Category Archives: Adam’s Top 100 of 2013

Adam’s Top 100 of 2013: #1, Passenger – “Let Her Go”

Once and for all, Passenger is in the driver's seat.

Once and for all, Passenger is in the driver’s seat.

#1 for twelve weeks, 40+ weeks in the top 40

Chart Run (including 2014 Chart Year thus far):

In The Mix entry date: skipped
Top 40 debut: March 24, 2013
First week at #1: May 12, 2013

Music Video:

As I sit here writing this final year-end post, I can’t think of a better way to end the countdown than with this song, a song that literally took over my world for the past nine months and counting. There’s no other way to put it. It was Mike Rosenberg, better known as Passenger‘s “Let Her Go” that led me to write this Profile post on March 22, which got tweeted out by Nettwerk Records CEO (!) Terry McBride (who, by the way, called it a “brilliant article” – I mean, whoa!) and was used in an email campaign for Nettwerk and marketing/radio promotion group, The Artist Cooperative. (Thanks to Bob Divney, who heads the group’s Marketing department and Promotion for their AAA and Rock formats releases.)

It was also that post that landed me a few interviews with Nettwerk in May, and then, thanks to my constant nagging to the program director (I’ll admit it), Mr. Rosenberg himself performed at my current job in an acoustic set back in August. He was wonderful and met every expectation I had about him. I may not have been picked for the job, nor do I remember a lot except for some bits and pieces about that summer day, but the one thing that’s remained a constant all this time is the artist, his lyrics, and his songs. That’s the heart of this post, not what happened to me. After all, if I hadn’t seen his song place on the ARIA Singles Chart and then look up the music video, things would’ve turned out very differently on this year-end survey, but of course, I’m glad things ended up the way the did.

Ready, set, "Go".

Someone’s pretty in pink. (The shirt, not the cheeks.)

“Let Her Go” was recorded way back in March 2011, written and co-produced by Rosenberg, along with Chris Vallejo. It was initially released in July of last year and marketed to AAA radio in the fall, where it peaked in the mid-30’s before falling off the radar. Then, suddenly, the song took off in Europe, and then Australia and New Zealand, and nearly every country it touched, it became at least a top ten hit. The same can be said of the United States, where it finally broke the Hot 100’s top ten several weeks ago. It’s so far peaked at #9, but there’s still life left in it. “Let” has been certified for shipments of nearly 3.5 million copies and, in worldwide sales, is at the 5 million mark.

On my personal chart, “Let Her Go” debuted at #36 in late March and took a quick ride up to #1, where it spent twelve consecutive weeks there. It holds the all-time record for longest consecutive run at the top for a male act and longest run at #1 overall in five years. The two followup singles, “Holes” and a rerelease of “The Wrong Direction”, also spent time at the top. Now, it’s just the latest single to reach the 40 week mark. Should it make it to 50, it will rank as the second-longest running song ever. That’s a little ways away, but I thought I would just put it out there.

The Passenger shrine, if you will.

The Passenger shrine of sorts. (Poster, Vinyl, CD and “Let Her Go” promotional CD.)

Sometimes, you feel defensive about an artist even when you can’t claim to have discovered them, heard their music first, and whatnot. I mean, I first heard Passenger earlier this year; there are tons of people out there who have enjoyed Rosenberg’s music since the act was a band back in 2007 with their only full-length release, Wicked Man’s Rest. It’s so easy to put yourself in that position even when you know it’s not right. I’m guilty of it. However, from my post being recognized to the phone interviews to actually meeting the guy, I sort of felt like I was justified in that role. It at least gave me hope that maybe something could happen for me in my current situation to the point where I could look back 15 or 20 years from now and say, “Hey Mike, remember that one time I posted this and you responded “Hope so too :)” and that whole chain of events spiraled into motion?” It’s just a dream for now. Luckily, there’s still work to be done: a new album in 2014, more touring, etc., and I’d love to be a part of it.

Congratulations to Nettwerk Records, The Artist Cooperative, and the radio staff at Warner Bros. Records for a breaking a really talented artist with a meaningful set of songs here in the States. I know there was pressure to deliver on a slow burner of a song that’s done wonders internationally, but everything’s falling into place now. Most of all, it’s the man himself, Passenger, who deserves the credit for creating a song with a message that was relatable on so many levels of relationships and experiences. It’s one of those rare universal songs, both lyrically and success-wise. I can’t wait to see what happens in 2014.

“…and so ends the countdown of the year that just passed / and for the number one artist, it won’t be his last / but I heard him exclaim, ere he topped the charts right / Merry Christmas to all, and to All The Little Lights.”

