Tag Archives: new single

SINGLE PREMIERE: The Civil Wars – “The One That Got Away” (+ Lyrics)

This ain't no Teenage Dream.

This ain’t no Teenage Dream.

The duo out of Nashville who call themselves The Civil Wars were living the dream: a Gold album, GRAMMY Awards and universal praise from the critics. Then, at the end of last year, a sudden notice. The duo of John Paul White and Joy Williams was taking a hiatus, a split – they were to be no more. Yet, recently, they’ve re-emerged and are ready to carry out the promotion of their second full-length album, a self-titled effort. It will be their first for Sony Music Entertainment, and the leadoff single from the effort is a gorgeous song called “The One That Got Away”. The song goes for adds this week at Adult Album Alternative radio. It’s everything that you hoped it would be.

“The One That Got Away” may share the title of a big Katy Perry hit from early 2012, but this certainly sounds nothing like it. The single harkens back to the days of Fleetwood Mac and the essential Rumours LP, with a vocal from Williams dripping in a dark and bitter anguish. Just looking at the lyrics, it’s likely to remind us of what led the duo to their time apart and perhaps what reconnected them; flat-out love and a lot of it. The set plays on both the physical and emotional longing and regret of what romance can do. It’s hauntingly beautiful and right up there among the best material they have to offer. It’s sure to be a winner with a lot of their fans and those in the media. Look out for their album later this year. In the meantime, enjoy this first taste of the era and let me know what you think in the comments or on Twitter: @AdamFSoybel.

Listen to the premiere of “The One That Got Away” from The Civil Wars. / Download “The One That Got Away” on iTunes.

“THE ONE THAT GOT AWAY”

[Verse 1]
I never meant to get us in this deep
I never meant for this to mean a thing
Oh, I wish you were the one
Wish you were the one that got away
I got caught up by the chase
And you got high on every little bit
I wish you were the one
Wish you were the one that got away

[Chorus]
Oh, if I could go back in time
When you only held me in my mind
Just a longing gone without a trace
Oh, I wish I never ever seen your face
I wish you were the one
Wish you were the one that got away

[Verse 2]
I miss the way you wanted me
When I was staying just out of your reach
Begging for the slightest touch
Ooh, you couldn’t get enough, mmm

[Chorus]
Oh, if I could go back in time
When you only held me in my mind
Just a longing gone without a trace
Oh, I wish I never ever seen your face
I wish you were the one
Wish you were the one that got away

[Middle 8]
Got away from me (x2)
For anybody has to breathe

[Chorus]
Oh, if I could go back in time
When you only held me in my mind
Just a longing gone without a trace
Oh, I wish I never ever seen your face
I wish you were the one (x2)
Oh, I wish you were the one
I wish you were the one that got away

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SINGLE PREMIERE: Grouplove – “Ways To Go” (+ Lyrics)

Ready, set, "Go".

Ready, set, “Go”.

Los Angeles quintet Grouplove are back with their first single from their forthcoming album Spreading Rumours, an electronic jam called “Ways To Go”. I recently profiled their new stuff in a post two weeks ago. The single is on iTunes tomorrow, while the album is out on September 17. While the song is fairly different from the rock sound on their last album, it still grooves despite some weak verses. It’s all about that chorus, post-chorus, and the drop about 2/3 into the song. If you’ve been into the 80’s influence that’s been sweeping across Alternative music in general on and off the charts, then you’ll love this song. If you don’t, then I would wait for the rest of the album to come out. Enjoy!

Watch the the premiere of “Ways To Go” from Grouplove.

“WAYS TO GO”

[Verse 1]
I didn’t ask for this
You give me heart attack
I didn’t want to care
And then I saw you there
Been working like a dog
I turned all my dreams off
I didn’t know my name (x2)

[Chorus]
(I got a little bit longer) I got a ways to go (x2)
(Oh I got a little bit longer) I got a ways to go-oh-oh
Whoa oh oh (I got a ways to go)

[Post-Chorus]
Even when I can’t see my rearview
Even if I call just to hear you
Even when I sleep all day (x2)
Even when I work it like I’m times two
Living in the back of the bunk just like we do
Even when I dream all day

[Verse 2]
Don’t wanna sleep tonight
You’ve got me feeling right
I didn’t know my name (x2)

[Chorus]
(I got a little bit longer) I got a ways to go (x2)
(Oh I got a little bit longer) I got a ways to go-oh-oh
Whoa oh oh (I got a ways to go)

