Tag Archives: Anna Kendrick

TOP TEN: Wondering About One Hit Wonders — 2013 Edition

The end of 2013 is just a few weeks away, and unfortunately, some acts just won’t be able to carry another single onto the charts in the new year. It’s the sad truth. Some may find success on genre-specific surveys or on small market panels, but it just isn’t the same. So, I must tackle the inevitable: acts who could be past their glory days, as small a time window as it was. Only one big song can do the trick, and for these artists and bands, that could be it. (Nothing to look down upon, however, some people can’t even get to that point.)

(NOTE: I did not include several acts who still have active singles at the moment. Those include American AuthorsEmblem3, NONONO and Zendaya, among others. You better watch out for 2014!)

Let’s start the top ten of the could-be one hit wonders of 2013 when it comes to popular music and the Hot 100…

That's "the way" to sample.

Her team has a Grande problem.

The horror! Yes, as much as I know how many you like her, Grande’s team really can’t get it together when it comes to second significant radio hit. Though she will have an album out next year, I don’t feel she’ll have as big a hit as “The Way”.

Don't "Miss" this new track.

From #9 to Five.

The X Factor gals had a good 2013 with a top ten EP. However, “Miss Movin’ On” is the only charting single from Better Together and I don’t think Syco/Epic know what to do with them. I am not expecting much from their full-length album.

That's "Who" he is.

That’s “Who” he is.

This is another Epic act who seems to have been lost in the shuffle. His hit “Who Booty” managed some airplay at the Rhythmic and Urban formats, plus a minor CHR crossover. Baby got back, but he hasn’t been back on the charts since.

Darling Nikki.

Darling Nikki.

The South African singer took “Glowing” onto the pop airwaves but had its lights turned out midway up the survey. She plans to release a song called “Thank God It’s Friday” to CHR radio next year, but it’s very average and will underperform.

Livin' the life.

Not so “Alive” on the charts right now.

They hit the top ten at pop radio in May with “Alive”, though sales of the songs were tepid. I actually thought the followup titled “Live For The Night” was a stronger song, but radio wasn’t a big fan. At least they’ll have DJ’ing gigs to fall back on.

I like it, "I Love It".

I like it, “I Love It”.

They crashed their car into the bridge and wound up with a hit, “I Love It”, but when they wanted to do it “All Night”, radio and retail weren’t buying into it. Their album tanked and their buzz is largely gone. These two could only Pop for so long.

A "Safe" bet for some sales.

Their one and only “Safe” hit.

The Los Angeles based duo had a major Alternative crossover smash in “Safe And Sound”. Its longevity was the main reason why followup “Kangaroo Court” quickly hopped on radio and was then pulled. I doubt they’re due for another hit.

Cup, cup and away.

Cup, cup and away.

This one should be no surprise as no one expected “Cups (When I’m Gone)” from Pitch Perfect to blow up. Even though there’s a sequel in the works, Kendrick is focused on making films. Plus, “Plates” or “Utensils” couldn’t follow it up, right?

He really shook it up in 2013.

Really shook it up in 2013.

He captivated work places everywhere to film their staff shaking it out to the “Harlem Shake”, and a large change in the Billboard Hot 100 methodology lifted it to a #1 debut. Unfortunately, the DJ hasn’t busted out any chart moves recently.

"Fox" on the run.

“Fox” on the run.

Admit it, you watched the video for “The Fox” a few times and tried to howl along. It was a viral sensation for the duo from Norway, who lit up YouTube and iTunes and cracked the Hot 100’s top ten. Though this song is over now, the two keep churning out videos on the ‘net, even if they don’t get the attention their one big hit received. At least they’re consistent.

Agree with my picks? Totally disagree? Want to make a suggestion for another act you think will be known for just one song? Comment below or find PGTC on Facebook and Twitter by clicking the “Get Social!” tab.

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The Sound Of The Sip: Serving Up Pop Potions

What's "Cup"?

