Tag Archives: Birthday

RECORD REWIND: PGTC Picks, October 21-27, 2018

Sunday afternoon means it’s time for the Record Rewind, highlighting the top new tracks that you might’ve missed during the work week, all from my favorite small label and independent acts out there. If it’s on the site, it’s something that you need to check out!

Across the PGTC SoundCloud page and my playlists on Spotify, these stuck out as my favorite independent songs of the week…

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ALLIE X – “Girl Of The Year” (Spotify)
Previously on the Rewind: Sixth appearance
Notes: With her latest cut from the highly anticipated Super Sunset, out tomorrow, this Canadian artist serves up another pop jam.

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BIRTHDAY – “Dream” (Spotify)
Previously on the Rewind: Ninth appearance
Notes: Regardless of whether it’s your birthday or not, you can still enjoy this new track, a great indie rock meets electronic release.

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GATSBY – “Brooklyn” (Spotify)
Previously on the Rewind: First appearance
Notes: As one part of a two song release, the other titled “Don’t Look Good”, the great Gatsby impresses with his soulful pop tracks.

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J. HUMAN – “Be Like That” (Spotify)
Previously on the Rewind: First appearance
Notes: For your dose of R&B and pop realness with a little swagger, this Nashville performer has a cool sound and lots of potential.

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For more great new music, these songs are worth a listen…
BRUNS – “Girl”
KEVIN GARRETT – “In Case I Don’t Feel”
LUKR featuring FOSSA BEATS – “Numb”
MARC SCIBILIA – “Wildest Dreams”
NICOPOP. featuring TYLER MANN – “Below The Ceiling”
THE SHANTICS – “Heaven”

Want to be featured on this weekly wrap-up? Submit your music to adamfsoybel@gmail.com and I’ll check our your tunes. Thanks!

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Filed under Album Reviews, Playlists, Single Reviews

ALBUM REVIEW: Katy Perry – PRISM

This is how she do.

This is how she do.

Somewhere over the (double) rainbow, way up high, there’s a leak that you’ve heard of once in a tweet gone by. That would happen to be the case with Katy Perry‘s third studio album, PRISM, which leaked onto the internet yesterday after an overseas release. You knew it was coming at some point. Her latest effort is a mix of bright 80’s influenced pop, dark club records and a over-reliance on emotional ballads. It covers the full spectrum of a prism itself, but with any mirrored image, the results may be somewhat distorted dependent on which angle you see it from.

Let’s start off with some colorful commentary about how well the album begins. Opener “Roar”, the first single, serves its purpose of being an anthemic song with an inspiring message about staying strong despite past difficulties and making your voice known to the world. Musically, it’s nothing new, but as a single, it appeals to a wide audience and has easily captured the attention of both the U.S. and the world. Perry also takes some time to branch out on songs like “Legendary Lovers”, in which she goes Bollywood. The Indian musical influences work nicely against a sometimes fast-paced delivery, reminiscent of Emblem3‘s minor hit of earlier this year, “Chloe (You’re The One I Want)”.

A step up from there are two consecutive songs that are dated in different eras. “Birthday”, the third track, combines the horns and groovy R&B rhythms of an early 80’s Earth, Wind and Fire or Evelyn “Champagne” King record with a bubbly vocal and lyric that loads on the cheese: “So, let me get you in your birthday suit/It’s time to bring out the big balloons.” Additionally, the digital single and track four, “Walking On Air”, is an inspired house record straight out of the gay clubs circa 1991. It’s a little bit CeCe Peniston, a pinch of Crystal Waters, and even some C+C Music Factory. Whoever you think it sounds like, get ready to vogue hardcore. Also worth noting is “International Smile”, which apparently goes “from L.A., Miami, to New York City” because apparently even domestic affairs are international now. It’s a fun little ditty with cheesy airplane PA system breaks that were probably better left to Scooch on 2007’s “Flying The Flag (For You)”. Whatever floats your boat… or flies your plane.

As much as we’d like the party to go on, that electric atmosphere is lost in an instant after “Smile” and never returns to the energy that the first half of the record carries. Instead, we’re left with a sequence of largely lifeless ballads and slower tracks that makes the end of the album rather empty. The production is still slick, and the vocals are generally passable, but something just feels like Perry and her team gave up on this and the drop-off is alarming. The best of the five tracks, and I say this very loosely, is the likable “This Moment”, where a catchy guitar line gives it a bit of a pulse, but whose “Yesterday is history/So, why don’t you be here with me now?” mentality leaves it nothing short of a reality television coronation song. Next.

