Monthly Archives: June 2014

TURN IT UP TUESDAY: What’s New In Stores This Week (July 1)

Touchin', lovin' his chances at a big debut.

Touchin’, lovin’ his chances at a high debut.

The year is halfway done! Hard to believe it’s gone by so fast, but the music keeps on rolling and the summer releases are just heating up. Here’s what albums and singles are in stores for the week of July 1:

  • Two years ago, R&B star Trey Songz scored his first #1 album with Chapter V. Now, he returns with his sixth effort, Trigga. There are four active singles from it at the moment: “Foreign” at Rhythm radio, “Na Na” at CHR, “SmartPhones” at Urban and “What’s Best For You” at Urban AC.v That’s a whole lot of songs. Look for it to be the top #1 contender on next week’s chart, but it could mark his lowest first week sales since 2007. (iTunes)
  • In what could be the most desperate release of all-time, and I mean all-time, singer Robin Thicke tries to woo his woman back on new album Paula. Lead single “Get Her Back” is a recent top ten hit on the Urban AC chart. It’s no Blurred Lines, but then again, do we really need that in our lives? The album will probably go top five but have no legs. As for Thicke and Paula Patton’s relationship… can we just not anymore? (iTunes)
  • They aren’t rude, but their hit song is. First a smash in Australia last year and now topping the digital charts in the U.S., MAGIC! is simply making magic with the public, and now Don’t Kill The Magic is in stores this week. In addition to “Rude”, the title track has achieved some minor success. This one is the wild card to watch given how new the band is, but with sale pricing in effect, it could make for a sizable debut. (iTunes)
  • Currently at #2 on the Active Rock list with “Words As Weapons”, South African rockers Seether return with Isolate and Medicate, their first effort for the Concord Music Group. After three consecutive top ten albums on the Billboard 200, this will probably place in the same region, though sales should be off from their last album in 2011. (iTunes)
  • Several older albums see deluxe reissues this week, including the 25th Anniversary edition of Bon Jovi‘s New Jersey (iTunes), the 30th Anniversary edition of Bob Marley & The Wailers‘s Legend (iTunes), as well as Jethro Tull‘s A Passion Play (iTunes) and Pink Floyd‘s The Division Bell. (iTunes)
  • Other releases out this week include: Colt Ford‘s Thanks For Listening (iTunes), Jenni Rivera‘s 1969 – Siempre, En Vivo Desde Monterrey, Parte 2 (iTunes), NONONO‘s We Are Only What We Feel (iTunes), Old Crow Medicine Show‘s Remedy (iTunes) and the original soundtrack to Begin Again (iTunes).

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

  • “All About That Bass”, the first single from newcomer Meghan Trainor. (iTunes)
  • “Calm Down”, new from rapper Busta Rhymes and Eminem. (iTunes)
  • “Headphones”, a new single from Matt Nathanson and featuring LOLO. (iTunes)
  • “It’s So Hard To Say Goodbye To Yesterday”, this week’s album cut (and remake) from Jason Mraz‘s forthcoming Yes! album. (iTunes)
  • “New Flame”, the latest single from Chris Brown; it features Usher and Rick Ross. (iTunes)
  • “Weekend”, the first song from Alternative newcomers Priory. (iTunes)

Hit maker and singer Sia leads next week’s releases with the album 1,000 Forms Of Fear — how will she do against heavy rockers Judas Priest? A preview is coming in seven!

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Filed under Album Reviews, Music News

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

The radio airwaves are looking ripe this summer as plenty of new acts and established artists crash the party with new tunes. Which ones will climb to the top and which ones will hit a stop? Here are some of my favorites being serviced in July on the AAA, Alternative, CHR and Hot AC formats:

CHR (*) and HOT AC (**)

KIESZA – “Hideaway” (July 1) (*)
Label: Lokal Legend/4th & B’way/Island/Republic
If you’ve been following the European charts as of late, then you knew this one was eventually coming. In late April, it spent a week atop the U.K. Singles Chart and also charted well in a handful of other countries, including her home up north in Canada. (I mean, it does qualify for CanCon, kids.) Look out for a digital EP featuring the single in early July.

The Madden Brothers
THE MADDEN BROTHERS – “We Are Done” (July 1) (*)
Label: Capitol
It’s been just under four years since Good Charlotte last made the CHR top 40 with “Like It’s Her Birthday”, but the brothers Madden, Benji and Joel, are channeling their inner Smash Mouth on their first hit as a duo. Already gaining airplay at three formats, this could be one of the more unexpected comebacks of 2014. An album is due in September.

Iggy Azalea and Rita Ora
IGGY AZELEA featuring RITA ORA – “Black Widow” (July 8) (*)
Label: Def Jam
She’s so “Fancy”, but you already know that. Straight off her breakout #1 on both CHR radio and the Hot 100, Azalea is rapping up a storm just in time for her followup release. Singer Ora is also currently in the top 40 with a former #1 in the U.K., “I Will Never Let You Down”. It’s a fan favorite and could be another big smash. Let’s hope for “Work” next.

