Tag Archives: Song of the Year

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 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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GRAMMY Flashback: Who? What? How Did That Win?

An unjustified loss.

An unjustified loss.

Welcome to GRAMMY Week! This week, from Monday to Friday, you’ll be treated to some special GRAMMY related topics, from the past to the present, all leading up to the music’s biggest night on Sunday at 8PM eastern on CBS. Let’s dive into today’s post…

Now, time for some GRAMMY wins from the weird and wacky corner of the music universe. Over the past fifty-four years, some of these choices haven’t exactly held up well are still criticized to this day. How and why did these happen? The voting committee shows us that, sometimes, they might just be a bit out of touch with the mainstream with a few of the results in these six different categories. Take a look.

THE BIG FOUR
A few entries have won Song Of The Year without hitting the top 40 on the Hot 100. In fact, they barely made the Hot 100 as is. 1966’s winner, “The Shadow Of Your Smile” by Tony Bennett, peaked at #95. Forty years later, “Sometimes You Can’t Make It On Your Own” by U2 only went to #97. Both are GRAMMY darlings, but it seems sort of weird to have won such an honor without being a big national hit. Several Record Of The Year winners never made the Hot 100 at all: 2002’s “Walk On” by U2,  2005’s “Here We Go Again” by the late Ray Charles and Norah Jones and 2009’s “Please Read The Letter” by Alison Krauss and Robert Plant. I think we’re at the point where this phase is over… for now.

There have been some really questionable choices for Best New Artist since the category’s been around. In 1961, television’s Bob Newhart pulled off a win, the only time a comedian has won Best New Artist. Then, in 1963, Robert Goulet took Best New Artist in one of the stranger wins, beating out Peter, Paul and Mary and The Four Seasons. Goulet only had one big hit, but it was one year after the win. 2001’s winner, Shelby Lynne, had been making the Country chart since 1989… I mean, because getting an award twelve years after your first hit is really new. We’ve also had two really left-of-center choices in the past two years: 2011’s Esperanza Spalding and 2012’s Bon Iver. We won’t have this same kind of situation this year, even if Alabama Shakes wins. I don’t need to bring up Milli Vanilli once again. Cringe all you want.

I think we’d rather forget 2008 when Herbie Hancock and friends won for River: The Joni Letters, a jazz album that beat out the late Amy Winehouse, the Foo Fighters and Kanye West. It was one of the few times in recent years that an Album Of The Year failed to certify even Gold for shipments of 500,000 copies. I think the Academy learned from their mistake. There have been other peculiar choices, especially in last decade or so, but none as much as Hancock’s win.

GENRE-SPECIFIC CATEGORIES
Lots of great R&B songs came out in 1977, but for Best R&B Song at the 1978 ceremony, the winner ending up being “You Make Me Feel Like Dancing” by Leo Sayer, beating out big hits by The Emotions, Thelma Houston and two songs by The Commodores. Decent song, but one problem: it never made the R&B chart. Oops! It was Sayer’s only GRAMMY win and his charting days were done in the States by 1981.

Probably the worst offender in a genre category happened at the 1989 GRAMMY Awards with Best Hard Rock/Metal Performance Vocal or Instrumental. Metallica, who were the front-runners to win for their 1988 album, …And Justice For All, were defeated by Jethro Tull and their album Crest Of A Knave. Who knew a flute was metal? Guess this was a prime example of the panel “living in the past”. The controversy was well-publicized and it was such a joke that the category was dropped altogether at the next ceremony and split up into two distinct Awards.

They don’t always get it right, but at least we can look back and laugh once in a while. Any other outcomes at the GRAMMYs that you thought were totally wrong, whether in a big category or in a genre one? Let me know in the comments or on Twitter: @AdamFSoybel. All of my GRAMMY predictions for the upcoming ceremony are coming tomorrow! Better get to working on that post, right?

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Filed under GRAMMY Awards, Music News, Retro, Uncategorized

GRAMMY Flashback: Happy Two Year!

