Tag Archives: Idina Menzel

NEW MUSIC FRIDAY: Releases For The Week of January 13, 2017

xx marks the spot.

xx marks the spot.

Prepare to rock on with your favorite alternative and indie acts in the latest batch of New Music Friday releases. Here are this week’s notable albums and singles:

THE XX – I See You (iTunes)
The English trio is out with their third studio album, featuring the single “On Hold”, a current top 30 hit on the Alternative chart. It’s likely to be in the running for next week’s Highest Debut, but will it reach the top spot? We can potentially See it. Stay tuned.

COLONY HOUSE – Only The Lonely (iTunes)
These four men from Tennessee look to have a notable entry on next week’s chart with this set, featuring “You & I”, which has airplay across some Alternative and Triple A stations. Don’t leave them Lonely, kids.

More albums out this week: Danny Gokey‘s Rise (iTunes), ONE OK ROCK‘s Ambitions (iTunes), The Flaming Lips‘s Oczy Mlody (iTunes)

More EPs out this week: David Bowie‘s No Plan (iTunes), Idina Menzel‘s Beaches (Soundtrack) (iTunes), Youngr‘s Acoustics (iTunes)

New digital-only singles that you can buy this week include:
“Back For Me”, Electric Guest (iTunes)
“Bite My Tongue”, The Beach (iTunes)
“Blindside”, Aquilo (iTunes)
“Cul De Sac (Stripped)” and “One & Lonely”, PHANGS (iTunes)
“Dance”, POWERS (iTunes)
“Detroit Or Buffalo (Under The Covers)”, Max Jury (iTunes)
“Do U Dirty”, Kehlani (iTunes)
“Doing Good”, Milky Chance (iTunes)
“How Did You Love (Acoustic)”, Shinedown (iTunes)
“Intro (Creatures Of Habit)”, Greta Isaac (iTunes)
“Issues”, Julia Michaels (iTunes)
“I Miss You”, Grey featuring Bahari (iTunes)
“Kids (Ain’t All Right)”, Grace Mitchell (iTunes)
“Not Afraid Anymore”, Halsey (iTunes)
“On My Way”, Tiësto featuring Bright Sparks (iTunes)
“Paris”, The Chainsmokers (iTunes)
“Phase Me Out”, VÉRITÉ (iTunes)
“Rhythm Inside (Acoustic)”, Calum Scott (iTunes)
“Sex For Breakfast”, Life Of Dillon (iTunes)
“The News”, Train (iTunes)
“Trouble”, The Knocks featuring Absofacto (iTunes)
“Up&Up”, Lennon & Maisy (iTunes)
“You Don’t Get Me High Anymore (A-Trak Remix)”, Phantogram featuring Joey Purp (iTunes)

We’ll see you next week for a new album from those Kidz Bop Kids, as well as the 2017 GRAMMY Nominees compilation. Listen to the PGTC Friday Faves list on Spotify!

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NEW MUSIC FRIDAY: Releases For The Week of September 23, 2016

A "Treat" for this week.

A “Treat” for this week.

Vine stars and Broadway stars are among the acts looking to grab some streams and sales this week. What music will move you? Here are the notable albums and singles out this week:

SHAWN MENDES — Illuminate (iTunes)
Led by the multi-format hit “Treat You Better”, 18-year-old Mendes is looking for his second #1 album on the Billboard 200. Of course, his first chart-topper was Handwritten, which took a massive slide in its second week on the chart. Should we expect the new set to be front-loaded as well? You bet! However, there should be radio hits from it through the new year.

IDINA MENZEL — idina. (iTunes)
If you’re looking for another “Let It Go”, it’s probably not on Menzel’s new album. Plus, do we really need another one? Still, it’s worth a listen to her new set for a bunch of other great songs. “Queen Of Swords” is the current single from it, recently making a splash in the top 30 on the AC survey.