The 1975
THE 1975 – “Girls” (July 15) (*)
Label: Vagrant/Interscope
This single landed a week at #1 on my chart in December during its U.K. run, so I’m happily surprised that the track is getting a shot her in the U.S. months later. Though “Chocolate” was only a moderate radio success earlier this year, at least I’ve always had a preference to “Girls”, and maybe programmers will too. We’ll see. The video clip is pretty good.

Kim Cesarion
KIM CESARION – “Undressed” (July 22) (*)
Label: Columbia
23-year-old Cesarion is already getting significant support from SiriusXM’s Hits 1 and 20 on 20 for his debut single, a former top five record in his native Australia from earlier this year. It was co-written with the talented Gary Clark; I’m a fan of he and his former band Danny Wilson‘s 1987 hit, “Mary’s Prayer”. Does this one have a prayer to blow up?

The Script

THE SCRIPT – “Superheroes” (July 29) (**)
Label: Columbia
I’m really looking forward to the return of these three guys; they have four #1 songs on my personal chart to date. As it’s been pointed out by now, the trio has joined with Columbia Records after leaving Epic, who botched a U.S. release of “If You Could See Me Now” at Hot AC radio last year as the result of a downsizing. Time for some pop power, guys!

ALTERNATIVE (*) and AAA (**)

KONGOS – “I’m Only Joking” (July 1) (*)
Label: Epic
Thanks to a lot of buzz and a Clear Channel deal, this South African band’s first U.S. hit, “Come With Me Now”, easily went to #1 on the Alternative chart and stayed there for five weeks. This former Free Single of the Week on iTunes is already top 50 at the format and it should start posting some bigger gains soon. It’s no joke: these four are doing fine.

BASTILLE – “Flaws” (July 8) (*)
Label: Virgin/Capitol
This past year has been an outstanding one for this British four piece. Not only did they take over Europe, but they’ve also accomplished a lot Stateside. This marks their third U.S. single and the followup to “Bad Blood”, which narrowly missed the top of the Alternative survey. Originally released overseas three years ago, is it too late for the U.S. crowd?

Ryan Adams
RYAN ADAMS – “Gimme Something Good” (July 15) (**)
Label: PAX-AM/Blue Note
Adams is a favorite on AAA radio, so I’m sure the community is very happy to see his rocking return to the scene. Out on his label, along with a partnership with the classic Blue Note Records, “Good” could likely follow in the footsteps of “Lucky Now”, the leadoff release from Adams’s Ashes & Fire in 2011. That held a week at #1 in November of that year.

Scars On 45
SCARS ON 45 – “Crazy For You” (July 15) (**)
Label: Nettwerk
In 2011, the then Irish quartet gained some AAA play with “Give Me Something” and also made it into the Hot AC top 30 with “Heart On Fire”. Now a quartet with a new label and single, the band hopes to get back on the airwaves with the first single from their forthcoming album Safety In Numbers, due this fall. The group is on a U.S. tour through August.

Jason Mraz
JASON MRAZ – “Love Someone” (July 22) (**)
Label: Atlantic
For several weeks now, a new digital single from Mraz’s forthcoming album, simply titled Yes!, has been out and ready to be downloaded. This was the first of them back in May and it’s been slowly rolled out at radio, but is finally seeing a little traction at both the AAA format and at Hot AC. The hit maker won’t take no for an answer; it’s simple and lovely.

Twin Shadow
TWIN SHADOW – “To The Top” (July 29) (*)
Label: 4AD
The performer born George Lewis Jr. has recorded two well-received albums since 2010, but despite all the attention, it hasn’t translated into airplay or sales figures. That could change. Label 4AD doesn’t particularly have a strong radio presence here (see Lo-Fang‘s “When We’re Fire” from earlier in 2014) but this would sound awesome on Alternative.

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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Filed under Single Reviews

Highlights from Adam’s Top 40: June 29, 2014

Oh, darling, my chart's on fire.

Coming at you like a “Dark” horse.

38. Kiesza – Hideaway
37. The Griswolds – Beware The Dog | HIGHEST DEBUT

32. The Madden Brothers – We Are Done (38)
27. Maroon 5 – Maps (35) | BIGGEST MOVER
25. Charli XCX – Boom Clap (30)
23. Train – Angel In Blue Jeans (29)
16. American Authors – Believer (21)

10. Rixton – Me And My Broken Heart (08) | PEAK: #02
09. Christina Perri – Burning Gold (13) | PEAK: #09
08. SecondCity – I Wanna Feel (09) | PEAK: #08
07. Foster The People – Best Friend (07) | PEAK: #06
06. Ed Sheeran – Sing (04) | PEAK: #02
05. Clean Bandit featuring Jess Glynne – Rather Be (03) | PEAK: #03
04. Graffiti6 – The Bridge (05) | PEAK: #04
03. A Great Big World – Already Home (01) | PEAK: #01 for seven weeks
02. Coldplay – A Sky Full Of Stars (06) | PEAK: #02
01. Passenger – Scare Away The Dark (02) | PEAK: #01 for one week

