Friday, January 10, 2014

Goodbye

After over three and a half years (a little over two in this forum) of reliably recapping and knowing entirely way too much about the Sirius XM Hits-1 Weekend Countdown, I have made the decision to bring this blog's exciting journey to a close.

Since I get roughly 500 visitors per day here, I'd be lying if I said this place was entirely for me, so I feel that I owe an explanation to you all.  I am a person that continually resists change and prides myself on reliability and consistency.  A couple months back, I sat down to write a "Q&A" post where I might have offered a little context around what I'm doing here and why.  Probably the most pointed question on this survey that I came up with was "Why do you do this?".  The post was never published, but here's the response I gave (to my own question):

"That's an excellent question, and from time to time I ask myself this.  This blog has been going 2 years strong, and, before publishing these thoughts on the internet, I've been summarizing the Weekend Countdown for others [not that they asked me to] for even longer than that.  There's been weeks where it's been a serious struggle to find time to both log the countdown and talk about it, and those tend to be the weeks where I question why I keep this going.  Most weeks, however, I do have a good amount of fun with it, and for some reason, at least based on the log of page views, people actually seem to like reading it.  I'm also the type of person that doesn't like to quit on things easily and likes to feel reliable.  At least as of right now, I can't imagine just leaving this space sitting around out there on the internet, just cut off after some random week.  It would bother me too much."

Really it's the last sentence that gets to the crux of the issue...the thought of starting something and not finishing it.  But there really is no finish to this, is there?  Am I going to keep spending an hour each week for the rest of my life doing something that increasingly feels like an optional chore, even as my personal and professional life becomes increasingly complicated?  Clearly, there will be an end.

And so, I've decided to not cut this off after some random week.  The end of 2013 feels like a natural stopping point, and I'm going to stop now before I convince myself to stick it out for another full year.  While there are things I'm going to miss about this place, it's a decision I'm fairly proud of because I am typically bad at breaking routine for even components of my life as minor as this.  I'm hoping that this is a good first step towards breaking that mold in more significant areas of life.

A couple last takeaways before my permanent sign-off.  First, if you write about something on the internet, and do it consistently, people will read it, no matter how ultimately irrelevant the subject matter is.  Give it a try.  Blog!

Second, that having been said, thank you all for reading, following, and commenting over these past couple years.  I take the page clicks as feedback that this wasn't the least interesting thing in the world, and hitting the 200k threshold did make me oddly happy, in a way.  So thanks.

For reasons pertinent to my professional career, I have written this anonymously as "CountdownRecap".  If you wish to get in touch with me for whatever reason (though likely this would only be pertinent to Hits-1 music, as I'm otherwise a basically nondescript entity as far as readers who are not in the know are concerned), I can be reached at anonymous000167@gmail.com (this is not fake).

Goodbye.

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

A Special Hits-1 Post: The Top 45 Songs of 2013

Finally, it's the moment you've all been madly refreshing this page waiting for, here's the Top 45 Songs of 2013.  As you could probably gather from a lot of my comments here lately, 2013 was something of a letdown for pop music compared to 2012, so keep that in mind.  I'll try to have the negativity end there, as this should generally be one of the happier posts that I get to make each year.  Those who have been following my weekly "Editor's Picks" list might not be too shocked by anything that appears here, but as a reminder, those lists are just the 5 songs that I want to hear most at a given time.  Now that all songs up for consideration have been around for long enough, it's a little bit easier to identify the winners with the "shiny new toy" aspect having worn off.

Once again, I'm going to dive into the "rules" of these rankings to make clear what songs are, and are not, eligible for consideration.
  • First, I am only considering songs that appeared on the Sirius XM Hits-1 Weekend Countdown.  No songs were considered that never aired on Hits-1.  If a song appeared on HitBound or Hits and Misses with Pete Wentz or various special shows Hits-1 had throughout the year, but not the countdown, it was discarded.
  • Second, no songs that appeared on the Top 45 rankings for a previous year were considered for this list.  Here is a list of the songs that were most significant in 2013 that are not eligible for this reason:
    • Olly Murs - Dance With Me Tonight
    • Lumineers - Ho Hey
    • Maroon 5 - Daylight
    • Ke$ha - Die Young
    • Of Monsters and Men - Little Talks
  • Third, songs that first debuted on the countdown very late in the year (mid-December or later, basically) are being deferred for consideration until 2014.  The following songs are not eligible for this list, nor were they considered for my previously-released "Bottom 5 Songs of 2013"
    • Justin Timberlake - Drink You Away
    • Sara Bareilles - Brave (truly absurd that this one debuted as late as it did)
    • Passenger - Let Her Go
    • Midnight Red - Hell Yeah
    • Bruno Mars - Young Girls
    • Katy Perry Ft. Juicy J - Dark Horse
    • A Great Big World - Say Something
OK.  I think we're ready now.

45) Britt Nicole - Gold - Just making the cut is Christian pop artist Britt Nicole's first mainstream single about self-worth.  I won't soon forget how she was actually asked to explain the meaning of one of the most transparent songs ever written in an interview.