[Post-Chorus]
Even when I can’t see my rearview
Even if I call just to hear you
Even when I sleep all day (x2)
Even when I work it like I’m times two
Living in the back of the bunk just like we do
Even when I dream all day (x2)

(instrumental break)

Whoa-oh whoa-oh whoa (x3)
Whoa

[Chorus – half]
(Oh I got a little bit longer) I got a ways to go-oh-oh
Whoa oh oh

[Post-Chorus – variation]
Even if I smoke in the back room
Even if I go right to meet you
Even when I sleep all day (x2)
Even when I work it like I’m times two
Waiting for the day just to end so I see you
Even when I dream all day (x2)

[End]
D-d-d-day, etc.
(Whoa-oh Whoa-oh oh) (x3)
Oh
Day

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SINGLE REVIEW: Karmin – “Acapella” (+ Lyrics)

Harmonizing for another hit.

Harmonizing for another hit.

Boston’s sultans of swag pop, the male-female duo Karmin, brought an edge to the music world through their creative YouTube covers of rap songs (and others) and eventual original music, like 2011’s “Crash Your Party” and 2012’s “Brokenhearted” and “Hello”. Each received mainstream radio airplay, with “Brokenhearted” becoming the breakout hit of the bunch, going as high as #16 on the Hot 100. Their Hello EP also charted in the top 20 on the album chart. Over the holidays, the twosome of Amy Heidemann and Nick Noonan recorded a version of “Sleigh Ride”, which was offered as a free download through a sponsorship through the store Coach, but that was the last of any new music we heard from them. Now, the duo signed to Epic Records have produced an epic single titled “Acapella”, which has now been serviced to radio.

“Acapella” is largely different from the single material on Hello in that it relies heavily on the vocal and a lot of bass and drum loops, whereas some of their former stuff freely used guitar and synthesizer. The barely there arrangement takes a little getting used to, but you’ll be more focused on the lyrics than anything else. Like their hit “Hello”, the song features Heidemann rapping in the verses and singing the chorus/middle eight, with Noonan sharing a few lines in the second verse. Hey, at least it’s not reduced to a “Cheerio!” this time around, but I would like to see him more prominently featured on the rest of the album. (By the way, the only parts of this song that are actually acapella are the introduction (vocal and beatboxing), the ending line of the chorus (vocal only) and the middle eight (vocal only).)

Heidemann, in her Nicki Minaj-lite style, takes to the mic and wraps her way around name-checking two childhood fairytales, a toothpaste brand, a recent Justin Timberlake single and a popular Italian restaurant chain, among other references that fall seamlessly into place. It’s a cute song and a relatable to a teen audience at the same time, especially those who feel compelled to break off their relationship. Plus, they sound like they’re having fun. It’s a little bit silly, but it’s enjoyable, especially when Heidemann goes into her “falsett-uh“. Four out of five rooster impressionists would agree she does her call well. Possibly the only aspect of the song that gets a little bit annoying is the slowed-down vocal effect throughout the song, which is trying too hard to recreate Yello‘s “Oh Yeah”. I mean, this isn’t Nick Noonan’s Day Off, hello! Or, maybe it is. This song moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop to listen to individual component, you could miss it.

With many acts taking a retro direction when it comes to single releases, this should at least stand out for skewing way more in the modern realm. It’s equal parts commercial and risky given the nature of it, but Karmin isn’t exactly known for playing it safe. As for now, I’m predicting a top 20 peak at CHR radio for it, with a quick fall after it peaks later this summer. It’s polarizing enough, and hopefully, there will even better second single to come, but I’m satisfied with the results here. I’m always good with a hometown act succeeding, so please guys, don’t leave us brokencharted tonight (or over the next few nights, weeks, months… you know what I mean.)

Let me know what you think in the comments below or on Twitter: @AdamFSoybel.

Listen to the premiere of Karmin‘s “Acapella”.