Top 10 Next In Line:
1. Jason Mraz – Love Someone (5)
2. The Vamps featuring Demi Lovato – Somebody To You (6)
3. Shift K3y – Touch (-)
4. Stu Larsen – Thirteen Sad Farewells (4)
5. George Ezra – Budapest (3)
6. Ed Sheeran – Don’t (-)
7. Grouplove – I’m With You (10)
8. Kim Churchill – Window To The Sky (-)
9. Ferreck Dawn & Redondo – Love Too Deep (9)
10. Emerson Hart – Hurricane (7)

In The Mix:
Bastille – Flaws
Betty Who – Somebody Loves You
Birdy – Tee Shirt
Colbie Caillat – Try
Connell Cruise – Into The Wild (new)
Francesco Yates – Call (new)
Graffiti6 – U Got The Sunshine
Heymous Molly – Life’s A Beach
Jacquie Lee – Broken Ones
Kaiser Chiefs – Meanwhile Up In Heaven
Lady Antebellum – Bartender
Leon Else – River Full Of Liquor
Matt Nathanson featuring Lolo – Headphones
Neon Trees – Text Me In The Morning
Paloma Faith – Only Love Can Hurt Like This
Sander Kleinenberg – We-R-Superstars
Sara Bareilles – Chasing The Sun
Scars On 45 – Crazy For You
Sheppard – Something’s Missing (new)
Twin Atlantic – Heart And Soul

Chart Notes:

  • A year ago this week, the performer named Passenger was spending his eighth of twelve weeks at #1 with the smash “Let Her Go”. Now, the 30-year-old singer and songwriter, born Mike Rosenberg, has his fourth chart-topping single in a row with “Scare Away The Dark”. It’s the leadoff release in North America from his latest album, Whispers. This also marks his 20th week at #1 in my chart’s history; it’s not a record, but it’s still notable. “Dark” is currently top 30 at AAA radio.
  • There’s a “Gold” rush on the chart this week as Christina Perri lands her second top ten entry from Head Or Heart. Up from 13-9, “Burning Gold” is another winner from the Pennsylvania born singer. When it comes to precious pop metals of that kind, only “We Are Golden” by Mika (#6, 2009) and “Gold” by Britt Nicole (#10, 2013) shined their way into the top ten. Elementary, my dear chart fans.
  • It should be no surprise that Maroon 5 take the title of this week’s Biggest Mover, up 35-27 with “Maps”. Their song is already all over the airwaves, but it’s taking a little longer to catch on with me. Lead singer Adam Levine is taking over cinemas as well this week as a film he stars in, Begin Again, opens in a small run. Look for the band’s new album, V, this September. It’s sure to be another big success for them.
  • This week’s Highest Debut is from Australian quartet The Griswolds. Last year, they just missed the top 40 with a song titled “Heart Of A Lion”; now, they debut at #37 with “Beware The Dog”. Don’t expect that the rest of the animal kingdom is going to appear on their first album, but it is an interesting coincidence. The song is also charting nicely at Alternative radio, where it recently entered the top 40.
  • Lastly, at #38, is a song that debuted at #1 on the U.K. charts back in April. Canadian newcomer Kiesza enters with “Hideaway” after some time below the top 40. It officially goes to CHR radio this week, but it’s already been added in some major markets. A followup, “Giant In My Heart”, is released in Europe in August. A U.S. EP from the singer is scheduled to be issued through Island/Republic Records on July 8.

(See my full chart on the M4BCC message board)

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Filed under Personal Charts

POP! Goes The Interview: Wrabel

He's a "Tall" cool one.

He’s a “Tall” cool one.


You know him as the voice behind Afrojack‘s current chart hit, “Ten Feet Tall”, and perhaps you just saw him performing during Good Morning America’s Summer Concert Series. He’s a talented pianist and vocalist and an all-around nice guy; at least, according to his Twitter description he is, but I can definitely confirm that. His featured spot has propelled him into the national spotlight, but as far as a budding solo career, he’s ready, willing and Wrabel.

Born Stephen Wrabel, the performer who bills himself by just his last name currently records for Island Records (radio via Republic Records) and this past Tuesday, his EP titled Sideways became available. The four song effort features a solo cut of “Ten” as his voice smoothly glides along with the piano, absolutely worthy of some AC and Hot AC play. (Hope his label is taking notes!) The effortlessly beautiful “Sideways” starts on a calm stride before packing a pop punch, while the smooth “Give It Time” and wildly impressive “Into The Wild” make for a great listening experience in a mid-90’s piano pop meets modern-day production set. It’s certainly a nice introduction before his eventual full-length album is issued.

Between all his plane flights and performances this week, Wrabel graciously took a few moments out of his release week schedule to answer some questions about his new EP, songwriting, the charts and more for a PGTC interview. Enjoy!

PGTC: Thanks for taking the time to do this! How exciting is it to finally have an EP of music out there ready for people to listen to?
SW: absolutely! thank you. ah i can’t even express how glad i am to have some music out there. it’s a crazy feeling seeing my face next to some of my favorite artists on the “new releases” section of iTunes. i guess we picked a good week to release! haa. quite intimidating, but also just so crazy. hard to believe, really.

