dispatches from the pop scene...minus the corn syrup.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

US Chart Roundup: We're Fucked & There's No Escape From Ariana Grande And Iggy Azalea

Ariana Grande and Iggy Azalea are two bitches who are now entrenched so far into our lives, no one is going to be able to jack off without one of them (or both of them) sitting between your knees and watching.



Combined, these broads take up five of the positions in the Top 10 of the Billboard Hot 100 this week. And each one has three songs in the upper tier of the chart (with "Problem" obviously being the collaboration between the two). You can see which ones I'm talking about below. To spell them all out would be to inflict more madness upon my soul, so let's just move on.



This week the Top 10 disposes of Charli XCX's #10-peaking "Boom Clap" (it's down to #11) and Maroon 5's dull as shit "Maps" (now at #12), while Clean Bandit's "Rather Be" annoyingly also drops one position to #14.

Tove Lo's "Habits (Stay High)" moves up to #30, and Nicki Minaj's piece of shit garbage track "Anaconda" thankfully plummets 20 spots down to #39. The video for that mess premiered yesterday, and in case you missed that bit of lite porn...



On a final note, Kiesza's "Hideaway" continues its slow ascent up the chart, and finds itself at #65 this week. At this point, it should (hopefully) be a stateside hit sometime this fall...or, you now — in 2015.

The U.S. Top 10:

1. "Rude" - MAGIC! *6 weeks*
2. "All About That Bass" - Meghan Trainor
3. "Stay With Me" - Sam Smith
4. "Break Free" - Ariana Grande feat. Zedd
5. "Fancy" - Iggy Azalea feat. Charli XCX
6. "Am I Wrong" - Nico & Vinz
7. "Problem" - Ariana Grande feat. Iggy Azalea
8. "Black Widow" - Iggy Azalea feat. Rita Ora
9. "Chandelier" - Sia
10. "Bang Bang" - Jessie J, Ariana Grande & Nicki Minaj

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Saturday, August 16, 2014

Madonna's 2,687th Birthday & My List Of Firsts Revolving Around Ye Old Vampyre

Oh, Madonna, you Olde Vampyre — we've had such a long, long history together, and you've been imprinted onto my life since I was 9 years old. And so today, in honor of your 5,963rd birthday, here's a lists of "firsts" you played a role in, as they relate to me. It's always about me.

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MADONNA'S FIRST ALBUM: My mom bought it for my dad for Christmas 1983, and followed that up as a gift the next Christmas with Like A Virgin. I remember watching the "Borderline" video a lot on MTV in those years and thinking the song was boring. I also have lots of memories of being a young kid in those two years and reading comic books with those two albums playing a lot in the background.



FIRST SONG I TRULY LOVED BY MADONNA: The video for "Into The Groove" was in heavy rotation on MTV in 1985. I was still a kid, and really had no concept of album or single campaigns or how artists moved on from one project to the next. When my family finally brought a VCR into the household in 1986, my dad and I rented Desperately Seeking Susan, and when "Into The Groove" played it sounded pretty, um, "shiny and new," a whole year-plus later. It's still one of my favorites.



FIRST MADONNA SINGLE I BOUGHT: I spent some hard-earned allowance money (I hadn't started hooking yet — that came later, at age 13) on the "Papa Don't Preach" 45 in summer 1986 (along with Pet Shop Boys' "West End Girls," Nu Shooz's "I Can't Wait," Peter Gabriel's "Sledgehammer" and Steve Winwood's "Higher Love').

FIRST MADONNA ALBUM I OWNED: My friend Amanda and I hung out in her bedroom all the time in late 1990 (she was 13 and I was 16), and we'd play her Deee-Lite, INXS and They Might Be Giants CDs and sneak out onto her roof from the skylight window in her bedroom ceiling. I used to unhook her bra a lot and then throw it on the roof in places she couldn't get to it. One time I even put one of her bras under the cold water from the kitchen faucet, then hid it in her mom's freezer. That was a good one. ANYWAY, despite all this torture, my friend gave me The Immaculate Collection for Christmas that year — of course, she couldn't hold out that long, and she gave it to me like the first week of December so we could play it constantly in her room.

FIRST MADONNA SINGLE I HAD ON CASSETTE: The summer after I graduated high school, I went with two other friends on a road trip to Ocean City, Maryland for a week. I met this guy on the beach (or as one of my friends on the trip said at the time, I "picked up a stray") named Jason, who lived nearby, and we struck up a friendship. My friends and I had him over to the condo we rented and all got drunk while off in the background the very first episode of Melrose Place was playing on the TV. I picked up the cassette single for "This Used To Be My Playground" on that trip, and after we said goodbye to Jason at the end, I played the song over and over on my walkman during the four-hour drive back Western Pennsylvania. Christ, was I a sap. (I wrote more on this whole story here.)



