Monthly Archives: May 2014

TURN IT UP MONDAY: What’s New In Stores This Week (May 19)

Viva la Coldplay.

They keep it chill.

There’s a battle brewing on the schedule this week with at least three acts looking to put up six figure numbers — perhaps one would call it “a sky full of stars”, yes? (NOTE: some releases may still not be out until Tuesday dependent on record label availability/iTunes response time.) Here’s what albums and singles are in stores for the week of May 19:

  • Call it “Magic”, call it new: today marks the release of the new album from Coldplay, Ghost Stories, which has been streaming on iTunes for the past few days. At nine tracks in length, it’s the band’s shortest album to date. (A Target exclusive deluxe edition lifts that total to twelve.) The current radio single from it is “A Sky Full Of Stars”, co-produced with Avicii. Expect this to debut at #1 on the album chart just as their last three albums have. (iTunes) (Read my review of Ghost Stories)
  • Following in a close second place is the latest effort from Country singer Brantley Gilbert, titled Just As I Am. Lead single “Bottoms Up” recently topped the Country chart and second single “Small Town Throwdown”, a collaboration with Justin Moore and Thomas Rhett, just made a significant debut on that same chart as aided by a first day Clear Channel deal. Will it reach Platinum status as Halfway To Heaven did? It could happen. (iTunes)
  • Former American Idol winner Phillip Phillips goes Behind The Light on his sophomore album, which features the current top ten Hot AC hit, “Raging Fire”. Though the song hasn’t garnered as much airplay or sales as “Home” or “Gone, Gone, Gone” as of yet, the album is a lock for a high debut thanks to his large fan base. (iTunes)
  • Looking to score their seventh top ten album on the Billboard 200, The Roots are out with their latest effort, …And Then You Shoot Your Cousin. I’m sure you’ll be seeing them promote it at their late night home, The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, this week. No singles from it have charted thus far. (iTunes)
  • Move over, Frozen, there’s a new soundtrack in town catching a lot of early attention. It’s a collection of songs from the forthcoming film The Fault In Our Stars, due in movie theaters on June 6. The set features all original songs by acts like Birdy, Ed Sheeran, Grouplove and more. (Feels sold separately.) (iTunes)
  • Other releases out this week include: Afrojack‘s Forget The World (iTunes), Conor Oberst‘s Upside Down Mountain (iTunes), Hedley‘s Wild Life (iTunes), Kenny Wayne Shepherd Band‘s Goin’ Home (iTunes), Melanie Martinez‘s Dollhouse (EP) (iTunes) and the original Broadway soundtrack to The Bridges Of Madison County (iTunes).

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

  • “Bartender”, the first single from the forthcoming album by Lady Antebellum. (iTunes)
  • “Keep Us Safe”, a live track from Country singer Carrie Underwood. (iTunes)
  • “Get Her Back”, a new single from Robin Thicke. Wonder who this song is about? (iTunes)
  • “Love Someone”, new from Jason Mraz‘s forthcoming album. (iTunes)
  • “Mission”, a new single from rapper Lupe Fiasco. (iTunes)
  • “Somethin’ Bad”, a collaboration between Miranda Lambert and Carrie Underwood. (iTunes)

Mariah Carey‘s Me. I Am Mariah… The Elusive Chanteuse comes into the light next week, while Austin Mahone makes a splash with his EP titled The Secret. Which musical mystery will take the crown? A full preview is coming on Tuesday!

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Highlights from Adam’s Top 40: May 18, 2014

"Something" more than the hit single.

“Home” is where the chart is.

