rolling pop 2020

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"sugar" looks to be on its way to becoming brockhampton's first big hit single. are you mad about it? i'm not -- it's quite a nice, sincere-sounding song.

soon to be graduating from tiktok vids to your 'local' top 40's playlist is "say so" from last year's doja cat album -- if the process happens slowly enough, maybe it'll be ringing out in public during the spring- or summertime that the song seems to embody. doja's "juicy" also just made minor inroads at pop stations and was quite a sizeable hit on the 'urban-leaning' ones. welcome back to radio, dr. luke

alicia keys's newest one, co-penned by ed sheeran and recently performed on the grammy broadcast w/ brittany howard, is getting a shot. you can almost imagine sheeran singing it, imagining himself to suitably represent the titular 'dog

if you all don't mind, i think 'll also post about some mainstream rap songs in here. tho the worlds of pop and rap were considered disparate and largely irreconcilable in the industry even recently, they're evidently on the collision course again, commingling, combining, turning it over. i didn't expect to hear "the box" getting played on my city's top 40 station until april or maybe late march, but here we are.

dyl, Tuesday, 4 February 2020 05:18 (seven months ago) link

pop songs that aren't charting or well known at all ofc also welcome

dyl, Tuesday, 4 February 2020 05:34 (seven months ago) link

still loving 'time machine' by Alicia. do not like this underdog song at all.

Thybulle on the Dash (Spottie), Tuesday, 4 February 2020 06:00 (seven months ago) link

Dang -- that "Sugar" video needs an NSFW or trigger warning or something!

I'm allergic to Doja cat. The Alicia tune is nice, but not really my thing.

dad genes (morrisp), Tuesday, 4 February 2020 20:46 (seven months ago) link

oops yeah, that one part is definitely a bit shocking/disturbing. presumably for that reason the video actually comes w/ the age-restriction warning on youtube but i guess that doesn't help when it's being accessed via embed. sorry!!

dyl, Wednesday, 5 February 2020 04:40 (seven months ago) link

It’s OK, I kept it on the dl*... I was just like, !!

(*my phone initially autocorrected this to “dyl”)

dad genes (morrisp), Wednesday, 5 February 2020 04:59 (seven months ago) link

i've come back to this a few times now. i'm not sure if hailee steinfeld will ever develop a real musical identity, but she knows how to pull out a good song when she needs one. one of the more convincing among its kin of weepy ballads recently.

dyl, Wednesday, 5 February 2020 05:40 (seven months ago) link

so happy 2020 has a pop thread!

sean gramophone, Wednesday, 5 February 2020 18:45 (seven months ago) link

enjoying j0rdan’s new column

flopson, Sunday, 9 February 2020 04:54 (seven months ago) link

yeah this one he wrote on today's shifting tides in pop was great too

dyl, Sunday, 9 February 2020 17:18 (seven months ago) link

thank u guys

J0rdan S., Sunday, 9 February 2020 18:09 (seven months ago) link

as far as tik tok crossover songs go, i think ant saunders "yellow hearts" is pretty dope. for the official single it looks like they've turned it into a duet but i think it's an improvement, the girl sounds rly good

J0rdan S., Wednesday, 12 February 2020 18:12 (seven months ago) link

or maybe this is just another version... anyway good track

J0rdan S., Wednesday, 12 February 2020 18:14 (seven months ago) link

definitely prefer that to arizona zervas or trevor daniel

dyl, Thursday, 13 February 2020 04:09 (seven months ago) link

I think this is a nice/interesting track (Madison Beer - "Selfish"):

You have seen the heavy groups (morrisp), Tuesday, 18 February 2020 23:49 (seven months ago) link

"Madison Beer" also an all-time great artist name, IMO

You have seen the heavy groups (morrisp), Tuesday, 18 February 2020 23:53 (seven months ago) link

she could earn 1000 nerd hit points by titling her second album More Beer

You have seen the heavy groups (morrisp), Wednesday, 19 February 2020 00:00 (seven months ago) link

whenever i see her name i think of the character from the bad-but-amusing teen thriller swimfan

dyl, Wednesday, 19 February 2020 05:50 (seven months ago) link

What do you guys think of "Stupid" by Tate McRae? I heard it on a top 40 station yesterday. Haven't really focused that much on the songwriting but the guitar line interested me enough to stop and listen. The sound itself reminded me a little of In Rainbows-era Radiohead and the overall production has an interesting atmospheric quality. Apparently, she's a teenager from Calgary who works with Billie Eilish?

