Showing posts with label chris stapleton. Show all posts
Showing posts with label chris stapleton. Show all posts

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

billboard BREAKDOWN - hot 100 - july 20, 2019

So am I the only one who feels like all the album bombs I've been predicting just are not happening in the same way they used to? Maybe it's a matter of diminished hype or maybe the charts hitting equilibrium surrounding streaming so that larger numbers are demanded to break through, or hell, maybe it's just a lack of the truly big names shaking up the charts, but I was expecting impact from Dreamville and while we got a couple of songs, it really wasn't that many, which led to another slow week this summer for which I'm not complaining, but still seems bizarre.

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

billboard BREAKDOWN - hot 100 - may 11, 2019

I think the best way to describe this week would be a deflation of expectations - yeah, I knew this week wouldn't quite have the same impact as what happened with album releases, but I was open to the possibility of larger hits from acts like ScHoolboy Q or P!nk or even AJR. Now thankfully for a change we mostly missed this and seemed to walk away with about as good of a result as we could hope for, although with still more quiet weeks ahead it begs the question where the hell the Hot 100 could even go in the next week or two.

Tuesday, December 25, 2018

the top ten best hit songs of 2018 (VIDEO)

So that's the next list out - okay, Billboard BREAKDOWN and two lists left to write (plus the last episode of Resonators for this season), so my work's cut out for me. Stay tuned!

the top ten best hit songs of 2018

So here's where things get hard - I already said in my last list that 2018 was a pretty bad year for the Hot 100... but was it, really? When I started putting together this list, I actually found a pretty sizable list of pretty good songs where I actually had to make some cuts. But note my choice of words: there were plenty of good songs, but very few great ones, especially if we're going to make any comparisons to previous years, and that makes the flagrant awfulness stand out all the more starkly. But to explain why... well, the bad songs were execrable results of gross trends and chart manipulation, but I honestly couldn't get too mad at the latter because if the songs were good, nobody would be complaining about it.

Sadly, this is where the second part of the album bomb conversation comes up, and how they can prove surprisingly detrimental to more than just the album itself. Sure, it might give promoters a clue how to push certain songs to become sleeper hits, but it also can burn people out on potential singles faster, and limits their chance to rise within the top 40 - you only need to look at how Post Malone mismanaged 'Candy Paint' for an example of that. And while the radio will occasionally get onboard with late album singles, in order to maintain relevance they wind up pushing the most stale and broadly sketched music imaginable to satiate as wide of an audience, which doesn't always align with quality. But what's perhaps most damaging about an album bomb is the aftershocks around it, where potentially weird or obscure tracks riding a slow groundswell might get knocked aside, especially if you're not a megastar or you're in a subgenre that doesn't get mainstream attention anyway! The one thing I could say about 2017 hits is that they brought an uncommon wealth of talent and critical acclaim to bear where they could wind up on both my list of hits and songs proper - 2018, not even close, especially when you consider how many artists disappointed or outright fell off this year.

And yet by some miracle, I've got a list of songs that debuted on the year-end Hot 100 in 2018 that I can credibly call the strongest of this year, even if they don't hold a candle to the best of, say, the majority of this decade, so let's start with our Honourable Mentions...

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

billboard BREAKDOWN - hot 100 - november 24, 2018 (VIDEO)

So this was a living hell to get online - and knowing my luck, it'll be copyright claimed within the hour, so catch it while you can.

Next up, Little Mix - stay tuned!

