Sunday, June 29, 2008

Goldfrapp lashes out

Alison Goldfrapp, realizing her the music from her fourth album isn't doing it, finds a way to generate press.

Album Review: My Morning Jacket - Evil Urges (3.5/5)

I expected to really love Evil Urges, the fifth album from My Morning Jacket. Like Wilco, the band was once known for southern rock but has since expanded the scope of their sound. That band's 2007 album, Sky Blue Sky, was a favorite last year. By comparison, Evil Urges is more eclectic but not as consistent.

Most of the opening tracks are among the album's best. "Evil Urges" is the funky opener, a warm but sometimes sinister blend of electric guitar, strings and drums with a falsetto vocal.
"Touch Me I'm Going to Scream Part 1" has an entirely different vibe--mellower, more electronic--not unlike The Flaming Lips. "Highly Suspicious" has more of a glam rock strut. Then there's "I'm Amazed," which reminds me vaguely of Aerosmith's "Sweet Emotion." "Thank You Too" is my favorite track, bathed in twangy electric guitar and strings that soar during the chorus. It has a warm, comforting sound with a laid back feel.

After that, most of the rest of the album is pretty good, but not excellent. "Sec Walkin'" has a nice country twang to it, but feels awfully repetitive, as does "Look at You," another countryish ballad that appears in the middle of the disc. "Librarian" has a very repetitive vocal too, but the underlying music slowly builds, which I like. It's a touching, almost meditative love song.

There are faster songs too, like "Two Halves," which has a bit of '50s feel to it, and up-tempo "Aluminum Park" and "Remnants" with prominent electric guitar. The latter would have benefited from a vocalist with a little more heft than Jim James--such as The Editors' Tom Smith. "Touch Me I'm Going to Scream Part 2," like Part 1, is more electronic than most of the other songs, although it has a very different vibe that Part 1--being both faster, weirder and longer, ending with a keyboard fade-out that finishes with the promised "scream."

This album would almost rate a 4. I like the eclectic approach, although some of the sounds, like the ballads and funky tracks are a better fit for the band than the harder rock ones. I listened to it a lot over the last couple of weeks, hoping it would improve with multiple listens. Some songs do stand out, and overall I like the album, but I just don't love it.

Best: Thank You Too, Evil Urges, I'm Amazed, Touch Me I'm Going to Scream Part 1, Librarian

Saturday, June 28, 2008


  • Leona, where are you? After releasing "Better in Time" in March, which hit #2, Leona Lewis has evidently forgotten about the UK audience that made her a star as she concentrates on breaking into America. No follow-up single has yet been released or is on the new releases schedule.
  • 'Babes quit at three. Change, the Sugababes fifth album, may become their first to not have a fourth single. First single "About You Now" was a massive hit, but follow-ups "Change" and "Denial" both missed the top 10.
  • Kylie X to One. "The One" will be the fourth single released in the UK from Kylie's album X. This had been slated as a digital-only release, but now looks like it will get a full physical release at the end of next month. This is a great single, which should only benefit from the fact that the Freemasons have done remixing duties. Check it out:

Billboard Hot 100, 7/5/2008

1. I Kissed a Girl - Katy Perry

Fifty-three years in, the rock era offers up its 1000th #1 hit, as Katy Perry ascends to the top spot with her first major hit, "I Kissed a Girl." If one of rock's central tenets is pushing buttons, then "I Kissed a Girl" is an apt choice for this honor: the song involves a girl kissing another girl for the first time.

5. Pocketful of Sunshine - Natasha Bedingfield

Natasha Bedingfield's "Pocketful of Sunshine" reaches its highest peak so far at #5, tying the peak position of "Unwritten," her highest-charting single so far.

9. When I Grow Up - The Pussycat Dolls

The Pussycat Dolls scores their 4th top 10 hit this week with "When I Grow Up," which climbs 9 spots to #9. This is their fastest rise into the top 10, as the single is only in its fourth week on the Hot 100.