PASSENGER — Young As The Morning, Old As The Sea (iTunes)
One of my top picks for this week is the new effort from this English singer/songwriter. Leadoff single “Somebody’s Love” spent a week at #1 on my personal chart, and it’s still climbing up the top 20 at Triple A radio. It’ll likely hit the top 40 on the Billboard 200… well, at least I hope it will.

More albums out this week: Brian McKnight‘s An Evening With Brian McKnight (iTunes), Bruce Springsteen‘s Chapter And Verse (iTunes), Kristin Chenoweth‘s The Art Of Elegance (iTunes), MUTEMATH‘s Changes (iTunes), My Chemical Romance‘s The Black Parade / Living With Ghosts (The 10th Anniversary Edition) (iTunes), Skylar Grey‘s Natural Causes (iTunes), Ty Dolla $ign‘s Campaign (iTunes), Trolls (Soundtrack) (iTunes)

More EPs out this week: Luke Bryan‘s Farm Tour… Here’s To The Farmer (iTunes), The Score‘s Unstoppable (iTunes)

New digital-only singles that you can buy this week include:
“50,000”, Sting (iTunes)
“All Fall Down”, Tor Miller (iTunes)
“Be Your Love”, Bishop Briggs (iTunes)
“FAB.”, JoJo featuring Remy Ma (iTunes)
“Guys My Age”, Hey Violet (iTunes)
“Labor Of Love”, Bon Jovi (iTunes)
“Older And Taller”, Regina Spektor (iTunes)
“On An Evening In Roma (Sott’er Celo De Roma)”, Michael Bublé (iTunes)
“Signs”, Cherub featuring T.I. (iTunes)
“Spiderweb”, The Mowgli’s (iTunes)
“Starboy”, The Weeknd featuring Daft Punk (iTunes)
“Still Breathing”, Green Day (iTunes)
“Sweet Dreamer”, Will Joseph Cook (iTunes)
“Tear Up This Town”, Keane (iTunes)
“WALLS”, Kings Of Leon (iTunes)

We’ll see you next week for new releases from BANKS, Regina Spektor, William Michael Morgan and more.

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TOP TEN: Sleighing The Charts

Singles all the way.

Singles all the way.

The holidays seem to come earlier and earlier each year; unfortunately, it’s just what happens. I know that I’m not one for buying candy canes in September or hearing “Jingle Bell Rock” on the radio in October, but the Christmas spirit is a strong one. With Thanksgiving dinner sitting in our stomachs and December just around the corner, it is time to properly roll out the holiday celebrations with a playlist of some of my favorite seasonal selections for 2014.

Enjoy this mix of new tunes and a handful of cool updates to the classics. They’re all at retail now and the majority of these ten songs are also at radio, so be sure to get on those request lines (to Santa, of course.)

A GREAT BIG WORLD – “I Want A Hippopotamus For Christmas”
Album: I’ll Be Home For Christmas
Label: Epic

BAND OF MERRYMAKERS – “Must Be Christmas”
Album: Must Be Christmas – Single
Label: The End/ADA

ELEVEN PAST ONE – “Merry Christmas Everybody”
Album: Merry Christmas Everybody – Single
Label: Warner Bros. Canada

IDINA MENZEL featuring MICHAEL BUBLÉ – “Baby, It’s Cold Outside”
Album: Holiday Wishes
Label: Warner Bros.

JILLETTE JOHNSON – “River”
Album: River – Single
Label: Wind-Up

JOHNNYSWIM – “Christmas Day”
Album: A Johnnyswim Christmas
Label: Big Picnic

JON MCLAUGHLIN – “Christmas Saved Us All”
Album: The Christmas EP
Label: Independent

KELLY CLARKSON – “Wrapped In Red” **
Album: Wrapped In Red
Label: RCA

** Clarkson’s album was originally released last year, but the title cut is being promoted to Adult Contemporary outlets for this season.

