Shawn Mendes, Handwritten © Island

25 Chart Takeaways: Shawn Mendes Tops The Billboard 200

Shawn Mendes, Handwritten © Island

It was a big week for one young man – a really young man by the name of Shawn Mendes. 16 years old don’t normally score #1 albums, but don’t tell that to SM – he just did this week! That an more captivating, juicy, and succulent chart takeaways. Too much?

1) 16-year old Canadian pop singer Shawn Mendes lands at #1 on the Billboard 200 with his full-length debut album, Handwritten. “Something big, I feel it happening…Oh, whoa, whoa…”

2) Reba claims another top five album as Love Somebody lands at #3. At 60 years old, and being a veteran artist, scoring a top five album is pretty impressive.

Tyler the Creator, Cherry Bomb © Odd Future

3) Tyler the Creator couldn’t create the same buzz with Cherry Bomb that graced previous album Wolf. Still, Cherry Bomb debuts at #4, with digital sales dominating that total.

4) Keeping those newbies rolling, Halestorm joins the party at #5 with Into The Wild Life.

5) Taylor Swift spends her 25th week in the top 10 with 1989. As Billboard points out, this is Swift’s first week NOT in the top five – GASP! That means she previously spent 24/25 weeks on the chart in the top five. That’s some good game, right?

Sam Hunt, Montevallo © MCA Nashville

6) My new favorite contemporary country singer Sam Hunt keeps on hanging around on the Billboard 200. This week, Montevallo rises from #15 to #13.

7) Kendrick Lamar drops out of the top 10 this week. To Pimp A Butterfly dropped seven spots from #7 to #14. Maybe “King Kunta” was a little too hot to handle?

8) WALK THE MOON is seeing resurgence as their sophomore album TALKING IS HARD improves from #19 to #16.

9) Little Big Town sees its numbers improve dramatically this week. Pain Killer rises from #58 to #17.

10) Dwight Yoakam returns to the Billboard 200 with Second Hand Heart, which lands at #17.

Wale, The Album About Nothing © Atlantic11) Wale continues a downward slide three weeks in. The Album About Nothing drops 10 spots from #11 to #21. Interestingly over its three week course, there has been a “1” in each chart position (#1, #11, #21). #NERD OBSERVATION

12) Young Thug enters the charts at #22 with mixtape Barter 6.

13) It sucks to be All Time Low this week. After selling strongly its first week with Future Hearts to score a #2 bow, the album plummets to #34 this week. Truly, “Something’s Gotta Give.”

14) Apparently, it’s not all about Ludacris and being Ludaversal. Luda’s comeback album isn’t holding up well three weeks in, landing at #3, #18, and this week at #35. Can you say FLOP?

Miranda Lambert, Platinum © RCA Records Label Nashville15) That “Little Red Wagon” is working out pretty well for Miranda Lambert, right? Platinum rises from #74 to #40 its 46th week on the chart. Her husband Blake Shelton also sees a spike to the tune of 49 spots (#108 to #59) for his album, BRINGING BACK THE SUNSHINE.

16) Sufjan Stevens sits at #50 in his third week on the charts with Carrie & Lowell. Previous weeks, he landed at #10 and #36.

17) Kelly Clarkson’s chart life looks to be a short one this go-round. Piece By Piece drops 20 spots this week from #35 to #55, only its 7th week on the chart.

18) Death Cab For Cutie join the rest of the acts suffering from commercial mediocrity as Kintsugi free falls 28 spots from #34 to #62 in three short weeks.

One Direction, Four © Columbia

19) Hmm, how has Zayn Malik’s departure affected One Direction’s sales? Well, who knows because it would be subjective to say that FOUR’s slip from #49 to #66 was caused by his exit without some data to support it. Still, doesn’t one wonder?

20) Releasing a physical edition of an album initially released digitally can make a difference. Earl Sweatshirt’s latest I Don’t Like Shit, I Don’t Go Outside: An Album By Earl Sweatshirt reenters the Billboard 200 at #73. The album debuted at #12.

21) Two weeks in, Lord Huron’s Strange Trails falls from a #23 start to #97. OUCH!

Awolnation, Run © Red Bull

22) AWOLNATION manages to improve on the chart with Run, which moves from #133 to #109.

23) Truthfully, doesn’t Hollywood Undead’s latest album Day of the Dead seem dead? After sitting at #68 in its second week, Day of the Dead free falls to #114 in its third week.

24) Arctic Monkeys’ fine AM album spends its 84th week on the Billboard 200 (#121). AM debuted at #6 in 2013.

25) Action Bronson’s bomb continues to grow each and every week as Mr. Wonderful drops from #89 to #124.

Wiz Khalifa, Blacc Hollywood © Atlantic

7 High Songs To Celebrate 420 Any and Everyday

Wiz Khalifa, Blacc Hollywood © AtlanticYes, this post may have arrived a day late, but some folks celebrate 4/20 – better known as the day to celebrate marijuana – every day. So, with that kept in mine, here are some songs that are guaranteed to “get you lifted” – some not necessarily from the ganja.

1) John Legend, “Let’s Get Lifted” (Get Lifted, 2004)

Sorry weed lovers everywhere! The “high” one gets off of this soulful jam is from love, not cannabis. One of Legend’s best, would you agree? Hey, had to keep this post somewhat classy – just saying!

