Tag Archives: Macklemore & Ryan Lewis

NEW MUSIC FRIDAY: Releases For The Week of February 26, 2016

Time travel never sounded so good.

Time travel never sounded so good.

Whether you like the 1970’s, the 2010’s, or both decades, this week’s New Music Friday has music that’s good for all ages. Here are this week’s album and single releases:

  • THE 1975 — I like it when you sleep, for you are so beautiful yet so unaware of it (iTunes)
    • The most anticipated album this week comes from the British quartet behind “Chocolate”, “Girls” and “Love Me”. Will the American buying public love them? I think so. A top five entry looks likely for the new set, a notable jump from the #28 peak of their self-titled debut. We’ll see if they can blast past the likes of Adele and Justin Bieber to claim their first chart-topping album.
  • MACKLEMORE & RYAN LEWIS — This Unruly Mess I’ve Made (iTunes)
    • Attention, thrift shoppers, your favorite Seattle duo is back with what is truly a Mess of an era so far. In what may be the next case of a sophomore slump, this act’s “Downtown” barely touched the top ten on pop radio. Several of the collaborations released since then have failed to chart. Better luck next time, boys?
  • WALK THE MOON — You Are Not Alone (Live At The Greek) (iTunes)
    • The band’s first full-length live album was recorded at The Greek Theatre in Los Angeles, and features their latest single “Work This Body”. The set includes a mix of cuts from their self-titled album and Talking Is Hard.
  • More albums out this week: Bonnie Raitt‘s Dig In Deep (iTunes), Brian McKnight‘s Better (iTunes), Chuck Wicks‘s Turning Point (iTunes), From Ashes To New‘s Day One (iTunes), Hands Like Houses‘s Dissonants (iTunes), Hillsong Young & Free‘s Youth Revival (Live) (iTunes), Novelists‘s Souvenirs (iTunes), Phil Collins‘s deluxe editions of Dance Into The Light (iTunes) and Hello, I Must Be Going (iTunes), Run River North‘s Drinking From A Salt Pond (iTunes), Santigold‘s 99 Cents (iTunes), School Of Seven Bells‘s SVIIB (iTunes), The Dunwells‘s Light Up The Sky (iTunes), The Moth & The Flame‘s Young & Unafraid (iTunes), Tweet‘s Charlene (iTunes), Willie Nelson‘s Summertime: Willie Nelson Sings Gershwin (iTunes), George Fest: A Night To Celebrate The Music Of George Harrison (iTunes)
  • More EPs out this week: The Downtown Fiction‘s Alligator Tears (iTunes), XYLØ‘s America (iTunes)

New digital-only singles that you can buy this week include:

  • “Animals”, Coast Modern (iTunes)
  • “Beautiful”, Jordan Smith (iTunes)
  • “Been To The Moon”, Corinne Bailey Rae (iTunes)
  • “Change My Mind”, Stone Cold Fox (iTunes)
  • “Girls Like”, Tinie Tempah featuring Zara Larsson (iTunes)
  • “Hello Friday”, Flo Rida featuring Jason Derulo (iTunes)
  • “Holla”, MAX (iTunes)
  • “In The Morning”, ZHU (iTunes)
  • “Love Me Like That”, The Knocks featuring Carly Rae Jepsen (iTunes)
  • “Rock Bottom”, Hailee Steinfeld featuring DNCE (iTunes)
  • “Someone Who Can Dance”, Icona Pop (iTunes)
  • “Time”, K. Michelle (iTunes)
  • “Vroom Vroom”, Charli XCX (iTunes)

We’ll see you next week for new releases from Day Wave, Miike Snow, The Struts and more.

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Take You “Downtown”: A Top 40 Travelogue

Top of the "Shop".

Top of the “Shop”.

If you’re a big fan of Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, you likely know that their track with Ed Sheeran, “Growing Up”, is at six million plays on YouTube and two million streams on SoundCloud, where you can download it for free. With a substantial total through both services, radio has also welcomed the track, launching it into the top 40 at two different formats without any sort of paid sales data or a large airplay push. That strategy is most likely in place due to the official first release (and second overall single) from the duo’s forthcoming set, titled “Downtown”, going to radio next week.

As Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars‘s “Uptown Funk” was climbing the charts, I revisited all the “uptown” titles to rank on the radio, so I figured that it was only fitting to do the same for the “downtown” titles. No matter which way you’re headed, there is a great list of music to enjoy. Let’s travel on and examine the picks of the pop radio listing, shall we?

Hot 100 (pre-1973)
“Downtown”, Petula Clark (#1, 1965)

If the 2015 “Downtown” doesn’t become a classic, we’ll always have this one to look back on. English singer Clark just turned 22 when her first U.S. single entered the charts and it was a smash, spending two weeks at #1 in January 1965. “My Love” followed it to the top for two weeks in 1966. She last reached the Hot 100 in 1981.

Clark’s signature song was parodied by comedy star Allan Sherman as “Crazy Downtown”, which became his second and final top 40 hit. It peaked at #40 on the Hot 100 about three months after her song peaked, though it rose to #25 on Cashbox.

Radio & Records
“Downtown Life”, Daryl Hall and John Oates (#32, 1988)

This “Downtown” title was the third single from the duo’s Ooh Yeah! album, the same one that also gave them their last top five single ever, “Everything Your Heart Desires”. It barely missed the top 30 during the fourth quarter of 1988, giving the two guys their last top 40 hit of the 80’s. They would return in the fall of 1990.