Purchase Passenger on iTunes: “Let Her Go” ::: All The Little Lights ::: iTunes Session (EP)

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Adam’s Top 100 of 2013: #2, fun. – “Carry On”

They don't call 'em mellow yellow.

Bad to the cone. (Hey, #2 of the year is pretty sweet.)

First Chart Entry: “We Are Young” (#1 for two weeks, 2012)
Biggest Hit To Date: “Carry On” (#1 for eight weeks, 2012-3)

#1 for eight weeks, 34 weeks in the top 40

Chart Run:

In The Mix entry date: September 9, 2012
Top 40 debut: October 14, 2012
First week at #1: December 2, 2012

Music Video:

When three local acts decided to split, one member of each formed a trio, and in 2008, that new act became fun., consisting of Jack Antonoff, Andrew Dost and Nate Ruess. Even then, I bet they couldn’t have imagined what the last two years or so would’ve looked like for them, but they hit in a big way with huge hooks and a sound all their own. Their last of three #1’s in a row on my personal chart holds down the runner-up spot of my Top 100 of 2013.

“Carry On” was written by the three members and producer Jeff Bhasker, a song about persevering even when the moment is rough. Often compared to works by Guns N’ Roses and Queen for its anthemic feel and harder rock touch, it was a critical favorite and received much fan support both live and on sales and streaming. Thus, it was an easy choice to become the third single from Some Nights and did moderately well in territories like Canada and the U.S., where it went top 20. It also went top ten on several international airplay charts.

As seen above, “Carry On” entered into consideration for my chart on September 9 of last year, the same week that previous single “Some Nights” was spending its eighth and final frame at #1. As not to disrupt its run too quickly, “Carry” bubbled under my chart for about a month and then entered on October 14. It took just five weeks to go top ten and then hit #1 in its eighth week, also running a length of eight frames at the top. So, why is “Carry” their biggest hit when “Some” spent the same amount of time at #1? Well, “Carry” is farther ahead in points than “Some” ever totaled. “Carry” achieved a massive 21 weeks in the top ten and 29 in the top 20, which really built up its numbers.

I would also be remiss to not mention that the reason it had an extended run in the top 20 falling down the survey was, in part, due to the Boston Marathon bombings on April 15, a really sad and tragic day for all of this around this area. During the manhunt for the two suspects and into the aftermath of it all, one of the local stations played a custom mix of “Carry On” with audio clips of victims, police officers and other witnesses to the event. I guess it served as a message that we all could, indeed, carry on and be Boston Strong in the face of such a horrific day. We move forward, but we never forget.

I also don’t think I’ll forget the impact that this band had on me with their second album, Some Nights. With three #1 singles in a row and a fourth top ten hit, they had one of the best debut eras in my chart’s history. I’m not sure if we’ll see the band in action on the charts again in 2014 as member Jack Antonoff and his band Bleechers will be releasing their debut album on RCA Records in the new year. Although, if it’s early enough, I think a Q4 surprise from the trio may just be an explosive. Until then, I think they’re doing quite alright. Well done, Andrew, Jack and Nate. It’s been another fun. year in music with you.

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Adam’s Top 100 of 2013: #3, Pink featuring Nate Ruess (of fun.) – “Just Give Me A Reason”

Just give me a #1.

Just give me a #1.

First Chart Entry for Pink: “There You Go” (#2, 2000)
Biggest Hit To Date: “So What” (#1 for six weeks, 2008)

First Chart Entry for Nate Ruess: “We Are Young” (fun.) (#1 for two weeks, 2012)
Biggest Hit To Date: “Carry On” (fun.) (#1 for eight weeks, 2012-3)

#1 for five weeks, 27 weeks in the top 40

Music Video:

The famous painter and sculptor Leonardo di Vinci once said, “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” I think that’s well-suited to this entry on the countdown, the biggest collaboration on my chart this year. Not only was it simple and elegant, but it was a real work of art, carefully crafted and executed for maximum consumption. Pink and Nate Ruess, you done good, kids.

The #3 song of the year, “Just Give Me A Reason”, was co-written by the two singers, as well as producer Jeff Bhasker, one of driving forces behind fun.‘s breakout in 2012 with their Some Nights album. Initially conceived as a solo song during a songwriting session, Pink ultimately decided that song was offering two perspectives rather than just a singular view on a relationship, and she got the band frontman to take the co-lead on the song. After a demo was well received, the duet made the singer’s album, and when it was released back in September of that year, it was one of the tracks that showed early signs of public demand from strong download sales. Several months later, it was show time, and what a show it put on on the global stage.