Even some of the uptempos leave a lot to be desired. “This Is How We Do”, for example, is your basic throwaway club track with a record scratching effect straight out of Pac-Man; in other words, it’s “no big deal”, Perry’s own words. I do have to give the writers credit, however, for some pretty cool one liners like “Suckin’ real bad at Mariah karaoke.” Too bad a glowing review of this album is just a sweet, sweet fantasy, baby. In this same respect, I’m not the biggest fan of the urban feel of “Dark Horse”, but I won’t go off too much in that one. (Please go away, Juicy J.) I’ll just say that I would rather have seen something replaced with bonus track “Spiritual”, a passionate late 80’s experimental pop song that at least sparks a little bit of interest that was wiped off that face of hers.

With so much potential coming off the first eight songs or so, PRISM could have been a much bigger record overall, but struggles to keep your attention until the very end. The decision to release “Unconditionally” as the second single will ultimately be a costly one, but with “Roar” still tearing up the charts, it’s hard to imagine that the album won’t do well in the short term. It’s the long term that I’m worried about, which will ultimately bring up the “failure to live up to Teenage Dream” sentiment, but given the circumstances of that era, it may not be a fair comparison. Still, when we look back on the life and times of Katy Perry, PRISM will be yet another ray passing through of spectrum of her career — just one that’s not worth reflecting on.

Listen to Prism on SoundCloud. / Pre-order Prism on iTunes.

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It’s My “Birthday” (And I’ll Post If I Want To): A Chart Story

You would blog too if it happened to you.

It only happens once a year, so, let’s celebrate! Today, I turn 23, and I have no clue what’s in store for my birthday. What I do know is that there have been a few “birthday” song titles to hit the charts, and I guess I have to do what I do best. I present to you a post chock full of the top “birthday” songs straight from Billboard Magazine, who, again, forgot to send me a cake. Not even a card? Maybe next year.

We start off our list with a one-hit wonder act from my home state of Massachusetts. From the town of Woburn came The Tune Weavers, a quintet who scored with “Happy, Happy Birthday Baby”. Though it pre-dated the Hot 100 by a year, it managed to get to #5 on Billboard’s similarly formatted Top 100 chart. The group broke up several years later. A version by Ronnie Milsap became a #1 hit on the Country chart in 1986.

In the late 50’s and early 60’s, singer Neil Sedaka was a hot streak with seven top-40 hits, three of them hitting the top ten. The eighth of the former and the fourth of the latter came in January 1962, when “Happy Birthday, Sweet Sixteen” rose as high as #6. Sedaka would eventually find three #1 singles on the Hot 100 as a performer. In June of that same year, singer and actor Johnny Crawford peaked at #8 with “Cindy’s Birthday”. It was his sole top ten single, though he made the top 40 with a handful of other songs.

The last “birthday” hit of the decade was released in 1969 by the Wisconsin-based band Underground Sunshine. “Birthday” was a cover of the popular song by The Beatles, which never saw the light of day as a single, though it did get a promotional release for jukebox play. The remake went to #26 on the Hot 100 and the band never charted in the top 40 again. In fact, there weren’t many birthdays being celebrated period on the charts for another twenty years.

The song that finally broke the dry spell was Johnny Kemp‘s “Birthday Suit”, featured in the movie Sing. It was the followup to his big hit, “Just Got Paid”. However, just like his “Suit”, the results were… barren. It was a #36 peak for the song before it fell off the charts, and that was it for Kemp. Yet again, two decades passed until we could celebrate another birthday in the top 40.

The last two examples of our birthday bonanza tend to be a little more on the naughty side. Listen, you can do whatever you want to, I’m not judging. In 2009, R&B singer Jeremih hit #4 with his debut single, “Birthday Sex”. In some cases, the radio version was known as “Birthday Shhh”, and a lack of support from some programmers who didn’t feel the subject material was appropriate left it dangling just outside the top ten on CHR radio. The other missed the top 40 entirely on the format, but was a big hit at Urban radio. Rihanna, in a remix with boyfriend turned ex-boyfriend turned boyfriend Chris Brown, took a remix of “Birthday Cake” to #24 on the Hot 100 last year.

There have been other format-specific examples of “birthday” songs, like Good Charlotte‘s “Like It’s Her Birthday” from 2010 (#33 CHR) or “Birthday Song” by 2 Chainz and Kanye West (#9 Urban) from just a few months ago, but neither had enough strength to crack the top 40 on Billboard’s big survey.

That does it for our topic of the day. Hope you enjoyed unwrapping this post, and if you want more presents from the top of the pops, follow the blog by clicking the tab below or follow me on Twitter: @AdamFSoybel.

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Filed under Charts/Trade Papers