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“Begging” For Love: Five Top Tracks From Around The Globe

With music becoming so global nowadays, more than a few artists are given the chance to shine on a worldwide level. However, we do miss out on a lot of great music here in the U.S. that isn’t picked up from other countries. Though there’s so much to pick from, here are five current singles from overseas that are selling and streaming and should, at least in my opinion, be given the chance to shine on the charts here:

Faydee

FAYDEE – “Lullaby” (iTunes)
Origin: Sydney, Australia
Label: Buckle Up Entertainment (Australia)

There’s a little song called “I Need Your Love” that’s become a solid hit on the U.S. pop airwaves, and this 28-year-old is one of the featured acts on it. So, with his profile raised here, who says he can’t be a solo success in the States? With a combined social media audience of over 600,000 followers worldwide, it’s clear that something’s working. Plus, some of his past work is selling again thanks his feature. The tropical pop song does feel like it could fit on CHR and Rhythmic outlets if given the right backing.

Lions Head

LIONS HEAD – “Begging” (iTunes)
Origin: Berlin, Germany
Label: Tanz Dich Glücklich (Germany)

Roaring onto the web a few months ago, this track from New York singer and songwriter Ignacio Uriarte and German producer Filip Bakija spread via SoundCloud in its original form and several remixes onto German radio, where it’s now building an even larger audience. For a smooth summer soundtrack, it’s a gentle three minute glide into the pop world with a hook that’ll remain in your head. It’s unexpected and understated. With more quality songs like this, these two men will be at the Head of the class.

Luke Million

LUKE MILLION featuring JESSE DAVIDSON – “Fear The Night” (iTunes)
Origin: Adelaide, Australia
Label: etcetc Music (Australia)

Feeling like a million is all about a sense of confidence, but this DJ and producer from down under is feeling like a Million more than you or I. With big support from influential radio station Triple J and a budding fan base of thousands, the track (featuring fellow Australian Davidson) is one of those slick and synth-filled sounds meant for early morning cruising. Sure, pop radio may be filled with a few other dance tunes, but “you’ve got the right” to let this one get you moving. Let’s see if it can make the jump.

Skinny Days

SKINNY DAYS – “Alright Right Now” (iTunes)
Origin: Oslo, Norway
Label: Warner Music (Norway)

If you take a peek at the Spotify Viral charts like I do, you may have noticed this song atop the lists in Denmark and Norway late in April and through the first half of May. It is the first major label release for Dag Holtan-Hartwig and Halvor Folstad, who are largely known as producers and writers for local artists. Not only is it a great electronic song, but it also has an intense and very strange video that involves an older man’s contact and some wild flailing about. I’ll leave it at that, but check it out if you desire.

TooManyLeftHands

TOOMANYLEFTHANDS – “Too Young To Die” (iTunes)
Origin: Copenhagen, Denmark
Label: Warner Music (Denmark)

The duo of Anders K and Martin Nick have been making music together since 2009 and in the past year, they’ve successfully hit the top 40 twice in their homeland with “Dancing In The Fire” and “Trouble”. Third time’s the charm, as they say, and the latest song from the two is a total summer anthem about living life to the fullest. It’s already showing nice signs of growth on that side of the world and could become their biggest single thus far when all is said and done. Will time be good to them here? We’ll see.

Check out these other great songs from across the world:
Aston Merrygold – “Get Stupid” (United Kingdom) (Warner Music – U.K.)
CAUSES – “Walk On Water” (The Netherlands) (PIAS)
Jocelyn Alice – “Jackpot” (Canada) (Tandemtracks)
Kita Alexander – “My Own Way” (Australia) (self-released)
Sandra Lyng – “Play My Drum” (Norway) (Mer Musikk)

Which of these solid songs will make it to the U.S. first and do the best here? Let me know! Comment below or click on the “Get Social!” tab above to find PGTC on Facebook and Twitter.