“Downtown”, One 2 Many (#29, 1989)

You may be asking, who? The late 80’s were full of these kinds of international acts, this trio being from Norway, who landed in the top 40 for a brief few weeks. Though their album and single were successful in their native country, they did very little here, and the trio broke up in the middle of the promotional run for the set.

“Downtown Train”, Rod Stewart (#1, 1990)

Originally released by Tom Waits on his 1985 album Rain Dogs, several covers of his song charted nationally, including a minor one by Patty Smyth in 1987. Stewart’s version, taken from a greatest hits set, spent one week at the top of the pop radio chart in January 1990 and turned into one of his biggest singles of that decade.

“Downtown”, SWV (#37, 1993)

After three successful top five radio singles from their It’s About Time album, including the #1 song “Weak”, the female trio out of New York City couldn’t lift their fourth release to the same heights. However, it was a chart-topping R&B hit for seven weeks as one half of a double a-side single with “Right Here/Human Nature”.

“Downtown Venus”, P.M. Dawn (#19, 1995)

Brothers Attrell and Jarrett Cordes, originally from New Jersey, comfortably found a place at radio beginning in 1991 with such songs as “Set Adrift On Memory Bliss” and “I’d Die Without You”, taken from soundtrack to the movie Boomerang. By the time this single appeared on the radio charts in 1995, their career was fading.

Have a favorite song from the tracks listed above? Let me know! Comment below or click on the “Get Social!” tab above to find PGTC on Facebook and Twitter.

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TURN IT UP TUESDAY: GRAMMY Winners + What’s New In Stores This Week (January 28)

text

Play that Punky music.

Music’s Biggest Night gave us some amazing performances and some huge winners racking up the Awards, but let’s not forget, we do have a few albums and singles keeping things fresh this week. Here are all the big GRAMMY surges and new releases you need to know about for January 28:

  • ALBUM / RECORD OF THE YEAR: Daft Punk took home five statutes last night, the most of any act there. Two were for the #2 hit “Get Lucky” (iTunes), featuring Pharrell Williams, including Record Of The Year, while parent album Random Access Memories (iTunes) accumulated the other three, including Album Of The Year.
  • SONG OF THE YEAR: 17-year-old Lorde beat out a lot of musical heavyweights for this year’s Song Of The Year, “Royals” (iTunes). The multi-format #1 song was also a winner for Best Solo Pop Performance and comes from album Pure Heroine (iTunes).
  • BEST NEW ARTIST: In addition to their win in the Big Four, duo Macklemore & Ryan Lewis also took three out of the four Rap categories, including Rap Performance and Song for “Thrift Shop” (iTunes), featuring Wanz, and Best Rap Album for The Heist (iTunes). They’ll certainly be able to buy some more new threads soon.
  • Other records reacting well to last night’s show include: Beyoncé‘s self-titled effort (iTunes), Bruno Mars‘s Unorthodox Jukebox (iTunes), Imagine Dragons‘s Night Visions (iTunes) and Kacey Musgraves‘s Same Trailer Different Park (iTunes). Of course, you can also download the 2014 GRAMMY Nominees album (iTunes), featuring a nice selection of songs from all different genres.
  • Of this week’s selections, you can check out Casting Crowns‘s Thrive (iTunes), Dave Barnes‘s Golden Days (iTunes), David Crosby‘s Croz (iTunes), Of Mice And Men‘s Restoring Force (iTunes), Red Dragon Cartel‘s self-titled album (iTunes) and Smith & Myers (from Shinedown)’s Acoustic Sessions (EP) (iTunes).

New digital-only singles that you can buy this week include:

  • “Find You”, a collaboration between Zedd and vocalists Matthew Koma and Miriam Bryant. (iTunes)
  • “Girls”, a new single from Jennifer Lopez. (iTunes)
  • “Into The Blue”, the first single from Kylie Minogue‘s forthcoming album. (iTunes)
  • “Invisible”, the first single from Hunter Hayes‘s forthcoming album. (iTunes)
  • “I Want It All”, the latest from swag pop duo Karmin. (iTunes)
  • “MMM Yeah”, a new track from teen singer Austin Mahone and rapper Pitbull. (iTunes)
  • “Radioactive”, a big hit from Imagine Dragons in a new remix with Kendrick Lamar following their GRAMMY performance. (iTunes)

Next week, we’ll look at new albums from Toni Braxton & Babyface, Broken Bells, Eric Paslay and more. See you in seven!

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GRAMMY WEEK: Adam Picks The Winners for The Big Four

Gram bam, thank you, ma'am.

Gram bam, thank you, ma’am.

It’s finally here… the week before the 56th Annual GRAMMY Awards, airing on Sunday, January 26 at 8PM Eastern on CBS. This week on POP! Goes The Charts, we’ll be taking a look at nearly half the categories on the list and laying out who I think will taking home a prize or two or five (maybe!) on the big day.

As you may remember, I did my predictions for who was going to be nominated for the Big Four way back in October. As it turns out, I wasn’t 100% right, not that I was expecting to be. (For the record, I wasn’t 100% wrong either.) So, for the final GRAMMY Week post, let’s deal with the actual nominations and see who I think will be taking home the night’s top prizes at the big show!

(For a full list of nominations, check it out on GRAMMY.com along with more interactive features. You can also order the 2014 GRAMMY Nominees album, from Atlantic Records.)

