Tag Archives: Adam Levine

TOP TEN: The Voices Within

You want a peace of this?

You want a peace of this?

In the past few days, there have been a few news stories out there about both the domestic and international versions of The Voice, the singing competition in which four coaches/judges rely on just a contestant’s voice in order to persuade them to turn their chair around and fight to add them onto their team. In the United Kingdom, singers Danny O’Donoghue of The Script and Jessie J are exiting the show, while Ricky Wilson of the Kaiser Chiefs and Kylie Minogue will be their replacements. In the United States, original judges Cee Lo Green and Christina Aguilera are returning to the panel, leaving fill-ins Shakira and Usher out of a chair this season.

With all that shifting around, I thought I would do the same and compile another top ten list of the acts with the most top 40 singles to make my personal chart who have also coached on the show, whether here in the U.S. or abroad. In fact, 18 of them, both current or former, have managed at least one charting single. Can you guess which of them has the biggest voice of them all, at least on my survey? Check it all out below… but turn your chair around to face your computer, this isn’t a singing competition.

10. SHAKIRA (5)
Her hips don’t lie and neither do her chart stats. First a star in the Spanish-speaking world, she set her sights on the English market with 2001’s Laundry Service. Her first single to make it on remains her highest peaking release, “Whenever Wherever”. It went to #2 for two weeks. Although she’s had some massive worldwide hits since then, the Columbian singer hasn’t ranked on my top 40 since early 2006.

09. APL.DE.AP (6)
The first season of The Voice of the Philippines is currently underway, and Apl.De.Ap is the only judge from that version to appear on here. He’s one of two members of the Black Eyed Peas on the list, the other being will.i.am further up. The group’s biggest entry to date, 2003’s “Where Is The Love?”, went to #4 for a week and garnered a lot of airplay. The song features Justin Timberlake on the chorus.

08. JOEL MADDEN (6)
Madden’s been a judge for two years on Australia’s version of The Voice. As a member of pop-punk quartet Good Charlotte, Madden made my top 40 six times in the past decade or so. One single went to #1, “Lifestyles Of The Rich And Famous”, which spent four weeks there in 2003. Ah, the days of middle school. They last made my chart in the fall of 2010 and are in the process of recording once again.

07. USHER (7)
He’s a actor, dancer and a singer and last season, he filled in on the U.S. edition of The Voice. Though he first charted in 2000 with a single that was pulled from radio, his biggest success so far on my chart is “Yeah!”, featuring Lil’ Jon and Ludacris. His signature song rose to #5 in 2004. Usher largely missed my chart after the Confessions era, though he still pops up now and again with a song that I enjoy.

06. WILL.I.AM (7)
Back at #9 was this guy’s partner-in-crime from the Black Eyed Peas; now, will.i.am appears. His only solo single to make my top 40, in which he’s a featured performer, ended up being his lone #1 so far: “Hall Of Fame”, as done by The Script. It occupied the spot for four weeks last year. Since then, he released a solo album, #willpower, but nothing from it has even come remotely close to making my chart.

05. DANNY O’DONOGHUE (7)
O’Donoghue was on the U.K. edition of The Voice for two seasons before leaving this Spring. He first made the top 40 in the group MyTown, but he is primarily known as the leader of The Script, who have been massive on my chart since 2009. Of their seven charting songs, four went to #1, including “The Man Who Can’t Be Moved” for eight weeks. They’re expected to release a fourth album early next year.

04. RICKY MARTIN (8)
The former Menudo singer and Latin heartthrob has been enjoying his time as a judge on The Voice in Australia. His self-titled debut English album broke him in a big way, but it was his followup release, Sound Loaded, that delivered his biggest hit thus far: “She Bangs”. It totaled four weeks at the top in 2000. Martin hasn’t been on since 2001, but a recent single, “Come With Me”, came out earlier this year.

03. KYLIE MINOGUE (15)
She’s a legend and she’ll be bringing the heat to the judging panel on The Voice in the U.K. in 2014 during the show’s third season. Though Minogue’s been hitting the charts since the late 80’s over in Europe, her first single to reach my top 40 was a #1 for five weeks, 2002’s “Can’t Get You Out Of My Head”. 2004’s “Red Blooded Woman” also topped my list for three weeks. The singer last charted earlier this year.

02. ADAM LEVINE (17)
He’s been with the U.S. version of The Voice since its beginning, including this upcoming season, but you also know him as the leader of Maroon 5. The band has now been atop my chart six times, including the nine week “This Love” in 2004 and their biggest, 2007’s “Makes Me Wonder”, which spent eleven big weeks there. All in all, they’ve had 17 top 40 entries, one of the largest sums for a band to my chart.

