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

The radio airwaves are looking ripe this autumn 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 September on the AAA, Alternative, CHR and Hot AC formats:

CHR (*) and HOT AC (**)

Calvin Harris and John Newman
CALVIN HARRIS featuring JOHN NEWMAN – “Blame” (September 9) (*)
Label: Columbia
Coming off a recent top 5 smash in “Summer”, Harris is obviously red-hot at CHR radio. Newman, however, could only break the U.S. with “Love Me Again”, a moderate success on the charts last year. Though the pair should do just fine in Europe, it’ll be interesting to see if that lack of recognition in the States could affect it in the long run. Get ready to jam.

Cobra Starship and Icona Pop
COBRA STARSHIP featuring ICONA POP – “Never Been In Love” (September 9) (*)
Label: Fueled By Ramen/RRP
The last time Gabe Saporta and friends hit the pop survey was in 2012 with “Middle Finger”, while the Swedish duo just edged in the top 40 this past spring with “Just Another Night”. Sure, it’s an odd combination on paper, but the two acts and producer Ricky Reed (from the group Wallpaper.) have a hot song on their hands with this adorable pop anthem.

Dirty Heads
DIRTY HEADS – “My Sweet Summer” (September 9) (**)
Label: Five Seven Music
Back on the Alternative scene in a big way, “Summer” is headed towards the top of that chart in the coming weeks. This could match the peak of their debut single, “Lay Me Down”, if that happens — that’s their only release to crossover onto Hot AC outlets thus far, which occurred in 2010. The seasons may be changing, but this could still pull in some airplay.

Hozier
HOZIER – “Take Me To Church” (September 9 / 16) (** / *)
Label: Columbia
This one is a former chart-topper on the AAA chart and is already climbing the top ten at Alternative radio, thus, it’s no real surprise that label Columbia is jumping at a crossover sooner rather than later. The 24-year-old Irish performer is already a success in his homeland, where “Church” peaked at #2, and may be a Best New Artist contender. Stay tuned!

Bea Miller
BEA MILLER – “Young Blood” (September 23) (*)
Label: Hollywood
15-year-old Miller made her debut on the U.S. version of The X Factor two years ago, but just released her debut EP in the spring through Disney affiliated label. Though they’re somewhat inconsistent and often depend on elongated chart runs, this could break in a more impactful way into 2015 if her audience grows. It doesn’t seem like they’re in any rush.

Nickelback
NICKELBACK – “What Are You Waiting For?” (September 23) (**)
Label: Republic
I know, I know. “Adam, you’re excited about a Nickelback song? Really?” Yes, it’s true. The Canadian quartet has been rather consistent on my top 40 since they first began charting in 2001. Now off their old home Roadrunner and at new home Republic, the four are gearing up for a comeback. Will the format welcome them back with open arms? We’ll see.

ALTERNATIVE (*) and AAA (**)

Sheppard
SHEPPARD – “Geronimo” (September 2) (*)
Label: Republic
It was nearly a year and a half ago that I first wrote about this Australian sextet after discovering their debut single “Let Me Down Easy” on the radio there. It peaked at #10 on my chart during the summer. Now, their music has reached the masses; the multi-Platinum “Geronimo” spent three weeks at #1 in that country earlier this year. Look out for this one.

Bleachers
BLEACHERS – “Rollercoaster” (September 9) (*)
Label: RCA
Their first big record was “I Wanna Get Better”, a #1 for a frame on the Alternative chart, but it became much worse as it crashed out of the top ten and into recurrent status in just about a month’s time. Major ouch. Luckily, Jack Antonoff has a followup in the wings with this track. It may not be as immediate, but it will certainly do the job as it rises upward.

Foster The People
FOSTER THE PEOPLE – “Are You What You Want To Be?” (September 9) (*)
Label: Columbia
You could call it a sophomore slump; the trio’s album sales haven’t been so good this era and there hasn’t been a major crossover smash like “Pumped Up Kicks”, but I may be in the minority liking Supermodel and the singles from it more than their debut album. This is the third single from it following “Coming Of Age” and “Best Friend”. It’s a solid choice.

Neon Trees
NEON TREES – “First Things First” (September 16) (*)
Label: Island/Republic
I’m not sure what it is with these four and second singles, but there have been some odd swap-outs. In 2011, “1983” was pulled in favor of “Your Surrender”, which did not peak high. This year, “Love In The 21st Century” was replaced with “Text Me In The Morning”, which rightfully tanked. Hopefully, this inspirational song can get the album back on track.

Sam Smith
SAM SMITH – “I’m Not The Only One” (September 23) (**)
Label: Capitol
This recent top ten hit in New Zealand, Scotland and the United Kingdom is finally on its way to the U.S. now that “Stay With Me” is beginning to fall in airplay. A clip for the song premiered a few weeks ago and guests two small screen stars from the FOX network, Glee‘s Dianna Agron and The Mindy Project‘s Chris Messina. The hype will carry this song well.

Walk The Moon
WALK THE MOON – “Shut Up And Dance” (September 23) (* / **)
Label: RCA
It’s been a little time since we’ve heard from this Ohio quartet, who had two solid singles make the AAA and Alternative charts in 2012-3: “Anna Sun” and “Tightrope”. There’s a radio rip of this song that hit the web a few months back, but a higher quality edit has yet to surface. We’ll likely be hearing it soon, but it sounds like another awesome cut from them.

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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