“ACAPELLA”

[Chorus]
Used to be your baby, used to be your lady
Thought you were the perfect lover
All the harmony went falling out of key, so
Now you gotta find another
Now you’re talking crazy saying that you made me
Like I was your Cinderella
You and me are through, though, watch me hit it solo
I’mma do it acapella (x2)

[Verse 1]
Once upon a time, I met the perfect guy
He had that Colgate smile, he had that suit and tie
Mama always said get a rich boyfriend
You don’t gotta love ’em, girl, you can pretend
You bet, I totes believed her, yeah, every word she said
Thought he was gluten-free, but all that I got was bread
Mama always said nice guys finish last
Beat ’em at his own game, honey, take the cash

[Pre-Chorus]
Ooh, and what a lucky girl you will be
But no, he didn’t do jack for me
I want a bean with a beanstalk
And if the magic ain’t right, time to walk

[Chorus]
Used to be your baby, used to be your lady
Thought you were the perfect lover
All the harmony went falling out of key, so
Now you gotta find another
Now you’re talking crazy saying that you made me
Like I was your Cinderella
You and me are through, though, watch me hit it solo
I’mma do it acapella, yeah

Whoa-oh-oh-oh-oh, Oh-oh-oh-oh-oh
I’mma do it acapella, yeah

[Verse 2]
Out on our first date, he took me gourmet
We hit that Olive Garden, my Little Italy
Daddy always said let the gentleman pay
Never ever go Dutch at the buffet
I saw his bad intention, he didn’t wanna talk
He put the saucy on it (Oops!) time to check my watch
Daddy always said money can’t buy class
You don’t wanna get stuck taking out trash

[Pre-Chorus – variation]
Ooh, yeah I guess it wasn’t meant to be
Because he didn’t do jack for me
I want a bean with a beanstalk
And if the magic ain’t right, time to walk

[Chorus]
Used to be your baby, used to be your lady
Thought you were the perfect lover
All the harmony went falling out of key, so
Now you gotta find another
Now you’re talking crazy saying that you made me
Like I was your Cinderella
You and me are through, though, watch me hit it solo
I’mma do it acapella, yeah

[Middle 8]
Whoa-oh-oh-oh-oh, Oh-oh-oh-oh-oh
I’mma do it acapella
Whoa-oh-oh-oh-oh, Oh-oh-oh-oh-oh
Watch me do it in falsett-uh
Whoa-oh-oh-oh-oh, Oh-oh-oh-oh-oh
Oh-oh-oh-oh-oh
Never mind, bring the beat back

[Chorus]
Used to be a baby, used to be a lady
Thought you were the perfect lover
All the harmony went falling out of key, so
Now you gotta find another
Now you’re talking crazy saying that you made me
Like I was your Cinderella
You and me are through, though, watch me hit it solo
I’mma do it acapella, yeah

Whoa-oh-oh-oh-oh, Oh-oh-oh-oh-oh
I’mma do it acapella, yeah

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SINGLE PREMIERE: Britney Spears – “Ooh La La” (+ Lyrics)

Hittin' hard one more time.

Hittin’ hard one more time.

After coming off a successful single with will.i.am, “Scream & Shout”, Britney Spears is back to doing her solo material with this brand new song. I thought it would be coming out next month, but apparently, somebody couldn’t wait to leak the song, and you know how the Internet is. The song was co-produced by Ammo and Dr. Luke, with writing credits going to Dr. Luke, along with Bonnie McKee, Fransisca Hall, J. Kash and Lola Blanc. Enjoy!

Listen to the new song from Britney Spears, “Ooh La La”, from the soundtrack to The Smurfs 2. / Download “Ooh La La” on iTunes.

[Verse 1]
You don’t have to look like a movie star
Ooh, I think you’re good just the way you are
Tell me, if you could
Would you wake up and run away with me?
You don’t have to roll like a millionaire
Baby I would go with you anywhere
We don’t need no gold
We’ll be shining anyway, we’ll see

[Bridge]
You know can nobody get down like us
We don’t stop ’til we get enough
C’mon, turn it up ’till the speakers pop
Break it down, show me what you’ve got

[Chorus]
Ooh, my my baby, don’t be shy
I see that spark flashing in your eye
My heart beats fast ’cause I want it all
So baby come with me and be my ooh la la
Take my hand, we can go all night
And spin me round just the way I like
It feels so good, I don’t wanna stop
So baby come with me and be my ooh la la

[Verse 2]
You don’t have to wear no designer clothes
Just as long as we’re dancing on the floor
Fingers in my hair and
I’m letting go tonight, so free

[Bridge]
You know can nobody get down like us
We don’t stop ’til we get enough
C’mon, turn it up ’till the speakers pop
Break it down, show me what you’ve got

[Chorus]
Ooh, my my baby, don’t be shy
I see that spark flashing in your eye
My heart beats fast ’cause I want it all
So baby come with me and be my ooh la la
Take my hand, we can go all night
And spin me round just the way I like
It feels so good, I don’t wanna stop
So baby come with me and be my ooh la la

[Middle 8]
Be my ooh la la (x8)
Be my ooh la la (Be my ooh la la) (x8)
Ooh, my my baby, don’t be shy
I see that spark flashing in your eye

[Chorus]
Ooh, my my baby, don’t be shy
I see that spark flashing in your eye
My heart beats fast ’cause I want it all
So baby come with me and be my ooh la la
Take my hand, we can go all night
And spin me round just the way I like
It feels so good, I don’t wanna stop
So baby come with me and be my ooh la la

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SINGLE PREMIERE: Jennifer Lopez featuring Pitbull – “Live It Up” (+ Lyrics)

Lightning doesn't strike thrice.