What’s “Cup”?

It’s become the surprise breakout hit from a movie that’s taken on a life of its own even after it was in theaters. The song is “Cups (When I’m Gone)”, the current #30 on the Hot 100, performed by actress Anna Kendrick from the film Pitch Perfect. Interpolating the 1937 song by J.E. Mainer’s Mountaineers, “Miss Me When I’m Gone”, the song is climbing in both airplay and sales thanks to a radio remix which incorporates a folk backing behind Kendrick’s vocal and, of course, the sound of cups hitting the ground and her claps. It’s a rare hit for so many reasons, including the origin of the lyrics, the fact that the movie was screening last fall, and now Kendrick is just the fourth artist born in the state of Maine to have a top 40 hit behind Rick Pinette & Oak (1980), Howie Day (2004) and Spose (2010). It’s not every day that we have a popular single that has the word “cup” in the title either, so before you go spilling the tea on this one, drink a little of this chart concoction:

“I’ll Just Have A Cup Of Coffee (Then I’ll Go)”, Claude Gray (#84, 1961)
Country singer Gray had a handful of top ten hits on the Country survey, this one going to #4. It was his only song to crossover to the pop survey, albeit in a limited fashion. He last made the top 40 on his home format in 1970.

“Another Cup Of Coffee”, Brook Benton (#47, 1964)
Benton was successful on the R&B and pop surveys between the late 50’s and early 70’s with songs like “It’s Just A Matter Of Time” (#3, 1959) and “The Boll Weevil Song” (#2, 1961), although this wasn’t a big hit on either chart. His last top 40 single was a 1970 ballad titled “Rainy Night In Georgia” (#4).

“My Cup Runneth Over”, Ed Ames (#8, 1967)
Ames, an adult standards singer, recorded a version of this Biblical-inspired song, going top ten on the Hot 100 and #1 on the Adult Contemporary chart. The song originates from the 1966 musical I Do! I Do! Ames hit the top 40 once more in 1968 with an English translation of a Spanish song, “Who Will Answer?” (#19), but he continued to rank on the AC survey through 1970 to varying success.

“Paper Cup”, The 5th Dimension (#34, 1967)
Before the quintet from Los Angeles struck gold with two #1 singles, they struggled to get this song into the top 40. It was the followup to “Up, Up And Away”, which didn’t struggled at all and climbed to #7. Parent album The Magic Garden was a dud, failing to break the top 100 on the Billboard 200.

“The Cup Of Life (La Copa De La Vida)”, Ricky Martin (#60, 1998 / #45, 1999)
One of the more famous songs to come out of the World Cup (in this case, the 1998 FIFA World Cup), Martin’s song went to #60 on the Hot 100 in 1998. However, after “Livin’ La Vida Loca” soared to #1, “Life” was serviced back to radio and retail, going to #45 on the Hot 100 and top 30 at mainstream radio. Two versions, one recorded in English and one mixing English and Spanish, were both heard here.

“Drank In My Cup”, Kirko Bangz (#28, 2012)
This Texas rapper had one moderate single on the R&B survey before going top 5 with this hit, which also charted moderately on the Hot 100. It was certified Platinum for sales of 1 million copies. He is prepping for the release of his first studio album, Bigger Than Me, which is due out later this summer. A single from it should be available soon.

“Red Solo Cup”, Toby Keith (#15, 2012)
It’s perhaps one of the silliest songs to make the charts, but both the song and video went viral, and thus, radio had to pick up on it. It went to #9 on the Country chart. A version performed on Glee by Chord Overstreet went to #92 in late 2011. Keith’s label tried unsuccessfully to market the song to mainstream radio as a Spring Break anthem last year, but the format wasn’t sipping the Kool Aid.