PGTC: I really enjoy “Into The Wild” and (EP title track) “Sideaways”, but there are some great melodies and fantastic vocal performances. It captures the best of both worlds, a straightforward piano-driven pop sound and a more experimental nature. What was it like crafting this batch of songs and is there one in particular that’s your favorite?
SW: well thanks! it was an…interesting process. the EP has been a long time coming for me. i’ve been writing and writing and really just searching for those moments of magic. i’ve found while writing that you sometimes encounter some sort of unexplainable…something…that comes out to play. you can’t force it and you have to just run like hell after it as it comes. i was given such an incredible opportunity to travel so much making the record — something that has impacted the sounds and emotions in a big, big way. you mentioned “into the wild” — a song i wrote with one of my favorite artists actually, dan black, and one of the best guys i know (and most talented…) drew pearson, in dan’s studio in paris. it came after a long day of work on another song that seemed to be stuck. “sideways” was a very special day with jim eliot and dan mcdougall, both of whom also co-wrote “give it time” with me. hmm. a favorite, i’m not sure i can say. it was important to me that every song selected for the EP (and the upcoming full length) be something special. i think i can say that? haa. i consider every song a sort of snapshot…maybe like a scene in a movie. something that is this one moment here and now. this is what i’m feeling. this is what i’m thinking. this is what i wish i could say, but just can’t seem to get out right. insert the BIGGEST thanks to all of my collaborators here. without them, there is nothing. did i ramble? i tend to ramble.

PGTC: The success of “Ten Feet Tall” has been amazing to watch, both in your solo version and with Afrojack’s remix. When you originally wrote the song a few years ago, did you expect it to connect with as many people as it has?
SW: short answer: no. long answer: nooooo. haa. “ten feet tall” has been a special one for me since about halfway through the day chris braide and i wrote it. i could just feel it. he could too. it’s so rare to feel that. but so, so fun. i came in that day and he was just playing the opening piano theme and i sat down, pressed record, and started singing. it was one of the only times i’ve come into a session with a title. i had “ten feet tall” all in my brain. what could it mean? how could we say it? what does it sound like? it was a little over two years later that nick (afrojack) heard it at the universal building. he told me later on something like “this is how i heard it” — referring to what is now his first US single from his new record. nick is so gifted. brilliant, really, at capturing the emotion of a song and just playing it up and up and up and up. that song is a permagrin for me now, and it’s been so rewarding to see people’s reactions to it. to see that many people dancing, smiling, singing along…it’s unreal. i’ve even gotten a few messages on facebook // twitter from people that are using “ten feet tall” in their weddings. i cry. i just cry. haa.

PGTC: A number of outlets have picked up on “Ten”. I myself saw a clip of the video riding in a taxi in New York City a few weeks back. However, the journey of this song got a major boost in February when it was featured in Bud Light’s Super Bowl ad. What did you think when you first heard about the plan and how was it for you actually seeing it come to life?
SW: i think my first words to my manager were something like, “HOLY SH*T. WAIT WHEN IS THE SUPER BOWL?” … i just didn’t know. i don’t do football, really. ok let’s move on. i couldn’t believe it. the super bowl? THE SUPER BOWL? it’s just crazy. that’s just what it is. and re: the new york cab bit — i plan on hiring taxis until i find one with it playing. hehe. i mean c’mon. that is nuts. “ten feet tall” in a taxi??

PGTC: I imagine that since “Ten” is ranking on several airplay surveys here, along with international lists, that you’re checking some of them out. How avid of a chart watcher are you with both your own releases and songs that you’ve written for others?
SW: i’m guilty of a stopped-at-a-red-light-check-the-charts kind of thing for sure. i try to stay off of them for the most part, but have definitely started paying more attention now that “ten feet tall” has been charting. when i saw that the “now: 50” album — featuring “ten feet tall” — came out at no.1 on billboard, i was sure to grab a few issues of that week’s billboard and mail them to my family…maybe kept one for my coffee table…

PGTC: Since the World Cup is still going on, are you partial to any sport in particular or is music still your favorite workout?
SW: let’s go with the latter… i had some friends over to watch a world cup game and ended up leaving to go to a bookstore about twenty minutes in. playing the piano can burn around 171 calories an hour. that’s about all the sport i need.

PGTC: Final question – everybody’s waiting on whatever could be the next “surprise album” to be released. Who do you think could do it next and would you ever entertain the idea?
SW: why not beyoncé again? she nailed it the first time. it was such a fun feeling to wake up to a new beyoncé album // whole set of videos. i’d like to have that feeling again someday. if you guys see her, let her know. green light. hmm i’m not sure i would // not sure i wouldn’t. i’m pretty up for whatever — any way to get music out there and keep things interesting.

Thanks again to the music man himself for some great answers and be sure to check out the new tunes and his ongoing adventures by clicking the links below.

Download the Sideways EP at these digital retailers: AmazonMP3, iTunes

Follow Wrabel on social media: Facebook, InstagramTwitter

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Filed under Interviews

A Sketch Of Success: The Pop Chart Gets Animated

Drawing your attention.