Shining a "Light" on two pretty ballads.

Shining a “Light” on two pretty ballads.

Welcome to GRAMMY Week! This week, from Monday to Friday, you’ll be treated to some special GRAMMY related topics, from the past to the present, all leading up to the music’s biggest night on Sunday at 8PM eastern on CBS. Let’s dive into today’s post…

“Moon River”. “You’ve Got A Friend”. “Every Breath You Take”. “My Heart Will Go On”. The songs listed here are just a few of the many winners of Song Of The Year. It’s an Award that every songwriter strives for: to have their composition recognized by the Academy. Yet, a strange occurrence happened at the 1978 GRAMMY Awards, which reflected the music of 1977. Six nominees and their lyricists patiently waited to hear the results read by singing star John Denver, who I’m sure shocked a few people when not one winner was announced, but two. It’s the only time in GRAMMY history that two nominees have tied the vote for a win in one of the Big Four categories. Two females. Two big ballads. Two number one singles. Two songs that originated in films. Two very different careers after the win.

BARBRA STREISAND – “Evergreen (Love Theme from A Star Is Born)”
Who can live up to the incomparable Barbra Joan? Up to that point, you might have considered her a GRAMMY darling, with thirteen nominations and four wins out of them, all from 1963-1965. After the initial success, her single and album positions faltered for a while, but her career was revived in the early 1970’s with hits like “Stoney End” and “The Way We Were”. Streisand had been nominated the previous year in the category Best Classical Vocal Soloist Performance for her album, Classical Barbra. “Evergreen” was the only song to be released from the 1976 remake of A Star Is Born, a soft ballad about love and the metaphors to it, ending with the message that “time won’t change the meaning of one love/ageless and ever, ever, evergreen.” It spent three weeks at #1 on the Hot 100 in March 1977 and ranked as the #4 song overall of the year. The soundtrack album also went to #1 for six weeks. She’s additionally won the GRAMMY for Best Pop Female Vocal Performance for the same song, as well one Academy Award and two Golden Globes for her efforts, one being Best Actress in a Motion Picture.

After the song won the Award, Streisand continued to pump out the hits and big albums like 1980’s Guilty and 1997’s Higher Ground. I mean, this is Barbra Streisand we’re talking about. 21 top-40 hits and 31 platinum/multi-platinum albums later, she’s obviously an icon, having spent fifty years in the music business and still going strong. She had several other GRAMMY wins, including a Legend Award in 1992, and a nomination as recent as last year. Not too shabby if I do say so myself. She’ll be performing at the Academy Awards on February 24 in what’s rumored to be a tribute to the late Marvin Hamlisch, her first live performance on the show since, you guessed it, singing “Evergreen” at the 49th ceremony in 1977.

DEBBY BOONE – “You Light Up My Life”
Music really ran in the Boone family. Debby’s father, Pat, was one of the top acts of the 1950’s, with #1 hits like “Ain’t That A Shame” and “Love Letters In The Sand”. Her grandfather, Red Foley, charted for twenty-five years on the Country chart, with one single becoming a national #1 hit: “Chattanoogie Shoe Shine Boy” in 1950. Written as a love song by songwriter Joe Brooks, Boone stated that she pictured God as the one who could “light up [her] life” and give her “hope to carry on”. As the third generation in the chain to hit the charts, she took her debut solo single (originated in the movie of the same name) all the way to the top of the Hot 100 for ten consecutive weeks, which was a record at the time and one that lasted for another fifteen years. It was the #1 song of the decade. She easily took the GRAMMY Award that year for Best New Artist (though thousands of teen girls were crushed when Andy Gibb and Shaun Cassidy were beat in the process) in addition to that split prize for Song Of The Year. Boone’s song also propelled her to a Top New Female Vocalist win at the Academy Of Country Music Awards that same year.