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

billboard BREAKDOWN - hot 100 - november 24, 2018

And so we reached the end of the fourth year of Billboard BREAKDOWN, a weekly series that at the end of every Billboard year I rhetorically ask whether you want me to continue it. Now of course there's a part of me that wants to keep doing it - as someone who loves delving into the history of popular music, the annals and intricacy of the Hot 100 is fascinating to me - but in 2018... look, I'm not going to mince words, this has been a rough year. More than ever, this was the year of the album bomb, when week after week the charts were blitzed with full albums backed by the streaming machine and I was stuck trying to pick up the pieces, and while I'll have plenty more to say about this when year-end lists roll around in a month or so, on a week-by-week basis it's proven exhausting and I can argue worse for the Hot 100's overall quality. And given that there's no sign any streaming platform will self-regulate against this - sometimes even being willing co-conspirators in the manipulation - I don't see it getting better, and that just makes me feel all the more exhausted by it all.

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

billboard BREAKDOWN - hot 100 - february 10, 2018 (VIDEO)

Alright, this went up late... and really, this one was painful to put out, so much fucking Migos...

But now onto something a little more local - stay tuned!

billboard BREAKDOWN - hot 100 - february 10, 2018

...well, we all knew this was coming. There were two pretty disruptive events on the Hot 100 this week and we all had a rough idea of the ramifications: the Grammys would trigger some shifts, and more importantly, Migos would unleash the album bomb of Culture II. Friendly warning, since I already covered that release my recaps of individual songs are going to be pretty short, and given we have seventeen new arrivals and there really isn't much to say about individual tracks from that record, I'm sure you'll understand.

Sunday, December 3, 2017

video review: 'from a room: volume 2' by chris stapleton

...and THAT's two for tonight. Whew, pretty happy with this overall, it's a pretty great record. Next up... well, we'll see. Stay tuned!

album review: 'from a room: volume 2' by chris stapleton

I feel I have no choice but to start this review with this statement: I wish to God I loved Chris Stapleton as much as so many of his diehard fans do. And for two reviews in a row I've seen their frustration that I haven't given him the same critical acclaim as they think he deserves.

And make no mistake, I would love to be there with you. After the CMAs where Chris Stapleton picked up a few well-deserved awards, I wanted to be right there with you trumpeting his praises - but I need to be honest, it wasn't even the best Dave Cobb-produced record on that ballot. And that's the key point of frustration: for as great of a performer and as good of a writer as he is, Chris Stapleton has yet to bring it all together for me, mostly because his production has never given him enough consistent bite - which is an persistent issue with Dave Cobb's attempts at rougher sounds - and his writing has never felt as meaty as his peers. And when you factor in distinct issues like the overextended Traveller or the painfully thin and abbreviated From A Room: Vol 1, I can't put Stapleton on the same pedestal as Jason Isbell or Sturgill Simpson, at least not yet.

And look, I'll make things worse for myself and say I had serious reservations going into this: I've never been a big fan when artists release two part projects within the same year at different times, especially if the sound is pretty close. It's not an issue with a guy like Eric Taxxon or King Gizzard And the Lizard Wizard, because they'll drop four or five projects in a year and they'll all sound radically different, but I had this problem with BROCKHAMPTON and I had the uneasy feeling I'd have it with Chris Stapleton - because as I've said before, I'd rather have one fantastic project with all of the best material than spreading the highlights across two pretty good but not great projects. Now I could be wrong: From A Room: Vol. 2 could be the record that hits greatness, so does it get there?

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

billboard BREAKDOWN - hot 100 - may 27, 2017 (VIDEO)

Yeah, pretty short week overall, but not a bad one in my books.

Next up, Zac Brown Band and followed by one of the worst records I've covered thus far this year - stay tuned!

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

billboard BREAKDOWN - hot 100 - may 27, 2017

So we're now at the halfway point of the Billboard year - and wow, 2017 has been something, that's for damn sure. I'm still not quite sure how to evaluate it as a whole. One thing's for sure is that it's been a turbulent year thus far - Ed Sheeran might have held the top for a measurable time, but ever since then it has been song after song seizing the #1, showing the sort of turnover that you'd more expect on the UK charts than the United States.

Monday, May 8, 2017

video review: 'from a room: volume 1' by chris stapleton

Well, this will... actually, I'm expecting this to be more controversial than it'll probably end up being overall, but who knows.

