Sunday, September 26, 2010

New Picks of the Week September 26, 2010

Yes, I know. Another Owl City song in my list of new picks of the week. But this one is a little different. For one, the credit is given to his real name, Adam Young. You wonder if he is going to eventually switch over to this. And he is featured on a different project by Dutch DJ/producer Armin Van Buuren. Armin has been around the club scene even longer than fashionably popular David Guetta. His music has more of an alternative trance feel than David’s however this effort is definitely more pop friendly. Some of my other recommendations by Armin include “Going Wrong” with DJ Shah featuring Chris Jones, “Fine Without You”, his mix of BT’s “Every Other Way” and “Broken Tonight” featuring VanVelzen.

Easily my favorite Christian rock album of the year is “Light Up The Sky” by the Dallas, Texas band The Afters. It already has produced the CCM hits “Light Up The Sky” and “Runaway”. And now there is another one to add to the list, “Lift Me Up”. A refreshing declaration to giving our lives to Christ with a great anthem-like chorus and driving bridge leads to another wonderful effort from this young band that in my opinion rivals MercyMe and Casting Crowns as one of the best Christian rock bands on the scene today.

Okay so I’m pretty sure the Killers have not broken up. Thanks goodness. They have been one of the best pop rock bands in the music world the past half decade. Therefore, I can like frontman Brandon Flowers’ first solo project, “Flamingo”. The single “Only The Young” has that Killers type feel but more low key and trance-like. And the lyrics like most Killers songs are somewhat confusing, but you know me, lyrics aren’t always that important. The 29-year old Nevada native has a hit on his hands.

Chart Highlights:

One of my past new picks of the week has reached the #1 spot on the pop chart this week. The 25-year old newcomer has replaced Katy Perry at the top of the chart this week with “Just The Way You Are”. It tops Bruno’s former chart peak of #4 when he was featured on Travie McCoy’s “Billionaire” earlier this year.

The other big development in the Top 10 this week is Rihanna’s mega leap from 75-3 with “Only Girl (In The World)”. It becomes teh 22-year old Barbados superstar’s 12th Top 10 hit song. Also entering the Top 10 this week is Far*East Movement by moving from 16-10 with “Like A G6” featuring Cataracs & Dev. It’s the first hit song for the L.A. hip hop quartet.

Another big debut comes in at #21 this week. “Dog Days Are Over” by Florence + The Machine leaps from 93-21 which actually matches the 72-notch move of Rihanna. Florence + The Machine is actually one artist Florence Welch out of London, England. The Machine consists of a variety of other artists that appear on her recordings.

Rapper Drake bows at #25 with “Fancy” featuring T.I. and Swizz Beatz. It is Drake’s eighth Top 10 hit, all coming in the past year and a half. Kings Of Leon round out the collection of new songs in the Top 40 this week. They enter at #37 with “Radioactive”.

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Sunday, September 19, 2010

New Picks of the Week September 19, 2010

31-year old singer-songwriter Brendan James made a nice splash on the Billboard Top 200 Album chart this week with his self titled album. Brendan who is originally from New Hampshire and is now based out of New York first hit the scene back in 2007 with the EP “The Ballroom Break-In”. He followed that up with the full length “The Day Is Brave” which featured a couple songs that appeared in movies and TV including the FOX show “Bones”. His latest album includes a great new song called “Nothing For Granted” which has a fun message and is a great acoustic driven pop song. Check out the song and the entire album which sounds great.

Since the inception of the dance chart as it is known in its current format, nobody has had more chart hits than Robyn. The 31-year old Swedish superstar continues to crank out club hit after club hit. Her latest EP “Body Talk Part 2” is just as good as “Body Talk Part 1” if not better. The first release from that album, “Hang With Me” has the classic Robyn synth-hook with floating vocals over the standard techno dance driving beat. Nothing special about the lyrics. Just another great beat-driven hit that is great to crank up on a late summer evening.