Life wasn’t so easy for her after the instant success of “Life”. She placed two more songs in the Hot 100, but considering their peaks were #50 and #74, respectively, they didn’t light up the airwaves or a lot of people’s lives. She turned back to Country music, where she accumulated eight top-40 hits, even scoring another #1 on that chart with 1980’s “Are You On The Road To Lovin’ Me Again?” However, by the next year, the hits had run out. Boone tried a career in Christian and Gospel music after that, which saw four GRAMMY wins between 1984-1989 in the category of Best Gospel Performance – Female. Did mainstream audiences really career? She’ll forever be a one-hit wonder as far as we’re concerned. She’s kept busy recently with an infomercial spot for Lifestyle Lifts, which I guess we’re supposed to assume lit up her lifestyle (?) but it’s mainly just drawn attention to that one song of hers that doesn’t seem to go away. Oh well. She moved on, at least.

That’s a look back at probably the only time something like that will happen in one of the major categories, a tie between two nominees. Never say never, though. Do you enjoy one of these classic tunes over the other? Let me know in the comments or on Twitter: @AdamFSoybel. Stay tuned for more GRAMMY posts as the week continues!

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Filed under Charts/Trade Papers, GRAMMY Awards, Retro

ADAM’S TOP 100 OF 2012 – #02 and #01 (Post 11 of 11)

So, by now, you know that I’ve been counting down my top 100 singles of 2012 for the past week and a half and we’re finally up to what you’ve been waiting for. These are the top two songs on my year-end chart based on my weekly top 40 charts. For yet another year, the top two songs have managed to accumulate over 1,000 points each (both are higher than last year’s top two), and neither one of them was the longest-running #1 song of the year. Still, they’re both classics in my book, both by newcomers with their first top-40 hit that peaked early on during the chart year and just stayed a while. They are the only two songs to spend thirty plus weeks on during this specific Dec. 2011-Nov. 2012 chart year.

There’s a reason I called this The Year Of The G. The letter G, that is. Three acts or performers, all with their first hit(s) and all beginning with the letter G, were in the top spot for sixteen out of the fifty-two weeks in the year. We’ve heard from Grouplove, who were at #10 with “Tongue Tied”, and two other acts who charted lower with their followup singles to the two records left in the countdown.

Let’s get to those two biggies.

Don't let him be the last to "Know".

Don’t let him be the last to “Know”.

002. GOTYE featuring KIMBRA – “Somebody That I Used To Know”
ALBUM: Making Mirrors // LABEL: Samples ‘n’ Seconds/Universal
PEAK: #1 for seven weeks // WEEKS ON: 33 // POINTS: 1,071
CHART RUN: 36-29-24-22-14-11-06-05-01010101010101-02-02-03-04-03-05-04-04-06-09-11-16-19-21-24-27-29-33-off

Belgian-born and Australian-raised Wally de Backer likely never expected a song of his to blow up like this. He showed a liking for music from an early age, playing in a band before beginning a solo career. The singer, who calls himself Gotye, had achieved some minor success on the Albums Chart in Australia and Belgium, as expected, but nothing of his managed to garner any high positions on the charts. That was, until this song came around. Originally intended to be recorded with a “high-profile female artist”, she dropped out at the last-minute and a suitable replacement was found in Kimbra, a New Zealand-based artist who was also a relative unknown in her homeland. It was a highly personal song about a relationship gone wrong, where personalities shifted to the point that each of the counterparts were strangers to one another. Upon impact, it stormed the Singles Chart in Australia, lasting eight weeks in the top spot there in August, September, and October 2011. The video was a huge selling point for the track, where both artists appeared as if they were painted into the wall, before Kimbra‘s paint disappeared, symbolic of the lover’s removal from the picture. Now, not every artist from Australia automatically becomes a superstar in the United States as well; in fact, an indie pop artist, as Gotye may classified as, would probably be the least likely candidate to get a full-fledged backing for a successful U.S. crossover. However, in the midst of Adelemania, we needed a male counterpart to balance out all the slower songs on the radio, and “Somebody” fit the role perfectly. As it began blowing up at Alternative radio, I knew that I had to get on it. On the chart for December 11, 2012, it entered into my Next In Line, and then debuted the following week, December 18, at the #36 position. Its run slowed from there, but it suddenly picked up the pace in January and on the chart of February 12, the song zoomed from 5-1, the second largest leap to the top of the year, and stayed there for seven weeks. After a long top ten stay of nineteen weeks that lasted into the early summer, and thirty-three in the top 40, it managed to fall out of the countdown in mid-August. Followup single “Eyes Wide Open” made it to #7 and was back at #40 on the year-end countdown. Both artists are almost certainly not going to repeat the success of this international smash ever again, but I’m sure they enjoyed the world watching their every move while it lasted.