2) Snoop Dogg & Wiz Khalifa featuring Mike Posner, “French Inhale” (Mac & Dev Go To High School, 2011)

If John Legend didn’t do it for you, well Snoop & Wiz will. One of the ‘highest’ songs off of the Mac & Dev Go To High School Soundtrack is “French Inhale,” which embraces joints like it’s nothing. Throw in Posner’s unique vocals on the hook, and you’ll be high as a kite in no time.

3) The Weeknd, “High For This” (Trilogy, 2012)

The Weeknd steps up the drugs on “High For This” – not marijuana, but ecstasy. To make things worse on this sensual slow jam, he has the nerve to sing, “We don’t need no protection.” Hmm, maybe The Weeknd needs to take some advice from Rae Sremmurd – “Safe Sex Pay Checks.”

4) Kid Cudi, “Marijuana” (Man On The Moon II: The Legend Of Mr. Rager, 2010)

Well, a song entitled “Marijuana” has to be the anthem of 4/20 right? “Pretty green bud all in my blood, oh I need it,” Cudi sings on the hook, “We can take off now, oh marijuana, yeah.” Fittingly, the song ends with the phrase, “…and 4:20,” aka time to smoke.

5) Kid Cudi, “Ashin’ Kusher” (Man On The Moon II: The Legend Of Mr. Rager, 2010)

Of course Kid Cudi can’t just have one song on this 4/20 list, particularly when the second song is named “Ashin’ Kusher” for heaven’s sake! “Even if I do somethin’ unruly / I be like, ‘F**k it n***a I was probably zooted!” If that proclamation wasn’t enough, check out the irresistible hook: “Y’all know I keep it funky motherf***er better get it right…and I’ll be rocking along, zonin’, yeah…” Yep, he High AF…

6) Arctic Monkeys, “Why’d You Only Call Me When You’re High” (AM, 2013)

Of course you can tell when someone’s “lifted.” The problem for front man Alex Turner is, the girl he’s trying to win knows this because, “it’s three in the morning and I’m trying to change your mind / left you multiple missed calls and to my message, you reply / Why’d you only call me when you’re high, high?” Well Alex, dude, what’s the answer?

7) Chris Brown & Tyga featuring Schoolboy Q, “B**ches N Marijuana” (Fan of A Fan: The Album, 2015)

Doesn’t this one speak for itself? All these three guys need is “b**ches n marijuana.” The simple, shallow life one might say.

There are many more songs with a “mighty high” in mind, but here’s a taste of, um, Mary Jane.

Fabolous, The Young OG Project © Def Jam

Chart Takeaways: Taylor and Nicki Remain Numbers One and Two

Fabolous, The Young OG Project © Def Jam

25 chart takeaways – here goes nothing!

1) It’s all about girl power within the top two spots of the Billboard 200. Taylor Swift and Nicki Minaj keep the #1 and #2 spots warm this week.

2) One Direction’s Four rose from #7 to #4 this week – coincidence?

3) Sam Smith’s In The Lonely Hour rises from #6 to #5, though J. Cole’s hot-selling 2014 Forest Hills Drive eclipsed Smith in sales despite falling from #4 to #6. Wacky Billboard formula!

Hozier © Columbia4) Good fortunes for three albums – Hozier’s self-title album rises from #14 to #8, Guardians of the Galaxy rises from #16 to #9, and Ariana Grande’s My Everything rises from #20 to #10.

5) FabolousThe Young OG Project couldn’t earn him a spot in the top 10. The Young OG Project settles for a #12 start.

6) AC/DC’s Rock Or Bust descends from #10 to #17 in its fourth week on the charts.

5 Seconds of Summer © Capitol

7) 5 Seconds of Summer didn’t have such a bad week. LIVESOS fell just five spots in its second week from #13 to #18. In other news, 5 Seconds of Summer rose from #53 to #36.

8) D’Angelo’s second week wasn’t so hot. Black Messiah definitely didn’t get the friendly bounce as it tumbles from #5 to #25. “How does it feel?”

9) Arctic Monkeys continue to have solid success with AM, which ascends from #70 to #26.

10) Who else is rising on the charts? The ab-tastic Nick Jonas, whose self-titled album make moves from #43 to #28 – “Jealous” now haters!

Iggy Azalea, Reclassified © Def Jam

11) Iggy Azalea flexes her staying power as The New Classic rises more than 100 spots – #141 to #37. “Fancy” for sure! Reclassified also sees gains, rising from #92 to #67.

12) Buying hears continues to be questionable. K. Michelle’s Anybody Wanna Buy A Heart? drops from #29 to #43 in it’s third week.

13) Tracing Vance Joy’s chat positions has been interesting. While the album hasn’t lit up the charts (peaking at #17), it has seen many spikes and drops in sale. Dream Your Life Away rises from #81 to #44.

14) Nothing wrong with “wiggling” your way to the top. Wait, that didn’t sound right. Anyways, Jason Derulo’s Talk Dirty rises from #115 to #45. Break out the “Trumpets”!

Wiz Khalifa, Blacc Hollywood © Atlantic

15) “We Dem Boyz”! Wiz Khalifa’s former #1 album Blacc Hollywood rises from #125 to #62.

16) Charli XCX definitely dropped a bomb. Yep. Sucker free falls from #28 to #68. Ouch!

17) Tove Lo sees her debut album Queen of the Clouds rise from #131 to #80.

18) Don’t give up on Trey Songz yet. Trigga ascends back into the Top 100 moving from #127 to #84 in its 26th week.

