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RADIO REPORT: What’s Popping At Top 40 Radio This Week (September 21-22, 2020)

It’s time once again to analyze the airwaves and find out if your favorite new releases will be lighting up your local station’s playlist this week. Which tunes will climb to the top and which ones will hit a stop? Here are two singles impacting this week at the Top 40 format:

JUSTIN BIEBER featuring CHANCE THE RAPPER – “Holy” (Def Jam)
Album: TBA (2020)
Past T40 History: The big collaboration is already in the top 40 at the format, becoming Bieber’s 30th such entry here since 2009.

SAM SMITH – “Diamonds” (Capitol)
Album: Love Goes (2020)
Past T40 History: “Diamonds” is already shining brightly at the pop format. It’s Smith’s third top 40 single of 2020 and 15th total.

Let’s welcome back Ali Gatie and Alessia Cara to the Top 40 format: their newly-released collaboration impacts next week.

How will these songs perform on the adds report? Let me know!

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Filed under POP! Goes The Picks (Radio), Single Reviews

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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Filed under Charts/Trade Papers, Single Reviews