Monday, October 25, 2010

New Picks of the Week October 24, 2010

I was not a very big fan of My Chemical Romance until they sold out, at least according to their “true” fans. When they hit it big with “Welcome To The Black Parade”, I jumped on the band wagon of this New Jersey rock quartet. Their latest single, “The Only Hope For Me Is You” is a great upbeat rocker with a catchy chorus and a descending bass line and fun vocals. The heavy beat will also get you up and dancing if you’d rather do that over rocking out. The song ends with a terrific lead guitar solo behind the repeating chorus.

I shouldn’t like Katy Perry. I really shouldn’t with her questionable lyrics and sexual overtones. But I love the dance beats and hooks. Then in her latest single, “Firework”, there are string riffs coupled with heavy electronic dance beat. Katy also has a great powerful voice which creates energy more than most of the other pop/dance singers on the scene today. So put it together with songs like “Waking Up In Vegas”, “If We Ever Meet Again” and “Hot N Cold”. Keep it going Katy!

Chart Update

Los Angeles hip hop/progressive quartet Far*East Quartet scores its first #1 song this week with “Like A G6” featuring Cataracs & Dev. The song jumps to the top after two weeks at #2.

Taylor Swift debuts in the Top 10 for the second week in a row. Last week she entered the Top 10 at #8 with “Speak Now”. This week she bows at #6 with “Back To December”. Meanwhile, “Speak Now” slips out of the Top 40. But she still holds at #14 with “Mine”.

It’s not a Top 40 debut, but Trey Songz enters the Top 10 this week with “Bottoms Up” featuring Nicki Minaj by moving from 13-10. Entering the Top 40 one notch short of the Top 10 is the 17th Top 40 hit for P!nk, “Raise Your Glass” at #11. Two other songs enter the Top 20 this week. Country band The Band Perry leaps from 27-19 with “If I Die Young”. And Lil Wayne is up from 26-20 with “Right Above It” featuring Drake. “If I Die Young” ties for the biggest move up the Top 40 this week with “No Hands” by Waka Flocka Flame featuring Roscoe Dash & Wale which debuted at #30 last week.

There are four other Top 40 debuts this week. Glee Cast’s cover of Colbie Caillat and Jason Mraz’s “Lucky” enters at #27. The original never made the Top 40 survey last year. Detroit pop star Mike Posner is following up his Top 10 hit “Cooler Than Me” with “Please Don’t Go” which debuts at #34 this week. A former #1 on the dance chart, “We No Speak Americano” by Yolanda Be Cool & Dcup bows at #35. And former Hootie & The Blowfish star Darius Rucker is in at #37 with “Come Back Song”.

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Sunday, October 17, 2010

New Picks of the Week October 17, 2010

54-year old Joe Satriani isn’t slowing down one bit. His newest album “Black Swans and Wormhole Wizards” makes a splash on the Top 200 Albums this week. The lead single, “Premonition”, is classic Satriani. Maybe better known for teaching well known guitar icons Steve Vai and Kirk Hammett, Joe Satriani has had his share of success recording highly successful instrumental rock albums. He has also toured with Mick Jagger and Deep Purple amongst others. His talents and successes have been recognized by a large number of Grammy nominations. He has the dubious recognition of having the second most Grammy Award nominations without winning.

Another new album on the chart this week is the latest release from Jason Mraz. It’s an EP called “Life Is Good”. The single, “Up”, is by far my favorite track on the record. It has a laid back funk feel with clever songwriting and vocal work. Of course what makes the tune is the horns. Great hook on the “lviin’ it up” line but even better is the Chicago-esque trombone/tenor sax driven horn lines. This may already be my favorite song by Jason which is saying quite a bit since I have been a fan since his debut.

Well she isn’t mad this time around, but Pink sure is assertive in her upbeat pop smashes. This is another one that is sure to score approval from her fans and pop radio. This time she is “raising her glass” to having a good time with of course a hint of anti-establishment of course. The song has the typical four on the floor to get your foot tapping and too many curse words for my liking. But it’s something about Pink that I just end up laughing. Then the chorus chimes in and you’ll be singing “never be never be” or “come on and come on and” for the rest of the day. Raise your glass to another hit by Pink.

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, Bruno Mars makes it four weeks on 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.

Taylor Swift is back with her 15th Top 40 pop hit. She zooms on to the Top 40 at #8 this week with “Speak Now”. Another impressive debut rockets on to the Top 40 this week at #12. It is the 13th Top 40 single for Kanye West called “Ruanway” featuring Pusha T.

There isn’t much chart action other than this in the Top 20. Far*East Movement holds at #2 after moves from 10-6 and 6-2 in consecutive weeks with “Like A G6” featuring Cataracs & Dev. Rihanna has a big airplay increase as she moves from 8-6 with “Only Girl (in The World)”.

Outside the Top 20 though there is a lot to talk about. The biggest move in the Top 40 is LIl Wayne rocketing from 39-26 with “Right Above It‘ featuring Drake. This comes a week after slipping from 30-39. The Band Perry re-enters the Top 40 at #27 with “If I Die Young” a week after slipping off the survey. 24-year old New York rapper Waka Flocka Flame bows at #30 with his first hit single “No Hands” featuring Roscoe Dash & Wale. Black Eyed Peas‘ star scores his second Top 40 solo hit with “Check It Out” featuring Nicki Minaj at #34. And then there are two more singles from Glee that jump onto the Top 40. “I Want To Hold Your Hand” and “One Of Us” debut at #36 and #37 respectively.