With considerable charm, you still have made a choice (Sund4r), Wednesday, 19 February 2020 14:11 (seven months ago) link

"Selfish" was nice. The way the progression moves from the IV to the borrowed iv was interesting and reminded me a bit of some Beatles ballads. I like the ascending melody in the pre-chorus.

With considerable charm, you still have made a choice (Sund4r), Wednesday, 19 February 2020 14:41 (seven months ago) link

This song is somewhat of a trifle, but the beat/vibe are sticky... it's a real "turn it up immediately" track for me:

Josie Dunne - Back To It

You have seen the heavy groups (morrisp), Wednesday, 19 February 2020 21:05 (seven months ago) link

FYI, Josie's entire EP (where that track appears) has a similar sound, and is similarly good...

You have seen the heavy groups (morrisp), Wednesday, 19 February 2020 21:53 (seven months ago) link

Loving the new Allie X album, Cape God. Previous releases showed potential, but it's fully realised here. Her voice (and sometimes the songs) reminds me a lot of Inara George / the bird and the bee.

Jeff W, Friday, 21 February 2020 19:48 (six months ago) link

Sometimes I listen to that “Yellow Hearts” track posted above... the guy’s voice/“singing” is irritating to me (but I know it’s probably supposed to be). I like the part with the girl. It’s a nice, lightweight, pleasantly cheezy song for 15-yr-olds hanging at the mall, or whatever.

Ticket Tout (morrisp), Sunday, 23 February 2020 21:18 (six months ago) link

Also, doubling down on my rec of that Josie Dunne EP... I’ve played it soooo much. The songs hit some kind of sweet spot for me, and I like her singing a lot (and I usually don’t get into artists in that “style”).

Ticket Tout (morrisp), Sunday, 23 February 2020 21:23 (six months ago) link

Selena Gomez released a new single that doesn't appear on her (very) recent album(!) It's not great, but not bad:

Murdered-Out Highlander XLE (morrisp), Tuesday, 25 February 2020 19:41 (six months ago) link

Thanx to “Yellow Hearts,” YT is now serving me up new songs by this guy... gotta admit, I kinda like this, too:

Ant Saunders - u know it’s real

Murdered-Out Highlander XLE (morrisp), Saturday, 29 February 2020 06:02 (six months ago) link

apparently there’s a whole mini-genre of this stuff... I guess it’s like, extremely chill music for clean-cut college kids in a beach town? sort of a Jack Johnson function, plus lite beats and minus the soulful grit? tidal can hook u up

Murdered-Out Highlander XLE (morrisp), Saturday, 29 February 2020 06:48 (six months ago) link

more like zoomers on tiktok

like, I’m eating an elephant head (katherine), Saturday, 29 February 2020 07:38 (six months ago) link

that one is a bit dopey for me but i like him generally

J0rdan S., Saturday, 29 February 2020 08:48 (six months ago) link

yeah the one rando i've seen irl queuing up "yellow hearts" et al does not fit that demographic description at all

dyl, Saturday, 29 February 2020 17:19 (six months ago) link

Well, college kids are Zoomers!

Admittedly my quick evaluation above may have been based more on “related” artists that Tidal was throwing up, such as “Ruel,” “Khai Dreams,” and “Thomas Headon.”

Murdered-Out Highlander XLE (morrisp), Saturday, 29 February 2020 17:50 (six months ago) link

The general vibe I’m getting is — “friendly preppy guy in your high school chemistry class; captain of the soccer team; maybe you’re friends with his younger sister,” etc.

Murdered-Out Highlander XLE (morrisp), Saturday, 29 February 2020 17:53 (six months ago) link

been digging this kid deaton chris anthony, this song "1999 she" is pretty hot rn... this is a goofy internet-y sorta track but if you peel it back a bit it's a dope play on 90s house

this rap song w/ clairo is also goofy but i find it charming

J0rdan S., Saturday, 29 February 2020 19:24 (six months ago) link

Well, college kids are Zoomers!

