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

Thursday, October 23, 2014

US Chart Roundup: "L.A. Love (La La)" Is No Madonna "Secret"

It's a pretty sad week when the only exciting things happening on the Billboard Hot 100 are Ed Sheeran landing his first Top 10 single (with "Don't" at #10) and Fergie somehow climbing to the soaring heights of #81 with her shit comeback single "L.A. Love (La La)".

Quite frankly, it makes you yearn for the same chart 20 years ago this week, when the #1 song was this:



And the #4 song was this:



And the #7 song was this:



Oh, well — yay Meghan Trainor!

The U.S. Top 10:

1. "All About That Bass" - Meghan Trainor *7 weeks*
2. "Shake It Off" - Taylor Swift
3. "Bang Bang" - Jessie J, Ariana Grande & Nicki Minaj
4. "Black Widow" - Iggy Azalea feat. Rita Ora
5. "Habits (Stay High)" - Tove Lo
6. "Don't Tell 'Em" - Jeremih feat. YG
7. "Animals" - Maroon 5
8. "Stay With Me" - Sam Smith
9. "Hot Boy" - Bobby Shmurda
10. "Don't" - Ed Sheeran

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Tuesday, October 21, 2014

My (New) Kiesza Interview

Hoo-ray! Kiesza's debut album Sound Of A Woman is finally out today. I had lunch with the "Hideaway" singer last month here in New York, during which we conducted our second interview for Idolator.

This one was a nice, long chat all about the album. Check it out here.

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Monday, October 20, 2014

Calvin Harris And Ellie Goulding's "Outside" Might Just Be Better Than "I Need Your Love": Listen

Calvin Harris' previous album, 2012's 18 Months, was full of several absolute gems and a couple of clunky tracks. One of the great ones was the global hit "I Need Your Love," a pair-up with Ellie Goulding.

The two of them got back together for "Outside," a cut off Calvin's upcoming Motion LP, and it's surprisingly less harder-edged than, say, Harris' current single "Blame." It plays like a really nice, melodic pop track that's slightly reminiscent of Rita Ora's hit from earlier this year, "I Will Never Let You Down."



This is definitely the best of the four songs we've heard so far from this album. Now, bring out the Gwen Stefani one already!

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It's Gwen Stefani's "Baby Don't Lie"

Gwen Stefani hasn't put a solo album since 2006, and so the pressure to offer up a smashing lead single out of the gate this time around is pretty immense. The good news is that labelmate and onetime chart rival Fergie, who's in a similar boat, already tossed out her new single and it sucks six-week-old corpse dick.

Gwen's single "Baby Don't Lie," is officially available on iTunes now. It's not a completely mind-blowing, fist-in-the-air anthem a la "What You Waiting For," "Hollaback Girl" or even "The Sweet Escape." Instead, we get a pensive mid-tempo number with flourishes of reggae and new wave tempering Stefani's relationship-on-the-rocks lyrics. Her "uh huh" at the onset of the song is the only throwback you're going to get to Gwen's "Hollaback"glory days.



That's a good thing, though. "Baby Don't Lie" is ultimately a pleasant pop song, nothing more and nothing less — and that's a hell of (hella?) a lot more than Fergie gave us.

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Thursday, October 16, 2014

US Chart Roundup: Fergie's New Song Makes Me Want To Die Horribly

With the same pack of broads locking up much of the Top 10 with the same boring songs, let's look elsewhere on the Billboard Hot 100 for a smidgeon of enjoyment this week.  

Sam Smith's "I'm Not The Only One" is now his second Top 40 single as a lead artist in the US (and fourth overall, if we include Disclosure's "Latch" and Naughty Boy's "La La La"), as it moves up 27 positions to #25. Let's just hope he's not spending all his cash on coke and dildos, because that would be a dumb-dumb thing to do.

Not far behind, Nick Jonas' "Jealous" is up to #28, while Calvin Harris and John Newman's "Blame" inches upward to #31 and Mr. Probz's "Waves" is at #32. Might be nice to see them all drop their pants and have a sword fight...possibly for a TV Christmas special?

Way down in the lowest tier of the chart, Kiesza's "Hideaway" drops to #94 after peaking at #51 awhile back. I don't know if I want to live in a world where "Anaconda" is a Top 10 single for two months while "Hideaway" can't even crack the Top 40.

Making matters even worse, Fergie's atrocious comeback single "L.A. Love (La La)" debuts at #97. What an abysmal ho.

The U.S. Top 10:

1. "All About That Bass" - Meghan Trainor *6 weeks*
2. "Shake It Off" - Taylor Swift
3. "Black Widow" - Iggy Azalea feat. Rita Ora
4. "Habits (Stay High)" - Tove Lo
5. "Bang Bang" - Jessie J, Ariana Grande & Nicki Minaj
6. "Don't Tell 'Em" - Jeremih feat. YG
7. "Animals" - Maroon 5
8. "Anaconda" - Nicki Minaj
9. "Stay With Me" - Sam Smith
10. "Hot Boy" - Bobby Shmurda

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Friday, October 10, 2014

Take That Premiere New Single "These Days," Reveal 'III' Tracklist' & Producers

Take That's lead single from upcoming album III premiered this morning, and Gary, Howard and Mark sat down with Chris Evans for an interview for BBC Radio 2. First up, the song is called "These Days," and it was produced by Greg Kurstin. I know it's supposed to be a throwback to TT's early '90s boy band days, but to me it almost feels too pop, if that makes any sense?



I've never been a huge fan of Greg Kurstin's. I liked the last Tegan And Sara album, but I thought the stuff he did with Pink on The Truth About Love was a tad bland, as typified by ho-hum lead single "Blow Me (One Last Kiss)". It's not bad, it's just...there.