1. RECORD OF THE YEAR

“Get Lucky”, Daft Punk featuring Pharrell Williams & Nile Rodgers
Thomas Bangalter & Guy-Manuel De Homem-Christo, producers; Peter Franco, Mick Guzauski, Florian Lagatta & Daniel Lerner, engineers/mixers; Antoine “Chab” Chabert & Bob Ludwig, mastering engineers (***ACTUAL WINNER***)

“Radioactive”, Imagine Dragons
Alex Da Kid, producer; Manny Marroquin & Josh Mosser, engineers/mixers; Joe LaPorta, mastering engineer

“Royals”, Lorde
Joel Little, producer; Joel Little, engineer/mixer; Stuart Hawkes, mastering engineer

“Locked Out Of Heaven”, Bruno Mars
Jeff Bhasker, Emile Haynie, Mark Ronson & The Smeezingtons, producers; Alalal, Josh Blair, Wayne Gordon, Ari Levine, Manny Marroquin & Mark Ronson, engineers/mixers; David Kutch, mastering engineer

“Blurred Lines”, Robin Thicke featuring T.I. & Pharrell
Pharrell, producer; Andrew Coleman & Tony Maserati, engineers/mixers; Chris Gehringer, mastering engineer

PREDICTION: I think the general consensus is that “Blurred Lines” has the best shot of winning this category. It was the biggest song of last year and gave Robin Thicke his biggest hit ever on the charts. However, I’m more inclined to think that “Get Lucky” is going to take this category and give Daft Punk, Pharrell Williams and Nile Rodgers a big thrill. It was a slick and catchy summer hit and makes the French duo and American producer/singer my big winners of the night.

2. ALBUM OF THE YEAR

The Blessed Unrest, Sara Bareilles
Sara Bareilles, Mark Endert & John O’Mahony, producers; Jeremy Darby, Mark Endert & John O’Mahony, engineers/mixers; Greg Calbi, mastering engineer

Random Access Memories, Daft Punk
Julian Casablancas, DJ Falcon, Todd Edwards, Chilly Gonzales, Giorgio Moroder, Panda Bear, Nile Rodgers, Paul Williams & Pharrell Williams, featured artists; Thomas Bangalter, Julian Casablancas, Guy-Manuel De Homem-Christo, DJ Falcon & Todd Edwards, producers; Peter Franco, Mick Guzauski, Florian Lagatta, Guillaume Le Braz & Daniel Lerner, engineers/mixers; Antoine “Chab” Chabert & Bob Ludwig, mastering engineers (***ACTUAL WINNER***)

Good Kid, M.A.A.D CityKendrick Lamar
Mary J. Blige, Dr. Dre, Drake, Jay Rock, Jay Z, MC Eiht & Anna Wise, featured artists; DJ Dahi, Hit-Boy, Skhye Hutch, Just Blaze, Like, Terrace Martin, Dawaun Parker, Pharrell, Rahki, Scoop DeVille, Sounwave, Jack Splash, Tabu, Tha Bizness, THC & T-Minus, producers; Derek Ali, Dee Brown, Andrew Coleman, Dr. Dre, James Hunt, Mauricio ‘Veto”” Iragorri, Mike Larson, Jared Scott, Jack Splash & Andrew Wright, engineers/mixers; Mike Bozzi & Brian ‘Big Bass”” Gardner, mastering engineers

The HeistMacklemore & Ryan Lewis
Ab-Soul, Ben Bridwell, Ray Dalton, Eighty4 Fly, Hollis, Mary Lambert, Baffalo Madonna, Evan Roman, Schoolboy Q, Allen Stone, The Teaching & Wanz, featured artists; Ryan Lewis, producer; Ben Haggerty, Ryan Lewis, Amos Miller, Reed Ruddy & Pete Stewart, engineers/mixers; Tom Coyne & Brian Gardner, mastering engineers

Red, Taylor Swift
Gary Lightbody & Ed Sheeran, featured artists; Jeff Bhasker, Nathan Chapman, Dann Huff, Jacknife Lee, Max Martin, Shellback, Taylor Swift, Butch Walker & Dan Wilson, producers; Joe Baldridge, Sam Bell, Matt Bishop, Chad Carlson, Nathan Chapman, Serban Ghenea, John Hanes, Sam Holland, Michael Ilbert, Tyler Johnson, Jacknife Lee, Steve Marcantonio, Manny Marroquin, Justin Niebank, John Rausch, Eric Robinson, Pawel Sek, Jake Sinclair, Mark “”Spike”” Stent & Andy Thompson, engineers/mixers; Tom Coyne & Hank Williams, mastering engineers

PREDICTION: Macklemore & Ryan Lewis’s name has been tossed around a bit for the win here, but I’m not sure if the whole effort appeals to the committee. (I do think Best New Artist is theirs, however.) The most successful both on the Billboard 200 and on my own personal chart is Taylor Swift‘s Red, which I’m pegging as the winner. She may have won four years ago for Fearless, but she’s certainly grown since then, and scored major pop and country hits from this album.

3. SONG OF THE YEAR

“Just Give Me A Reason”, Pink featuring Nate Ruess
Jeff Bhasker, Pink & Nate Ruess, songwriters

“Locked Out Of Heaven”, Bruno Mars
Philip Lawrence, Ari Levine & Bruno Mars, songwriters

“Roar”, Katy Perry
Lukasz Gottwald, Max Martin, Bonnie McKee, Katy Perry & Henry Walter, songwriters

“Royals”, Lorde
Joel Little & Ella Yelich O’Connor, songwriters (***ACTUAL WINNER***)

“Same Love”, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis featuring Mary Lambert
Ben Haggerty, Mary Lambert & Ryan Lewis, songwriters

PREDICTION: Much like the huge Gotye and Kimbra duet of last year’s ceremony, “Somebody That I Used To Know”, Pink and Nate Ruess seems like a strong enough team to pull off double duty at this year’s show with Song of the Year, as well as Best Pop Duo/Group Performance for “Just Give Me A Reason”. Bruno Mars and Lorde will certainly stand their ground against the beautiful ballad, but “Reason” is such a timeless record that it will sway a lot of voters to get on its side.