44) Redfoo - Bring Out the Bottles - This was axed from the countdown in March, but I still have "It's gon, it's gon' be poppin'" stuck in my head.  I pretty much couldn't stand LMFAO, but it seems that uncle Redfoo did himself a service by breaking away from nephew SkyBlu, as Break Out the Bottles turned out shockingly melodious in places (with some help from our good friend Auto-Tune).

43) The Wanted - We Own The Night - A catchy instrumental melody headlines The Wanted's best song yet.

42) DJ Pauly D Ft. Jay Sean - Back to Love - Yeah, that Pauly D.  While some credit here obviously goes to Jay Sean, I was pretty surprised to hear a tune this harmonious from Pauly D, especially after the more-hilarious-than-good Beat Dat Beat.

41) Eminem Ft. Rihanna - The Monster - This song serves as yet another reminder that Rihanna's fantastic voice can sometimes be used to produce music that isn't complete crap.

40) Pitbull Ft. Ke$ha - Timber - Pitbull definitely winds up on my naughty list more so than in my good graces, but toss in a harmonica and a solid chorus contributed by Ke$ha and boom, something that doesn't suck.

39) Katy Perry - Roar - The most worthwhile song off of the supremely disappointing Prism.

38) Mariah Carey - #Beautiful - With a solid contribution from Miguel, Mariah Carey's voice shines through in this unique R&B hit.

37) Drop City Yacht Club - Crickets - This solid smooth jam is the first ever single for new artist Drop City Yacht Club, and I hope to hear more from them in the coming years.  More like "Hold On City Yacht Club", amirite?  Oh c'mon......nothing?.....nothing?  What's that I hear chirping?

OK, I'll stop.

36) Daft Punk - Get Lucky - It was something of a competition between this song and Blurred Lines for song of the summer, and even if Get Lucky fell short in that particular popularity contest, at least it can hang its hat on being the superior tune.

35) Demi Lovato - Heart Attack - Demi Lovato is spectacular at hitting the high notes, and perhaps never better than at the beginning of the last chorus of Heart Attack.

34) Armin van Buuren Ft. Trevor Guthrie - This Is What It Feels Like - It's nothing if not consistent.  Also, based on its relative performance on the charts, this is living proof that Canada does exist, and it's voting for Hits-1 music.

33) Avril Lavigne - Here's to Never Growing Up - I feel like there's a pretty narrow quality range for songs that Avril Lavigne puts on the countdown.

32) Avril Lavigne - Rock and Roll - I feel like there's a pretty narrow quality range for songs that Avril Lavigne puts on the countdown.

31) Paper Route - You and I - As of this writing, the music video still doesn't have 125,000 views on YouTube.  Odd that it appeared on a countdown professing to play the biggest songs in North America....maybe there's a segment of North America that doesn't have YouTube?  Nonetheless, this is exactly the type of song that makes the Sirius XM Hits-1 Weekend Countdown more interesting, because you probably don't get songs like this anywhere else and I'm glad I had the opportunity to hear You and I.

30) JTX - Summer Lover - I'd ding JTX more for his lyrics if his songs weren't so much fun.  Summer Lover fits right in with the rest of his energetic music.

29) Paramore - Still Into You - Paramore's re-entry into the countdown universe was a highly upbeat jam.  I thought the tempo was used pretty well throughout the song to support the meaning behind the words.

28) Lorde - Royals - This was a surprisingly mature and sophisticated take on the music industry for a pop artist, let alone a 16-year old pop artist.  That, combined with some catchy pacing makes Royals one of the standout songs of the year

27) Twenty One Pilots - Holding On To You - One of the more unique songs to grace the countdown in 2013, Holding On To You is mostly high-pitched pseudo-rap and seems a little like what Eminem would sound like with some more musical accompaniment.  

26) Captial Cities - Safe and Sound - This song was almost great, but that damn trumpet that doesn't fit with the rest of the song is just overwhelming.  Safe and Sound was released all the way back in 2011, so it took its sweet time hitting the mainstream.

25) Lady Gaga Ft. R Kelly - Do What U Want - Some of Lady Gaga's earlier work, such as Lovegame and Paparazzi, had absurdly catchy pacing and Do What U Want brought the focus back to that aspect of her music, even if it wasn't successful to the same level.

24) Jesse McCartney - Back Together - Jack-of-all-trades McCartney decided to focus on music again and released this single this year.   He is also apparently going to tour with The Backstreet Boys (makes sense) and DJ Pauly D (....what?).

23) Zedd Ft. Hayley Williams - Stay the Night - Hayley Williams doesn't have one of the stronger female voices in pop music but she's certainly talented and Zedd does a great job with her in a song that was apparently written the day before it was recorded.

22) Pink Ft. Nate Reuss - Just Give Me A Reason - I looked back on this song a lot more fondly than I did when it was getting regular airplay.  It's fun to contrast this song's lyrics with those of True Love....Reuss clearly helped out a lot here.  It's a nice duet.

21) Avicii Ft. Aloe Blacc - Wake Me Up - One of the more popular songs of the year utilized an effective mix of electronic dance and a folksy acoustic guitar melody.  So I guess that's possible after all.

