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.

Chart Moves, September 4, 2013: Avenged Sevenfold Rock Their Way Back To No. 1


Chart Recap, August 28, 2013

Luke Bryan stayed atop the Billboard Albums Chart, selling 159,000 copies after a gargantuan previous week.  He kept an underperforming John Mayer from the top spot, whose Paradise Valley sold only 144,000 copies.

Avenged Sevenfold’s Album is The Only One to Sell At least 100,000 copies

Big Sean-PRN-102513Avenged Sevenfold debut atop the Billboard Albums Chart with 159,000 copies of Hail To The King sold.  This is the second consecutive number one set for the rock band, whose previous effort Nightmare (2010) sold similar numbers with 163,000 copies sold.  Avenged Sevenfold isn’t the only new charting titles this week.  Big Sean debuts at number three, a familiar spot, with 72,000 copies of his sophomore effort Hall of Fame. Though Sean’s debut album Finally Famous also bowed at number three, it sold more copies than his recent effort (87,000 copies).  Juicy J bows at number four with a respectable 64,000 copies of Stay Trippy sold.  All-star collection Alabama & Friends lands at number eight with 32,000 copies sold.

The Rest of the Top Ten: Luke Bryan, Crash My Party, number two; Robin Thicke, Blurred Lines, number five; Justin Timberlake, The 20/20 Experience, number six; John Mayer, Paradise Valley, number seven; Bruno Mars, Unorthodox Jukebox, number nine; TGT, Three Kings, number then.

Katy Perry Roars Her Way To Number One

Yeah, maybe I’m not the biggest fan of “Roar” (I think it’s enjoyable though), but I’m not surprised to see it take the top spot from “Blurred Lines”, a 12-week juggernaut.  Also according to Billboard, Eminem does some things with “Berzerk”, which debuts at number three.

Who’s Got Next?

41VAP7icdZL-1._SL500_AA280_As I walked aisles of Best Buy yesterday, I was both awed and saddened.  I was awed by the amount of new releases, specifically R&B releases.  I was saddened because I knew most would underperform.  That said, Ariana Grande’s (somewhere between pop and R&B) debut Truly Yours and Tamar Braxton’s anticipated Love & War seem to be on the good foot according to Billboard prognostications of 110-120,000 for Grande and possibly 100-110,00 for Braxton.  While those are promising numbers, there are many other great albums that won’t quite reach heights quite so high including Nine Inch Nails (Hesitation Marks), John Legend (Love in the Future), Jaheim (Appreciation Day), and Raheem DeVaughn (A Place Called Love Land).  Billboard suggests NIN could move 100,000.  That’s down though.  Most disappointing is where Legend and Jaheim might land, as both usually move six figures.  SMH.


Chart Moves August 28, 2013: Luke Still Rules as Mayer Underperforms


Chart Rewind 

The big news was Luke Bryan, who dominated the Billboard Albums Chart with a 528,000 bow with Crash My Party. The bridesmaid? K. Michelle’s Rebellious Soul, which sold a respectable 72,000 copies.

Luke Fends Off Mayer To Retain Top Spot

51jVAdn45ZL._SL500_AA280_Luke Bryan manages to remain atop the Billboard 200 Albums Chart with another 159,000 copies of Crash My Party following a gargantuan 528,000 copies opening last week.  Keeping score, Bryan has sold 687,000 copies in two weeks.  With that much product sold, ole boy can kick back as many beers as he wants to.  John Mayer wasn’t so lucky as Paradise Valley started rather unimpressively with 144,000 copies sold, good for a number two debut.  Yeah, plenty of artists would love to come anywhere near selling six figures these days, but for Mayer, this is his worst opening since the beginning of his career.  Win some, lose some.

51M-LzDg8kL._SL500_AA280_TGT debut brightly at number three with 76,000 copies sold of the trio’s anticipated Three Kings.  For an R&B album and for the respective artists, this is really a sensational spot.  Prognosticated with lower sales, 76,000 is superb.  Jimmy Buffett’s Songs from St. Somewhere finds itself at number four with 55,000 copies, Earl Sweatshirt lands at number five with 49,000 copies sold of debut Doris, while A$AP Ferg’s Trap Lord sells 32,000 copies, good enough for a number nine bow.  Some solid numbers, for this day and age.



Robin Thicke Is Unstoppable

She can roar all she wants to, but Katy Perry can’t stop Robin Thicke… yet at least.  Thicke manages a rare 12th week atop the Billboard Hot 100 – regardless of the controversy swirling around the summer’s biggest single.

Who’s Got Next? 

51rqb8isF1L._SL500_AA280_Several albums dropped on August 27 that are noteworthy.  Big Sean is likely the biggest in the urban realm with his anticipated sophomore effort Hall of Fame.  However, Sean is joined by the reunion album of Goodie Mob (Rage Against the Machine) as well as Juicy J’s long awaited Still Trippy.  Hip-hop isn’t the only bright spot.  Franz Ferdinand return with Right Thoughts, Right Words, Right Action, Avenged Sevenfold return with Hail to The King, and Marques Houston arrives with Famous.  Best bets? Big Sean and Avenged Sevenfold perhaps?