Admittedly my quick evaluation above may have been based more on “related” artists that Tidal was throwing up, such as “Ruel,” “Khai Dreams,” and “Thomas Headon.”

― Murdered-Out Highlander XLE (morrisp), Saturday, February 29, 2020 12:50 PM (two hours ago) bookmarkflaglink

right yeah, this is just my suggesting that tidal is not really the source of this

like, I’m eating an elephant head (katherine), Saturday, 29 February 2020 19:54 (six months ago) link

hm i kinda like those two xp

dyl, Saturday, 29 February 2020 23:06 (six months ago) link

I dig this soapy, soundtracky tune:

Charlotte Lawrence - Joke's On You

tamagotchi revival artist (morrisp), Thursday, 5 March 2020 00:33 (six months ago) link

two weeks pass...

^she is now one of several artists to announce a COVID-19 diagnosis :(

morrisp, Sunday, 22 March 2020 20:59 (five months ago) link

oh no! i interviewed her last year and she was very sweet.

maura, Wednesday, 25 March 2020 13:13 (five months ago) link

I confess I don't dislike this one.

Nourry, Wednesday, 1 April 2020 19:10 (five months ago) link

ugh that cover looks way too much like covid 19 stock art

maura, Wednesday, 1 April 2020 23:49 (five months ago) link

not to judge a song by its etc but

maura, Wednesday, 1 April 2020 23:49 (five months ago) link

The Ant Man released an EP:

morrisp, Saturday, 4 April 2020 18:33 (five months ago) link

He’s a very interesting interview subject, lol:

morrisp, Saturday, 4 April 2020 18:36 (five months ago) link

i think it's fair to say that the tiktok hit pipeline is unrelenting at the moment

two of the earlier-breaking ones on the charts right now are lil mosey's "blueberry faygo" and surfaces' "sunday best." they're both trifles but the former has a pretty simple appeal to it imo -- and i can't help but appreciate the johnny gill "my, my, my" sample. the latter embodies the same energy as spring breakers in florida last month.

certainly the biggest of the most recent-to-break tiktok hits is megan thee stallion's "savage." while i'm glad to see her, talented as she is, scoring such a substantial success, i wish it had been with a different song -- like "b.i.t.c.h.", which is currently a hit at urban radio but running out of streaming steam. "savage" is not bad, but for me there's not a lot to it aside from the effortlessly catchy hook. i'm generally not one to be amused by dance challenges, but i did enjoy seeing a clip of the 'god warrior' dancing to it.

i appreciate that "supalonely" by new zealand singer benee at least sort of defies expectation as to what hits of this sort should sound like, but i'm not entirely won over by the song itself yet, and the dude on the track is nearly intolerable.

'in these uncertain times' (to use a phrase currently favored by advertising copywriters) it seems tiktok users are connecting with powfu's "death bed," a rap-ballad fantasy about dying young. the sample that comprises the hook is definitely the focal point: pitched up, distant-sounding, like a fading memory replayed in one's head. the song it's derived from, beabadoobee's "coffee," has been out since 2017 but now has a new music video -- perhaps someone is hoping it can be the "thank you" to powfu's "stan."

of course drake had to swoop in with his own. i'll be honest: i was fully prepared to be among the apparently many online bemoaning its crass cynicism, its lack of justification for existing beyond the potential to inspire predictable social media activity -- but oops, i actually like it, certainly more than some of the drake singles that critics have deemed classics, and more than any of the other songs i've mentioned in this post. i have a strange affinity for putatively upbeat 'party' records that have a touch of moroseness to them, and the sustained tones in this one's backing track push it into that territory for me. the synth noodling also has an inexact, uncertain quality that i find vaguely intoxicating; even paying the lyrics little attention, it's a track i can find myself lost in. those particular lines meant to inspire the inevitable dance videos are so brief and inconsequential, but i wouldn't consider myself above trying the steps if i found myself at a gathering, were it advisable for me to gather anywhere. it will probably crash in at #1 on the week after next's billboard charts and may remain there a while.

dyl, Sunday, 5 April 2020 03:27 (five months ago) link

Great post, dyl. I agree the Drake song is catchy (when I let him borrow my house to shot the video, I made him promise it would be a hit).

morrisp, Sunday, 5 April 2020 04:32 (five months ago) link

I remember that Surfaces video from the “Worst Music of 2019” thread. So it finally “broke through,” huh?