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For The Record: Adam’s Pop Picks For Record Store Day 2015

Viva la Vinyl.

All the spin on RSD.

Another year, another round of Record Store Day shopping is on schedule for this Saturday, April 18. The annual event is once again taking place all over the world, and the massive music fest is sure to bring out even more people than last year, so make it to your local store or stores early enough so that you don’t get caught behind the huge lines. With another diverse collection of exclusive CD and vinyl pieces across all genres and eras, there’s something for everyone, but quantities are limited.

In honor of the eighth national day, I’ve managed to bring down my big list to the eight most essential pieces that I’m looking to find on my journey. It may be a struggle, but let’s hope for the best. Though a little more retro-skewed than last year’s list, here are my top pop picks:

(Check out the full list of U.S. releases for RSD here.)

A-HA, “Take On Me” (Image)
Format: 7″ Picture Disc
Label: Rhino
If “Feel This Moment” wasn’t a musical moment for you, there’s always the 1985 classic to look back on, a huge #1 for the band on the Billboard Hot 100. The best part about this release is it’s a picture disc with a frame from the iconic video. Radical, man.

BEE GEES, Extended (Image)
Format: 12″ EP
Label: Rhino
This special four song set from the phenomenal brother trio features some of their international hits from the RSO era, like the Saturday Night Fever cuts “Stayin’ Alive” and “Night Fever”. In fact, all four songs can be found on that landmark soundtrack.

BIG DATA featuring JOYWAVE, “Dangerous” (Image)
Format: 7″ Single
Label: Warner Bros.
“Dangerous” is the biggest single to date for producer Alan Wilkis, a #1 song on the Alternative chart last summer and included on his recent 2.0 album. This release definitely has one of the coolest package designs for RSD as it looks like a big floppy disk.

DAVID BOWIE, “Changes” (Image)
Format: 7″ Picture Disc
Label: Rhino
The word legend gets thrown out a lot nowadays, but Bowie truly is one and this classic single is a reminder of that status. From the Hunky Dory album, it charted twice but never made the top 40. The picture used is a different one from the original sleeve.

DEATH CAB FOR CUTIE and FREEDY JOHNSTON, “Bad Reputation” (Image)
Format: 7″ Single
Label: Atlantic
Johnston’s best-known song was a minor Alternative hit in the fall of 1994 before crossing over to the CHR chart in 1995. This split 7″ release concept has been one of the essentials throughout past events, including the always popular Mystery Artist one.

FLORENCE + THE MACHINE, “What Kind Of Man” (Image)
Format: 12″ Single
Label: Republic
“Man” is the leadoff single (and a top ten Alternative hit) from How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful, scheduled to be released in early June. The 12″ single release comes on blue vinyl encased in a copper sleeve and features the b-side “As Far As I Can Get”.

GROUPLOVE, Under The Covers (Image)
Format: 10″ Single
Label: Atlantic
The California quintet is welcomed back onto the RSD list after appearing on a split single two years ago. This EP, a three track set strictly featuring covers, includes two unreleased songs and an additional remake recorded for a Spotify session last spring.

MUMFORD & SONS, “Believe” (Image)
Format: 7″ Single
Label: Glassnote
They may have lost the banjos, but they haven’t lost their enthusiasm for the holiday. I purchased a vinyl copy of their EP Live At Bull Moose in 2013 and I will be looking out for this. The jacket is not fancy, but the song is a solid Alternative chart-topper.

Are you looking forward to the RSD celebration and is there another cool release not listed here that you’ve got to buy? Let me know in the comments or on Facebook or Twitter: click the “Get Social!” tab above to find us on there.

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POP! Goes The Country: Can These Tracks Hit Top 40 Radio?

