Showing posts with label fifth harmony. Show all posts
Showing posts with label fifth harmony. Show all posts

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

billboard BREAKDOWN - hot 100 - june 24, 2017

So yeah, another pretty rough week here... but on the plus side, I've got an interesting record on the docket next (in fact, a fair few of them) so stay tuned!

billboard BREAKDOWN - hot 100 - june 24, 2017

Do you ever have the feeling looking at the Hot 100 that no matter what happens, it's not going to be a good week? Yeah, that was my gut feel going through the Hot 100 this week - which yes, did slow down a bit as things settle in for the summer with no major releases, but at the same time, looking at some of these new arrivals... well, we'll get to it.

Sunday, December 25, 2016

the top ten worst hit songs of 2016 (VIDEO)

So this happened... awful songs on a pretty horrible year-end list, but hey, it happens.

Next up, though, is the best hits of 2016 - man, looking forward to that one, so stay tuned!

the top ten worst hit songs of 2016

I'm going to try and maintain a level composure for as long as possible with this list. I know so many of you will want me to get good and furious - after all, it's the Worst Hits of 2016, this is when you're supposed to deliver the killing blow with righteous fury. This is your chance to exile the dregs to whatever just punishment they deserve, take a blowtorch to the rectum of a year that so many music critics have already branded as one of the worst in recent memory, certainly this decade. And if you look at the year-end Hot 100...

Well, here's the thing: due to my stipulation that I can only choose songs from that list, and the fact that I have my weekly show Billboard BREAKDOWN discussing all of these changes in detail, I've been acutely aware of this disaster for months now - I've seen it happen in slow motion. The calls of '2016 is the worst' picked up in the summer and exploded this fall - not helped by cultural forces beyond the charts themselves - but it becomes disheartening when you've been coping with it week after week and you can explain in excruciating detail why this happened. What it reminds me of most are the charts in the very early 90s - replacing Paula Abdul ripoffs for Rihanna ripoffs, an embrace of tepid tropical or adult contemporary sounds in pop that stank of non-effort, and when there were new acts on the horizon they looked to have no sustainable future in sight - or at the very least you hoped they didn't. Hell, even country in the early 90s was on the upswing thanks to the neotraditional sound like the Americana revival today, but whereas we could look to shifting trends in hip-hop and rock to revitalize that decade going forward... well, in rap we somehow managed to get the dregs of an otherwise promising year and the most 'rock' getting airplay was twenty one pilots and X Ambassadors. As I said, every critic has already told you this year was dreck, now it's time to go deeper and count out the worst of the worst. Fair warning, this is going to get ugly, so let's start with Dishonourable Mentions!

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.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

billboard BREAKDOWN - hot 100 - november 5, 2016

Well, it couldn't last. The past few weeks on Billboard BREAKDOWN, while not perfect, have at least shown a little more potential, but this week shows that crap has its own certain inertia - even though there are some positive signs, a lot of this week feels for every two steps forward we're taking one step back.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

billboard BREAKDOWN - hot 100 - july 9, 2016 (VIDEO)

Yeah, I know, I've been a tad late on videos over the past few days. Part of that is getting into the groove of vacation, part of it is deciphering this Swans record. And speaking of which... well, stay tuned!

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

billboard BREAKDOWN - hot 100 - july 9, 2016

So last week was one of the worst I'd seen on the Billboard Hot 100 in a long time - it was genuinely disheartening trying to put that episode together, pretty painful all things considered. But the good thing about hitting rock bottom is that you can always recover, and while I wouldn't say everything clicked on the Hot 100 here, I do see signs of improvement that should definitely be called out.

Monday, May 30, 2016

video review: '7/27' by fifth harmony

Well, this was... well, certainly controversial, but I stand by it. 

Next up, Car Seat Headrest, and then probably Lacuna Coil, since Billboard BREAKDOWN will be delayed thanks to Memorial Day - stay tuned!

album review: '7/27' by fifth harmony

And here we go again.

I think there are a few misconceptions that linger from the last time I covered Fifth Harmony and their debut album Reflection, which many people angered that I didn't like the record. And while I'm not surprised at the anger, I am a little perturbed by the intensity, mostly because we've heard all of this before. One of the foundation points of the review was that Fifth Harmony was plainly set up along with Little Mix by Syco Records in order to engineer competition and pull in piles of money, and given my positive reception to Little Mix, my review was quickly dismissed as by some who assumed I had a stake in this. The truth, unfortunately, is a lot less interesting: Fifth Harmony's debut Reflection just wasn't very strong on its own merits, with by-the-numbers production that made some egregiously awful miscalculations, a vocal ensemble that had talent but was also unevenly balanced, and lyrics that ranged from forgettable to hysterical. And I didn't blame the girls for that - Camilla remains the weakest singer who got the lead far too many times, but it's not like she or the rest of the group wrote any of these songs - because, again, I've heard this all before... when they were called the Pussycat Dolls. 

it's actually uncanny how many parallels they have: forgettable guest verses, weak production, a 'leader' who is nowhere close to the strongest singer in the group, and even a British counterpart miles ahead of them in every way that would never get the stateside attention they deserve. Maybe it's because I actually remember the mid-2000s that I can speak to this, having seen pop group competition be engineered so many times before, but at the end of the day, I just want good music, whether it be from Fifth Harmony or Little Mix - I have no stake here either way. And yet while Little Mix has pivoted back towards pop to diminishing returns off their 2015 album Get Weird, Fifth Harmony looks to be in a much weirder state themselves, even despite their lead-off single 'Work From Home' being their biggest song to date. For one, it actually looks like Simon Cowell gave this record a budget and hired on some bigger names for production and guest verses... and yet the music wasn't getting better. Of course they had no writing credits again on this record - yeah, keep calling this a more personal record, ladies, I'm not buying it - but 'Work From Home' was the step towards R&B that had no personality outside of unsettling lyrical implications. And if that was the direction 7/27 was going, I had a really bad feeling about this album - was I proven wrong?

