Showing posts with label kelly clarkson. Show all posts
Showing posts with label kelly clarkson. Show all posts

Monday, August 5, 2019

the top ten worst hit songs of 2012 (VIDEO)

A long time coming, but I'm actually really pleased how well this turned out - enjoy!

the top ten worst hit songs of 2012

So I've said before that 2012 is probably among the best years of the Hot 100 this decade, and I stand by that - there was a plethora of fantastic songs, both well-remembered stalwarts and forgotten gems, and multiple genres were in the throes of transition, which gave indie music a breakthrough window to the benefit of everyone. Pop, rock, R&B, hip-hop, country, they all notched real success and were above average overall, all of which bolstered the fact that there's just not that many awful songs this year. And even if they were here, by the overall standards of any other year, they didn't seem that terrible - more grating production choices and sloppy writing than anything offensive or in overwhelmingly bad taste. I could get angry at the worst of 2016 - for the majority of the list, I can laugh at the worst in 2012.

But we did get bad songs, and it's worth pointing out where they came from... and really, most of them are clustered in saccharine music across pop, pop-country and adult alternative that just utterly missed the point, or in hip-hop where the genre was going through a transitional year between pop rap club bangers and what would become the darker, heavier trap sounds throughout the decade. And it wasn't helped by a few artists in particular having a bad year in 2012 specifically, but I think it's time we get to the list proper. As per usual, the songs had to debut on this year-end list to qualify - so 'Sexy & I Know It' is reserved for 2011 - and if you previously saw my worst hits of 2012 originally published on my blog that year, I recommend you stick around regardless, as things have shifted a little bit. 

Okay, got that? So without further adieu, let's dig into a year that for the most part wasn't really that bad, starting with...

Saturday, March 2, 2019

the top ten best hit songs of 2009

So I'll admit to being surprised that this, of all things, is the next top ten people want me to cover. You'd think folks would want me to finish off the 2010s proper before going back to 2009, but there you have it.

But I get it, because while I'd struggle to call it the best of the 2000s, 2009 was a pretty glorious year. Not only did it showcase the birth of YouTube chart criticism, but it was such a potent year to cover! 2009 is widely accepted by most as the birth of the club boom, where the kinetic, rock-tinged pop of the mid-2000s picked up more layers of glitter and went to party hard, picking up a grabbag of whatever hip-hop had survived the ringtone era, whatever rock that was willing to party, and basically lock the placid country scene out of the clubhouse entirely. More to the point, it was impossible to not see 2009 as a year of reckless abandon: the economy had crashed, most of my generation was broke, and if we we didn't have money, we were going to party as if we did - it might have seemed bleak, but I think a lot of us were riding the contact high that came from a new president and a desperate desire to believe in hope... even if that contact high would lead to incoherent silliness and a hangover we'd only halfheartedly regret. But I'll say this: even if I've slowed down a little bit, it's hard not to miss the manic fun of this year, especially when there were so many great hits, so let's get things started with...

Thursday, November 2, 2017

video review: 'meaning of life' by kelly clarkson

And we aren't out of the woods with these reviews yet... it's coming tomorrow, stay tuned!

album review: 'meaning of life' by kelly clarkson

Okay, let's try this again.

For those of you who don't know, when I covered Piece By Piece by Kelly Clarkson in 2015 I was, to put it mildly, underwhelmed. It wasn't that it was precisely bad, but it certainly was forgettable and sloppily produced and often poorly written to boot, the sort of record that really didn't add anything new or interesting to the pop culture conversation. It really only was redeemed by the fact that Clarkson remains a great singer to this day, but it's not like the production or compositions flattered her as much as they could, and the second you compare this to what she was doing in the mid-2000s... well, one of the phrases I used was 'sell-out', but in truth any sort of greater unique artistic ideal went out the window after My December underperformed ten years ago.

And you know, I got a lot of crap for those statements. I stand by them, but I also think something was missed: namely, when Kelly Clarkson gets good material she's a tremendous pop singer. I put her in a similar category to Demi Lovato in that they're both singers with huge voices that sound better in rock than R&B or soul or gospel, but if the pop song is great I'll take it, as I did when her cover of 'It's Quiet Uptown' from The Hamilton Mixtape made my year-end list of the best songs of 2016! But I was genuinely worried about Meaning Of Life, not just because she had changed labels but also because if 'Love So Soft' was representative of the artistic pivot she was trying, it was not one that remotely flattered her voice! But my Patrons wanted me to review this, and while there were a few returning producers overall she looked like she had a new team - even despite having only four writing credits on a fourteen song album, but whatever. So how is Meaning Of Life?

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

billboard BREAKDOWN - hot 100 - september 30, 2017 (VIDEO)

Overall not a bad week, and I have to say, it's going to be interesting in the days ahead here, especially given all the coming shakeups.