THE FIRST GUY I EVER, WELL, YOU KNOW...: He's married (to a woman) now so I'll keep it vague, but he was this soccer player college freshman who lived on my residence hall floor my first year living away college. We met and formed a friendship pretty quickly that fall semester in 1994, and a sexual attraction never came into play because I had no idea he was into guys...until he bought Madonna's Bedtime Stories CD that October, the day it came out. Then I had an idea that something was up, because, like, Madonna. Anyway, we got drunk at a party one night, went back to his room and played his Enigma "Return To Innocence" CD single on repeat while saying goodbye to innocence. "My baby's got a secret..."



THE FIRST MADONNA ALBUM THAT REALLY MOVED ME: In 1998, I was out of college and working a shitty job with insane hours at a hotel in Pittsburgh and in a shitty relationship. In hindsight, I was also probably really depressed. Ray Of Light didn't save me, but it lived up to its title, for me at least, in that time period. It was the beginning of me turning things around. A year later, I had moved to Los Angeles and shaken life up a bit.

FIRST MADONNA ALBUM I THOUGHT TRULY SUCKED: Music. Sorry, but after Ray Of Light — what a fucking letdown. Of course, I didn't realize American Life was waiting in the wings.

FIRST TIME I SAW MADONNA IN CONCERT: I still haven't. I had tickets to see her in 2012, but the bitch canceled the show show the day before because she had "laryngitis."

There are probably many more firsts I could list here that revolve around Ye Olde Vampyre, but screw that — it's a beautiful, sunny Saturday out, and I'm taking off.

Happy Birthday, Bitch.

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Thursday, August 14, 2014

US Chart Roundup: Charli XCX, Clean Bandit And All The Other Non-Americans On The Move

With "Boom Clap" moving up to #10 on the Billboard Hot 100, Charli XCX now has two songs currently in the Top 10, and it's her third single overall (including Icona Pop's "I Love It") to reach the upper tier of the chart. Still, I can't help feeling that since two of those three are features and "Boom Clap" benefited from being on the Fault In Our Stars soundtrack, this broad has yet to land a hit all on her own, without the aid of bells and whistles.

Just outside the Top 10, Clean Bandit and Jess Glynne's "Rather Be" slides up to #13. I feel like this is one of the only truly unique pop songs to come along this year. We're, what — eight months into 2014? I guess it's safe to say that.

That leaves us with Tove Lo's "Habits (Stay High)" inching up two positions to #38 and Kiesza's "Hideaway" at #70 —two more for the songs that don't suck in 2014 list. Incidentally, Kiesza's "Giant In My Heart" was released in the UK this week, and from the way the song is selling on iTunes there, it's looking like she's heading toward having her second Top 10 hit.

The U.S. Top 10:

1. "Rude" - MAGIC! *5 weeks*
2. "Stay With Me" - Sam Smith
3. "Fancy" - Iggy Azalea feat. Charli XCX
4. "All About That Bass" - Meghan Trainor
5."Am I Wrong" - Nico & Vinz 
6. "Problem" - Ariana Grande feat. Iggy Azalea
7. "Maps" - Maroon 5
8. "Chandelier" - Sia
9. "Bang Bang" - Jessie J, Ariana Grande & Nicki Minaj
10. "Boom Clap" - Charli XCX

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Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Hilary Duff's "All About You" Is A Far Better Single Than "Chasing The Sun": Listen

Well, it's like Hilary Duff heard my recent lament over "Chasing The Sun," the single she released only three weeks ago, and rushed out the far superior "All About You."

Now available on iTunes, "All About You" was co-written by Duff, Kristian Lundin, Savan Kotecha and Carl Falk...and, damn, does it show.

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Sunday, August 10, 2014

UK Chart Roundup: Nico, Vinz & The Wicked Truth

Nico & Vinz topping the UK chart with "Am I Wrong" once it was finally released there was pretty much inevitable. The Norwegian duo already hit #1 in various other parts of Europe, as well as Canada (plus it made it to #4 in the States), and if you ask me, "Am I Wrong" is one of the best pop jams to come out of 2014.

So will these two be able to follow up the success with their next single release, or will they be sucking dick in a Starbucks toilet four years from now to pay the electric bill? Time, as always, will tell...

