Sunday, November 28, 2010

New Picks of the Week November 28, 2010

I am on the record saying that I am not a fan of “Glee”, the show. Although I think the premise is cool. I’m a music teacher so why would I not like a show about a school music program? Unfortunately, I think the writing is bad and quite shallow. But I always like to follow this with two other statements. I don’t like 95 percent of the shows on TV today. And quite honestly, Glee is better than many other shows I’ve sampled. Secondly, and more importantly, I love the music. They bring back great songs and do them very well. This mash up of “Singing In The Rain” and Rihanna’s “Umbrella” is awesome. What a creative mix. Great job Glee!

Speaking of Rihanna, she has another big hit. “Only Girl (In The World)” has already hit #1 on the Billboard chart. And it’s grown on me during its short time on the scene. I love the keyboard pads on the chorus coupled with Rihanna’s tuned up voice. The rest of the song is your typical high powered techno drum beat and trance like vocals. The bridge is a nice variation from the rest of the song as the Barbados superstar drops down into her lower octave. So I guess I’m trying to say that this song isn’t anything too special, but it’s a toe tapper.

Way to go Midwestern rock and roll. Stone Sour is from nearby Des Moines, Iowa and formed way back in 1992. After lead singer Corey Taylor left to join Slipknot in 1997, the group disbanded until reforming in 2002. It’s been since then that the band has enjoyed most of their success. Most of their music is on the edgier side, but “Hesitate” is a great rock ballad. I like the harmonies (Def Leppard reminiscent) and the nice guitar solo. A very well crafted pop rock song. Way to go guys.

Chart Update:

Rihanna continues to dominate the female R&B scene as she climbs to #1 for the fifth time in her career with “Only Girl (In The World)”. Her chart toppers date back to “SOS” in 2006 and also include “Umbrella”, “Take A Bow” and “Disturbia”. She also reached #1 in 2008 featured on T.I.’s “Live Your Life”.

Although Rihanna is the top female vocalist of the past four years, she better watch out for some other women closing in on the top. P!nk is up from 4-2 this week with “Raise Your Glass”. Ke$ha moves from 6-4 with “We R Who We R”. And Katy Perry (who doesn’t feel the need to put and shift-number characters in her name), moves from 9-6 with “Firework”. All three of these songs were performed on the recent American Music Awards.

Two big Top 40 debuts this week. And once again they are both by the Glee Cast. They come in at #11 with “Forget You” featuring Gwyneth Paltrow. At #18 they bow with the aforementioned “Singing In The Rain/Umbrella”. Glee is approaching 100 Top 100 hits which is third in the rock era behind James Brown and Elvis Presley. Of course, they are no where close to either in the number of weeks spent on the Hot 100. Of the 90-plus Glee hits, only 14 have spent more than one week on the Hot 100.

The big movers within the Top 40 this week include a big move into the Top 10 by 36-year old Atlanta R&B star Cee Lo Green. He is up from 22-9 with “Forget You”. His move is outdone by another R&B star, Bruno Mars who moves from 30-17 with “Grenade”.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

New Picks of the Week November 21, 2010

It’s always nice to hear stories about artists that rise to the top unexpectedly. 24-year old Edward Maya is from Romania where he is finishing up at Bucharest Conservatory as a music student. As a performer, composer and producer, he has recorded many original songs. One of these, “Stereo Love” featuring vocalist Vika Jigulina caught on in his native Romania before becoming a mega hit at clubs around the world. Now, the song has crossed over to pop radio and this week hits the national Top 40 in the U.S. The song features a hook on Edward’s main instrument, accordion.

From a completely other side of the world as Edward and Vika is Charmaine out of Sydney, Australia. Charmaine is looking for a way to bring Christian hit music to us in a different way than the typical pop/rock format. She leans toward electronica which means she is leaning my way. The techno beats along with her perfect voice for this format makes “Run” an easy fit at nightclubs. But the message is definitely Christian which is awesome. The song is also part of the new Rock Band 3. Check it out!

Another Christian rock band that is closer to home that you should check out is Echoing Angels. Out of Atlanta, Georgia, this band has been around since 1999. They didn’t hit it big on the national scene though until 2007 with the release of their album “You Alone” which appeared on the Billboard Heatseekers chart. Their latest effort called “Say What You Believe” caught my attention with the great horn line and then the great outspoken message that all Christians should adhere to.

Chart Update:

Returning to #1 this week after a two-week hiatus is “Like A G6” by Far*East Movement featuring Cataracs & Dev. The song just spent two weeks at #2 while Ke$ha took a turn at #1 with “We R Who We R” followed by Rihana with “What’s My Name?” featuring Drake.

Rihanna isn’t done threatening the top spot. She moves from 4-2 this week with “Only Girl In The World”. And yet another diva is closing in on #1. P!nk is up from 7-4 this week with “Raise Your Glass”.

It’s another big Glee Cast week this week. The group which is now overtaken the Beatles for most Hot 100 hits in the rock era adds three more to the Top 40 this week. The list is headed up with “Teenage Dream” at #8. It’s of course a cover of the Katy Perry #1 smash from this summer which still resides at #13 on the pop chart this week. The Cast then has two medleys bow lower on the chart. They are at #31 with “Start Me Up/Livin’ On A Prayer” and at #38 with “Stop In The Name Of Love/Free Your Mind”.

Also making a big debut this week is Black Eyed Peas. They roll in at #12 with “The Time (Dirty Bit)” which samples the “Dirty Dancing” 1980’s classic “The Time Of My Life”. It is the Peas‘ 12th career Top 40 single. Two songs tie for the biggest move up the Top 40 this week. Country superstars Sugarland are up from 25-17 with “Stuck Like Glue”. And Cee Lo Green is up from 30-22 with “Forget You”.

