Showing posts with label taylor swift. Show all posts
Showing posts with label taylor swift. Show all posts

Saturday, November 30, 2019

the top ten best hit songs of 2011 (VIDEO)


And here we are - great list to put together, really happy y'all seemed to enjoy watching it, and it's the last of the retro lists finished for the 2010s!

Next up, I've got an episode of Resonators coming so stay tuned!

the top ten best hit songs of 2011

You know, I've said a number of times that my favourite lists to make are the top ten hits of any respective year, mostly because I have peculiar taste when it comes to my favourites and any chance to compliment songs people have actually heard... well, it's a nice boost. And once this is done - and with the exception of 2019 - I will have created these top tens for every year in the 2010s, and given that seemingly everyone is doing a retrospective, it does feel nice to place everything back in context.

But really, if you're examining 2011 in any way, shape, or form, it's a year that defies easy contextualization. Generally a really good year - although I still give a slight edge to the best of 2012 and 2015 - but not one that seemed to fit with any specific trends or sounds. If anything, it felt more like a year dominated by personalities, from the dueling pop divas to the rise of Adele's thunderous 21, an album that seemingly defied all expectations with its success. Yeah, rock was kind of non-existent on the Hot 100 - and you could argue hip-hop was kind of a mixed bag sliding through transition from the club boom - but between pop, soul, R&B, and a surprisingly bright year for country, there was a lot to like about 2011. More importantly, it was a year where the great songs were consistently great, where I didn't even have much difficulty filling out a solid - albeit surprising - list of Honourable Mentions. As always, the songs had to debut on the Billboard Hot 100 year-end list in 2011 to qualify, so let's get things started with...

Thursday, September 5, 2019

billboard BREAKDOWN - hot 100 - september 7, 2019 (VIDEO)


Okay, here we go, lot of Taylor Swift this week - and for a change, it actually made this pretty easy to handle, go figure.

Anyway... yeah, the week of frustrations doesn't end, because we're going to be talking about Lana Del Rey next - stay tuned!

Wednesday, September 4, 2019

billboard BREAKDOWN - hot 100 - september 7, 2019

So here we go: album bomb from Taylor Swift, where all eighteen songs from Lover has broken onto the Hot 100... and honestly, it just feels like a net positive for the Hot 100 overall, which is always the bizarre feeling I have when we get a good album bomb. Sure, it reflects a skewed anomaly on the Hot 100 that isn't healthy... but I can argue that this one didn't even inflict much collateral damage after Young Thug last week, just sweeping away the wreckage! No, the real turmoil will come in two weeks when Post Malone crashes in, but that's a different conversation entirely...

Thursday, August 29, 2019

video review: 'lover' by taylor swift


Hmm, I'm a bit surprised this hasn't been received as being more contentious than it is... funny, that.

Anyway, I really think I have to give Frank Turner a full review next, so stay tuned!

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

album review: 'lover' by taylor swift

I want to stop overanalyzing Taylor Swift.

I mean, in theory it should be easy as hell - she makes mainstream-accessible pop music that shouldn't require or demand such in-depth analysis, it shouldn't be difficult to do so. And yet when I reviewed reputation in 2017, it wound up one of my most lengthy, overwritten pieces that still wound up as inconclusive on the album - and what's frustrating is that upon revisiting reputation, I still feel that way. I still think the flaws are too glaring to ignore - it's too long, it's self-indulgent without feeling truly self-critical, the sequencing is terrible, the bad songs are among the worst in her career - but at the same time there's depth and complexity that can't really be ignored.

And yes, a huge part of it is bigger than the music and can't really be extricated from the artist. Hell, if you want to make one of the most striking examples for never separating the art from the artist, it is Taylor Swift - the emotional power comes not just from the personal details and the relationship to her life, but then how they can translate to the every girl, or at least an increasingly broad representation of what that is. It's one big reason why both she and Drake have translated to a massive audience this decade - the detail and the personal vulnerability that anyone might connect to is what hooked the audience, their flaws and humanity are on display to the point where you wind up as the villain in your own stories where your moral justifications are increasingly flimsy, and the fact that despite all your control, your image becomes so big that it can be anything to anyone means that you're heading for a crisis of self. For Drake it's been the paranoia that has consumed his work since 2015 but especially on Views and Scorpion and for which there hasn't been a proper correction, for Taylor Swift it was the heavy subtext of alcohol abuse and trying to build an emotionally resonant story out of quicksand that was reputation, which is one reason I find that project so fascinating.

But you don't have to steer into the skid, and with the change in labels and slight adjustment in pop sound that came with the new singles - especially with the stark self-awareness that characterized 'The Archer', I had the hope that she had corrected - hell, I had the biggest hope in the longest of times that I might really like a Taylor Swift album, especially with the producers and guest stars behind her. So how about it, what did we get on Lover?