Drawing your attention.

If you think you’ve been hearing the voice of Spongebob Squarepants on your radio recently, no, you’re certainly not dreaming. That endless loop of “I’m ready! I’m ready!” is featured in the first top 40 entry by a trio called AJR, the three Met brothers (Adam, Jack and Ryan.) “I’m Ready” has been slowly climbing up in CHR airplay since being upstreamed to Warner Bros. Records several months ago (initially, it was spun on SiriusXM exclusively last fall) and right now, the boys are on tour with Lindsey Stirling.

What makes “Ready” so interesting is that “feature” from the Nickelodeon cartoon character; even though he receives no credit, it still marks the first animated character to hit the chart in some time. Unlike the glory days of chart-topping acts like Alvin and the Chipmunks and The Archies, cartoons on the countdown are far and few between. International singles have an even harder time breaking the U.S. market, like Bob The Builder and his two U.K. #1 hits, the Canadian duo Prozzäk (out in the U.S. as Simon & Milo) and the German crocodile named Schnappi.

Here are a few to sell some records (and perhaps seal some ratings) since the 90’s, ready for your viewing pleasure:

Uh, huh huh huh. Can you believe that dynamic duo from MTV actually reached the top 40? Taken from the compilation album The Beavis and Butt-head Experience“I Got You Babe” (a duet with Cher) charted for two weeks on the CHR top 40, peaking at #34 during the week before Christmas in 1993. As you can imagine, it’s a bizarre take on a 60’s pop classic.

They call it The Annoying Thing, and honestly, that even feels like an understatement. Released in the summer of 2005, this remake of the 1985 Harold Faltermeyer hit “Axel F” was inescapable across Europe, spending four weeks at #1 in the United Kingdom alone. The CHR panel wasn’t so crazy about the single, as “Axel” limped up to a low #36 that August.

Probably the best known of the modern acts on the list is the four members of this virtual band, voiced by Blur frontman Damon Albarn. Though they first charted in 2001 with “Clint Eastwood”, their biggest single thus far is 2005’s “Feel Good Inc.”, which climbed to #13 on CHR radio and #1 at Alternative for eight weeks that fall. It featured rappers De La Soul.

In another uncredited performance, this animated feline danced and rapped alongside Paula Abdul on one of her many #1 hits, “Opposites Attract”. The MC managed to slip onto the Hot 100 a year later with a solo single, “Skat Strut”; Abdul returned the favor and made a cameo in that single’s clip. It peaked at #80. It fared better in several overseas territories.

During a time when singles intended for radio and not physically released could not enter the Hot 100, “Do The Bartman” quickly broke out nationally thanks to the popularity of the FOX show. By early 1991, it was already up to #9 on the pop chart and #11 on Billboard’s comparable Hot 100 Airplay list. Followup “Deep, Deep Trouble” found trouble gaining big.

Who’s your favorite animated artist to a paint a pop masterpiece? Let me know! You can comment below or find me on social media by clicking the “Get Social!” tab above.

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Filed under Charts/Trade Papers

TURN IT UP MONDAY: What’s New In Stores This Week (June 23)

Sheer genius.

The coast is Sheer.

There’s a famous redhead who won’t be in the red with his latest album, but selling quite a few copies from coast to coast. Get a calculator out — it’s time to multiply. (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 June 23:

  • He’s been all over iTunes lately with instant gratification songs from his album X (stated as “multiply”) and now the second full-length record from Ed Sheeran is in stores today. The leadoff single from the effort is “Sing”, which recently became his biggest radio hit to date, while “Don’t” is already on the airwaves internationally as the latest release from it. It should easily debut at #1 next week with a six figure total. (iTunes)
  • Heavy metal rockers Mastodon hit the top ten with their last album three years ago titled The Hunter. Now, the quartet returns with Once More ‘Round The Sun, their sixth studio album and fourth for Reprise Records. Can they go top five this time around? I’m sure they’ll be rocking steady regardless of what happens. (iTunes)
  • The Oakland rapper who calls himself G-Eazy has been garnering a large amount of online buzz for his new album out today, These Things Happen. It’s an independent release, though he’s being aided at radio via RCA Records. He hasn’t charted on the Billboard 200 thus far, but he’s sure to make a big splash on next week’s chart. (iTunes)
  • Fresh off a top five single at Urban AC radio with “Love And Sex”, a collaboration with Kelly Rowland, the singer simply named Joe is crossing some Bridges on his latest effort. He may not have the fan base he once did, but this could solidly put him back in the top ten once more. (iTunes)
  • Other releases out this week include: Bad Suns‘s Language & Perspective (iTunes), Foxes‘s Glorious (iTunes), Kitten‘s Kitten (iTunes), Phish‘s Fuego (iTunes) and SomeKindaWonderful‘s SomeKindaWonderful (iTunes).

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

  • “American Kids”, the first single from the forthcoming album by Kenny Chesney. (iTunes)

Next week, it’s the battle of the R&B stars as Robin Thicke returns with his ode to Paula, while Trey Songz brings the heat with an ode to… himself, Trigga. Which? A full preview is coming on Tuesday!