39. The 2 Bears – Angel (Touch Me)
38. Neon Trees – Love In The 21st Century | HIGHEST DEBUT

32. Christina Perri – Burning Gold (37)
31. Duck Sauce – NRG (38) | BIGGEST MOVER
26. Coldplay – A Sky Full Of Stars (32)
16. SecondCity – I Wanna Feel (22)

10. Phillip Phillips – Raging Fire (07) | PEAK: #03
09. Graffiti6 – The Bridge (11) | PEAK: #09
08. Foster The People – Best Friend (09) | PEAK: #08
07. Clean Bandit featuring Jess Glynne – Rather Be (08) | PEAK: #07
06. Passenger – Scare Away The Dark (06) | PEAK: #06
05. Bleachers – I Wanna Get Better (01) | PEAK: #01 for one week
04. Coldplay – Magic (02) | PEAK: #01 for three weeks
03. Ed Sheeran – Sing (05) | PEAK: #03
02. Rixton – Me And My Broken Heart (04) | PEAK: #02
01. A Great Big World – Already Home (01) | PEAK: #01 for two weeks

Top 10 Next In Line:
1. Milky Chance – Stolen Dance (8)
2. Saint Raymond – Everything She Wants (1)
3. Jesse McCartney – Superbad (-)
4. Hudson Taylor – Battles (6)
5. American Authors – Believer (10)
6. Jeremy Redmore – Bad Philosophy (4)
7. Donkeyboy – Crazy Something Normal (3)
8. Kiesza – Hideaway (-)
9. George Ezra – Budapest (-)
10. Us The Duo – No Matter Where You Are (-)

In The Mix:
Clean Bandit featuring Sharna Bass – Extraordinary
Jacquie Lee – Broken Ones (new)
James Blunt – Postcards (new)
Lady Antebellum – Bartender (new)
Paloma Faith – Only Love Can Hurt Like This
Red Wanting Blue – You Are My Las Vegas
Sara Bareilles – Chasing The Sun (new)
Sarah McLachlan – In Your Shoes
Stu Larsen – Thirteen Sad Farewells
Young Rising Sons – High (new)

Chart Notes:

  • For the second week in a row, A Great Big World rule the top 40 with “Already Home”, their first song to reach the top. Album Is There Anybody Out There? also produced a #2 entry last year, “Say Something”, which gained traction as a duet with Christina Aguilera. Though the duo’s only been charting since the fall of 2013, singer Ian Axel was listed beneath my survey in early 2011 with a solo version of their breakout release “This Is The New Year”.
  • The week’s Biggest Mover belongs to duo Duck Sauce, who debuted last week at #38 and now rise to #31, a gain of seven spots. Their last hit, “Barbra Streisand”, peaked at #13 in late 2010 and dented the Hot 100 at #89. Believe it or not, there’s been only one other saucy set of singers to hit Billboard’s big survey. In 1972, a Detroit trio called Hot Sauce peaked at #96 with their only charting record for Volt Records, “Bring It Home (And Give It To Me)”.
  • Following their recent #1 single, “Sleeping With A Friend”, the Utah quartet Neon Trees land this week’s Highest Debut with “Love In The 21st Century” at #38. The second release from Pop Psychology goes to Alternative radio soon, where “Sleeping” still currently ranks in the top 20. Overall, it’s the band’s seventh single to enter my chart.
  • At #39 is this week’s other debut, the first chart hit for a duo called The 2 Bears. They are Joe Goddard, one fifth of the band Hot Chip, and Raf Rundell. The two have been making music together since 2009 and their second album, titled The Night Is Young, is due this fall. “Angel (Touch Me)” is released digitally at the end of June.

(See my full chart on the M4BCC message board)

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ALBUM REVIEW: Coldplay – Ghost Stories

Viva la Coldplay.

Viva la Coldplay.

Conscious uncoupling: Coldplay lead singer Chris Martin and then-wife Gwyneth Paltrow ignited that term when it was used to describe their separation earlier this year, but it can be applied just as much to Martin’s band. The playful pop sounds of their last two albums are nothing more than a breakup to write about, replaced with the more atmospheric and contemplative themes of Ghost Stories, released on Parlophone/Atlantic this Monday. Finding itself somewhere between a breakup album and an effort with a hint of opportunity, this nine song collection (twelve on the Target deluxe) goes for the personal, but personally, isn’t even close to what I was looking for out of their latest material. This isn’t to say what the  group has written and recorded is subpar, but enduring classics they are not.

