Every month, dozens of singles are sent to radio and are put up for adds, meaning that stations can choose to put them in rotation and they’ll be reported to airplay services like BDS and Mediabase/Media Monitors. Not every new single gets an adds date, but many do. I’ll be shifting through everything from my music sources and highlighting some of the top songs being sent to their respective formats. Here’s what’s hitting the airwaves in December 2012:
CHR (Contemporary Hit Radio)
CHR, like all the formats I’m about to highlight, doesn’t take in many new singles in the month of December given the increase in holiday music airplay and year-end freeze effect, when station playlists are affected by year-end broadcasts, giving newer songs less of a chance of gaining airplay and giving the top hits much more room for spins. However, on the week of December 4, two established artists and one newcomer take their chances with new releases.
Capitol Records is banking on Britt Nicole to become the next Christian crossover success story. Her first mainstream release, “Gold”, packs a positive message into a three-minute tune, proclaiming “from the inside-out it shows/you’re worth more than gold.” Other solo females to make successful leaps to the national Pop surveys include Amy Grant (best known for her 1991 Hot 100 #1 “Baby Baby”) and Stacie Orrico (who scored a pair of hits, including a CHR top ten from 2003, “(There’s Gotta Be) More To Life”.) “Gold” will most likely be a slow-burner as the label attempts to get her on smaller market stations before charging forward with major markets.
Now that her first single “Your Body” is long gone from the airwaves, Christina Aguilera and RCA Records are putting out a second single from Lotus, “Just A Fool”, which features fellow The Voice judge and Country crooner Blake Shelton. It’s quite a change from her dance material of late as the two trade off vocals in a smooth power ballad. It’s easy enough to compare this to last year’s token Country crossover duet, “Don’t You Wanna Stay” by Jason Aldean and Kelly Clarkson, so expect similar results after the holiday freeze, maybe a tad less in the peak position department because (a) Aguilera is taking a break from the show after this season finishes, thus, less national television coverage (b) her album is underperforming, and (c) at the moment, this isn’t actively being promoted to Country radio, where the Aldean/Clarkson duet quickly hit #1.
Finally, on Epic Records, the new Ciara record, “Got Me Good”, will be making its way to the mainstream airwaves soon. It’ll be an uphill battle for the R&B singer as she attempts to score her first CHR hit in nearly four years, never mind that the last one, “Love, Sex, Magic”, relied heavily on a feature from Justin Timberlake and still only topped out at #13. Her last solo hit, “Like A Boy”, went as high as #17 in CHR airplay in 2007. Sonically, it’s 80’s-freestyle inspired with a provocative lyric, which is too mature for the Justin Bieber/One Direction crowd, but who knows if others will latch onto it first.
The only song going to Rhythm radio this month, on December 4, is “My Life” by 50 Cent featuring Adam Levine from Maroon 5 and Eminem, from Interscope Records. It’s the third attempt at launching a single from 50’s upcoming fifth studio album, Street King Immortal, due out in 2013. He’s obviously been struggling on the charts as of late, and perhaps he’ll benefit from the two additional artists on his single, but I wouldn’t bet any money on it.
Alternative and Adult Album Alternative (AAA)
Three songs are going for adds on Alternative radio for the first week of December, all by relative unknown bands at least at this point. From Los Angeles, The Mowgli’s, on Photo Finish/Island, are california dreamin’ about their first big hit, “San Francisco”. With some advertisement placement, this one could do some major damage. It’s a rocking tune with an outstanding horn section that will definitely appeal to the Alternative crowd if the song is worked right.
From Columbia Records, The Neighbourhood puts forth their appropriately-titled “Sweater Weather”. It’s off an EP entitled I’m Sorry…, which is available now. It’s a part rap/part sung concoction with a nice dark flavor to it. Considering that the weather is going to be cold for a while, this one should fit in for a few months to come.
Lastly, there’s the duo who call themselves Twenty|one|pilots on Fueled By Ramen, who have already built up a big social following. “Holding On To You” is sort of reminiscent of an MGMT record with addition of some rap breaks, but it all fits together pretty well. The video is already over 200,000 hits on YouTube is just over two weeks, so expect the large fan presence to play a role in how well this song does.
The big Alternative release in December is, however, the follow-up to a #1 single: “I Will Wait”. Glassnote Records’s Mumford & Sons are back with their second single from Babel, the song “Lover Of The Light”. It goes for adds on December 18. It’s one of my favorites from the album and will for sure be another hit for the band. Question is, how much of a chopping will it get for play? The album version clocks in at five minutes and fourteen seconds. We’ll see.
Two other releases are going to AAA radio on December 4: Alpha Rev returns on Kirtland Records with “Sing Loud”. You may remember them when they were featured on VH1’s You Oughta Know breakout artist series back in 2010 with songs like “New Morning”. The other is from Fiction Family, the quartet spearheaded by singer Jon Foreman from Switchfoot and guitarist Sean Watkins from Nickel Creek. “Up Against The Wall” is the first single from Fiction Family Reunion, out in late January on Rock Ridge.
Lee Brice is coming off two consecutive number-one singles at Country radio: “A Woman Like You” and “Hard To Love”. His latest on Curb Records, “I Drive Your Truck”, is a poignant ballad where the protagonist tries to relive the memories of a lost one. This should have no problem becoming his third chart-topper in a row. A video, featuring Brice’s brother, will be premiering soon. It goes for adds on December 3.
Two additional songs go for adds on December 17. LeAnn Rimes, scandals and stories behind her, returns with “Borrowed”, also on Curb. Rimes hasn’t had a top ten hit on the Country chart since 2005, even before her times in the tabloids, so it’s hard to imagine that this will provide any sort of a comeback for her. However, the song is simply-arranged and is pretty enough for what it is. It’s a subtle reintroduction to radio for her, which is probably just what she needs.
Also out on radio is “American Beautiful” by The Henningsens on Arista, an ill-timed single by the band considering the titles “American Heart” and “American Beauty” are also on the survey at the moment. A few of their songs have been big hits for The Band Perry, and this one could do what “Love Don’t Live Here” did for Lady Antebellum: took a long time to get going for a debut single, but look where they are now.
That’s it for this month’s Radio Report. There are already big plans for January, so stay tuned for an update in a few weeks.