10. 7 Things - Miley Cyrus

Here's this week's biggest mover. Miley Cyrus climbs 60 spots to score her third top 40 and second top 10 hit with "7 Things." Her last single, "See You Again," was on the chart for quite awhile, but only ever made it to #10. "7 Things" may slide a bit, as this massive leap is owed to the single finally being available this week at iTunes, but since it continues to rise in airplay, could ultimately be a bigger hit. This is the first single from Cyrus's forthcoming second studio album, Breakout.

11. This Is Me - Demi Lovato & Joe Jonas
20. Play My Music - Jonas Brothers
30. Gotta Find You - Joe Jonas
33. We Rock - Cast of Camp Rock

The latest Disney musical, "Camp Rock," is responsible for four new entries in this week's top 40. All feature Joe Jonas, a member of the Disney darlings band the Jonas Brothers, who get their second top 40 hit with "Play the Music." The brothers also have a new entry at top 40 radio, "Burnin' Up," from their forthcoming third album.

18. Disturbia - Rihanna

Sadly, it looks like Rihanna's Maroon 5 collaboration, "If I Never See Your Face Again," is going to miss the top 40, but she quickly makes up for that failure with this new single "Disturbia," which debuts at #18. She's also at #4 with "Take a Bow," her third current single. "Disturbia" is Rihanna's 11th top 40 hit.

50. Apologize - Timbaland Featuring OneRepublic

This looks like the last week on the chart for Timbaland and OneRepublic's massive hit "Apologize," which has now spent 47 weeks on the Hot 100. Not a record, but quite impressive.

Personal Chart, 6/27/2008

TW LW Title - Artist
1 .... 2 .... Take a Bow - Rihanna (1 week @ #1)
2 .... 8 .... Viva la Vida - Coldplay
3 .... 3 .... Warwick Avenue - Duffy (2 wks @ #1)
4 .... 1 .... Violet Hill - Coldplay (2 wks @ #1)
5 .... 5 .... Pocketful of Sunshine - Natasha Bedingfield
6 .... 6 .... Sweet About Me - Gabriella Cilmi
7 .... 4 .... That's Not My Name - The Ting Tings
8 ... 10 ... Leavin' - Jesse McCartney
9 .... 7 .... Bleeding Love - Leona Lewis (7 wks @ #1)
10 .. 12 .. Labels or Love (Theme from "Sex and the City") - Fergie

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Album Review: Foxboro Hot Tubs (Green Day) - Stop Drop and Roll (4/5)

Green Day's American Idiot was everything a career-defining album should be: challenging, epic, socially conscious, best-selling, award-winning, hit-generating, etc. How does a once small-time punk band follow that up? How do you avoid the inevitable "not as good as your last album" reviews?

While most artists would probably try to do it again and likely fail, Green Day have taken a different take, reinventing themselves--for now--as a different band, the Foxboro Hot Tubs. American Idiot may have been about the war, 9/11, and Jesus, but Stop Drop and Roll is all about having a good jam session, and the alter ego is a great excuse to make a fun album by side-stepping those next-album expectations.

The album clocks in at a lean 33 minutes spread over 12 minutes--so we're talking short bursts of high-energy old school rock. In that regard, it's not too dissimilar to indie bands who've been reaching back to the '60s and '70s for inspiration of late. "Stop Drop and Roll" sets the scene immediately, letting those guitars take center stage. "Mother Mary" and "Ruby Room" keep up the energy, adding more melody.

"Red Tide" is comparatively slower, a little break. "Broadway" is the first track where Billie Jo Armstrong sounds like, well, himself. "The Pedestrian" is rather Green Day-ish too. "She's a Saint Not a Celebrity" adds a little piano to the mix, although you can barely hear under the guitars--this is a guitar rock exercise after all. "Alligator" is particularly fun and has a familiar sound. I also like "Dark Side of the Night," one of the slower songs, that adds a little flute to the mix.

None of this is very substantive, but that's the point. It's just short, enjoyable bursts of '60s-flavored rock. From Green Day...I mean Foxboro Hot Tubs.