Take a look at the current top 50 on the CHR chart and there’s not an ounce of country music to be found on the format. A few of the artists represented on the chart, like Taylor Swift and Kelly Clarkson, have both charted at country radio, however, I don’t think they’ll be returning there during their respective eras this time around. Still, the potential remains for the next big country crossover act or single during the summer and fall months of 2015. Given the most recent chart data, here are choices that I think could do very well with the right opportunity:

Carrie Underwood
CARRIE UNDERWOOD – “Little Toy Guns”
Label: 19/Arista Nashville

Since her chart debut in 2005, Underwood has been the golden girl of the airwaves with an outstanding total of 20 top ten hits, including 18 main credits that have all peaked at #1, #2 or #3. That’s incredible. Though “Something In The Water” seemed to be accessible to stations on the AC panel, it never went beyond her core format (except for some airtime at Christian stations.) However, it’s the followup that very much fits the model of a classic Underwood crossover: stellar lyrics and good production.

Florida-Georgia Line
FLORIDA GEORGIA LINE – “Sun Daze”
Label: Republic Nashville

Before you start screaming in horror about the thought of these two guys having a third single chart at mainstream radio (after “Cruise” and “This Is How We Roll”), this song is already getting enough flack from the country community, so maybe the pop outlets will jump on this one. Lyrical masterpiece, it’s certainly not, but is it catchy? Sure. It has the potential to serve between transition records (genre, tempo, etc.) well. KFMB/San Diego and WOMX/Orlando lead the way thus far on the Hot AC listing.

Kelsea Ballerini

KELSEA BALLERINI – “Love Me Like You Mean It”
Label: Black River Entertainment

One could say that a Swift co-sign is about to give this 21-year-old newcomer a great chance to go even further then she, or her label, expected to with the track, currently gaining in the top 25 at country radio. The song is already pop-driven in its original form and if sales and airplay numbers keep going in the right direction, AC and Hot AC radio could definitely pick up on this as well. Distribution for Black River is handled by RED; we’ll see if the label’s limited radio traction affects anything in the future.

Mickey Guyton
MICKEY GUYTON – “Better Than You Left Me”
Label: Capitol Nashville

Guyton is another newcomer on the scene, and with a huge impact week earlier this year thanks to an expansive radio tour, the  first time top 40 star is looking to solidly plant her feet in the upper rungs of the chart. She certainly has a powerful message in her debut single that is musically comparable to a more established mainstream name like Colbie Caillat. The singer needs to gain some country support in the next few months, but this is a relatable female record that shows major strength and courage.

Sam Hunt
SAM HUNT – “Take Your Time”
Label: MCA Nashville

If the Shawn Mullins‘s “Lullaby” formula ever sounded like it could be a country crossover hit, it would probably sound like the latest single from 30-year-old Hunt, who never managed to cross with his former #1 at the format, “Leave The Night On”. I still think that it would’ve been easier to push “Leave”, but it appears that “Take” is selling ever more than that song; lately, the track’s been hovering near the top 20 at iTunes. Hot AC station WBMX/Boston recently added the song into medium rotation.

Zac Brown Band
ZAC BROWN BAND – “Homegrown”
Label: Southern Ground/Varvatos/Big Machine

Though they moved after three albums with Atlantic Records into the Republic family last year, the Georgia octet is definitely due for another crossover single, which they had plenty of during their first three eras. Most recently, “Goodbye In Her Eyes” pulled off the trick during the spring of 2013 that garnered some play at Hot AC outlets, though it stopped just short of the top 40. People love a song about taking pride in one’s roots, and this has the feel to transcend several different types of audiences.

Which of these songs do you think will make the next best Country crossover? Let me know! Comment below or click the “Get Social!” tab to find PGTC on social media sites.

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Ahead Of Their Time: Song Titles From The Future

What year is it again?

What year is it again?

Already a sleeper top ten hit on the Rhythmic survey, “3005” by Childish Gambino is set to crossover to CHR radio in roughly a week and a half as the first pop release from his album of last year, Because The Internet. You might remember that in 2012, his song “Heartbeat” gained some pop play and wound up just below the top 40. We’ll see what happens with Glassnote’s latest attempt to break the rapper at the format. (Thus far, it’s just scratched the Hot 100.)

