Tag Archives: Martin Johnson

Adam’s Top 100 of 2014: #01 – Christina Perri, “Human”

The cream of the pop!

The cream of the pop for 2014.

Another year is in the books and it’s time for the annual listing of the 100 biggest songs that ranked among my weekly top 40 chart from December 2013 to November 2014. It was magical year full of MAGIC! and “Magic” and a lovely twelve months of lovable hits from James Blunt and The Fray. We went “home” with A Great Big World and Andy Grammer, spun around in a “dance” with Milky Chance and Walk The Moon and ended up here with all that was awesome in the year we called 2014.

Peak positions listed are as of the last chart included in the year dated November 30, 2014. Those entries marked with a plus sign (+) had not yet reached their peak position as of the date. Ties in points were broken based on peak, number of weeks at peak and number of weeks in the top 40.

It was a Perri good year indeed.

It was a Perri good year indeed.

001. CHRISTINA PERRI, “Human” (911 points)
Writers: Christina Perri, Martin Johnson / Producer: Johnson
Label: Atlantic

Debut Date: November 24, 2013
Peak Date: January 19 to February 23, 2014
Peak: #1 for six weeks
Weeks on Chart: 36 (35 in 2014 Chart Year)

It was November 15 of last year in the late afternoon. I was loading some music files at the office when I noticed a tweet from SiriusXM’s The Pulse stating that this song was about to premiere. At that point, I was caught off-guard because the song was supposed to premiere and go on sale on Monday, and so I ran down to my car to see if I could hear it. Unfortunately, it ended before I was able to turn the dial. I knew I needed to find the song before it was officially out on the internet.

Two days later, that opportunity came when I was driving on the other side of the city I live in and, what do you know, on the air comes “Human” in all its glory. I remember feverishly trying to record it on my iPhone so that I could play it until it could be purchased the next day. It was beautiful. There was such an honesty to the lyric about the vulnerabilities of life and trying to fit a role that sometimes isn’t meant to be. It’s the insatiable thirst for perfection, yet the realization that flaws are a part of what make us who we are. Deep stuff, but I fell right into it, and I enjoyed the fall. I like songs that make you think. There are a few others like that on her gorgeous second album, Head Or Heart. Jake Gosling and Jamie Scott, among others, did a great job in the process as well.

“Human” officially entered the top 40 during the week of November 24 of last year at #38. During that period, Perri’s record was in direct competition with another solo female’s leadoff single, “Hold On” by Colbie Caillat. As we would later conclude in the spring, holding onto the chart wasn’t Caillat’s strong suit and the song created such little buzz that it fell off and couldn’t even land a spot on her album, Gypsy Heart. Meanwhile, Perri’s slow burner of a single made its way to the top 40 on the Hot 100 and earned a Platinum certification. On my chart, it held the #1 spot for six weeks in January and February, then took its time going down the top 40 to the tune of 36 weeks on, the longest overall run of the year. I’m very excited to crown it as my top song of 2014.

Perri is currently climbing my personal chart with the third single from her album, another ballad called “The Words”. A clip for the single should premiere in the new year. (She’s been teasing pictures with actor Colin O’Donoghue, who appears to play a role in it.) We’ll see where it shows up on 2015’s Top 100 survey. Until then, it’s a big congrats on this impressive feat. Well done, Christina, and happy holidays.

Well, that’s going to do it for the Top 100 of 2014. Thanks to everyone who has supported my blog in the past twelve months and for the two years that it’s been online. This has been an amazing year for me personally and, most importantly, proved to me that you never know who is actually looking out for you. I can’t wait to see what happens in 2015. I hope you’re ready. All my best to you and yours.

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ALBUM REVIEW: Daughtry – Baptized

They're crawling back to us.

They’re crawling back to us.

After a shocking fourth place finish on his season of American Idol, Chris Daughtry took the charts by storm with his band Daughtry, launching hit after hit and selling millions of albums both domestically and abroad. However, the Break The Spell era two years ago began to break their momentum with several underperforming singles at mainstream radio despite a successful tour. So, when an article printed in Rolling Stone recently described the band’s new material as “poppier, cleaner, lighter” and “folksy in parts,” I imagine that there were a few eyebrows raised. I would’ve been curious enough, and so, it was with that curiosity that I dived into their latest offering and fourth studio album, Baptized, a twelve-song affair that paddles into the pop world while repressing all things rock. A new wave has certainly swept over them, one that isn’t guaranteed to carry many of their longtime fans with them.

Opener “Baptized”, the title track, was co-written with Claude Kelly and takes a more prominent country direction with a banjo line straight out of Taylor Swift‘s “You Belong With Me”. The new sound actually works really well, developing into a pop-folk hybrid without the overdone foot-stomper chorus we’ve been hearing as of late. He sings, “Take me down by the water/Pull me in ’til I see the light/Let me drown in your honey/In your love, I want to be baptized.” I could see it as a future single, especially if RCA wants to keep the folk sound alive at radio. Then again, they might also opt for a more pop-sounding song.

Leadoff single “Waiting For Superman” packs that pop punch with an assist from Martin Johnson of Boys Like Girls, who co-wrote just under half the album, with the same being true of “Battleships”, a sort of spacey-sounding song that ranks among my least favorites. However, things pick up quickly again with “I’ll Fight”, one of the few songs that Daughtry fully wrote by himself on here. It’s a more guitar-driven composition that could also work as a single, with an inspirational message about being there for someone even in their darkest hour: “Any place, any time/You gotta know for you, I’ll fight.” Rolling with the punches both lyrically and musically, he does that alright.