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

billboard BREAKDOWN - hot 100 - march 19, 2016 (VIDEO)

Ugh, this week really blew. God, I hope that next week gets better with Kendrick, 'cause this was rough.

But speaking of Kendrick... well, stay tuned!

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

billboard BREAKDOWN - hot 100 - march 19, 2016

So remember last year when there was a major push behind songs that were linked to the Academy Awards and John Legend and Common rode 'Glory' to some reasonable chart success? Yeah, this year served as the rebuttal to that on the charts, because while the Academy Awards had some impact on the Hot 100, they didn't nearly have as much impact as last year, mostly because 'Writing On The Wall' has been generally panned by everyone except the Academy. But much like everyone else, I'm choosing to ignore Sam Smith and that song... but unfortunately the option is instead to focus on this week, and yikes, it's been a while since I've seen things this bad. Strap in, folks, this gets ugly.

Friday, February 13, 2015

billboard BREAKDOWN - hot 100 - february 21, 2015 (VIDEO)

Bit late getting to this, but with a week this underwhelming, it kind of fits that it's this late.

Next up, I was going to cover Vulnicura, but I think I need to deal with this surprise Drake album... hoo boy...

Thursday, February 12, 2015

billboard BREAKDOWN - hot 100 - february 21, 2015

Okay, we've got another busy week on Billboard BREAKDOWN here - multiple new entries into the top ten, a whole load of songs shuffling up and down the charts, and a slew of new chart arrivals, some that were easy enough to predict and some that did seem to come out of nowhere. More importantly to my American audience, the week chronicled by this Billboard Hot 100 corresponds with the Super Bowl, and that meant one artist performing at the Half Time show  managed to make a big impact with two singles surging back to the charts. Here are two clues: it wasn't the headliner, and it was one of the few things interesting about the whole experience before the mother of all bad calls courtesy of the Seahawks. I mean, wow - no matter how many bad songs show up this week, I don't think anything is beating that.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

video review: 'reflection' by fifth harmony

And so ends my streak of great albums. Gah, figures.

Next up, Billboard BREAKDOWN! Stay tuned!

album review: 'reflection' by fifth harmony

Let's talk a little bit about competition in music.

In some cases, it's been there since certain genres' inception - hip-hop wouldn't be the same without various MCs fighting for the crown. And since the beginning of rock, there have been beefs and fights, sometimes more driven by the fans of their respective bands more than the bands themselves. Or you'll get cases like the incredibly ridiculous 'beef' between Sun Kil Moon and The War On Drugs last year, two indie acts where it seemed like the music media hyped up the feud more than Mark Kozelek actually did, who treated the whole thing with the grumpy tongue-in-cheek style for which he's famous.

But if you want to look for the definition of contrived competition, you need to look no further than pop music. It's been around in some form or another for decades, but you need to look no further than the 'fight' between the Backstreet Boys and N'Sync to see the insane marketing genius at work. Both had similar management, both worked with similar songwriters, both had songs that could be mistaken for the other if you didn't have a keen ear for the subtleties, and in both cases, the management milked the competition to drive up sales in the late 90s for all it was worth.

And ever since then, various record labels have tried to recreate this lucrative strategy... and yet it rarely clicks, mostly because getting that dual balance and timing is incredibly difficult. It seemed like there'd be another one starting with The Wanted and One Direction in 2012, but The Wanted couldn't stick the landing stateside - a shame, because I liked their style and sound a lot more - and One Direction won out under the direction of Simon Cowell's Syco Records. And yet you can tell Simon Cowell wanted to replicate the money-printing boy band war, and for a second in 2013 it started to look like he had set the pieces in place for a girl group duality, both signed to his label. One was British, one was American, both came from X Factor... and yet the timing misfired. Not only did Little Mix hit market first, they dropped two albums - the second of which, Salute, I actually liked a fair bit. But I had significantly bigger misgivings about their American competition, because while Fifth Harmony managed to drop and make more of an impact in the States, they barely could penetrate beyond it and their debut album had been delayed time and time again - mostly because their singles were a lot less interesting or good. Undaunted, I figured I might as well give Fifth Harmony a chance to impress me in the same way Little Mix did - did they come through?

Friday, January 30, 2015

billboard BREAKDOWN - hot 100 - february 7, 2015

And there we go. Lot of upload problems getting this online - which is odd, considering the editing went so quickly, but eh, it happens.

Okay, next up is Sleater-Kinney and Doomtree, stay tuned!