Also debuting in the Top 40 this week are the aforementioned Edward Maya & Vika Jigulina with the Top 10 Dance smash “Stereo Love”.

Friday, November 5, 2010

New Picks of the Week November 7, 2010

I am a huge fan of Michael Buble. The fact that I play in a big band that covers half of his stuff is probably a good sign of that. But the Michael Buble music I love is not always the stuff that other people know. Buble has some incredible big band tunes. The arrangements are killer. His voice and style is right up there with Sinatra in my mind. I try to convince people that there is more to Buble than all of his cheesy pop tunes. But okay, now I like one of his cheesy pop tunes. “End Of May” is awesome. The perfect Buble voice combined with a great piano driven ballad plus strings. Beautiful! Just beautiful!

Last week I was writing about one of my favorite Christian rock bands, Hawk Nelson. Those guys go back a ways. A little bit newer on the scene is the Atlanta rock quartet The Museum. I love there straight ahead rock feel with the U2 type guitar hooks. Their debut album “Reverse This Dying Trend” dropped in 2008. Their new album “Let Love Win” is already winning over new fans. “My Help Comes From The Lord” hit the Top 20 on the Christian pop chart. And now they are making waves with “Never Look Away” which has a very catchy melody with a good message and with a very nice guitar solo.

I’ll close my new picks of the week with the Chicago-based Christian rock outfit Superchick. I thought maybe my phase of loving this band ran out when they first hit the Christian music scene back in 2001. But here they are still here. Ironically, their latest hit is called “Still Here”. Very much in the style of contemporary glam rock, this tune has the subdued verses followed by the screamin‘ choruses and raging guitar solo. The message maybe isn’t very novel or deep, but it is a great rocker nonetheless.

Chart Update:

Hello Ke$ha, and welcome to #1. Wow, out of nowhere we have our first song to debut at #1 in 2010. And it’s by none other than 23-year old California girl Ke$ha. Yes, the same Ke$ha that started off the year with a solid two months at #1 with “TiK ToK”. She is in at #1 with her latest smash “We R Who We R”.

And then check out what Ke$ha has done to the remainder of the Top 9. Every song slips a notch from last week including last week’s #1 song “Like A G6” by Far*East Movement. Of last week’s Top 10, only P!nk’s “Raise Your Glass” manages to hold it’s spot from a week ago at #10.

Debuting just a notch out of the Top 10 is Will Smith’s 9-year old daughter Willow. She is one of the youngest artists to ever have a hit song. She rolls in at #11 with “Whip My Hair”.

Another amazing feat happens this week as well. Taylor Swift has entered the Hot 100 the past four weeks in the Top 20 with “Speak Low” at #8 three weeks ago, “Back To December” at #6 two weeks ago, “Mean” at #11 last week and now “Sparks Fly” at #17 this week. They are all from her latest album, “Speak Now” which debuts at #1 on the album chart and sells a million copies in its first week. That is almost unheard of these days. Taylor also debuts at #27 with “innocent” and just misses entering the Top 40 at #41 with “The Story Of Us”. She also is at #21 with “Mine”.

You want even more debuts? They are all over the place this week. Kanye West busts in at #18 with “Monster” featuring Jay-Z, Rick Ross, (Eau Claire native) Bon Iver and Nicki Minaj. Katy Perry is looking for a third consecutive #1 single with “Firework” which jumps in at #29 this week. And Chris Brown scores his second Top 40 this this year (“Decues” was the first). He bows at #33 with “Yeah 3X”.

I’m not trying to forget about the songs that were already on the survey last week, but there are no big moves of note. The biggest jump within the Top 40 this week is a mere two spots! Neon Trees move from 15-13 with “Animal”.

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Monday, November 1, 2010

New Picks of the Week October 31, 2010

Only one new pick this week fans:

When I think about some of my favorite Christian rock bands from the first part of the decade, the Ontario, Canada band Hawk Nelson comes to mind. They came out at a time when I was getting really tired of all the AC pop that was dominating Christian music. And yes, AC still dominates the format, but Hawk Nelson is a pop punk rock band that has provided us with some terrific rock efforts. My favorite song at this point is “The Show”. But I am really enjoying their latest effort “Crazy Love”. Check it out.

Chart Update:

Los Angeles hip hop/progressive quartet Far*East Quartet holds at #1 this week for a second week in a row with “Like A G6” featuring Cataracs & Dev. The song is their first chart single.

Trey Songz has the biggest mover in the Top 10 this week as he jumps from 10-6 with “Bottoms Up” featuring Nicki Minaj. He is on his way to scoring his personal biggest hit.

P!nk scores her 11th career Top 10 hit this week as she moves from 11-10 with “Raise Your Glass”. It’s tough to believe that it was over ten years ago that she earned her first Top 10 single with “There You Go” in 2000.

Taylor Swift nearly debuts in the Top 10 for the third week in a row. Two weeks ago she entered the Top 10 at #8 with “Speak Now”. Last week she bowed at #6 with “Back To December”. Now this week she debuts at #11 with “Mean”. She nearly has back to back hits this week with yet another song, “Mine” which is up from 14-13.

22-year old Detroit pop singer Mike Posner has the biggest mover in the Top 40 this week. He leaps from 34-19 with “Please Don’t Go” in the song’s second week in the Top 40. It’s the follow up to his Top 10 debut single “Cooler Than Me”.

In addition to Taylor Swift’s “Mean”, two other songs debut in the Top 40 this week. 33-year old Colombian superstar Shakira is in at #32 with “Loca” featuring El Cata or Dizzee Rascal. It is her seventh Top 40 single in the U.S. And Georgia country group Zac Brown Band scores its third Top 40 pop hit this week as they are in at #39 with “As She’s Walking Away” featuring Alan Jackson.

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