4. BEST NEW ARTIST

James Blake (Day In The Life)
Kendrick Lamar (Day In The Life)
Macklemore & Ryan Lewis (DITL video not available) (***ACTUAL WINNER***)
Kacey Musgraves (Day In The Life)
Ed Sheeran (Day In The Life)

PREDICTION: This year’s pack, as many people have stated, is out of whack; what can you do? Of the five, the easiest choice for me is Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, who have four solid hits now and will likely produce a big second album. Ed Sheeran will too, but he would’ve made sense as a winner last year. Kacey Musgraves and Kendrick Lamar likely don’t stand a chance; however, James Blake could always be the Esperanza Spalding of this year. You never know!
_____

Watch to see how I did with my picks on Sunday night when the GRAMMY Awards air! Until then, follow the blog below and find us on social media by click the “Get Social!” tab.

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GRAMMY WEEK: Adam Picks The Winners for R&B/Rap Fields

Gram bam, thank you, ma'am.

Gram bam, thank you, ma’am.

It’s finally here… the week before the 56th Annual GRAMMY Awards, airing on Sunday, January 26 at 8PM Eastern on CBS. This week on POP! Goes The Charts, we’ll be taking a look at nearly half the categories on the list and laying out who I think will taking home a prize or two or five (maybe!) on the big day. Today, we continue with the fields for R&B and Rap music.

(For a full list of nominations, check it out on GRAMMY.com along with more interactive features. You can also order the 2014 GRAMMY Nominees album, from Atlantic Records.)

17. Best R&B Performance

“Love And War”, Tamar Braxton
“Best Of Me”, Anthony Hamilton
“Nakamarra”, Hiatus Kaiyote featuring Q-Tip
“How Many Drinks?”, Miguel featuring Kendrick Lamar
“Something”, Snarky Puppy with Lalah Hathaway (***ACTUAL WINNER***)

PREDICTION: Many of the winners in this category are generally successful on the R&B survey, and with a former top 5 hit on the Urban airwaves as well as a #2 album, singer Tamar Braxton stands out with her single “Love And War”. It is one smooth track.

18. Best Traditional R&B Performance

“Please Come Home”, Gary Clark, Jr. (***ACTUAL WINNER***)
“Get It Right”, Fantasia
“Quiet Fire”, Maysa
“Hey Laura”, Gregory Porter
“Yesterday”, Ryan Shaw

PREDICTION: A few of these acts really don’t have a lot of coverage out on social media. Fantasia, a prior nominee in this category, has a good shot, but if he isn’t a winner in Best Rock Song, I think Gary Clark, Jr. may take this one with “Please Come Home”.

19. Best R&B Song

“Best Of Me”
Performed by: Anthony Hamilton
Written by: Hamilton & Jairus Mozee

“Love And War”
Performed by: Tamar Braxton
Written by: Braxton, Darhyl Camper, Jr., LaShawn Daniels & Makeba Riddick

“Only One”
Performed by: PJ Morton featuring Stevie Wonder
Written by: Morton

“Pusher Love Girl”
Performed by: Justin Timberlake
Written by: James Fauntleroy, Jerome Harmon, Timothy Mosley & Timberlake (***ACTUAL WINNER***)

“Without Me”
Performed by: Fantasia featuring Kelly Rowland & Missy Elliott
Written by: Barrino, Elliott, Al Sherrod Lambert, Harmony Samuels & Kyle Stewart

PREDICTION: Even though he was shut out of the Big Four, a huge shock to many, Justin Timberlake‘s “Pusher Love Girl” was a fan favorite from his album. Hard to believe it didn’t even get an Urban AC servicing. I think it will pull off the trick here.

20. Best Urban Contemporary Album

Love And War, Tamar Braxton
Side Effects Of You, Fantasia
One: In The Chamber, Salaam Remi
Unapologetic, Rihanna (***ACTUAL WINNER***)
New York: A Love Story, Mack Wilds

PREDICTION: This category is probably going to end up being won by a female; I was initially going to pick Rihanna for the win, but I think this is Tamar Braxton‘s year to shine at The GRAMMY’s. Otherwise, this may be some bull you know what.com.

21. Best R&B Album

R&B Divas, Faith Evans
Girl On Fire, Alicia Keys (***ACTUAL WINNER***)
Love In The Future, John Legend
BetterChrisette Michele
Three Kings, TGT

PREDICTION: Both Keys and Legend are prior winners here, so the choice is ultimately between them. However, this is the only award that John Legend is up for and he’s singing “All Of Me” on the show, so be prepared for him to walk away with this one.

22. Best Rap Performance

“Started From The Bottom”Drake
“Berzerk”, Eminem
“Tom Ford”Jay Z
“Swimming Pools (Drank)”Kendrick Lamar
“Thrift Shop”Macklemore & Ryan Lewis featuring Wanz (***ACTUAL WINNER***)

PREDICTION: Heavy hitters are a-plenty here, a few of whom could win in bigger categories. However, given the rock field and all the older acts there, the Billy Squier sample and Rick Rubin production on “Berzerk” by Eminem could help secure a win.

