Showing posts with label billy currington. Show all posts
Showing posts with label billy currington. Show all posts

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

billboard BREAKDOWN - hot 100 - july 1, 2017 (VIDEO)

Well, look at that, a pretty damn good week on the show - and with Lorde coming up, it looks to be even better.

And speaking of Lorde... well, stay tuned! 

billboard BREAKDOWN - hot 100 - july 1, 2017

This week surprised me. In more ways than one actually, and for the most part they seem to be good surprises, where songs I was not looking forward to didn't show up, and a few that I never dared to dream would chart actually cracked through. To me, this is the sort of good news I've been conditioned not to expect going into the summer slowdown, and considering next week we'll probably get a big push for Lorde... yeah, maybe things are looking up?

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

billboard BREAKDOWN - hot 100 - august 13, 2016

You know, there's an adage I have on this show that the Canadian charts are always better, mostly because we didn't get rid of rock radio and we at least try to cultivate more unique Canadian acts. And yet if we look at the 2016 Hot 100, which many critics are already claiming is one of the worst years on record for this decade, it's been dominated by two Canadian artists coasting more off production than any sort of lyrical or vocal personality. Now I could make the argument that we as Canadians tend to manufacture some distance with our stars - Drake and Bieber have both been bigger south of the border than they have here - but on the other hand, we did let Bieber debut at #1 where he only landed #2 this week, so take it as you will.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

video review: 'summer forever' by billy currington

Man, I'm glad I managed to get this out when I did - although as expected, RL prevented me from getting this post up earlier. Eh, it happens.

Okay, next up is Billboard BREAKDOWN, and then Surf, so stay tuned!

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

album review: 'summer forever' by billy currington

Let's talk a little about the whole concept of the 'summer album'. 

Believe it or not, it's a fairly new thing, along with the whole conceit of a 'song of the summer' - sure, music critics who cover the pop charts mention it, but the concept of mass culture talking about it or marketing it can be traced to the internet making the conversation easier. And sure, there has always been lightweight sunny 'summer' albums forever, but the concept of an artist purposefully releasing a record of that material specifically at that time to capitalize on that vibe is a little different. And as a critic, they're surprisingly difficult to talk about. On the one hand, the content tends to be pretty lightweight which means reviewing them doesn't tend to require a lot of digging, but on the other hand, evaluating the record becomes trickier, because the purpose of these records is to be lightweight, ephemeral, and fun in the broadest way possible. They're designed to be enjoyed for a season over pool parties and barbecues, and you can bet by the end of the year most people will forget the songs ever existed. So on some level, evaluating what's considered 'good' summer music is the stuff that persists beyond one season - and that can be hard to pinpoint if you're covering the record before the season has really kicked into gear.

As such, I had a certain amount of pause before covering the newest record from Billy Currington, a country star I've liked but never quite loved. He broke in the mid-2000s, started consistently racking up #1 hits on the country charts thanks to his hangdog, generally affable delivery and for recruiting songwriters that could consistently pump out decent songs. And yet in 2013, he jettisoned the few writing credits he had for We Are Tonight, a pivot towards bro-country that was actually pretty good but wasn't anything I was really interested in revisiting either. It was lightweight, inoffensive, and had just enough personality to stand out - in other words, if it hadn't been dropped in mid-September, it'd be the perfect summer record, the sort of smash that bro-country often seems weaponized to create. And with that in mind - and with the addition of a single writing credit from Currington himself - I figured it might not be bad for me to check out Summer Forever, which buzz was suggesting was even more in that vein. Hell, it could be fun, right?

Thursday, March 12, 2015

billboard BREAKDOWN - hot 100 - march 21, 2015

Sometimes on Billboard BREAKDOWN, we can get some pretty rough weeks... but sometimes you the weeks where it all just clicks in some of the best ways possible. The good songs win, the bad songs lose, the new songs kick ass, and even the returning tracks aren't bad. I don't think it's quite possible to ever have a perfect week - simply based on the law of averages I reckon it's impossible to a Hot 100 that's all great music - but you can have great weeks. And folks, we came pretty close here - yeah, we got some rough songs, but we also got a bonafide classic, and I couldn't be happier about that.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

video review: 'we are tonight' by billy currington

Geez, the white balance on that video didn't go well at all. Ah well, it happens. Think the video looks halfway decent, though.

Might take a break between the country reviews and go for the Bill Callahan album, though. Stay tuned!

album review: 'we are tonight' by billy currington

Here's something about modern music that the majority of you know: there are a lot of singers and musicians who do not write their own songs. In some cases, they might be the primary songwriter or they might compose the lyrics, but they typically have somebody helping them with the melody line or the instrumentation or other elements of the song. It takes a supremely gifted songwriter who is able to compose every single element of the song, and particularly in pop music, you don't see them as often anymore. It's not often you find guys like Prince or Beck, for example.

However, you used to see singer-songwriters a lot more in country music, and one of the big frustrations of the movement of modern country towards the mainstream is the fact that most country artists don't write their own songs in the same way anymore. With the rise of Garth Brooks, there are some country musicians who don't even write any of their own material, simply relying on the Nashville country song generating machine to crank out song after song. And I realize this isn't exactly a new thing, but it is something that frustrates me as a critic, because certain songs can lose something when you know in your mind that these songs don't have that direct, intimate connection with the singer in the same way.

That being said, I'm not exactly about to condemn the practice of other people writing musicians' songs for them - some people aren't good songwriters, it happens, and thus the job of the singer and performer changes - it's now to sell us the song, to make it their own not through composition, but through their delivery. I know that Garth Brooks didn't write 'The Dance', but his delivery is so damn good on that song that you can associate it with him forever in your mind. It transcends the fact that he didn't write the song and he makes it his own in a big way. And that's one of the big reasons when I look at pop music and country music that I don't mind the fact that producer-songwriters like Max Martin and Dr. Luke exist - in the best cases, I don't associate Max Martin with 'I Want It That Way' or 'Since U Been Gone', I associate those songs with the acts that made them real, The Backstreet Boys and Kelly Clarkson.

But even with all of that in mind, a big warning light tends to go off in my mind when I hear that a guy who used to write the majority of his own material is now only performing songs written by other people, which is the case of the new album by Billy Currington We Are Tonight. Now for those of you who are having trouble telling the various modern male country acts apart, Billy Currington has been, in my mind, one of the better ones, mostly because he's something of a traditionalist, harkening back to the country of guys like Alan Jackson and Tim McGraw and Brooks & Dunn. It also helps a little that this guy is a little older and isn't exactly a great singer, relying more on soul and honest delivery. If I'm going to describe his vocals on previous albums, he's got something of a 'hangdog' style of delivery - not exactly polished in the vein of a singer like Keith Urban, but having the same sort of honest likability. Unfortunately, it's a bit hard to tell if some of that likability is an act, given that he's currently facing charges linked to his poor response to a tour boat buzzing his island home (he got in his own boat and chased away the tour boat rather recklessly - might be the reason all of his marketing for this album vanished). Despite that uncomfortable incident, I was looking forward to his newest album, even though, as I mentioned, he didn't write or contribute to any of the songs on his album. So, how did it go?