Monthly Archives: February 2014

RADIO REPORT: POP! Goes The Picks (March 2014)

If you follow the radio charts like I do, you’ll want to be on top of only the freshest music being serviced across the nation. So, I’m bringing back an early PGTC feature with a bit of a revamp. With this monthly series, I’ll be highlighting some great tracks at a few different radio formats I enjoy that will be fighting for airspace over the next few months. So, what are we waiting for? Let the battles begin.

CHR (*) and HOT AC (**)


Parenting pop tunes.

CHVRCHES – “The Mother We Share” (March 4) (* + **)
Label: Glassnote
After a long run up the Alternative chart, the debut single by this Glasgow trio just missed the top ten (#11) two weeks ago before going recurrent. Showing some promising action already at both CHR and Hot AC radio, this could prove to be a moderate-sized crossover hit. It’s from The Bones Of What You Believe, which charted in the top 20 last fall.


More Idol than idle.

GUY SEBASTIAN – “Like A Drum” (March 4) (*)
Label: Cherry Party/RAL/RCA
Sebastian was the winner of Australian Idol‘s debut season in 2003, but after twelve solo top ten singles on the ARIA chart, six of those going to #1, he has yet to establish himself here in the States. This is his second chance at a U.S. hit, which was recently added on SiriusXM 20 on 20. It pounds the pop to a steady beat; we’ll see if radio wants in as well.

"Rude" boys.

“Rude” boys.

MAGIC! – “Rude” (March 11) (**)
Label: RCA
After writing about this Canadian quartet in December, “Rude” has gone on to top ten peaks in Australia, Canada and New Zealand. Now, the U.S. is due for a little reggae vibe this summer. Already in the midst of recording their debut album and featured on Shakira‘s new album, a self-titled effort due on the 25th, things are looking up for the boys.


Boy, oh boys.

RIXTON – “Me And My Broken Heart” (March 11) (*)
Label: Interscope
Manchester’s own quartet have been fully together for a year, growing a following on YouTube through cover videos and an original song or two. This is their first song to go to radio after signing with Interscope and bringing in Scooter Braun as their manager. With no hits in their collection to date, they may lonely no more, if you know what I mean.

On their own again.

Wild and “Crazy” kids.

HEDLEY – “Crazy For You” (March 18) (**)
Label: Capitol
A few months ago, this Canadian band went to Alternative radio with a song called “Anything”, which ultimately did nothing. Its poppy sound was no match for the format. Now, their latest hit up north goes to Hot AC radio, a far more reasonable choice. They certainly had Daft Punk‘s “Get Lucky” in mind when approaching it, and the results are OK.

ALTERNATIVE (*) and AAA (**)


Bleach one, teach one moment.

BLEACHERS – “I Wanna Get Better” (March 11) (* + **)
Label: RCA
Between 2012 and 2013, pop trio fun. racked up a total of four top ten hits on my personal chart, three of them going to #1: “Carry On”, “Some Nights” and “We Are Young” (featuring Janelle Monáe.) Now, guitarist Jack Antonoff is releasing this side project, with an album and tour to come this spring. It’s a great start to a highly-anticipated effort.


Hail to the Chiefs.

KAISER CHIEFS – “Coming Home” (March 11) (* + **)
Label: ATO
Years after predicting riots and charging along with an angry mob, the five rockers from Leeds are out to try the U.S. market again. This is the first single from their new album, Education, Education, Education & War, which is due on April 1. Their biggest song to date, “Ruby”, went top 20 at Alternative in 2007. I could see this ranking in the top 50.


Serving up another single.

LORDE – “Glory And Gore” (March 11) (*)“Tennis Court” (April 8) (CHR)
Label: Lava/Republic
Everyone’s favorite New Zealand newcomer has a split single on her hands from her album Pure Heroine. “Glory” has been used in advertisements for the History Channel’s Vikings. “Tennis” is the second single about the sport to rank on the Hot 100: in 1968, the group Cream took the theme from The Savage Seven, “Anyone For Tennis”, up to #64.


Revolutionizing radio once again.

O.A.R. – “Peace” (March 18) (**)
Label: Vanguard
In 2011, this Maryland band released their last studio album, King, on Wind-Up after a long stint with Lava/Atlantic. Now, they find themselves recording for Vanguard. They’ve stripped it down on their newest single, going as far as the message, a very simple one. This should do very well here and climb to a minor peak at Hot AC radio later this spring.


“Young” at chart.

STRANGE TALK – “Young Hearts” (March 18) (*)
Label: Wind-Up
They come from a land Down Under, and you’ll be down with their sound as they attempt to make a mark here at the format. “Climbing Walls” was serviced last year to Alternative and picked up a handful of stations, but this followup track has way more potential in terms of commercial performance. Look for their debut album, Cast Away, in April.