After a slower-paced single in “Try”, there were some initial questions as to whether a pure piano-based ballad like “Reason” was the right choice for the third single from The Truth About Love, but those fears were put to rest when the song had an immediate reaction at radio. You literally just couldn’t escape it at one point. Not only was it a multi-format #1, topping the AC, Hot AC and CHR surveys, but it also topped the Hot 100 for three weeks. On my chart, it reigned for five frames: four in March in addition to the first week of April. Internationally, the song went to #1 in over a dozen countries, including Australia, Canada, Italy, Sweden and The Netherlands. Needless to say, it was the biggest success overall during a wonderful era, one that will be well-remembered by both fans and critics alike.

Looking back on 2013, I’d say the results for Pink and Nate Ruess were both pretty reasonable. Both have two songs in the top ten and took over the top spot on my countdown with two separate singles during the chart year. One for Mr. Ruess is still yet to come on the chart, and considering there’s only two positions left, you’ll be seeing where it lands tomorrow. Until then, “Carry On” and wait for the update!

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Adam’s Top 100 of 2013: #4, Olly Murs – “Troublemaker”

Olly olly oxen free.

Have an Olly Olly Christmas. (It’s the best time of the year!)

First Chart Entry: “Heart Skips A Beat” (#6, 2011)
Biggest Hit To Date:
“Troublemaker” (#1 for three weeks, 2013)

#1 for three weeks, 28 weeks in the top 40

Music Video:

After his In Case You Didn’t Know era delivered three consecutive top ten singles on my chart in 2011 and 2012, former X Factor U.K. runner-up Olly Murs had a lot to live up to when it came to his next era. Well, he and it did, to the point that he proved that, not third, but the fourth time was the charm when it came to topping even my personal tastes.

Murs achieved that feat when “Troublemaker” spent three weeks at #1 in January, which was concurrent with its overseas run. The song was co-written by Murs, Claude Kelly and producer Steve Robson. With a bouncy guitar-driven beat a la Maroon 5‘s “Misery”, this one was a no-brainer when it came to taking over my playlists. In fact, “Troublemaker” was one of five singles to make my top 40 this year from the original edition of Right Place Right Time; the other four were, in order of release, “Army Of Two” (#5), “Dear Darlin'” (#17), “Hey You Beautiful” (#23) and “Hand On Heart” (#35). That makes it his most successful year yet in terms of total number on entries and brings his chart history up to eight songs. I guess you could say that I knew he was trouble when he walked in (and I’m quite okay with that.)

After the disappointing results of the U.S. release of “Heart Skips A Beat”, which barely edged into the Hot 100, “Troublemaker” had a much easier time landing on station playlists, going top ten on the CHR airwaves. It also charted on a few other radio surveys during the late spring. That’s about the extent of what Murs has done here; the label recently gave up on a remixed version of “Dance With Me Tonight” after multiple delays, which earned some Hot AC play but couldn’t take off. It’s safe to assume that nothing else from the album will be promoted here, which is a shame as something like “Hey You Beautiful” would’ve at least ranked somewhere in the lower rungs nationally. Oh, well.

Murs is set to release his next studio album in mid-2014 in Europe; no word on what the Stateside promotion for it will look like if anything. Whatever the case, I’m ready for some more Jolly Olly fever. Be on the lookout, people.

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Adam’s Top 100 of 2013: #5, Bastille – “Pompeii”

Pomp up the jam.

Pomp up the jam.

First Chart Entry / Biggest Hit To Date: “Pompeii” (#1 for two weeks, 2013)

#1 for two weeks, 29+ weeks in the top 40

Music Video:

Oh, where do we begin? Let’s start here. Take a solo project, turn it into a band, get signed to Virgin Records and a few years down the line, you’re on top of the charts. It’s a little oversimplified, but it’s certainly not a bad progression for the British quartet Bastille, who dropped a historical hit on us this year in “Pompeii”.

The smash about the smashed up Roman city (thanks, Mount Vesuvius, we never liked you anyways) was written and co-produced by lead singer Dan Smith, as well as Mark Crew. With a distinctive sound and vocal, it’s no wonder it caught the attention of a lot of people during these past twelve months. However, you don’t see a lot of fourth singles becoming big hits after an initial string of underperforming releases, but that’s exactly what happened with this in the U.K., as it shot up to #2 during the spring. The tribal-meets-modern song then came onto my radar, leapt up my chart, and spent two weeks at #1 in August and September. It’s still descending on my top 40 and is just about to hit the 30 week mark.