23. Best Rap/Sung Collaboration

“Power Trip”J. Cole featuring Miguel
“Part II (On The Run)”Jay Z featuring Beyoncé
“Holy Grail”, Jay Z featuring Justin Timberlake (***ACTUAL WINNER***)
“Now Or Never”Kendrick Lamar featuring Mary J. Blige
“Remember You”Wiz Khalifa featuring The Weeknd

PREDICTION: I’m convinced that one of the Jay Z collaborations is going to win here — question is, which one? “Holy Grail” was the hit, but “Part II (On The Run)” packs some marriage power and a potential performance. However, I’m going with “Grail”.

24. Best Rap Song

“F***in’ Problems”
Performed by: A$AP Rocky featuring Drake, 2 Chainz & Kendrick Lamar
Written by: Tauheed Epps, Graham, Lamar, Rakim Mayers & Noah Shebib

“Holy Grail”
Performed by: Jay Z featuring Justin Timberlake
Written by: Carter, Terius Nash, J. Harmon, Timothy Mosley, Timberlake & Ernest Wilson (sample: “Smells Like Teen Spirit”, Nirvana – Kurt Cobain, Dave Grohl & Krist Novoselic)

“New Slaves”
Performed by: Kanye West
Written by: Christopher Breaux, Ben Bronfman, Mike Dean, Noah Goldstein, Louis Johnson, Malik Jones, Sham Joseph, Elon Rutberg, Sakiya Sandifer, Travis Scott, Che Smith, West & Cydel Young, songwriters (Anna Adamis & Gabor Presser, songwriters)

“Started From The Bottom”
Performed by: Drake
Written by: W. Coleman, Graham & Noah Shebib

“Thrift Shop”
Performed by: Macklemore & Ryan Lewis featuring Wanz
Written by: Haggerty & Lewis (***ACTUAL WINNER***)

PREDICTION: Since 2010, either Jay Z or Kanye West have won this particular award, both separately and together. Once again, they’re competing against each other. Yet, this category usually goes to a hit song, so “Holy Grail” is your best best for the win.

25. Best Rap Album

Nothing Was The Same, Drake
Magna Carta… Holy GrailJay Z
Good Kid, M.A.A.D CityKendrick Lamar
The HeistMacklemore & Ryan Lewis (***ACTUAL WINNER***)
YeezusKanye West

PREDICTION: Best Rap Album hasn’t gone to a newcomer in some time, and it generally goes to an act with a large first-week, which should pit Drake vs. Jay Z. The Canadian rapper won last year for Take Care; I’m guessing that a repeat is in the cards.
_____

Check back tomorrow to see what I’m thinking for the Dance and Pop categories! Until then, follow the blog below and find us on social media by click the “Get Social!” tab.

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GRAMMY WATCH: Nominations As They’re Announced (Complete)

A grand slammy for a GRAMMY or two.

A grand slammy for a GRAMMY or two.

Excited for this year’s GRAMMY Awards? I am as well, but we’ll have to wait until January 26 to find out the winners of this year’s prizes. Tonight, however, is all about the nominations in a one-hour program airing on CBS at 10PM Eastern. The special, The GRAMMY Nominations Concert Live!! — Countdown To Music’s Biggest Night, will feature the unveiling of the nods in several categories, with a full update online sometime after the broadcast. Performances are due from Lorde, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, Robin Thicke, Taylor Swift and more. So, stay tuned to my blog as the nominations come in… and see how I did at predicting the Big Four categories.

View the full nominations at GRAMMY.com.

LIVE BLOG — CURRENTLY UPDATING

(10:00 PM) PERFORMANCE – Macklemore & Ryan Lewis and Wanz are currently performing “Thrift Shop”.

(10:05 PM) LL Cool J is handling the nominees for Song Of The Year…

SONG OF THE YEAR
Bruno Mars, “Locked Out Of Heaven”
Katy Perry, “Roar”
Lorde, “Royals”
Macklemore & Ryan Lewis featuring Mary Lambert, “Same Love”
Pink featuring Nate Ruess, “Just Give Me A Reason”

I predicted:
Bruno Mars, “When I Was Your Man”
Daft Punk featuring Pharrell Williams, “Get Lucky”
Justin Timberlake, “Mirrors”
Katy Perry, “Roar”
Robin Thicke featuring Pharrell Williams and T.I., “Blurred Lines”
The Civil Wars, “The One That Got Away”

(10:08 PM) PERFORMANCE – Taylor Swift is currently performing “I Knew You Were Trouble” from Australia.

(10:15 PM) PERFORMANCE – Keith Urban and Miguel are currently duetting on a cover of Bill Withers‘s “Ain’t No Sunshine”.

(10:18 PM) Ed Sheeran is handling the next set of nominees…

BEST POP DUO/GROUP PERFORMANCE
Daft Punk featuring Pharrell Williams, “Get Lucky”
Justin Timberlake featuring JAY Z, “Suit & Tie”
Rihanna featuring Mikky Ekko, “Stay”
Robin Thicke featuring Pharrell Williams and T.I., “Blurred Lines”
Pink featuring Nate Ruess, “Just Give Me A Reason”

(10:23 PM) Enrique Iglesias is presenting the nominees for Album Of The Year…

ALBUM OF THE YEAR
Daft Punk, Random Access Memories
Kendrick Lamar, Good Kid, m.a.a.d City
Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, The Heist
Sara Bareilles, The Blessed Unrest
Taylor Swift, Red

I predicted:
Bruno Mars, Unorthodox Jukebox
Daft Punk, Random Access Memories
Justin Timberlake, The 20/20 Experience: The Complete Experience
Taylor Swift, Red
The Civil Wars, The Civil Wars

(10:26) PERFORMANCE – Katy Perry is currently performing “Roar”.

