Tag Archives: Chris Brown

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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Let’s Dance: Producers Taking Over The Pop Scene

Tired of hearing the same old Calvin Harris and David Guetta-produced songs on the radio day after day? After a while, they all seem to sound the same. Well, here are four producers who haven’t seen a lot of chart success to date in the U.S., but watch out! They’re climbing towards the top of the turntables (and station playlists) with their new releases to the CHR format. Check them out and don’t be afraid to shake a little something once you pump up the volume.

You've got a "Friend".

You’ve got a “Friend”.

AFROJACK & CHRIS BROWN – “As Your Friend”
Current Position: #36

25-year-old Nick Van de Wall has been on the charts in his native Netherlands since 2006, but is slowly finding a following in the United States. You probably best know Afrojack from his 2011 single, “Take Over Control”, featuring vocalist Eva Simons, though he also had a featured credit on Pitbull‘s big smash “Give Me Everything”, which went to #1. His latest single is another big anthem featuring Chris Brown, which will likely discourage some listeners from pressing play. However, the guy’s a decent singer and I’m trying to separate the personality from the musician. (I obviously don’t condone what he’s done in his personal life in the last few years.) I’ve listened to his dance-leaning singles quite a bit like “Turn Up The Music” and “Yeah 3X”, and this one is no exception. It’s big and in-your-face, maybe a tad too harsh-sounding for mainstream radio, but it gets the job done. Brown hasn’t made the top ten on the format since 2011. Let’s see if this one gets the job done. It’s already entered the top 40 despite some fierce competition.

Boys on film.

Boys on film.

BENNY BENASSI featuring GARY GO – “Cinema”
Current Position: #50

Sometimes it takes mere weeks to have hit, sometimes it takes years. The latter statement neatly fits in with this song from Italian DJ Benny Benassi and English singer Gary Go that was originally released in Europe two years ago, yet is just now becoming a hit record at mainstream radio. The highest position it achieved in its initial release was #20 in the United Kingdom, though it made the top 40 in a few other European countries. The song’s sold north of one million copies in the United States as well, but has never made the Hot 100 or the Dance/Club Play Chart. How come? Lackluster radio support, especially at top-40 radio, though it finally seems to be picking up now. By the way, Gary Go‘s 2009 single, “Wonderful”, was a #1 hit on my personal chart. Great tune. The song’s been issued to radio in two forms: the original mix, and a remix done by Skrillex. It’s already built up a good-sized audience given its positioning on the chart, so, don’t be surprised if this one finally becomes the hit it was determined to be for the last twenty-odd months.

"One" more try at Pop success.

“One” more try at Pop success.

AVICII vs. NICKY ROMERO – “I Could Be The One”
Current Position: not listed; just released

Two producers, one track, and neither of them sing on it. Sweden’s Avicii meets Nicky Romero from the Netherlands on this single, which features a Swedish studio singer named Noonie Bao on it. Bao’s been credited as the main vocals on other album by Swedish acts in the past few years, though none of them have hit Stateside. Romero’s never released here either, and Avicii made a minor hit in the States out of “Levels”, the original composition that sampled Etta James‘s “Something’s Got A Hold Of Me” before Flo Rida started rapping all over it in “Good Feeling”. Of course, with that kind of feeling, it went to the top. “One” has already been a top five hit in Finland, Ireland and Sweden and is likely to be the new #1 single in the United Kingdom on this weekend’s chart reveal. Whether that will translate into perhaps a late spring or early summer hit in the U.S. has yet to be seen, but it’s already zipping up the Dance/Club Play survey with an impressive 44-22 leap on the February 16 edition. As the title suggests, it could be the one to break them all here.

Not a hot John Mayer remake.

Not a hot John Mayer remake.

ZEDD featuring FOXES – “Clarity”
Current Position: not listed; below the top 50

Anton Zaslavski is only 23-years-old, but he’s made a name for himself as Zedd, releasing singles for about three years now. He’s also the main producer behind Lady Gaga‘s forthcoming ARTPOP album, due later this year. The Russian-born producer made a minor splash on the mainstream scene last year with “Spectrum”, which featuring a vocal from Matthew Koma, but it quickly faded away despite a #1 placing on the Dance/Club Play chart. (Koma is best known as the boyfriend of pop singer Carly Rae Jepsen.) This new release topped the same chart, but this time, it’s Foxes singing the song, an English dance artist who hasn’t seen any exposure here before. His star is definitely climbing fast; in fact, he co-produced the recent Justin Bieber/Nicki Minaj top ten entry, “Beauty And A Beat”. The song goes for adds on March 5, but is already starting to rise on iTunes and get a little bit of pre-impact play. Look for this one to do the damage that “Spectrum” couldn’t last year.

Are there any other EDM favorites you could see doing well on popular radio and the Billboard Hot 100? Let me know in the comments or on Twitter: @AdamFSoybel.