20) OneRepublic - Counting Stars - I'm probably repeating myself for those who have read other recent entries, but I'm shocked that I have a song by OneRepublic on my Top 45.  Counting Stars was surprisingly energetic, and it's nice to see something interesting from a band that's sounded pretty damn lifeless for years.

19) fun. - Carry On - Of the three songs that fun. has put onto the countdown, Carry On probably has the most lasting value.  It's close between it and Some Nights, but the latter was beaten to death so ruthlessly that I might not even be able to judge that impartially.

18) Jason Derulo - The Other Side - Probably the best I've heard from Jason Derulo...he took things a step further with that hook, whereas in prior songs he may have fallen flat.

17) Krewella - Alive - So...many....high notes.  I'm not head-over-heels in love with the intense electronic portion that succeeds each chorus, but the vocal (albeit modified) performance is great.

16) MKTO - Classic - I was really disappointed when I saw MKTO perform this song live (well, on television).  The vocals were pretty far off of the album-quality version that airs on Hits-1.  Still, I'm ranking that album-quality version, and there's few songs I've heard this year with better chemistry between the singing and accompanying music.

15) Ellie Goulding - Burn - I was relieved that this song made it onto the countdown just in the nick of time to qualify for these rankings.  You'll notice that there's not much here from the latter portion of the year, and Burn was certainly one of the songs working towards slowing the complete landslide of pop music in late 2013.

14) Karmin - Acapella - "We hit that Olive Garden....my Little Italayyy."  One of the weirdest songs you'll ever hear, Acapella stood out for its infectious beat.  Just ignore the part where Amy Heidemann does it "in falsetto".

13) Kelly Clarkson - Catch My Breath - This is Kelly Clarkson's finest work in a fine career.  Catch My Breath is a fantastic, uplifting song.  I love the melody of the verses and she does a great job of hitting all the right notes on the chorus.

12) Macklemore Ft. Ryan Lewis - Thrift Shop - This song, pretty much without question, had the hook of the year.

11) Swedish House Mafia - Don't You Worry Child - Let's just say this makes up for the unfathomably boring Save The World from a couple years back.

10) Bonnie McKee - American Girl - This is truly my #1 guilty pleasure of 2013.  I'm not proud of it, but there was a stretch of time during the year where this is the song I most wanted Hits-1 to spin.

9) Zedd Ft. Foxes - Clarity - Probably the decision for which I'm most likely to catch flak.  First off, I'll state that although it took a long time, I finally started to hear the "obnoxious" in this song late in the year that many around me believed was always there, but that was probably after I'd heard the thing (without exaggeration) about 150 times.  I may have soured on it a little bit after all that overplay, but I can't ignore that Clarity is (or was) great.  Foxes didn't even have a Wikipedia page when Clarity debuted on the countdown.  You've come a long way, baby.

8) Ke$ha - C'mon - This represents some of Ke$ha's best work and trumps the predecessor Die Young.  The chorus trumps pretty much everything she's done since Tik Tok.

7) Muse - Madness - This isn't Muse's greatest song, but they're so much more talented than the vast majority of other artists that appear on the countdown that even a second-rate effort from them is going to rank pretty highly.  Fun fact: it was the theme song for the 2013 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament.

6) Imagine Dragons - Demons - I might have guessed that Coldplay was behind Demons if I just heard it once with no prior information.  The catchy melody belies lyrics that are surprisingly deep for Top 40 music, and Dan Reynolds's performance is outstanding.

5) Hunter Hayes - I Want Crazy - The country singing Hayes scored big with this remarkably lively song.  It's certainly errs more towards the side of pop than traditional country, but aside from any perceived notion that Hayes sold out, there's really nothing not to like about this song -- the tempo, instrumentals, vocal performance, everything is done exceptionally well.

4) The Script Ft. will.i.am - Hall Of Fame - No, that isn't a typo, I meant to type will.i.am there.  Somehow, the universe found a song and role in which he actually could deliver a solid performance.  The use of the piano is excellent in this upbeat, superb song.  Prior to this song, The Script had already been on a tear, churning out quality tune after quality tune.  Pardon the terrible writing, but this song cements The Script in the Hall of Fame of countdown artists.

3) Train Ft. Ashley Monroe - Bruises - Preliminarily tabbed as the #1 of the year, Bruises was dinged a bit for mediocre (not bad) lyrics.  Despite that, Bruises packs sentimentality and one of the top melodies of the year into the near-best 4 minutes you could spend this year listening to a pop station.  It's hard to put into words just how excellent country singer Ashley Monroe is in this song.  I don't know what led to Train teaming up with her, but the chemistry between her and Pat Monahan is near perfect.

2) The 1975 - Chocolate - 2013 breakout band The 1975 put their first ever song onto the countdown in the form of Chocolate, which has the most addicting instrumental melody since M83 - Midnight City.  I've heard the songwriting described as everything from awful to brilliant.  I lean closer to the latter camp, but certainly not all the way.  Chocolate is about the difference between how we perceive our own actions and how others perceive them.  The song specifically references police evasion and drug use, but it's kind of interesting to extrapolate that.  There's a lot of stuff we all do that might seem a little messed up, but to our own weird selves, these might just "smell like chocolate".