Best: Mother Mary, Alligator, Broadway, Dark Side of the Night, The Pedestrian, Ruby Room

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Personal Chart, 6/21/2008

TW LW Title - Artist
1 .... 1 ..... Violet Hill - Coldplay (2 wks @ #1)
2 .... 3 .... Take a Bow - Rihanna
3 .... 2 .... Warwick Avenue - Duffy (2 wks @ #1)
4 .... 4 .... That's Not My Name - The Ting Tings
5 .... 5 .... Pocketful of Sunshine - Natasha Bedingfield
6 .... 8 .... Sweet About Me - Gabriella Cilmi
7 .... 6 .... Bleeding Love - Leona Lewis (7 wks @ #1)
8 ... 18 ... Viva La Vida - Coldplay
9 ... 10 ... Two Doors Down - Mystery Jets
10 .. 13 ... Leavin' - Jesse McCartney

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Coldplay set to score first #1 single in US and UK

This week will mark two important firsts for Coldplay. On tomorrow's Billboard Hot 100 chart, "Viva La Vida" will climb a notch to #1, giving them their first #1 single in the U.S. This week will mark the final week of pre-order sales for the single's parent album, Viva La Vida or Death and All His Friends, which was released in the U.S. Tuesday and should easily top the albums chart next week. My guess is that with the album out, "Viva La Vida" will drop quite a bit on next week's Hot 100.

Meanwhile, across the pond in their home country, Coldplay also looks set to score their first #1 single in the UK. "Viva La Vida" hasn't charted at all their, having been found ineligible by the chart guardians due to its special "pre-order" status--a finding the American chart guardians were able to overlook. The album's first official single, "Violet Hill," looks likely to climb back into the top 10.

Here's a rundown of Coldplay's top 40 singles to date in both countries to date:

#2 "Viva La Vida" (last week)
#8 "Speed of Sound"
#29 "Clocks"
#40 "Violet Hill"

#2 "Speed of Sound"
#2 "In My Place"
#4 "Fix You"
#4 "Yellow"
#8 "Violet Hill"
#9 "Clocks"
#10 "Talk"
#10 "Trouble"
#10 "The Scientist"
#35 "Shiver"

Monday, June 16, 2008

Album Review: Coldplay - Viva La Vida or Death and All His Friends (4.5/5)

Viva La Vida or Death and All His Friends isn't just a title Coldplay chose because they couldn't make up their minds. It's a choice: Live life or join death. While that's not terribly provocative as rock album themes go, Viva La Vida is the most experimental we've heard Coldplay yet. Gone is that requisite surging pop number ("Yellow," "Clocks," "Speed of Sound") and the stadium anthem you're supposed to lift your swaying lighter (or rather cellphone) aloft to ("The Scientist" or "Fix You").

Instead there's a willingness to depart--not dramatically--but with baby steps toward something different. Revered producer Brian Eno is along for the journey this time, and although his presence might make you think Coldplay wants to encroach even further onto U2 territory, he actually gets them to experiment with longer instrumental sections and unusual instrumentation. Over the course of 10 tracks and 13 songs (3 tracks are "hidden") Coldplay delivers the sort of lovely pop/rock we've come to expect from them tweaked with little surprises here and there.

They open this time with an instrumental, "Life in Technicolor" which kicks off with a mix of layered keyboards before throwing in a middle eastern instrument, and them amping up the band with a hopeful sound. Not a classic, but a good start. "Cemeteries of London" goes for a pensive sound, turning up the guitar echo and hollow-sounding keyboard effects. Together these tracks quickly establish the album's life and death theme, play off of it both in their titles and in their contrasting styles.