Jenny’s back on the block.

Ready for another premiere? Dale! Here’s the latest song that brings Jennifer Lopez and Pitbull back together, “Live It Up”. This is now the fourth single that the two artists have collaborated on, including Lopez’s comeback smash from 2011, “On The Floor”. That dance ditty went top ten on the Hot 100. Last year, they collaborated on “Dance Again”, which peaked just inside the top 20. This song will be the first single from Lopez’s forthcoming studio album, her first all-new effort in two years, and is produced by RedOne. It was serviced to radio stations at 9AM this morning. A video for the single premieres next Wednesday, the 15th, and it will be performed live on American Idol, where Lopez was formerly a judge, the following night. Sounds like a pretty hectic schedule, but it should help this song soar up the charts. Enjoy!

Listen to “Live It Up” by Jennifer Lopez featuring Pitbull. / Download “Live It Up” on iTunes.

“LIVE IT UP”
Jennifer, Pitbull

[Rap]
From the streets of Miami
To presenting at the Grammys
Con el multito de Jennifer
Maybe now you understand me

Clap your hands, go clap your hands, go clap your hands to the beat (x2)
Mr. Worldwide, RedOne, and the beautiful Jennifer Lopez
Dale
We don’t believe in defeat, that’s why we’re back for a threepeat
Hi Jenny, mira que esta loco
Yo me la como como pastelitos de Coco
I get stupid on the beat, see wowo
I got mamis, mamis by the boatload
Yo tengo la carne y ella el mojo
I’m sayin’ dale, She’s screamin’ “yolo”
She’s Little Red Riding Hood and guess who’s el lobo (me la como)
Whose name is globally known?
Whose name on the check and they’re adding the o?
Whose name on the blimp with “the world is yours”?
Whose name on the schools, slam fo’ sho’
I know it’s hard to understand how a boy grew to a man
Man turned to a brand
But guess what, here I am
Jenny from the block, let’s rock with the plan

[Verse 1]
Yeah push me harder, I do the same
Boy I wanna feel you in every way
Don’t even wonder it’s just a game
We’re rockin’ body to body, let’s go insane

[Bridge]
I hit the spotlight, all night, ready to go
Give you a hard night, so tight, ready to blow
I’m in the spotlight, all night, ready to go
Give you a hard night, so tight, ready to blow

[Chorus]
Oh, we can do anything we want
Live it up, so live it up, live it up, go
Oh, and we ain’t stoppin’ ’til we’re done
Live it up, so live it up, live it up
Go, go, go, etc.

[Spoken]
Make love, don’t fight
Let’s f**k tonight

[Verse 2]
Turn up this mutha and let it play (mami)
I know you like my bumper, don’t be ashamed
(que rico)
Don’t even wonder it’s just a game (mami)
We’re rockin’ body to body, let’s go insane (que rico)

[Bridge]
I hit the spotlight, all night, ready to go
Give you a hard night, so tight, ready to blow
I’m in the spotlight, all night, ready to go
Give you a hard night, so tight, ready to blow

[Chorus]
Oh, we can do anything we want
Live it up, so live it up, live it up, go
Oh, and we ain’t stoppin’ ’til we’re done
Live it up, so live it up, live it up
Go, go, go, etc.

[Spoken]
Make love, don’t fight
Let’s f**k tonight

[Spoken]
You name it, she’s done it
She’s the reason that women run it
Bet this on a Grammy
Maybe now you understand me

Clap your hands, go clap your hands, go clap your hands to the beat (x3)

[Chorus]
Oh, we can do anything we want
Live it up, so live it up, live it up, go
Oh, and we ain’t stoppin ’til we’re done
Live it up, so live it up, live it up
Go, go, go, etc.

[Spoken]
Let’s f**k tonight (x2)

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SINGLE PREMIERE: Mariah Carey featuring Miguel – “#Beautiful” (+ Lyrics)

You'll be lovin' it long time.