1) Passion Pit - Take A Walk - First, a little housekeeping...I'm aware this song came out in 2012, but I was unable to rank it last year because it didn't debut on the countdown until 2013.  The superlatively great Take A Walk was, without question, the best-written song of the year to grace the Sirius XM Hits-1 Weekend Countdown with its presence.  The song employs an upbeat melody, but really it's all about immigration to the United States and dealing with the associated hardships with being a newcomer to a capitalist society.  Take A Walk was not the most addicting song to hit the countdown this year (to wit, it never ranked #1 on my Editor's Picks list), but it certainly was the best.

Monday, December 30, 2013

A Special Hits-1 Post - 2013: A Year In Review

First, a shameless plug.  At some point today, I expect to cross the 200,000 pageview threshold.  Thank you all.  You are truly wonderful.  Or bored.

This is my second annual installment of a (not-so) quick recap of all the activity we've seen during this past year on the Sirius XM Hits-1 Weekend Countdown.  In a short while, I'll be back with another post with the Top 45 Songs of 2013.  I've had a full staff working 12 hour days with no bathroom breaks analyzing all of the candidates to death so you can be assured that when the rankings are published, they're as accurate as they can possibly be.

Once again, the current year marked a notable contrast in quality from its predecessor.  I'm more than a little relieved that 2013 is coming to a close because quite frankly, I can't figure out whether it or 2011 was the worst year to endure since I became a Hits-1 listener in 2009.  A few of 2011's great songs (there since hasn't been any countdown songs as good as the Top 3 from that year) might give it the slight edge, but then again, 2011 had some true disasters that dominated the top of the countdown and were spun to death by Hits-1.  The quality of the #1's in 2013 was certainly a notch higher.

Speaking of those #1 songs, this is the time to honor those songs that, for better or for worse, spent at least 1 week at the top of the Sirius XM Hits-1 Weekend Countdown.  Here is 2013's #1 Parade:
  • Imagine Dragons - Radioactive (x8)
  • Katy Perry - Roar (x7)
  • Fall Out Boy - My Songs Know What You Did In The Dark (Light 'Em Up) (x6)
  • Ke$ha - Die Young (x4)
  • Taylor Swift - I Knew You Were Trouble (x4)
  • Macklemore Ft. Ryan Lewis - Thrift Shop (x4)
  • Avicii Ft. Aloe Blacc - Wake Me Up (x4)
  • Pink Ft. Nate Reuss - Just Give Me A Reason (x3)
  • Macklemore Ft. Ryan Lewis - Can't Hold Us (x3)
  • Maroon 5 - Daylight
  • Maroon 5 - Love Somebody
  • Olly Murs - Troublemaker
  • Lorde - Royals
  • Fall Out Boy - Alone Together
  • Olly Murs - Dance With Me Tonight
  • Imagine Dragons - Demons
  • OneRepublic - Counting Stars
  • Pitbull Ft. Ke$ha - Timber
I'd like to keep as much negativity as possible out of my Top 45 Songs of 2013 post, but at the same time, what year would be complete without recognizing the worst of the worst?  Pop music pumps out plenty of duds almost by default, and 2013 was certainly no exception.  I started a tradition last year to rank the Bottom 5 songs of the year and despite my current desire to expand that to 10, I'm a sucker for consistency.  Due to the absurd amount of garbage music in 2013, disasters such as will.i.am Ft. Britney Spears - Scream and Shout, Pitbull Ft. Christina Aguilera - Feel This Moment, Milan and Phoenix - Istanbul (Not Constantinople), and Ariana Grande - The Way are getting something of a free pass.  Any one of those songs would have been the 3rd worst of 2012 had it been released a year earlier.  But enough about that, onward with the pit of despair, with #1 being the worst.  I don't accompany these rankings with comments because it should be pretty obvious why they're here.

Bottom 5 Songs of 2013
5) Enrique Iglesias - Turn the Night Up
4) PSY - Gentleman
3) will.i.am Ft. Justin Bieber - #thatPOWER
2) Serebro - Mi Mi Mi
1) Kelsi Luck - That's What I Like

Unlike in 2012, there were actually some quality songs that spent awhile on Hit-Bound, but never made the jump to the countdown.  For the unfamiliar, Hit-Bound is Sirius XM Hits-1's new music show during which they air songs that have (usually!) not made their weekly Top 45 rankings yet, but are up for consideration to join the countdown in the near future.  The majority of songs that appear on the countdown (at a given time) were once on Hit-Bound.  In this space I like to honor the best song that aired on Hit-Bound during the year with the Lights Over Paris Hit-Bound Hero Award, given to the best song to air on Hit-Bound that for one reason or another never received the distinct honor of being announced by Spyder Harrison on the weekend.

