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RADIO ACTIVE — A Weekly Chart CHRonicle (March 19, 2017)

Welcome to Radio Active, a new weekly report from POP! Goes The Charts that gets to the chart of the matter: highlights from the CHR/Top 40 chart, as published by Mediabase 24/7 and Mediabase Research. Time to store those Shamrock Shakes away until next year; we have to get back to shaking our groove things, bon-bons, tailfeathers and, of course, it off. (Just don’t make me get out that Take 5 CD single I bought at Strawberries with my allowance money when I was ten.) Here’s what’s shakin’ on this week’s pop chart:

ALL ABOUT “YOU”: As I predicted last week, singer/songwriter Ed Sheeran‘s “Shape Of You” holds on at #1 for a fifth week on the pop chart. “Shape” is now the longest-running #1 at the format by a solo male since John Legend’s “All Of Me”. That spent five weeks at #1 (4/20-5/18) in 2014. Just below the top 50 this week is follow-up “Castle On The Hill”, which was reissued to radio when his previous single appeared to be peaking. (“Shape” has since lost its bullet.) Also of note, “Galway Girl”, which is doing quite well in the U.K. and Ireland, spiked at several stations on St. Patrick’s Day following the debut of a lyric video for the song. See, we can root for at least one orange-haired leader nowadays, because it’s common understanding that “Castle On The Hill” trumps Capitol Hill.

This means that ZAYN and Taylor Swift’s “I Don’t Wanna Live Forever” stays in the runner-up position for the fourth consecutive week, despite a valiant effort to reach #1. Last year, three songs spent four weeks at #2, with two eventually climbing to the top spot: “Stressed Out” (2/28-3/6) by twenty one pilots, and “Don’t Let Me Down” (6/26-7/10) by The Chainsmokers featuring Daya. So, what missed? That would be “This Is What You Came For” (#2 from 7/24-8/14) by Calvin Harris featuring Rihanna, a single that was co-written by Swift (originally credited as Nils Sjöberg.) Does history repeat itself? Does Zaylor pounce at the pop peak next week? Do I ever stop being so darn inquisitive? Probably not. Anyways, grab a partner and a hairbrush and belt out your best “When You Believe”. We’ll see what happens seven days from now.

TAKE THE “CAKE”: Sources tell us that rapper Flo Rida celebrated Pi Day with some “Cake”, and though it may not be the exact pop pastry for the day, it sure is a sweet one for he and duo 99 Percent. Their collaboration is up from 36-30 on this week’s survey. This hit is taken from the compilation This Is A Challenge, which is essentially a graveyard full of all those viral singles that you knew pop programmers would avoid because the callout was atrocious. (No shade, but shade.) It’s too early to tell what will happen to this entry, but if I were you, I would look for some alternative desserts to indulge in. That being said, I’m not sure we’ll ever have a smash called “Baklava”, but I’ve been wrong before.

Prior to this chart confection, the Average White Band‘s “Cut The Cake” (#34, 6/6 and 6/27/75 R&R) and DNCE‘s “Cake By The Ocean” (#2, 4/10-17/16) were the only CHR cakes to bake in the top 40. Of course, the latter single took 27 weeks in the top 40 to get to its peak of #2, just short of the PPW era record for any single to achieve its highest position: 33 weeks to #9 for “I’ll Be” (10/2/98 R&R) by Edwin McCain. Don’t expect the new “Cake” to be hanging around this bakery for nearly that long.

LITTLE EYE, BIG HIT: The origin of the phrase “I spy with my little eye…” and the accompanying children’s game may not be the clearest, but 23-year-old newcomer Kyle seems to be the current musical master of the concept. The secret is out at radio, as “iSpy” leaps from 43-35 this week. The hit features rapper Lil Yachty, who previously reached the top 40 as a featured act on D.R.A.M.‘s “Broccoli” (#18, 11/13/16). Perhaps this is a good time for me to make my musical debut as Lil Yacht Rock, where I seamlessly rap on fire beats from the likes of DJ Kenny Loggins and Mixmasters Pablo Cruise. Eh, maybe not. Anyways, more of the programming community is bound to keep spying on the action for this one in the coming weeks, as it continues to sell and stream well.