Now, the most popular song of the year. May I present to you:

(Credit: ArtistApproach, Flickr)

Young hearts run “Free”.

001. GRAFFITI6 – “Free”
ALBUM: Colours // LABEL: N.W. Free/Capitol
PEAK: #1 for four weeks // WEEKS ON: 48 // POINTS: 1,290
CHART RUN: 39-35-32-29-21-14-10-06-02-02-01010101-02-02-04-04-04-05-05-05-06-09-10-10-10-11-15-15-18-18-21-23-21-21-16-14-14-17-17-22-22-22-27-29-29-34-off

This is the story of how one little song trumped the competition with a chart run of four weeks at #1, five months in the top ten, and nearly a year in the top 40. OK, but before I even try to dissect that massive line of numbers, a little background on the band and how I first heard the song that is now my top song of 2012.

 Lead singer Jamie Scott was always surrounded by music, whether it was listening to his parents’ collection of classic soul records, or performing in a duo during his college years. In his late teens, Scott sent out several demo tapes to record labels in the hopes that he could compose tracks for other performers, but the general response from these labels was that Scott himself should sing his own music. Sony Records signed him to a solo deal in 2002. His debut album, Soul Searching, was intended for a 2005 release, but was never issued commercially because of a label merger; it got lost in the shuffle. Two singles from the effort, “Just” and “Searching”, became minor top-40 entries in the United Kingdom in September 2004 and January 2005, respectively, and a third solo song, “Made”, can be found on the soundtrack to the movie Step Up. Scott signed to Polydor Records in 2006 and tried again with a band, Jamie Scott & The Town, but their only charting single was “When Will I See Your Face Again?”, which fell just short of the U.K. top 40 at #41 in September 2007. A followup, “Standing In The Rain”, as well as an album, Park Bench Theories, received little promotion and failed to chart.

Tommy Danvers, also known as TommyD, took a different route when it came to music. A multi-instrumentalist, he began on the DJ circuit at age 18, playing at local clubs and then going on to play with high-profile groups like Ministry Of Sound. He also collaborated in the group E-Zee Possee, who scored a U.K. top 20 hit in March 1990 with “Everything Starts With An ‘E'”, banned by BBC Radio 1 for its lyrical content relating to drug use. After a few other minor entries, Danvers went onto work with a new dance band on their debut album, who turned out to be Right Said Fred. Here in the States, they’re one of the biggest one-hit wonders, peaking at #1 on the Hot 100 in 1992 with “I’m Too Sexy”, but they scored several followup hits in the United Kingdom. Over the next decade and a half, Danvers engineered album tracks and remixes for several big artists, like Janet Jackson and Kylie Minogue, though most of his success was achieved in Europe, with no proper U.S. breakthrough.

2008 came along and on the whim of an A&R executive, Scott agreed to meet with Danvers and the two hit it off. Scott intended the sessions to provide some fresh tracks for a solo release, but as he began writing and Danvers began mixing, it was clear that their music together was taking a different direction from what either of the two have done before. The first song they collaborated on turned out to be “Stare Into The Sun”, which was used in an advertisement campaign for The Sun newspaper. It spent three weeks at #1 on my chart this year and ended up at #7 on the year-end countdown. With their nostalgic sound established, the two produced an album in 2010 entitled Colours, which had limited success in a few European countries. Determined to break the States, they signed a deal with Capitol Records in the spring of 2011.