But on the topic of one of those shakeups not quite going according to plan... well, stay tuned!

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

billboard BREAKDOWN - hot 100 - september 30, 2017

This is one of those weeks where I'm increasingly unsure where the hell the Billboard Hot 100 is going, and not just because we've got a few albums bombs in the making that are going to be dropping over the next few weeks for further destabilize things. And while part of it is also linked to the headlong race for what'll make the year-end lists, the larger point is that as a whole, songs that you'd expect to not seem fragile feel increasingly perilous, especially when you take a look at the top ten.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

video review: 'the hamilton mixtape' by lin-manuel miranda & various artists

I honestly thought this review would do a little better, given how dedicated the Hamilton fanbase is... eh, it happens, I guess, I'm guessing more people are looking forward to year-end lists or a J. Cole review.

In the mean time, though... Billboard BREAKDOWN up next, so stay tuned!

Monday, December 12, 2016

album review: 'the hamilton mixtape' by lin-manuel miranda & various artists

Let's talk about one of my biggest mistakes last year, or at least one that has weighed on me pretty heavily: I didn't talk about HamiltonOh, I considered it, a lot: I like hip-hop, I like musical theater, and I like Lin-Manuel Miranda. I might not have loved his debut In The Heights but it had a lot of charm and potential, so when he took the world by storm in 2015 with his musical chronicling the fascinating and tumultuous life of Alexander Hamilton... I didn't cover it. I don't really remember what my reasoning was for it either - the musical, while having its flaws in pacing and historical context, is indeed pretty awesome, with some of the most immediately catchy songs you'll ever hear. And hell, I even knew Daveed Diggs from clipping., I had an obvious inroad here!

And yet even with that Hamilton became the sort of Broadway crossover into popular culture that you so rarely see. Forget that it cleaned up at the Tony Awards, it was the sort of show where you'd probably have a better chance of winning the lottery than getting tickets. As such, the vast majority of us made do with the soundtrack, which wound up on a surprising number of year-end lists from professional music critics and as of now has crossed over a billion streams on Spotify, which does say a lot. Would it have landed on mine? Well, it would have had a shot, and that is saying a lot, especially given how strong 2015 was, especially for rap music.

And then we all got word about the mixtape... and if you've seen the list of huge names that have signed on for it, it's more than a little mindblowing! I would have gotten it for Usher covering 'Wait For It', but when you have Black Thought, Busta Rhymes, Joell Ortiz, and Nate Ruess doing 'My Shot', Kelly Clarkson doing 'It's Quiet Uptown', John Legend doing 'History Has Its Eyes On You', Chance The Rapper working on the reprise of 'Dear Theodosia', Regina Spektor and Ben Folds covering the regular 'Dear Theodosia', Ashanti doing 'Helpless' - which is such an obvious choice it's not even funny - Nas, Dave East, and Aloe Blacc working on 'Wrote My Way Out', Common and Ingrid Michaelson handling 'Who Tells Your Story' with The Roots - and The Roots are all over this project - and then add in a bonus track like 'Congratulations' with Dessa on it... at some point, you might as well give this project a spot on my year end list! I was primed to love this, and that meant I came in with the highest of expectations - were they paid off?

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.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

video review: 'piece by piece' by kelly clarkson

Well, so much for covering Toby Keith today, which was my plan. Turns out the record was delayed indefinitely, so I have to cover this instead. Lovely.

Next up is The Pop Group, and then Purity Ring and Cannibal Ox - stay tuned!

album review: 'piece by piece' by kelly clarkson

I don't miss a lot about pop music in the mid-2000s, but one of the things I do miss is the relevance of Kelly Clarkson.

As with most reality TV show stars, nobody expected Kelly Clarkson to be huge. She might have been the first to come off of American Idol, but it wasn't like her early singles were all that interesting beyond just being pleasant enough. And speaking as one of those unfortunates who saw From Justin To Kelly and what became of future American Idols with very limited exceptions, nobody expected Kelly Clarkson to do well.

And then her second album Breakaway dropped, and with a gauntlet of songwriters that included her peer Avril Lavigne and Evanescence members Ben Moody and David Hodges, Kelly Clarkson went for pop rock in the best way possible. She took all of the powerhouse vocals that had made her a star and added a convincing rock edge that put her in the same category as artists like Pink, which was a huge positive for me - hell, I'd argue she made better music than Evanescence ever put on record in the mid-2000s! And when she decided to go even darker with My December, I had reason to be enthused, but also a little concerned. 

And for good reason, because looking back eight years later My December is a polarizing album among fans and critics alike. Mostly because it's a nasty little record with a lot of rough, exposed edges that don't exactly make it a comfortable listen. But in retrospect, I wish Kelly Clarkson had chosen to keep going in this direction, because I reckon with more time, she could have fashioned herself something just as potent as some of the Alanis Morissette she idolized.

