Wednesday, March 23, 2011

New Picks of the Week March 20, 2011

Tijs Michiel Verwest, Dutch DJ who has hit in Europe and the clubs here in the U.S., has a great dance track called “Zero 76” that keeps the party jumpin’. He goes simply by Teisto. He was the first DJ to play at the Olympics back in 2004 in Athens, Greece. In 2007, he first reached #1 in the U.S. on the Electronic Album chart with “Elements Of Life”. The album also received a Grammy nomination a year later. His album “Kaleidoscope” became even a bigger success in 2009. His fame has increased due to his contributions to the games DJ Hero and DJ Hero 2. His fame will continue to grow with this single.

Keeping the dance theme going, you have to check out “Religious” by Gravitonas. The Swedish rock band that has been around for less than two years includes vocalist Adreas Ohrm and songwriter Alexander Bard. Their first release in Sweden was an instant success. Last year they released the EP, “The Hypnosis” which included the lead single “Religious” which has already dominated the dance scene in Europe. Now here it is in the U.S. This is a fun upbeat dance song with all sorts of cool hooks and songwriting fun.

Let’s just make this an all-dance new music week here on Rock-It! New York R&B dance singer/songwriter Kat DeLuna is back. You might remember her from 2007 with the hit “Whine Up”. Well now here she is getting feet moving again with “Dancing Tonight”. There is nothing too fancy about this song. Just a very upbeat feel-good dance song. The 23-year old star has also had success in Europe given her dance feel.

Chart Update:

Lady GaGa sits atop the pop chart again for a fifth week with “Born This Way”. This is her fourth chart topper following “Just Dance”, “Poker Face” and “Bad Romance”.

While GaGa is only in her fifth week in the Top 40, Cee Lo Green has been hanging around in the Hot 100 for 29 weeks with “Forget You”. And he is patiently hanging around the #2 spot. Not so patient is Katy Perry’s “E.T.” which rockets from 8-3 this week. She is looking to make it her fifth #1 hit song along with “I Kissed A Girl”, “California Gurls”, “Teenage Dream” and “Firework”.

Britney Spears is on the move again. She just debuted at #1 not too long with her fourth chart topper “Hold It Against Me”. Now she is up from 20-9with “Till The World Ends”. It’s the second biggest mover in the Top 40 this week matching the 11-notch move made by Diddy-Dirty Money’s “Coming Home” featuring Skylar Grey which is up from 22-11.

The biggest move this week is made by The Black Eyed Peas which roll up from 38-22 with “Just Can’t Get Enough”.

One notch lower is this week’s highest debut. No surprise it’s by the Glee Cast as they roll in with a remake of Fleetwood Mac’s “Landslide” at #23. There is only one other debut this week. Zac Brown Band notch their fourth pop Top 40 hit with “Colder Weather” at #38.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

New Picks of the Week February 20, 2011

When I think of Lakeland, Florida, I think of my Grandma’s sisters who live in a retirement community down there. Well add to that, Christian contemporary singer/songwriter Jonny Diaz. The 26-year old newcomer is making a big splash on the CCM scene with his song, “Beauty Of The Cross”. The song has a great guitar driven feel and a message of the redemption given to us by Jesus. The song would also work as a worship tune which is also a plus for a worship leader like myself. Also throw in the little known fact that Jonny’s brother Matt Diaz is an outfielder for the Philadelphia Phillies. The family is doing pretty good!

The committee that picks songs for the weekly free single on iTunes does a great job. Their latest pick is by the Huntington Beach, California pop/rock quintet Runner Runner. The single “Hey Alli” has a fun power chord driven chorus with mellow verses that talk about the very simple message of this great girl named Alli. I’m also a sucker for slight modulations which you hear in the bridge. The band made their debut last summer on the Jimmy Kimmel show. Their first single, “So Obvious”, had some minor success late last year.