So, fast forward to September of the same year. I’m checking my usual music sites when I notice that a song by an artist that my friend Kurt liked was being sent to Adult Alternative radio in October, so this flawless topic was created by yours truly. Up to that point, I had only seen the video for “Annie You Save Me”, which I thought was alright, but I really enjoyed “Free”. It was a lighter track, but it was arranged really well, and featured a soaring vocal by Scott that I was really impressed with. I suppose it was sentiment of freedom that I really connected with since I was in my senior year of college and the real world was looming. It jumped straight into my Next In Line on the chart dated October 16, 2011 (a radio version of it was released the Tuesday before to iTunes) and debuted at #39 the next week, October 23. In December, it climbed into the top ten and on the chart dated New Year’s Day (January 1, 2012), “Free” became the new #1 on my chart, lasting for four weeks at the top. Colours was released in the U.S. several weeks after the song hit the top.

That should have been the end of the story, but the song just kept sticking around, thanks to the song’s release at Hot AC radio in late February. First, it was an additional eight weeks in the top 5, then thirteen weeks in the top ten, and eighteen in the top 20 before it finally looked like it was descending for good. Nope. With increased airplay at Hot AC radio and a CHR crossover coming, the song launched back into my top 20 for another five weeks, then slowly back down to the point where it fell off, but not until the middle of September, a very long chart run of 48 weeks, 32 of which (2/3 for you fraction fashionistas) were in the top 20. It goes down as the second-longest consecutive chart run in my personal chart’s history. Now, Graffiti6 joins the ranks of acts like Jason Mraz, Duran Duran, Leona Lewis, Lady Antebellum and Adele with a #1 song of the year. Congrats, guys! Best of luck with your new music coming out in 2013. We’ll see if the duo can pull off a year-end repeat. It’s never happened before.

That’s going to do it for this year’s end of the year countdown. Thanks for reading along and I hope you enjoyed.

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So, How’d I Do? The GRAMMYs Prediction Post, Revisited (Actual Nominees Included)

Thinking bout some GRAMMY wins.

Still swimming good.

A few days ago, I wrote a little post where I made my predictions for the “Big Four” categories at this year’s GRAMMY Awards, a few days before the GRAMMY Nominations Concert Live!!, which just aired tonight. Well, one Freshly Pressed award, several hundred views and five dozen likes later, it’s time to see how I did! (P.S. I’m very happy to be recognized by WordPress and all of you who reacted to the post, so many thanks!)

The guide shall go like this:
Successful Nominee Prediction or Close Call
Not Picked
Prediction To Win The Category

ALBUM OF THE YEAR
Fun. – Some Nights
Frank Ocean – Channel ORANGE
Jack White – Blunderbuss
Mumford & Sons – Babel
The Black Keys – El Camino

I got a fair amount of this category right, successfully predicting Frank Ocean, Mumford & Sons and The Black Keys, as well as Fun. as a close call. Jack White was the only one I didn’t consider, but I never actually heard his album. It was pretty critically acclaimed though, so it deserves to be there. Of my original predictions, Bob Dylan and Coldplay are nowhere to be seen. Don’t know what went wrong there since the two of them are GRAMMY darlings. Ah, well. Coldplay‘s album garnered a Best Rock Album nod and has a Best Rock Performance nod for single “Charlie Brown”. I’ll keep Babel as the winner for this Award.