Which track(s) would you like to see do well from the list above? Let me know! Comment below or click the “Get Social!” tab to find PGTC on social media.

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TURN IT UP TUESDAY: What’s New In Stores This Week (February 25)

Truly where it's at.

Truly where it’s at.

From pop to rock to country and even a little bit of latin flair, it’s a mixed bag of music this week. Here’s everything you need to know about that’s in stores today, February 25:

  • 43-year-old Beck returns with his first album in 5 1/2 years titled Morning Phase, featuring the AAA hit “Blue Moon”. It’s his first release under his new home, Capitol Records. All four of his previous studio albums have debuted in the top ten, and given the long period of time since his latest release, this will very easily enter there. (iTunes)
  • If there is one thing that’s true… it’s that The Fray has a new album in stores this week, Helios. “Love Don’t Die” led the effort, which is now proceeding to crash off the charts. Whoops. Luckily, there are a few followups on there that could provide them with some more airtime. (iTunes) (My review of Helios)
  • Country star Dierks Bentley is out with his first album in two years, Riser. Though first single “Bourbon In Kentucky” was quickly pulled from radio due to some sort of issue, followup “I Hold On” is currently top ten at the format. (iTunes)
  • Former Aventura leader Romeo Santos is in stores with his second solo effort, Fórmula, Vol. 2. Vol. 1 made the Billboard 200’s top ten back in 2011. (iTunes)
  • Rapper ScHoolboy Q makes his major label debut on Interscope with Oxymoron, his third studio album overall. The current single from the project is “Man Of The Year”, which is a solid hit at both Rhythm and Urban radio. (iTunes)
  • Other releases out this week include: Brian Culbertson‘s Another Long Night Out (iTunes), Celtic Woman‘s Emerald: Musical Gems (iTunes), Miner‘s Into The Morning (iTunes), Neneh Cherry‘s Blank Project (iTunes), Run River North‘s Run River North (iTunes), Skaters‘s Manhattan (iTunes), St. Vincent‘s St. Vincent (iTunes) and Twin Forks‘s Twin Forks (iTunes).

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

  • From The Spark (EP), featuring the single “The Struggle” from rockers Grizfolk. (iTunes)
  • “I Don’t Dance”, a fresh single from Country singer Lee Brice. (iTunes)
  • “Not A Bad Thing”, an edit of a third release from Justin Timberlake‘s The 20/20 Experience — 2 of 2. (iTunes)
  • “Peace”, a new single from the Maryland band O.A.R.. (iTunes)
  • “Stay”, a collaboration from tyDi and former The Voice finalist Dia Frampton. (iTunes)
  • “Wild Wild Love”, new from rapper Pitbull and G.R.L. (iTunes)

Next week, Pharrell keeps things “Happy” with a new solo effort, G I R L, while American Authors, David Nail and Lea Michele are also bringing cheerful contenders to the table. See you in seven!

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Highlights from Adam’s Top 40: February 23, 2014

Playing for Ceeps.

On the 6.

39. Paloma Faith – Can’t Rely On You
38. Kaiser Chiefs – Coming Home
37. Hudson Taylor – Weapons
36. Big Data – Dangerous | HIGHEST DEBUT

31. DJ Cassidy featuring Jessie J & Robin Thicke – Calling All Hearts (40) | BIGGEST MOVER
25. Royal Wood – Forever And Ever (30)
24. Ingrid Michaelson – Girls Chase Boys (31)
20. Eric Hutchinson – Tell The World (28)
13. The 1975 – Settle Down (20)

10. Bastille – Of The Night (06) | PEAK: #01 for two weeks
09. Boy & Bear – Southern Sun (08) | PEAK: #08
08. Gary Barlow and Elton John – Face To Face (09) | PEAK: #08
07. Foster The People – Coming Of Age (11) | PEAK: #07
06. Fitz & The Tantrums – The Walker (02) | PEAK: #02
05. Bastille – Bad Blood (07) | PEAK: #05
04. MAGIC! – Rude (04) | PEAK: #04
03. Grouplove – Shark Attack (03) | PEAK: #03
02. Neon Trees – Sleeping With A Friend (05) | PEAK: #02
01. Christina Perri – Human (01) | PEAK: #01 for six weeks

Top 10 Next In Line:
1. Bleachers – I Wanna Get Better (-)
2. Aer – Says She Loves Me (5)
3. Kylie Minogue – Into The Blue (4)
4. KONGOS – Come With Me Now (3)
5. Paolo Nutini – Scream (Funk My Life Up) (9)
6. Daft Punk – Give Life Back To Music (10)
7. Benny Tipene – Make You Mine (-)
8. Oh Honey – Be Okay (-)
9. Justin Timberlake – Not A Bad Thing (-)
10. OneRepublic – I Lived (-)