(10:35) PERFORMANCE – Lorde is currently performing “Royals”.

(10:40) Kelly Rowland is presenting the nominees next…

BEST COUNTRY ALBUM
Blake Shelton, Based On A True Story…
Jason Aldean, Night Train
Kacey Musgraves, Same Trailer, Different Park
Taylor Swift, Red
Tim McGraw, Two Lanes Of Freedom

(10:48) Arsenio Hall is presenting for Best New Artist…

BEST NEW ARTIST
Ed Sheeran
James Blake
Kacey Musgraves
Kendrick Lamar
Macklemore & Ryan Lewis

I predicted:
Emeli Sandé
Imagine Dragons
Kendrick Lamar
Lorde
Macklemore & Ryan Lewis

(10:53) Melissa Etheridge is handling the nominees for Record Of The Year…

RECORD OF THE YEAR
Bruno Mars, “Locked Out Of Heaven”
Daft Punk featuring Pharrell Williams, “Get Lucky”
Imagine Dragons, “Radioactive”
Lorde, “Royals”
Robin Thicke featuring Pharrell Williams and T.I., “Blurred Lines”

I predicted:
Bruno Mars, “When I Was Your Man”
Lorde, “Royals”
Macklemore & Ryan Lewis featuring Mary Lambert, “Same Love”
Passenger, “Let Her Go”
Pink featuring Nate Ruess, “Just Give Me A Reason”

(10:55) Robin Thicke, T.I. and Earth, Wind and Fire end the show with a performance of “Blurred Lines”.

View the full nominations at GRAMMY.com.

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Playing For “Keeps”: Mary Lambert Gives Us Some Extra Love

Not that "Same" old song.

Not that “Same” song.

You’ve heard her voice on the radio for several months now singing the hook of a hit that’s been making a lot of waves because of its strong lyrical content. However, you may not know a lot about the singer herself. She’s 24-year-old Mary Lambert, based out of Seattle, Washington. She’s a spoken word poet, a gay rights activist and now, an unexpected top 40 artist. Lambert is featured on the Macklemore & Ryan Lewis anthem, “Same Love”, with the duo also being from the same region. Now, she’s trying to make it on her own with a song that builds off of that pivotal part of the song. In fact, it reminds me a lot of a similar scenario that happened over a decade ago that also involved a hard-hitting rap single and a more calming followup. Can Lambert go solo nationally now that she’s been exposed to a much wider audience? I think it’s possible, but first, let’s get to know Mrs. Lambert a little more.

Lambert lived a hard life as a child, subjected to abuse and depression. Between moving towns and religious experiences, it was a lot for such a young person. She seemed to find her way in her teens, graduating with a B.A. in Music and Composition in 2011, as well as finding a partner in her girlfriend Rachel. Through that time, she entered in a number of spoken word competitions, gaining acclaim through stops at the Brave New Voices International Poetry Competition in 2008 and Seattle’s Grand Slam Poetry Competition in 2011, which she won. It led her to create a book of poetry. Yet, music was her true calling, and it was about to come back to her in a big way.

Last year, Lambert channeled her energy into releasing an independent EP called Letters Don’t Talk in August. Though it gained some praise, it went largely under the radar beyond the local Seattle scene. None of the songs managed high chart peaks, nor did the EP. However, it was around the same time that Macklemore & Ryan Lewis approached her to be on “Same”, which at the time was only going to be issued on vinyl in the local area in response to a ballot question on same-sex marriage in Washington state. After a national appearance on The Ellen DeGeneres Show and an approval of the matter, the duo were thrust into the pop world, and now the lovely Lambert can join them as well.

Issued last week, “She Keeps Me Warm” was self-released by Lambert, a more stripped-down and full version of her part on the rap single which continues to dominate. She seems to strike all the right chords, merging a tender vocal with a dramatic but also understated arrangement. It’s halfway between a pop song and a more folksy tune, similar to other singer-songwriters like Grace Potter or Missy Higgins. The song gives an even more special meaning to the words she contributed to “Same”, a personal journey about she and her girlfriend and the way they connected together. She sings, “She says I smell like safety and home/I named both of her eyes ‘forever’ and ‘please don’t go’ … this could be good.” There’s a sweet giggle to her voice and a great big smile across her face as she recounts the memories of how they came to be. It’s pretty magical and very inspiring to those who are taking on a similar relationship or feel limited by what marriage is dictated as in their region. There’s a promise and a hope that one day there will be a nationwide resolution to the issue. Until then, the good fight goes on.

The timing of the new single takes me back to 2000, when Eminem released the angry single “Stan”, which sampled “Thank You” by Dido in its chorus. It essentially gave an unknown a shot and propelled the British singer up to the top of the charts with a song that was already out on its own for almost two years at that point. “Thank” even managed to out-peak “Stan” on most of the pop surveys. While this current situation between Macklemore & Ryan Lewis and Mary Lambert isn’t exactly the same, with Lambert’s song coming afterwards, you get the gist of what I’m talking about. If “Same Love” can win over both radio and retail (and maybe even the GRAMMY Awards), perhaps Lambert will find herself signed to a major label in the hopes of spreading her sound around the world. It’s only fitting.