It’s not often that a band from New Zealand appears on the American charts. But let me introduce The Naked And Famous. It’s not necessarily a band that I am going to pronounced loudly that I like (for similar reasons to saying, I like “Barenaked Ladies”), but their first U.S. single “Young Blood” is a catchy tune that combines elements of alternative, electronica and pop. The group has already been nominated for BBC awards in England and is doing very well in Europe.

Chart Update:

It was over 55 years ago that Bill Haley and the Comets hit #1 on the Billboard chart with “Rock Around The Clock”. It became the first #1 song of the rock era. This week, an artist that is equally controversial as Bill Haley could be in his day scores the 1,000th #1 song of the rock era. Lady GaGa’s new single, “Born This Way”, debuts on the Hot 100 at #1. It becomes Lady GaGa’s fourth #1 career hit following “Just Dance”, “Poker Face” and “Bad Romance”.

Three songs rocket into the bottom half of the Top 10 this week. Cee Loo Green who appeared to have peaked several weeks ago is back up from 16-7 this week with his first Top 40 hit, “Forget You”. Making the biggest move of the week within the Top 40 is Rihanna who soars up from 31-8 with “S&M”. The move comes on the superstar’s 23rd birthday. She now has 14 Top 10 hits to her credit since her debut in 2005. And up from 19-9 is another song that appeared to have peaked awhile back. The Black Eyed Peas make the leap with “The Time (Dirty Bit)”.

Falling just short of the Top 10 despite a big move is Avril Lavigne’s “What The Hell” which is up from 23-11.

There are five debuts in the Top 40 this week. British hip hop star Jay Sean leads the way at #18 with “Hit The LIghts” featuring Lil Wayne. 25-year old California pop singer/songwriter Colbie Caillat scores her fourth Top 40 hit this week at #23 with “I Do”. Bieber Fever is back as Justin Bieber debuts at #25 with his sixth Top 40 hit, “Never Say Never” featuring Jaden Smith. And then two Glee Cast songs round out the new hits. They are at #34 with their cover of Katy Perry’s “Firework” (the original is #2 this week) and at #38 with “Thriller/Heads Will Roll”.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

New Picks of the Week January 30, 2011

Once again, I have no new picks this week. I have not been too impressed with the new music coming out so far in 2011. The new Script album is probably the best thing I've heard so far.

But, I do have a weekly chart update this week:

You can almost count on Bruno Mars holding down the #1 position every other week with “Grenade”. Four weeks ago he ascended to the pole position only to be knocked out of the top spot by Katy Perry’s “Firework” a week later. Two weeks ago he returned to the top but found himself at #2 last week when Britney Spears debuted at #1 with “Hold It Against Me”. Now Bruno is back at #1 this week. We’ll see if he can old on to the top or if he drops to #2 for the fourth time in seven weeks. It is Bruno’s second #1 hit. He went to the top last year with “Just The Way You Are” which slips to #12 this week.

It’s not too surprising that Katy Perry returns to #2 with “Firework” which was holding down the top two spots with Bruno until Britney’s big debut last week. The latest two songs threatening to crash the Top 2 party are “Black And Yellow” by 23-year old North Dakota rapper Wiz Khalifa which moves from 5-3 and “Tonight (I’m Lovin’ You) by Enrique Iglesias featuring Ludacris & DJ Frank E which is up from 6-4.

The two biggest moves in the bottom half of the Top 10 are from Britney Spears dropping from 1-6 with “Hold It Against Me” and Pitbull scoring his first ever solo Top 10 hit by rocketing up from 20-10 with “Hey Baby (Drop It To The Floor) featuring T-Pain.

That 10-notch move is not the biggest in the Top 40 though. P!nk soars up 19 spots from 30-11 with “F**kin‘ Perfect”. She is after her 12th career Top 10 hit.

There are two debuts in the Top 40 this week. 26-year old rapper Nicki Minaj has her third Top 40 hit song with “Moment 4 Life” featuring Drake at #37 and 33-year old country star Jason Aldean has his third pop Top 40 single with “Don’t You Wanna Stay” with Kelly Clarkson at #39.