The year 3005, as found in the title, doesn’t occur for another 991 years, and it got me thinking about other chart hits that were ahead of their time. Of course, I mean in terms of a year in the title, not in terms of content; that’s a whole other post or five. So, enjoy as I go reelin’ in the years from some of these Billboard top 40 time predictors:

“In The Year 2525”, Zager & Evans (1969)
Denny Zager and Rick Evans formed their duo several years before recording their epic hit, the tale about a world plagued by the dangers of technology and the future of a dehumanized race. Despite a dark message, the single connected with the buying public. “Year” spent six weeks at #1 during the summer of ’69; a followup, “Mr. Turnkey”, just missed the Hot 100.

“1999”, Prince and the Revolution (1982-3)
A funky party from the future came into our lives three decades ago and it’s still all over the airwaves in 2014. As much of a classic as it is today, the first single from the Purple One’s album of the same name actually peaked just below the top 40 in its first chart run during the fall of ’82. In a rerelease the next summer, it rose to a better #12 before it was “out of time.”

“Year 3000”, The Jonas Brothers (2007)
Remember when these guys were still around? Before the underwhelming solo careers and the messy group split before a series of concerts last year, the trio of Joe, Kevin and Nick were riding high on the Hot 100 with this song, originally done by another trio – the U.K. band Busted. With a few minor lyric adjustments, the three Brothers took their version to #31.

“2012 (It Ain’t The End)”, Jay Sean featuring Nicki Minaj (2010)
After two big U.S. radio hits with “Down” and “Do You Remember?”, this British performer played into the theory that the world would end on December 21, 2012 for his third Stateside single. However, like that daunting event, the notion of this song blowing up didn’t actually happen. Released too early to make a significant impact, it quickly peaked at #31 that fall.

Which one of these top hits from the time machine leaps forward on your playlist? Let me know! Comment below or click on the “Get Social!” tab above to find PGTC on Facebook and Twitter.

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A Musical Mystery: Is Someone Dropping A Surprise Album?

Tunes for June?

Tunes for June?

It started out as a blind item Thursday night on the trade site HITS Daily Double — the potential for a surprise album to be issued at some point during the first week of June. Immediately, music message boards were buzzing as to whom could be behind such a release. Now, this obviously has no confirmation, it’s merely a suggestion of a rumbling inside this industry, but the potential is huge for another blockbuster dependent on the soloist or band with such an album. I, myself, haven’t a clue as to who it actually is. However, I’m here to give suggestions! Let’s sort this one out together…

  • It could be a diva with a flashy new release. Should the mystery item be something like Adele‘s 25, it could save a 15% drop in albums year-to-date. It may even be capable of selling 1 million copies in its first week as the followup to the Diamond certified 21. There’s also singer Taylor Swift, who is due for a new album at some point this year. Both the country and pop communities would be excited by new music from her. We also have Rihanna, who last year was reported to be involved with two albums seeing a 2014 release date rather than completing a new set for a 2013 date. Finally, there’s Lady Gaga; we’ve heard whispers of an ARTPOP 2 coming at some point, and we’re also likely to see her collaboration effort with Tony Bennett, Cheek To Cheek, this year. Question is, will it be now?
  • It could be a solo rapper. Given the recent $3 billion deal between Apple and Beats By Dre, could we be upon the release of that decade-plus-in-the-making Detox by Dr. Dre? It certainly makes sense given all the news lately, but then again, it’s been pushed back so many times that it may never see the light of day. Lil Wayne‘s Tha Carter V is also in the running given that a leadoff single is now on the charts; so is his cohort Nicki Minaj with The Pink Print. Both are anticipated after an underperforming Young Money compilation. We also can’t forget about rapper Wiz Khalifa‘s Blacc Hollywood; with no date yet, it could fit in here. Kanye West may be an option as well.
  • It could be act that’s had decades of success and is looking to making some sort of comeback. Madonna‘s name has been thrown around quite a bit since the announcement of a surprise release; she and Katy Perry have been working together recently, and she’s been in the studio with both Avicii and Natalia Kills. Prince recently signed a new deal with his old label Warner Bros. – could this be the first of his new albums for them? There’s also U2, who have released a few tunes since the beginning of the year: “Invisible” and “Ordinary Love” (from the film Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom.) Was their album really pushed back to 2015… or is now the right time to put it out?
  • We also have the performers that could be the ultimate shock. Could you imagine if Gwen Stefani dropped an album out of nowhere? After all, she will be judging on The Voice this season and has been working on some sounds with the other new judge on the panel, Pharrell. Given all their playing at festivals in the last few months, wouldn’t it make sense for Outkast to release an album? Epic has a little momentum (can’t give them too much credit) with the Michael Jackson posthumous effort. What about Justin Bieber in his attempt to silence the critics? What about JoJo and her first album in eight years? Far too many options, so little time to analyze them all.