Another standout is fifth track “Wild Heart”, which is basically the “September” of Baptized, a slower record about trying to keep the memories of the narrator’s youth alive. He pleads, “Take me back to that fire in your eyes/’Cause I know it ain’t gone too far/Take me back to you, to your wild heart.” Don’t be surprised if this ends up getting a release should the album go to three singles; I say if because declining record sales and airplay may only get it to two. We’ll have to wait and see.

“Long Live Rock And Roll” follows, a solid pop/rock song (which should honestly rock harder, it is “rock and roll”) that name-checks favorites like Billy Joel, Elton John and Journey, though it’s best to leave that kind of novelty lyric to acts like Train. From there, most of the second half of the album drags on with a pack of slick sounding tunes that have no real memorable qualities, save for something like “The World We Knew” which verges into Snow Patrol territory, or “Broken Arrows”, a stripped down ballad that sounds like it was pulled out of the abandoned 90’s lite rock bin. At least a track like “Traitor” tries to go hard with an emphasis on guitars and a more distorted vocal, but even that doesn’t compare to the band’s earlier material. Closer “18 Years” is also unremarkable, but does pick up the pace before coming to an end.

This is ultimately another polarizing album this holiday season and the label politics of it all don’t help the matter. It’s obviously a very commercial album with a ton of potential mainstream singles on it, but at what cost is it to those Daughtry fans who love the rockier side of the band? There are edgier numbers on here, but nothing to fully satisfy the Alternative fan. Then again, it’s not as though the group could score any airplay on that format or the Active Rock airwaves even if they tried – their first album marked the peak of that. (You do always have their older catalogue to sort through.) However, if you’re one of their followers and enjoy the poppy nature of their music, like on “Superman”, you’ll thoroughly enjoy this record. Not only does the band sound energized, but they have a lot of solid hooks which should do well in concert. In fact, I’ll be seeing them live when they play a promotional radio gig here in about a month’s time. They may be purified in pure pop on this release, but don’t count them out in this race; “it’s not over” for Daughtry on the charts… yet.

Listen to Baptized on VH1 First Listen. / Pre-order Baptized on iTunes.

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SINGLE PREMIERE: Avril Lavigne – “Here’s To Never Growing Up” (+ Lyrics)

"Up" up and away.

She’s “never” ever ever going to do it.

From the days of Let Go with hit singles like “Complicated” and “Sk8er Boi” to her newest release “Here’s To Never Growing Up”, Avril Lavigne has still got the pop punk princess image down. Her last album, Goodbye Lullaby, came and went quickly without the success of her first few eras, but she’s hoping to impress with this one of hers. Who knows? Maybe it’ll be the graduation anthem of this year. Lavigne’s first single from her forthcoming album due this summer was written and produced by David Hodges, a former member of Evanescence and Martin Johnson, the lead singer for the pop band Boys Like Girls. It’s now at radio and on iTunes, where you can find a link below to download. Enjoy!

DOWNLOAD “Here’s To Never Growing Up” on iTunes. / LISTEN to “Here’s To Never Growing Up”.

“HERE’S TO NEVER GROWING UP”
(Hodges/Johnson)

[Chorus – Half]
Singing Radiohead at the top of our lungs
With the boom box blaring as we’re falling in love
Got a bottle of whatever, but it’s getting us drunk
Singing “here’s to never growing up”

[Verse 1]
Call up all our friends
Go hard this weekend
For no damn reason
I don’t think we’ll ever change
Meet you at the spot
Half past 10’clock
We don’t ever stop
And we’re never gonna change

[Bridge]
Say
Won’t you stay forever
Stay
If you stay forever
Hey
We can stay forever young

[Chorus]
Singing Radiohead at the top of our lungs
With the boom box blaring as we’re falling in love
Got a bottle of whatever, but it’s getting us drunk
Singing “here’s to never growing up”
We’ll be running down the street yelling “kiss my (hey!)”
I’m like yeah, whatever, we’re still living like that
When the sun goes down, we’ll be raising our cups
Singing “here’s to never growing up”
Oh-oh (Here’s to never growing up)
Oh-oh (Here’s to never growing up)

[Verse 2]
We live like rockstars
Dance on every bar
This is who we are
I don’t think we’ll ever change
They say just grow up
But they don’t know us
We don’t give a f–k
And we’re never gonna change

[Bridge]
Say
Won’t you stay forever
Stay
If you stay forever
Hey
We can stay forever young

[Chorus]
Singing Radiohead at the top of our lungs
With the boom box blaring as we’re falling in love
Got a bottle of whatever, but it’s getting us drunk
Singing “here’s to never growing up”
We’ll be running down the street yelling “kiss my (hey!)”
I’m like yeah, whatever, we’re still living like that
When the sun goes down, we’ll be raising our cups
Singing “here’s to never growing up”
Oh-oh (Here’s to never growing up)
Oh-oh (Here’s to never growing up)

[Bridge]
Say
Won’t you stay forever
Stay
If you stay forever
Hey
We can stay forever young

[Chorus]
Singing Radiohead at the top of our lungs
With the boom box blaring as we’re falling in love
Got a bottle of whatever, but it’s getting us drunk
Singing “here’s to never growing up”
We’ll be running down the street yelling “kiss my (hey!)”
I’m like yeah, whatever, we’re still living like that
When the sun goes down, we’ll be raising our cups
Singing “here’s to never growing up”
Oh-oh (Here’s to never growing up)
Oh-oh (Here’s to never growing up) (Raise your glass and say!)
Oh-oh (Here’s to never growing up) (And we’re never growing up)
Oh-oh (Here’s to never growing up)

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