The UK Top 10:

1. "Am I Wrong" - Nico & Vinz *1 week*
2. "Rude" - MAGIC!
3. "Love Runs Out" - OneRepublic *new*
4. "Crazy Stupid Love" - Cheryl Cole feat. Tinie Tempah
5. "Budapest" - George Ezra
6. "Ghost" - Ella Henderson
7. "Faded" - ZHU
8. "Problem" - Ariana Grande feat. Iggy Azalea
9. "Boom Clap" - Charli XCX
10. "It's My Birthday" - Will.i.am feat. Cody Wise

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My Gorgon City & Laura Welsh Interviews

Since the beginning of the year, I've sought to interview some of the cooler kids on the deep house/pop scene coming out of Europe for Idolator. The latest features you can check out are on Gorgon City and Laura Welsh, who collaborated on recent single "Here For You." I talked to them separately, but each had some pretty great things to say about each other and their respective upcoming albums.



Other recent interviews in the same avenue:

* Kiesza
* Route 94
* Clean Bandit
* Mr. Probz

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Hilary Duff Announces "All About You" Single After "Chasing The Sun" Tanked

Poor Hilary Duff. I know I was totally on board for her comeback in 2014, after not having released an album since the amazing Dignity (which I declared nearly seven-and-a-half years ago to be the first great pop album of 2007).

Alas, while Dignity was about two years ahead of its time in 2007 (pop was still out then, and hip hop was in), Hil's recent comeback single "Chasing The Sun" is just a bit...dull.

Cute video, but boring song (co-written by Colbie Caillat).



So here we are now only two weeks after the release of "Chasing The Sun," and Duff has already announced follow-up single "All About You."
It's going to premiere on the Nights With Adam Bomb radio show on Monday. Pray there's a beat.

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Duke Dumont's "Won't Look Back" Is Very Black And Boxy

My summer got busy as fuck, so I didn't get a chance to comment on this one when it arrived last month...

Sure, Duke Dumont's "Won't Look Back" is basically Black Box's "Ride On Time," but if you're going to borrow from the classics, why not go for the best? Somehow Duke's singles get better with each successive release. Single out August 24.

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Electric Youth's "Runaway" Is A Jam

Three years ago, Drive arrived in theaters and became the best thing about 2011, movie-wise. A large part of the ultra violent/romantic Ryan Gosling-starring film's appeal was its soundtrack, which featured the synth-drenched College and Electric Youth collaboration "A Real Hero."

Electric Youth are finally releasing their debut LP this fall, on September 30. Titled Innerworld, the album is all in the same vein as "A Real Hero," and one of the best tracks off the whole shebang is the dreamy '80s throwback "Runaway," which is available now on iTunes.

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Thursday, August 07, 2014

US Chart Roundup: I'm Back & Meghan Trainor Is Here

The past few weeks have been busy as fuck around here, so I'm just now jumping back into all things chart-rigging. That said, I kind of love how I blinked and all of a sudden Charli XCX's "Boom Clap" is up to #11 and Clean Bandit's "Rather Be" is at #16 on the Billboard Hot 100.



Another "how the hell did THAT happen" moment is seeing Meghan Trainor's "All About That Bass" jump into the Top 10 (at #8). We actually premiered the song's music video over on Idolator back in early June, and I never ever would have predicted it would go on to be this huge. "All About That Bass" is now the top-selling single on iTunes, so we all know where this is going.



Just above that is Jessie J, Ariana Grande and Nicki Minaj's "Bang Bang," which debuts at #6. First of all, Jessie J has another hit in America, chyldryn — another one for the WTF slot. Anything goes in 2014, apparently. Also, Ariana Grande is taking over the planet, and there's just no stopping it.

At the tail end of the Top 40, Tove Lo slides up to #40 with "Habits (Stay High)", and all feels a bit right in the world. Now we just need to get Kiesza's "Hideaway," currently #76 in its third week on the Hot 100, to haul it up there too.

The U.S. Top 10:

1. "Rude" - MAGIC! *4 weeks*
2. "Stay With Me" - Sam Smith
3. "Fancy" - Iggy Azalea feat. Charli XCX
4. "Am I Wrong" - Nico & Vinz
5. "Problem" - Ariana Grande feat. Iggy Azalea
6. "Bang Bang" - Jessie J, Ariana Grande & Nicki Minaj *new*
7. "Maps" - Maroon 5
8. "All About That Bass" - Meghan Trainor
9. "Chandelier" - Sia
10. "Latch" - Disclosure feat. Sam Smith

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