"Lost!" is the album's first great track. This sounds like a typical great Coldplay track, enhanced by an unusual percussion section. Church organ and keyboard effects drive the melody, with guitar used sparingly under the chorus. There's a little piano here too, but it's so buried in the mix as to be barely audible until near the end. It gets its due on "42," a song that starts as a dark piano-and-strings ballad and then suddenly morphs into harder-hitting guitar rock. There's something really interesting going on with the guitars here, which I like. Then--bam--the song speeds up and the piano comes back to drive the upbeat finale. It's a great contrast, which I recommend listening to with the volume turned way up. Is this Coldplay's bid to create a mini "Bohemian Rhapsody?" The more I listen to this track, the more I love it. Chris Martin claims its called "42" because that's his favorite number, but I'm not sure I believe him.

"Lovers in Japan" keeps the tempo and mood upbeat, a steady blend of drums and keyboards. The piano's unusual sound comes courtesy of the band modify its hammers with tacks to create a "tack piano." "Reign of Love," the hidden track that follows, strikes me as something to close an album with. It's just mellow piano and Chris, not much to it, and not very exciting.

"Yes" is an interesting track. Chris sings in a lower register, which is refreshing. Violins and other stringed instruments are used prominently, but in a more Western fashion. "Chinese Sleep Chant," is the best of the hidden songs. Chris is barely audible, buried in the mix of reverberated guitars and keyboards.

Then come the album's two singles, which are the albums two best songs and provide quite a contrast. While "Viva la Vida" at first sounds like any big Coldplay song--"Clocks" or "Speed of Sound"--listen to the instruments and you can tell this is something quite different. First off there are no drums or guitar, the key ingredients in most rock music. Yet the song moves along quite propulsively, featuring the most prominent string section of any Coldplay song. Keyboard and chimes round out the song. It is upbeat and epic.

Then there's "Violet Hill," brilliantly dark and compact. The pounding melody features raspy guitar, piano, and Chris Martin singing about who knows what--politics? ("When the future's architectured by a carnival of idiots on show you'd better lie low"), poverty? ("Clearly I remember from they windows they were watching while we froze down below") Love? ("I took my love down to Violet Hill, there we sat in snow, all that time she was silent still, so if you love me won't you let me know?"). It's a lovely song and I like it a lot, although it took awhile to win me over.

"Strawberry Swing" has a simple hand-clap beat and a staccatic string section that nicely underpins acoustic guitar during the bridge, providing a harmonizing melody against the keyboards at the end. This isn't your typical Coldplay song, and it's quite good. Producer Brian Eno makes a brief guest appearance here, whispering "that's a bit fast" at the beginning, referring to the tempo.

"Death and All His Friends" isn't typical either, although it may seem so it first. It opens sweetly with Chris singing softly over piano, then there's some gentle electric guitar, but then the music surges and the band erupts for the last bit. It's a surprisingly optimistic sound for a song called "Death and All His Friends." The least interesting song on the album is the last. I don't see much point to "The Escapist" beyond providing a soft closing--it's just a pleasant, but not particularly melodious arrangement of keyboard layers taken from the opening track.

While this album lacks as many obvious hits, which X&Y and A Rush of Blood to the Head had in abundance, it makes up for it with experimentation. This is Coldplay's most challenging album to date, turning their back on the big guitar and piano stadium fillers that have made them a name up to this point, but retaining their sensibility for crafting lovely pop melodies and infusing their music with optimism. Even if it falls short of the grandeur of their last two albums, the band should be applauded for trying something different. As dark as some of these songs are at times, many of them resolve with upbeat codas, reinforcing that when faced with the choice between giving in to death or struggling with life, Coldplay chooses life. If you don't like that, go listen to Radiohead for awhile.

Best: Viva la Vida, Violet Hill, 42, Strawberry Swing, Yes, Lost!, Chinese Sleep Chant, Death and All His Friends

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Billboard Hot 100, 6/21/2008

1. Lollipop - Lil Wayne Featuring Static Major

Lil Wayne's "Lollipop" snaps a 5th week at the top, inching above Leona Lewis to become the year's second-longest stay at #1 after Flo Rida's 10 weeks with "Low." Please please let this be the last week.