KENDALL SCHMIDT – “Blame It On The Mistletoe”
Album: Blame It On The Mistletoe – Single
Label: TOLbooth

STRAIGHT NO CHASER featuring KRISTEN BELL – “Text Me Merry Christmas”
Album: Under The Influence: Holiday Edition (2014 re-release)
Label: Atlantic

For some more festive fun, watch out for my weekly top 40 chart to see what ho-ho-hops into the survey. Until then, head to the “Get Social!” tab to connect with PGTC on Facebook and Twitter.

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GRAMMY WATCH: Adam Predicts The Big Four at the 57th Annual Grammys

A Gram slam.

A Gram slam.

When good ol’ September 30 comes around again, we all know that it marks the completion of the eligibility period for the 57th Annual GRAMMY Awards. So, being that it’s the day after, it’s the perfect time to make some new predictions and take a look what’s been happening this year in music. Though the big show doesn’t air until February 8 and a usual nominations special doesn’t air until December (I think it’s been renewed), here are some of my early favorites, and let me know what you think below!

Here’s what I’m thinking could be in this year’s Big Four awards…

ALBUM OF THE YEAR
Barbra Streisand, Partners (Columbia)
Beyoncé, Beyoncé (Columbia)
Coldplay, Ghost Stories (Parlophone/Atlantic)
Ed Sheeran, X (Atlantic)
Sam Smith, In The Lonely Hour (Capitol)

Given Streisand’s recent strong sales for her effort and that shining achievement of having #1 albums in six decades, I think the upper demo will get in on this one for a nod. (It would be her first nomination since The Broadway Album in 1987 and seventh overall.) The surprise release Beyoncé put out last December and the multi-Platinum success of the album should carry it to a nod, as well as some key nods in the R&B and Rap fields. Of course, Coldplay are GRAMMY darlings at this point, so it’ll likely be between them and U2 for who gets nominated. I’ll give the edge to the Brits; they have the biggest opening of 2014 so far and their biggest hit since “Viva La Vida” on the charts. The debut of Sheeran’s second album was also notable – he’s been nominated two years in a row in the Big Four, so he shouldn’t miss it. Lastly, there’s Sam Smith, another given. Obviously, this was a huge breakout year for him and he’ll be rewarded well.

Other contenders:
Eric Church, The Outsiders (EMI Nashville)
Jack White, Lazaretto (Third Man/Columbia)
Lana Del Rey, Ultraviolence (Interscope)
Smokey Robinson, Smokey & Friends (Verve)
U2, Songs Of Innocence (Interscope)

RECORD OF THE YEAR
Coldplay, “A Sky Full Of Stars” (Parlophone/Atlantic)
Iggy Azalea featuring Charli XCX, “Fancy” (Def Jam)
Katy Perry featuring Juicy J, “Dark Horse” (Capitol)
Sam Smith, “Stay With Me” (Capitol)
Sia, “Chandelier” (RCA)

SONG OF THE YEAR
Eminem featuring Rihanna, “The Monster” (Aftermath/Interscope)
Idina Menzel, “Let It Go” (Walt Disney)
Iggy Azalea featuring Charli XCX, “Fancy” (Def Jam)
Lorde, “Team” (Lava/Republic)
Sam Smith, “Stay With Me” (Capitol)

There’s usually some overlap in these two categories, so don’t be surprised if some of my predictions swap places. For now, Coldplay and Sam Smith seem like no-brainers since both have albums that are early favorites for AOTY. There is certainly no denying that impact of “Fancy” and what it achieved on the charts this summer, so it may be that it ends up in both fields for Iggy Azalea and Charli XCX, but it could also leave voters wondering about possibilities of Ariana Grande’s “Problem”, which features Azalea, and Charli XCX’s own “Boom Clap” for nods as well. I guess we’ll wait and see. Katy Perry’s collaboration with Juicy J and Sia’s solo track both stick out from a production standpoint and could make it in somewhere. Eminem and Rihanna were nominated for “Love The Way You Lie” several years ago, and since   “The Monster” was just as big, they’ll make it in. Finally, there’s the endless talk of “Let It Go” and Frozen. Singer Idina Menzel should at least catch a nomination, while the soundtrack won’t be as lucky (the panel’s pretty inconsistent over the years.) The only Disney affiliated song to win the prize was “A Whole New World” (from Aladdin) in 1994.