G Eazy, These Things Happen © Blueprint / G-Eazy

19) These Things Happen G-Eazy! These Things Happen rises from #183 to #91 in his 24th week on the chart.

20) Michael Jackson rejoins the Billboard 200 as Thriller reenters at #100 to land a 230th week on the charts.

21) Bob Seger definitely too “riding out” to heart this week – whatever that even means. To translate – Ride Out dropped from #55 to #111.

22) “Rise Sally, Rise!” Yeah, it’s a misquote, but Childish Gambino sees his exceptional Because The Internet rise from #200 to #116.

Logic, Under Pressure © Def Jam

23) Chart life hasn’t been how it should’ve been in the least for Logic. That said, Under Pressure reenters the Billboard 200 at #117, marking the Baltimore MC’s seventh week on the chart. Could be worse.

24) Have I mentioned how badly Hood Billionaire is selling, Rick Ross? #107 to #127 is the latest drop.

25) August Alsina also benefits from numerous reentries on the Billboard 200. Testimony lands at #165 in it’s 32nd week on the chart.

Charli XCX, Sucker © Atlantic

Chart Takeaways: Nicki Minaj Comes In Second

Nicki Minaj, The Pinkprint © Motown/Universal

Since Nicki Minaj didn’t top the Billboard 200, don’t we know he did? 25 Chart takeaways – take it away!

1) You already know who’s number one this week… Should’ve left this one as a “Blank Space.”

2) Yes, people are “looking a Nicki Minaj’s butt” – just not enough to make her sell/impact more than Taylor Swift. Still, The Pinkprint’s #2 start is solid.

3) J. Cole didn’t fall two far with 2014 Forest Hills Drive – he’s still holding down the top five moving from #1 to #4.

D'Angelo and the Vanguard, Black Messiah © RCA

4) Is D’Angelo’s Black Messiah truly messianic? Well to R&B fans who’ve been starving for neo-soul’s return. 111,000 of them partook, enough to give “Sugah Daddy” himself a #5 debut.

5) AC/DC keep on, keeping on as Rock Or Bust spends its third week in the top ten (#10).

6) Her perfection in American Apparel underwear doesn’t carry over to live albums apparently – 5 Seconds of Summer’s LIVESOS settles for a #13 start.

7) Idina Menzel has to be happy with how well her holiday season’s been going, but expect the Holiday Wishes to continue to fall with Christmas over and done. A drop from #12 to #17 won’t feel like anything pretty soon!

Charli XCX, Sucker © Atlantic8) Not too much “clapping” going down for Charli XCX, whose Sucker debuts quietly at #28 – bummer!

9) No encores for K. Michelle, who’s finding it hard to find suitors to “buy her heart” on Anybody Wanna Buy A Heart? this week. It slips from #6 to #29 – OUCH – now that’s heartbreak!

10) The Voice is taking over the Billboard 200. That said, the positions and numbers aren’t really intimidating – just saying!

11) The “talking” is getting “sweeter” for Jessie J, whose Sweet Talker jumps from #71 to #45.

Mary J. Blige, The London Sessions © Capitol

12) Those London Sessions continue to be cut short for Mary J. Blige. This week, she falls 21 spots from #25 to #46. That is enough to make her go to “Therapy two times a day.”

13) Apparently there’s not a thing wrong with being “Detroit Made.” Bob Seger is going to Ride Out as much as he can. This week, the riding is all good, ascending from #97 to #55.

14) Big tumble for OneRepublic, as Native free-falls from #36 to #68.

Arctic Monkeys, AM © Domino

15) Did anyone realize that those Arctic Monkeys have kept AM on the Billboard 200 for 67 weeks now? AM sits at #70 this week.

16) Barry Manilow’s dreams may be coming true this week – at least in regards to a bump in sales. My Dream Duets rises from #136 to #75. That said, it’s only been on the charts for 7 weeks – OUCH.

17) X did not mark the spot this week for Chris Brown – epic plunge from #32 to #77.

18) Coldplay ‘Ghost Storiesrises from #119 to #94 this week.

19) Gov’t Mule debuts modestly with its Pink Floyd covers album, Dark Side of the Mule (#99).

Rick Ross, Hood Billionaire © Def Jam

20) Rick Ross, you should’ve avoided Hood Billionaire! #68 to #107 in it’s fourth week speaks for itself.

21) YG’s soundtrack, Blame It On The Streets, debuts at #118…

22) Going back to The Voice, guess who’s Complete Seasons 7 Collection did the poorest? Damien’s (#136)… Sorry bro!

23) Not too many LOVE MAKONNEN… the I LOVE MAKONNEN (EP) debuts tepidly at #148.

Kem, Promise To Love © Motown24) Kem’s Promise To Love rose from #184 to #178. Don’t think that will have much impact on the sales direction of Kem’s album or R&B in general – no shade of course!

25) Talk about having a sucky second week! Smashing Pumpkins stink it up as Monuments To An Elegy has the most epic fall of all – #33 to #192! SMH!

Photo Credits: © Atlantic, © Republic, © RCA, © Capitol, © Domino, © Def Jam, © Motown
Hozier © Columbia

Original VS Cover: Hozier Covers Arctic Monkeys’ “Do I Wanna Know”

Arctic Monkeys, AM © Domino

If there is one album I regret sleeping on 2013, it was The Arctic Monkeys’ brilliant AM. Sure, I eventually was blessed with its prolific goodness, but it took longer than it should have. But everyone’s walk is not the same – oops sounds like a church thing now. Anyways, one of my favorite up-and-coming artists, Hozier recently covered a favorite from that superb album, “Do I Wanna Know.”