2. Viva La Vida - Coldplay

Well isn't this amazing. Top 10, #3, now #2. Next week's chart will be the last before the release of the Viva la Vida or Death and All His Friends album, meaning that next week will be last week that the Billboard Hot 100 will register iTunes album pre-orders as "Viva La Vida" single sales. Apparently the album's been pre-ordered in record numbers. If it keeps up, "Viva La Vida" could be the first single propelled to #1 because it was offered basically as a down payment on an album. It would also give Coldplay their first #1 single in either the U.S. or the UK. That would be pretty cool.

9. Pocketful of Sunshine - Natasha Bedingfield

Natasha Bedingfield rebounds into the top 10 this week. Along with Coldplay and Leona Lewis at #3 with "Bleeding Love," Brits make up 3 of the top 10 spots in the U.S., a turnaround from the relative lack of UK-based acts making it in the States of late.

31. When I Grow Up - The Pussycat Dolls

So Nicole Scherzinger's solo career didn't work out--that album of hers apparently shelved indefinitely now. Back with the Dolls, she's able to do what she failed to do alone--score a top 40 hit. In fact, neither of her solo singles, "Whatever U Like" or "Baby Love" cracked the Hot 100 at all. Pity. The first had a cool sound, but lacked a good hook (or melody frankly). The latter was more melodic, but a bit bland. This is the group's 6th top 40 hit, their biggest being their debut, "Don't Cha," now a classic '00s pop track, which hit #2 in the summer of 2005.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Personal Chart, 6/14/2008

TW LW Title - Artist
1 .... 2 .... Violet Hill - Coldplay (1 wk @ #1)
2 .... 1 .... Warwick Avenue - Duffy (2 wks @ #1)
3 .... 3 .... Take a Bow - Rihanna
4 .... 4 .... That's Not My Name - The Ting Tings
5 .... 6 .... Pocketful of Sunshine - Natasha Bedingfield
6 .... 8 .... Bleeding Love - Leona Lewis (7 wks @ #1)
7 .... 5 .... 4 Minutes - Madonna & Justin Timberlake (7 wks @ #1)
8 ... 19 ... Sweet About Me - Gabriella Cilmi
9 ... 10 ... Always Right Behind You - The Zutons
10 .. 39 .. Two Doors Down - Mystery Jets

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Album Review: Isobel Campbell & Mark Lanegan (3/5)

Sunday at Dirt Devil is the second collaboration between the sweet-voiced former Belle & Sebastian singer Isobel Campbell and the gruff former Queens of the Stone Age singer Mark Lanegan. Their first, Ballad of the Broken Seas, was one of my favorite albums of 2006. I loved its dramatic, western-tinged soundscapes and Lee Hazlewood/Nancy Sinatra stylings.

So I should be thrilled to have them back, but unfortunately this second outing lacks the spark of the first. Where Broken Seas was joyously eclectic, Dirt Devil is schizophrenic, joining a somber first half to a light and folksy second half. Let's take them one by one.

The first half is dominated by the sort of '60s-esque dramatic Lee and Nancy balladry that made the first album great, although this time the tone is even darker and less upbeat. "Seafaring Song" is a quiet opening number, with strings and acoustic guitar playing in a melancholy key. "The Raven" is a little louder, adding a few drums, but its still pretty dark. So is "Who Built the Road," which is more uptempo, but that's not saying much on this album of weepies. It has that western flavor and dramatic strings that reminds me of why I liked their first album.

The first half of the album also has a number of more bluesy numbers like "Salvation," which puts Mark front and center with just a guitar and few wisps of vocals from Isobel and the plodding "Back Burner" which is mostly Mark and percussion. "Come on Over (Turn Me On)" is the album's best track. It has a nice swagger to it and finds Mark and Isobel singing together as equals. The music swells, for probably the only point on the album, with piano, strings and drums. Too bad this one song squanders almost all the album's excitement. More of this would have been really great.

The second half drops the dark drama for a set of folksy numbers, some rather light. Unfortunately, they are less interesting than what came before. "The Flame that Burns" isn't very interesting, neither is "Shotgun Blues," which is sooo slow. "Something to Believe" is too bland for my taste.

