Bring on the bands! Here are two groups that ended their last eras on a sour note, but are ready to bring it back hard with their latest singles. Will they rise up the charts or stall out in the midst of heavy competition? Only time will tell, but I enjoy them both. They’re two more releases to add to what has already been a very diverse first quarter in the music biz. Let’s start this thing with a little twang…
LADY ANTEBELLUM – “Downtown”
Lady A’s been hitting the charts for about five years now, but their last ballad-heavy effort wasn’t as successful as their previous albums. Own The Night produced two number-one singles on the Country Chart, “Just A Kiss” and “We Owned The Night”, but it also gave them their lowest-peaking commercial release ever on the survey, “Wanted You More”, which only went as high as #20. Again, this might have been due to the adult contemporary trending sound of the record; country radio just didn’t want to embrace the more middle-of-the-road and not very, well, “country” material from the band after all the soft singles. Their latest single, the leadoff from their forthcoming album, is a song called “Downtown”, which is pretty much the most country-sounding thing from them in a while. (Although, watch me say that and then weeks down the line, the label remixes it for crossover airplay. Just an assumption, not a fact.) This is a bit of a new side to the group, originally recorded in demo form by Natalie Hemby. The lead vocal is done by Hillary Scott, with the background provided by Charles Kelley, and there’s a newfound spunk and attitude in them with lyrics like “knew the band, so we never paid our cover / Wrote our names on the bathroom tile,” while Scott appeals to her boyfriend or close friend, “I don’t know why you don’t take me downtown anymore.” Look at them being angst-ridden teenagers once again. Lady A, we hardly knew ye. She isn’t the most persuading gal in the world when she urges her significant other to “talk it up and give me the go ’round-round like a good time tease”, but the song overall is definitely a step in the right direction for the band after some misfires. I just sort of wish we had a Kelley lead vocal for the first single, but I’m sure there will be plenty of those on the new album. Look for it to become their next #1 record on the Country survey when it gets a digital release on February 5. (Listen) (Lyric Video)
THE GOO GOO DOLLS – “Rebel Beat”
It’s been almost eighteen years since this band out of Buffalo released their first hit single, “Name”, a #1 song on mainstream radio at a time when alternative rock dominated the charts. Obviously, things have changed a lot since then, but the trio continues on long after their biggest commercial peak. Their last album, 2010’s Something For The Rest Of Us, provided some uninspired and bland singles in “Home” and “Notbroken”, the former of which barely hit the top ten and the latter of which struggled to make the top 30 at the Hot AC format. Two years ago, their theme from Transformers: Dark Of The Moon, “All That You Are”, made the top 15 on the same chart, and that was a vast improvement. Still, it was bound to have a short chart life being from a film. Fast forward to 2013 and the band is back with a new track, “Rebel Beat”. It’s the first single from the band’s forthcoming album, Magnetic, out on May 7. “Whoa! Did Ryan Tedder produce this?” is probably the first thought out of the listener’s head when hearing the song for the first time. As far as I know, he didn’t, but yes, it does sound like OneRepublic‘s sound influence this particular song, specifically their 2011 hit “Good Life”. Hey, they’re going to need to do whatever they need to do to get a hit, and if that means shedding their edgier side once again to appeal to soccer moms, they’ll get at least one more chart hit. I’m sure there will be rockier stuff on the album to appease those long-time fans who still desire it. Anyways, the song itself is pretty good. The lyrics are nothing special, though they seem to explode in a well-engineered chorus: “Hey, you, look around / Can you hear that noise? It’s the rebel sound / We got nowhere else to go / And when the sun goes down and we fill the streets / We’re gonna dance ’til the morning to the rebel’s beat / You can take everything from me, ’cause this is all I need.” Yes, it’s ironic that the song is called “Rebel Beat” when the beat isn’t rebellious and more on the generic side, but give the guys credit for heading in a new direction. It’s a cool tune. It’ll probably take them into at least the top 30 again at Hot AC, though I’m not sure at this time how any followup singles are going to fare. At least we have this for now. (Listen)
Also look out for these new singles coming in the next few weeks:
* NEW KIDS ON THE BLOCK – “Remix (I Like The)”: the new single from one of the biggest boy bands of all-time goes to radio on January 25 and to iTunes on January 28. Their new album, 10, is released on April 2. They’ll be touring with 98 Degrees and Boyz II Men this summer. Will the potential success of the band’s new single spur the other two bands to try out new material at mainstream radio? Those rumors will be swirling… (Listen)
* VAMPIRE WEEKEND – “[title TBA]”: the band led by Ezra Koenig returns with their third album on May 7. A single should be at Alternative radio by March.
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