Is it my imagination, or is Abby wearying of Carly Rae Jepsen’s new Kiss album that I’ve played about 937,891 times (so far) on endless loop? Sorry kiddo, but this uptempo pop explosion is keeping my fingers roaring across the keys, happily working away on a freelance bio… and Spencer seems to be digging it, right? *
I’m just beginning to dig into Carly Rae Jepsen’s anticipated new album Kiss, released last Tuesday. First take: an avalanche of uptempo sugary pop confections… just what the doc ordered. But of course the $25,000 question: Can she maintain the momentum of the eight-week No. 1 run of “Call Me Maybe,” without a doubt the song of Summer 2012?
While follow-up “Good Time” with Owl City remains in the Billboard Hot 100 top 10 this week (after peaking at 8), Carly Rae’s new single, “This Kiss,” just released to radio, is a youthful whirlwind of singable hooks and cute instrumental dance synths… perhaps not as immediate as “Call Me Maybe,” but then… what is? The song was produced by LMFAO’s RedFoo and singer-songwriter Matthew Koma; and released to iTunes September 10.
Her biggest challenge may be getting radio to gracefully let go of “Call Me Maybe” after 29 weeks on the chart (it’s No. 15 at Radio, while “Good Time” is No. 14) to make room for “This Kiss.” I call this the “Duncan Sheik complex,” who became a one-hit wonder in 1997, when top 40 radio held onto hit “Barely Breathing” for nearly a year, ultimately suffocating any chance for success with follow-up “She Runs Away.” (Duncan made out okay, winning a Tony Award for composing Broadway’s Spring Awakening in 2008.)
While I absorb the 15 new tracks on Kiss’ “Deluxe Version,” Billboard.com‘s Jason Lipshutz offers an excellent track-by-track review here.
His overall purview: “Is Carly Rae Jepsen an album artist? ‘Call Me Maybe’ overtook pop radio this summer because the song is an astonishingly catchy piece of sonic cotton candy, but prolonging that phenomenon over a 42-minute span is much trickier. Kiss, Jepsen’s second album and first since becoming a superstar, is the sound of an artist relentlessly trying to prove her staying power and transform the ‘magic in a bottle’ into a delectable cocktail. The result is an album that comes on a bit strong, but has the pop pedigree to avoid any major missteps.” *
Canadian pop songstress Carly Rae Jepsen’s ever-infectious, joyously pop anthem “Call Me Maybe” logs a ninth week atop the singles chart. It surpasses Gotye’s “Somebody That I Used To Know” as the longest-running No. 1 of 2012!! The track also passes 5 million digital downloads, becoming the third best-selling track of the year so far (behind Gotye and “We Are Young” by fun.).
As her folllow-up single with Owl City, “Good Time,” keeps her relevant at radio, we’ve finally got a release date for Jepsen’s full-length LP. “Kisses” will be released September 18. It includes collaborations with Toby Gad, Redfoo of LMFAO and Dallas Austin.
Jepsen says, “The record is pop. It’s inspired by Robyn, the Cars, Madonna, and believe it or not, James Taylor.”Perhaps Mariah Carey (below) should have paid more attention to Jepsen’s flourishing career, instead of reheating a weary hip-hop-induced floperoo. *
Pop music continues its magnanimous reign on the Singles chart this week, as Carly Rae Jepsen dials in a seventh week at No. 1 with her now-ubiquitous “Call Me Maybe.” That’s the longest run by a female solo act since Adele logged as many weeks on top with “Rolling In The Deep” from May to July 2011.
Jepsen’s “Maybe,” in its 17th week inside the top 10, is the third chart-topping single to log six weeks or more at the top of the Billboard Hot 100, following “We Are Young” by fun. f/Janelle Monae, with six weeks; and “Somebody That I Used To Know,” with eight. That hasn’t happened since 2002.
The reign of melodic music at the top is hardly a coincidence. A new study by Alan Burns & Associates surveyed 2,000 core female listeners of CHR and adult top 40, and found that pop and pop-rhythmic music are their favorite sounds—by more than a two to one margin over hip-hop (111 and 108 to 40). That’s a momentous change from just two years ago, when the three genres were practically on par (108, 98, 95).