RECORD OF THE YEAR
fun. featuring Janelle Monae – We Are Young
Frank Ocean – Thinking Bout You
Gotye featuring Kimbra – Somebody That I Used To Know
Kelly Clarkson – Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You)
Taylor Swift – We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together
The Black Keys – Lonely Boy

Little bit of a curveball there with six nominees in the category instead of five. I successfully predicted two nominees (fun. and Frank Ocean) and had two as close calls (Frank Ocean and The Black Keys.) I’m happy for Kelly Clarkson as I really liked “Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You)”, just didn’t expect it in the Record Of The Year category. Taylor Swift‘s entry in the category is very surprising though. I, personally, don’t think it’s worthy of being in there compared to the rest of the entries. It’s a throwaway tune, even if it did really well. Then again, it isn’t going to win, so no need to worry there. Adele, Drake featuring Rihanna, and Mumford & Sons weren’t nominated as I predicted they would be. I thought Mumford would for sure be in there; that’s a shock. I’m still thinking “Somebody That I Used To Know” will carry the win for the category. It’s simply too big of a single to be ignored.

SONG OF THE YEAR
Carly Rae Jepsen – Call Me Maybe
Ed Sheeran – The A-Team
fun. featuring Janelle Monae – We Are Young

Kelly Clarkson – Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You)
Miguel – Adorn

Eeek! I predicted one correctly (Carly Rae Jepsen) and one close call (Kelly Clarkson). That Ed Sheeran nomination came out of nowhere, but I would love it if that one won. Miguel is totally not going to win this category; I’m not even sure how that one made it in there. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a likable song, but I thought it would only be a threat to the R&B categories. fun. and Janelle Monae are no surprise, but I think that they’ll get blocked out by “Stronger” in this category. Kelly needs to take home at least one award, right? The four of my original predictions that didn’t make it in are Bruce Springsteen, Frank Ocean (who I predicted to win), Katy Perry and Mumford & Sons.

BEST NEW ARTIST
Alabama Shakes
Frank Ocean
Fun.
Hunter Hayes
The Lumineers

This one I pretty much predicted correctly, getting three right (Frank Ocean, Fun. and Hunter Hayes) and one as a close call (Alabama Shakes.) “Ho Hey” by The Lumineers is still gaining at CHR radio, so I thought it would be too new for them to be considered as Best New Artist, but well done to them. Gotye and One Direction from my original predictions didn’t make it in. The former is a few albums into his career, so I guess the panel took that into consideration, and I’m not too fussed about the latter not getting in. I’m sticking with my prediction of Fun. to win the category, but Frank Ocean will put up a fight for it.

Well, this is why I’m not a psychic for a living, but I certainly did alright. Thanks for checking back and congrats to everyone who was nominated this year!

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PREDICTION: Frank Ocean, Mumford & Sons Could Be Among Top GRAMMYs Nominees

Thinking bout some GRAMMY wins.

Thinking bout some GRAMMY wins.

(Check this post for the actual nominations.)

It’s almost time once again for the GRAMMY Awards, “Music’s Biggest Night”, celebrating the best in music from the past year of many musical genres. The ceremony will take place on February 10, 2013, but on Wednesday night, December 5, CBS will be broadcasting the GRAMMY Nominations Concert Live!!, a one-hour event beginning at 10 PM Eastern and featuring performances by Dierks Bentley, Fun., Hunter Hayes, Luke Bryan, Maroon 5, Ne-Yo, The Band Perry, and The Who. Now, obviously, not every award will be announced during the telecast, but many where these performers are actually nominated in will be presented in full, and the complete list is usually updated online shortly afterwards. This means that’s it’s time to make some predictions. Continuing a trend over the past few years, I’m thinking that the nominations will trend more commercial as a whole, though there could be surprises as usual. Here’s what I’m anticipating for the Big Four Awards: Album Of The Year, Record Of The Year, Song Of The Year and Best New Artist.

(The actual eligibility period for the releases in contention for nominations is October 1, 2011 to September 30, 2012, so keep that in mind as you read these predictions.)