Other contenders:
A Great Big World featuring Christina Aguilera, “Say Something” (Epic)
Ariana Grande featuring Iggy Azalea, “Problem” (Republic)
Beyoncé featuring Jay Z, “Drunk In Love” (Columbia)
Hozier, “Take Me To Church” (Columbia)
KONGOS, “Come With Me Now” (Epic)
MAGIC!, “Rude” (RCA)
Meghan Trainor, “All About That Bass” (Epic)
Nico & Vinz, “Am I Wrong” (Warner Bros.)
Paramore, “Ain’t It Fun” (Fueled By Ramen/Atlantic)
Taylor Swift, “Shake It Off” (Big Machine/Republic)

BEST NEW ARTIST
Charli XCX
Iggy Azalea
Jhene Aiko
KONGOS
Sam Smith

Three of the nominations are straight-forward in this category: Charli XCX, Iggy Azalea and Sam Smith were all strong on the charts this year and are all worthy contenders for the Award. The other two slots require a little more thinking. I’m going for Aiko because “The Worst” hit #1 at Urban radio and both her EP, Sail Out, and full-length album, Souled Out, had top ten debuts on the Billboard 200 within this period. KONGOS also makes for a solid rock entry here, only because “Come With Me Now” is going to have a hard time competing in the ROTY/SOTY categories. That being said, I think they’ll be around for a while on the Alternative scene and that should get them a second look over.

Other contenders:
A Great Big World
American Authors
Bastille
Cole Swindell
Vance Joy

Other notes:
Arctic Monkeys and The Black Keys should see some major love in the Alternative/Rock categories. A.M. from the Monkeys isn’t eligible due to a release last September, but “Do I Wanna Know?” should get a nod or two, as well as “Fever” from the Keys.
– Really hoping to see “Hideaway” by Kiesza and “Rather Be” by Clean Bandit and Jess Glynne in the category of Best Dance Recording. Both were hugely successful in Europe and also crossed over here. (We’ll likely see some of the usual suspects as well: Avicii, Calvin Harris, Skrillex, etc.)
– The R&B field will be packed with Beyoncé a plenty, though male stars Trey Songz and Usher could get in on the action. “She Came To Give It To You” from the latter singer, featuring Nicki Minaj, would be a great candidate.
– I really want Barbra Streisand‘s Partners and Kelly Clarkson‘s Wrapped In Red locked in an epic battle for Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album. Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga‘s Cheek To Cheek should pop up there too.

That’s it for now… once again, let me know you think below or find PGTC on social media by clicking the “Get Social!” tab.

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Just The Two Of Us: Cold Hard Chart Twins

Chiseled on the charts.

Chiseled on the charts.

Disney’s latest animated film Frozen has all the makings of a classic, including a strong run at the box office and a soundtrack selling very well. Early reports by both Billboard and HITS Daily Double last week indicated that it may be enjoying its first week at #1 on the album chart, which will officially be reported in a few days. A song from it, “Let It Go”, was released in two different forms by different vocalists, which are charting concurrently: one featured in the film by Idina Menzel and a poppier take by Demi LovatoLovato’s version thus far has peaked at #43 on the Hot 100, while the version by Menzel’s gone to #32. The two renditions are still doing modestly well at iTunes despite little radio play.