You’ll be lovin’ it long time.

Mariah Carey is keeping it all in the Lambily with her new one, “#Beautiful”, featuring R&B singer Miguel. It’s the first single from her forthcoming album for which neither a title or release date has been revealed. We’ll likely find out that information soon. “#Beautiful” is the second title on note recently to include a hashtag in the title, following the recent hit for will.i.am and Justin Bieber, “#thatpower”. It was sent to radio this morning at 7AM Eastern to several formats and will be on iTunes at 8AM Eastern. Be sure to come back then for a link to the song. Also, stay tuned to your local pop-formatted Clear Channel to hear this collaboration every hour on the hour as a part of iHeartRadio’s artist integration program. It’s sure to have a huge first day on the airwaves under such circumstances. Will it give Carey her nineteenth #1 single on the Hot 100? That would be #beautiful, wouldn’t it? Check out the song below. Enjoy!

Listen to “#Beautiful” by Mariah Carey featuring Miguel. / Download “#Beautiful” on iTunes.

“#BEAUTIFUL”

Miguel, Mariah

[Intro]
Ah, ah, you’re beautiful
Yeah
Ah, ah, you’re beautiful

[Verse 1]
Hop on the back of my bike
Let the good wind blow through your hair
With an a** like that and a smile so bright
Oh, you’re killing me, you know it ain’t fair, yeah
Ride on through the middle of the night
Let the moonlight kiss your skin
When you dance like that, your jeans so tight
Oh, you’re killing me, baby do it again

[Chorus]
You’re beautiful, and you’re mine, it’s f*cking beautiful
And I can’t pretend that that doesn’t mean a thing to me, to me, yeah
You’re beautiful, good lord, you’re f*cking beautiful
And I can’t pretend that that doesn’t mean a thing to me, to me, yeah, yeah

[Verse 2]
I like when you run red lights
Don’t stop ’til you thrill me, oh how you thrill me
Always in control, how you do it, I don’t know
But I don’t care, take me anywhere

[Chorus]
‘Cause it’s beautiful, ooh you make me feel undressable
And I can’t pretend that that doesn’t mean a thing to me, to me, oh yeah
You’re beautiful, and you’re mine, it’s f*cking beautiful
And I can’t pretend that that doesn’t mean a thing to me, to me, yeah
You’re beautiful, good lord, you’re f*cking beautiful (so beautiful)
And I can’t pretend that that doesn’t mean a thing to me, to me, yeah
Yeah, yeah

[Middle 8]
Oh oh oh oh
Yeah yeah

You don’t know what you’re doing darling
Hop on back my bike darling

Oh-oh-oh, oh-oh-oh, etc.
Don’t you worry darling

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SINGLE PREMIERE: Jessica Sanchez featuring Ne-Yo – “Tonight” (+ Lyrics)

Get down "Tonight".

“Tonight” is the night.

LISTEN/WATCH “Tonight”.

BUY “Tonight” on iTunes / BUY “Tonight” on AmazonMP3

Well, what do you know? A few days ago, I posted a preview of Jessica Sanchez‘s new single in a topic about forthcoming songs going to radio in the next month. I just mentioned some general details about the releases and that there was a video in production, which has now been filmed. I was thinking it would be out during the last week of the month. After all, her album is out April 30; I was figuring the label would at least give her song six weeks at radio before putting out a full-length release. Around 5:30 Eastern time, a promotional account for Interscope Records posted the song on their SoundCloud account, which was then sent to me by a friend. Several hundred views later, I guess the label made a little error. The song is no longer available to listen to. However, keep this link here handy just in case they decide to put it back up. So, now, let’s see what I can remember from hearing the song about five times.

It’s an electropop and dance song that’s very different for Sanchez, with her impressive range that usually shines on ballads and slower songs, yet it still showcases her vocals pretty well and stays familiar with Ne-Yo‘s sound shift as of recent. I wouldn’t be surprised if StarGate had some sort of credit for production on the track. It vaguely reminds me vocal-wise of several of his past singles: 2008’s “Closer” and his feature on Conor Maynard‘s “Turn Around” from last year. It’s a very sassy song in terms of lyrics, as evidenced by the chorus that Sanchez pounds out, totally shedding that clean-cut image of her. I’m not sure I necessarily believe her when she sings about a place “where the dudes got money and they’re not afraid to spend it”, but I guess it could be worse. Otherwise, it’s a pretty harmless song with a length of just under four minutes (if I remember correctly.) It has an intro of about twenty seconds. Just to let you know, I am expecting a video in outer space with dancers in spacesuits and aliens ready to pounce, so these two better not let me down. (OK, they probably will.)