In The Mix:
5 Seconds Of Summer – She Looks So Perfect
Bastille – Flaws
Betty Who – Heartbreak Dream
Birdy – Skinny Love
Chet Faker – No Diggity
Daughtry – Battleships
Grizfolk – The Struggle
HAIM – Forever
Hedley – Crazy For You (new)
Hot Chelle Rae – Don’t Say Goodnight
Hunter Hayes – Invisible
John Newman – Out Of My Head
Lo-Fang – When We’re Fire
Magic Man – Paris
Miner – Hey Love (new)
needtobreathe – The Heart
O.A.R. – Peace
Parmalee – Carolina
R5 – (I Can’t) Forget About You
Strange Talk – Young Hearts
Tegan & Sara – Drove Me Wild
Vance Joy – Riptide

Chart Notes:

  • Four debuts land on the survey this week: the highest, at #36, is by newcomer Big Data with “Dangerous”. The brains of the project is producer Alan Wilkis, and the vocals are performed by guest Daniel Armbruster, lead singer for the New York band Joywave. It’s currently receiving some airplay at Alternative radio, including KROQ-FM in Los Angeles.
  • A notch below that is Irish duo Hudson Taylor, in with their second hit, “Weapons”. It enters at #37. It’s the followup to “Care”, which peaked at #32 in October. The two brothers, Alfie and Harry, recently performed a few gigs in the Los Angeles area before heading back to Europe.
  • Two British acts also jump aboard the chart this week: at #38 are the Kaiser Chiefs, the quintet originally from Leeds. Their sixth hit is “Coming Home”, their first entry since 2009’s “You Want History”, which topped out at #33 in April. It leads Education, Education, Education & War, due in the U.S. on April 1. Below them is London-born Paloma Faith, debuting at #39 with “Can’t Rely On You”. It’s her first top 40 entry.
  • Sadly, we say goodbye to “Let Her Go” by Passenger this week, the tune that spent an immense twelve weeks at #1, ended the year at #1 and totaled 48 weeks in the top 40, tying for the second-longest run in my chart’s history. (Joining it is “Free” by Graffiti6, my #1 song of 2012.) It won’t be the same without it on, but no worries: another of his former #1’s, “The Wrong Direction”, will be in the top 40 for a few more frames. Plus, a new album is coming from him later this year. We can’t let go of him quite yet, can we?

(See my full chart on the M4BCC message board)

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ADAM’S TOP 40 FLASHBACK: February 25, 2001

Relationships on the record.

Relationships on the record.

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. Fifth grade was the year that I won a second place prize in the Projects Fair and found out what Radio & Records was, one of the beginnings on my musical journey. Here’s a look at my top 40 from February 25, 2001:

40. BLACK EYED PEAS featuring MACY GRAY, “Request Line”
38. ASHLEY BALLARD, “Hottie”
37. WILD ORCHID, “Stuttering (Don’t Say)”
34. DREAM, “This Is Me”

Biggest Mover:
DESTINY’S CHILD, “Survivor” (33-21) (12 spots)

10. MYA, “Free”
“Case Of The Ex” may have given this performer a big crossover hit in later 2000, but it was this followup to it that I always preferred, especially the radio remix which gave it a bit of disco breakdown in the middle of it. It didn’t fare as well nationally, but she got back into the groove that summer on a #1 for five weeks on my chart, “Lady Marmalade”.

09. JENNIFER LOPEZ, “Love Don’t Cost A Thing”
Don’t be fooled by the rocks (or chart position) that she’s got; the dancing diva was hot stuff. During the first month of 2001, Lopez became the only act to have the #1 album (J.Lo) and appear in the #1 film (The Wedding Planner) in the U.S. during a given week. That’s big business. Further singles “Play” and “Ain’t It Funny” would also crack my top 5.

They dialed and dialed, got a few answering machines along the way, but still managed to hit #1 for two weeks in early 2001. It was the second single from Black & Blue following “Shape Of My Heart”. You may remember that it received a remix by The Neptunes, which got some play. Their career came to a low battery warning for me soon afterwards.

07. DIDO, “Thankyou”
When Eminem‘s “Stan” became a mid-charting single on both the pop radio chart and my own survey in late 2000, it was the sung hook by this singer that eventually outranked it. Originally featured on the soundtrack to 1998’s Sliding Doors, it had an unusually long run to a prominent chart peak, but one that landed her a handful of entries on my list.