“Do I Wanna Know” is truly one song that has stuck with me throughout the course of 2014, which should speak to how great yours truly thinks it is. Supplanting or matching the exceptionality of this particular gem is near- if not impossible. That said, discovering that Hozier covering on the BBC Radio 1 YouTube channel excited me.

After listening to Hozier’s cover, I was a bit disappointed (shocking I know), a feeling I’ve never felt in the least about the Irish singer/songwriter. The disappointment isn’t because Hozier’s performance wasn’t sound. Additionally, the disappointment wasn’t because he didn’t ‘make it his own’ – he did. The reason is because “Do I Wanna Know” feels too dramatically different from the original.

How often do you hear that about a cover – it’s ‘too dramatically different from the original’? Honestly, Hozier should take the criticism as a compliment, as it speaks to his artistry and musicianship. Musically, Hozier’s take is truly alluring and would be even more so if he wasn’t covering such a superb song in its original form. The use of strings, transforming the G minor number into its parallel major with backing vocals – are all higher level musician moves and are incredible respectable.

What are your thoughts when you compare Hozier’s thoughtful, though starkly different interpretation to the Arctic Monkeys’ original?

Photo Credits: © Columbia (Hozier), © Domino (Arctic Monkeys)

The 100 Best Songs of 2013: Complete!

Juicy J-WBU-019355

After a year filled with numerous albums and even more songs, choosing 100 of the best is an incredibly difficult task.  Like with the best albums of 2013, there will be surprises as well as snubs.  Sometimes the snubs are oversights while at other items there are just so many notable songs that some just get lost in the mix.  Regardless, here are 100 songs I found to be notable in 2013.


“I Luv This Sh*t”

August Alsina featuring Trinidad James

From album: Downtown: Life Under the Gun

August Alsina has one foul mouth on him, but his real talk mixed with the slower, horn-accentuated production is a match made in heaven, if a blasphemous one (see the hook).



Alice Smith

From album: She

According to highly underrated alt-R&B musician Alice Smith, Hollywood isn’t very kind: “I see no reason for chasing / in Hollywood, got to lose my patience / want this life to be a cabaret…” Hollywood may not be for the ‘faint of heart’, but “Cabaret” it self is brilliant.


“Every Man Should Know”

Harry Connick, Jr.

From album: Every Man Should Know

Sometimes the simplest, and most important life lessons to become a gentleman are best conveyed through song, preferably a mix between traditional pop, jazz, and country.




From album: Ciara

Judging by this track, Ciara is far from being a ‘freshman’… definitely. “I ain’t no amateur / baby I know how to handle ya / If you ready for this ride, get your saddle up / I need a boy with some stamina…”


“Golden Salvation (Jesus Piece)”


From album: The Gifted

We expect nothing less than Wale’s clever wordplay between “piece” and “peace”, particularly on an album titled The Gifted.  Specifically, Wale informs us that too many people don’t want to hear about Jesus or his ‘peaceful’, Christian approach; they’re more concerned about the bling-bling (aka Jesus piece).


“Holy Grail”

Jay-Z featuring Justin Timberlake

From album: Magna Carta…Holy Grail

Magna Carta…Holy Grail certainly left plenty to be desired, but few can deny that Jay-Z is one of the kings – all hail, “Holy Grail”!



Kid Cudi

From album: Indicud

Basically, Cudi is saying you can’t mess with him… he’s unbreakable… or something like that.


“Let Us Move On”

Dido featuring Kendrick Lamar

From album: Girl Who Got Away

Even English singer/songwriter Dido had to get Kendrick Lamar on the track… can’t blame her.  “Let Us Move On” is arguably the best moment from an underrated album nobody bought.   Well, I bought it to be fair.


“Vegas Girl”

Conor Maynard

From album: Contrast

The video is a trip…‘course the song is too.  Conor may still have some ‘schmaltz’ about him, but he also has some swag.  Swag on brother – swag on!


“Pusher Lover Girl”

Justin Timberlake

From album: The 20/20 Experience

Love and sex have been compared and likened to everything at this point (thanks R. Kelly).  JT decides to make his lady like a drug dealer, only she deals love instead of say cocaine.  What’s shocking is that this album opener works triumphantly.



Wale featuring Juicy J Nicki Minaj

From album: The Gifted

What does one learn from the ‘cellulite anthem’ “Clappers”? That “Shawty got a big ole butt…OH YEAHHHHHH!!!”


“Heart Attack”

Demi Lovato

From album: Demi 

I’m not going to front, I’ve been listening to Demi put her “defenses up” all summer…  I don’t think she could really survive the number of heart attacks she’d receive at the hands of my playlist on repeat though…


“The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here”

Alice In Chains

From album: The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here

While the Bible doesn’t mention dinosaurs (at least that I can remember off the top of my head), I’m not so sure Satan created them… Regardless, this title track from Alice In Chains’ most recent album was among the best hard rock performances of the year, potential misconceptions and all.


“While I’m Alive”


From album: Miracle Mile

While I’m Alive” sports an irresistible, danceable groove; Electronic cues further sweeten things while the soulful guitar is the ‘cherry on top’.  Well written, the theme of “While I’m Alive” is getting past the past, broken relationships, and living ‘while I’m alive.’


