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Adam’s Top 100 of 2013: #7, Train – “Mermaid”

Water you waiting for?

Water you waiting for?

First Chart Entry: “Meet Virginia” (#6, 1999)
Biggest Hit To Date: “Drive By” (#1 for three weeks, 2012)

“MERMAID”
#1 for three weeks, 25 weeks in the top 40

Music Video:

The lovely locomotive lads opted for a shiny boat in their highest-charting song on this year’s countdown and washed up on a woman who tickled leader Pat Monahan‘s fancy. What can I say? It’s the classic buoy meets girl tale.

Riding the tide of their successful 2012 California 37 album, this third radio single from it was co-written by Monahan and songwriting teams Espionage and Stargate, with Espionage and Butch Walker co-producing the track. In a bit of a twist, this song was actually on the airwaves during the winter months, although I guess it was a helpful reminder that summer would eventually show its face. Its rise up the charts was about average, climbing to #1 in its thirteenth week on and spending the first three weeks of March in the top spot. (I first wrote about it in November 2012.) I can’t say I’ve heard it in regular rotation on the radio since it was a current on the charts, though the song remains a fan favorite.

“Mermaid” did very little outside of the States, and even in the U.S., it missed the Hot 100 by a few spots, peaking in the Bubbling Under. It did, however, become the band’s latest top 20 entry on the Hot Adult Contemporary survey, a streak that likely has a few more years left in it. After all, the band is still a hot touring act, Monahan has a popular weekly podcast and their music is still all over the place. This one may have gone overboard, but it wasn’t a total loss.

2013 was yet another great year for Train and I can’t wait to see what 2014 brings, including a new album due to be released in the third quarter. Stay tuned.

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ADAM’S TOP 100 OF 2012 – #07 to #05 (Post 9 of 11)

From now until New Year’s Eve, I’ll be counting down my top 100 songs of the year. Every week, I make a top 40 list, and each position gets a certain amount of points, plus, I add in some extra points for weeks at #1, which goes towards their yearly total. The survey period is from December 4, 2011 to November 25, 2012. Ties are broken by (1) peak position, then (2) weeks at peak position, and then (3) number of weeks on chart should it go that far. Let’s jump back into the top ten at #7.

Here comes the "Sun".

Here comes the “Sun”.

007. GRAFFITI6 – “Stare Into The Sun”
ALBUM: Colours // LABEL: N.W. Free/Capitol
PEAK: #1 for three weeks // WEEKS ON: 28 // POINTS: 798

We just had fun. and Janelle Monae at #8 with “We Are Young”, and credited as the orchestration producer on the track is Tommy Danvers, who is also one half of the duo in the #7 slot, Graffiti6, along with lead singer Jamie Scott. The two are based out of London, England and they’ve been playing together since 2009. They released their first album, Colours, in their native U.K. in the fall of 2010 before it eventually made it to our U.S. shores in January 2012. Their first single to hit my chart, “Free”, is yet to come in the top ten of the year, but this was the followup single to it, which became a top 20 hit at Adult Alternative radio here in the States. “Stare” was an instant impact record on my chart, debuting in the #40 position on March 11, 2012 without any time in the Next In Line or In The Mix. It was quite the slow riser and for a while, I thought it would peak somewhere in the top 20 without making the top 10. Then, all of a sudden, it got a burst of energy in late May. After crawling to #11, it climbed to #8, then to #3 the next week, and by June 10, it was spending its first of three weeks at #1. After 28 weeks in the top 40 by mid-September, the sun set on the single, but the duo plans to release some new material in 2013, so it won’t be long before the sun is shining again. By the way, take a look at the video when you get a chance. It’s a trippy little clip that matches the throwback vibe of the song. No kaleidoscope is needed; they’ll provide one for free.

Fifty shades of "Way".

Fifty shades of “Way”.

006. TRAIN – “50 Ways To Say Goodbye”
ALBUM: California 37 // LABEL: Columbia/Sony
PEAK: #2 for six weeks // WEEKS ON: 28 // POINTS: 845

Okay, listen, if your song is called “50 Ways To Say Goodbye”, I’m expecting fifty ways. Sadly, there are only eleven. That’s alright, however, it’s more ways than Paul Simon mentioned in “50 Ways To Leave Your Lover” (he only got up to five.) Train broke out the mariachi band for their second hit from California 37 before they gave them one way to say goodbye: a pink slip. Luckily, it was a catchy enough song that I’m sure the performance royalties will be piling up by the peso into 2013. The song bowed on my Next In Line on May 6, 2012 while “Drive By” was still in the top ten and debuted at #38 on the chart dated May 27. It finally reached the #2 spot August 19, but was held out of the top spot by two separate #1 songs: “Some Nights” by fun. for four weeks and “Good Time” by Owl City and Carly Rae Jepsen for two weeks. Its sixth and final week at #2, on the chart dated September 23, was two days before the beginning of the Jewish holiday Yom Kippur, which is name-checked in the lyrics of the song. (In verse 2, “She’ll think I’m Superman, not Super Minivan / How could you leave on Yom Kippur?”) Six weeks in the runner-up spot isn’t a record, by the way: as I mentioned earlier, Andy Grammer‘s “Keep Your Head Up” spent eight weeks at #2 last year. The song descended the chart pretty quickly from there, but it managed to stay on for 28 weeks, exiting in early December. Third single “Mermaid” looks like it will be an easy top ten in a few weeks. We won’t be saying “Goodbye” that easily to Train, however…

The Train pulls into the station one last time...