Spies haven’t appeared in top 40 titles for several decades, but perhaps that’s just because they’ve been undercover all this time. The last one to chart was “Spy In The House Of Love” (#22, 12/2-9/88 R&R) by Was (Not Was), which is still a jam, though I also like a bit of “Spies Like Us” (#9, 1/24/86 R&R) by Paul McCartney. Now, back to our musical mission, secret agent men and women…

FREAK OF THE “WEAK”: From Marvelous 3 to a marvelous chart achievement for the Met brothers, pop trio AJR is rising up the chart from 42-38 with “Weak”. It’s their second top 40 hit, and first in nearly three years. “I’m Ready” took a slow ride up to #25 (7/27/14) and probably ruined any good memory you had of watching SpongeBob SquarePants as a kid. (Let’s be fair, the only thing most of us were “ready” for was that song to get pulled and crash.) That being said, it is nice to see the three guys back on the chart. I think “Weak” has some room to grow, especially because a number of major markets aren’t playing it, and a lot of the airplay for it is relegated to the dreaded overnight shift. You know, someone’s gotta work those indies…

A number of tracks in this week’s top 50 share exact titles with previous charting songs, but “Weak” is one that matches a past #1 hit. 24 years ago, another trio, the three ladies known as SWV, took their “Weak” to #1 for four weeks (7/2-23/93 R&R), becoming the biggest song of their career. Of course, this was at a time when the Rhythmic and Top 40 panels were still combined, but it was quite a year for the three women.

WISHING ON A STARGATE: If you read the most recent Add Lib report on Tuesday, you already know that “Waterfall”, by duo Stargate and featuring P!nk and Sia, was the Most Added CHR song of the week. All that radio response allows it to debuts at #47 on this week’s published update. The all-star team could prove to be a major contender for 2017’s Song Of The Summer, even if it’s a little early to start discussing the topic. There’s no comment from TLC or Wendy & Lisa at press time; water they waiting for? It’s sure to be an interesting song to track over the next few months.

Though this is Stargate’s first charting song as a main-credited act, they’ve had plenty of hits as producers and writers. However, this wasn’t always the case. You can always count on me to remember such classics (well, not quite) like Mikaila‘s “So In Love With Two” (#25, 12/22/00 R&R) and Ashley Ballard‘s “Hottie” (#48, 3/30/01 R&R), which were the duo’s first two pop chart entries. We all start somewhere, folks. (Mikaila’s song was actually a pretty big hit on my personal chart, but Ballard’s was not. I was 10 and 11 at the time!)

“PRETTY” YOUNG THING: After millions of plays on Spotify across several singles, and a notable amount of Viral chart success, 18-year-old singer Maggie Lindemann makes her CHR chart debut at #50 this week with “Pretty Girl”. Though the track does not gain in spins from last week, it might have just missed charting if it wasn’t supported by syndicated program Most Requested Live on the past two Saturday night programs. The single is also benefiting from a discount at digital retailers, with week-to-week sales gains for over a month.

The name Maggie appears in a few song titles throughout the decades, most notably 1971’s “Maggie May” by Rod Stewart, but it’s a rare one when it comes to charting singers on the pop survey. Now, that’s not to discourage any of you expecting parents reading the blog right now, but if you are expecting a boy, I highly recommend the name Adam. I’m not biased at all, I promise.

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TURN IT UP TUESDAY: What’s New In Stores This Week (March 3)

Piece of Mind.

Piece of the chart pie.

It’s a new month and there’s a new set of releases ready to storm the top of the charts, including the latest from a pop star with TV roots and several newcomers. Here are the albums and singles that are new in stores for the week of March 3:

  • Former American Idol winner Kelly Clarkson takes it Piece By Piece with her latest studio album, featuring the single “Heartbeat Song”, which is currently enjoying a nice digital run and moderate airtime at three formats. With her run of six consecutive top five debuts, including two #1 albums, this will obviously be up there next week. Question is, will the set be as strong in the long run? Hard to tell at this point. (iTunes)
  • You know them from the top ten hit “Me And My Broken Heart” and their current single “Hotel Ceiling”, and now those youngsters who call themselves Rixton are finally out with their delayed album, Let The Road. The initial hype from it is largely gone, but it should make a decent entry on the charts, especially with such a long pre-order window. (iTunes)
  • Other releases out this week include: AJR‘s Living Room (iTunes), Brandi Carlile‘s The Firewatcher’s Daughter (iTunes), Lady Lamb The Beekeeper‘s After (iTunes), Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds‘s Chasing Yesterday (iTunes), Purity Ring‘s Another Eternity (iTunes), RuPaul‘s Realness (iTunes), The Janoskians‘s Would You Love Me (EP) (iTunes) and Tuxedo‘s Tuxedo (iTunes).