2013 Lights Over Paris Hit-Bound Hero Award Winner: Youngblood Hawke - We Come Running

SiriusXM Hits-1 has something of a reputation for omission of certain songs from their countdown that "make it big" and are otherwise widely accepted as being among the most popular in (at the very least) the United States at a given time.  Justin Timberlake and Drake are probably the artists that get pointed to the most (even though the former does get some Hits-1 airplay) in this argument, but there are others as well.  Likewise, Hits-1 does give exposure to some songs and artists that aren't heard all that often elsewhere, and even if this does sort of cloud the concept that this truly is a list of the 45 biggest songs on the continent, it does make me appreciate the station a lot more for introducing me to music I might not hear elsewhere.  Anyhoo, before I jam any more arguably misplaced parentheticals into my writing, I'll go ahead and introduce a new award that I'll hand out annually to the "biggest" song that Hits-1 failed to put on the countdown, the Biggest Whiff of the Year.  There were plenty of good candidates for this (Rihanna - Stay and Justin Timberlake - Mirrors come to mind), but the following song took the cake for having a somewhat notorious music video and topping the American Top 40 chart for three straight weeks.

Biggest Whiff of 2013 - Miley Cyrus - Wrecking Ball

Finally, we come to our tenure trophies, handed out to the songs with longest and shortest stints on the countdown during 2013.  There were a number of songs that lasted three weeks this year, but only one that lasted just two....

Shortest Tenured Song of 2013: Rihanna Ft. David Guetta - Right Now

The longest tenured song of 2013 is still hanging around, but made its countdown debut all the way back on February 9th.

Longest Tenured Song of 2013: Fall Out Boy - My Songs Know What You Did In The Dark (Light 'Em Up) 

I sincerely hope that things get better in 2014....it's a lot more fun to do something like this when you can muster some semblance of enthusiasm for the music itself.  Those moments were unfortunately few and far between in 2013.  Thanks for reading, and stay tuned for the Top 45 songs of the year.

Pitbull - Week of December 28, 2013

I’m not exactly shocked that there was no turnover during a holiday week during which Hits-1 mainly aired pre-recorded shows.  No songs leavin’ the countdown this week.

The Countdown:

1. Pitbull Ft. Ke$ha - Timber (#2) [First Week at #1]
2. OneRepublic - Counting Stars (#1)
3. Eminem Ft. Rihanna - The Monster (#4)
4. Imagine Dragons – Demons (#3)
5. Avicii Ft. Aloe Blacc – Wake Me Up (#6)
6. Lorde – Royals (#7)
7. Zedd Ft. Hayley Williams - Stay the Night (#8)
8. Passenger - Let Her Go (#14)
9. Olly Murs – Dance With Me Tonight (#11)
10. Fall Out Boy – Alone Together (#5)
11. One Direction - Story Of My Life (#24)
12. Armin van Buuren Ft. Trevor Guthrie - This Is What It Feels Like (#13)
13. MKTO – Classic (#9)
14. Neighbourhood – Sweater Weather (#10)
15. Katy Perry Ft. Juicy J - Dark Horse (#38)
16. Hunter Hayes – I Want Crazy (#12)
17. Selena Gomez – Slow Down (#15)
18. Paramore – Still Into You (#19)
19. Lady Gaga Ft. R. Kelly - Do What U Want (#21)
20. Justin Timberlake - Drink You Away (#20)
21. Flo Rida - How I Feel (#23)
22. Sara Bareilles - Brave (#22)
23. Macklemore Ft. Ryan Lewis – White Walls (#16)
24. The Wanted - We Own The Night (#42)
25. Ellie Goulding - Burn (#18)
26. Midnight Red - Hell Yeah (#27)
27. Robin Thicke Ft. Pharrell & T.I. – Blurred Lines (#29)
28. Panic! At The Disco - Miss Jackson (#25)
29. Serebro - Mi Mi MI (#41)
30. Capital Cities - Safe and Sound (#44)
31. Wax – Rosana (#26)
32. Katy Perry – Roar (#17)
33. Rihanna - What Now (#37)
34. Linkin Park Ft. Steve Aoki – A Light That Never Comes (#28)
35. Lady Gaga – Applause (#33)
36. Imagine Dragons – Radioactive (#34)
37. Macklemore Ft. Ryan Lewis – Can't Hold Us (#35)
38. Bruno Mars - Young Girls (#36)
39. Enrique Iglesias – Heart Attack (#45)
40. Fall Out Boy – My Songs Know What You Did In The Dark (Light 'em Up) (#32)
41. John Newman – Love Me Again (#31)
42. A Great Big World - Say Something (#40)
43. Travie McCoy Ft. Jason Mraz – Rough Water (#43)
44. The Mowgli's – Say It, Just Say It (#30)
45. Calvin Harris Ft. Ellie Goulding – I Need Your Love (#39)

Biggest DDDDRRRRRROOOOPPPP!!!...of the week: Katy Perry – Roar (-15)
Biggest Jump of the Week: Katy Perry Ft. Juicy J – Dark Horse (+23)

I have enough countdown-related things to do in the next day or so, so we’re gonna have to live without the blurbs this week.  Sorry.