The album begins with the soothing “Always In My Head”, which begins with a series of chants before transitioning into a moody rocker. It feels incomplete at just one verse and one chorus, Martin repeatedly singing to his love, “you’re always in my head.” Also sparsely written is the first radio single from the project, “Magic”, a beautifully simple composition that gently eases along. This tale ends on a hopeful note: “If you were to ask me/After all that we’ve been through/Still believe in magic/Oh, yes I do… of course I do.” Picking up the pace from there is third cut “Ink”, one of the stronger tracks of the set, which picks up the pace from the solidly slow beginning. The optimism of a romance is likened to “carving your name with a pocket knife”, although Martin indicates that his relationship now “feels like there’s something broken inside.”

Fourth track “True Love” is also a welcome treat, which comes off as a sequel to the quartet’s 2013 soundtrack single from The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, “Atlas”. Though the request to “tell me you love me” and “If you don’t, then lie to me” isn’t particularly convincing, the song as a whole is pleasant. The pre-release track “Midnight” follows in the fifth slot in a minimalist fashion, reminiscent of the mid-to-late 1970’s Peter Gabriel catalog. Martin subjects us to passionate longing once more in “Another’s Arms”, in which he wishes “that you were here beside me” as he watches the tube in the wee hours of the morning. I hope he isn’t tuned into reruns of Divorce Court (or the umpteenth airing of Country Strong.)

The final three tracks in the set, if not the best of the bunch, certainly provide an interesting experience for the listener. It advances with the acoustic-based “Oceans”: think of it as the “God Put A Smile Upon Your Face” of Ghost Stories. Perhaps the most intriguing part about is the coda which leads into a full outro, a chaotic assembly of crashing waves, bells ringing in reverse and more. It transitions nicely into the second radio single and obvious hit of the bunch, “A Sky Full Of Stars”, co-produced by Avicii. Even more dance-oriented than 2011’s “Every Teardrop Is A Waterfall”, the song is uplifting and the only real hyper positive moment on here. That, of course, means we end on a downer: “O”, the piano-heavy ballad that delicately unwinds to the calls of Martin to “fly on” as “a flock of birds”. It has single potential down the line.

If the days of Parachutes and A Rush Of Blood To The Head are more up your alley, then the finely crafted tunes of Ghost Stories, subtleties and all, will probably appeal more to you than the casual fan of “Viva La Vida”. It’s certainly not lacking in terms of inspiration, but given the jump from the pop-driven Mylo Xyloto to this, the experience isn’t wholly satisfying. Then again, one could argue that the concept of adoration isn’t either. Love on the rocks ain’t no big surprise, and neither are the sales that come along with the hype of an act like Coldplay. Though this album’s start will likely be slower and not as impressive in the long run, there are a few songs on here that could drive numbers up.

There’s unfinished business to be had, but I’m sure it’ll be years before anything new is ready for our consumption. Until then, get a good bookmark. You may find yourself coming back to these Stories when you least expect it.

(Stream and purchase Ghost Stories on iTunes)

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TURN IT UP TUESDAY: What’s New In Stores This Week (May 13)

They have a "Fever" for big sales.

They have a “Fever” for big sales.

April showers bring May flowers and the garden of new releases this week is looking a lot healthier thanks to some Q2 stars with new music. Here’s what albums and singles are in stores for the week of May 13:

  • Dan Auerbach and Patrick Carney are doing their thing once again as The Black Keys with their fifth full-length release for Nonesuch Records, Turn Blue. Their last album, El Camino, sold over 200,000 copies in its first week during the holiday music rush in 2011. Can their newest effort do the same kind of numbers? With a #1 song at Alternative radio in “Fever”, that total will definitely be up there. (iTunes)
  • Nearly five years after his passing, the public has shown that interest is still present for unreleased material from the legendary Michael Jackson. His second posthumous compilation, titled Xscape, hits shelves this week. First single “Love Never Felt So Good”, which comes in both a solo version and as a duet with Justin Timberlake, is floating around the top ten on iTunes. Look for it to be in the top 2 next week with a chance at #1. (iTunes)
  • Due for a top 5 debut on the Billboard 200 is another album from Country trio Rascal Flatts. Their ninth effort is Rewind, and the title track is rising up the charts. Their numbers have dwindled over the years, but this should be pretty close to a six figure start. (iTunes)
  • Released a day early to a #1 debut on iTunes Albums survey, Chromeo‘s White Women is in stores now. It’s the duo’s first album since 2010. The lead single from it is “Jealous (I Ain’t With It)”, which is currently gaining airplay in both the U.S. and Canada. (iTunes)
  • Other releases out this week include: Blondie‘s Blondie 4(0)-Ever: Greatest Hits Deluxe Redux / Ghosts of Download (iTunes), Dolly Parton‘s Blue Smoke (iTunes), Down‘s Down IV, Pt. II (iTunes), Little Dragon‘s Nabuma Rubberband (iTunes), Sturgill Simpson‘s Metamodern Sounds In Country Music (iTunes), Tori Amos‘s Unrepentant Geraldines (iTunes), the original Broadway soundtrack to Beautiful: The Carole King Musical (iTunes) and a various artists compilation, One Love, One Rhythm: The Official 2014 FIFA World Cup Album (iTunes).

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

  • “All I Ever Need”, a digital single from Austin Mahone. (iTunes)
  • “Real Girls Eat Cake”, a single from online comedy group The Janoskians. (iTunes)

Coldplay‘s Ghost Stories is looking at a spooky sales frame ahead, but how will it do against Brantley Gilbert‘s Just As I Am and Phillip Phillips‘s Behind The Light? A full preview is coming in seven!

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The “Jealous” Type: A Skeptical Set Of Singles

Blossoming all over the charts.

Blossoming all over the charts.

If you’ve been enjoying the latest music from Canada’s Chromeo, you’ll know that their new effort, White Women, is out now. The first single from it, “Jealous (I Ain’t With It)”, is at CHR radio and recently passed one million views on YouTube for its video clip. It has yet to enter the Hot 100. However, don’t be wary of it – there have been five other songs that went top 40 on Billboard’s big lists that rose against their rivals with an attentive watch on the top. In the grand scheme of things, I guess that the character of the countdown hasn’t been that jealous at all after five decades of music. Judge for yourself:

“Hey Jealous Lover”, Frank Sinatra (#3, 1956)
Ol’ Blue Eyes was seeing red on this song, his biggest of the year, which peaked at #3 on Billboard’s Most Played By Jockeys survey. It was also a Jukebox hit. Though this pre-dated the Hot 100, Sinatra had plenty of songs chart when the list began.

“Jealous Of You (Tango Della Gelosia)”, Connie Francis (#19, 1960)
As both an actress and a vocalist, the talented Francis got a nice response from a young audience, singing in many languages and styles. “You” served as the b-side to “Everybody’s Somebody’s Fool”, which racked up two weeks at #1 on the Hot 100.

“Jealous Kind Of Fella”, Garland Green (#20, 1969)
From a large family in Mississippi, this performer made it in Chicago and found his greatest success on Uni Records. “Fella” was Green’s only hit to reach the Hot 100, but he continued to hit the R&B survey through the 70’s and last ranked in 1983.

“Hey Jealousy”, Gin Blossoms (#25, 1993)
It may have taken a year for the Arizona quintet to score their first big song from the album New Miserable Experience, but their debut was a classic. Gaining airplay on both pop and rock radio, it remains one of the band’s most well-known releases.

“Jealousy”, Natalie Merchant (#23, 1996)
Two years after departing her group 10,000 Maniacs, Merchant began on what would become a successful solo trek with 1995’s Tigerlily. “Jealousy” was the third single from it and ranked during the summer months, peaking at #5 on CHR radio.

Some other of my favorite “Jealous” jams from just below the top 40:
“Jealous Guy”, John Lennon (#80, 1988)
“Jealous”, Gene Loves Jezebel (#68, 1990)
“Jealous Again”, The Black Crowes (#75, 1990)
“Jealousy”, Will Young (DNC, 2011 – #5 UK)

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Highlights from Adam’s Top 40: May 11, 2014

"Something" more than the hit single.