In addition, two songs about the “buttercup” flower went top 40: “Pucker Up Buttercup” by Jr. Walker & The All-Stars from 1967 (#31) and the classic “Build Me Up Buttercup“, a #3 single for the The Foundations in 1969. Let’s not forget about the most successful “cup” act to hit the charts, The Dixie Cups. The trio had a handful of top 40 hits in the 60’s, including the #1 “Chapel Of Love” in 1964 and the first charting version of the song “Iko Iko” a year later (#20) which would also make the Hot 100 for Dr. John (#71, 1972) and The Belle Stars (#14, 1989).

Hope you enjoyed your fill of these poppin’ pieces and don’t forget to follow the blog below and find me on Twitter: @AdamFSoybel.

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Hot Fun In The Summertime: What Is This Year’s Song Of The Summer?

These hits are hotter than the sun.

These hits are hotter than the sun.

Summer is almost upon us and things are just heating up on the music charts. There are so many fresh sounds on the radio and at retail, but some of them will succeed, while others will fade, never to be heard from again. Only one can be the Song Of The Summer, and the list is the endless this year.

Your typical Song of The Summer would debut in the CHR top 40/50 sometime between mid-April and early May and go to #1 between late June and mid-July, holding its grip on that top spot for at least five or six weeks, sometimes eight, sometimes more. Some classics include *NSYNC‘s “It’s Gonna Be Me” (2000), Mariah Carey‘s “We Belong Together” (2005) and Katy Perry/Snoop Dogg‘s “California Gurls” (2010). Not all years are this clean-cut, but this is just your average situation. With the rapid pace of the CHR format now, including number-one songs that don’t have long runs at the top, anything can happen. Some of these songs made the top 50 in late March; others may not peak until August. Who knows? It’s still early, but here are ten songs I’m thinking could take the title of Song Of The Summer (and why they should and shouldn’t be it) and a few others I considered:

ANNA KENDRICK – “Cups (When I’m Gone)”
Current Position: #27 (CHR) / #41 iTunes
Why It Should: It’s simple, it’s fun and it’s catchy. Plus, don’t you want to brag to your friends about how you can do the clap-slap routine from the Pitch Perfect movie when they can’t? They’ll get pitch slapped.
Why It Shouldn’t: Pitch Perfect was out in October of last year. That seven-month long wait has cost it some valuable time. Plus, the new folky sounding instrumental just makes the song sound juvenile. Eh.

ARIANA GRANDE featuring MAC MILLER – “The Way”
Current Position: #15 (CHR) / #14 iTunes
Why It Should: She’s being touted as the next Mariah Carey and she’s got the chops to prove it. Grande’s first chart hit is a winner with teens, especially those who know her from Nickelodeon’s Victorious.
Why It Shouldn’t: Will she weather the storm of other young singers like Demi Lovato and Selena Gomez? The Disney girls have a leg up on her. Miller as a guest rapper probably wasn’t the best selection.

BRUNO MARS – “Treasure”
Current Position: #31 (CHR) / #119 iTunes
Why It Should: Ahoy, mateys! Cap’n Mars is sailing his soulful ship into treacherous waters, but his retro feel and lyric about finding a female first mate should guide his crew as they charter this hot charter.
Why It Shouldn’t: The last third single by Mars, “The Lazy Song”, broke his streak of #1 singles. Will history repeat itself? Download sales are a bit low at this point, with the song ranking below the top 100.

Current Position: #21 (CHR) / #9 iTunes
Why It Should: If you wanna funk things up, then this is your song. It’s a groovy gem that brings the French duo and American producer/singer together. The clubs love it and so does the mainstream audience.
Why It Shouldn’t: We suddenly care about Daft Punk now? The 70’s influence may not appeal to a younger audience. Plus, Pharrell Williams, though hot again, will be played out by the end of the summer.