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

  • “Adore”, new from Cashmere Cat and Ariana Grande. (iTunes)
  • “Double Tap”, new from Jordin Sparks and 2 Chainz. (iTunes)
  • “I Really Like You”, the new single from Carly Rae Jepsen. (iTunes)
  • “Let You Go”, a collaboration from The Chainsmokers and Great Good Fine OK. (iTunes)
  • “New Romantics”, a former 1989 deluxe track from Taylor Swift. (iTunes)

Next week, it’s the latest Spring Break compilation from Luke Bryan versus Madonna and her Rebel Heart of a release for a chance at the top. How will they do against newcomers Fences and Sheppard? A full preview is coming in seven.

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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:

BEAVIS & BUTT-HEAD
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.

CRAZY FROG
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.

GORILLAZ
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.

MC SKAT KAT
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.

THE SIMPSONS (BART SIMPSON)
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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RADIO REPORT: POP! Goes The Picks (April 2014)

If you follow the radio charts like I do, you’ll want to be on top of only the freshest music being serviced across the nation. So, I’m bringing back an early PGTC feature with a bit of a revamp. With this monthly series, I’ll be highlighting some great tracks at a few different radio formats I enjoy that will be fighting for airspace over the next few months. So, what are we waiting for? Let the battles begin.

CHR (*) and HOT AC (**)

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A song in the “Wrong”.

NICO & VINZ – “Am I Wrong?” (April 1) (*)
Label: Warner Bros.
Already a top ten hit in several European territories, “Wrong” is currently gaining at the Hot AC format and ranking in the lower rungs of the top 40. The duo was formerly known as Envy and consists of Nico Sereba and Vincent Dery. It may already be touted as the “Song of the Summer” by the label, but this still has a ways to go. We’ll see what happens.

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Bringing cartoons to the tunes.

AJR – “I’m Ready” (April 8) (*)
Label: AJR/Warner Bros.
After months of airplay on SiriusXM’s Hits 1 and 20 on 20 as an independent act, the trio of brothers from New York City are partnering with Warner Bros. to bring “Ready” onto the terrestrial airwaves. Looks like they’ll find some life on the charts thanks a guy who lives in a pineapple under the sea. The catchy single is bound to be a summer favorite.

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Looking for a H.I.T on the chart.

LADY GAGA – “G.U.Y” (April 8) (*)
Label: Streamline/Interscope
Much has been said about ARTPOP era, but it continues to move on despite the mixed reaction. The third single from the album ranks as one of my top tracks from the disc, and a short film for it (and a few other clips from the effort) is racking up millions of views online. You can currently find her playing a set of shows to close the Roseland Ballroom.

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It has a ring to it.

DJ CASSIDY featuring ROBIN THICKE and JESSIE J – “Calling All Hearts” (April 15) (*)
Label: Columbia
It’s rising up the top ten on my personal chart, but a few delays have pushed its radio release to this month. The crazy hot disco jam leads off Paradise Royale, now due in June. A promotional single featuring R. Kelly, “Make The World Go Round”, is also out on the web. The DJ’s debut project is quite an ambitious one, but it sounds like a winner to me.

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Keeping things bright.

BIRDS OF TOKYO – “Lanterns” (April 22) (*)
Label: Loma Vista/Republic
Last year, March Fires became the first #1 on the ARIA Albums Chart for this five man band out of Perth. This single was the second lifted from it, peaking at #3 down there and achieving a 3x Platinum certification. With growing spin counts at Alternative and AAA radio, a crossover was bound to happen. It may be a tad bit soon, but the song is good.

ALTERNATIVE (*) and AAA (**)

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Water you waiting for?

VANCE JOY – “Riptide” (April 1) (*)
Label: Atlantic
This former top ten single in Australia and the United Kingdom recently broke the top five on the AAA survey. Now, it’s been picked up by a handful of Alternative stations before its official impact date this Tuesday. It also charted at #1 on the yearly Triple J Hottest 100, one of the most influential radio stations out of Australia. Blimey! That’s great.

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Ain’t no other “Man”.

NEULORE – “Shadow Of A Man” (April 8) (**)
Label: Island
Bandmates Adam Agin and William T. Cook formed this act five years ago and have been going steady since it. Back in 2010, they released the independent Apples & Eve, with this single being their first major label release. It was used on an episode of Grey’s Anatomy last year and Hart Of Dixie a few months ago. It’s a solid folk song with great potential.

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This is the new year.