It's not all bad on the second half though. "Keep Me in Mind, Sweetheart" is a sweet, simple little tune. And "Trouble" has a nice rock melody, with both singers featured equally. That's perhaps one of the biggest surprises--Vocal duties on this album fall more on Mark than Isobel, a reversal from their last project.

Sunday at Dirt Devil suffers from being uneven and lacking much pep. There are a few good moments, but I doubt a Mercury Prize nomination is in the cards this time.

Best: Come on Over (Turn me On), Who Built the Road, Trouble

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Madonna "Give It 2 Me"

Here's the video for Madonna's second Hard Candy single, Give It 2 Me. It's more arty that "4 Minutes," but less flashy.

Album Review: Nine Inch Nails - The Slip (4/5)

In a market of dwindling album sales, acts for whom losing the album format itself would be artistically detrimental are increasing turning toward high jinks to get us to buy, or rather, acquire them. Radiohead famously offered In Rainbows last year at whatever price a consumer was willing to pay, Raconteurs didn't announce they had a new album until moments before releasing it, hoping to cut down on pre-release piracy.

Now comes Nine Inch Nails, a big name act that, perhaps inevitably, decided to offer its latest work, The Slip, for free. Like his last album, the instrumental Ghosts I-IV released in March, Trent Reznor licensed The Slip to allow you to remix it however you like as long as you give NIN credit.

"999,999" is just ambient synths, setting the stage for "1,000,000," an insistent rock track driven by the fuzziest of rock guitars and a simple-minded drum and tambourine beat. Next up is "Letting You," even more propulsive, with Reznor's vocals further distorted, the vocals louder. It's layers of hectic, frenetic noise, yet pure melodies peak through.

Through the urgent opening of the album, each track improves upon the previous through "Discipline," the album's single. It's the most conventional track on the album--upbeat, danceable even, with piano and hi-hat competing in the mix of dark and fuzzy guitars and synths. It reminds me a bit of "Closer," NIN's biggest hit, and to be honest, the only thing from him that ever interested me, although not as exciting as that peak moment in NIN's history.

"Echoplex" throttles back on the sound, thinning the ambience down to, at times, just beats. I love how Reznor layers various sounds throughout this album. I've been experimenting with Apple's Garage Band lately, so I can appreciate the complexity of making that work well. "Head Down" shows this off as well. It's dark mix includes loud beats, squelchy guitars, random sound effects, clear keyboard chords, and Reznor's vocals, at times plaintive and at others more like a yell.

The tempo slows down and the mood gets even darker on the last few tracks. "Lights in the Sky" is just Reznor--his vocals almost a whisper now--and a piano. Is there an instrument that can better express melancholy than a piano? I think not, and Reznor coaxes such sadness out of its keys.

Perhaps its just my iTunes settings, but I didn't notice when this track ended and the next, "Corona Radiata" began. At over 7 minutes, this is the album's longest track, and least "song-like" of the bunch, as there are no vocals. This is the sort of music you'd imagine the space travellers in the Alien movies would listen to. The composition begins with just synth chords; slowly as more layers are added, melody emerges briefly and then fades; eventually those synths deepen and flutters of deep, far off percussion kick in and then come forward; the synth keyboards stop, while the synth beats amplify, then the keyboards return more sinister than before. I don't think I'd call this track a favorite, but it's certainly interesting.

"The Four of Us Are Dying," another instrumental, layers stringed instruments and eventually noise over the rich synth keyboards, building in volume and intensity toward the end. Closer "Demon Seed" kicks up the tempo and the noise, returning us to the more conventional "song" territory of most of the album.