In the U.S., like many British crossovers, the song has needed a little extra time to break out. It did manage to sneak in four weeks at #1 on Alternative radio in October and November and is now just crossing over to the mainstream formats. Looks like it’ll be huge into early 2014. A U.S. followup, the title track from Bad Blood, is now being worked at a few formats where “Pompeii” already peaked out. (“Bad Blood” originally went to #90 in the U.K. about a year and a half ago.)

Bastille may have just missed out on being this year’s Top Newcomer on my top 40, but they sure have a great future ahead of them. I’m sure you’ll be seeing their name all over my chart deep into 2014 to the point where you’ll question, “Does it almost feel like nothing’s changed at all?” Congrats, guys!

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Adam’s Top 100 of 2013: #6, Passenger – “Holes”

Rosenbergs are red, violets are blue...

I sure fell into this one.

First Chart Entry / Biggest Hit To Date: “Let Her Go” (#1 for twelve weeks, 2013)

#1 for five weeks, 26+ weeks in the top 40

Music Video:

Can you dig it? I can dig it. No, we won’t be grazing in the grass for this entry in the countdown, but we may be crashing through craters and turning into some tunnels on the ride there. Call it a pit hit for the 29-year-old singer Passenger.

Born Mike Rosenberg in Brighton, England, he wrote and co-produced this second of his three songs on the chart, which was also co-produced by Chris Vallejo. You can find the original edit on his 2012 album All The Little Lights, ranked as my #2 album of this year. When serviced as a radio single, it was remixed with several added elements, including a prominent xylophone throughout the arrangement, a backing choir in the second verse and light strings during a repetition of choruses in the last 1/3 of the song. Yet, in any version, the best aspect of this song is the wordplay, which Rosenberg always does a fantastic job with. So, you’ll be able to find a hole in your pocket, your shirt, a promise, etc., but none in this post, of course.

With the immense attention “Let Her Go” received, “Holes” couldn’t garner the same reaction when released in Europe this year, especially when “Let” was still receiving consistent airplay and sales. It did crack the top 40 in Australia, Austria, Belgium, Ireland and The Netherlands, but unfortunately, it likely won’t be remembered down the line. Still, a charting song is a charting song. As for where I think this should’ve peaked globally, well, that’s a hole other story.

Mr. Rosenberg still has one song left to chart in my special year-end chart; how high will I let it go? You’ll find out very soon.

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Adam’s Top 100 of 2013: #7, Train – “Mermaid”

Water you waiting for?

Water you waiting for?

First Chart Entry: “Meet Virginia” (#6, 1999)
Biggest Hit To Date: “Drive By” (#1 for three weeks, 2012)

#1 for three weeks, 25 weeks in the top 40

Music Video:

The lovely locomotive lads opted for a shiny boat in their highest-charting song on this year’s countdown and washed up on a woman who tickled leader Pat Monahan‘s fancy. What can I say? It’s the classic buoy meets girl tale.

Riding the tide of their successful 2012 California 37 album, this third radio single from it was co-written by Monahan and songwriting teams Espionage and Stargate, with Espionage and Butch Walker co-producing the track. In a bit of a twist, this song was actually on the airwaves during the winter months, although I guess it was a helpful reminder that summer would eventually show its face. Its rise up the charts was about average, climbing to #1 in its thirteenth week on and spending the first three weeks of March in the top spot. (I first wrote about it in November 2012.) I can’t say I’ve heard it in regular rotation on the radio since it was a current on the charts, though the song remains a fan favorite.

“Mermaid” did very little outside of the States, and even in the U.S., it missed the Hot 100 by a few spots, peaking in the Bubbling Under. It did, however, become the band’s latest top 20 entry on the Hot Adult Contemporary survey, a streak that likely has a few more years left in it. After all, the band is still a hot touring act, Monahan has a popular weekly podcast and their music is still all over the place. This one may have gone overboard, but it wasn’t a total loss.

2013 was yet another great year for Train and I can’t wait to see what 2014 brings, including a new album due to be released in the third quarter. Stay tuned.

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Adam’s Top 100 of 2013: #8, Pink featuring Lily Rose Cooper (Lily Allen) – “True Love”

Flower power.

Flower power in the top ten.

First Chart Entry for Pink: “There You Go” (#2, 2000)
Biggest Hit To Date: “So What” (#1 for six weeks, 2008)

First Chart Entry for Lily Rose Cooper (Lily Allen): “LDN” (#16, 2006)
Biggest Hit To Date: “True Love” (#1 for three weeks, 2013)

#1 for three weeks, 24 weeks in the top 40

Music Video:

No need to lie about this one, and that’s the cold hard truth. The bubbly song with just the right amount of angst was a winner, at least on my personal chart.