“Bandz A Make Her Dance

Juicy J featuring 2 Chainz Lil Wayne

From album: Stay Trippy

Everyone needs a good stripper anthem in his (or her) lives, right? On the raunchy “Bandz A Make Her Dance”, Juicy J spits: “Bands a make her dance, bands a maker her dance / All these chicks poppin’ p***y, I’m just poppin’ bands…”


“Body Party”


From album: Ciara

Just when ‘the art of making love’ was getting boring… Ciara’s here to spice things up!


“Her Favorite Song”

Mayer Hawthorne

From album: Where Does This Door Go

Yeah, the accompanying music video is weird, even if the ‘dogs’ are meant to represent guys that are dogs (in theory), but the song is brilliant.  “But when she gets home, she puts her headphones on / she plays her favorite song and fades away…” I do the same thing… well not quite in the same context though…



Sara Bareilles

From album: The Blessed Unrest

Here’s the gist of the song: STAND UP AND BE A MAN!!!  $%^!



Atlas Genius

From album: When It Was Now

I promise this song is not about a popular brand of condoms or making love… really:  “Take a picture you could never recreate / write a song / make a note / for the lump that sits inside your throat…” I promise!


Forbidden Fruit

J. Cole featuring Kendrick Lamar

From album: Born Sinner

I know, I know – I somehow missed this gem on my “50 Best Rap Songs”, but the atonement is on this broader list.  The one-two punch of J. Cole and Kendrick Lamar is nothing short of fire, period.


“Love Me”

Lil Wayne featuring Future Drake

From Album: I Am Not A Human Being II

“Love Me” may have been a shallow as everything else was on I Am Not A Human Being II, but at least it was enjoyably shallow.  “Long as my b*****s love me / I can give a f**k ‘bout no hater…”



Depeche Mode

From album: Delta Machine

Sure, this track is titled “Angel”, but it surely must be representing a dark angel… Mysterious, chilling, and ‘bothered’, “Angel” finds Depeche Mode doing what they do best.



Pusha T featuring Kendrick Lamar

From album: My Name Is My Name

The rap IQ on “Nosetalgia” is off the charts, particularly with Kendrick Lamar collaborating with Pusha.   Pusha T proclaims himself the “Black Ferris Bueller, cutting school with his jewels on…what I sell for pain in the hood, I’m a doctor…” while Kendrick Lamar’s slaughtering verse is capped off with “Go figure mother f**ker, every verse is a brick.” True.


“Ain’t It Fun”


From album: Paramore 

Ain’t It Fun” may be Paramore’s best track EVER.  Driven by a funky groove, the band goes ‘big’ with a gargantuan bass line, full-force punk-laden guitars, and gospel vocals.  ‘ain’t it fun’? – Definitely!


“Pop That”

French Montana featuring Rick Ross, Drake & Lil Wayne

From album: Excuse My French

The raunchiest track from French Montana’s debut album is the best.  It’s all about popping… and I’ll leave it at that!

Continue reading “The 100 Best Songs of 2013: Complete!”

The 100 Best Songs of 2013: Part 3 (#50 – 26)

Panic At The Disco-PFR-010814After a year filled with numerous albums and even more songs, choosing 100 of the best is an incredibly difficult task.  Like with the best albums of 2013, there will be surprises as well as snubs.  Sometimes the snubs are oversights while at other items there are just so many notable songs that some just get lost in the mix.  Regardless, here are 100 songs I found to be notable in 2013.


“Drunk In Love”

Beyoncé featuring Jay-Z

From album: Beyoncé

Well, since Beyoncé and Jay-Z are husband and wife, it’s probably fine for them to be ‘drunk’ off of each other’s love.  That said, some of the personal side of that ‘romance’ is made public on this bold track from the surprise ‘visual’ album.  It is what it is…



2 Chainz featuring Fergie

From album: B.O.A.T.S. II: #METIME

You know how fitness trainer Shaun T. says he “don’t do anything but abs”? Well 2 Chainz don’t do anything but stupid.  At least he does it like a pro.  Making a sex tape and putting it on Netflix may be genius, maybe. LOL!


“Wait For Me”

Kings of Leon

From album: Mechanical Bull

Caleb Followill explains it best: “It’s all better now, it’s all better now / wait for me, wait for me.”


“Who I Am”

Pusha T featuring 2 Chainz & Big Sean

From album: My Name Is My Name

Because Pusha T and his star-studded crew stay true to themselves, they shine on “Who I Am”.  “Woo! They said be all you can be / Woo! They said be all you can be / I just wanna buy another Rollie / I just wanna pop another band / I just wanna sell dope forever / I just wanna be who I am.” To each his own… not that I wouldn’t mind a Rollie let alone more than one!



John Mayer

From album: Paradise Valley

“Wildfire” is a folksy/roots/country/pop hybrid that sounds incredibly distinct from anything Mayer has released previously. Vocally, Mayer sounds clear and enthused, shedding with mad skill (as always) on the guitar. 


“Do I Wanna Know?”

Arctic Monkeys

From album: AM

Ah, drunken confessions of love.  Alex Turner is honest on this exceptional opener from Arctic Monkeys’ most recent effort, AM: “Crawlin’ back to you / ever thought of calling you when you’ve had a few? / ‘Cause I always do / Maybe I’m too, busy being yours to fall for somebody new…” You get the idea!


