Billboard, *Boring* Billboard!

musicHey all,

After the early demises of one-week wonders ‘The Hunger Games’ OST, Mad-onna’s ‘MDNA’, and Nicki Minaj’s ‘Reloaded’, Lionel Richie’s ‘Tuskegee’ has surprised even me – who expected it to reach the apex – by clinging on to the top.  Part of the reason is a lack of competition but the other part is that this is a good album that’s at the top on merit.  It’s low on track overlaying, synthetic beats and the whole rest of it, and is heavy on real singing, which is becoming a rarity these days.

This is not an earth-shaking week on the Billboard charts otherwise.  Billboard, don’t be so boring!

No. 2 spot on the Albums Chart is occupied by Jason Mraz’s new album ‘Love is a Four Letter Word’ in its debut week and that has knocked down Adele’s ’21′ to no. 3.  Most noteworthy is Future’s debut studio album landing at no. 8 on its debut week.

Other than that, we have the usual suspects – Nicki Minaj’s ‘Reloaded’, One Direction’s ‘Up All Night’, and Gotye’s ‘Making Mirrors’ in . . . their usual positions! (or close enough).

Over on the Singles Hot 100 Chart, Gotye (‘Somebody that I used to Know’) and fun (‘We are Young’) remain in the top two positions per the long-term lease they’ve signed with Billboard (as I reported on earlier).  In fact these two singles have so caught listeners’ fancy that they have kept Maroon 5′s hotly-anticipated new single featuring Wiz Khalifa, ‘Payphone’ at no. 3.  That’s an interesting stat because ‘Payphone’ is the clear winner on the Digital Singles Charts.  Perhaps that’s a signal that Gotye or fun’s lease is about to expire in a week . . . .

Kelly Clarkson’s ‘Stronger’ is still in the Top Ten, but only just, being at no. 10 after eighteen weeks on the charts, a longevity statistic it shares with ‘We Are Young’

What with the stagnant singles charts, I wonder if Richie & Pals didn’t miss a trick: they could’ve put out extended play versions or alternate cuts of a couple of songs from ‘Tuskegee’; they might have livened things up on the Hot 100 and also the Digital Charts.

Oh well, live and learn!

Ta ta,

Shane

‘Tuskegee’ ascends to Billboard’s peak

Lionel Richie TuskegeeHello

Because of the sad demise of Dick Clark yesterday, our weekly review of Billboard has been pushed back to today.

Well, blow me down!  Last week I reported that I had been half-right on my expectation from two weeks back, i.e. that Lionel Richie’s ‘Tuskegee’ would bump Mad-onna’s ‘MDNA’ from the peak on Billboard’s album charts.  Well, I was half-right last week and am half-right this week: ‘Tuskegee’ has indeed taken pole position!  The only surprise for me is that it didn’t happen earlier.  ‘Tuskegee’ is also no. 1 on Country Albums as well as Digital Albums.

Billboard attributes ‘Tuskegee’s climb to the CBS special “ACM Presents: Lionel Richie & Friends in Concert” airing on Friday and sparking a demand for Richie’s album.  However, the fact is that it is on hype and manufactured publicity that heavily-promoted artistes’ albums, such as ‘MDNA’, take top spot upon release and then plummet.  ‘Tuskegee’, on the other hand, rose over two weeks and such a rise must primarily be attributed to quality and merit.  Bravo!

‘Tuskegee’s rise bumps Nicki Minaj’s ‘Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded’ to no. 3 with Adele’s ’21′ holding at no. 2, as does One Direction’s ‘Up All Night’ at no. 5.  ‘MDNA’?  Don’t know where it’s gone; can’t find it!  Worthy of note, country singer Bonnie Raitt’s new album ‘Slipstream’ has debuted at no. 6 on the (‘open’) album charts.

On the topic of Billboard, the nominees for the Billboard Music Awards on 20th May have been announced.  Adele is in ‘win’ with eighteen, followed by LMFAO in ‘place’ with just one fewer.  Rihanna, with thirteen, is in ‘show position’.  Lady Gaga and Lil Wayne will be vying with Adele and Rihanna for the Top Artist award.  This award ceremony will have plenty of star-power as Carrie Underwood, Justin Bieber and LMFAO are already scheduled to perform.  As for the awards, I have a feeling that Adele will be feeling veeery happy one month from now.