ALBUM OF THE YEAR
Bob Dylan – Tempest
Coldplay – Mylo Xyloto
Frank Ocean – Channel ORANGE
Mumford & Sons – Babel
The Black Keys – El Camino

Close Calls:
Bonnie Raitt – Slipstream
Dave Matthews Band – Away From The World
Drake – Take Care
Fun. – Some Nights
Lionel Richie – Tuskegee

They’ve been nominated for six awards and lost all of them, so I’m thinking this will be the year for Mumford & Sons to finally clinch a big one with Album Of The Year for Babel. With the second-best opening of 2012 on the Album Chart (600,000 copies sold), it’s a commercial and critical success, the perfect storm for them to receive the win. Frank Ocean is my backup choice to win the Award. Ocean, who made waves in July when he came out in a blog note, has done alright commercially, but has been a huge critical effort, with glowing reviews from a number of writers. A win would push the album past Gold status and possibly to Platinum, while at the same time, make a huge statement for the R&B and hip-hop community. Past GRAMMY nominees for Album Of The Year Bob Dylan and Coldplay will most likely secure nominations once again, and The Black Keys, who won Best Alternative Album for Brothers in 2011, will most likely get their first nod for Album Of The Year with El Camino, which gained them an even bigger audience.

RECORD OF THE YEAR
Adele – Set Fire To The Rain
Drake featuring Rihanna – Take Care
fun. featuring Janelle Monae – We Are Young
Gotye featuring Kimbra – Somebody That I Used To Know
Mumford & Sons – I Will Wait

Close Calls:
Bruce Springsteen – We Take Care Of Our Own
Carly Rae Jepsen – Call Me Maybe
Frank Ocean – Thinking Bout You
Katy Perry – Wide Awake
The Black Keys – Lonely Boy

Gotye and Kimbra are pretty much a lock for winning with their international smash. Mumford & Sons would be a backup as “I Will Wait” is another solid single for the band and would only ensure them winning Album Of The Year. The other three nominees were all commercial successes but even Adele, who swept at last year’s ceremony, won’t see a win this year in the category, though she’ll probably easily get a win for her Live At The Royal Albert Hall DVD in the Long Form Video category.

SONG OF THE YEAR
Bruce Springsteen – We Take Care Of Our Own
Carly Rae Jepsen – Call Me Maybe
Frank Ocean – Thinking Bout You
Katy Perry – Wide Awake
Mumford & Sons – I Will Wait

Close Calls:
Drake featuring Rihanna – Take Care
Kelly Clarkson – Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You)
Phillip Phillips – Home
The Black Keys – Lonely Boy
The Lumineers – Ho Hey

This one is a tough choice because “Set Fire To The Rain” and “Somebody That I Used To Know” weren’t submitted by their respective labels to be considered for this Award. That being said, I think Frank Ocean will be walking away with this one. It’s been a slow burner at Urban radio and a win would probably guarantee at least a minor CHR radio crossover. The Boss, Bruce Springsteen, would be my second choice, which was included in the soundtrack to President Obama’s successful reelection campaign and saw notable gains because of it. Though Wrecking Ball won’t likely be nominated anywhere near the top tier of awards, the single is strong enough to hold its ground in this category. Mumford & Sons is another obvious nominee and would probably have an easier time winning Song Of The Year, but they’ll be denied. The two poppier releases by Carly Rae Jepsen and Katy Perry could pull off a surprise, but I have serious doubts about it. They would be lucky enough to be nominated.

BEST NEW ARTIST
Frank Ocean
Fun.
Gotye
Hunter Hayes
One Direction

Close Calls:
Alabama Shakes
Carly Rae Jepsen
Christina Perri
Ed Sheeran
Ellie Goulding

Best New Artist is for sure going to be a competitive category this year. Frank Ocean is a given, so is Gotye, but I’m predicting the Award goes to Fun. as they have two big hits under the belt and I’m pretty sure this category is going to skew way more commercial this year after two consecutive years of wins by artists far outside the mainstream, Esperanza Spalding in 2010 and Bon Iver in 2011. Hunter Hayes will be the token Country nominee, and yes, One Direction will get a nominee for Best New Artist. Even Justin Bieber got nominated for the category in 2010. The boy band has a better chance of collecting it than Bieber did, but they won’t.

Come back on December 5 to see how I did! If you have any alternative predictions for these four categories, let me know in the comments!

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