The “Supalonely” song has a nice sound, but the lyrics stink...

morrisp, Sunday, 5 April 2020 05:00 (five months ago) link

Several of the songs dyl mentioned are name-checked here (plus “our own” Glenn McD.):

morrisp, Wednesday, 8 April 2020 01:45 (five months ago) link

i appreciate that "supalonely" by new zealand singer benee at least sort of defies expectation as to what hits of this sort should sound like, but i'm not entirely won over by the song itself yet, and the dude on the track is nearly intolerable.

it's a good song, but for all its idiosyncrasies it seems like a calculated attempt to create a meme: goofy adlibs, OTT autotune, self-deprecating sadboi-isms, prominent curse word in the hook to make the 12-year-olds feel edgy, trigger words (thinkin 🤔, drinkin 🍻) that lend themselves to tiktok hand gestures/dance moves. it reminds me of Superorganism in that respect even though they don't have much in common musically. I prefer Benee's first EP to her second because the novelty factor is a little less pronounced. Gus Dapperton's verse is awful and I really wish there was a version without it

anatomy of a buttless wonder (unregistered), Sunday, 12 April 2020 20:44 (five months ago) link

What do you guys think of "Stupid" by Tate McRae? I heard it on a top 40 station yesterday. Haven't really focused that much on the songwriting but the guitar line interested me enough to stop and listen. The sound itself reminded me a little of In Rainbows-era Radiohead and the overall production has an interesting atmospheric quality. Apparently, she's a teenager from Calgary who works with Billie Eilish?

― With considerable charm, you still have made a choice (Sund4r), Wednesday, February 19, 2020 9:11 AM (one month ago)

her 'I Wrote a Song' video and Clairo's 'Pretty Girl' refused to leave my youtube sidebar for what seemed like a month toward the end of 2017. Billie and Finneas wrote one of her songs ('Tear Myself Apart') but they haven't worked together directly, and Tate's own songwriting style owes more to Alessia Cara than to Billie. I like that song and 'Stupid' and 'Happy Face', but as a whole her EP is a little awkward: the production is all sparse reverby beats and ominous bass drops, which doesn't really suit all her artless confessions about crushes and backstabbing friends. but of course it's 2020 and teenpop is expected to be grimdark rather than just plain moody. fwiw she's probably one of the best competitive dancers in the world, so this is sorta the equivalent of Shaq having a music career on the side

anatomy of a buttless wonder (unregistered), Sunday, 12 April 2020 21:07 (five months ago) link

Yeah I wasn't immediately struck by excitement over 'another one of those', but I guess there are turns and subtleties of melody and delivery here that just gets me

abcfsk, Sunday, 3 May 2020 11:47 (four months ago) link

New charity fundraiser single, I think it's pretty good:

Ariana Grande & Justin Bieber - Stuck with U

I eat fast foods (morrisp), Friday, 8 May 2020 04:42 (four months ago) link

Long article on Dr. Luke. I don’t much care for “Say So,” but there you go:

Inadequate grass (morrisp), Wednesday, 13 May 2020 16:35 (four months ago) link

Here's one I am fond of (very atmospheric):

NIKI - Switchblade

Inadequate grass (morrisp), Wednesday, 13 May 2020 17:56 (four months ago) link

I think Audrey Mika (from the "Yellow Hearts" remix) is limited as a singer, but this is a nice & "professional" track that should appeal to fans of Dua Lipa, etc.:

Audrey Mika - Just Friends

Inadequate grass (morrisp), Wednesday, 13 May 2020 18:17 (four months ago) link

truly abhorrent quotes coming from some of the interviewed a&r folks in that dr. luke piece

dyl, Thursday, 14 May 2020 01:22 (four months ago) link

i like "switchblade" tho!

dyl, Thursday, 14 May 2020 01:38 (four months ago) link

two weeks pass...

Victor Leksell's sappy, and not exactly inventive, but sweet 'Svag' is the undeniable monster hit of the spring in Sweden and Norway, currently #1 in both countries for the nth week in a row.