Pop’s rally at CHR—and hip-hop’s decline—is reflected in the entire top 5 of this week’s Hot 100. Following Jepsen is Maroon 5’s “Payphone,” f/Wiz Khalifa, at No. 2 on the Hot 100 for a sixth frame, also topping Radio Songs for a fourth week. At No. 3 is Katy Perry’s dance-pop “Wide Awake,” which earns top Airplay Gainer props, moving 5-4 on Radio Songs. The song is pushing hard to become Perry’s eighth No. 1 single, next week.
Brit singer Ellie Goulding’s dance-pop “Lights” climbs 5-4 in its 31st week on the chart, ascending 4-1 on On-Demand Songs, and a No. 6 ranking on Radio Songs. And at No. 5, down 1, is former chart-topper Gotye f/Kimbra with “Somebody That I Used to Know.”
Flo Rida’s “Whistle” rises 7-6 on the Hot 100, fueled by sales as the top-selling Digital Song—surpassing more than 1 million downloads this week. Rounding out the top 10: Rihanna’s “Where Have You Been” edges 6-7; David Guetta’s “Titanium,” featuring Sia, holds at No. 8; Usher’s “Scream” rises 10-9; and, P!nk’s “Blow Me (One Last Kiss)” drops 9-10. That’s likely a temporary setback for P!nk’s first single from her upcoming sixth studio album “The Truth About Love,” due Sept. 18, as the track rallies 23-17 on Radio Songs. In addition, the music video was released July 26, which will drive streaming in the weeks to come.
Just outside the Hot 100’s top 10, country act Jason Aldean ignites onto the chart at No. 12 with the week’s highest new entry, “Take a Little Ride.” While the single sold a robust 189,000 downloads—the most ever by a male artist at country—there’s a major caveat. Much of the track’s first-week action comes from an alliance between indie label Broken Bow and Clear Channel, with coordinated hour-after-hour airplay July 16 at the radio giant’s country outlets.
The last time such a stunt was engineered was Madonna’s “Give Me All Your Luvin’,” which CC simultaneously launched on 95 radio stations in February. While it propelled the song into the top 10, top 40 stations immediately retreated in the following weeks. (In the U.K., sans Clear Channel’s assistance, “Luvin’” peaked at a paltry No. 37.) While there’s no indication the same will happen with Aldean, it does show the potential plight of “manufacturing” a hit. At the least, it’s hardly an upstanding maneuver.
Meanwhile, No Doubt also returns to the upper reaches of the Singles chart, launching at No. 34 with “Settle Down.” The pop-ska quartet’s first single since 2004’s remake of Talk Talk’s “It’s My Life,” opens at No. 13 on Digital Songs and No. 65 on Radio Songs. The song previews No Doubt’s sixth studio album, “Push and Shove,” due September 25. It’s their first studio album since 2001’s “Rock Steady.” *
On the Album chart, hip-hop shows that even if it’s cooling at radio, the genre has plenty of steam left on the sales side. Veteran Nas achieves his sixth No. 1 album on the Billboard 200, as “Life Is Good” sells 149,000. The set also debuts at the top of Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums, his ninth No. 1 there. Only Jay-Z has achieved more, with 12.
Yahoo! Music Chart Watch columnist Paul Grein notes, “All artists need to stay relevant, and there’s probably no genre where that’s more important than rap. That’s why Nas’ accomplishment this week is so impressive. ‘Life Is Good’ enters The Billboard 200 a little more than 16 years after he first topped the chart with ‘It Was Written.’ Only one hip-hop artist has had a longer span of No. 1 albums: Beastie Boys, who spans 17 years and three months.”