“All American Boy”

Steve Grand

Has there ever been a viral hit that was such a ‘hit’ as “All American Boy”? Steve Grand’s country song with a gay love storyline made a gargantuan impact, everywhere.  Because homosexuality and country are rarely associated with one another, “All American Boy” like “Same Love” was to hip-hop, breaks down social barriers.


“Take A Fall For Me”

James Blake featuring RZA

From album: Overgrown

At the beginning of “Take A Fall For Me”, James Blake claims that, “You can’t marry her yet…” RZA goes on later to state “I heard through the grapevine that great love, it takes time / sex shapes the body, truth shapes the mind…” So basically, this track seems to be about a relationship that is incomplete of all the necessary facets, or something along those lines.



A$AP Ferg featuring A$AP Rocky

From album: Trap Lord

Ferg and Rocky are on that “Sha-Sha-Shabba Ranks”… rings, change, gold teeth, women… Sound so appealing, doesn’t it?



Janelle Monáe featuring Miguel

From album: The Electric Lady

Sometimes, a great R&B duet doesn’t have to be oversexed or completely stripped of its romance.  “Primetime” is a perfect example of this.  The vocal chemistry between Janelle Monáe and Miguel is magnificent.


Kisses Down Low

Kelly Rowland

From album:  Talk A Good Game

Ooh Kelly, you so nasty! “I like my kisses down low / makes me arch my back / when you give it to me slow / baby just like that…” When the word ‘arch’ is used in a song, it’s rarely referencing the ‘arch’ of the foot… just sayin’!



James Blake

From album: Overgrown 

“Retrograde” finds Blake channeling his urban side superbly, accompanied initially by piano.  Blake’s initial vocal runs sounds indigenous to R&B or gospel, making “Retrograde” all the more unique. Things truly grow epic on pivotal line “Suddenly I hit,” where excitement reaches a lofty peak.


“Almost Is Never Enough”

Ariana Grande featuring Nathan Sykes

From album: Yours Truly

Duet “Almost Is Never Enough” should be incredibly sappy but it isn’t!  Grande and boyfriend Nathan Sykes (of The Wanted) sport sound vocal chemistry on this enjoyable track. A musical oxymoron of sorts, “Almost Is Never Enough”, is soulful, yet contemporary, and old school, yet fresh.


“Made Up Mind”

Tedeschi Trucks Band

From album: Made Up Mind

If one was unconvinced just how resolute Susan Tedeschi was, listening to her gritty, passionate performance on the bluesy “Made Up Mind” erases all doubts.  She can S-A-N-G!


“Without Me”

Fantasia featuring Kelly Rowland & Missy Elliott

From album: Side Effects Of You

Guys are totally in the ‘doghouse’ on this jam from Fantasia and friends, but even they can’t resist the nodding of head or the tapping of foot.




From album: Appreciation Day

Jaheim spent most of Appreciation Day ‘appreciating’ women, but he took a detour to go socially conscious on the phenomenal “Florida”, a track questioning the controversial Treyvon Martin verdict.  Sure Jaheim sounds inspired when he’s singing of pleasure, but he sounds equally, if not more powerful, singing of pain and repercussions here. 


“Ya Hey”

Vampire Weekend

From album: Modern Vampires of the City

Someone’s not been going to church lately… “Ya Hey” is a play on the word “Yahweh”, which refers to God.  Can you say blasphemous? Religious stance aside, “Ya Hey” is another creative song courtesy of everyone’s favorite vampires. They sure know how to bite!



Ace Hood featuring Future & Rick Ross

From album: Trials & Tribulations

I rarely compliment Future (I’ve been pretty critical), but “Bugatti” sports Future’s best hook of the year/perhaps ever… “I woke up in a new Bugatti!”



Daft Punk featuring Paul Williams

From Album: Random Access Memories

On the warm and beautiful track “Touch”, Paul Williams delivers a superb vocal performance against an excellent neo-disco styled backdrop. There’s not a thing wrong with that retro swag!


“Hold On, We’re Going Home”

Drake featuring Majid Jordan

From album: Nothing Was The Same

“Hold On, We’re Going Home” has nothing at all  ‘hip-hop’ about it. Despite this, this 80s-styled R&B/pop cut is nothing short of a pleasure to partake of. It’s like the most delicious dessert ever… Scrumptious!


“Miss Jackson”

Panic! At The Disco

From album: Too Weird to Live, To Rare to Die 

“Miss Jackson” (featuring Lolo) finds Panic! At The Disco front man Brendon Urie using his contemporary R&B chops, with some emo-pop swag of course! Catchy and manic, “Miss Jackson” is nothing short of pop gold.  And as “nasty” as Miss Jackson is, “…[he] love her anyway!”


All of Me

John Legend

From album: Love in the Future

The thoughtful, radiant “All Of Me” strips down to piano, vocals, and ‘robots’, with sensational results. Legend sings chivalrously: “‘Cause all of me loves all of you / love your curves and all your edges / all your perfect imperfections.” Aww!




From album: Bankrupt!

“Entertainment” is quite exhilarating, characterized by its use of oriental sounding synths and its superb, unifying chorus. “Entertainment, show them what you do with me / when everyone here knows better / what I once refused to be / is everything they long together / I’d rather be alone”, front man Thomas Mars sings enthusiastically.