Last week my third pick of the week was “Notbroken” by the Goo Goo Dolls. This week I have a hit by another band that has been doing it up right for over a decade, Lifehouse. The L.A. rock trio first got us all pumped up in 2001 with “Hangin’ By A Moment” which was one of the top ten songs played at radio in the 2000’s. Since then they have been spotted on my pick of the weeks with songs like “Spin”, “First Time”, “From Where You Are”, “Halfway Gone” and most recently “It Is What It Is” from the album “Smoke & Mirrors”. The latest hit from that album is “All In”. It is upbeat and actually brings me back to the youth of their first bit hits.

Chart Update:

Katy Perry was at #1 during seven of the thirteen weeks that the calendar read summer. Now she is starting off the autumn at the top as she spends a second week at the top with “Teenage Dream”. The song is also closing in on becoming the #1 dance song in the country.

KP better watch out because the electro hop movement is aiming for her the next couple weeks. All three songs moving up the Top 10 this week fit under the e-hop umbrella. Bruno Mars is up from 4-3 with “Just The Way You Are”. Nelly jumps from 9-7 with “Just A Dream”. And one of my faves on the Top 40 right now, Flo Rida’s “Club Can’t Handle Me” featuring David Guetta dances up from 13-9 this week. By the way, that hit as well as Taio Cruz’s “Dynamite” (which slides from 3-4 this week) are now available from me as pep band arrangements.

Hard to believe the biggest moving song in the Top 40 this week is making just a 6-notch move. The honor goes to Provo, Utah alternative rock quartet Neon Trees who leap from 30-24 with “Animal”.

I am loving the week in debuts this week. The list is headed up by Sara Bareilles who debuts at #1 on the Billboard Top 200 Albums this week with “Kaleidoscope Heart”. The first single, “King Of Anything” which is one of my favorite singles of the year bows at #32 on pop chart this week. She reached #4 a couple years ago with another great hit, “Love Song”.

Coming in at #34 is “If It’s Love” by Train. The band is coming off its biggest hit ever, “Hey, Soul Sister”. Their latest is another cleverly written pop rock bit. Selena Gomez scores her third hit at #35 with “A Year Without Rain”. And The Band Perry score their first hit with “If I Die Young” at #39.

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Sunday, September 12, 2010

New Picks of the Week September 12, 2010

It’s been eight years since Aussie sensation Kylie Minogue had her comeback smash hits “Can’t Get You Out Of My Head” and “Love At First Sight”. Now here we are watching her comeback again. Little do most pop music fans in the U.S. know that she hasn’t gone anywhere during her 25-year career in Europe except during the time she fought and beat breast cancer. Kylie is back with the Top 10 album “Aphrodite” which has already produced the Top 10 dance smash “All The Lovers”. Now she is back with “Get Outta My Way” which has a great classic Kylie-dance beat and a classic sing-a-long chorus that will have Kylie fans once again dancing.

It’s kind of tough to classify what kind of music the L.A. quartet The Rescues are making. It has elements of pop, alternative, country and electronica. Well, if you know what kind of songs really catch my attention, it’s usually something that is different and combines elements of a variety of styles. That is probably why I’m really into “Break Me Out” by The Rescues. There are keyboard lines that make it sound like it’s out of the eighties, guitar licks that remind me of Lady Antebellum and times I feel like it’s a Jason Mraz tune. Check it out.

One complaint a lot of us have about bands that have been around for awhile is how all their music sounds the same after awhile. And although that usually bothers me as well, when it’s a band that you really enjoy, it doesn’t seem to be as big of a problem. That is the case with the Goo Goo Dolls. Ever since their breakout megahits “Iris” and “Slide” from a decade ago, I have been on the Goo Goo Dolls bandwagon. Their latest release, “Notbroken” is another great release from the Buffalo, New York trio. It’s a down tempo power ballad that proves that lead singer John Rzeznik still sounds great.

Here's a look at this week's pop chart highlights:

Eminem’s seven-week run at #1 on the pop chart comes to an end this week as he is knocked off of the top spot by the same girl he kicked out almost two months ago. Katy Perry is back on top with “Teenage Dream”, the titled track from her latest release. The first single from that album, “California Gurls”, spent six weeks at #1 prior to Eminem’s run. It is the 25 year old California girl’s third chart topper. She also reached #1 with her first hit, “I Kissed A Girl”, in 2008.