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Sunday, October 10, 2010

New Picks of the Week October 10, 2010

Did we really need another alternative rock band from Orange County, California? Well, apparently iTunes thought we did. They have made the single of the week “The Ballad Of You And I” by Melee it’s free tune of the week. And I have to say that they’ve stumbled upon something really good. There is some musical talent here. Good songwriting. Good guitar work, nice background vocal hook with some syncopation that is very cool. Cool string stabs on the second verse and some nice piano reverb all contribute to a song that I think could catch on. Plus, you gotta feel good for this band which has been releasing albums for over a decade now and had a #1 hit in Japan in 2007 with “Built To Last”.

I guess it’s alternative rock week in Rock-It! My second pick of the week comes from Arizona rock outfit Jimmy Eat World who came out with their brand new album “Invented” this week. The album debuted high on the Billboard chart and has a great single on it called “Stop”. Actually, there are a ton of good songs on the album, but I like this one best because it builds up to a high energy rock tune with good female backup vocals and a subtly soft beginning. Great pop rock workmanship doesn’t hurt either. Way to go guys!

When people ask me who my favorite pop artist of all time is, the answer is usually Phil Collins. And it is for so many reasons. Probably the number one reason though is that he is truly a musical genius. His latest album goes one step further to proving that. Here is a rock star who has dabbled in virtually every area of rock during his 40-plus year career in the business. And now he is doing a Motown cover album. It’s interesting to find out that Phil was a huge Motown fan growing up but because of the quick rise of Genesis, he never got to play in a band that covered Motown or that played in that style. Well, now he is finally getting his opportunity. Way to go Phil. You are one of my musical idols. Thanks for continuing to make great music!

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, Bruno Mars makes it three weeks on 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 big move in the Top 10 for the second week in a row is Far*East Movement’s “Like A G6” featuring Cataracs & Dev. The song leaps from 6-2 a week after leaping from 10-6. Also making a big move just below the Top 10 is Neon Trees up from 22-15 with “Animal”.

This is a tough fact to believe. This week the Glee Cast passes the Beatles for most Top 100 hits ever by a group in the rock era. Of course we live in a different era where the Glee Cast is able to put an average of five new songs on the chart every week at which time they quickly drop off. Don’t look for them to pass the Beatles any time soon when it comes to most Top 10 hits or #1 songs by a group. This week Glee debuts at #16 with a cover of Britney Spears‘ “Toxic” and #26 with their version of Paramore’s “The Only Exception”. Ironically, Paramore’s version is back to back with the Glee version at #25 this week. Thanks to the Glee version, the song makes a huge 57-25 move this week. It peaked earlier this year at #19.

There are two non-Glee debuts this week as well. Lil Wayne is back with a new album and a new single at #17 called “Gonorrhea” featuring Drake. And The Ready Set bows at #38 with “Love Like Woe”.

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Saturday, October 2, 2010

New Picks of the Week October 3, 2010

I have a electro hop fever. Akon has definitely jumped on board. It’s not as if the Senegalese hip hop star just joined the new wave of hip hop though. A couple years ago he had the clubs jumpin’ with “Keep You Much Longer” and of course his major pop crossover hit “Beautiful” with Colby O’Donis and Kardinal Offishall. Now in a week dominated by Glee debuts, the 37-year old superstar makes a huge splash with “Angel”. Nothing special here lyric wise or even from a harmonic chord progression standpoint. Just a good solid club hit. And it looks like this one will also crossover and have a chance to become Akon’s seventh Top 10 hit song.

At first you think you are going to get a beautiful ballad from the Barbados R&B singer that celebrates her 25th birthday this week. But then “Perfect Nightmare” turns into a great dance song. Shontelle, who belongs to the same record label as Rihanna who also is from Barbados, had a breakout hit two years ago with “T-Shirt”. Maybe this will become her second Top 40 effort.

It took me awhile to really dig this keyboard driven hit by Neon Trees. But now that I’m hearing the song more and it’s rocketing its way up the Top 40, it finally has it’s hook in me. “Animal” by Neon Trees holds at #22 this week. The band is from Provo, Utah and has been around since 2005. The band’s name comes from a California restaurant that had lights hung in all of its trees surrounding the establishment. After many independent releases, they are now with Mercury Records and are hoping not to be just a one-hit wonder.

Chart Update:

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, Bruno Mars makes it two weeks on 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 big move in the Top 10 this week is from Far*East Movement with “Like A G6” featuring Cataracs & Dev. The song leaps from 10-6 this week. Also making a big move just below the Top 10 is Maroon 5 up from 20-14 with “Misery”.

With the season premiere of “Glee” coming out this past week, we have several new songs from the show entering the Hot 100 this week. The top debut is “Empire State Of Mind” which comes in at #21. The original by Jay-Z + Alicia Keys reached #1 ten months ago. The cast’s cover of Lady GaGa’s “Telephone” comes in a couple notches lower at #23. At #28 is their remake of the aforementioned “Billionaire”. And at #38 is their version of “Listen” from “Dreamgirls”.

There are two non-Glee debuts this week as well. Jay Sean is in at #36 with “2012 (It Ain’t The End)” featuring Nicki Minaj and Daughtry bows at #40 with “September”.

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