Current Position: #14 (CHR) / #8 and #25 iTunes
Why It Should: It’s going to be everybody’s new driving song. You’ll be rolling your windows down in no time. Oh, and you know you want to imitate their thick Southern accents. “Baby, you a sawng.” Exactly.
Why It Shouldn’t: To a Country audience, this was their “Song Of The Winter”. It peaked at #1 in December. “Cruise” is one of the more polarizing records of the bunch; you either love that twang or despise it.

IMAGINE DRAGONS – “Radioactive”
Current Position: #23 (CHR) / #6 iTunes
Why It Should: It’s part rock, part dubstep and wholly a hit. It spent three months at the top of the Alternative chart and is moving fast at the CHR format. It’s been a pretty consistent top ten seller as well.
Why It Shouldn’t: “Radioactive” doesn’t feel like a CHR #1 in the making. Plus, did we all forget that Alex Clare‘s “Too Close” came out year and is essentially the same song? It may be too brash for some ears.

JENNIFER LOPEZ featuring PITBULL – “Live It Up”
Current Position: #30 (CHR) / #27 iTunes
Why It Should: After a hot performance on American Idol, it looks like Lopez is back in the spotlight. It’s a dance-pop anthem about being carefree and seems to be catching on alright. Make love, don’t fight.
Why It Shouldn’t: RedOne’s sound is tired, and this is the third top-40 single for both artists together. Also, your typical CHR teenager isn’t going to understand at least half of Pitbull‘s rap for being in Spanish.

MARIAH CAREY featuring MIGUEL – “#Beautiful”
Current Position: #19 (CHR) / #13 iTunes
Why It Should: This is probably the most understated song out of the bunch. The modern-day equivalent of a Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell duet, it’s got every social media site and music world buzzing.
Why It Shouldn’t: Now the American Idol is done for the year, Carey has lost a large platform to promote her material. Plus, on a format that is ageist, wouldn’t a younger artist easily be able to take the title?

ROBIN THICKE featuring PHARRELL WILLIAMS and T.I. – “Blurred Lines”
Current Position: #41 (CHR) / #3 iTunes
Why It Should: “Blurred” is Thicke’s most pop-friendly single to date and with a viral video approaching 20 million views, its audience keeps growing. A performance on The Voice recently helped substantially.
Why It Shouldn’t: Thicke’s only had one minor top 40 entry before at the format and that was a ballad. The T.I. features skews the track to an Urban audience, which may turn off a more conservative station.

SELENA GOMEZ – “Come And Get It”
Current Position: #8 (CHR) / #4 iTunes
Why It Should: Oh, hello there. This is the highest of all the songs on the list, sliding into the top ten just over a month into its chart run. Jelena may be on and off, but this Indian-influenced song is definitely on.
Why It Shouldn’t: It’s trying too hard to be a Rihanna song (and music video as well.) While staying vague lyrically, it is a little more provocative for her; younger fans (and all of their parents) may not approve.

Other choices considered:
Avril Lavigne, “Here’s To Never Growing Up”
If you’re going to be singing Radiohead at the top of your lungs, make sure you don’t auto-tune it like Lavigne has. Radio, for the most part, gave up on this one quickly, but its sales are still moderately well.

Calvin Harris featuring Ellie Goulding, “I Need Your Love”
“Lights” took forever to reach #1 on this format and radio hasn’t wanted anything from her since it. “Anything Could Happen” tanked; this collaboration with Harris could go top 20 before its chart run ends.

Jason Derülo, “The Other Side”
Doesn’t stray from his core sound, but the success of the single seems forced: a lot of label investment without substantial digital sales. Plus, the song is disposable. It won’t be remembered by the end of the year.

Maroon 5, “Love Somebody”
Though radio has recently picked up the song, its sales haven’t caught up to it yet. It follows three consecutive number-ones from the same album, but this one may not be so lucky in continuing that streak.

will.i.am featuring Justin Bieber, “#thatpower”
The hashtag hit is still going strong on the airwaves, but it seems to have peak digitally. will.i.am‘s album is also a dud. It’s loaded with other collaborations; something could easily replace this song.