No place like “Home” at #1.

39. Daughtry – Battleships
38. Duck Sauce – NRG
37. Christina Perri – Burning Gold | HIGHEST DEBUT

35. The 1975 – Robbers (40)
33. Michael Jackson & Justin Timberlake – Love Never Felt So Good (39) | BIGGEST MOVER (tie)
32. Coldplay – A Sky Full Of Stars (38) | BIGGEST MOVER (tie)
22. SecondCity – I Wanna Feel (27)

10. Neon Trees – Sleeping With A Friend (08) | PEAK: #01 for six weeks
09. Foster The People – Best Friend (10) | PEAK: #09
08. Clean Bandit featuring Jess Glynne – Rather Be (09) | PEAK: #08
07. Phillip Phillips – Raging Fire (05) | PEAK: #03
06. Passenger – Scare Away The Dark (06) | PEAK: #06
05. Ed Sheeran – Sing (07) | PEAK: #05
04. Rixton – Me And My Broken Heart (04) | PEAK: #04
03. Bleachers – I Wanna Get Better (01) | PEAK: #01 for one week
02. Coldplay – Magic (02) | PEAK: #01 for three weeks
01. A Great Big World – Already Home (03) | PEAK: #01 for one week | NEW #1

Top 10 Next In Line:
1. Saint Raymond – Everything She Wants (3)
2. The 2 Bears – Angel (Touch Me) (8)
3. Donkeyboy – Crazy Something Normal (1)
4. Jeremy Redmore – Bad Philosophy (6)
5. Neon Trees – Love In The 21st Century (-)
6. Hudson Taylor – Battles (9)
7. The Seasons – Apples (7)
8. Milky Chance – Stolen Dance (-)
9. Sebell – Till The Sun Burns Out (10)
10. American Authors – Believer (-)

In The Mix:
Clean Bandit featuring Sharna Bass – Extraordinary
Jesse McCartney – Superbad (new)
Kylie Minogue – I Was Gonna Cancel
OneRepublic – Love Runs Out
Paloma Faith – Only Love Can Hurt Like This
Red Wanting Blue – You Are My Las Vegas
Sam Smith – Stay With Me
Sarah McLachlan – In Your Shoes
Stu Larsen – Thirteen Sad Farewells (new)
The Fray – Break Your Plans
Us The Duo – No Matter Where You Are (new)

Chart Notes:

  • After a week at #1, “I Wanna Get Better” by Bleachers falls to #3 as New York duo A Great Big World settle into the top spot with “Already Home”. It’s their third single release from Is There Anybody Out There?, released earlier this year. It does one better than previous single “Say Something”, which ultimately spent two weeks at #2. A video for the song features actor/singer Darren Criss from Glee, as well as actress Jessica Szohr.
  • In a slow week for climbing records, two songs tie for the Biggest Mover on this week’s chart, both of which debuted in the top 40 last week. The late Michael Jackson, along with Justin Timberlake, advance up 39-33 with “Love Never Felt So Good”, while Coldplay climb 38-32 with “A Sky Full Of Stars”. Both songs are currently top ten in the overall stats on iTunes.
  • Three songs debut on this week’s chart, the highest coming in at #37. “Burning Gold” is the second top 40 single from the second album by Christina Perri, Head Or Heart. The first, “Human”, spent six weeks at the top in January and February. (It’s still in the top 20.) A lyric video was released earlier this week for “Gold”. Should it break the top ten, it will become her fourth entry to do.
  • What happens when you combine dance music with the leader of the quack? Nope, it’s not “Disco Duck”, it’s another entry from the duo who call themselves Duck Sauce. The terrific twosome of Armand Van Helden and A-Trak debut at #38 with “NRG”, which flips the chorus of a 1984 cut for singer Melissa Manchester also titled “Energy”. The duo’s first entry, “Barbra Streisand”, hit the top 20 in late 2010.
  • Finally, at #39, is the latest top 40 single from rockers Daughtry. They’ve turned up the pop on their latest album, Baptized, and come up with another charting hit in “Battleships”. It goes to Hot AC radio this week. Including solo entries by lead singer Chris Daughtry, this is the band’s twelfth time in the countdown; their first, “It’s Not Over”, debuted in November 2006 and peaked at #5.