Nothing of note on the still-static Singles Charts except that fun’s ‘We are Young’ and Gotye’s ‘Somebody that I used to Know’ have swapped places at the top.  Hmm, I wonder if I was on to something when I had blogged that fun and Gotye have taken out “a long-term lease” with Billboard . . . .

TGIF,

Shane

Smackdown at the Billboard!

Nicki MinajHallo!

It’s smackdown time!  Same day last week I wrote: “If we . . . have any sense or taste, ‘Tuskegee’ will bump Mad-onna’s ‘MDNA’ from its top spot next week!”  Well, I was half right!  It wasn’t ‘Tuskegee’ by Nicki Minaj’s ‘Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded’ that booted Mad-onna’s album from top spot – and how: ‘MDNA’ has been booted all the way down to no. 8!

‘Tuskegee’, as a matter of fact, has dropped to no. 4 with ’21′, after over a year in the charts, ascending one place to take its no. 2 spot.

I had blogged earlier about Nicki’s frenetic activity paying off by keeping her in the news and enhancing her popularity.  A single from her no. 1 album, ‘Starships’, is still on the Singles Top Ten at no. 6 to go with her no. 1 album.  The girl’s really done it!  (Though the album just may end up being a one-week wonder.)

What with all the hype swirling around Mad-onna and the media slavering over Nicki, Rascal Flatts’ new album ‘Changed’ has flown under the radar to debut at no. 3.

Something else I had written is borne out by ‘MDNA’s steep drop.  Last week I had explained ‘MDNA’s debut at no. 1 thusly: “It’s quite incredible what publicity and the media can do.”  Well, it all seems to be catching up: Billboard reports that ‘MDNA”s dizzying drop, saleswise, is the *biggest one week decline of all time.*  First week sales of 359,000, driving by “publicity and the media” shrunk to 48,000 in the second week for an 86.7 percent drop-off – a new record.  (Mad-onna and her people – of course – are not going to take it lying down and their publicity machine will probably swing into action to try to push their product.)

On to the Hot 100 (Singles) Chart.  I gotta say that it has become an amazingly static chart – correct me if I’m wrong but *seven* of the Top Ten have either held their position or changed by a single rung.

One noteworthy point is that with ‘Roman Reloaded’ in the albums Top Ten, Nicki Minaj has joined One Direction as the only performers in the Top Ten on both charts.  (One Direction’s ‘Up All Night’ has risen one spot to no. 5 and their single ‘What Makes You Beautiful’ has jumped from no. 9 to 4.)

fun’s and Gotye’s singles are still parked in their usual places, give or take a rung.  My sources tell me that they and Billboard have signed a secret long-term lease.

Justin Bieber’s fan-atics will be distraught to see their ‘Boyfriend’ slide from no. 2 to no. 5 in only the second week of release.  Well, Beliebers, how about another Twitter campaign? (translation: onslaught!)

Cheerio,

Shane

Is it Thursday? No, it’s BillboardDay!

MadonnaHi out there,

It’s Thursday so it’s Billboard Charts day.

As expected, ‘The Hunger Games’ OST at no. 1 was a ‘bounce’, it’s down to no. 5.  Still, that’s great for an OST.

So what ‘bounced’ it?  Mad-onna’s ‘MDNA’ which has debuted at no. 1!  It’s quite incredible what publicity and the media can do.  I wonder how many of that album’s buyers were concerned about the quality of the music, rather than the palpable hype and hoopla swirling around the album’s singer (in this case I use the word ‘singer’ loosely – very loosely).

Lionel Richie’s ‘Tuskegee’ has debuted at no. 2, finally bumping Adele’s ’21′ from that position.  If we Americans (including naturalized ones such as yours truly) have any sense or taste, ‘Tuskegee’ will bump ‘MDNA’ from its top spot next week!

British kiddie ambassador sensation One Direction (‘Up All Night’) is still in the Top Ten after three weeks, now down to no. 6.  And American elder statesman sensation, Bruce Springsteen is also still in the Top Ten after four weeks, dropping to no. 9.

But the news of the day on the charts is surely an ooold album’s comeback the Top Ten.  Katy Perry’s ‘Teenage Dream’ has spent well over a year somewhere or another on Billboard’s Top 200, including pole position.  Last week it was at no. 31 and now it’s rocketed to no. 7 – back in the Top Ten!  No doubt this is the result of the publicity surrounding her upcoming 3D concert-documentary movie (in theatres on Independence Day), specially the trailer that was released only two days back.