Zedd featuring Foxes, “Clarity”
It’s a breakthrough single for Zedd and the EDM genre in general, but it appears that “Get Lucky” is going to be the dominant dance single this summer. This song’s also been around for several months now.

You’ll also be hearing new songs from Britney Spears, Demi LovatoMiley CyrusPitbull, and Rihanna on your radio this summer, but they’ll likely all be too late to be the biggest song of the season. It’s competitive out there! Let me know what song you think will come out on top in the comments or on Twitter: @AdamFSoybel.

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The Pitch Is Back: Two “Cups”, One Girl (And A Hit To Boot?)

Nobody's Perfect, but this might come close.

Nobody’s Perfect, but this might come close.

You may not have seen it when it was in movie theaters (though it earned just over $65 million at the North American box office), but Pitch Perfect has proven to be quite the hit on DVD, where it’s been exposed to a much wider audience than in its initial release. The film revolves around rival a cappella groups, the Barden Bellas and the Treblemakers, at several competitions, but this is no Glee. It’s a lot more comical, especially thanks to actress Rebel Wilson in the role of Fat Amy. The holiday season was good to it as people exchanged their gift cards for the film, and the soundtrack has also done phenomenally, cracking the top 5 on the Billboard 200 album chart a few weeks ago and selling over 250,000 copies to date. Three songs from that album cracked the Hot 100 in January, two of them medleys of prior songs as performed by the various groups.  Now, that third song, an original composition from the one of the biggest sleeper hits of last year is actually being sent to radio as a single and could end up on your local station.

Yes, that’s right, Anna Kendrick‘s solo song, “Cups”, is being sent to mainstream radio. The stripped-down ditty goes for adds on February 26 through Republic Records and will now bear the title “Cups (When I’m Gone)”, which I guess makes it sound more complete to those program directions on the fence about it. The album version runs just under 80 seconds (77 to be exact), which makes it the second-shortest song to ever hit the Billboard Hot 100. It recently peaked at #64 thanks to strong digital sales, though it has since fallen into the 70’s. Nevertheless, it’s managed to sell over 300,000 copies since it was first released digitally, a huge total for, basically, something that sounds like an unfinished demo of a song. (Here’s the scene of the movie where it’s used.)

As you can hear, the song only features Kendrick’s vocal and the sound of claps and cups hitting the table as the entirety of the arrangement, which is a little too light to get airplay on most cases. Cue a second edit of “Cups”, a new version which essentially sounds like it took a backing track by Mumford & Sons and slapped it onto the original edit. It doesn’t sound too strange, to be honest, but a song from a movie only has so much shelf life before it gets old, especially one that’s so short. (It’s extended in its second version.) However, given the picture’s growing audience, maybe it can continue to build throughout spring and lead Kendrick to a more consistent singing career. If Jennifer Love-Hewitt, Hilary Duff and Lindsay Lohan could all make the transition from acting to singing and score multiple top-40 hits, why can’t she? So far, the only station to pick it up is on satellite radio, but look for more adds to come closer to its add date.

If that’s not enough, here’s one more achievement for you. Should the song make the top 40 on CHR radio, Kendrick would be only the fourth act to hit the chart that was born in the state of Maine, following Rick Pinette and Oak (“King Of The Hill”, 1980), Howie Day (“Collide” and “She Says”, 2004-5), and Spose (“I’m Awesome”, 2010). Given that list, it would also make her the first solo female to pull off the trick. How about that? Kendrick’s a great vocalist, so I have no doubt that she’ll be given some sort of bigger recording contract after all is said and done, especially if the single does indeed become huge. Popular radio’s been taking some real chances lately. You may just be missing it when it’s gone.

Buy the original version of “Cups” on iTunes. Buy the new radio version of “Cups” on iTunes. Let me know what you think about this surprising news in the comments or on Twitter: @AdamFSoybel.

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