06. VERTICAL HORIZON, “Best I Ever Had (Grey Sky Morning)”
The lead singer of this trio attended the same high school that I did, Bancroft School in Worcester, MA. Fun fact of the day, I suppose. That would be Matt Scannell, who lived in MA for a time. His band’s third consecutive top ten hit on my survey would be the last from their 1999 Everything You Want album. They’re an independent act nowadays.

05. CRAZY TOWN, “Butterfly”
Formed in 1995, the California group rapped their way to a hit on both the Alternative and CHR radio surveys. It also led the Hot 100 for two non-consecutive frames. Leader Shifty Shellshock charted with two solo songs after the band’s sole entry: “Starry Eyed Surprise”, a 2002 feature with DJ Paul Oakenfold, and “Slide Along Side” in 2004.

04. S CLUB 7, “Never Had A Dream Come True”
There ain’t no charting like an S Club charting, at least in my opinion. “Dream” became the septet’s biggest single to hit my chart and their last. It spent three weeks at #1. A followup, “Don’t Stop Movin'”, was planned for a radio servicing, but postponed after the events of 9/11. They split in 2003, but rumors of a full reunion have been around for years.

03. AEROSMITH, “Jaded”
The boys from Boston were about take the reins on my chart for a week, but on this particular survey, they were up to #3. Parent album Just Push Play was certified Platinum thanks to the song’s success. Followup “Fly Away From Here” just missed my top ten. They last charted in 2012 with the ballad “What Could Have Been Love”, which rose to #12.

02. RICKY MARTIN & CHRISTINA AGUILERA, “Nobody Wants To Be Lonely”
Originally just a solo song by Martin on Sound Loaded, Aguilera was added on for its single release. This was Martin’s penultimate top ten single on my chart; he also hit with “Loaded” a few months later during a quick chart run. Aguilera reached my top ten earlier this year on a duet with duo A Great Big World, “Say Something”, which climbed to #2.

01. SHAGGY featuring RAYVON, “Angel”
Call it a divine ditty of sorts. It went to #7 on the Hot 100 for Merrilee Rush in 1968 and then up to #4 in 1981 for Juice Newton. The song was “Angel Of The Morning”, and of course, it’s been recorded plenty more times beyond these two hit versions. Well, the Jamaican rapper and Barbadian singer flipped it up, interpolated it into a chorus, and gave us the song that was #1 on my chart this week in 2001 for its last of three weeks. It’s a classic that I still love now.

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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ALBUM REVIEW: The Fray – Helios

Just press Fray.

Just press Fray.

They call him the God of the Sun, driving his golden chariot across the sky with four horses at his side. He is Helios, one of the great figures of Greek mythology. Centuries later, Helios find himself as the name of the latest album by Denver rockers The Fray, the group’s fourth studio release since 2005 for their longtime home of Epic Records. Recorded during the summer of last year, Helios is the quartet’s most diverse album to date and runs the gamut from 90’s alt-rock (“Closer To Me”) to experimental (“Break Your Plans”) and even earthy (“Wherever This Goes”), hitting more musical flavors in-between. It isn’t bound to be a Top 40 Titan per se, but there are some sunny sounds amongst the polished gems and other decently crafted tunes that encompass the eleven tracks.

Highlights from the effort include opener “Hold My Hand”, which compares solidly as the “You Found Me” of Helios. Slade sings, “Escape is in my blood/Fear is in my bones/But I don’t wanna walk that road/Please help me.” Combining a Coldplay-esque piano tone, a memorable percussive line and an added gospel choir about halfway through, “Hold” is worthy of being a radio single, retaining the core of their sound while still expanding their horizons.

Third track “Give It Away” is also worth a listen, which bops to the more rhythmic, post-disco bounce of Maroon 5‘s latest material. It does work for the band in this instance, even if you can’t picture it at the moment. The pop jam also verges into Paul Simon and Graceland territory with more tribal sounding drums. “Love is free/C’mon and give it away,” says Slade. Hopefully, they wouldn’t be letting this get away from a commercial standpoint either. Track four, “Hurricane”, also follows a similar pattern, updating them into a more electro-pop groove. It’s not as successful to me as “Give” is, but it is an ear worm and you’ll be singing along.

As much as they try to fuse styles on their latest album, there are a few tracks on here that maintain the classic The Fray sound, going for a moodier vibe. “Keep On Wanting” taps into their inspirational side against a solid pop/rock sound, one of my favorites of the bunch. There is also “Shadow And A Dancer” and “Same As You”, the two closing songs, which also happen to be the longest. “Shadow” channels an early Peter Gabriel sound, while chronicling the ups and downs of an unexpected relationship: “The summer thrill is gone/But we’ve never been so in love.” “Same” finds itself on an echo-driven, almost spacey kind of ground, far different from anything else on here. Through the ending, the variety is there — but is there enough of an audience still interested in them?