Last week’s No. 1 album, Zac Brown Band’s “Uncaged,” falls to No. 2; the new “Kidz Bop 22” collection open at No. 3; Frank Ocean’s “Channel Orange” slips two to No. 4; Justin Bieber’s “Believe” dips 3-5; and at No. 6—surprise—Phil Collins’ “Hits” reappears on the Billboard 200, after Amazon MP3 sold the set for 99 cents for one day last week. That album, which contains 12 top 10 hits, originally peaked at No. 18 when it was released in 1998.
One Direction’s “Up All Night” holds at No. 7; the soundtrack to “The Dark Knight Rises” debuts at No. 8; Adele’s “21” dips 1 to No. 9; and Maroon 5’s “Overexposed” is down 5 to No. 10.
Next week: This week’s top two albums from Nas and Zac Brown Band will likely battle it out for the top spot. Amid the summer doldrums, the two highest-profile new releases are The Gaslight Anthem’s “Handwritten,” Passion Pit’s “Gossamer” and Jennifer Lopez’s “Dance Again… The Hits.” *
Blazing temperatures aren’t the only thing heating up the summer of 2012. Consider this the season of Girl Power at CHR radio. As Carly Rae Jepsen’s ubiquitous uptempo anthem “Call Me Maybe” logs a sixth week atop the Singles Chart, four other solo female singers join her in the top 10. You’d have to go back to the beginning of the millennium—a la Britney, Christina and Jessica—to see as many pop princesses rallying in the higher reaches of the Billboard Hot 100.
Let’s call this the Summer of Love… for females. In addition to Jepsen’s debut release feat, singer/songwriter Adele sets yet another record with “21.” Her sophomore album spends a 73rd week inside the Billboard 200’s top 10, the longest run by any woman in history—trumping Alanis Morissette’s 1995 “Jagged Little Pill.” And then there’s the fervent return of pop staple Pink.
As Jepsen’s “Call Me Maybe” continues its command of the Hot 100 in its 21st week on the chart, the track earns its keep as the longest-running No. 1 for a female solo artist since Adele’s “Rolling In the Deep” logged seven weeks from May to July 2011. It also leads On-Demand Songs for a fifth week, and is No. 2 on Radio Songs, Pop Songs and Digital Songs (after leading the latter list for eight weeks). In addition, it tops the Summer Songs 2012 tally for a third week, which Radio-Info.com’s Sean Ross has been keeping tabs on.
Also among the week’s top 10 singles, Katy Perry’s “Wide Awake” rises 4-3, newcomer Brit Ellie Goulding’s pop-fueled “Lights” holds at 5, Rihanna’s “Where Have You Been” is locked at No. 6—and entering the top 10 at No. 9 is the massive return of Pink.
And that’s where we focus for the rest of this week’s female-centric Week In Music. Pink—pardon me, she has returned to being known as P!nk—rockets into the top 10 on the Hot 100 with new single “Blow Me (One Last Kiss),” which catapults 58-9 in its second week on the chart. The break-up anthem flies 41-4 on Digital Songs, while CHR radio is actually ahead of the game this time: It rallies 56-23 on Radio Songs, with 39 million all-format audience impressions, according to Nielsen BDS.
“Blow Me” is the 32 year old’s 12th Hot 100 top 10, which began in 2000 with “There You Go.” Within the millennium, she has more top 10s than any other female act, other than Rihanna (22) and Beyonce (14). With the new single, she trumps both Lady Gaga and Katy Perry.
This is the first release from Pink’s sixth studio album, “The Truth About Love,” due September 18. It’s been four years since her last studio album, 2008’s “Funhouse,” which produced hits “So What,” “Sober” and “Please Don’t Leave Me.” Her 2010 “Greatest Hits… So Far!!!,” included No. 1 “Raise Your Glass” and No. 2 “Fuckin’ Perfect.”
Already, “Blow Me” has reached No. 1 in Australia (her sixth)—where it debuted in the top spot—while it’s also top 10 in Canada and New Zealand. A worldwide tour will follow the album’s release this fall.
With women in charge, how fitting that the Spice Girls reunited last week for the first time since 2008 to announce the launch of “Viva Forever,” a jukebox theatrical musical packed with their 1990s’ hits. It opens this December in London. Girl power, indeed. *