Monthly Archives: April 2014

TURN IT UP TUESDAY: What’s New In Stores This Week (April 29)

Causing more "Trouble".

Causing more “Trouble”.

This set of releases isn’t the most interesting crew of the year, but if you’re down with some rockers, a pop duo and a violinist, you may be in luck. Here’s what albums and singles are in stores for the week of April 29:

  • With his first album in nearly four years, singer/songwriter Ray LaMontagne returns with his fifth studio effort, Supernova. The title track is currently at AAA radio and charting within the top 5. LaMontagne’s last two albums have both debuted at #3 on the Billboard 200; this will likely secure a debut around the same area. (iTunes)
  • Former America’s Got Talent contestant and independent artist Lindsey Stirling is back with her second album, Shatter Me. The violinist collaborated with Lzzy Hale and Dia Frampton on this set. Stirling 2012 self-titled effort was a major sleeper hit and this could potentially have a sizable first week number. (iTunes)
  • Everyday Robots is the first solo set for Damon Albarn, best known for his work as the lead singer of Blur. Albarn’s album is already selling extremely well across Europe, and while it won’t put up the same number here, it should attract a decent crowd. (iTunes)
  • Other releases out this week include: Old 97‘s Most Messed Up (iTunes), Pixies‘s Indie Cindy (iTunes), Rodrigo Y Gabriela‘s 9 Dead Alive (iTunes), Saliva‘s Rise Up (iTunes), Strange Talk‘s Cast Away (iTunes), Timeflies‘s After Hours (iTunes) and the soundtrack to the forthcoming film Neighbors (iTunes).

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

  • “Bind Your Love”, another digital single from Cher Lloyd. (iTunes)
  • “Do It Again”, one track from a collaborative effort between Röyksopp & Robyn. (iTunes)
  • “Let Me In”, a track from Grouplove from the forthcoming soundtrack to The Fault In Our Stars. (iTunes)
  • “Lock Me Up” (+ EP), new from pop/rockers The Cab. (iTunes)
  • “Problem”, the new single from Ariana Grande and featuring Iggy Azalea. (iTunes)

With the soundtrack to Frozen still dominating, can new releases from Hunter Hayes, Lily Allen or even the fiftieth edition of NOW! That’s What I Call Music! warm the top of the chart? A full preview is coming in seven!

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REWIND: ELO “Roll” Up The Charts

Strike up the band.

Strike up the band.


It started out as two friends wanting to create a new project in order to adapt a more classical sound, and though it took a few years to finally get off the ground, the Electric Light Orchestra became huge for their entertaining symphonic meets art rock style in the 70’s. Led by the talented Jeff Lynne, their presence on both the concert circuit and the charts was felt for many years. They may not be present in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (yet), but they still won over people from around the world, including in the U.S., where a great run began for them several decades ago.

Today (April 28) in 1973, the Electric Light Orchestra‘s “Roll Over Beethoven” debuted at #90 on the Billboard Hot 100, becoming the group’s first single to chart on any major U.S. survey. It was the leadoff single from their second LP, Electric Light Orchestra II, issued on United Artists. It topped out at #42 in late July after a wild ride up to #65, then a crash down to #100, and then up the chart once more to its peak just outside the top 40. “Roll” also climbed to #48 on Cashbox and all the way to #31 on Record World, the two other big trade papers at the time. The single also helped the album to reach #62 on the Billboard 200 that year, a much better position than the #196 achieved by No Answer about a year prior. Things were very much looking up for the guys.

The song itself is a remake of the 1956 Chuck Berry single, which went to #29 on Billboard’s Top 100 chart, an earlier version of the Hot 100 with a variation in methodology. It’s an early rock classic, but ELO managed to interpolate some familiar sounds into the arrangement, specifically pieces of Beethoven‘s Symphony No. 5. It’s done particularly well, although the full remake itself has received mixed reaction over the years. Nevertheless, it’s still remembered as one of the group’s most well-known compositions and, of course, their breakthrough to a bigger audience. (Larger things were yet to come, however!)

Following their first chart record in America, it would take ELO nearly two years to score a top 40 entry, but when they hit with “Can’t Get It Out Of My Head”, it soared to #9 on the Hot 100 and really set them on their way. From 1975 until 1986, 20 of their singles went top 40, including such Classic Rock radio staples as “Evil Woman” (#10, 1976) and “Don’t Bring Me Down” (#4, 1979). The last, “Calling America”, peaked at #18. Even during the biggest days, they never sent a single to #1. (On rival Radio & Records, “Shine A Little Love” did spend a week there in 1979.) After an extended hiatus, the group recorded album Zoom in 2001, but it failed to make a significant impact. Jeff Lynne and Richard Tandy have since played together live, but the full band hasn’t played in any configuration in years.

Still on the airwaves and perhaps the odd showing of Xanadu here and there (which is still one of the best soundtracks of the 80’s), there’s no need to “roll over” this Orchestra yet. Ludwig may care to differ, but he’s just one guy. Luckily, guys and girls can still enjoy this record that beats to the baroque while relishing in the rock, just another milestone in music history.