“TONIGHT”
(The two trade off vocals in the song, so Jessica‘s part is italicized and Ne-Yo‘s part is bolded.)

[VERSE]
It seems like every day is something else
Another reason to be stressing

And you wanna run away, said you just wanna run away
You try to get out and enjoy yourself
But everybody’s acting so depressing

And you wanna run away, yeah, said you just wanna run away

[BRIDGE]
Though we ’bout to hop up on this rocket
Get up outta here

Go somewhere where nothing ever goes wrong
‘Bout to hop up on this rocket
Take to the sky
Everything is fine

[CHORUS]
‘Cause we ain’t even on Earth tonight
We on a planet where the dudes got money and they’re not afraid to spend it
Hey-oh, Hey-oh, and everything is alright, hey-oh hey-oh
‘Cause we ain’t even on Earth tonight
We on a planet where there ain’t no drama and the party’s never ending
Hey-oh, Hey-oh, and everything is alright, hey-oh hey-oh

[VERSE]
It seems like every day is something else
Another reason to be stressing

And you wanna run away, said you just wanna run away, woah-oh
You try to get out and enjoy yourself
But everybody’s acting so depressing

And you wanna run away, (oh oh), said you just wanna run away

[BRIDGE]
Though we ’bout to hop up on this rocket
Get up outta here
Go somewhere where nothing ever goes wrong
‘Bout to hop up on this rocket
Take to the sky
Everything is fine

[CHORUS]
‘Cause we ain’t even on Earth tonight
We on a planet where the dudes got money and they’re not afraid to spend it
Hey-oh, Hey-oh, and everything is alright, hey-oh hey-oh
‘Cause we ain’t even on Earth tonight
We on a planet where there ain’t no drama and the party’s never ending
Hey-oh, Hey-oh, and everything is alright, hey-oh hey-oh

[POST-CHORUS]
‘Cause we ain’t even on Earth tonight
Pretty baby, babe
No oh-oh-oh
‘Cause we ain’t even on Earth tonight
Oh oh-oh

[MIDDLE 8]
And we’ll be dancing through the moments
Got my girls ’round me, just grab your boys from Mars
And we’ll get away, go somewhere and just get right

[CHORUS]
‘Cause we ain’t even on Earth tonight
We on a planet where the dudes got money and they’re not afraid to spend it
Hey-oh, Hey-oh, and everything is alright, hey-oh hey-oh
‘Cause we ain’t even on Earth tonight
We on a planet where there ain’t no drama and the party’s never ending
Hey-oh, Hey-oh, and everything is alright, hey-oh hey-oh

Sanchez’s album will be released on April 30 through Interscope Records entitled Me, You and The Music. Enjoy!

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Clash Of The Tourmates: Olly vs. Robbie

It takes "Two" to make a thing go right.

It takes “Two” to make a thing go right.

They both have millions of fans on social media, combined to do a tour together, but now, the heat is on as both Olly Murs and Robbie Williams release their newest singles on the same day. Drama! On March 10, both “Army Of Two” by Murs from Right Place, Right Time and “Be A Boy” by Williams from Take The Crown will be out on iTunes in the United Kingdom with new digital EPs. So, let’s put them to the test in a bit of a battle. Which single knocks the other one out of the ring? Jolly Olly or Wreck-It Robbie? Somebody ring the bell…

ROUND ONE: WHO HAS THE BETTER COVER ART?
Alright, this one’s fairly easy for me. Though I appreciate the creativity that went into building the “Army of Two” title out of the smaller “army of two” bits, I’m not a fan of the salmon-colored background and Murs, himself, just looks like a combination of bored and upset. Was that an outtake shot? I mean, would it hurt to give him a marching band leader outfit? This is supposed to be fun! I love the Williams cover, however. Yes, it’s a white base, but the paint oozing down his face and onto his neck is an awesome effect and pops really well. Oh, and he’s smiling too. At least, I think he is. It has a boyish charm about it. Even if I didn’t know who he was or what he sang, I would totally stare at it in a record shop. Good times.

Verdict: This one for sure goes to Robbie. That puts him up 1-0.