This certainly isn’t the first time this kind of situation has happened on Billboard’s singles survey. It was commonplace in the 50’s and 60’s when a small amount of original music reached the public. Even in the 90’s, the dance sensation that swept the nation, the “Macarena”, had two different versions charting at one time by Los Del Rio (#1) and Los Del Mar (#71). However, this is likely the most notable case in the digital era as it’s occurred outside of a music competition show issuing a set of the contestants’ weekly studio cuts or a series like Glee that releases multiple covers in a week. If you’re wondering about who else has pulled off the trick, here’s several of my favorite examples from the 70’s and 80’s:

“(Where Do I Begin?) Love Story” (from Love Story) (1971)
The Ali MacGraw and Ryan O’Neal film was huge at the box office. A vocal version of its theme went to #9 for Andy Williams, while two instrumentals by Henry Mancini & His Orchestra (#13) and Francis Lai & His Orchestra (#31) were top 40 concurrently for four weeks in the spring. Mancini and Williams would chart on the Hot 100 again.

(Lai) (Mancini) (Williams)

“I Don’t Know How To Love Him” (from Jesus Christ Superstar) (1971)
Two renditions of one of this work’s most famous songs went top 40, one by Helen Reddy and the other by Yvonne Elliman. The Reddy version hit first in early May, peaking at #13, while the Elliman version followed two weeks later and peaked at #28. Both singers scored #1 singles later in their career, with Reddy doing it three times and Elliman once.

(Elliman) (Reddy)

“I’d Like To Teach The World To Sing (In Perfect Harmony)” (1971-2)
It was one iconic Coca-Cola commercial and two bubbly takes. A version by American The Hillside Singers went top 40 in mid-December, but after a debut by England’s The New Seekers the next week, the latter eclipsed it, peaking at #7 vs. a #13 for the original. The English group would seek one last hit in 1973 with a medley from the musical Tommy.

(Hillside Singers) (New Seekers)

“Gonna Fly Now” (from Rocky) (1976)
During the summer of 1976, both the film starring Sylvester Stallone and song exploded. A version by composer Bill Conti climbed to #1 in July while jazz trumpeter Maynard Ferguson went as high as #28. Two other disco versions by R&B groups Current and Rhythm Heritage each peaked at #94, though all four didn’t appear together on one chart.

(Conti) (Current) (Ferguson) (Rhythm Heritage)

“Theme from Star Wars” and “Theme from Close Encounters Of The Third Kind” (1977 and 1978)
May 1977 brought about the premiere of a classic, Star Wars, and with it brought two versions of its theme into the top 40. John Williams conducted the London Symphony Orchestra to a #10 hit, but it was Meco and his “Star Wars Theme/Cantina Band” medley that propelled to #1. One year later in 1978, the two charted together again when Close Encounters Of The Third Kind premiered. This time around, John Williams went to #13, while Meco stopped at #25.

(Meco – SW) (Williams – SW) (Meco – CE) (Williams – CE)

“Dancin’ Shoes” (1979)
With a title like this, you’d expect this would be two takes on a dance song. However, it’s a ballad. Both cracked the Hot 100 during the same week in December 1978; however, a version by Nigel Olsson, longtime drummer in Elton John‘s band, climbed to #18 on Bang Records, while the original version by Mercury’s The Faith Band rose to a lowly #54.

(Faith Band) (Olsson)

“One Night In Bangkok” (from Chess) (1985)
Before it was a show, the concept album named Chess garnered good reception and placed this song onto the charts. The most well-known version by English singer Murray Head peaked at #3, giving him a second top 40 hit. An alternate version sung by Canadian actress Robey (born Louise Robey) went to #77. Both wouldn’t chart again on the Hot 100.

(Head) (Robey)

Other notable examples of this occurrence from the 70’s onward include 1974’s “Billy, Don’t Be A Hero” (#1 for Bo Donaldson & The Heywoods vs. #96 for Paper Lace), 1977’s “Love In C Minor” (#36 for Cerrone vs. #46 for The Heart and Soul Orchestra) and 1997’s “How Do I Live” (#2 for LeAnn Rimes vs. #23 for Trisha Yearwood).

Is there another chart entry with two versions that you like and I didn’t mention? Let me know! Comment below or click the “Get Social!” tab to find PGTC on social media.

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