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SINGLE REVIEWS: Will The Real Rihanna Single Please Stand Up? (UPDATED)

That Rihanna reign just won't let up.

That Rihanna reign just won’t let up.

Rihanna is once again dominating the charts with her worldwide smash, “Diamonds”, from her album Unapologetic, but the question of what’s going to be her second single here in the United States has caused some confusion on the internet as of recent. A few weeks ago, what appeared to be artwork for her song “Pour It Up” was posted on the internet, but as of now, it looks like it was a fan-created effort rather than something from her label. All three of the songs in this post have either gained significant airplay on CHR radio or have been announced as a single in other countries, though nothing has been exclusively confirmed for the States and we likely won’t hear a statement about it until next year. Until then, read up on what could be considered as the next big smash for the international pop star.

“NOBODY’S BUSINESS” (featuring Chris Brown)
I was so sure this was going to be the second single when I saw two West Coast stations add it in the same week, but it appears that they’ve eased off the spins for it. Still, it could make a turnaround. This one is a great hybrid of a late 80’s club record and an early-to-mid 90’s house song. I should mention that the song interpolated some lyrics from “The Way You Make Me Feel” by Michael Jackson. I’m surprised his estate didn’t get a full writing credit, though he does get a mention in the liner notes and everything was cleared for the material to be used. The message is pretty clear: privacy and lots of it, not that a star like Rihanna is going to get it being in the public eye. Despite some bizarre rhyme choices (“Every touch becomes infectious / Let’s make out in this Lexus.” Really?) the songs flows pretty well. It’s sensual with maybe just a little bit of anger behind it. Would the dated arrangement hurt its chances for being a hit? Probably not. This is coming from a superstar at multiple radio formats. It’ll at least chart. Would the Chris Brown feature hurt its chances? Absolutely yes, though, if this was strictly an Urban release, then it shouldn’t see any notable backlash. I actually don’t mind his presence on the song. Even if it’s not officially the second single, perhaps it can get a release during the spring or summer… before Rihanna inevitably puts out another album next fall.

“RIGHT NOW” (featuring David Guetta)
Here’s one that I’ve been hearing on one of the local CHR stations here in night rotation and it also has a few adds in some pretty prominent markets on the East Coast. The song is a straight-up dance tune with some major dubstep elements included in it. It’s enjoyable, but it’s a really safe choice, as is most of Guetta’s production. (“Who’s That Chick”, a previous collaboration between the two, was as well. I prefer that one.) He isn’t getting any younger and I think his time on the American charts will be drawing to a close very soon. Calvin Harris seems to be picking up where he’s losing steam in the hit and originality department. He did produce “We Found Love”; too bad he couldn’t do it again. Despite a lyric that isn’t exactly substantial or groundbreaking, the message is pretty clear: we can’t look back on the past, tomorrow’s not guaranteed (or at least clear enough to see), so we have to live for now while we can. From the once or twice I’ve heard it on air, it sounds more like a club record than a radio single, though I’m sure it’ll appeal to listeners who are looking for a more wholesome image from her rather than a bad girl one. There’s nothing really offensive about it. I’m actually surprised that this specific station is playing it already since they daypart a version of “Where Have You Been” without the dubstep breakdown. Hmmm. Sonically, it’s the strongest choice for a second single if her label wants a mainstream success, though it won’t be considered as classic in her catalogue as time goes on.

“STAY” (featuring Mikky Ekko)
This little lady likes her featured songs, doesn’t she? This one’s already charting pretty well in the United Kingdom after she performed on that country’s version of The X Factor, though it has a concrete release date in the U.K. of January 7. You would think that that would be an indicator of what’s to come in the States, but this time around, it isn’t. This one is just Rihanna and Ekko at the piano, no vocal effects, no extra unnecessary production. It’s a pretty song about two sides of a relationship and how they both want each other to remain with one another, but the main problem with this song is that even though both singers shine vocally, the song never really goes anywhere. It’s flat. It ends where it started. That’s not much fun, is it? She’s also somewhat inconsistent with slower songs at mainstream radio: singles like “Take A Bow” and “Unfaithful” were hits, but “California King Bed” and “Russian Roulette” were not. I would think that this would fall in the latter category. It was #8 in the U.K. midweeks, though it’s climbed higher on iTunes there since, so it should be a sizable hit over in Europe. A slower song has a better chance of doing some chart damage in the winter time as it is now, but I don’t think that this would be the appropriate choice to do it with.

So, I guess my verdict is for “Right Now” to go ahead and get a full release, but what about you, Navy? Which song would you choose to release? Will two different songs get sent to separate formats? Leave me a note in the comments or contact me on Twitter: @AdamFSoybel.

EDIT: “Right Now” has been officially released to CHR radio as of early January. “Pour It Up” appears to be the next single at Urban radio from unsolicited airplay.

EDIT 2: the release of “Right Now” has been cancelled despite all of the adds. It will now be replaced at AC, CHR and Hot AC radio with “Stay”.

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