“Suit & Tie”

Justin Timberlake featuring Jay-Z

From album: The 20/20 Experience 

Interpreting what it means to be “on that suit and tie sh*t”: Basically ole boy is looking like one dapper mother [shut yo mouth!] and he’s going to do any and everything he can to impress this girl.  “Let me show you a few things…”


“We No Who ‘U ‘R”

Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds

From album: Push The Sky Away

Well written, mysterious, and diverse from many other songs in 2013, “We No Who ‘U ‘R” is alt-singer/songwriter, alt-rock at its best. The sound is reminiscent of a 60s blue-eyed soul hit.

Be sure to check out the previously released parts with songs #100-76 and #75-51, as well as upcoming part, #25 – 1.

The 50 (+1) Best Albums of 2013

Kanye West-20131126-42

Ranking the very best albums of any year is incredibly difficult; there are always misses.  2013 was filled with some triumphant musical moments, though not all of their parent albums were necessarily ‘worthy’ of being considered the best of the year. Because of various factors, this list has its surprises and like any album reviewed, its triumphs and flaws.  One thing’s for sure – the top ten to fifteen albums are pretty close to the cream of the crop from my perspective.  Here are the 50 (+1) best albums of 2013!


Vampire Weekend

Modern Vampires of the City


51Tqebc+IZL._SL500_AA280_The Ivy Leaguers outdo themselves on this eclectic, alt-rock tour de force. Stacked from start to finish, Ezra Koenig and company deliver sharp wordplay and highly liberal thinking.

Recommended Spins: “Obvious Bicycle”; “Unbelievers”; “Diane Young”; “Finger Back”; “Worship You”; “Ya Hey”

Seals The Deal:  “Obvious Bicycle”


Kanye West


Def Jam

51xNTn2L83L._SL500_AA280_Give credit to Mr. West where credit is due – previously Yeezus probably wouldn’t have landed in the top five, let alone the top two.  But as with certain wines and cheeses (Swiss namely), there is an aging process to provide a delicious and satisfying taste.  The same could be said of West über-ambitious Yeezus – or something similar that is!

Recommended Spins: “Black Skinhead”; “I Am A God”; “New Slaves”; “Blood on the Leaves”; “Bound 2” featuring Charlie Wilson

Seals The Deal: “Blood on the Leaves” 


Janelle Monae

The Electric Lady

Bad Boy

51q3xK+M7zL._SL500_AA280_Don’t put the fork in R&B music just yet – Janelle Monae delivers the year’s most intriguing R&B album that brilliantly encompasses numerous styles and keeps things both classic and progressive. One of a kind, all should bow down to JM.

Recommended Spins: “Give Them What They Love” featuring Prince; “Q.U.E.E.N.” featuring Erykah Badu; “Primetime” featuring Miguel; “Dance Apocalyptic”; “Dorothy Dandridge Eyes”

Seals The Deal: “Prime Time” featuring Miguel


Daft Punk

Random Access Memories


41FJb1q2VyL._SL500_AA280_The best, and arguably most exciting electronic album of 2013, is shockingly less futuristic compared to its colleagues, drawing back to old-school pop, disco, and soul. Throwback it is, Random Access Memories is one of the year’s finest albums regardless of genre, and stands a solid shot of winning the Grammy for album of the year.

Recommended Spins: “Give Life Back to Music”; “Giorgio By Moroder”; “Lose Yourself to Dance” featuring Pharrell Williams; “Touch” featuring Paul Williams; “Get Lucky” featuring Pharrell Williams; “Fragments of Time”

Seals The Deal: “Get Lucky” featuring Pharrell Williams


John Legend

Love in the Future


41o5xUIKO+L._SL500_AA280_John Legend redeems himself big time on his fourth studio album Love in the Future following a somewhat disappointing effort in 2008’s Evolver.  While there are some more contemporary ideas here, Love in the Future is more about Legend flexing his soulful muscles, a niche he perfectly fits.

Recommended Spins: “In The Beginning”; “Who Do We Think You Are?” featuring Rick Ross; “Made To Love”; “All of Me”; “Stay The Night”; “Tomorrow”

Seals The Deal: “Who Do We Think We Are?” featuring Rick Ross 


Ben Harper & Charlie Musselwhite

Get Up!


51dp0nxPTmL._SL500_AA280_Blues albums rarely rack up huge accolades on a ‘big stage’, but Get Up! is that incredibly worthy exception.  Soulful and consistent through and through, Get Up! Easily ranks highly among the year’s gems.

Recommended Spins: “We Can’t End This Way”; “I Ride At Dawn”; “Get Up”

Seals The Deal: “We Can’t End This Way”


Black Sabbath



510gRIX6xfL._SL500_AA280_More than just the agnostics, atheists, and secularists will be pleasantly surprised with Black Sabbath’s most important album in years. Why is album 13 so important? It reunites the whole Black Sabbath crew (save for the drummer) for the first time 35 years!  Dark and foreboding, yet ‘sinfully’ appealing, 13 is quite the epic heavy-/black-metal album.

Recommended Spins: “End of The Beginning”; “God Is Dead?”; “Zeitgeist”;  “Live Forever”; “Dear Father”

Seals The Deal: “God Is Dead?”



Nothing Was The Same


41E34dng69L._SL500_AA280_Drake didn’t necessarily ‘step his game up’ on Nothing Was The Same – he just continued to flex his emo-/ alt-rap muscles like the pro that he is.  NTWS is filled with gems, all completely different from one another.  One thing’s for sure, he may have “Started On The Bottom”, but Drake is on top of the game by all means.