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Filed under Album Reviews, Music News

Highlights from Adam’s Top 40: June 22, 2014

Spread the word -- they're on top of the World.

Can anyone displace them from their “Home”?

35. Maroon 5 – Maps

30. Charli XCX – Boom Clap (38)
29. Train – Angel In Blue Jeans (39) | BIGGEST MOVER
28. Jesse McCartney – Superbad (33)

10. Andy Grammer – Back Home (10) | PEAK: #10
09. SecondCity – I Wanna Feel (09) | PEAK: #08
08. Rixton – Me And My Broken Heart (07) | PEAK: #02
07. Foster The People – Best Friend (06) | PEAK: #06
06. Coldplay – A Sky Full Of Stars (08) | PEAK: #06
05. Graffiti6 – The Bridge (05) | PEAK: #05
04. Ed Sheeran – Sing (02) | PEAK: #02
03. Clean Bandit featuring Jess Glynne – Rather Be (04) | PEAK: #03
02. Passenger – Scare Away The Dark (03) | PEAK: #02
01. A Great Big World – Already Home (01) | PEAK: #01 for seven weeks

Top 10 Next In Line:
1. Kiesza – Hideaway (2)
2. The Griswolds – Beware The Dog (3)
3. George Ezra – Budapest (1)
4. Stu Larsen – Thirteen Sad Farewells (4)
5. Jason Mraz – Love Someone (5)
6. The Vamps featuring Demi Lovato – Somebody To You (10)
7. Emerson Hart – Hurricane (7)
8. Jacquie Lee – Broken Ones (8)
9. Ferreck Dawn & Redondo – Love Too Deep (-)
10. Grouplove – I’m With You (-)

In The Mix:
Alex Clare – War Rages On
Betty Who – Somebody Loves You
Birdy – Tee Shirt
Colbie Caillat – Try
Ed Sheeran – Don’t (new)
Graffiti6 – U Got The Sunshine (new)
Heymous Molly – Life’s A Beach (new)
John Mayer – XO
Kaiser Chiefs – Meanwhile Up In Heaven
Kim Churchill – Window To The Sky
Lady Antebellum – Bartender
La Roux – Uptight Downtown
Leon Else – River Full Of Liquor
Marc Broussard – Hurricane Heart
Matt Nathanson featuring Lolo – Headphones
Neon Trees – Text Me In The Morning
Paloma Faith – Only Love Can Hurt Like This
Sander Kleinenberg – We-R-Superstars (new)
Sara Bareilles – Chasing The Sun
Scars On 45 – Crazy For You (new)
Twin Atlantic – Heart And Soul

Chart Notes:

  • At seven weeks at #1, “Already Home” by A Great Big World becomes the longest running #1 of the year, surpassing the six weeks totaled by both “Human” by Christina Perri and “Sleeping With A Friend” by Neon Trees. Will the duo make it to eight frames at the top? Not if Clean Bandit and Jess Glynne or Passenger have their way. There’s a mighty competition brewing here.
  • Up ten spots from 39-29 is the now duo Train with this week’s Biggest Mover, “Angel In Blue Jeans”. As expected, it’s already building quickly at Hot AC radio; being a staple at the format helps. Back in 2003, the band released a single titled “Calling All Angels”, so as far as heavenly hits go, it seems as though they’ve landed on Cloud 9. “Jeans” is the first single from Bulletproof Picasso, their seventh studio album, due September 16.
  • The week’s only debut is from pop/rockers Maroon 5, who enter at #35 with “Maps”. It’s the first single from their forthcoming album V, due September 2. Three out of their last four leadoff singles went to #1 on my chart, with the only exception being 2003’s “Harder To Breathe”, which peaked at #2. Can their latest pull off the trick? The quintet will certainly need a new GPS if they look to navigate their top-selling track to the top spot.
  • Look for a few debuts in the top 40 next week, with several newcomers at the top of the Next In Line. Then again, Grouplove could earn their third charting hit from Spreading Rumours in “I’m With You”, or Jason Mraz chart with his tenth entry, “Love Someone”. Also, keep an eye out for Graffiti6‘s “U Got The Sunshine” from The Bridge and newcomers Heymous Molly with “Life’s A Beach”, both new to the Mix. We’ll see what happens next Sunday!

(See my full chart on the M4BCC message board)

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REWIND: Four Guys In Disguise… Wonder Who?

I hear these guys change with the Seasons...

I hear these guys change with the Seasons…


You’ve probably seen the advertisements for the Clint Eastwood directed Jersey Boys film, which opens in movie theaters  today. It’s based on the successful musical of the same name and tells the story of pop quartet The Four Seasons, their run of hits and the troubles within the band. Now, being that Frankie Valli and his group were so iconic and certainly left a number of musical memories, I guess I could’ve picked anything to highlight in their decades long career. However, it’s one from deep into their chart success that may be the most intriguing and probably one of the strangest cases in chart history, a two-horse race that will have you seeing doubling. Wonder who’s causing some trouble here?