(See my full chart on the M4BCC message board)

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Wishing On A Star: Fighting For The Festival

It’s back again! For the fourth year in a row, the iHeartRadio Music Festival will be taking place in Las Vegas. Since the 2012 edition of the now annual event, newer acts have received the chance to perform a small set during the first night of the big event through a partnership with Macy’s and their Rising Star contest. (Check their official website for more information.) It’s any artist’s dream to perform in front of such a wide audience, so the opportunity is huge.

Another 25 acts have entered the ring, but only one of them can be victorious and win that coveted spot. Who will rise to the occasion and sing it out in Sin City this fall? Here are my top ten choices from the pack:

Before You Exit
BEFORE YOU EXIT (Independent)
The Orlando trio have a huge social media presence, though single “I Like That”, despite a servicing to radio, didn’t build much. “Dangerous” saw a digital release in mid-March. The guys are opening for Fifth Harmony on their summer tour.

(Vote for Before You Exit)

Cassio Monroe
CASSIO MONROE (HitShop/Warner Music)
Currently opening for Midnight Red and The Wanted on a tour wrapping up next week, the duo of Jeff Garrison and Tripp Weir are gaining pop airplay for single “Under The Lights”. The two performers have three singles total on iTunes.

(Vote for Cassio Monroe)

Chris Wallace
Formerly with The White Tie Affair, best known for 2009 single “Candle (Sick And Tired)”, Wallace charted with two other slow-moving solo songs on the CHR airwaves since 2012: “Remember When (Push Rewind)” and “Keep Me Crazy”.

(Vote for Chris Wallace)

Hey Day
HEY DAY (Independent)
Andrew Spelman, Andrew Underberg and Jesse Fink are only two releases into their new project, but with a SoundCloud stream total over 250,000 so far, this New York trio is on the fast track to big success. “Adderall” was released last week.

(Vote for Hey Day)

Jillette Johnson
The New York based Johnson is still promoting her 2013 album Water In A Whale. First single “Torpedo” originally went to Hot AC radio last year during a tour with Kris Allen, but in its recent second run at the format, things are picking up.

(Vote for Jillette Johnson)

MAX (Crush Music/sayMAX)
Singer and YouTube celebrity Schneider is about to release an EP, Say Max, his first release with management company Crush Music. Single “Mug Shot” is already getting play on SiriusXM Hits 1 and his base is lifting him high in the rankings.

(Vote for MAX)

Paradise Fears
PARADISE FEARS (Independent)
Six high school friends from South Dakota have been kicking it together for a few years now in this band. They just ended a winter tour to support an acoustic version of their album Battle Scars. The current single from the project is “Lullaby”.

(Vote for Paradise Fears)

Scavenger Hunt
SCAVENGER HUNT (Independent)
The Los Angeles duo of Jill Lamoureux and Dan Mufson have tour stops opening for Capital Cities and HAERTS in the next few days, while their Hunt goes on for even more fans. Their electro-pop sound comes through in song “Dreamers”.

(Vote for Scavenger Hunt)

The Score
THE SCORE (Independent)
Edan Dover and Eddie Anthony took to YouTube with their #SCORESUNDAYS covers videos last year. 5,000 followers and 600,000 views later, something’s been working! A self-titled EP features nice originals like “Don’t Wanna Wake Up”.

(Vote for The Score)

We Are The In Crowd
From Poughkeepsie, NY, the quintet led by Taylor Jardine has one of the biggest followings in my top ten list. Two years ago, single “Kiss Me Again” got some limited airplay, but songs from new album Weird Kids have kept their fans satisfied.

(Vote for We Are The In Crowd)

Remember, your vote counts! You have 50 votes per day for the next few weeks to get these acts one step closer to a major breakthrough. So, get clicking and let your fan flag fly! Good luck to everyone involved and stay tuned for any results that come in soon.

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