Friday, December 27, 2013

The Top 45 Songs of 2013 According to Hits-1

Here is Hits-1’s Top 45 songs of 2013.  As a reminder, this isn’t particularly interesting because it’s just a ranking of how many times they played a given song during the calendar year.  

I’m very puzzled about how they determined which songs that debuted in 2012 were eligible for this list.  For example, Ke$ha – Die Young came out somewhere in the fall of 2012, but appears at #10 due to play count / hitting #1 a few times in 2013.  OK, makes sense.  And The Script Ft. will.i.am – Hall of Fame [#21] came out last year in December.  OK, makes sense, it was pretty significant in the early months of 2013.  But then you have Swedish House Mafia – Don’t You Worry Child, which debuted the same week as Hall of Fame last year and is nowhere to be seen, despite the fact that it almost certainly was played more often in 2013 than the aforementioned Hall of Fame (it hung around the countdown for about 4 more months).

The other problem is that songs that debuted later in the calendar year (e.g. Lorde – Royals [#35], OneRepublic – Counting Stars [not even ranked], Imagine Dragons – Demons [ditto]) are at a serious disadvantage because they haven’t run their course yet and might catch up in 2014 (playcount-wise) to songs on this list that have been gone for awhile.  I don’t know if there’s a great way to get around that issue without converting to a more subjective ranking system.

So I guess here’s the list, if you’re curious.

1. Fall Out Boy – My Songs Know What You Did In The Dark (Light 'em Up)
2. Imagine Dragons – Radioactive
3. Macklemore Ft. Ryan Lewis - Thrift Shop
4. Olly Murs - Troublemaker
5. Macklemore Ft. Ryan Lewis - Can't Hold Us
6. Zedd Ft. Foxes - Clarity
7. Robin Thicke ft. Pharrell and T.I. - Blurred Lines
8. Capital Cities - Safe and Sound
9. Pink Ft. Nate Reuss - Just Give Me A Reason
10. Ke$ha - Die Young
11. Maroon 5 - Love Somebody
12. Florida Georgia Line - Cruise
13. Katy Perry - Roar
14. Hot Chelle Rae - Hung Up
15. Icona Pop - I Love It
16. Maroon 5 - Daylight
17. Paramore - Still Into You
18. Avicii Ft. Aloe Blacc - Wake Me Up
19. Taylor Swift - I Knew You Were Trouble
20. Calvin Harris Ft. Ellie Goulding - I Need Your Love
21. The Script Ft. will.i.am - Hall of Fame
22. Demi Lovato - Heart Attack
23. Ke$ha - C'mon
24. The 1975 - Chocolate
25. fun. - Carry On
26. Lady Gaga - Applause
27. Selena Gomez - Come & Get it
28. MKTO - Classic
29. Pink - Try
30. Anna Kendrick - Cups
31. Daft Punk - Get Lucky
32. Bruno Mars - Treasure
33. Little Mix - Wings
34. Taylor Swift - 22
35. Lorde - Royals
36. Bruno Mars - When I Was Your Man
37. Pitbull Ft. Christina Aguilera - Feel This Moment
38. Avril Lavinge - Here's To Never Growing Up
39. Labrinth Ft. Emeli Sande - Beneath Your Beautiful
40. Tegan and Sara - Closer
41. Fall Out Boy - Alone Together
42. Jason Derulo - The Other Side
43. Olly Murs - Dance With Me Tonight
44. Awolnation - Sail
45. Macklemore and Ryan Lewis Ft. Mary Lambert - Same Love

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

OneRepublic - Week of December 21, 2013

T’was the night before Christmas for this weekly music critique
And the #1 song changed for the 8th straight week
Before we get on to this week’s Fresh 45,
Here’s a list of all the songs that are no longer alive.
  • Katy Perry - Unconditionally
  • Icona Pop - All Night
  • New Politics - Harlem
  • Lana Del Rey Ft. Cedric Gervais - Summertime Sadness
The Countdown:

1. OneRepublic - Counting Stars (#3) [First Week at #1]
2. Pitbull Ft. Ke$ha - Timber (#2)
3. Imagine Dragons – Demons (#1)
4. Eminem Ft. Rihanna - The Monster (#7)
5. Fall Out Boy – Alone Together (#8)
6. Avicii Ft. Aloe Blacc – Wake Me Up (#5)
7. Lorde – Royals (#6)
8. Zedd Ft. Hayley Williams - Stay the Night (#12)
9. MKTO – Classic (#13)
10. Neighbourhood – Sweater Weather (#15)
11. Olly Murs – Dance With Me Tonight (#9)
12. Hunter Hayes – I Want Crazy (#11)
13. Armin van Buuren Ft. Trevor Guthrie - This Is What It Feels Like (#10)
14. Passenger - Let Her Go (#30)
15. Selena Gomez – Slow Down (#19)
16. Macklemore Ft. Ryan Lewis – White Walls (#14)
17. Katy Perry – Roar (#4)
18. Ellie Goulding - Burn (#35)
19. Paramore – Still Into You (#17)
20. Justin Timberlake - Drink You Away (#40)
21. Lady Gaga Ft. R. Kelly - Do What U Want (#27)
22. Sara Bareilles - Brave (#38)
23. Flo Rida - How I Feel (#29)
24. One Direction - Story Of My Life (#28)
25. Panic! At The Disco - Miss Jackson (#26)
26. Wax – Rosana (#41)
27. Midnight Red - Hell Yeah (#36)
28. Linkin Park Ft. Steve Aoki – A Light That Never Comes (#42)
29. Robin Thicke Ft. Pharrell & T.I. – Blurred Lines (#23)
30. The Mowgli's – Say It, Just Say It (#24)
31. John Newman – Love Me Again (#25)
32. Fall Out Boy – My Songs Know What You Did In The Dark (Light 'em Up) (#20)
33. Lady Gaga – Applause (#16)
34. Imagine Dragons – Radioactive (#33)
35. Macklemore Ft. Ryan Lewis – Can't Hold Us (#31)
36. Bruno Mars - Young Girls (DEBUT)
37. Rihanna - What Now (#37)
38. Katy Perry Ft. Juicy J - Dark Horse (DEBUT)
39. Calvin Harris Ft. Ellie Goulding – I Need Your Love (#18)
40. A Great Big World - Say Something (DEBUT)
41. Serebro - Mi Mi MI (#21)
42. The Wanted - We Own The Night (#34)
43. Travie McCoy Ft. Jason Mraz – Rough Water (#32)
44. Capital Cities - Safe and Sound (RE-ENTRY)
45. Enrique Iglesias – Heart Attack (#43)

Biggest DDDDDRRRRROOOPPPP!!!!...of the week: Calvin Harris Ft. Ellie Goulding – I Need Your Love (yes, again) (-21)
Biggest Jump of the Week: Justin Timberlake – Drink You Away (+20)

We got a quick resurrection of Capital Cities – Safe and Sound
So there’s only three fresh new songs hanging around.
We’ve got Dark Horse from Katy Perry Ft. Juicy J
It’s no wonder Unconditionally so soon went away.
The chorus is solid, the background music is catchy
But the quality of the verses is unfortunately rather sketchy

Bruno Mars was surprisingly on some kind of tear
It actually stopped bothering me that he breathes the air
But Young Girls reminded me of the feelings I had before
As Bruno created a song that I completely abhor
Young Girls is rather dull, and renders me somewhat sleepy
Plus, the dude’s already 28, at what point is this song creepy?

After that grossness, it’s time song #3 was unfurled,
It’s Say Something by A Great Big World
A song with solid work on the piano, and a great deal of emotion
Is sadly too slow and repetitive for me to give any sort of promotion
Pop artists, you should know that if you wish to keep your career soaring
The worst thing you can do is produce a song that is boring

The Twelve Blurbs of Christmas

- The #1 songs lately can’t quite seem to circle the wagons

- The latest victim was, unfortunately, Imagine Dragons

- Eminem and Rihanna’s The Monster is new to the Top 5

- While The Wanted – We Own The Night was just lucky to survive

- So One Republic – Counting Stars completed its coup

- While a fondness for that song within me grew

- It’s surprising, because that band usually has me beating my skull

- This is the first thing they’ve produced that wasn’t utterly dull

- Pitbull and Ke$ha’s Timber holds at #2, and is eyeing the crown

- While for Dance With Me Tonight things are looking quite down

- I hope your holidays are full of the greatest delight

- Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!

Editor’s Picks – Top 5 Songs
1) Hunter Hayes – I Want Crazy
2) OneRepublic – Counting Stars
3) Ellie Goulding – Burn
4) Lady Gaga Ft. R Kelly – Do What U Want
5) Justin Timberlake – Drink You Away

Friday, December 20, 2013

Imagine Dragons - Week of December 14, 2013

Biggest shake-up at the top we’ve seen in a good while here on the Sirius XM Hits-1 Weekend Countdown.  Before we get on to this week’s Fresh 45, here’s a list of all the songs we’re saying good-bye to this week.
  • Capital Cities - Safe and Sound
  • Zedd Ft. Foxes - Clarity
  • Maroon 5 - Love Somebody
  • Pink - True Love
The Countdown:

