Until then, I think they’re doing quite alright. Well done, Andrew, Jack and Nate. It’s been another fun. year in music with you.

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Adam’s Top 100 of 2013: #3, Pink featuring Nate Ruess (of fun.) – “Just Give Me A Reason”

Just give me a #1.

Just give me a #1.

First Chart Entry for Pink: “There You Go” (#2, 2000)
Biggest Hit To Date: “So What” (#1 for six weeks, 2008)

First Chart Entry for Nate Ruess: “We Are Young” (fun.) (#1 for two weeks, 2012)
Biggest Hit To Date: “Carry On” (fun.) (#1 for eight weeks, 2012-3)

#1 for five weeks, 27 weeks in the top 40

Music Video:

The famous painter and sculptor Leonardo di Vinci once said, “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” I think that’s well-suited to this entry on the countdown, the biggest collaboration on my chart this year. Not only was it simple and elegant, but it was a real work of art, carefully crafted and executed for maximum consumption. Pink and Nate Ruess, you done good, kids.

The #3 song of the year, “Just Give Me A Reason”, was co-written by the two singers, as well as producer Jeff Bhasker, one of driving forces behind fun.‘s breakout in 2012 with their Some Nights album. Initially conceived as a solo song during a songwriting session, Pink ultimately decided that song was offering two perspectives rather than just a singular view on a relationship, and she got the band frontman to take the co-lead on the song. After a demo was well received, the duet made the singer’s album, and when it was released back in September of that year, it was one of the tracks that showed early signs of public demand from strong download sales. Several months later, it was show time, and what a show it put on on the global stage.

After a slower-paced single in “Try”, there were some initial questions as to whether a pure piano-based ballad like “Reason” was the right choice for the third single from The Truth About Love, but those fears were put to rest when the song had an immediate reaction at radio. You literally just couldn’t escape it at one point. Not only was it a multi-format #1, topping the AC, Hot AC and CHR surveys, but it also topped the Hot 100 for three weeks. On my chart, it reigned for five frames: four in March in addition to the first week of April. Internationally, the song went to #1 in over a dozen countries, including Australia, Canada, Italy, Sweden and The Netherlands. Needless to say, it was the biggest success overall during a wonderful era, one that will be well-remembered by both fans and critics alike.

Looking back on 2013, I’d say the results for Pink and Nate Ruess were both pretty reasonable. Both have two songs in the top ten and took over the top spot on my countdown with two separate singles during the chart year. One for Mr. Ruess is still yet to come on the chart, and considering there’s only two positions left, you’ll be seeing where it lands tomorrow. Until then, “Carry On” and wait for the update!

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Adam’s Top 100 of 2013: #4, Olly Murs – “Troublemaker”

Olly olly oxen free.

Have an Olly Olly Christmas. (It’s the best time of the year!)

First Chart Entry: “Heart Skips A Beat” (#6, 2011)
Biggest Hit To Date:
“Troublemaker” (#1 for three weeks, 2013)

#1 for three weeks, 28 weeks in the top 40

Music Video:

After his In Case You Didn’t Know era delivered three consecutive top ten singles on my chart in 2011 and 2012, former X Factor U.K. runner-up Olly Murs had a lot to live up to when it came to his next era. Well, he and it did, to the point that he proved that, not third, but the fourth time was the charm when it came to topping even my personal tastes.

Murs achieved that feat when “Troublemaker” spent three weeks at #1 in January, which was concurrent with its overseas run. The song was co-written by Murs, Claude Kelly and producer Steve Robson. With a bouncy guitar-driven beat a la Maroon 5‘s “Misery”, this one was a no-brainer when it came to taking over my playlists. In fact, “Troublemaker” was one of five singles to make my top 40 this year from the original edition of Right Place Right Time; the other four were, in order of release, “Army Of Two” (#5), “Dear Darlin'” (#17), “Hey You Beautiful” (#23) and “Hand On Heart” (#35). That makes it his most successful year yet in terms of total number on entries and brings his chart history up to eight songs. I guess you could say that I knew he was trouble when he walked in (and I’m quite okay with that.)

After the disappointing results of the U.S. release of “Heart Skips A Beat”, which barely edged into the Hot 100, “Troublemaker” had a much easier time landing on station playlists, going top ten on the CHR airwaves. It also charted on a few other radio surveys during the late spring. That’s about the extent of what Murs has done here; the label recently gave up on a remixed version of “Dance With Me Tonight” after multiple delays, which earned some Hot AC play but couldn’t take off. It’s safe to assume that nothing else from the album will be promoted here, which is a shame as something like “Hey You Beautiful” would’ve at least ranked somewhere in the lower rungs nationally. Oh, well.

Murs is set to release his next studio album in mid-2014 in Europe; no word on what the Stateside promotion for it will look like if anything. Whatever the case, I’m ready for some more Jolly Olly fever. Be on the lookout, people.

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