ROUND TWO: WHO HAS THE BETTER SINGLE?
Let’s start off with Williams this time around and his third single, “Be A Boy”. Williams wrote the single with Tim Metcalfe and Flynn Francis and it was produced by Jackknife Lee; that combination is pretty much responsible for much of the album. Metcalfe and Francis are relative newcomers, both from Australia, while Lee has produced for acts like R.E.M. and U2, among others. “Boy” is an 80’s-inspired effort and yes, I am a sucker for a sassy saxophone solo, so that’s a plus. The message of it is what you probably expect it to be: the dreams of youth and the “magic” that goes away when you grow older. As Williams sings, “They said it was leaving/They said it with joy/Now I can make this last forever/And be a boy.” Yet, there is also a desire to find comfort in knowing that you can still find the boy in yourself as you age: “I’m half your age and lived twice your life/Now I don’t sleep alone at night/Your time did come but it’s long gone/Takes a big man to be someone.” It’s a relatable tune, and you can still dance to it with all those fluffy pop synths and chants.

On the other side of the ring, we have the second single from Murs, “Army Of Two”. He penned the song with Wayne Hector, Iyiola Babalola and Darren Lewis while it was produced by Future Cut. Hector’s worked with a number of pop acts over the years and previously hooked up with Murs on his 2010 single, “Thinking Of Me”, which went top 5 in the U.K. in November. Babalola and Lewis are both a part of Future Cut, who previously worked with Lily Allen on hit singles “LDN” and “Smile”. It begins with a lush crescendo of strings, the tap of a drum, and, oh, hey, let this pop confection take over. The song itself is a dedication to his fans, with lyrics about staying together as a troop (“we’ll be swimming in the same direction/and we’ll never lose this connection”), the goals and standards of the mission (“Oh, faith is the bullet/Hope is the gun/Love is all we need”) and perseverance in the battle (“Now, march with the band/Raise your right hand/We’ve only just begun.”) Yes, it’s a tad cheesy, but I think the sentiment works, plus the arrangement is a nice fusion of the traditional and modern-day popular sounds. I think you’ll want to join the gang too. Those snare drums are pretty hot.

Verdict: I do like both, but I’ll give the edge to Olly; it’s a strong song and it’s already on my personal chart. Each is tied at 1.

ROUND THREE: WHO’S MORE LIKELY TO GET A HIT?
This is a hard one. Both Murs and Williams started off their respective eras with a #1 single that spent two frames at the top; “Troublemaker” and “Candy”, respectively. Williams went onto release “Different” during the Christmas Week, but it wasn’t promoted well and ended up missing the top 40. I would hope his label would rethink their strategy for this release. Murs, on the other hand, would be coming off that #1 single. Now, you may assume that this would give him the upper hand, but, he’s waited months to release a second single and he’s currently on a radio tour with some additional television performances in the States. Since his album is out here in April, he may be spending some additional time here rather than focusing his efforts across the pond. In short, it’s pretty much anyone’s guess as to how both of these releases will actually chart. (I’m rooting for both, but one has to top the other one, you know?)

Verdict: Gonna leave this one at a tie. Too tough to decide.

Let’s add up all the points… jeez, I was never good at math. Oh, you say they both have two points a piece? Well, well. I guess that means you’ll have to help me out. Which one do you like better: “Army Of Two” or “Be A Boy”? Or, are you stuck like me and enjoy both? Let me know in the comments or on Twitter: @AdamFSoybel.

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ON THE REBOUND: Bands On The Comeback Trail

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…

Treat her like a Lady.

Treat her like a Lady.

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)

Turn the "Beat" around.

Turn the “Beat” around.

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.

As always, find out all the information you need right here at POP! Goes The Charts — don’t forget to follow the blog and my personal Twitter handle, @AdamFSoybel.

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SINGLE REVIEW: Justin Timberlake featuring Jay-Z – “Suit And Tie”

It suits him well.

It suits him well.

You may as well call this a zoot suit riot. It’s finally here, the new single from Justin Timberlake, “Suit And Tie”, featuring rapper Jay-Z.  Understandably, the traffic to Timberlake’s website is a little heavy at the moment, but we’ve got your hookup to the hotness that is, by far, the most anticipated track of 2013 thus far.

Before I start, kudos once again to the various members of Pulse Music Board who put the puzzle pieces together (Follow the madness here) and came up with the correct titles for both the single and album title names for Timberlake’s new releases. Special thanks to Kurt Trowbridge who put up an amazing post on his blog, which you can see by clicking on his name. Really neat stuff that proved to be entirely right in the end!