That didn't happen. Instead, Kelly Clarkson went back to making finely tuned pop records with the guiding hands of Max Martin, Ryan Tedder, and Dr. Luke. And sure, she's made songs I like from All I Ever Wanted and Stronger, but they're nowhere near as emotionally intense as her mid-2000s material or as interesting as My December. As such, I was planning on skipping this album altogether until the requests started pouring in. But hey, she might have something here that's solid, right?

Friday, January 23, 2015

billboard BREAKDOWN - hot 100 - january 31, 2015 (VIDEO)

Overall, a pretty solid week - happy I was able to get this out before the convention kicked into high gear.

Okay, time to enjoy myself and maybe catch an album - or four - in between. Stay tuned!

Thursday, January 22, 2015

billboard BREAKDOWN - hot 100 - january 31, 2015

So this was a pretty simple week on the Billboard Hot 100 - in that there were movements and changes that you could easily predict. And yet it was almost a deceptive week on the charts, where it might seem a lot happened - we even got a new song debuting in the top ten, and trust me, we'll get to it - but it's not exactly disruptive to the status quo, and if anything, its success is all the more predictable.

Friday, March 15, 2013

album review: 'heaven in this hell' by orianthi

Hey guys, how many of you remember the music of 2010?

Well, if you're having a bit of trouble remembering the hits from this year, I'm not surprised. In 2010 we were in the middle of the club music explosion, driven on by the success of Ke$ha, the Black Eyed Peas, and more. This was a year that seemed dedicated to going to the club and partying at the club until the break of dawn, and the Billboard Charts definitely reflected that. 

But here was the problem: the majority of that music sucked.

Yeah, I'm not kidding around about this one. 2010 was an awful year for the Billboard charts, with very few songs that were memorable enough to like and a whole load of crap that was memorable enough to hate. A lot of people blame Ke$ha for 2010 being awful, but I don't, mostly because while she did have several hits that made the year end chart that year, she wasn't responsible for the trend of awful music stretching across multiple acts. There was no excuse for shit like 'Imma Be' or 'Hey Soul Sister' or 'Cooler Than Me' getting big, and Ke$ha had no connection to any of that awful.

But part of the problem was that most of the hit music of 2010 just sounded alike. It embodied club music in every sense of the word - ephemeral, energetic, fun to dance to but completely forgettable come the next morning. And since I went to the club a lot in 2010, I had a chance to hear all of the absolute worst the pop and hip-hop charts had to offer. And even worse was the fact that there was so little good music that charted that year to overtake the club hits, so much so that I had a really hard time making a year end top ten list in 2010. There just wasn't enough there was distinct enough to care about.

So thus I was as surprised as anyone that the number one song on my year end best list was a pop rock song called 'According To You' from some girl named Orianthi, which completely defied by expectations by being pretty damn awesome. It's a song where Orianthi viciously savages the last guy she was with for constantly putting her down, and then bragging about how her new boyfriend actually treats her with respect and affection.   So yeah, it's a pretty basic formula that's cribbed straight from Beyonce's playbook, but Orianthi brings a pretty significant presence to the track, mostly due to the fact she's a pretty great guitarist, to the point where it was probably one of the few songs that charted in 2010 that had a guitar solo. And considering we weren't getting any good Avril Lavigne or Pink in 2010, Orianthi seemed a welcome replacement, so I picked up her album to see if there was more where 'According To You' came from.

There really wasn't. And Orianthi's Believe really isn't a good album. Yes, she is a phenomenal guitarist, and yes, she can bring a lot of personality to her tracks despite some technical weaknesses in her vocal technique, but there was a lot of filler and weak material on that album, and nothing to show Orianthi was much of a good songwriter either. Part of the problem was that Orianthi put out a lot of songs about how happy she was she made it and her 'inspirational' story, and while there's a market for those types of songs, they do have a limited shelf life. Eventually, listeners get tired of hearing the story of how you started from the bottom and then accomplished your dreams and everyone else can too (talking about you here, Drake). And really, I'd be hard-pressed to find a good enough song on that album that could follow 'According To You'. And apparently her label (Geffen) agreed - Orianthi was dropped from the label and now her newest album is courtesy of Robo Records, which has the distinction of being the backing label of Charlie Sheen. Yikes.

But then I had a new thought - there was a solid chance that Orianthi never got the chance to shine as a songwriter because of label interference and rewrites, because Geffen sure as hell didn't know how to promote Orianthi, which is probably the reason she never eked out a second hit. So is Orianthi's follow-up show new songwriting promise, or is she doomed with the label of 'One Hit Wonder'?