Recommended Spins: “Tuscan Leather”; “Started From The Bottom”; “Wu-Tang Forever”; “From Time”; “Hold On, We’re Going Home”; “305 To My City” featuring Detail

Seals The Deal: “Wu-Tang Forever” 





31-q26oFwyL._SL500_AA280_Beyoncé shocked the world with her surprise fifth studio album, Beyoncé.  Even so, that’s not the reason ‘Yoncé makes this list.  Ultimately, the R&B chanteuse delivers a sharp, risqué fifth effort that separates itself from the rest of her discography and many of the other releases from 2013.  Both shocking and alluring, Bey does her thang.

Recommended Spins: “Pretty Hurts”; “Haunted”; “Drunk in Love” featuring Jay-Z;  “Blow”; “Rocket”

Seals The Deal: “Drunk in Love” featuring Jay-Z


Arcade Fire



51wzw69ySAL._SL500_AA280_Few might’ve expected for Arcade Fire to follow-up their album of the year winning effort The Suburbs with an album like Reflektor  (I didn’t).  However, as all-over-the-place as Reflektor is, there are plenty of moments for alt-rock fans to cheer about.  Danceable, conceptual, and ultimately incredibly unique, Reflektor cracks the top ten best of the year, easily.

Recommended Spins: “Reflektor”; “We Exist”; “Here Comes the Night Time”;  “Awful Sound (Oh Eurydice)”; “It’s Never Over (Hey Orpheus)”; “Porno”

Seals The Deal: “Reflektor”

Continue reading “The 50 (+1) Best Albums of 2013”

Chart Moves, September 11, 2013: Ariana Grande Tops


Chart Rewind (Highlights), September 04, 2013

51yRS7ThmxL._SL500_AA280_Avenged Sevenfold found themselves in a familiar place, no. 1, with 159,000 copies sold of Hail To The King.  Hip hop had another showing, but definitely not comparable to the summer trifecta of Kanye West, J. Cole, and Mac MillerBig Sean debuted at no. 3 with 72,000 copies of Hall of Fame while Juicy J landed right behind him at no. 4 with 64,000 copies of Stay Trippy.

By the way, what about those acts that got no love? Franz Ferdinand debuted at no. 24 with Right Thoughts, Right Words, Right Action. Mandisa’s latest Overcomer landed at no. 29.  Goodie Mob’s comeback effort (Age Against The Machine) truly received nada, debuting at no. 30.  I suppose you win some and you lose some.

Grande Leads The Charge

Ariana Grande-GFR-020808Ariana Grande debuts atop the Billboard Albums Chart with 138,000 copies of Yours Truly sold.  For most of the week, it seemed that Grande would be dueling with a reintroduced Tamar Braxton for the number one spot. In the end, the young Mariah Carey-favoring singer/actress takes her rightful crown. Tamar Braxton debuts at no. 2 with Love & War selling 114,000 copies.  For an adult contemporary R&B album, that ain’t bad at all folks.  Honestly, I’m shocked that Braxton moved six figures… you just never know.

Nine Inch Nails debuts expectedly at no. 3 with 107,000 copies of Hesitation Marks sold.  Unfortunately, the 107,000 copies is a far cry from Nine Inch Nails’ previous major label efforts.  Still, six figures in this day and age is respectable.  Maybe these new kiddos just don’t know about Trent Reznor. Sigh.

41o5xUIKO+L._SL500_AA280_John Legend lands at no. 4 with with Love in the FutureLove in the Future sold only 68,000 copies, down from the 133,000 copies that graced his last solo effort, Evolver (2008).  That said, Love in the Future did sell more than Legend’s collaborative album with The Roots, Wake Up! According to  For an artist with such soul and talent, it is sad that 68,000 copies was the ceiling.  Better than the 55,000 copies prognosticated originally.

Jaheim doesn’t have his greatest sales week either, as Appreciation Day received little appreciation ultimately moving only 58,000 copies good for a no. 6 bow.  Jaheim has never moved gargantuan numbers, but in 2006, Ghetto Classics did debut atop the Billboard 200 with 152,000 copies sold.  2007 effort The Makings of a Man just missed the top ten (it was a December release), but sold a career best 176,000 copies.  Even 2010 effort Another Round had little to hold it’s head down about; it sold 112,000 copies good for a no. 3 bow. But 58,000 copies? That ain’t going nowhere.

Katy Perry Roars On

Really, what else is their to say… Katy Perry already told you we’d hear her roar. And she’s roaring at no. 1 a second week.  Case closed.

Who’s Got Next?

51gNJ-wAuTL._SL500_AA280_Several new efforts materialized on Tuesday, September 10.  This includes Keith Urban’s Fuse,   2 Chainz’s B.O.A.T.S. II, Janelle Monáe’s The Electric Lady, The Weeknd’s Kiss Land, Sheryl Crow’s Feels Like Home, Goldfrapp’s Tales of Us, Trombone Shorty’s Say That To Say This, Sean Kingston’s Back 2 Life, Kaskade’s Atmosphere Earth Wind & Fire’s Now, Then & Forever, Gloria Estefan’s The Standards and Arctic Monkey’s AM Ones to watch? Keith Urban, 2 Chainz, Sheryl Crow, and possibly The Weeknd.  Curious to see how the sales come out for these albums.