With a single that’s stalled out at radio and a diminishing sales trend, this album obviously isn’t going to reach as many ears as their past three efforts have. There’s not a bad track on here, even if some are a tad more unremarkable than the obvious standouts. It does seem, however, that they sacrificed a few choruses, especially lyrically, and I do wish the emotive side of the band was more present on here. “Love Don’t Die” also feels like a lazy hit within the context of this album, and as much I like it, there are stronger options for singles releases and it can be easily dumped. That being said, there’s enough material to satisfy both old and new fans of the group and enough of an evolution without falling into a sonic trap as many other similar acts unfortunately have lately. They may not be the gods of mainstream radio anymore, but Helios proves that The Fray can still offer up some worthy artistic ambrosia to the masses.

Stream Helios on iTunes and pre-order the album, due on Tuesday (2/25).

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Gag Me With A Tune: Is “#Selfie” The New “Valley Girl”?

Rally from the Valley.

Rally from the Valley.

Music Video:

Does it cross your mind that the self-portrait picture you took on your phone isn’t colored correctly or that it’s not getting enough attention? You may relate to the issues in “#Selfie”, by New York dance duo The Chainsmokers. The hard-hitting track combined with a nasal vocal by an uncredited female performer is all the rage online and is swiftly crossing to pop radio. Take a selfie of the chart and you’ll see that it just entered the top 50 with some giant gains. It’s been drawing comparisons to a novelty hit that was released in 1982, “Valley Girl” by Frank and Moon Unit Zappa. So, is it worth all the camera time and will it perform similarly? Like, for sure. Totally.

“#Selfie”, as the title suggests, concerns itself with a teenage female perfecting a snapshot while dancing in the club, as well as judging other patrons and dealing with crazy friends. It features a number of funny one liners, like “It’s not even summer; why does the DJ keep on playing “Summertime Sadness”?” and “Can you guys help me pick a filter? I don’t know if I should go with XX-Pro or Valencia. I want to look tan.” Whether it’s meant to be a parody or not, it sure is hilarious, and for three minutes, you can lose it getting your groove on to the solid beat of the record while also strutting a pose for the world to see over Facebook and Twitter. #MovingOnNow

Solid Gold Performance:

While “Valley Girl” introduces a similar concept with that affected SoCal vocal as performed by 14-year-old Moon Unit Zappa, “Valley” is a rock song that splits the monologue with a sung bridge and chorus by her father, Frank Zappa. It, too, brings the quick quips like “Barf me out!” and “Gag me with a spoon!”, as well as the daily adventures of a teenager at the mall, criticizing her English teacher (“Mr. Bufu!”) and feeling embarrassed about her “grody” toe nails. There’s not so much a focus on a particular event or item as there is in “#Selfie”, but “Valley” helped Valspeak to expand to a wider audience. In addition, the film Valley Girl was released the next year.

Unlike “#Selfie”, “Valley” was out during a more conservative era for music; big ballads by acts like Air Supply and Chicago were still ranking high, and more progressive dance and R&B records weren’t crossing over easily. Taking a slow ride up the Hot 100 through the summer, it peaked at #32 for two weeks in September 1982. It was the second highest ranking novelty single of the year behind “Take Off” (#16) by Bob and Doug McKenzie. It would be the father and daughter pairing’s sole top 40 entry. The elder Zappa continued to make albums until his death in 1993, though he never charted on the Hot 100 again. The younger Zappa went into the occasional acting and writing role, and is probably best known as the ex-wife of Matchbox Twenty guitarist Paul Doucette.

I’m not saying the same fate is going to happen for The Chainsmokers; they’re still young and have a production career to fall back should this be their only song to receive the mainstream appeal. They’ve created remixes for acts like Cash Cash, Icona Pop and The Wanted, all of which have landed on digital EPs. CHR radio itself is in a far more diverse place than it was years ago, and thus, injecting a little fun into the mix can only help. The two are also quite active on social media, which certainly wasn’t around when “Valley” was out, nor was the accuracy of airplay, sales and streaming data (or jukebox rotations back in 1982.) It could’ve been much bigger under today’s technology and formula changes. We’ll never know, but we do know that novelty hits sell and take off fast.