NIGHT TERRORS OF 1927 – “Dust And Bones” (April 15) (*)
Label: Atlantic
What’s in a name? Theirs is certainly an intriguing one. Rilo Kiley lead guitarist Blake Sennett and The Honorary Title lead singer Jarrod Gorbel put their talents together two years ago for this project, and following an EP release in November, it’s time to break them on the Alternative survey. Just watch out for that music video… it’s a little freaky.

La la late to the party, we are.

Not so Lonely anymore.

SAM SMITH – “Stay With Me” (April 15) (**)
Label: Capitol
He’s also over pop radio thanks to hits from Disclosure and Naughty Boy, but we’ve yet to see a solo release from Smith on the radio… until now. Thanks to a well-received Saturday Night Live performance, “Stay” is riding a digital boost, along with the forthcoming album In The Lonely Hour. Like it or not, Smith is coming, and he won’t back down.

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More than a feeling…

THE PREATURES – “Is This How You Feel?” (April 22) (*)
Label: Harvest
I first saw these guys at CMJ back in October and they had an awesome performance. After a few more gigs at SXSW, the quintet is ready to go to radio via Harvest Records, a name relaunched a year ago by Capitol. Harvest has yet to place a single at the format, but that certainly doesn’t mean it can’t happen with this. Watch out for more 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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Off The Satellites: Some Siriusly Good New Tunes

In a world of corporate playlists and tight rotations, traditional radio can sure get old fast. That’s where these guys come in with some original sounds that you’ve likely not heard of yet. Today, I’m highlighting two songs I’ve been hearing a lot recently from the airwaves of SiriusXM, one from Hot AC station The Pulse and the other from CHR station 20 on 20. Even if they don’t make it on the FM dial, somebody saw a chance for them and now they’re beaming down into my car stereo. Take a listen and see what you think:

Some musical mileage.

Some musical mileage.

CELESTE BUCKINGHAM – “Run Run Run”
Label: Mr. 305  / Added on: The Pulse (Channel 15)

Some parts of the world know who this performer is, a former finalist on Česko Slovenská SuperStar, a music talent show that’s been around for three seasons since 2010. She didn’t place highly in the competition, appearing on the second season, but her career took off shortly afterwards. At just 18 years old, five of her singles have reached the national charts overseas. Just last year, “Run” went as high as #2 in Slovakia and the Czech Republic, her biggest hit by far from her debut era, Don’t Look Back. Her second album, Where I Belong, is a recent release that hasn’t charted yet. Now, Buckingham looks to take on the U.S. through rapper Pitbull‘s Mr. 305 label (as distributed by Sony Music), with a recent add on The Pulse into their new music rotation and some initial interest in both small and large markets as well as Radio Disney. It’s a jazz-driven pop song with some nice flavor and tempo and stands out on the air in a good way. With a solid social fan base, especially on Facebook, and the backing from a big name, we could see some decent play for the single into the new year.

Purchase “Run Run Run” on iTunes.

Domo arigato, lovestruck roboto.

Domo arigato, lovestruck roboto.

LOVESTRUCK ROBOT – “Random Hi5’s”
Label: DBM / Added on: 20 on 20 (Channel 3)

The quintet based out of Orlando, FL consisting of Anthony Reed, Jace Magee, Jeremy James, Jonathan Parks and Zsaki Turner have been together for roughly five years now, largely playing within the local area. Two years ago, they released an album called I Wanna Be In A Band on their home of DBM Records and a single from it, “Do It All For The Dream”, received regular airplay on 20 on 20 last year beginning in May. (It didn’t receive any adds outside of the satellite radio bubble.) Now comes their newest single, originally released to iTunes in July with a music video up for about three months now. With a rocking groove reminiscent of Franz Ferdinand‘s 2004 hit, “Take Me Out” mixed with some rhythmic elements and a fun and enthusiastic vocal from lead singer Magee, the song’s pretty instant and has a great vibe. Views on the video are over 11,000 at this time, their largest audience for a clip to date, and it keeps on growing. “Random” was recently boosted into high rotation on the channel, receiving about 70 spins a week, so you’re bound to hear it pretty soon.

Purchase “Random Hi5’s” on iTunes.

Other satellite-only spinners that I’d recommend:
AJR“I’m Ready” (Hits 1 + 20 on 20)
Bean“Cops And Robbers (Chicka Bang)” (20 on 20)
Caitlin Crosby“Just Another Day” (The Pulse)
Darling Parade“Ghost” (20 on 20)

For more on the best independent acts out there and the pop sounds of tomorrow, follow the blog below or hit the “Get Social!” tab to find out how you can connect with PGTC on social media.

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