On the singles side, The Hot 100′s peak position was held on to despite the likelihood of a debut single bumping it.  Justin Bieber’s new single ‘Boyfriend’ has entered the charts at no. 2, unable to dislodge fun’s ‘We are Young’ from the top spot.  ‘Young’ is at no. 1 for a fourth week running.  This single is in the Top Five on no less than half-a-dozen charts fifteen weeks after release!  That’s staying power for you.

Take it easy,

Shane

Adele, Kelly or Katy?

AdeleHallo All!

The Adele train goes chugging on and on and the latest stop was Germany at the country’s ECHO awards.  Adele collected two awards, including Album of the Year for ’21′.  In doing so she beat out none other than Lady Gaga – not exactly an upset but, still, an against-the-odds win on the Continent.  Bruno Mars goes from strength to strength; he picked up Best International Male Artist.  Coldplay was the other big name to scoop an award; the band won Best International Group.

Rewind forty years – two generations – back for that era’s Adele and you find her in Carole King, whose ’21′ was ‘Tapestry’.  That album rode atop Billboard’s album chart for nearly four months!  Similar to Adele in our time, King enjoyed chart successes, collected numerous awards, and now is in line to collect another: a lifetime achievement award from BMI, their ‘Icon Award’.  It will be presented to King with the usual razzmatazz at a luxe event at the Beverly Wilshire in Los Angeles in May.  Carole King was also an accomplished songwriter before she hit her stride in her singing career.  There’s a connection here with a worldwide pop hit by Neil Sedaka but I suppose all my readers are too young to know or care . . .

Billboard’s Hot 100′s Top Ten shows remarkably little movement this week: total movement or shift in the Top Ten is only ten places with four singles holding from the previous week.  One of these (at no. 2) is Kelly Carkson’s ‘Stronger’.  Another one that’s held (no. 5) is ‘Somebody That I Used to Know’ by Gotye feat. Kimbra – and there’s a connection with the German ECHO awards: this song won Hit of the Year.  The Top Ten also has another such connection!  A third single that has held (no. 10) is ‘Part of Me’ by blue-haired Katy Perry – and she was present at the ECHO awards to sing (and scream and moan) her hit!

Well lads, Thank God It’s Friday – as we’ll have Happy Hour, name yer poison: Adele, Kelly or Katy?  Or does your taste run to other treats?

TGIF,

Shane

Kate Perry parachutes atop Mount Billboard!

Hey there, People,

Kate Perry is the music news story of the day, and the gal has done it with music.  Perry performed a soon-to-be-released song at the Grammys, Part of Me.  And upon release, the single debuted at number one on the Billboard Hot 100 Chart.  Congrats to Kate!

Perry’s feat is only the twentieth time a song has opened on top of the heap at Billboard and the first time ever for a single on Capitol records, label to the likes of Kay Starr and Les Paul & Mary Ford.  Part of Me is featured on Adele’s The Complete Confection, which is set for release on the 27th.

(The reference to Kay Starr and Les Paul & Mary Ford is neither arbitrary nor gratuitous; would you believe Kate’s dance number Part of Me owes a debt of gratitude to a little something that Kay, and Les & Mary, alongwith the engineers at Hollywood & Vine, did over half a century ago?  Do any of you kids know?  C’mon, speak up!)

Talking about Kate Perry helping Capitol set a personal best on the Billboard charts, Adele has set a record too.  She is the first female vocalist (lead billing) to have three tracks concurrently in the Top Ten.  Guess who’s sitting pretty in ‘show’ (no. 3) position, though?  It’s the late Whitney Houston with I Will Always Love You!  Interestingly, when Adele’s album 21 scored a 21st week in peak position on the Billboard album charts, she broke the record held by . . . (drum roll) Whitney!  (For The Bodyguard OST)

Some news covered in yesterday’s post has hotted up: The Rihanna and Chris Brown ‘remixes’ have got the music pundits as well as the gossip columnists chattering.  It’s all causing such a hoopla that one of the remixes has entered the Billboard Singles chart at no. 10.  I think it’ll take a lot more ‘remixing’ before the Rihanna-Chris duo can displace Kate or Adele from the top.

Musically Yours,

Shane