Stay tuned to see what kind of digital and airplay reaction “#Selfie” will experience over the next few weeks as more teens find out about it. Alex Pall and Andrew Taggart have a hit on their hands, although it might take another radio department at a major label to increase their results. (The duo is currently on the independent Dim Mak Records.) Even if the “Valley Girl” comparison isn’t as noticeable to you, maybe “Let me take a selfie” will be equivalent to this decade’s version of “Shake it like a Polaroid picture” from OutKast‘s “Hey Ya!” Who knows?

This is only the beginning of what could be a larger phenomenon and a once-in-a-lifetime hit for the two performers. Don’t forget to take a selfie of where you were when you first heard it. (Or not.)

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TURN IT UP TUESDAY: What’s New In Stores This Week (February 18)

Nothin' but the Cole story.

Nothin’ but the Cole story.

The schedule’s a bit on the light side this week, but perhaps you can catch up on some old favorites, as well as all the new stuff in stores today, February 18:

  • Eric Church will likely land a second week at #1 with The Outsiders, but right behind him should be another hot Country act, newcomer Cole Swindell. He’s been a writer in the Country community for many years, and now his self-titled debut album is out today, featuring the hit “Chillin’ It”. Look for it to debut somewhere in the top ten. (iTunes)
  • Filling your music competition fix this week, check out Music Speaks from American Idol champion Candice Glover. Lead single “Cried” is receiving some limited airplay on the Urban AC chart. It will likely mark the lowest opening week ever for a debut effort from a winner of the show, but that’s what happens when the project is doomed from the beginning. (iTunes)
  • For the latest indie bands on the rise, dig into Bear Hands‘s Distraction (iTunes) and Phantogram‘s Voices (iTunes). “Giants” from the former and “Fall In Love” from the latter band are both climbing up the Alternative survey.
  • Other releases out this week include: Bayside‘s Cult (iTunes), Sean Paul‘s Full Frequency (iTunes), Suzanne Vega‘s Tales From The Realm Of The Queen Of Pentacles (iTunes) and We Are The In Crowd‘s Weird Kids (iTunes).

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

  • “Calling All Hearts”, a collaboration between DJ Cassidy, Jessie J and Robin Thicke. (iTunes)
  • “Gimme Your Love”, the debut single by R&B singer Kesington Kross. (iTunes)
  • “Heartbreak Dream”, the first single from Betty Who‘s forthcoming first studio album. (iTunes)
  • “I Wanna Get Better”, the debut single from rockers Bleachers. (iTunes)

Next week, be on the lookout for top releases from Beck, Dierks Bentley, The Fray and more. See you in seven!

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REWIND: From “Real” To Reel

"Feel" the love.

“Feel” the love.


If you’ve seen the latest 30-second advertisement for retailer Target, you know that it features a handful of women shaking and shimmying around in colored prints against backgrounds straight out of a kaleidoscope. It’s promoting a new line from womenswear brand PETER PILOTTO, a partnership between designers Peter Pilotto and Christopher De Vos that’s been around for a few years now. However, it’s the energetic dance song used in it that’s catching a lot of buzz, a new remix of an old disco classic that conquered the clubs and is now conquering the world of commercials.

This is the story of one of the songs by the “Queen of Disco”, the performer best known as Sylvester. Born Sylvester James, Jr. in Watts, CA in 1947, his looks were flamboyant and his falsetto was exquisite. From the earlier days of singing in church to performing with drag troupes and then eventually to his own recordings, he had a clear image and a voice, one that meant a lot particularly within the gay community during a wave of change during the 70’s. In 1977, he joined Harvey Fuqua and Fantasy Records in taking his brand of music into the mainstream. By 1978’s Step II, that dream was fully realized, and with disco music filling up the pop charts, his sound caught on and swept the nation.

Today back in 1979, “You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real)” climbed from 44-40, becoming the performer’s second top 40 hit on the Hot 100. It would climb to #36 the next week, stay there for another frame, and then fall down at a rapid pace. It last appeared on the chart dated March 17 at position #100. The peak was achieved nearly six months after it topped the Hot Dance/Club Play survey for six weeks in a double a-side release with “Dance (Disco Heat)”, which peaked at #19 on the Hot 100 in 1978. It also climbed to #8 in the U.K., spending three weeks in the top ten.

The song’s legacy in the dance community remains high in the decades since it was first released. The bass line of it heavily influenced New Order‘s 1983 classic “Blue Monday”, which has also been widely sampled. Then, in 1990, Jimmy Somerville, vocalist for Bronski Beat and The Communards, peaked at #87 on the Hot 100 with his version. (In the U.K., it landed at #5.) Two other 90’s remakes also ranked on the Dance/Club Play chart, by actress Sandra Bernhard (#13, 1994) and singer Byron Stingily (#1, 1998). It was also featured in the 2008 film Milk.