But after this... folks, it's Logic after Billboard BREAKDOWN, it's going to get nuts. Stay tuned!

album review: 'from a room: volume 1' by chris stapleton

I remember reviewing Chris Stapleton before he got famous.

And yeah, I know that sounds like such a music critic hipster thing to say, but there is validity to at least mentioning it, because his rise over the past few years has been meteoric and to some extent unprecedented in modern country. Here was a guy - who thanks to a performance with Justin Timberlake - got the sort of commercial boom that led to his debut record Traveler selling millions of albums, spawning commercial copycats on reality TV shows, and helped galvanize an entire indie boom... and he did it without country radio. And sure, this happens in other genres all the time, but country has been tethered to the radio for years, the fact that Stapleton got as big as quickly as he did is nothing short of miraculous, and has been heralded by so many critics as a tremendous achievement. 

And yes, the majority of this is fantastic news... but I can't be the only one who is a little amused that the whole question of Traveler's quality kind of got lost in the shuffle - because again, I reviewed the record months before that starmaking performance, and while it is a very good record, it's not a great one. Sure, there were great songs on it, but it also felt uneven, overlong, and showing some of the hesitant steps that characterize a major label debut. In retrospect, a lot of critics probably wouldn't have put together such a review if they had heard the album in the headlong rush of Stapleton's popularity - especially nowadays - but I stand by it and it led to some interesting questions going into his follow: From A Room: Vol 1, with the second part reportedly coming later this year. Now I was excited for this record - it was reportedly leaner, I liked the song 'Broken Halos' released before the album - although not the single - a lot, but I had the feeling this record was going to face a very different response than Traveler. For one, Mercury Nashville has had no idea how to handle Stapleton's insurgent popularity, so the commercial rollout of this record has been embarrassing and terrible, but for another, now that Stapleton is big, I'm curious how many indie country and mainstream fans will start to push Stapleton towards the backlash zone, even if he's working with Dave Cobb again. So where does this album take Chris Stapleton?

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

billboard BREAKDOWN - hot 100 - may 6, 2017 (VIDEO)

Man, I'm really proud of this episode. Long one, but a damn great one.

Next up, though... finally getting to Jason Eady, and I'm psyched - stay tuned!

billboard BREAKDOWN - hot 100 - may 6, 2017

There will be people who won't appreciate what this week means. Hell, I'd put money on the fact that there are plenty of people who have no idea who Kendrick Lamar even is - which yeah, if you've been listening to hip-hop at all in the past decade that'll blow your mind, but a mainstream crossover at this level does mean a lot more. Yeah, there have been plenty of acts who have scored a fluke #1 hit, even within hip-hop - but when was the last time an MC with actual bars snagged the top spot? Here's a little perspective: Biggie got there, but Tupac didn't. Neither did Nas. Jay-Z needed Alicia Keys to get to #1 in 2009. Eminem and Kanye both got there a few times, but they are both pop culture phenomenons in their own right. Lil Wayne never got there on his own - nor has Nicki Minaj or Drake. With Kendrick getting the solo #1... that sort of hit can create a sea change in pop culture, especially if it has any longevity.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

billboard BREAKDOWN - hot 100 - december 10, 2016 (VIDEO)

So this video was longer than usual... and actually really great, I dug the hell out of this! Two good weeks in a row... man, if only I had any hope we could keep this up, 2017 has some real potential to be a damn good year.

In the mean time, let's take care of old business next, shall we? Stay tuned!

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

billboard BREAKDOWN - hot 100 - december 10, 2016

So this week was a little weird. Not just because we started getting tracks from The Weeknd earlier than expected - I'm imagining next week to be just overloaded - but we got some big surprises all over the place, including a few artists I have not thought about or talked about in years. That, at the very least promised to make things interesting - note that I didn't precisely say good, although there really was some promise here.