Tag Archives: Right Place Right Time

Adam’s Top 100 of 2013: #4, Olly Murs – “Troublemaker”

Olly olly oxen free.

Have an Olly Olly Christmas. (It’s the best time of the year!)

First Chart Entry: “Heart Skips A Beat” (#6, 2011)
Biggest Hit To Date:
“Troublemaker” (#1 for three weeks, 2013)

“TROUBLEMAKER”
#1 for three weeks, 28 weeks in the top 40

Music Video:

After his In Case You Didn’t Know era delivered three consecutive top ten singles on my chart in 2011 and 2012, former X Factor U.K. runner-up Olly Murs had a lot to live up to when it came to his next era. Well, he and it did, to the point that he proved that, not third, but the fourth time was the charm when it came to topping even my personal tastes.

Murs achieved that feat when “Troublemaker” spent three weeks at #1 in January, which was concurrent with its overseas run. The song was co-written by Murs, Claude Kelly and producer Steve Robson. With a bouncy guitar-driven beat a la Maroon 5‘s “Misery”, this one was a no-brainer when it came to taking over my playlists. In fact, “Troublemaker” was one of five singles to make my top 40 this year from the original edition of Right Place Right Time; the other four were, in order of release, “Army Of Two” (#5), “Dear Darlin'” (#17), “Hey You Beautiful” (#23) and “Hand On Heart” (#35). That makes it his most successful year yet in terms of total number on entries and brings his chart history up to eight songs. I guess you could say that I knew he was trouble when he walked in (and I’m quite okay with that.)

After the disappointing results of the U.S. release of “Heart Skips A Beat”, which barely edged into the Hot 100, “Troublemaker” had a much easier time landing on station playlists, going top ten on the CHR airwaves. It also charted on a few other radio surveys during the late spring. That’s about the extent of what Murs has done here; the label recently gave up on a remixed version of “Dance With Me Tonight” after multiple delays, which earned some Hot AC play but couldn’t take off. It’s safe to assume that nothing else from the album will be promoted here, which is a shame as something like “Hey You Beautiful” would’ve at least ranked somewhere in the lower rungs nationally. Oh, well.

Murs is set to release his next studio album in mid-2014 in Europe; no word on what the Stateside promotion for it will look like if anything. Whatever the case, I’m ready for some more Jolly Olly fever. Be on the lookout, people.

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“Beautiful” Sounds: The Pretty Side Of Pop

They say that beauty is in the eye of the beholder and that may be right, but if the beauty’s also spreading into the music world, you know these songs will be holding your attention for some time. These two acts are coming off pretty big top 10 singles in the United Kingdom, and a followup single to equal or exceed that success would be, you guessed it, simply “beautiful”. Forget the hashtag, people; that song is over now. Luckily, these two are just starting off. Let’s take a look at these stunning singles by some marvelous male musicians:

Olly olly oxen free.

Olly olly oxen free.

OLLY MURS – “Hey You Beautiful”
Release Date: August 19 (U.K.)

Hey, hey, hey, it’s a new single from the former U.K. X Factor runner-up. Hard to believe it’s been nearly three-and-a-half years since it happened, but look at all he’s accomplished since then. As the U.S. gets a remixed version of “Dance With Me Tonight” as the latest single from Mr. Murs, “Hey” will be the fourth release in Europe from the original edition of Right Place Right Time, which has been out for seven months there. It follows up “Dear Darlin'”, which went to #5, and provides a change of pace from a ballad to an uptempo summer song. It was produced by Steve Robson, who also worked on “Tonight” and his international smash “Troublemaker”. It was co-written by Murs, Robson and Claude Kelly, and that’s no surprise because “Hey” sounds a bit like Kelly’s composition for Jessie J, “Price Tag”, mixed with Nicki Minaj‘s “Starships” and a nice post-disco beat. However, it’s a little more risqué for the 29-year-old English singer. While a song about chasing down a girl is nothing new for him, it’s a bit out there in terms of its lyrical content. He states, “I feel your body calling out to me… sex is in your eyes,” and continues, “Won’t stop ’til I got you calling my name/You know you can’t resist it, baby.” Now, Murs is obviously allowed to express him however he wants, but as someone who caters to young girls, there are some issues that could come up. I guess we’ll see how that part of his fan base responds to its single release. August will be here in no time and Murs should be riding high once again.

Life's been good.

Life’s been good.

ARMIN VAN BUUREN featuring CINDY ALMA – “Beautiful Life”
Release Date: September 9 (U.K.)

36-year-old Dutch DJ Armin Van Buuren ix experiencing a sudden resurgence on the charts nowadays over fifteen years into his career on the dance circuit. His last single, a collaboration with former soulDecision member Trevor Guthrie called “This Is What It Feels Like”, recently became his biggest hit ever in The Netherlands, going to #2. It’s his third top ten single in that country in the last five years. It also broke the top ten in the United Kingdom (his first release to do so there) and is just outside that region in Australia at the #13 slot. While the United States hasn’t exactly caught onto it yet (it’s thus far only made the lower rungs on the Dance/Club Play chart), he’s moving onto his third single from his album Intense over in Europe. “Life” features vocalist Cindy Alma, who has been working with Van Buuren since at least 2011. She was born in Marseilles, France and was discovered in a singing contest at age 14 which caught the attention of record executive Jason Flom, who currently serves as the CEO of Lava Records. She cites Madonna and Whitney Houston as her influences and she herself has got some pipes. It’s a cute song, with a great synth solo about halfway through it and a hard trance vibe through the end of it. Newcomer Alma may not be established yet, but this could do it for her. It’s far more eurodance than the mainstream-sounding “Like”, so expect it to do OK over there while it does absolutely nothing on our side of the pond. That’s just the way it goes sometimes.

So, is it Olly Murs‘s dazzling ditty or Armin Van Buuren and Cindy Alma‘s charming collaboration that you prefer? Pretty hard, but let me know! Comment below or find me on Twitter: @AdamFSoybel.

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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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