By 1964, the group had made the jump from Vee-Jay Records to Phillips after their former label was dealt several financial issues, though both labels managed to chart top 40 singles by the act during that year. Luckily, those released on their new home were significantly larger, including the #1 hit “Rag Doll”, which spent two weeks at the top in July. In the months after this, an executive from Phillips heard a recording that Valli and the boys had made two years prior for what was supposed to be an album to fulfill their contract with Vee-Jay, specifically built around various songs of Bob Dylan. The effort was not released, but a song from it, meant as a joke, ended up as one of “The Four Seasons” bigger hits of 1965.

“Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Alright”, originally recorded for The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan in 1963, was issued in that fall as just “Don’t Think Twice” for The Wonder Who?, a name created by the label as they couldn’t credit the quartet or even Valli himself. Given the much higher falsetto performance by the singer, it sounded different enough to be a “new act”, yet recognizable to those who could figure out the mystery. After all, both it and “Let’s Hang On”, the current single at the time by The Four Seasons, were on the same label (Phillips) and produced by the same man, Bob Crewe.


While “Hang” made its debut in October after two failed single, “Twice” did not enter the Hot 100 until early November and at lowly #90, while the former song was solidly headed into the top ten. However, by Thanksgiving (and the chart dated on the 27th of the month), “Twice” took several leaps up and landed at #32, making the group the first act in history to achieve two different top 40 singles consecutively under two different names. On the Christmas chart of 1965, “Hang” and “Twice” made their closest pass to one another; the former was holding steady at #4, while the latter peaked at #12, increasing that record to the top 20. Both began falling the next week, but not before they solidified their entry in a pretty interesting piece of chart trivia that’s not often remembered.

In the years to come, The Four Seasons had several other hits for Phillips before fading until the mid-70’s, during which Frankie Valli scored several hits on Private Stock, while The Four Seasons signed to Curb/Warner and also launched a comeback with 1975’s “Who Loves You” and 1976’s “December 1963 (Oh, What A Night)”, which topped the Hot 100 that March for three weeks. Meanwhile, The Wonder Who? didn’t have to wonder much longer; after their sole top 40 entry, three additional singles reached the Hot 100 but stalled out far below. Much like the official revelation of their identity, it was no real surprise that the singles didn’t stand a chance.

For more on those four Jersey Boys and their rise to stardomcheck out the new movie and/or download one of their hits collections via iTunes. You’ll be beggin’ for more.

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TURN IT UP TUESDAY: What’s New In Stores This Week (June 17)

A "Brooklyn Baby" rocks the cradle towards the top.

A “Brooklyn Baby” rocks the cradle towards the top.

They’re calling it a mini-Super Tuesday, although if the results are right, it may be an Ultratuesday once all is said and done. Here’s what albums and singles are in stores for the week of June 17:

  • Lana Del Rey makes her highly anticipated return with Ultraviolence, her first full-length set since 2012. The first single from it, “West Coast”, is enjoying play at both the AAA and Alternative formats. She may be a polarizing figure in the music world, but she’s got a big fan base to lead her to #1. Will it happen for the 27-year-old singer? Industry sources seem to think she’s got it and I believe them. Stay tuned to see! (iTunes)
  • Released several weeks ago in the U.K. to massive success, the debut effort from singer Sam Smith is now out in the States, In The Lonely Hour. The U.S. leadoff “Stay With Me” has become a global smash, and the singer was also featured on top singles from Disclosure and Naughty Boy. It could be the surprise of the week, but it also may have to settle for #2. Still, the GRAMMY buzz is immense already. (iTunes)
  • The once Alternative heavyweights Linkin Park have been limping to some paltry peaks at the format lately, and a harder sound on The Hunting Party may have something to do with it. Both “Guilty All The Same” and “Until It’s Gone” have charted, with the former topping the Active Rock survey. This should hit six figures and be safely in the top 3, but #1 won’t be theirs this time around. (iTunes)
  • Papis around the globe are feeling the luh from Jennifer Lopez and her latest effort, A.K.A., featuring the new CHR radio hit “First Love”. Lopez’s first week sales are still on the decline, but a top ten opening is relatively possible with this album so long as it attracts a crowd. Just don’t expect it to have legs unless something major happens. (iTunes)
  • DJ and producer Joel Zimmerman, who performs under the stage name deadmau5, is out with while(1<2), referring  to a piece of programming code meaning “to loop indefinitely”. In 2012, he cracked the top ten on the Billboard 200 with > album title goes here <. His new set should find a place there as well… though not indefinitely. (iTunes)
  • Other releases out this week include: Clean Bandit‘s New Eyes (iTunes), David Gray‘s Mutineers (iTunes), Mary J. Blige‘s soundtrack to Think Like A Man Too (iTunes), Tiesto‘s A Town Called Paradise (iTunes), Willie Nelson‘s Band Of Brothers (iTunes) and a various artists effort, Playing For Change 3: Songs Around The World (iTunes).