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

billboard BREAKDOWN - hot 100 - august 31, 2019 (VIDEO)


And we're back on somewhat normal schedule. I do have a few reviews that will be shot in vacation format, but I think I might get to Taylor first... stay tuned!

billboard BREAKDOWN - hot 100 - august 31, 2019

Not to get hyperbolic about it, but it seems like the entire purpose of the Billboard Hot 100 charts this year has been to get me to look stupid. Sure, we got another new #1 this week that I predicted, but everyone has been calling that for weeks if not months, and yet just as soon as I was musing that this year has been quiet on the album bomb front, here comes Young Thug with a proper album leaving the Hot 100 in disarray. And yes, to get in front of this now, album bomb rules are in effect and will probably will remain in effect if Taylor Swift does the same next week, we'll have to see - I just got back from vacation, I have a ton of catching up to do, just hold tight on this one.

Wednesday, July 31, 2019

billboard BREAKDOWN - hot 100 - august 3, 2019 (VIDEO)


Honestly, it was a tumultuous last evening, but I'm happy to be highlighting it all the same.

Next up... still not sure what I'm covering, but we'll have to see. Enjoy!

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

billboard BREAKDOWN - hot 100 - august 3, 2019

...am I the only one feeling a bit of anticlimax this week? Yeah, we'll be getting to the biggest story in a second - and make no mistake, it's huge, and the sort of story that only serves to make my predictions look questionable - but it wasn't a desperate race to the end or something where the record was broken by the skin of someone's teeth. At least to me it became clear that nothing was going to seriously defeat the margin our contender racked up, and once that happened... well, it was just a matter of momentum.

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

billboard BREAKDOWN - hot 100 - june 29, 2019

There's something about this week that feels big. Not a lot of of new arrivals but we had two smash into the top 10, along with a few notable departures that give me the feeling that we're on the cusp of a major shakeup... although given that album bombs are a little less of a thing in 2019, I'm not sure I'm seeing the release on the horizon that's truly going to do it.

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

billboard BREAKDOWN - hot 100 - may 4, 2019 (VIDEO)


And here we are... messy and mostly not good week, but it'll be entertaining at least? Ehh, I have no idea these days...

Anyway, next up is ScHoolboy Q, and then I want to get this episode of Resonators done... oh wait, what's that? You want an AJR review? Well, that will be done when it's done, so stay tuned!

billboard BREAKDOWN - hot 100 - may 4, 2019

So this week was... weird. I had the suspicion it'd be more transitional because the big album drop that made my life a lot more hectic occurred last Friday - seriously, eight albums that I'd otherwise want to cover, a situation not helped by me getting sick and what's depressing is that most of them aren't close to good - and for the most part, it is. But I get the impression this is a week that buries its biggest lead, and the sharper changes will take effect next week based off of what happens here.

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, May 2, 2018

billboard BREAKDOWN - hot 100 - may 5, 2018 (VIDEO)


Man, this week was rough, and from the looks of things is going to get even worse next week.

But on that topic...

billboard BREAKDOWN - hot 100 - may 5, 2018

I'm going to pose a question that's been on my mind ever since we started getting stream-trolling album bombs on the Hot 100 and one that became glaring with KOD by J. Cole: is anybody thinking about the long-term impacts of any of this? Sure, it's an indictment on streaming platforms who take label payola to dump entire records on their playlists, and an even more scathing indictment on the public who won't bother to build their own damn playlist or find new things, but really, who does this benefit long-term? Do you even remember anything from Logic's middling album bomb a few months back, or do you remember a single that's been properly promoted and managed, where precision growth can lead to even greater success. We'll get to more of this in our top ten, but if you want the most prescient example of how the album bomb might hurt an album's public lifespan long-term, look at Drake and More Life last year, and compare it to his current singles rollout in 2018.

Thursday, March 22, 2018

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


My God, this was a weird week... honestly not a terrible week, but overall, I'm going to cherish what I have here before XXXTENTACION next week.

Next up... ooh boy, this is going to be crazy, so stay tuned!

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

billboard BREAKDOWN - hot 100 - march 24, 2018

You know, there's a part of me that's really getting sick of the streaming album bombs, mostly because it feels like it makes covering the albums in a full review kind of redundant... even though by covering them at some point on my schedule I'd probably get more traffic overall, which is all the more exasperating. But why get one album when you can get two, because this week, the big competition comes between Logic and Lil Yachty, the latter who I literally forgot dropped a mixtape a week or so back even despite some critics giving it praise. Eh, given that it's less of an album bomb than a scattering of songs in between Logic, we'll see what we get there.