He did a performance with Norwegian popper Astrid S that was pretty clever -- the two of them sat on each side of the Sweden / Norway border. If she went over on his side she would have to be quarantined coming back.

abcfsk, Sunday, 31 May 2020 11:48 (three months ago) link

two weeks pass...

curtis waters - "stunnin"

this is a tik tok thing that is like a gen z chromeo song or something, i think it's pretty dope

J0rdan S., Thursday, 18 June 2020 05:31 (three months ago) link

that feels like a very deliberate attempt to write a tik tok hit but I love it regardless, very charming and the kind of thing it's difficult for a male popstar to pull off

boxedjoy, Thursday, 18 June 2020 08:00 (three months ago) link

pretty intoxicating production honestly. in a good way it also ~feels~ much longer than it actually is

dyl, Friday, 19 June 2020 04:48 (three months ago) link

abcfsk, Friday, 19 June 2020 10:38 (three months ago) link

Those Surfaces doofuses did a track with... Elton John?

OG Honeymoon Ave (morrisp), Friday, 26 June 2020 04:27 (two months ago) link

screaming at jason derulo catapulting himself back to relevance by becoming the world's thirstiest tiktok personality + putting lyrics over a preexisting tiktok instrumental hit

the original instrumental (jawsh 685's "laxed") is honestly entertaining in a kitschy/goofy way, the main synth sounds like something off an snes sound chip

dyl, Saturday, 27 June 2020 04:58 (two months ago) link

I like her voice:

(Angel Cintron - Hometown)

Pat McGroin (morrisp), Tuesday, 30 June 2020 04:21 (two months ago) link

This is a nice slice of bedroom pop:

(ELIO - LA in Two)

Pat McGroin (morrisp), Tuesday, 30 June 2020 04:41 (two months ago) link

I'm really into this cute album by Roki Fernandez (from Argentina) right now:

here 1st (roxymuzak), Tuesday, 7 July 2020 16:24 (two months ago) link

this is awesome. like a bit more twee Javiera Mena

sean gramophone, Tuesday, 7 July 2020 17:10 (two months ago) link

pop industry + charts news: trade pub billboard is making some long-overdue changes to its tabulation processes to disincentivize the most fashionable of chart-rigging tactics lately, the music/merchandise bundle

while at first glance this would seem to have little relevance to anything 'real' regarding how the industry operates, the fact of the matter is that these aggressive bundling tactics, generally used to juice a release's charting stats during the first week of release, have been so heavily relied-on that eliminating the incentive for this practice may even increase the rate at which album sales continue to crater into oblivion, which may have something of a ripple effect in an already-challenged industry

especially as the pandemic continues to rage, leaving touring generally off the table (of course, ticket bundles were quite popular until recently), i would expect fewer high-profile 'pop' artists to take chances on initiating new album cycles for the next while, and for the pace of tune-turnover at 'pop' radio to slow to an even more glacial pace

while those would obviously not be good developments, it was unquestionably the correct decision for billboard as far as protecting the utility and meaning of their charts. with both streaming volumes and radio audiences in a modest-but-significant ongoing depression since the pandemic took hold, it's become unusually easy lately for artists to use these tactics to launch their hits at #1 overwhelmingly based on encouraging mass-purchasing from artists' hardcore social media-connected fans, in many cases leading to precipitous drops immediately following the first frame once labels/fans apparently stopped caring to put in further effort, the chart peak having already been achieved.

(on a less important note: i am honestly impressed with how direct they are being about the motivations behind this rule change, even going as far as to directly name some of some of the artists who were beneficiaries of some of the more blatant attempts to rig the charts in recent weeks. i generally find billboard's writing about its own charts in recent years to be very lacking in insight, rarely acknowledging in any meaningful way the strategies by which labels work their product to play that particular game, tho such strategies remain abundant. it wasn't always this way, so this more direct/honest announcement was nice to see.)

dyl, Tuesday, 14 July 2020 06:38 (two months ago) link

i know that at this point the billboard charts are mostly about spins and not purchases but the real bottom line is that no one is buying albums and i assume billboard would prefer not to say the quiet part loud. at least bundle sales are sales.

Fuck the NRA (ulysses), Tuesday, 14 July 2020 15:19 (two months ago) link

In addition, Billboard will no longer allow sales of physical albums or singles that are bundled with digital downloads to be reported as digital sales, thereby eliminating the practice of “spontaneous” non-manufactured items being used to influence first-week chart rankings. Only when the physical item -- ostensibly what the consumer is buying -- is shipped, will it be counted in Billboard’s official tallies.