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Highlights from Adam’s Top 40: April 27, 2014

The Hunger for more.

Every little thing they do is “Magic”.

37. Disco Mystery – No Price
36. Passenger – Heart’s On Fire
25. Graffiti6 – The Bridge | HIGHEST DEBUT

31. SecondCity – I Wanna Feel (36)
26. Katy Perry – Birthday (31)
11. Ed Sheeran – Sing (18) | BIGGEST MOVER — two weeks

10. Clean Bandit featuring Jess Glynne – Rather Be (10) | PEAK: #10
09. Bastille – Bad Blood (05) | PEAK: #02
08. DJ Cassidy featuring Jessie J & Robin Thicke – Calling All Hearts (06) | PEAK: #06
07. Passenger – Scare Away The Dark (09) | PEAK: #07
06. Neon Trees – Sleeping With A Friend (04) | PEAK: #01 for six weeks
05. Rixton – Me And My Broken Heart (07) | PEAK: #05
04. A Great Big World – Already Home (08) | PEAK: #04
03. Phillip Phillips – Raging Fire (03) | PEAK: #03
02. Bleachers – I Wanna Get Better (02) | PEAK: #02
01. Coldplay – Magic (01) | PEAK: #01 for three weeks

Top 10 Next In Line:
1. Donkeyboy – Crazy Something Normal (4)
2. Christina Perri – Burning Gold (5)
3. The 1975 – Robbers (7)
4. Taylor Henderson – When You Were Mine (1)
5. Saint Raymond – Everything She Wants (6)
6. Gary Barlow – Since I Saw You Last (3)
7. Jeremy Redmore – Bad Philosophy (9)
8. The Seasons – Apples (10)
9. Sebell – Till The Sun Burns Out (8)
10. Daughtry – Battleships (-)

In The Mix:
American Authors – Believer (new)
Clean Bandit featuring Sharna Bass – Extraordinary
Duck Sauce – NRG (new)
Hudson Taylor – Battles (new)
Kylie Minogue – I Was Gonna Cancel
OneRepublic – Love Runs Out
Paloma Faith – Only Love Can Hurt Like This
Ray LaMontagne – Supernova
Red Wanting Blue – You Are My Las Vegas
Sam Smith – Stay With Me
Sarah McLachlan – In Your Shoes
The Fray – Break Your Plans

Chart Notes:

  • The youngsters continue to make their mark in the top ten this week: seven of the ten songs have been listed in my top 40 for nine or fewer weeks. I haven’t seen that kind of turnover in years. That number may be bumped to eight songs next week with big tracks from Ed Sheeran (“Sing”) and Foster The People (“Best Friend”) landing at #11 and #12, respectively. Meanwhile, within the top tier of the week’s singles, look for both A Great Big World and Bleachers to shine in the top spot during the month of May.
  • Speaking of Sheeran, “Sing” is this week’s Biggest Mover for the second week running, leaping from 18-11 in only its third frame on the chart. It continues to bob in and around the top ten on iTunes and is rapidly picking up at radio across five different formats, including current top 20 peaks at both CHR and Hot AC. Look for his album X, due on June 23, to be a big seller this summer.
  • Three debuts enter the survey this week and the highest of them, breaking in all the way up at #25, brings one of my favorite acts of the past few years back into the top 40 for their third time. Graffiti6, the duo of Jamie Scott and Tommy Danvers, claimed my #1 song of 2012 with “Free”, while “Stare Into The Sun” ranked at #7 for that year. Now, they return with “The Bridge”, the title cut from their recently released second album. Will it be able cross that popular path to the top spot? We’ll see in the coming weeks. (Read my review of The Bridge)
  • Wait… didn’t he just debut a few weeks ago with “Scare Away The Dark”? Well, Passenger now has an international single making some moves and it’s called “Heart’s On Fire”, which now becomes his fifth entry to make my chart in just over a year’s time. It debuts at #36. His new album, Whispers, is due on June 10.
  • Finally, in at #37, is a song that’s a bit of a mystery… a Disco Mystery, that is. Recently, “No Price” first premiered on BBC Radio 1, and few details were revealed: it’s on U.K. label New State and David Macklovitch from Chromeo does the lead male vocal. Further research shows that it samples “Can’t Put No Price”, a 1983 cut by New York City band North End. No one in the “super group” has confirmed their involvement with this track. However, it’s worth noting that the head of Columbia Records U.K. radio department recently tweeted out a link to the song. Could that mean an act like Daft Punk is involved? Stay tuned as the details unfold.

(See my full chart on the M4BCC message board)

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ADAM’S TOP 40 FLASHBACK: April 28, 2013

Win, lose or "Tie".

Win, lose or “Tie”.