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

  • “3 Things”, this week’s album cut from Jason Mraz‘s forthcoming Yes! album. (iTunes)
  • “Afire Love”, “Bloodstream”, etc., several digital tracks being released from Ed Sheeran‘s X album. (iTunes)
  • “Maps”, the leadoff single from V for pop/rockers Maroon 5. (iTunes)
  • “My Hurricane”, fresh from former Graffiti6 singer and now soloist Jamie Scott. (iTunes)
  • “No Mediocre”, a collaboration between T.I. and Iggy Azalea. (iTunes)

Next week, it’s all about a potent pop punch from singer/songwriter Ed Sheeran — how will X do against rapper G-Eazy and heavy metal rockers Mastodon? A full preview is coming in seven!

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The Countdown Continues… A Tribute To Casey Kasem and AT40

Sky high on Heaven's hit list.

High on Heaven’s hit list.

The art of storytelling: it’s a rare skill that many have tried to master for centuries. In a world of bold headlines and instant gratification rather than in-depth reporting and delayed reactions, anybody can be a “storyteller”, but a genuine one is hard to find. I, myself, have tried to do the best I can with my blog to be the storyteller rather than give into an easy fix. It can be challenging. However, through it all, there’s been one inspiration that I could trust in, one that ensured that I work hard and let my chart geek flag fly. That man was Casey Kasem.

In the early morning of June 15, Kasem passed away at the age of 82. I first became familiar with him at age 9 when I heard American Top 40 for the first time on Kiss 108 (WXKS-FM) in Boston, MA. It was May 16, 1999 – I remember the date very clearly because my father and I were going to meet my grandparents at a museum exhibit in the city, and with a turn of the dial, there I was listening to the countdown. It was halfway through “We Like To Party” by The Vengaboys, which ranked at #28 that week, followed by “Almost Doesn’t Count” by Brandy at #27.

I was fascinated by it, and every Sunday morning around 7:30 (Kiss always started the airing early) I was glued to my black boombox radio, feverishly writing down the top 40 songs that week. By then, I was already familiar with TV music surveys like Total Request Live, but American Top 40 was a different experience. It was a privilege to have the resources and time to listen to it: the songs, the stories and the Long Distance Dedications. It was a turning point in my relationship with music and writing about it. I didn’t choose music; music chose me.

Several months after first listening to Casey Kasem, I started a weekly top 40 of my own, and  I’ve kept it up to this day. I began to find other affiliates that played the show, like 92 PRO FM out of Providence, RI. In the summer of 2001, it was the end credits of the program that led me to discover what Radio & Records was. I learned what a recurrent rule was, a bullet, an adds date, etc. By age 11, I was way too savvy about what was going on in the world of popular music. However, Kasem and AT40 fostered that willingness to learn in me. Most of all, he was always a friend in my head who would be there for me on Sundays during my highest highs and lowest lows.

As I grew to find more about the charts online, my weekly listening declined. Of course, when Kasem left the mic on AT40 in January 2004, I tuned into the last few shows. Still, I tried to catch his AC and Hot AC programs (American Top 10 and American Top 20, respectively) from time and time, and I would also listen to a series of top 40 countdowns from the 80’s broadcast on WMMX-FM in Dayton, OH from a (then) cancelled Flashback program. The success of these repeats not only gave me an opportunity to revisit the music of that time, but it encouraged Premiere Radio Networks to reinvest in both AT40 – The 70’s and AT40 – The 80’s to be picked up on dozens of stations around the U.S. beginning in 2007.

The weekend of July 4-5, 2009 marked Kasem’s last time presenting a current program on both AT10 and AT20. Should you find yourself listening to that last episode, I was quite humbled to be a part of it. That was my Long Distance Dedication for Andrew Gold‘s “Thank You For Being A Friend” that aired, along with a letter thanking him for his time hosting. Years  had passed since our first encounter, but I never forgot where I was on that May day. I must have listened to every stream I could find playing that very last show.

A few of us were lucky to run the board or load the files for one of Kasem’s programs. For me, it was about a year’s worth of American Top 40 – The 70’s shows on a former affiliate here. It wasn’t the same as airing a fresh copy of AT40 on vinyl or CD, but I always cherished that time and knowing that I had a part in continuing his legacy. To some, it was work; for me, it was an honor. It completed the circle for me and perhaps gave me a little peace with what was about to come today.

The death of Casey Kasem is obviously a very sad one for everyone in the charts community, whether a casual listener or a diehard fan. Many of us are listening to old countdowns of his or watching clips of him on YouTube. However, listening to American Top 40 on the weekend was just as much about Kasem’s delivery and the music as it was about finding ourselves. Without the experience that I had, my top 40 chart, blog… I mean, my interest in music and the industry never would have developed into what its become. My passion for writing about “(word)” in x amount of song titles or (act) from y amount of countries was directly impacted by what I heard on those broadcasts. I’m fortunate enough to have a few hundred shows in my collection to relive the memories. It’s part of what keeps me and my interests going.

It’s truly the end of an era, but for the children of countdown generation, it was one that was worthwhile. My thoughts are with his family members at this time. They no longer have to worry about the pain and suffering he endured. After reaching for the stars for decades, he’s finally made it up there. We’ll miss you, Casey. Your story’s safe with us.

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