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Monday, January 17, 2011

New Picks of the Week January 16, 2011

No new picks again this week. It's been a slow start to 2011. Here is a chart update though.

A week after slipping from #1, 25-year old native Hawaiian Bruno Mars returns to #1 on the pop chart with “Grenade”. He and Katy Perry’s “Firework” (now at #2) have been knocking each other out of the #1 post three weeks in a row now. It is Bruno’s second #1 hit. He went to the top last year with “Just The Way You Are” which holds at #9 this week.

Not much movement in the Top 10 with no songs moving up and down more than one spot. Rihanna re-enters the Top 10 this week with her former #1 smash “Only Girl (In The World)” at #10. That means there are seven songs in the Top 10 that have hit #1. In addition to the songs already mentioned, the others are Rihanna’s “What’s My Name?” featuring Drake at #3, Ke$ha’s “We R Who We R” at #4 and P!nk’s “Raise Your Glass” at #5.

There is a little more movement in the 11-20 area of the chart. Lil Wayne ties for the second biggest move in the entire Top 40 this week by leaping from 17-12 with “6 Foot 7 Foot” featuring Cory Gunz. The dance mega hit “Stereo Love” by Edward Maya & Vika Jigulina makes a nice move from 21-17 this week.

The biggest move this week is clearly Far*East Movement’s “Rocketeer” which shoots up from 34-23 in its third week on the survey.

Debuting on the Top 40 this week is 24-year old Philadelphia singer-songwriter Christina Perri with “Jar Of Hearts” at #30. It’s her first hit song. Taio Cruz scores another Top 40 hit this week with “Higher” featuring Travie McCoy at #36. And Flo Rida is back at #39 with “Who Dat Girl” featuring Akon.

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Saturday, January 8, 2011

New Picks of the Week January 9, 2011

It’s hard to believe that the Toronto Christian rock band Manic Drive has been around for 15 years now. They just came across my radar a couple years ago. Last year, they had one of my picks of the week with “Walls”. Their latest to make the cut is “Music”. It has a fun ascending scalar hook line along with strings and horns. The message is basically how worship is not about the music, it’s about our Lord God. As musicians, we struggle with this probably more than anybody listening to the music. And even though we love making the music, it’s more about making the music for God than anything else. Way to go Manic Drive!

Chart Highlights:

It’s been a couple weeks since I’ve done my usually-weekly chart highlights column. But Katy Perry is still holding down the #1 spot with “Firework”. Actually she gave up the spot for a week last week when Bruno Mars soared to the top with “Grenade”. But this week, the two flip flop back. Three other former #1 songs wrap up the Top 5 this week. Holding at #3 is “We R Who We R” by Ke$ha. Rihanna is still at #4 with “What’s My Name?” featuring Drake. And P!nk makes it two straight weeks at #5 with “Raise Your Glass”.

So who is going to have the next make #1 hit. Look out for Enrique Iglesias who inches up from 7-6 a week after a big 6-notch move with “Tonight (I’m Lovin‘ You)” featuring Ludacris & DJ Frank E. The Black Eyed Peas might still make a run as well as they move from 9-7 with “The Time (Dirty Bit)”.

The chart is usually slow moving the first couple weeks of the year. And it’s no different here in 2011. The biggest jump in the Top 20 is actually from one of the biggest hits of 2010, “Dynamite” by Taio Cruz which moves from 16-13. Katy Perry also makes a 3-notch move from 21-18 with “Teenage Dream”.

Two other older songs also tie for the biggest move in the Top 40. Flo Rida is up from 36-30 with “Club Can’t Handle Me” featuring David Guetta. Enrique Iglesias is up from 38-32 with “I Like It” featuring Pitbull.

There are no debuts this week, just one re-entry. Taylor Swift is back in at #31 with “Mine”.