Whether the music industry will migrate to singles format exclusively is still an open question. Contrary to what some prognosticators may say, the album isn't dead, although it is on life support. Those artists who prefer their work organized in the format are fighting for its survival--through whatever means it takes. Is the act of releasing ones album for free an innovation or a failure to embrace change? Are we holding onto the past or remaking it for the future? The Slip, like In Rainbows, is an argument for keeping the album format around. It's a dark journey that throttles through a mix of upbeat tracks before pulling us back into the quieter mysterious ones at the end. Unless you're into mammoth singles like "Bohemian Rhapsody," rarely is such terrain effectively traversed within a single track.

Best: Discipline, Head Down, Letting You, Lights in the Sky, Echoplex, 1,000,000

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Preview Coldplay has Coldplay's entire new album up for preview. What I've heard so far is pretty good but not Earth shattering. Despite their claims to the contrary, this is the same old Coldplay. Viva La Vida is out Thursday, June 12.

Friday, June 06, 2008

This weekend UK #1

Just when you thought the era of ridiculous UK #1s was over, here's what's headed to the top of the charts this weekend. Apparently it was featured on Britain's Got Talent (the UK version of America's Got Talent).

Billboard Hot 100, 6/14/2008

1. Lollipop - Lil Wayne Featuring Static Major

Lil Wayne spends a fourth week at the top, matching Leona Lewis's 4 weeks with "Bleeding Love" as the second longest stay at the top so far this year. Both trail by quite a bit the 10 weeks at the top Flo Rida had with "Low" at the beginning of the year.

3. Viva la Vida - Coldplay

This single takes the trophy for most unusual chart feat of the week. Last week this single leaped up to #10 from #41 on the back of critical promotion through iTunes ads shown during the American Idol finale. This week, rather than dropping like a stone, it manages to climb--quite powerfully--up to #3, becoming the band's biggest U.S. hit ever. Meanwhile, the band's "official" single isn't even in the top 40--"Violet Hill" is up 13 to #53 this week.

4. Take a Bow - Rihanna

Rihanna holds at #4 this week but earns the airplay gainer award. I expect to see this single back at the top very soon. She also has a couple of other tracks waiting in the wings. Her Maroon 5 collaboration, "If I Never See Your Face Again" is up 12 to #64, and another new track from her Good Girl Gone Bad re-release, "Disturbia," looks like major hit material too.

5. I Kissed a Girl - Katy Perry

This track is hot--quickly rising up the chart. Up 16 spots this week and the sales gainer, Katy Perry lands her first top 10 hit with "I Kissed a Girl." Not a remake of the Jill Sobule hit from the '90s, this is an all-new track that was featured on Gossip Girls, but is a hit in its own right now, with significant radio and sales support. Should be #1 soon.

7. No Air - Jordin Sparks Featuring Chris Brown
8. Sexy Can I - Ray & Yung Berg
9. The Time of My Life - David Cook
10. 4 Minutes - Madonna and Justin Timberlake

What do these four songs hanging on at the bottom of the top 10 all have in common? They all peaked at #3. Hmmm....

13. Got Money - Lil Wayne Featuring T-Pain
34. A Milli - Lil Wayne

#1 isn't enough, here comes Lil Wayne with the Hot 100's biggest debut at #13. This time he's got T-Pain, the pop music world's current hottest sidekick, doing guest duties. T-Pain only appears on four top 40 hits this week. He's now had 16 top 40 hits, only 4 of which did he get top billing. He also moves up 7 spots to #34 with "A Milli." Oh, and he's also at #25 as a guest on Usher's "Love in This Club Part 2," which also features Beyonce, her 11th top 40 hit, not counting Destiny's Child appearances.

Personal Chart, 6/7/2008

TW LW Title - Artist
1 .... 1 .... Warwick Avenue - Duffy (2 wks @ #1)
2 .... 2 .... Violet Hill - Coldplay
3 .... 4 .... Take a Bow - Rihanna
4 .... 6 .... That's Not My Name - The Ting Tings
5 .... 3 .... 4 Minutes - Madonna and Justin Timberlake (7 wks @ #1)
6 .... 7 .... Pocketful of Sunshine - Natasha Bedingfield
7 .... 5 .... American Boy - Estelle Featuring Kanye West
8 ... 10 ... Bleeding Love - Leona Lewis (7 wks @ #1)
9 .... 8 .... No Air - Jordin Sparks Featuring Chris Brown (1 wk @ #1)
10 .. 13 .. Always Right Behind You - The Zutons

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Songs I Like

Here are the videos for some current singles I like.