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. With the annual running of the Boston Marathon earlier this week, of course, I was brought back to the terrible events of last year. Luckily, today, we’re Boston Strong(er). Meanwhile, here’s what was happening one year ago on my chart dated April 28, 2013:

40. CLASSIFIED featuring DAVID MYLES, “Inner Ninja”
33. DAFT PUNK featuring PHARRELL WILLIAMS, “Get Lucky”

Biggest Movers:
PLAIN WHITE T’S, “Should’ve Gone To Bed” (27-21)
KELLY CLARKSON, “People Like Us” (19-13)
and PASSENGER, “Let Her Go” (9-3) (6 spots)

Timberlake is the only artist with two songs in this week’s top ten, and I guess it’s no surprise: The 20/20 Experience was blowing up and getting a ton of people excited a year ago. “Suit” would spend two weeks at #2 after a quick rise up my top 40 and fell as the hype trailed off. In January, it won a GRAMMY Award for Best Music Video, directed by David Fincher.

09. MATT HIRES, “Restless Heart”
After missing my chart two years prior with “Honey, Let Me Sing You A Song”, the Florida singer and songwriter entered onto my chart with this single, co-written and produced by the duo Espionage. They’re responsible for big hits on my top 40 for acts like David Cook and Train. He’s now independent and just released an EP, Heartache Machine, this month.

08. FUN., “Why Am I The One?”
In 2013, this trio rushed to the top of my chart with three consecutive singles (“We Are Young”, “Some Nights” and “Carry On”), and while this song received a video treatment, it never ended up getting serviced to radio. As a result, it didn’t quite do as well, rising to #6, but that’s still significant. Member Jack Antonoff is currently promoting a new project, Bleachers.

07. DANIEL POWTER, “Crazy All My Life”
He’s a one hit wonder to most audiences, and “Bad Day” may forever be his best performing single on my chart, but Powter is still raking in the hits when it comes to my survey. The now 43-year-old singer from British Columbia has entered a total of ten times, with this climbing to #3. Powter has been writing with various collaborators for his latest effort since March.

06. PASSION PIT, “Carried Away”
The quartet from Cambridge, MA wasn’t exactly on my radar when debut album Manners hit shelves back in 2009, but go forward several years to 2012’s Gossamer and we see quite a difference. “Carried” remains the band’s biggest single on my chart, spending two weeks at #4, a better peak than the #26 achieved by “Take A Walk”. They have yet to rank since then.

Here’s the second of two songs from the former Mouseketeer and *NSYNC member. “Suit & Tie” may have provided that nice throwback sound, but “Mirrors” took us into the present with a contemporary R&B sound. It landed at #2 on the Hot 100, the same position it peaked at on here for three weeks. A third single from his album, “Tunnel Vision”, failed to enter.

04. PINK featuring NATE RUESS, “Just Give Me A Reason”
Combining the forces of two #1 artists on one emotional duet is grounds enough for yet another #1 single, right? No shock here; “Reason” took over the top spot for five weeks, becoming the biggest collaboration of the year. In fact, the song was the third of four singles to reach the top two from Pink‘s 2012 album The Truth About Love, a pretty impressive chart feat.

03. PASSENGER, “Let Her Go”
Taking a big leap of six notches from #9 is the song that would end up being my #1 single of the year 2013. “Go” held a grip on the weekly throne for twelve weeks in a row, the longest consecutive run for a male soloist in my top 40’s history. That is one extended stay. Though it wouldn’t break in the United States until later that year, it did very well at radio and retail.

02. FITZ & THE TANTRUMS, “Out Of My League”
In 2011, this sextet from Los Angeles took a long ride up to #1 for a week with their first big radio single, “MoneyGrabber”. Though the band claimed one of my favorite albums of the year with More Than Just A Dream, “League” didn’t experience that wish of another chart-topper, holding at #2 for five weeks. Followup “The Walker” also peaked at #2 for three frames.

01. MICHAEL BUBLÉ, “It’s A Beautiful Day”
Leading the chart for a third week in a row was the fourth song to reach that coveted spot for the Canadian crooner and the leadoff cut from To Be Loved, which was certified Gold. “Beautiful” was co-written by Bublé, Alan Chang and Amy Foster and produced by Bob Rock. Though it wasn’t nearly as big as “Haven’t Met You Yet” on a global scale, it did grab its usual airtime at both AC and Hot AC radio here in the States. A re-release of the album with an added DVD is available Tuesday.

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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Filed under Charts/Trade Papers, Retro

Loop De Loop: Sampling The Latest Dance Hits

If you’re ready to dust off your boogie shoes and dance ’til the morning light to the soundtrack of some hot sounds, look no further than these two singles to get the party jumping. Both jams are flipping some older records around and making them fresh once more. Impacting U.K.-based digital retailers within the next few weeks, the U.S. will surely be missing out if these don’t reach our shores. Here’s a little sampler of the samples and the new songs that accompany them:

Leaders of the Quack.

Leaders of the Quack.

Release Date: June 23 (U.K.)