Seeing double? They’ll “Drive” you crazy.

005. TRAIN – “Drive By”
ALBUM: California 37 // LABEL: Columbia/Sony
PEAK: #1 for three weeks // WEEKS ON: 27 // POINTS: 868

You say “Goodbye” and I say Hello… again. The guys manage to make it two songs in a row in the top ten. The band has never made my year-end top ten before, so to score with two songs in one year is outstanding. (The closest they’ve come up to now is last year, when “Marry Me” was #15. “Hey, Soul Sister” would’ve easily been in had its run not been split between 2009 and 2010.) “Drive By” made its first appearance In The Mix on January 8, 2012 shortly after they premiered their song on YouTube. The following week, January 15, it made a stellar debut all the way up at #29.  By February 5, it was already up to #7, though it slowed down a bit from there and didn’t make it up to #1 until April 1, but it was certainly no April Fool’s joke. Spending three weeks at the top spot, it was the band’s first ever #1 single on my chart, having reached a high of #3 two times in the past: “Drops Of Jupiter (Tell Me)” in 2001 and the aforementioned “Marry Me” in 2011. From there, it drove down the highway and out of the countdown in July just as “50 Ways To Say Goodbye” entered the top 5. It’s still remarkable that the band is more successful now than they ever were in their first few years on the charts. They’ll be touring in Europe starting in February and with the money they’re taking in, I’m sure they’ll be able to stock up on their supply of Hefty bags.

Check back for the #4 and #3 songs of the year in the next post.

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Filed under Charts/Trade Papers, Personal Charts, Playlists, Top 100 of 2012

SINGLE REVIEW: Train – “Mermaid”

Long Train runnin’.

They’ve been reggae and calypso and now they’re up to their third single from their compact disco. Ay dios mio.

Train have been pretty consistent this era in providing some earworms that you can’t help but crank up on the stereo. In January, they unveiled the first single from California 37, a song entitled “Drive By”, and despite some cringeworthy lyrics (I’m looking at you, Hefty bags) it rose to a peak of #2 on the Hot Adult Contemporary chart, top 20 on CHR radio and spent a few weeks on top of my own personal chart. Just a few months ago, Train employed a mariachi band for about fifteen minutes to create “50 Ways To Say Goodbye”, which spent six weeks at #2 on my survey and, again, went top 5 Hot AC and top 20 CHR. I give that one brownie points for using Yom Kippur in the lyrics. The Jew Crew has to stick together, people. Plus, “I Gotta Feeling” with its auto-tuned “mazel tov” and “l’chaim” has been overplayed for years anyways. By the way, are there actually 50 ways to say goodbye? Can someone get Paul Simon on the line or is too late in the evening?

There’s been some shifting around when it came to the third release from California 37. A few months ago, a music video blog reported that a clip “Bruises”, which features Country singer Ashley Monroe, was in production, so I automatically assumed that that was the choice. Several weeks passed and I then noticed that “This’ll Be My Year” was being released to radio in Australia. Hmmm. Well, “Bruises” ended up being a video-only single, and “This’ll Be My Year” is staying down under, and thus, we come to the official third single already at American radio stations: “Mermaid”.

Now, “Mermaid” sounds like your typical Train track. A rolling guitar shuffle. A solid drum beat. There’s no question that they’re developing a sound that’s instantly recognizable. However, this time around, Train have decided to take a page out of the Jimmy Buffett Songbook, past the chapter on the Coral Reefers and onto a riveting description on Shipwrecked Sailors. So, Captain Pat Ahoy, Mateyhan takes a boat (let’s be honest, it was probably an inner tube rather than the S.S. Virginia) to some island that only Johnny Depp knows of. Is that because he’s famous and can afford a private island or because he’s a pirate of the Caribbean?  Alright, so then he’s like, “Oh God, this is just like Cast Away,” which I suppose is good since that won Tom Hanks a Golden Globe but it’s also bad because Johnny Depp wasn’t it. Maybe we can change it to Sweeney Todd. So, then, unlike the movies, some girl washes up and Pat gives her his coat because obviously the water is freezing this time of year. Wait, if she’s a mermaid, wouldn’t she be used to the water temperature? Homegirl needs to like, chill (no pun intended.) Oh, look, a clue. We’re on the Puget Sound. Hold on, I thought this was the Caribbean. Is this really the Bermuda Triangle? Is somebody gonna play the triangle? Help me, help me, I’m all out of lines…

Fine, you can’t overanalyze this sort of thing. It’s a light, fluffy pop song about a future love that washes up on shore; it’s not like it’s “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald.” Although, I suppose if this underperforms, you could call it a train wreck (not that I want it to, I’m just saying.) The only other thing I’m going to take issue with is that Pat Monahan wants this girl in 1992, because I’m being honest, that wasn’t a great year for songs about the sea at top-40 radio. The only thing that seems to fit is “Walk On The Ocean” by Toad The Wet Sprocket. Pacific Ocean, perhaps? Or, if you’d rather, the sea of love. Ooh la la. I can imagine a music video going viral already. Pat Monahan’s vocal is solid as usual, the lyrics are more cohesive than usual, and since the band seems to be a streak, then I would assume this is going to be a winner rather than a wipeout per usual. Just keep the life preserver at the ready. You never know when the “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” formula is going to be taking on water. –AFS

Purchase “Mermaid” on AmazonMP3.

Listen to “Mermaid” on YouTube.

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