With a hook and a jab, “She Keeps Me Warm” delivers on that pop punch, and won’t leave Mary Lambert out in the cold this time around.

Buy “She Keeps Me Warm” on iTunes.

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Ever The “Same”: A Six-Pack Of Similar Singles

Damn right, he supports it.

Loving his new hit.

This should be nothing new to you, but Macklemore & Ryan Lewis are having a banner year on the American charts. Their third single to break the top 40, the same-sex marriage anthem “Same Love” (featuring Mary Lambert), recently went top ten on iTunes and top 20 on the Billboard Hot 100 thanks to the Supreme Court rulings on the Defense Of Marriage Act and California’s Prop 8, both of which are no more. It’s already done a lot given the subject matter of the song, but should it break the top ten, it’ll be the sixth title in the chart’s history to name the “same” word. They may be alike, but I like them all:

“It’s The Same Old Song”, The Four Tops (#5, 1965)
Originally from Detroit, the group led by the late vocalist Levi Stubbs joined Motown Records in 1963 and enjoyed a number of hits with the label through the early 70’s, this being one of their biggest of the decade, save for #1 singles like “I Can’t Help Myself (Sugar Pie, Honey Bunch)” and “Reach Out I’ll Be There”. After a few changes in the record companies, the group last charted in 1988 with the minor top 40 single “Indestructible”. That title may also describe how the group is today: still together, albeit with a different lineup than before. A version of “Song” by K.C. and the Sunshine Band climbed to #35 in 1978.

“Sunday Will Never Be The Same”, Spanky & Our Gang (#9, 1967)
When you were younger, you might have been a fan of The Little Rascals, a troop of kids known for their short films as Our Gang between the the 1920’s and the 1940’s. It also provided the inspiration for this folk group’s name. The song about a girl meeting a boy on Sunday morning in the park, then returning to find he’s gone (hence, it’ll “never be the same”) was a summer hit for the band. After “Sunday”, the group charted with four other top 40 singles, but none made the top ten. After the death of lead guitarist Malcolm Hale in the fall of 1968, the band released one last unsuccessful album before going their separate ways.

“Still The Same”, Bob Seger & The Silver Bullet Band (#4, 1978)
They’re a staple on classic rock radio in the U.S., and between the Bob Seger System, his solo career and his most successful act, Seger’s made a Billboard chart for six consecutive decades, four on the Hot 100. This was the leadoff single from the band’s second album, Stranger In Town. At the time, “Still” marked the highest peak that the band achieved on the big survey along with “Night Moves”, but that would be surpassed by their 1983 single, “Shame On The Moon” (#2), and a solo Seger release that went to #1, 1987’s “Shakedown”. He recently performed “Turn The Page” with The Swon Brothers on NBC’s The Voice.

“Same Old Lang Syne”, Dan Fogelberg (#9, 1981)
Singer-songwriter Fogelberg tapped into the sounds of soft rock in the 1980’s, soaring into the top ten with 1980’s “Longer” and this single the year after it. As the autobiographical story-song goes, he and an old flame unexpectedly reunite in a grocery store, share a few moments together in the car as the drink away a few bottles, and then depart to the narrator’s dismay. Largely seen as a Christmas song today, you’re unlikely to hear it on the radio outside of the months of November and December despite the fact that it actually peaked in mid-February. However, it still remains one of the late performer’s most popular songs.

“Stay The Same”, Joey McIntyre (#10, 1999)
Step by step, he got to those girls. As a member of New Kids On The Block, he grew up in the public eye, scoring several #1 songs with the band and the support of millions of screaming fans. Outside of singing lead on several of their hits, this was McIntyre’s only major solo smash, going to #10 on the Hot 100 thanks to strong physical sales. A followup release, “I Love You Came Too Late”, only went to #54 nationally. Today, he’s back together with his band mates on The Package Tour with 98 Degrees and Boyz II Men. He was also recently in a minor role in the film The Heat, starring Melissa McCarthy and Sandra Bullock.

For more of the “same” (and a lot of articles that are different), follow the blog below and find me on Twitter: @AdamFSoybel.

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Entertainers And Equality: Can Radio Love “Love” For All?

Damn right, he supports it.

Damn right, he supports it.

The times, they are a-changin’. Late last week, Governor Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island signed a piece of legislation which allows same-sex marriage in the state beginning in August, making it now the tenth state on a growing list of those that allow it, including the rest of New England, Iowa, New York, Washington and the District of Columbia. There are thousands of people that are thrilled with the decision, but there are always those who take the opposite stance on a hot-button issue like this. Fact is, the number of people who want marriage equality in the U.S. as a whole is verging on 60% at this point, and that number will continue to keep growing as well as the number of states that allow it.

Now, why do I bring this up? Well, there always has to be some musical twist to this. Today, it’s politically-charged songs. Sometimes they work, sometimes they don’t. Some are done really well and work directly with the issues, while others fall apart and remain vague and show little connection to the topic. There are several songs being worked as this point that deal with the subject of  same-sex marriage equality, homosexuality and other LGBTQ issues, which entertains a certain audience, but may also irk many depending on a number of factors: religious stance, age, etc. It’s a touchy subject. It’s not discussed in many songs that become singles for that reason alone. Yet, the times are changing, and radio can lead the way in this charge or stand aside and repress these statements. So, can these songs garner airplay in a world of national playlists rather than localized programming? Will entire radio groups prevent these from becoming popular? You be the judge.