Never did I think that Melissa Manchester‘s name would ever come up in 2014, but here we are with the latest single from the New York DJ duo of Armand Van Helden and A-Trak. Just under four years since “Barbra Streisand” got a quack at the top of the charts in Europe (and just a minor peak on the pop survey here in the U.S.), the two are back with a dance song that samples a forgotten release from the former Bette Midler backup singer turned soloist. “Energy” was originally issued in 1985 as the second single from her album Mathematics; since the title track didn’t do a whole lot of damage on the Hot 100, it was never expected to do well. However, these two guys just happened to find something cool in that hook to play around with, and now it’s the basis for the massive tune. It may be that the project remains a one hit wonder given the novelty of “Barbra”, but this is a really fun way to spin a lost 80’s gem (and rock that neon gym outfit.)

Bringin' the Illinoise.

Tunes from that toddlin’ town.

SECONDCITY – “I Wanna Feel”
Release Date: May 25 (U.K.) / at U.K. radio now

I’ve been following this single since the end of last month and I’m quite excited at how it’s progressed since then. In four weeks, you will absolutely see this track dominating the U.K. charts; both pre-orders and Shazam counts are rising. This DJ and producer was born in Chicago before moving to London, where he’s currently based and making the rounds at all of the top dance clubs. “Feel” is his first single to be released on Ministry Of Sound, the well-known dance and electronic label from across the pond. His song is based around an interpolation of the 1995 hit by Toni Braxton, “You’re Makin’ Me High”. (You can find the original line sampled in the song’s middle eight.) Not only is the original version lovely, but a remix by the Brookes Brothers is excellent as well. Between the sample, the piano and that beat that just gets you back on the floor, it’s a winner. Last week, it entered my chart at #36. “I wanna feel” that it’ll be making some big moves soon.

Which of these two new singles will you be dancing to all summer long? Let me know! Comment below or click on the “Get Social!” tab above to find PGTC on Facebook and Twitter.

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Endless Summer Fights: What Is 2014’s Song Of The Summer?

Songs hotter than the thermometer.

They’re hotter than the thermometer.

Can you believe it’s almost May? The snow has melted, the temperature is getting warmer, and summer is almost upon us, a sure sign that all of those summer singles are coming up quickly from the lower regions of the pop chart. 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 once again, I look to those pop airwaves to trying and calculate this year’s shortlist.

As I explained in last year’s post, your typical Song of The Summer enters the CHR chart as early as late March and as late as the first week or so of May, going to #1 between late June and mid-July and holding its grip on that top spot for multiple frames. Last year, that title belonged to the smash that was Robin Thicke‘s “Blurred Lines”, a collaboration with Pharrell Williams and T.I. that spent ten weeks at the top. Not all years are this clean cut, but in most years, one single generally breaks ahead of the pack to claim the title. Some may say that’s still a little bit early, but here are the ten songs I’m thinking could take the title of Song Of The Summer, along with a few extras that could provide another interesting battle:

5 SECONDS OF SUMMER – “She Looks So Perfect”
Label: Capitol
Why It Should: If you’re a youngster or you have a daughter, then you know who these four are and their One Direction connection. The Australian band’s EP recently debuted at #2 and the title track from it is making big gains at pop radio.
Why It Shouldn’t: If this song becomes an even bigger chart hit, American Apparel can say hooroo to their undergarment department. Sure, it’s big with the tweens, but outside of their fandom, they’re just a small fish in the ocean of boy bands.

Label: Columbia
Why It Should: I mean, a song that carries the title “Summer” has no reason not to be up for consideration. Harris remains hot on the scene and his latest is already placing as a top ten single in several countries. The U.S. should be next in line.
Why It Shouldn’t: After four main credit chart singles without him singing, does it sound odd that he’s actually singing once more? Perhaps. Notably, there’s an energy lacking in this and the repetition is a little much. It’s OK, but not fantastic.

CLEAN BANDIT featuring JESS GLYNNE – “Rather Be”
Label: Big Beat/Atlantic
Why It Should: This is just waiting to be the biggest dance record of the summer in the States. Several months ago, it was #1 all over Europe, including four weeks in the U.K.’s top spot. It’s classical meets handbag house: a winning combination.
Why It Shouldn’t: There’s a question of whether this sounds too European to be a hit on this side of the pond. I say no, but with an adds date back in March, radio’s been a little slow. We’ll see if programmers are too close-minded very soon.

Label: Atlantic
Why It Should: “The A Team” may have established him worldwide, but this is a career-defining single for sure. Sounding much like his older work as an independent act, a little attitude and tempo has really helped him out. It’s a huge record.
Why It Shouldn’t: Given the speed of how quickly this flew up the charts, how bad will the burn be on the way down? After all, there are Pharrell produced works all over the place today. From a longevity standpoint, it may not endure as well.