Sylvester‘s career after mid-1979 was almost exclusively found on the Dance surveys, which he continued to enter regularly, and the occasional European hit, like a feature on Patrick Cowley‘s 1982 single, “Do You Wanna Funk?” The singer signed to Warner Bros. for his last album, 1986’s Mutual Attraction, which garnered him his second of two Dance #1’s and a top 20 R&B hit, “Someone Like You”. He died in December 1988 due to complications from AIDS.

He’s no longer with us, but his musical legacy lives on for generations to enjoy, even if they’re doing it while shopping for the latest apparel. Not only is it on TV, but it’s enshrined in the Dance Hall Of Fame and that’s mighty real good.


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Highlights from Adam’s Top 40: February 16, 2014

Playing for Ceeps.

Take five… weeks, that is.

40. DJ Cassidy featuring Jessie J and Robin Thicke – Calling All Hearts

31. Ingrid Michaelson – Girls Chase Boys (39) | BIGGEST MOVER
30. Royal Wood – Forever And Ever (36)
28. Eric Hutchinson – Tell The World (34)

10. The Fray – Love Don’t Die (06) | PEAK: #03
09. Gary Barlow and Elton John – Face To Face (12) | PEAK: #09
08. Boy & Bear – Southern Sun (08) | PEAK: #08
07. Bastille – Bad Blood (10) | PEAK: #07
06. Bastille – Of The Night (03) | PEAK: #01 for two weeks
05. Neon Trees – Sleeping With A Friend (07) | PEAK: #05
04. MAGIC! – Rude (04) | PEAK: #04
03. Grouplove – Shark Attack (05) | PEAK: #03
02. Fitz & The Tantrums – The Walker (02) | PEAK: #02
01. Christina Perri – Human (01) | PEAK: #01 for five weeks

Top 10 Next In Line:
1. Hudson Taylor – Weapons (4)
2. Paloma Faith featuring Pharrell Williams – Can’t Rely On You (2)
3. KONGOS – Come With Me Now (1)
4. Kylie Minogue – Into The Blue (5)
5. Aer – Says She Loves Me (10)
6. Kaiser Chiefs – Coming Home (-)
7. Big Data – Dangerous (-)
8. The Vamps – Can We Dance? (3)
9. Paolo Nutini – Scream (Funk My Life Up) (9)
10. Daft Punk – Give Life Back To Music (-)

In The Mix:
5 Seconds Of Summer – She Looks So Perfect
Bastille – Flaws
Benny Tipene – Make You Mine (new)
Betty Who – Heartbreak Dream (new)
Birdy – Skinny Love
Chet Faker – No Diggity
Daughtry – Battleships
Grizfolk – The Struggle
HAIM – Forever
Hot Chelle Rae – Don’t Say Goodnight
Hunter Hayes – Invisible
John Newman – Out Of My Head
Justin Timberlake – Not A Bad Thing (new)
Lo-Fang – When We’re Fire
Magic Man – Paris
needtobreathe – The Heart
O.A.R. – Peace
Oh Honey – Be Okay
OneRepublic – I Lived
Parmalee – Carolina
R5 – (I Can’t) Forget About You (new)
Strange Talk – Young Hearts
Tegan & Sara – Drove Me Wild
Vance Joy – Riptide

Chart Notes:

  • Christina Perri is only “Human”, and her latest single is not only lovely, it stands atop my chart for a fifth week in a row. It’s now the longest running #1 song for a solo female on my list since Adele‘s massive “Rolling In The Deep”, which spent six weeks at #1 in February and March of 2011. Perri’s album, Head Or Heart, is now in stores on April 1, and that’s no April Fool. (I’d suggest you’re only a fool if you don’t purchase it.)
  • At 66 years and 10 months old, the “Rocket Man” himself is the owner of a new record in my chart’s history. Elton John duets with Gary Barlow on “Face To Face”, up 12-9 this week, which makes John the oldest performer to ever have a top ten single on my chart. This was previously held by Rod Stewart, who was 61 years and 9 months old when his cover of Creedence Clearwater Revival‘s “Have You Ever Seen The Rain?” reached my top ten in October 2006.
  • The Biggest Mover on this week’s chart belongs to singer-songwriter Ingrid Michaelson. She debuted last week at #39 and takes an eight spot jump to #31 with “Girls Chase Boys”. As far as my top 40 goes, the biggest charter out on the chase belongs to “Chasing Cars” from Snow Patrol, which spent four weeks at #1 in the fall of 2006.
  • This week’s only debut belongs to newcomer DJ Cassidy, who takes his first song into my top 40 along with two other established acts, Jessie J and Robin Thicke. The big collaboration, “Calling All Hearts”, debuts this week at #40. The DJ’s forthcoming album, Paradise Royale, is due for release in May.
  • Look for as many as four debuts on the list next week, including strong candidates from Irish duo Hudson Taylor and British rockers the Kaiser Chiefs.