Why would a purchase of a CD + download not count as a sale until the CD ships? I've bought these myself, and was not under the impression that the CD was what I was "ostensibly" buying. I was buying both formats at once. I was buying the single.

FAC 179 (morrisp), Tuesday, 14 July 2020 16:34 (two months ago) link

presumably because vendors are shipping cds well past the date of "purchase" but those numbers count toward week one sales? it's juking the stats no matter how you look at it.

Fuck the NRA (ulysses), Tuesday, 14 July 2020 16:35 (two months ago) link

But so what? I bought it when I bought it - that's when the "sale" happened - and got the download immediately. Who cares when the CD ships? (I don't care about the chart, btw, but don't get this controversy.)

FAC 179 (morrisp), Tuesday, 14 July 2020 16:37 (two months ago) link

To put it another way - the merch item is the add-on to the download, not the other way around. At least, that is how I saw it, as the "consumer."

FAC 179 (morrisp), Tuesday, 14 July 2020 16:40 (two months ago) link

i wonder if the implication of that passage is that some of the "manufactured items" in question never got manufactured/distributed to fans in the first place. especially when it comes to ticket bundles, you're dealing w/ a purchase (a concert) that is subject to not existing or drastic change at the hands of any number of forces. i feel like we can say w/ confidence that there were albums sold in the last 6-9 months w/ ticket bundles attached where the concert in question is no longer scheduled.

that having been said, i ordered a bad bunny t shirt (w/ digital download) for my bf when his last album dropped, and the shirt shipped in late june weeks after it was originally scheduled to ship and at least a month after the album came out. adding my purchase to his total at that point makes no sense to me... i was reacting to the "spontaneous" act of him suddenly releasing a new album, and also he was selling some cute t shirts. having chart tabulations dictated by the whims of the packing and shipping industries (sorry your package will not ship for another 2-4 weeks) seems pretty stupid.

i would also keep in mind here that altho the individuals at billboard who work on the charts are very passionate about and protective of the billboard charts as an institution that essentially keeps a public historical record of pop music, the company itself is run by imbeciles

J0rdan S., Tuesday, 14 July 2020 17:26 (two months ago) link

that all sounds about right.

Fuck the NRA (ulysses), Tuesday, 14 July 2020 18:34 (two months ago) link

the concern is that labels lately have gotten into the habit of "spontaneously" offering a gazillion different pieces of merchandise, many of which do not actually exist yet except in concept, simply so they can be aggressively promoted on social media to diehards who will make sure to buy every single piece w/ the download of a song that would normally be purchased just once (online stans are hyper-aware of the charts + know that buying these things 'helps' their favorite artist). there is absolutely no question that labels would not engage in this extent of merch bundling, offering limited-time-only perks that just happen to coincide w/ billboard data-tracking weeks, etc., if it weren't a quick-and-easy means of achieving favorable(-looking) charting outcomes (again, many of these high-peaking 'hits' don't end up actually doing much business in the end -- one of this year's #1s might actually miss the year-end chart, which is, uh, not good). the billboard charts are meant to be a barometer of overall consumer interest, not a tabulation of which too-online stanbases were fleeced the hardest last week. so yes it seems weird/stupid on the surface to tie a singles bundle to shipment date of the bundled product rather than the date of purchase of the music download itself, it's something that had to be done because this obviously manipulative practice had gotten so out of hand

this is very similar to the labels' practice of arranging to have retailers deep-discount their singles in the mid-to-late '90s which ultimately helped lead to the especially early death of the physical singles market in the us. this tactic literally lost labels money and yet they couldn't stop themselves from doing it because execs + artist managers remained so eager to snatch up yet another #1 hit whenever it seemed even remotely achievable. billboard ended up having to nip that practice in the bud too, but it took them years to figure out how they wanted to go about it

dyl, Wednesday, 15 July 2020 03:55 (two months ago) link

Wasn’t the rule something about one credit card would only be counted toward purchase of 4 copies of a single, max? (This came up in that Tekashi 6ix9ine vs. Ariana & Bieber spat.) Why not just change it to one (1) copy, but still allow that sale to count, even if it’s part of a merch bundle? One copy seems fair.