IGGY AZALEA featuring CHARLI XCX – “Fancy”
Label: Def Jam
Why It Should: You already know.” After several failed singles in the U.S., the Australian rapper and English vocalist have a big anthem about living the high life. Plus, the homage to Clueless in its music video is hot. The teens are digging it.
Why It Shouldn’t: Though the initial iTunes results are quite promising, this is one of the more polarizing songs of the pack. Conservative and older audiences won’t get it, per se. It can also be grating at times, particularly in the production.

KATY PERRY – “Birthday”
Label: Capitol
Why It Should: What time is it? “It’s time to bring out the big balloons.” Flying into the mainstream stratosphere is another sweet confection from the pop princess, already up to two chart-toppers this era. Radio is already unwrapping this gift.
Why It Shouldn’t: “Birthday” isn’t the strongest cut from PRISM, and a recent cakeola scandal is iced all over the message boards. Yikes! Unfortunately, this one doesn’t hold a (birthday) candle to “Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.)” on the charts.

KONGOS – “Come With Me Now”
Label: Epic
Why It Should: Four decades after John Kongos charted on the Hot 100 with 1971’s “He’s Gonna Step On You Again”, his sons quickly rose to the top of Alternative radio with their debut hit. Who knew the accordion could be cool again?
Why It Shouldn’t: This isn’t the most conventional CHR record and it’s obvious that Rhythm-leaning outlets won’t be in on it for some time (unless the song blows up.) Plus, the release is on Epic, so they’ll inevitably find a way to screw it up.

MAGIC! – “Rude”
Label: Latium/RCA
Why It Should: Reggae tends to do well during the summertime, and this Canadian band definitely fulfills that quota with a breezy tune about wanting to get a marriage blessing. Grab some shades and a tropical drink and feel the cool vibes.
Why It Shouldn’t: Though “Rude” has been a proven hit down under (Australia/New Zealand) and up north (Canada), three countries doesn’t equal a worldwide smash. Faceless to a U.S. audience at this point, some promotion is really needed.

NICO & VINZ – “Am I Wrong?”
Label: Warner Bros.
Why It Should: It seemingly came out of nowhere, but this duo from Norway quickly ascended up the Shazam survey and on the airplay and sales charts with this song. It may be a year old overseas, but “Wrong” is proving to be just right here.
Why It Shouldn’t: When you receive 66 adds on impact week and suddenly, a flash ad appears on the trade sites saying you got 90, well… someone needs to say something. This radio campaign feels a little overbearing for just an average song.

SAM SMITH – “Stay With Me”
Label: Capitol
Why It Should: From a much talked-about debut on Saturday Night Live to having three active singles on the air, including collaborations with Disclosure and Naughty Boy, the buzz is big on this boy. It’s only going to keep getting bigger.
Why It Shouldn’t: With melodic comparisons to Shakespear’s Sister‘s “Stay” and Tom Petty‘s “I Won’t Back Down”, it certainly sounds familiar. Since Capitol failed to secure a GRAMMY for Emeli Sandé, will they do it for Emeli Mandé?

Ten more choices for your consideration (and maybe a little wishful thinking on a few of these):
A Great Big World, “Already Home” (Epic)
AJR, “I’m Ready” (AJR/Warner Bros.)
Ariana Grande featuring Iggy Azalea, “Problem” (Republic)
Bleachers, “I Wanna Get Better” (RCA)
HAIM, “Forever” (Columbia)
Jason Derulo featuring Snoop Dogg, “Wiggle” (Warner Bros.)
Kiesza, “Hideaway” (Island/Republic)
OneRepublic, “Love Runs Out” (Mosley/Interscope)
Sia, “Chandelier” (RCA)
Tove Lo, “Habits (Stay High)” (Island/Republic)

Let me know what song you think will come out on top in the comments or on social media – click the “Get Social!” tab above.

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Filed under Charts/Trade Papers, Playlists

TURN IT UP TUESDAY: What’s New In Stores This Week (April 22)

Footloose and "Fancy" free.

Footloose and “Fancy” free.

The Easter Bunny may be too late in delivering these musical delights, but they’re still worth a hop over to the record store (or digital store) to check out everything. Here’s what albums and singles are in stores for the week of April 22:

  • Burning up the charts with her collaboration with Charli XCX, “Fancy”, Australian rapper Iggy Azalea makes her debut with the long-awaited The New Classic. With a big fan base behind her, this should post some pretty solid numbers during its first week given its international performance thus far. Look for it to be in the top 5, if not higher. (iTunes)
  • With his second album and first since 2012, rapper Future is back with Honest. Two singles from the project are currently charting at Urban radio: “Move That Doh”, a top ten record with Pharrell Williams, and “I Won”, a recent top 50 entry featuring Kanye West. This should also be an easy top 5 album on the Billboard 200. (iTunes)
  • Utah electro-rockers Neon Trees are ready to school us all in Pop Psychology, their third studio album. It features the hit “Sleeping With A Friend”, which is currently top 40 at Alternative, CHR and Hot AC radio. It will very likely be their highest debuting album yet, although lack of placement in the weekend ads and limited sale pricing could hurt it. Still, a top ten debut remains in the cards. (iTunes) (Read my review of Pop Psychology)
  • I also wrote quite a bit about the second album from duo Graffiti6, out with The Bridge. It’s an independent release, so it’s not going to get a ton of coverage, but it’s definitely worth a few listens. Jamie Scott and Tommy Danvers knocked it out of the park once again with a solid set of pop, rock and R&B-influenced songs. (iTunes) (Read my review of The Bridge)
  • Flying into movie theaters next week, the soundtrack from The Amazing Spider-Man 2 gets caught in the web of new releases this week. “It’s On Again” by Alicia Keys and Kendrick Lamar is the lead radio cut from it. (iTunes)
  • Other releases out this week include: Augustana‘s Life Imitating Life (iTunes), Bethel Music‘s You Make Me Brave (Live) (iTunes), Bruce Springsteen‘s American Beauty (EP) (iTunes), Francesca Battistelli‘s If We’re Honest (iTunes), G. Love and Special Sauce‘s Sugar (iTunes), Keb Mo‘s Bluesamericana (iTunes), Kelis‘s FOOD (iTunes), Little Feat‘s Live In Holland 1976 (iTunes), Sebastian Bach‘s Give ‘Em Hell (iTunes) and the Disney remixed compilation album Dconsctructed (iTunes).

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

  • “Fly”, a promotional track by former American Idol winner Phillip Phillips. (iTunes)
  • “High Ball Stepper” and “Lazaretto”, two songs from the forthcoming album by Jack White. (iTunes)
  • “Midnight”, a promotional digital single from Coldplay. (iTunes)
  • “Shatter Me”, a collaboration between Lindsey Stirling and Lzzy Hale of Halestorm. (iTunes)
  • “You Think You Know Somebody”, a digital track from Country singer Hunter Hayes. (iTunes)

Next week, singer/songwriter Ray LaMontagne and rap/pop duo Timeflies are among the schedule’s top new releases. A full preview is coming in seven!

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ALBUM REVIEW: Graffiti6 – The Bridge

A Bridge worth traveling on.

A Bridge worth traveling on.

Five years ago, Jamie Scott and Tommy Danvers began working together on a piece that would eventually hit the top of my personal chart during the summer of 2012: “Stare Into The Sun”. It spent three weeks in that position. However, it was that duo’s first big single, “Free”, that gave Graffiti6 the top song of my calendar year 2012. It’s a classic in my books. Though their airplay and album sales have unfortunately been limited in the States, they’ve managed to keep going through touring and the subsequent recording of this followup album.

Mastered last year and originally due for release on the duo’s label, Capitol Records, the project was sitting on the shelves with no concrete updates from the group or label for months. Then, earlier this year, it was announced that Scott would be issuing a solo album, Hurricane, later this year. He’s been previewing tracks from the effort in concert; a single, “Gold”, with singer Christina Perri, is expected at a yet-to-be determined date. Just weeks ago, The Bridge, teased over many months, finally saw a confirmed release date. It’s now finally out in stores for everyone to hear. So many feelings, so little time. Let’s try to sort this out, shall we? (Spoiler alert: it’s pretty much everything.)

At the top of my list is the percussive-driven title track, “The Bridge”, an edgy pop composition with a shade of a Bollywood touch. It’s by far the most instant song on here and would have given them a killer reintroduction to the U.S. charts if it was the leadoff single from the set. Against the pounding and thumping away is a more tender lyric about a man yearning for his lover in a state that isn’t so lucid. Scott questions, “Where’s the bridge we built that takes me home?/’Cause nothing means nothing at all without your love.” The powerful combination of the two delivers not only an excellent track, but somewhat of a bond between The Bridge and debut album Colours, a futuristic fusion to their psychadelic past.

Just as amazing is track six, “Under The Mask”, looping a light-hearted piano melody through a pure pop sound. This could easily be adapted into a dance record, but in its original form, it packs enough of a punch to standout as a solid radio worthy song. Its uplifting message and bright chorus only further its status as an anthem for the insecure and down: “There is a light in your heart/There is a light burning a fire in the dark/Under the mask, we’re beautiful/So let out the light, no need to hide anymore.” It’s really a lovely tune in all the aspects of it.

Of course, the adult contemporary fare in the bunch shines in a similar manner, most notably on the fourth track “Settle For Your Love”. As the title suggests, the song is about a second-rate romance, but one that’s passionate and fulfilling enough to satisfy the protagonist. He states, “When I feel lost, down and confused/Darling, you hold me, and the wires are removed.” Built on a more relaxing base, the song picks up in intensity towards the ending, when an almost Celtic-themed arrangement and marching band patterned drum line turn a straight-forward song into a more traditional tune.