Eminem of course is one of the top rappers from the past decade. And there could be another star in that classification that could be the next one at #1. Nelly has the one new song in the Top 10 this week as he moves from13-9 with “Just A Dream”.

Making the biggest move in the Top 40 this week is Trey Songz who leaps from 27-20 with “Bottoms Up” featuring Nicki Minaj. The 25-year old R&B star is looking for his second Top 10 hit following up “Say Aah” from earlier this year.

The highest debut in the Top 40 this week is from the Far*East Movement, an L.A. electro hop group that has been around for seven years. Their first hit, “Like A G6” featuring Cataracs & Dev, makes a big splash this week at #21.

Also debuting this week is newcomer Cee Lo Green at #33 with “Forget You” and Sean Kingston at #40 with “Letting Go (Dutty Love) featuring Nicki Minaj. It is the 20-year old Jamaican star’s fifth Top 40 hit.

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Friday, September 3, 2010

New Picks of the Week September 5, 2010

Okay, if you don’t know who Natalie Grant is, check her out. She is a Christian pop star based out of Seattle. She is been on the scene for over a decade now and has cranked out great songs such as The Real Me”, “What Are You Waiting For”, “In Better Hands” and “Held”. She has won four consecutive Dove Awards for best female artist. The 38-year old’s latest release is called “Love Revolution”. It has a Kelly Clarkson power anthem feel with a positive spin on Christ working in our lives to the point of overflowing to others. Way to go Natalie.

What a fun album “The Latin Side Of Herbie Hancock” is. A ton of classic Hancock songs like “Cantaloupe Island” and “Butterfly”. But my favorite single on the album is “Watermelon Man”. The album is credited to three incredible musicians. The most recognizable is trumpeter Randy Brecker of Brecker Brothers fame. But he is joined by Puerto Rican pianist Eddie Palmieri and one of the best trombone players on the planet right now, Conrad Herwig. Saxophonist Craig Handy is also featured plus some wonderful Latin drumming.

When students learn about jazz 50 years from now, the name that will probably be most commonly attached to the past twenty or thirty years of jazz will be Marsalis. The family is well known for their incredible musicianship, advancements in jazz style, bringing jazz to the mainstream and their wisdom and knowledge of jazz history and the idiom. Wynton, Branford, Delfeayo and the entire gang have teamed up to record a wonderful live performance called “Music Redeems”. It’s another must-have for jazz lovers with the name Marsalis on it.

Chart Highlights:

It’s going to be pretty difficult for Eminem to top his biggest hit of all time. Back in 2002, the 37-year old Kansas City native went to #1 the first week of October with “Lose Yourself” and nearly held down the top spot the remainder of that calendar year. His run ended at 12 weeks. With that said, he is over half of the way there with his current single. This week he makes it six weeks at #1 with “Love The Way You Lie” featuring Rihanna.

The run could be coming to an end though because Katy Perry has the biggest airplay gainer of the week moving from 3-2 with “Teenage Dream”. Katy was actually who Eminem knocked out of the top spot six weeks ago when she was making a long run on top with “California Gurls”. Her new album “Teenage Dream” debuts at #2 on the album chart this week.

And keep your eye on two more songs at the bottom of the Top 10 this week. Taylor Swift who debuted at #3 three weeks ago with “Mine” is back up from 14-9 this week. And Ke$ha who also had a long run at #1 to start the year with “TiK ToK”, leaps from 16-10 with “Take It Off”.

Three songs debut in the Top 40 this week. Leading the way is 26-year old Ohio rapper Kid Cudi with “Erase Me” featuring Kanye West at #22. It already becomes his second biggest hit after “Day ‘N‘ Nite”, which was his first hit song last year. Usher joins the 20-hit club this week. His 20th Top 40 single, “Hot Tottie” featuring Jay-Z bows at #25 this week. And Utah rock quartet Neon Trees score their first hit this week at #33 with “Animal”.

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