Timberlake has of course been a huge success on the national surveys ever since he started in the boy band *NSYNC; he had at least one top-40 hit per year from 1998-2010. In recent years, his presence on the charts has lessened considerably, mainly due in part to the singer’s focus on acting and developing some of his own acts on his label Tennman Records, including Esmée Denters and FreeSol. (None of them have been big successes to date in the States, though his collaboration with Matt Morris and Charlie Sexton, a version of “Hallelujah” performed at the Hope For Haiti Now telethon, became a digital hit.) His last significant radio single was a feature on Jamie Foxx‘s “Winner”, which peaked at #27 on CHR radio in May 2010. It also featured rapper T.I., but it’s long faded from the airwaves. Now, Timberlake is back in action with this first single from his forthcoming third solo album, The 20/20 Experience.

The song was written by Timberlake, Timbaland, Jay-Z, Jerome Harmon and James Flauntleroy. Harmon’s worked with a number of acts since 2007, from Ashlee Simpson to Chris Cornell. Fauntleroy was a co-writer behind “No Air” by Jordin Sparks and Chris Brown, as well as one of the last hits Timberlake featured on, “Love, Sex, Magic” by Ciara.

“Suit” is very much an old-school record inspired by the early 70’s R&B sound, from the funky horn section to Timberlake’s sweet and tender vocals. It’s like a mixture of Smokey Robinson and Marvin Gaye vocally with the explicitness lyrically of a Barry White record. At a hefty 5:28, the version on iTunes will be used as the album version, while a radio edit will chop it down a bit. It starts off with a slow section combining Timberlake’s vocals and Timbaland’s production, stopping about forty seconds in with a clear break. Timbaland questions: “Wait a minute. Are you ready, JT?” That’s an affirmative. (This part is cut out on the radio edit, thank goodness. It’s like what Timbaland tried to do with “4 Minutes” by extending Madonna and Timberlake’s song to a length of 4:04 with a non-event intro and outro. Keep it short and simple, please.)

Timberlake is in the mood for some steady romancing crooning that he “can’t wait to get [her] on the floor”. She’s a fiesty one who burns him to the touch and “ain’t nothin’ but a little doozy when she does it,” but he proceeds with his lady because, as he states in the chorus, “love is swingin’ in the air tonight/Let me show you a few things”. She may be dangerous for the “innocent” character in Timberlake, but “she’s all mine.” Yet, this is no casual romance. Oh, no, no, not for Mr. Timberlake, who is “fixed up to the 9’s” and “all dressed up in black and white”, matching the perfectly picked-up out dress by his female cohort. How sizzling! All of this is against a really dreamy sounding arrangement which really goes a nice job of combining both the classic soul sound with some up-to-date techniques, like the steady drum machine line and the multi-layered instruments.

At 3:14, the bark of an order from JT: “Get out your seat, HOV!” Hey, look, it’s Jay-Z on this record! His flow is solid as usual, proclaiming, “This is trouble season/Time for tuxedos for no reason.” It’s another part of what makes this track so sensual, and even though it’s probably the most current thing about this dated-sounding record, it actually isn’t too bad. In fact, this is probably the most I’ve liked a song featuring the rapper in at least two or three years. Is it an essential part of the song? Perhaps not, but it for sure works. Timberlake’s vocals are done for the most part by the 4:48 mark, ending with a really pretty mixture of drums, keyboards, horns and a little bit of steel drum as if you’ve been whisked away into paradise for five-and-a-half minutes. This guy is good.

So, yes, I’m in love, for now at least. It’s a more mature sound for the former boy bander; the only potential problem I see is that a younger audience may not connect with it since it’s not particularly kid-friendly. The Urban audience may also write this off as a Robin Thicke reject, but who cares? Justin Timberlake is back, and praise the Lord that this isn’t an electro-pop dance song like the majority of the material on CHR radio today. It’s a game changer, just like “SexyBack” was in 2006. The song will easily debut high on the CHR chart on the weekend’s update, which is perfect timing given that it will also be the fifteenth anniversary of *NSYNC‘s debut single, “I Want You Back”, hitting the top 40 on the same chart. Will the song be able to score the biggest debut digital sales frame of all-time? We’ll have to see, but the buzz behind it is immense. Look out below!

For more singles reviews and music news, follow us here at POP! Goes The Charts and my personal Twitter handle: @AdamFSoybel.

Buy “SUIT & TIE” on iTunes. (Album version)

(If you’re interested in a solo radio version without Jay-Z, you can contact me on here or on Twitter.)

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