FAC 179 (morrisp), Wednesday, 15 July 2020 04:38 (two months ago) link

i don't know the specific rules billboard's data provider (nielsen) applies to attempt to correct for suspicious/manipulative/fraudulent activity that may appear in the figures they collect. even in their statement about that controversial charting week, they seem to avoid going into specifics. i would say much of what's said among fan communities and within the industry about hard limits on number of copies per transaction/'receipt' or credit card is largely rumor/speculation.

dyl, Wednesday, 15 July 2020 06:54 (two months ago) link

i don't know that nielsen even has access to buyer/credit card info for all the download sales figures it receives

dyl, Wednesday, 15 July 2020 06:57 (two months ago) link

two weeks pass...

interesting collaboration:
Sam Smith ft. Burna Boy • My Oasis

No mean feat. DaBaby (breastcrawl), Friday, 31 July 2020 16:59 (one month ago) link

one month passes...

it's so sad how slow american top 40 radio is to turn songs over these days. i am now hearing songs like "supalonely," "death bed," "if the world was ending" and "i hope" as much as i ever did, and they all started really popping off like six months ago... not to mention the extended tenures of ancient tunes like "circles," "adore you" and "blinding lights," which is now enjoying its bazillionth week as the top title on billboard's airplay chart. lest it all be blamed on the pandemic, last year was actually just as bad: there have been 25 top 10s on the airplay chart so far this year (by the same time last year it was 24), whereas in the years about a decade ago that number would generally be ~40% greater.

i'm not that idealistic: i know that even in its best years radio seeks to respond to listeners' pre-existing tastes more than it hopes to introduce them to new songs, but this still represents a truly absurd low, at least as far back as i can remember from my lifetime. at this point i have come to expect that any pop song i find online that sounds like a hit will probably not actually enter regular rotation at the top 40 stations i am subjected to at w*rk until half a year later.

so uhhh by that logic, what's gonna be ringing out in the w*rkplace come early 2021? tate mcrae from upthread actually has a song on the charts now, "you broke me first." the eilish influence is obvious but i kinda like it anyway. apparently it's a thing on tiktok, but what isn't these days. conan gray's "heather" is too -- the concept is intriguing in some ways but beyond that i'm not feeling the song at all.

speaking of tiktok, i recently saw a group of high school-age girls across the street from my apartment filming each other doing something-or-other to saweetie's "tap in," presumably for that app. like her last big hit the production is based primarily around an instantly recognizable 00s hit and could have been produced by anyone, but in fact it turns out it's dr. luke's latest.

"mood" by 24kgoldn and iann dior has been zooming up the streaming charts with alarming rapidity for the past month and is about to go top 10 and probably beyond on the hot 100; radio is unsurprisingly just getting started on it. both artists have had previous singles promoted alternately to both rap and alternative stations, w/ mixed results either way, so i guess splitting things down the middle was the way to go. nothing fancy or high-minded about it, but it's cute and catchy.

racing up the airplay charts surprisingly quickly by today's standards is bts's new one, which sports english lyrics and an unnecessary key change. as always, its lofty chart debut was fueled by feverish fan activity, but unlike with previous singles the strong early radio response could actually help it stick around near or even at the top, where it began. i wouldn't say i really like this one -- "boy with luv" is my pick among bts singles -- but the chorus melody is an earworm.

certainly one of the worst songs i have heard recently is surf mesa's sedated house cover of "can't take my eyes off you" (sorry, i mean "ily"). the other 'edm' one getting a shot at top 40 right now, topic & a7s's "breaking me," is no less basic but at least has a solid tune and a non-execrable aesthetic. the latter artists recently released a pretty forgettable followup w/ lil baby of all people.