“True Love” marked the fourth consecutive hit on my chart from Pink‘s The Truth About Love, her first album to debut at #1 on the Billboard 200. It was co-written by the two singers and producer Greg Kurstin. I first highlighted the song on the blog on May 2 when it was about to see some overseas action, but several weeks later, U.S. radio got on top of it. This was also the first chart hit in four years for Cooper; last time around, it was “The Fear” that broke into the top 5. About halfway through the chart run of this duet, Cooper began using her professional name, Lily Allen, once again, creating a whole bunch of confusion on how to actually credit it. Nevertheless, even that couldn’t stop it from spending three weeks at #1 on my survey, one of the top collaborations of the year.

After three significant radio and sales releases from her album, this particular song couldn’t match Pink‘s previous success on a national level in the States, missing the top 40 on the Hot 100. However, as the Queen of Australia (let’s face it, she is), she managed a #5 peak in that territory, as well as higher peaks in Belgium and the Czech Republic. In short, the “Love” fest went on.

Pink has one more song in this year’s top ten, which happens to be another duet with a male counterpart. Stay tuned as we continue to count them down tomorrow…

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Adam’s Top 100 of 2013: #9, Phillip Phillips – “Gone, Gone, Gone”

Going, going, "Gone".

Going, going, “Gone”.

First Chart Entry: “Home” (#29, 2002)
Biggest Hit To Date: “Gone, Gone, Gone” (#2 for two weeks, 2013)

#2 for two weeks, 25 weeks in the top 40

Music Video:

“Like a drum, baby, don’t stop beating.” Way to be percussively persuasive right there, Phillip Phillips. The former American Idol winner rose up the charts again with the followup single to “Home”, another decent-sized success.

Lifted from his late 2012 release, The World From The Side Of The Moon, “Gone, Gone, Gone” was co-written by Todd Clark, Derek Fuhrmann and producer Gregg Wattenberg. (Wattenberg’s name has appeared a few times on this list so far.) I first wrote about the song in a rather punny review on December 10 of last year, long before it was pushed to Hot AC radio. It’s a solid pop/rock tune about being there for someone even when they’re out of your life. Amazingly enough, “Gone” managed to sneak past two #2 songs that each spent five weeks a piece in the runner-up slot, which seems sort of unusual. However, Phillips’s steadier run as opposed to a fast rise/fast fall situation balanced out his numbers and led him into the top ten this year.

His success has been limited to North America even though he’s charted elsewhere, but perhaps a bigger international push may be something to look into during the era for his second album. After a college tour this past fall, I’m sure he’ll be back in the studio in early 2014 laying down some new tracks. Whether he experiences the sophomore slump or survives through that crucial followup release, that’s yet to be determined.

Congrats Phillip on your biggest chart hit yet for me! American Idol may not have the same appeal it once did, but at least the show got a good winner out of it.

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Adam’s Top 100 of 2013: #10, Michael Bublé – “It’s A Beautiful Day”

Pop the Bublé.

Pop the Bublé ’cause it’s party time.

First Chart Entry: “How Can You Mend A Broken Heart?” (#21, 2003)
Biggest Hit To Date: “Haven’t Met You Yet” (#1 for five weeks, 2009-10)

#1 for four weeks, 24 weeks in the top 40

Music Video:

Why be sad over a breakup when you can just parade in the streets about it? That’s part of the concept of the video for this hit from Michael Bublé, a poppy and peppy track that just makes you want to smile and wipe those blues away.

From his #1 album To Be Loved, “Beautiful” was cowritten by Bublé, Alan Chang and Amy Foster, and produced by Bob Rock. The single debuted on February 25 and it immediately impacted my top 40, rising quickly to #1 on the chart dated April 14 and spending four weeks there, tied for his second-longest run at the top. (2007 single “Everything” also achieved the same amount of time there.) With a quick rise also came a quick fall as the song failed to make as significant an outcome nationally as “Haven’t Met You Yet” made three years prior. Still, it went top 10 on his core radio format, Adult Contemporary, and once again provided the soccer moms (and maybe even chart geeks) with something to sing along to.

“Beautiful” also garnered some pretty beautiful peaks worldwide, going top ten in several European countries like Belgium, Finland and the United Kingdom. The current U.S. single from the effort is “Close Your Eyes”, which is doing moderately well on the AC airwaves. “After All”, a duet with fellow Canadian Bryan Adams, and a cover of “You Make Me Feel So Young” have also received the single treatment in Europe, but to little chart activity.

Congrats Michael on another great hit! His worldwide tour picks up again January 11 in Paris, France.

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