01. CHRISTINA AGUILERA (20)
She’s got some big pipes and a big stack of hits too, and thus, Christina Aguilera glides into the #1 spot on my list. She had my very first #1 back in September 1999 with “Genie In A Bottle” and would later charge the chart summit with “What A Girl Wants”, “Come On Over Baby (All I Want Is You)”, “Lady Marmalade” (with Lil’ Kim, Mya and Pink), “Beautiful” and “Moves Like Jagger” (with Maroon 5).

Don’t forget to tune into the premiere of the U.S. version of The Voice, premiering this Monday night at 8PM EDT/7PM CDT on NBC, and follow the blog or click “Get Social!” to find PGTC on social media.

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SINGLE REVIEW: Tony Lucca – “Never Gonna Let You Go” (+ Lyrics)

Another voice from The Voice.

Another voice from The Voice.

37-year-old Tony Lucca has been in the music business for over twenty years now and has seen and done a lot, from a children’s television show to commercials and eventually a music-based reality competition. A generation grew up with him for four season of The New Mickey Mouse Club, and while his friends and fellow actors Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera and Justin Timberlake would become superstars in the world of music, Lucca struggled with an acting career and recorded independently to little buzz, although he did open for *NSYNC on their 2001 tour, a group that featured Timberlake and another Mouseketeer, JC Chasez. Chasez would come in handy, inviting Lucca out on tour with him and co-producing his first album for Lightyear Records in 2004, Shotgun. A single, “Catch Me” was promoted, and even made my New & Active for six weeks during that summer, but it was largely ignored by radio. He continued to record both solo and with others and managed to find some placement on a few shows here and there.

Then, in 2011, everything changed when Lucca auditioned for the television show The Voice, with Aguilera as a judge. All four judges turned around for him, though he ended up with judge Adam Levine, and the tensions between Aguilera and Lucca ramped up, especially during a performance of Jay-Z‘s “99 Problems” during one of the later rounds. He eventually ended up in third place. Following the show, Levine signed him to a new startup label called 222 Records, which recently released a Matthew Morrison album, Where It All Began. An album from Lucca will be coming later this year, but for now, he and his label are trying for a radio hit with his brand new single, “Never Gonna Let You Go”.

“Never” is your standard mid-to-uptempo pop/rock fare with a guitar-driven arrangement, which is right genre for Lucca to be heading in. I ultimately think it’s one of the best post-The Voice singles that’s out there right now. If you’re a fan of the recent Phillip Phillips album and singles like “Gone, Gone, Gone” and “Home”, then this will probably be right up your alley. Luckily, this song isn’t as folky as his stuff, because you know how over-saturated the airwaves are right now with twangy guitars and mandolins from the recent explosion of those types of acts. No, this one’s solid the way it is, with a catchy melody and a great set of lyrics about a guy who is almost ready to give up from the fatigue of his actions, but can’t when he’s with the girl in his life; he won’t let her get away from him. It’s short and sweet at just over three minutes in length, but is certainly a great introduction of what will be coming our way.

Here’s the problem: 222 Records doesn’t have a proven hit yet, and while this could be it for them, it generally only appeals to two radio formats: Hot Adult Contemporary (Hot AC) and Adult Album Alternative (AAA). I think it has potential at both of them, but it’s not up to me to decide the hits, and name alone from both Levine and the television show can get it so far. It’s a quality song, so I’m hoping for the best. Now, go out and download it to support Tony and his music! He’ll be performing on The Voice tonight, so make sure to tune at 8PM Eastern on NBC.

Listen to the premiere of “Never Gonna Let You Go”. / Download “Never Gonna Let You Go” on iTunes.

“NEVER GONNA LET YOU GO”

[Verse 1]
My legs are getting tired of running
Running at the speed of sound
But all I ever wanted was to not have nothing
And try to make it through the crowd
My eyes have been weighing heavy
Everything has changed for me
With all the bright lights in the city at night
It’s still too dark to see

[Pre-Chorus]
And if you take me by the hand with the whole world watching
Never gonna let you go

[Chorus]
‘Cause only you know
How to save my soul
I hope you know
Never gonna let you go
So, if you take me by the hand with the whole world watching
I just wanna let you know
Oh-oh-oh oh
Never gonna let you go

[Verse 2]
My head has been spilling over
It’s too much for me to take
If I could send myself back home for a minute
Maybe it would be OK
I know it’s been a long time coming
It will never be the same
Been waiting on the edge of nothing
Maybe nothing’s really changed