At any rate, a press release notes the following: "It's a nod to the sound that defined their early years, an out-and-out feel good pop smash that isn't like anything they produced following the 2006 reunion."

Luckily, the release goes on to say that the "song shows just one element from the album, which incorporates a mix of styles and sounds influenced by their last three LPs."

Anyway, the guys worked with a variety of producers this time around, including Kurstin, John Shanks (who produced 2006's Beautiful World, 2008's The Circus and their "Rule The World" single), Stuart Price (2010's Progress and 2011's Progressed EP) and Jeff Lynne (!!).

Here's their full BBC interview from this morning. (Interesting comment from Howard, when asked what he'll miss/not miss about Jason Orange: "Jason is the better break dancer, he's always been fantastic, but if I was gay I could never be his boyfriend because he's a bit annoying, and a bit too deep for me.")



And here's hoping "These Days" is a grower.

Take That, III tracklist
1. These Days
2. Let In The Sun
3. If You Want It
4. Lovelife
5. Portrait
6. Higher Than Higher
7. I Like It
8. Give You My Love
9. Freeze
10. Into The Wild
11. Flaws
12. Get Ready For It
DELUXE EDITION
13. Believe
14. Amazing
15. Do It For All For Love

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Thursday, October 09, 2014

Take That Are Back, Minus Jason Orange (& Robbie Williams)

This year has been a topsy-turvy one if you've followed the goings-on with Take That at all. The godlike (in my book) UK man band started preliminary work on their seventh album in January, and left the door open for Robbie Williams, who gloriously returned to the fold after 15 years for 2010's Progress, to take part. By the spring, it was made known that prior commitments (including a new kid) would be keeping Robbie sidelined this time around.

The big shocker was hot piece Jason Orange quitting the band last month.

"At the end of The Progress Tour I began to question whether it might be the right time for me to not continue on with Take That," read part of his statement. "At the start of this year and with my full knowledge and blessing the guys began writing new material. There have been no fallings out, only a decision on my part that I no longer wish to do this."

And so that left Gary Barlow, Howard Donald and Mark Owen as a trio. 

Today not only brought the above image — the first of Take That in their current form — but also the album cover for their seventh album, which is appropriately titled III.

And in a few short hours, the band's lead single from the album will premiere on UK radio. Stay tuned.

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US Chart Roundup: Nick Jonas Gets Naked, "Jealous" Sails InTo The Top 40

Sometimes, just when everything seems terrible, Nick Jonas takes his clothes off.  

Clean Bandit's "Rather Be" drops down to #11 on the Billboard Hot 100 after a lone week in the Top 10. Making matters even worse: The song got bumped out by Maroon 5's "Animals." But the good news is that Mr. Probz's "Waves" and Nick Jonas' "Jealous" both crack the Top 40, at #39 and #40, respectively.

Helping out on the Jonas front is the fact that he stripped off for Flaunt magazine, and the pictures found themselves online last week. Oh, and "Jealous" is a good song. But mostly, Jonas cock. That's what did it.

Over on the Billboard 200 album chart, Tove Lo's debut LP Queen Of The Clouds debuts at #14 while "Habits" climbs to a new high (god, that was bad) of #6 on the Hot 100.

But getting back to Nick Jonas' butt...
The U.S. Top 10:

1. "All About That Bass" - Meghan Trainor *5 weeks*
2. "Shake It Off" - Taylor Swift
3. "Black Widow" - Iggy Azalea feat. Rita Ora
4. "Bang Bang" - Jessie J, Ariana Grande & Nicki Minaj
5. "Anaconda" - Nicki Minaj
6. "Habits (Stay High)" - Tove Lo
7. "Don't Tell 'Em" - Jeremih feat. YG
8. "Animals" - Maroon 5
9. "Stay With Me" - Sam Smith
10. "Break Free" - Ariana Grande feat. Zedd

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Monday, October 06, 2014

Everyone From Gwen Stefani To Tinashe To Ellie Goulding Is On Calvin Harris' 'Motion' Album

Calvin Harris' fourth album Motion arrives in less than a month (on November 4), and while we've already heard singles off it like "Summer" and "Blame," the hot Scot posted on Twitter a number of artists who'll feature on the LP. Witness below!













Incidentally, All About She did a pretty nice remix of Clean Bandit's "Rather Be" this year.

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Thursday, October 02, 2014

US Chart Roundup: Clean Bandit Make The Top 10, Premiere New Jess Glynne Pair-Up "Real Love"

Finally, eight months after the song first topped the UK chart (back on February 1), Clean Bandit and Jess Glynne's "Rather Be" hops into the Top 10 of the Billboard Hot 100, at #10. (Also new in the Top 10 after an eternal wait: Tove Lo's "Habits.") Glynne made her American TV debut with Clean Bandit earlier this week when they all performed "Rather Be" on Jimmy Kimmel Live.



Clean Bandit also did follow-up single "Extraordinary" on the show.



But even better, Clean Bandit and Jess Glynne have teamed back up for a new single called "Real Love," which is said to be on an upcoming UK repackaged re-release of CB's debut album New Eyes.



And that, friends, is a good song.

The U.S. Top 10:

1. "All About That Bass" - Meghan Trainor *4 weeks*
2. "Shake It Off" - Taylor Swift
3. "Anaconda" - Nicki Minaj
4. "Black Widow" - Iggy Azalea feat. Rita Ora
5. "Bang Bang" - Jessie J, Ariana Grande & Nicki Minaj
6. "Stay With Me" - Sam Smith
7. "Habits (Stay High)" - Tove Lo
8. "Break Free" - Ariana Grande feat. Zedd
9. "Don't Tell 'Em" - Jeremih feat. YG
10. "Rather Be" - Clean Bandit feat. Jess Glynne

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