The curiosity factor is going to go on for some time and I’m not sure I’ve helped things totally, but we’ll see what happens this week! Think it may be someone else? Frank OceanJanet Jackson? Kesha? Let me know! Comment below or find me on social media by clicking the “Get Social!” tab above.

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Bringing ’88 Back: A “Fancy” Feast Of Sampled Songs

Flashing back like, totally!

They’re so antsy, you already know.

With huge gains in airplay and sales, it’s easy to see why the new #1 atop the Hot 100 this week is “Fancy” by rapper Iggy Azalea and singer Charli XCX. Despite the inevitable calls that R&B and rap music is being whitewashed (again), it’s quite the achievement for both performers, who each score their first chart-topper on the big list. In turn, Azalea becomes only the fourth female rapper to hit the summit following Lauryn Hill (1998), Lil’ Kim (2001) and Shawnna (2003). Since she’s also featured on the #2 single this week, singer Ariana Grande‘s “Problem”, I’d say she’s having a pretty good year so far and the successes will only continue for her.

In recognition of this story and the song, one line came to mind in the first verse. It’s borrowed from rapper Nas‘s 2003 hit “Made You Look”: “Rooftop like we bringin’ ’88 back.” Of course, this line refers to holding parties up on the rooftop of a building. However, Azalea wasn’t born in 1988 and the song certainly doesn’t date back to then. Luckily, there have been plenty of songs in the past few years that have been “bringin’ ’88 back” through a sample or cover of a prior hit. Even since her first EP release in the summer of 2012, we’ve had these fun flashbacks…

FLO RIDA – “I Cry” (2012)
Sample: “Piano In The Dark”, Brenda Russell featuring Joe Esposito (#6, June)

His songs have sampled everyone from Dead Or Alive to Eiffel 65 to Etta James, so I guess it’s not a surprise that the rapper made it on here. “Piano”, of course, was an unexpected comeback smash for Russell. “Cry” marks a rare case where both a single and the song it sampled climbed to the same peak on the Hot 100; it went to #6 just before Christmas in 2012.

SEBASTIAN MIKAEL featuring WALE – “Last Night” (2013)
Sample: “Nite And Day”, Al B. Sure! (#7, July)

Originally born in Sweden and then based in Boston during his college years, this 24-year-old took on this classic from the New York singer, which also charted as a sample for acts like LL Cool J and P.M. Dawn. Mikael’s debut release went top ten on the Urban chart in December and broke the top 40 at Rhythm radio earlier this year. His current single is “Forever”.

TO BE ONE – “Please Don’t Go Girl” (2014)
Sample: “Please Don’t Go Girl”, New Kids On The Block (#10, October)

This trio of teens from New Jersey has yet to fully break on the pop scene, but with the longtime support of SiriusXM’s two pop channels, Atom Factory recently serviced this to CHR radio to minimal results. Unfortunately, it looks to be over. The original “Girl” put the New Kids on the map with their first of nine top ten hits in a row, all ranking between 1988 and 1990.