[Pre-Chorus]
And if you take me by the hand with the whole world watching
Never gonna let you go

[Chorus]
‘Cause only you know
How to save my soul
I hope you know
Never gonna let you go
So, if you take me by the hand with the whole world watching
I just wanna let you know
Oh-oh-oh oh
Never gonna let you go

Oh-oh-oh oh (x4)

[Middle 8]
So, if you take me by the hand with the whole world watching
I just wanna let you know
That if you take me by the hand with the whole world watching
Never gonna let you go

[Chorus]
‘Cause only you know
How to save my soul
I hope you know
Never gonna let you go
So, if you take me by the hand with the whole world watching
I just wanna let you know
Oh-oh-oh oh
Never gonna let you go

[End]
Oh-oh-oh oh (x4)

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PROFILE: Glee‘s Matthew Morrison Serves Up Standards For Seconds

Begin again.

Begin again.

You know him well as the character of Will Schuester on Glee, which was recently renewed for not one, but two more seasons. You think it’s a little premature to come to that announcement? I do too, but the network seems to really believe in it. When he’s not teaching the students at McKinley High, Matthew Morrison is an artist himself. There’s been a little bit out there on his recent developments in the music world, but now that the first single from his second album has magically appeared online, let’s have a listen to it, shall we? First, a little bit of background on the matter.

Glee attained a pretty good audience when it premiered in the fall of 2009, but it wasn’t until the second part of the first season that things really started to pick up for the crew. As the show rocked the ratings, Morrison signed a solo deal with Mercury Records, who released his self-titled debut album in the spring of 2011. He performed one of the songs on it, “Still Got Tonight”, on an episode of Glee that season, and the radio single from the effort, “Summer Rain”, made the top 20 on Adult Contemporary radio. It also made the top 20 on my personal chart, but we know those things don’t count in the real world. Sigh. Despite duets with Elton John and Sting and a top show on the air, he couldn’t really promote the album when it came out, and thus, it debuted moderately and then crashed down, never to be seen again. He was then, understandably, dropped from the label. However, just a year later, Morrison became the first signee on 222 Records, a label put together by the lead singer of Maroon 5, Adam Levine. He’s been working on this project ever since, and now his baby is ready to be revealed to the world in just a few weeks.

Where It All Began marks Matthew Morrison‘s first full release to go in an all-standards direction rather than the pop record he put out two years ago. The twelve-song set, released on June 3, is a mix of songs from the musicals and big band era, from “The Lady Is A Tramp” (from Babes In Arms) to “Luck Be A Lady” (from Guys And Dolls) to the first single from it, a take on the Duke Ellington classic from the 30’s, “It Don’t Mean A Thing (If It Ain’t Got That Swing)”. (You can hear that rendition below.) The album was produced by the late Phil Ramone, so there may be some curiosity buys based on that unfortunate event. There are some peculiar choices, including a duet with Smokey Robinson on “Ease On Down The Road” from The Wiz (who made that decision?) as well as a cover of “Send In The Clowns” from A Little Night Music, which is generally sung from the female perspective, although I guess that didn’t stop Frank Sinatra from recording a version of it. This is purely based on viewing the tracklisting; we’ll see if Morrison’s collection of songs actually works when it comes out in June. (You would think the label would want to put it out for Mother’s Day to cash in on that. Way to go, kids.) The first single is decent enough and a pretty faithful version of the old song, so I have decent-sized expectations for the rest of the eleven tracks.

(Pre-order Where It All Began on Amazon.)

Morrison hasn’t announced a full tour to promote his forthcoming album yet, but he will be doing two dates with the Boston Pops on May 28 and 29, two dates at 54 Below in New York City on June 2 and 4, as well as two dates with the National Symphony Orchestra in Washington, D.C. on November 29 and 30. In the meantime, perhaps we’ll see him pop up on The Voice for a performance with coach Adam Levine on the show. The genre of the album may be a hard sell to younger audiences who enjoy his stuff on Glee, but should he see the older folks come out for it, he may be able to stretch this era a bit. Otherwise, he still has a television to fall back on until the spring of 2015. At least this is the kind of material he wants to do artistically rather than being forced in a studio to record something, and I’m sure that’s enough satisfaction for him.

Listen to the first single from Morrison’s Where It All Began, “It Don’t Mean A Thing (If It Ain’t Got That Swing)”. You can also request it at your local Adult Contemporary radio station, where the song has been serviced as of this week. Let me know what you think of it in the comments or on Twitter: @AdamFSoybel.

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