MACKLEMORE & RYAN LEWIS featuring MARY LAMBERT, “Same Love”
“Same Love” was originally written last year by Ben Haggerty, a.k.a. Macklemore, in support of legalizing same-sex marriage in Washington state, which was passed and enacted last December. Lyrically, the song is pretty blunt, with lines calling out “the right-wing conservatives”, who “think it’s a decision/And you can be cured with some treatment and religion.” He also dedicates a verse to talking about masking ourselves behind technology which encourages bullying: “Have you read the YouTube comments lately?/”Man that’s gay” gets dropped on the daily/We’ve become so numb to what we’re sayin’.” Pretty powerful stuff, but played to the wrong ears and you’re bound to hear some pretty hateful stuff back. “Love” hasn’t officially been serviced to radio here., as “Can’t Hold Us” is still dominating at several formats. However, it has been slowly climbing up the Alternative survey on unsolicited airplay for a little over a month and is hovering just inside the top 30. It’s also been added by four stations at CHR radio: three CBS-owned outlets in Boston, Los Angeles and San Francisco and the fourth, a Clear Channel station also in Los Angeles. Thus far, only the Boston and San Francisco stations have actually begun spinning it. “Love” has already gone to #1 in Australia and New Zealand, but when it comes to the United States, the opposition to the issue will likely only make this song a mid-charter at best. I should note that you don’t see many midwestern and zero southern markets playing the song thus far. Sales of the song is a whole other beast, which are going to be consistent regardless of whether or not the song becomes a hit. The discussion’s going to continue for months to come, but this is one song that can’t be ignored. The content of it is too bold to just sit there.

SARA BAREILLES, “Brave”
Bareilles is starting off her third album The Blessed Unrest on a positive note with this tune, which employs whoever the song is directed to to “say what you wanna say/And the let the words fall out.” The subject seems to be imprisoned by the society at large (“Bow down to the mighty”) but the singer urges him or her to find “a way out of the cage where you live/Maybe one of these days you can let the light in.” Now, without any prior context, the song just sounds like her appeal to anybody who has a problem to be strong enough to admit something needs to be said. However, as Bareilles states in a video blog, the song was written for a friend who was having trouble coming out. Co-writer Jack Antonoff, one-third of the band of fun., told the Huffington Post that the song is “a civil rights anthem in a time when there are no civil rights anthems and there’s a giant need for [one].” So, if you didn’t know, now you do know. The message hasn’t seemed to affected its run thus far; it sold 76,000 copies digitally in its first week and is just about to enter the top 40 on Hot Adult Contemporary radio, one of her core formats. However, you could make the case that the fact that it’s no longer top 100 on iTunes and only posting moderate radio gains does mean that there is a hesitation to play the song. I honestly don’t know. It’s relatively harmless, but someone’s going to take issue with it. We’ll see what happens.

JILLETTE JOHNSON, “Cameron”
This is probably not going to get a lot of recognition, but Johnson’s song deals with a very interesting topic that isn’t addressed a lot of songs and for that reason alone, I’m hoping it gets picked up in a big way. She begins, “Cameron’s in drag, makes his father mad/Since he was a little boy, he always felt more comfortable in lipstick,” proceeding into the lines that deal with how the little boy is teased and beaten up by “aliens” for being different. This one just tugs at your heartstrings considering how young of a person we’re talking about. Why should he, so innocent, find himself denied for just being his usual self? “Cameron” is the second single from Johnson, who recently opened for Kris Allen on tour. Her first release, “Torpedo”, failed to get any significant airplay when it went for adds on the Hot Adult Contemporary format a few months ago. This, at least, has a little curiosity behind it and is effective in its final product. It goes to radio at the AAA format in two weeks on Wind-Up Records. I would watch this one carefully because if it gets the right placement, it could be huge, and probably stir a lot of family talk at the same time. There are plenty of children out there in Cameron’s position, unfortunately; it may give them a voice when one may be hard to find.

KACEY MUSGRAVES, “Follow Your Arrow”
Now, this one hasn’t been issued as a single and it may not be because this song involves the über-conservative Country radio format. Musgraves is known for speaking her mind when it comes to music, and her honest and in-your-face material probably doesn’t this particular case. However, if you know her stuff, then you know this is an excellent song that also does an excellent job at not being politically correct. As she states, “If you save yourself for marriage, you’re a bore/If you don’t save yourself for a marriage, you’re a whore-ible person.” She also tells her listeners to “make lots of noise, kiss lots of boys/or kiss lots of girls, if that’s something you’re into.” Musgraves appeals to a younger audience, which is where the format is heading, but still, there was a lot of talk over the track at some recent Country radio seminars. Her label ultimately chose “Blowin’ Smoke” as her second single, but there’s always a chance that this could be considered again. An adult audience would probably shudder at the idea of hearing this on the radio and having their children exposed to such content. Others would probably commend her for not being afraid to speak her mind. It still remains a popular album track.

We still have a ways to go when it comes to acceptance and equality in our nation, but we’re making big steps towards progress. This is just another of them. It should be our responsibility to keep an open mind when it comes to these kinds of subjects. Whether we agree or disagree, we should be able to speak our minds without being attacked for feeling a particular way. So, tell me: are you comfortable with hearing these kinds of lyrics on the air? Are you a radio programmer who feels one way or the other when it comes to songs like these? Can you like a song without supporting the big issue behind it? Let me know. Comment below or find on Twitter: @AdamFSoybel.

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