MARIAH CAREY – “One More Try” (2014)
Remake: “One More Try”, George Michael (#1, May)

As Me. I Am Mariah… The Elusive Chanteuse prepares to debut in the top 3 on the Billboard 200, this remake seems to be a fan favorite from an otherwise troubling era. Carey has a history of bringing ’88 back when it comes to covering songs: in 1999, her take on Brenda K. Starr‘s #13 hit “I Still Believe” (which she originally sang backup on) eclipsed it, going to #4.

When it comes to my 1988 jams, I’ll still take those tunes from Breathe and Johnny Hates Jazz, with an occasional spin of Climie Fisher or Crowded House. That’s just a small sample of my favorites that colored the charts with “Electric Blue”, “Out Of The Blue” and “Pink Cadillac”. What’s your favorite ’88 throwback? Let me know! Comment below or find me on social media by clicking the “Get Social!” tab.

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Going Up The Country: A Twist Of Twang At Pop Radio

Howdy, cowboys and cowgirls. Much like last year, there’s about to be a honky tonk hollering onto the pop charts thanks to a few remixed versions of recent hits at the Country format. There’s sure to be a few thousand groans along the way, but it’s anyone’s guess as to how these songs will actually do. It’s also anyone’s guess as to which idea is the worse concept. The whole process seems outdated and unneccessary. Then again, the public likes what the public likes. Get ready to see these new edits on that achy breaky chart we call the Billboard Hot 100 soon:

One more "Drink".

One more “Drink”.

JERROD NIEMANN featuring PITBULL – “Drink To That All Night”
Release Date: May 19 / at CHR radio now, adds date: June 10

Now that “Wild Wild Love” has seen the last of its love on the pop airwaves, rapper Pitbull is making his way to the Wild Wild West along with singer/songwriter Jerrod Niemann. The 34-year-old performer from Kansas recently scored his second #1 on the Country survey with this for two weeks, a far different sound from his first chart-topper, 2010’s “Lover, Lover”. With the recent trend of so-called “Bro Country” and all the criticism hurled towards it, perhaps this song isn’t the worst offender of all, but it’s certainly seen its share of disparagers. Label Sea Gayle/Arista failed to cross “Lover” to Hot AC radio four years ago… can Mr. Worldwide guide Judge Jerrod through the dog eat dog world that awaits them on these outlets? With digital sales surging and spins on a dozen (mostly Southern) stations to date, this “Night” is looking notable.

They're on a "Roll".

They’re on a “Roll”.

FLORIDA GEORGIA LINE featuring JASON DERULO – “This Is How We Roll”
Release Date: June 5 / Adds Date: June 17

Well, they’ve done it! Over on the Mediabase chart, “Roll” just topped the list for a week, marking five number one singles in a row at Country radio for the duo of Tyler Hubbard and Brian Kelley since their debut release “Cruise”. Of course, that single weathered a pop run in a remix with Nelly, took on a second chart life and forever complicated the history of what is now Billboard’s Hot Country Songs survey. (There’s already been enough said about that heated issue.) So, now the two men are out to prove that lightning does strike twice with this rerelease. This story started over the weekend when Derulo posted this on Instagram with a caption referring the title, along with the hashtags “#comingsoon” and “#countrymusic”. I guess there’s no reason to believe it could lead to anything else. You know what to do with this idea… Giggle, giggle, giggle.

Two songs making the jump is significant enough for the early summer months, but we may not be done entirely. A single like Dan + Shay‘s recent release “19 You + Me” has enough crossover potential in it, while Luke Bryan‘s new #1 on the Country chart, “Play It Again”, is already receiving some unsolicited play at Hot AC radio. We’ll see what happens! For now, you can let me know what you think about these records on the range by commenting below or click the “Get Social!” tab to find PGTC on social media.

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