"i hope" has actually grown on me over the course of its slow rise to full saturation. (i know i'm an incessant charlie puth h8r, but i've come to prefer the original solo version -- it would have been cool if his verse had been more of a response to gabby's instead of just the original second verse sung by a dude, but oh well.) i guess given their past crossover history, the next country tune to go pop could be dan '+' shay's "i should probably go to bed," but the song is a total snooze and the production sounds weirdly hollow. preferable would be morgan wallen's "7 summers" which recently posted shockingly high opening-week streams for a country single, landing in the hot 100's top 10. wallen's already got a single going at country radio right now, so even if they did try crossing it it would probably take until next summer to go the full distance. if it's already this big a hit, why bother?

anyway. i guess i should probably go to bed.

dyl, Tuesday, 8 September 2020 08:14 (one week ago) link

thanks for that post, stay up late any time :)

sean gramophone, Tuesday, 8 September 2020 14:00 (one week ago) link


No mean feat. DaBaby (breastcrawl), Tuesday, 8 September 2020 15:05 (one week ago) link

(even if there doesn’t seem to be a great deal of current US chart pop that tickles my fancy)

No mean feat. DaBaby (breastcrawl), Tuesday, 8 September 2020 15:07 (one week ago) link

What kind of w*rk do you do, dyl? Enquiring minds want 2 know!

“Pizza House!” (morrisp), Tuesday, 8 September 2020 15:25 (one week ago) link

thanks sean and breastcrawl :)

i w*rk in a clinical lab. the managers generally frown on both headphones + streaming (tho they are starting to budge on the second one slightly) so radio tends to be the default source of background noise

dyl, Wednesday, 9 September 2020 04:02 (one week ago) link

Interesting, thx - sorry 2 be nosy :)

“Pizza House!” (morrisp), Wednesday, 9 September 2020 04:08 (one week ago) link

that dyl superpost is reminding me how disconnected from MY WORLD OF YOUNG PEOPLE the plague is making me feel... no concerts and no outdoor music of any kind means that it's easy to stop panning for flecks of gold in the muddy fields of radio pop. I should really go back to listening to Singles Jukebox i guess.

Fuck the NRA (ulysses), Wednesday, 9 September 2020 14:44 (one week ago) link

This track seems to have done fairly well; it's basic, but I like it (the songwriters include my crew - Tommy Brown, Victoria Monét, Ariana Grande).

BLACKPINK - Ice Cream (feat. Selena Gomez)

Can Butch Vig not do "dynamimcs"? (morrisp), Friday, 11 September 2020 16:49 (one week ago) link

Btw - I really enjoy the (streaming) Deluxe version of Selena Gomez’s Rare (as distinct from the physical “Deluxe” version of the album, which I also own but has a different tracklist). The streaming version is basically a playlist of everything she’s released in the past year, and it’s highly listenable. (“Rare” is a tremendous single, IMO—I’ve gone on about it in the Selena Gomez thread, & won’t rehash it here.)

Can Butch Vig not do "dynamimcs"? (morrisp), Friday, 11 September 2020 17:34 (one week ago) link

I like this (especially the beat... and that little d'n'b drop at the end!):

Audrey Nuna - Damn Right

Can Butch Vig not do "dynamimcs"? (morrisp), Friday, 11 September 2020 21:25 (one week ago) link

i didn't expect i would like "ice cream" but it's pretty good. i like "damn right" too

dyl, Saturday, 12 September 2020 04:14 (one week ago) link

is it pop, is it r&b? either way, it’s further proof of the continuing integration of afropop into the international pop fabric:
Aluna ft. Rema & Kaytranada • The Recipe

jointly produced by Kaytranada and Nigerian producer Altims

No mean feat. DaBaby (breastcrawl), Saturday, 12 September 2020 15:23 (one week ago) link

v v pretty

abcfsk, Sunday, 13 September 2020 08:17 (one week ago) link

Emilie Nicolas • Oh Love

No mean feat. DaBaby (breastcrawl), Sunday, 13 September 2020 09:37 (one week ago) link

what is going on with madison beer? is there really no way forward that does not involve assuming every aspect of an already-established star's aesthetic?

dyl, Saturday, 19 September 2020 19:03 (yesterday) link

Lol, that’s hilarious

Madison Beer = watery domestic

Scam Likely (morrisp), Saturday, 19 September 2020 19:44 (yesterday) link

its really funny + weird that major labels have spent 7 years trying to get a hit out of her and still haven't really succeeded. usually by this point either the label or artist gets fed up with that but instead we get this weird desperate flailing i guess

ufo, Sunday, 20 September 2020 04:19 (sixteen hours ago) link

The “Controversies” section of her Wikipedia page is really humorous.

Scam Likely (morrisp), Sunday, 20 September 2020 04:29 (sixteen hours ago) link

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