Also in that soft rock realm is “Angels and Devils” in the seventh position on the tracklisting. Once again, the piano takes the lead on this one, as well as the gospel-tinged flavor found on fifth track “Washed My Sins”. (You may remember that a video was posted for that song last year featuring a mix of stock footage from different eras.) This, however, strikes a nice balance between the ethereal vocal stylings and the more earthy guitar solos and percussion. That rocky edge and progressive pace, though not the focal point of the song, do set it apart and make it quite successful.

Beyond these favorites of mine, it’s hard to find something to dislike about this album. From the Middle Eastern influence of “U Got The Sunshine” to the minimalist R&B ballad “Separate Lives” and a return to pop on the spacey “Resting Place” and seasonally sad “No Snow”, Danvers and Scott run the gamut when it comes to the musical spectrum and displaying the many influences on their sonic nature. Oh, and let’s not forget the ridiculous and amazing bonus track “Vocoda Orange”, in which Scott channels Adam Levine through that vocoder of his. It may have a proper slot as an extra cut rather than in the main tracklisting, but it’s undeniably fun, and perhaps it’ll do your head in trying to figure out what he’s actually singing. (I think you’ll eventually get it!)

Verdict: the wait was definitely worth it. Label politics aside, The Bridge is absolutely one of the best albums of 2014, but as an independent release, it will ultimately fly under the radar without the enormous notice that it really deserves. I may fan boy for these two and Scott’s budding career as a songwriter for other acts I enjoy, but the talent they possess and the tracks they produce can do no wrong in my eyes (and ears too.) I’ll forever be frustrated with Capitol from dropping the ball on it, but I can’t be too angry now that it’s out, right? It’s a real gem. The Colours may have melted together the last time around, but the hues of their latest hits are as simple as black and white.

(Purchase The Bridge on iTunes)


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Highlights from Adam’s Top 40: April 20, 2014

The Hunger for more.

It’s a kind of “Magic”.

39. MAGIC! – Don’t Kill The Magic
36. SecondCity – I Wanna Feel | HIGHEST DEBUT

32. One Direction – You & I (40)
31. Katy Perry – Birthday (38)
27. Sheppard – Geronimo (32)
18. Ed Sheeran – Sing (30) | BIGGEST MOVER
15. Foster The People – Best Friend (20)
08. A Great Big World – Already Home (15)

10. Clean Bandit featuring Jess Glynne – Rather Be (13) | PEAK: #10
09. Passenger – Scare Away The Dark (12) | PEAK: #09
08. A Great Big World – Already Home (15) | PEAK: #08
07. Rixton – Me And My Broken Heart (11) | PEAK: #07
06. DJ Cassidy featuring Jessie J & Robin Thicke – Calling All Hearts (06) | PEAK: #06
05. Bastille – Bad Blood (02) | PEAK: #02
04. Neon Trees – Sleeping With A Friend (03) | PEAK: #01 for six weeks
03. Phillip Phillips – Raging Fire (05) | PEAK: #03
02. Bleachers – I Wanna Get Better (04) | PEAK: #02
01. Coldplay – Magic (01) | PEAK: #01 for two weeks

Top 10 Next In Line:
1. Taylor Henderson – When You Were Mine (1)
2. Disco Mystery – No Price (4)
3. Gary Barlow – Since I Saw You Last (3)
4. Donkeyboy – Crazy Something Normal (6)
5. Christina Perri – Burning Gold (7)
6. Saint Raymond – Everything She Wants (8)
7. The 1975 – Robbers (10)
8. Sebell – Till The Sun Burns Out (9)
9. Jeremy Redmore – Bad Philosophy (-)
10. The Seasons – Apples (-)

In The Mix:
Avril Lavigne – Give You What You Like
Clean Bandit featuring Sharna Bass – Extraordinary
Daughtry – Battleships
Imagine Dragons – Bleeding Out
Kylie Minogue – I Was Gonna Cancel
OneRepublic – Love Runs Out (new)
Paloma Faith – Only Love Can Hurt Like This
Passenger – Heart’s On Fire (new)
Ray LaMontagne – Supernova
Red Wanting Blue – You Are My Las Vegas
Sam Smith – Stay With Me
Sarah McLachlan – In Your Shoes
The Fray – Break Your Plans

Chart Notes:

  • As predicted last week, it’s a particularly active top ten this week as four songs enter into it. Two are by newcomers: Clean Bandit/Jess Glynne at #10 and Rixton at #7. For duo A Great Big World at #8, it’s their second top ten to date following the #2 “Say Something” from a few months ago. Lastly, there’s Passenger at #9, who is now four for four with top ten records dating back to his chart debut last year. His previous three, “Let Her Go”, “Holes” and “The Wrong Direction”, all climbed to #1.
  • Moving up twelve spots to #18 is the week’s Biggest Mover, “Sing” by Ed Sheeran. With a fast start at both radio and retail, it is well on its way to becoming one of this summer’s hottest singles. He recently performed it and a new song, “Don’t”, on Saturday Night Live.
  • Two debuts enter the chart this week — the highest, at #36, is by newcomer SecondCity. The DJ and producer was born in Chicago and is now based in London. “I Wanna Feel” interpolates the classic 1995 single by Toni Braxton, “You’re Makin’ Me High.” The song is out in the U.K. on May 25 and is already looking like a future winner on the charts across the pond.
  • Down at #39 is the second top 40 hit for the Canadian band MAGIC!, who recently peaked at #2 with debut single “Rude”. Their latest is “Don’t Kill The Magic”, which gives us two magical titles on the chart this week. (The other, by Coldplay, is at #1 for a second frame and is simply titled “Magic”.)