(See my full chart on the M4BCC message board)

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ADAM’S TOP 40 FLASHBACK: February 19, 2006

"Head" or "Heart"?

“Head” or “Heart”?

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. It was my Junior Year of high school and I was about to turn 17 in a few weeks. It isn’t all it seems, at seventeen… so says Janis Ian. Here’s a look at my top 40 from February 19, 2006:

40. GOLDFRAPP, “Ride A White Horse”
39. JEWEL, “Again And Again”
38. NICK LACHEY, “What’s Left Of Me”
34. JOSH KELLEY, “Almost Honest”

Biggest Mover:
MECK featuring LEO SAYER, “Thunder In My Heart Again” (31-13) (18 spots)

10. A-HA, “Analogue (All I Want)”
Your eyes do not deceive you; that is, in fact, the Norwegian trio with a song in my top ten… in 2006. Best known for the 1985 classic, “Take On Me”, the band had been together all that time except for a short period of four years in the 90’s. “Analogue” went to #10 in the U.K. and #8 on my chart. They last performed live in public during the summer of 2011.

09. GOO GOO DOLLS, “Better Days”
The Buffalo rockers turned to a much softer side for this single, which saw placement on a number of television shows beginning in 2005. “Better” remains the last top 40 entry on the Hot 100 for the guys, who are now down to a duo after drummer Mike Malinin exited from the band in December. Their latest single, “Come To Me”, was a minor Hot AC hit.

08. TRAIN, “Cab”
There has been an endless amount of charting hits about automobiles, but when it comes to cabs and taxis, they may as well be stuck in Park on the freeway. The San Francisco band’s first single from For Me, It’s You wheely got going on the AAA and Hot AC charts, where it climbed into the top ten. Elsewhere, it wasn’t such a smooth ride for our fine friends.

07. BO BICE, “The Real Thing”
This former American Idol runner-up became the first to top my survey, spending three weeks at #1 during the spring. It was his debut release on my chart, though his take on “Inside Your Heaven” peaked at #2 on the Hot 100 in 2005 with strong sales. His The Real Thing album was certified Gold, but Bice was ultimately dropped after one album with RCA.

06. MICHAEL BUBLÉ, “Save The Last Dance For Me”
This is the only remake in the top ten this week, originally done by The Drifters in 1960, a #1 for three weeks in October and November. It subsequently also hit the Hot 100 for artists like The DeFranco Family in 1974 (#18) and Dolly Parton in 1984 (#45). Bublé’s take on it barely edged in there at #99, but it did some damage on the AC radio airwaves.

05. THE FRAY, “Over My Head (Cable Car)”
Long before they burst onto the scene with this big debut hit, lead singer Isaac Slade had to kick his brother Caleb out of the group, which led to a rift between the two siblings that lasted for some time. Hence, the existence of this song, which Slade wrote with his band mate Joe King. It paused for three weeks at #4 on my chart and began their road to stardom.

04. JAMES BLUNT, “You’re Beautiful”
His life was, no doubt, a little more brilliant after the release of this big ballad. After all, he may have lost a relationship with his girlfriend, but he gained a few million more fans out of it. “Beautiful” spent eight non-consecutive weeks at #1 on top 40, though Blunt’s signature song was slowly making its way down in early 2006. It spent 42 weeks in the top 40.

03. MADONNA, “Sorry”
It’s too late to apologize for this not making it to #1 on my chart, but a #3 peak is nothing to be ashamed of. The second single from Confessions On A Dance Floor was a pulsing pop/dance record that did well in the clubs, but barely touched radio lists here. It fared better internationally. The legend last made my survey in 2012 with “Give Me All Your Luvin'”.

Initially released in the U.K. in late 2004, Bedingfield’s song didn’t peak in the U.S. until 2006. “Unwritten” spent ten weeks at #1 on my chart; at this point, it was up to 3, but was interrupted for a few weeks by another female from across the pond. Bedingfield recently revamped her official site, which can only mean that some new music is on the horizon.

01. KT TUNSTALL, “Black Horse And The Cherry Tree”
She’s the Scottish lass who got your feet stomping eight years ago this week as her debut single made it to the top of my list for a second week in a row. During its Stateside run, “Black” got a huge boost when Katharine McPhee performed the song on an episode of American Idol. It remains her biggest international single. Tunstall released Invisible Empire // Crescent Moon last year and is on the soundtrack to Winter’s Tale in a collaboration with A.R. Rahman, “Miracle”.

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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