1. Imagine Dragons – Demons (#2) [First Week at #1]
2. Pitbull Ft. Ke$ha - Timber (#11)
3. OneRepublic - Counting Stars (#24)
4. Katy Perry – Roar (#3)
5. Avicii Ft. Aloe Blacc – Wake Me Up (#4)
6. Lorde – Royals (#7)
7. Eminem Ft. Rihanna - The Monster (#13)
8. Fall Out Boy – Alone Together (#22)
9. Olly Murs – Dance With Me Tonight (#1)
10. Armin van Buuren Ft. Trevor Guthrie - This Is What It Feels Like (#9)
11. Hunter Hayes – I Want Crazy (#14)
12. Zedd Ft. Hayley Williams - Stay the Night (#15)
13. MKTO – Classic (#20)
14. Macklemore Ft. Ryan Lewis – White Walls (#21)
15. Neighbourhood – Sweater Weather (#12)
16. Lady Gaga – Applause (#6)
17. Paramore – Still Into You (#5)
18. Calvin Harris Ft. Ellie Goulding – I Need Your Love (#45)
19. Selena Gomez – Slow Down (#8)
20. Fall Out Boy – My Songs Know What You Did In The Dark (Light 'em Up) (#10)
21. Serebro - Mi Mi MI (#25)
22. Katy Perry – Unconditionally (#18)
23. Robin Thicke Ft. Pharrell & T.I. – Blurred Lines (#36)
24. The Mowgli's – Say It, Just Say It (#28)
25. John Newman – Love Me Again (#23)
26. Panic! At The Disco - Miss Jackson (#16)
27. Lady Gaga Ft. R. Kelly - Do What U Want (#17)
28. One Direction - Story Of My Life (#34)
29. Flo Rida - How I Feel (#19)
30. Passenger - Let Her Go (DEBUT)
31. Macklemore Ft. Ryan Lewis – Can't Hold Us (#40)
32. Travie McCoy Ft. Jason Mraz – Rough Water (#27)
33. Imagine Dragons – Radioactive (#32)
34. The Wanted - We Own The Night (#37)
35. Ellie Goulding - Burn (#35)
36. Midnight Red - Hell Yeah (DEBUT)
37. Rihanna - What Now (#41)
38. Sara Bareilles - Brave (DEBUT)
39. Icona Pop – All Night (#39)
40. Justin Timberlake - Drink You Away (DEBUT)
41. Wax – Rosana (#29)
42. Linkin Park Ft. Steve Aoki – A Light That Never Comes (#26)
43. Enrique Iglesias – Heart Attack (#33)
44. New Politics – Harlem (#44)
45. Lana Del Rey Ft. Cedric Gervais – Summertime Sadness (#43)

Biggest DDDDRRRROOOOPPPP!!!!.....of the week: Linkin Park Ft. Steve Aoki – A Light That Never Comes (-16)
Biggest Jump of the Week: Calvin Harris Ft. Ellie Goulding – I Need Your Love (+27)

So I guess here’s one for all the people on the Hits-1 Facebook page that complain about the lack of Justin Timberlake on Hits-1, as Drink You Away busted its way onto the countdown this week.  The multi-talented Timberlake sort of scores here…(I’m probably in the minority that thinks his acting is better than his music), as Drink You Away makes use of actual musical instruments (!!!) in lieu of his typical synth’d stuff.  It caught me a bit off guard, and in a good way.  The music video for Passenger – Let Her Go was published on July 25, 2012 and has been played pretty regularly on other Hits-1 stations (The Pulse comes to mind) for awhile now, so this one isn’t exactly new.  Let Her Go is a nice little song with pretty solid lyrics about our tendency to only really appreciate things when we don’t have them.  It’s not the type that’s dependent on sucking you in with a catchy hook or something, so it’ll take more time for me to have a fully formed opinion on this.  For what it’s worth, I’m optimistic.

Katy Perry – Roar Sara Bareilles – Brave is an uplifting song that pre-dates its sound-alike that has been #1 on this countdown 7 times already.  This one came out first, so if there is a copycat, we know who it is.  Brave was released in May or thereabouts, so it’s odd to see it debut this late in the year, but here we are.  I suppose I don’t need to tell you which one is lyrically ahead of the other.  Midnight Red – Hell Yeah has various catchy components….the beat during the verses is a serious plus, but the chorus unfortunately gets away from that, presumably to give more focus to the singing.  It’s a boy band, so I guess that’s to be expected.  I sort of get the feeling that the whole is less than the sum of its parts here, but reasonable minds can disagree.  Also: the lyrics are downright Hot Chelle Raeian.  It’s a boy band, so….oh right, right…mustn’t repeat myself.

Blurbaholics

- Pitbull Ft. Ke$ha – Timber and One Republic – Counting Stars have both jumped into the Top 3, which was especially surprising for Counting Stars.  Most One Republic songs tend to do this well at some point, and I’m nowhere near as upset about Counting Stars reaching this height as I have about its predecessors.  Counting Stars is downright interesting, which has made me pinch myself as a reality check on more than one occasion given who produced it.

- I will not be considering any of the songs that debuted this week for the year-end rankings.  This is the cutoff point.

- If we could stop bouncing Calvin Harris Ft. Ellie Goulding – I Need Your Love all over the place from week to week (except, of course, OFF the countdown), that would be just swell.

- Kind of odd that Imagine Dragons’sseszes breakout song (and best song) is the only one of the three to never top the Sirius XM Hits-1 Weekend Countdown.  Not that I’m complaining, Demons is plenty worthy of the crown.

- I’ve been listening to 2013’s music pretty relentlessly over the past month or so (I know, yuck), gearing up for the flurry of year-end activity that we’re going to see around these parts in the next 2 weeks.  Stay tuned!

Editor’s Picks – Top 5 Songs
1) Hunter Hayes – I Want Crazy
2) Ellie Goulding – Burn
3) Lady Gaga Ft. R Kelly – Do What U Want
4) Passenger – Let Her Go
5) Imagine Dragons - Demons