(See my full chart on the M4BCC message board)

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ADAM’S TOP 40 FLASHBACK: April 18, 2010

"Red" 'em and weep.

“Red” ’em and weep.

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. The end of sophomore year of college was approaching and I was writing up a storm for final projects and such. Meanwhile, here’s what was happening on my chart dated April 18, 2010:

40. MIKE POSNER, “Cooler Than Me”
39. CHARICE, “Pyramid”
38. SCOUTING FOR GIRLS, “This Ain’t A Love Song”
34. JOHN MAYER featuring TAYLOR SWIFT, “Half Of My Heart”

Biggest Mover:
KEANE featuring K’NAAN, “Stop For A Minute” (25-14) (11 spots)

10. JOHN MAYER, “Heartbreak Warfare”
Mayer’s got double duties on the countdown this week with a debuting tune in “Half” and this former #3 hit, which was on its way down the top 40. Both singles were featured on his 2009 album Battle Studies, his second album to debut at #1 on the Billboard 200 chart. Though his mainstream heights are behind him today, he’s still doing great on the road overseas.

09. ERIK HASSLE, “Hurtful”
This Swedish singer was only 21 when he made his debut on my chart with this, quickly breaking the top ten and climbing up to #8 for two weeks. “Hurtful” was also a minor entry on the Hot AC survey. Hassle is currently with RCA and released an EP, Somebody’s Party, in March. A single from it, titled “Talk About It”, made my chart for a few weeks late last year.

08. CAVO, “Let It Go”
While Idina Menzel is still casting a chill on the charts with the same song title from the soundtrack to Frozen, this hard rocking band from Missouri was in the top ten with their first and only song to reach my chart. Two of their singles hit the Alternative top 40, while this managed a little traction on the Hot AC airwaves. The group remains together as a quartet.

07. LA ROUX, “Bulletproof”
Nobody said it was easy to climb up the rankings; ask the Louisiana band Le Roux. The English duo of Elly Jackson and Ben Langmaid with the same name, save for one letter, debuted in late December and was still climbing on this chart. The duo resurfaced recently with news of a new album, Trouble In Paradise, due in July. A first single should be issued soon.

06. BARENAKED LADIES, “You Run Away”
What happens when one of your lead vocalists decides to leave the group? Well, for this Canadian band, the departure of Steven Page could have led them to break up, but they soldiered on and have now released two studio albums playing as a four piece band. This single peaked at #5. They also made my top 40 last year with “Boomerang” and it peaked at #14.

05. V.V. BROWN, “Shark In The Water”
Born Vanessa Brown, the singer and songwriter from England made her chart debut with this track, which was a minor hit in several countries, including the United States, where it ranked on a few radio charts. After a shelved second album, she left her major label deal and independently released Samson & Delilah last year, which gained some buzz on music blogs.

04. COLBIE CAILLAT, “I Never Told You”
Caillat’s been a mainstay on my chart for several years now and this was one of her biggest singles, rising to #2 for a week. The California singer/songwriter was originally discovered through MySpace, but in recent weeks, she hasn’t really found a space on the charts. With the underperformance of “Hold On” earlier this year, her latest album has yet to see a release.

03. LADY ANTEBELLUM, “Need You Now”
Hey, Lady! It was the massive Country crossover smash of the year and took home several GRAMMY Awards, including Record and Song Of The Year. You can’t really get any bigger than that. Actually, maybe you can. “Need” spent a huge 11 weeks at #1 on my chart, easily becoming the year’s top single. They recently hit #1 on the Country chart with “Compass”.

02. ADAM LAMBERT, “Whataya Want From Me”
With the second single from his first album post-American Idol, titled For Your Entertainment, Lambert took a slow ride up to the top spot for two weeks, this week falling to #2. It remains his biggest entry to make my top 40. He begins a tour with Queen in June. He can also be heard on Avicii‘s “Lay Me Down”, the DJ/producer’s latest single down in Australia.

Produced by Mark Ronson, this week’s #1 song back in 2010 was a really pretty one about a not so pretty subject: as the singer puts it, “the blindness of war and the absence of compassion displayed by western administrations.” Although “Red” was a top 5 hit in the United Kingdom, it didn’t do nearly as much damage here, securing a small amount of Hot AC airplay before descending. Love & War remains his most significant project to date, though he is back in the studio and recording.

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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