"Two Doors Down" Mystery Jets. Yes, this is new, not vintage '80s.

"Labels or Love (Theme from "Sex and the City")" Fergie. This is just stills someone made--I don't think there's an official video. Shame--It could be really fun.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

June New Album Releases

We're almost halfway through the year. Key releases this month are Coldplay, the Fratellis and Weezer. Early June looks more interesting than later in the month.

June 2/3
Weezer - Weezer (The Red Album). Weezer puts out their sixth album, their third eponymous one following their debut (nickenamed The Blue Album), and their third album from 2001 (known as The Green Album). I haven't heard anything from the album yet.

Alphabeat - This is Alphabeat. We've already heard "Fascination" and "10,000 Nights" from the Danish band, here comes the LP.

Zutons - You Can Do Anything. The upbeat British rock band releases its third album, featuring current single "Always Right Behind You."

Alanis Morissette - Flavors of Entanglement (June 10, U.S.). Alanis releases her 7th album (4th since her breakthrough Jagged Little Pill). She hasn't had a hit in years--will she now?

Ashanti - The Declaration. Remember in 2002 when Ashanti was the hot new thing? Poor girl's had a hard time living up to massive hit "Foolish" and her Ja Rule collaborations. This fourth album is Ja Rule-free and features first single "The Way that I Love You." Not be be confused with Paula Abdul's 1989 hit "The Way that You Love Me."

Radiohead - The Best Of. Having parted ways with EMI, their formal label collects the biggest hits from their six albums on this 16-track greatest hits. It's Bends and OK Computer heavy, but every album contributes at least one track and all the major hits are here.

Chris Brown - Exclusive, The Forever Edition. Just 7 months out and Exclusive is already getting a re-release with new single "Forever." I'm getting a bit annoyed with the whole re-release thing. After "Kiss Kiss" and "With You" were none of the other original songs on the album good enough to be singles?

Rihanna - Good Girl Gone Bad Reloaded. Here's another re-release, only slightly less annoying because it has been about a year since it came out, but we've gotten whole new albums from Rihanna every year since 2005 until now--so why no new disc? Probably because Good Girl Gone Bad actually became a massive hit, so she needs some time before a new album, and this is a stopgap. Features #1 hit "Take a Bow" and Maroon 5 collaboration "If I Never See Your Face Again."

June 9-12
Coldplay – Viva La Vida Or Death & All His Friends [Thurs 12th]. Three albums in and they're one of the world's biggest bands. Despite the pretentious title--named after a Frida Kahlo painting--and cover art--a painting of the French Revolution by Eugène Delacroix, Coldplay had hinted that this album would be a more stripped down and experimental affair than their previous U2-inspired works. Brian Eno is on board as producer this time, and the album has already landed separate top 10 hits in the UK ("Violet Hill") and the U.S. ("Viva la Vida").

Fratellis – Here We Stand. The Scottish rock band who brought us hits like "Chelsea Dagger" and "Baby Fratelli" from their first album Costello Music offer their second album. First single "Mistress Mabel" doesn't sound like they've changed much.

My Morning Jacket - Evil Urges. The southern indie rockers release their fifth disc.

N.E.R.D. - Seeing Sounds. Not taking a break after Madonna's disc, the Neptunes fire up their old band for a third album, reportedly quite experimental.

June 16/17
Missy Elliott – FANomenal. Missy Elliott's 7th album, featuring first single "Ching-a-Ling."

Feeder - Silent Cry. The Welsh band's 6th album.

June 23/24
Motley Crue - Saints of Los Angeles. Motley Crue are back, releasing their 9th album and first since 2000.

Beck - Modern Guilt. Beck's 10th album is supposed to come out sometime this month.