Playlist: 15 Tracks To Spin Heading Into August

Panic at the disco4-20111101-27

So August 2013 has arrived…ugh! Where did summer go? SMH! Well, whether life is in a state of “earthquake weather” because you were an a-hole to your girl, or you see a hot girl and you just want to ask her out for “dinner and a movie”, well music can help you out with that.  There is definitely something on this playlist for everybody.  15 Tracks to tackle August bay-bay (*speaks in Dick Vitale voice)!


Panic! At The Disco featuring Lolo, “Miss Jackson” 

Single (Fueled by Ramen)

Genre: Pop / Alternative

I know, I know, I know! The Fall Out Boy / Patrick Stump comparisons won’t die down with this new pop cut courtesy of Panic! At The Disco, but who cares? Similar to the lyrics on the addicting chorus which cleverly allude to Janet Jackson’s 1986 hit “Nasty” (“Miss Jackson, Miss Jackson, Miss Jackson are you nasty….But I love her anyways”, I love this pop song anyways as well.  #TeamPanic


Cornell Campbell Meets Soothsayers, “We Want to Be Free

From album Nothing Can Stop Us  (Strut)

Genre: Reggae / International

Who is Cornell Campbell? A veteran reggae artist with a killer falsetto…  This meaningful number tackles the issue of slavery and being free.  Yeah, maybe it’s not a jam to play for your girl- or boyfriend when you’re trying to incite the romance (catch my drift?), but it’s great for chilling on the beach… or backyard…or in the house.  The music provided by Soothayers is nothing short of awesome.  #FreedomMusic


Joe, “I’d Rather Have a Love

From album DoubleBack: Evolution of R&B (Massenburg Media)

Genre: R&B

Believe it or not, R&B still lives! Sure, it’s not killing the charts anymore, but what would a date be without a good slow jam? Joe’s “I’d Rather Have Love” is a great, chill old-school adult contemporary joint.  Even better, he doesn’t oversex here in the least; it’s about genuine, monogamous love.  As hard as it is to believe R&B still lives, what about chilvary? Everybody claims it’s dead, right? #MonogamousLove


Matt Nathanson, “Earthquake Weather

From album Last of the Great Pretenders (Vanguard)

Genre: Pop / Rock

“Earthquake Weather” finds Matt Nathanson doing what he does best – writing and singing a song! On this particular tune, Nathason claims that “…it feels like summer / but it’s earthquake weather…” It may feel ‘rocky’ since he’s thinking about this girl he’s apparently wronged (and ain’t nothing worse than a woman scorned!), but for us, well, it’s another great ‘summer’ jam.



Jay-Z featuring Frank Ocean, “Oceans

From album Magna Carta…Holy Grail (Roc Nation)

Genre: Rap

Jay-Z2-20130729-126Being frank, Jay-Z’s latest album Magna Carta…Holy Grail wasn’t his most ‘triumphant’ affair.  Even so, “Oceans” featuring Frank Ocean is a standout moment.  Frank delivers a wordy, but alluring hook dabbling in racism (slavery) and socioeconomic status: “I see elephant tusk on the boar of a sailing lady / docked on the Ivory Coast / Mercedes in a row winding down the road / I hope my black skin don’t dirt this white tuxedo / before the Basquiat show and if so / well fuck it, fuck it / Because this water drown my family / this water mixed my blood / this water tells my story / this water knows it all / go ahead and spill some champagne in the water / go ahead and watch the sun blaze / on the waves of the ocean”. Jay-Z steps up as well, specifically lyric “…Only Christopher we acknowledge is Wallace / I don’t even like Washingtons in my pocket / Black card go hard when I’m shopping…”  #RealTalk


Avenged Sevenfold, “Hail to the King

Single (Warner Bros.)

Genre: Rock / Metal

Pretty simple lyrics (“Hail to the king / hail to the one / kneel to the crown /  stand in the sun / hail to the king” ), assertive vocals,  jagged sounding guitars, and a stomping drum groove.  What more is there to say? Don’t we all love a good metal song? I’m rocking out and hailing to the king! #MetalJam


Ace Hood, “Another Statistic”

From album Trials & Tribulations (Cash Money / Republic)

Genre: Rap

Another Statistic” is the type of rap track that easily earns the respect of the listener.  Hood speaks on the plight of black men (“Rather see me crucified, police are the crucifiers / shoot us up and dig a ditch, this ain’t nothin’ new to us…) referencing numerous examples including past Martin Luther King, Jr., Emmett Till, and Trayvon Martin.  A serious and heavy as it is, the ‘real talk’ doesn’t keep it from being a sensational listen as well.  #TrillRap


Ronald Isley, “Dinner and a Movie

From album This Song Is For You (eOne)

Genre: R&B

Dinner and a Movie” is old-school courtship at its best.  Ronald Isley thinks simply here, but does so effectively: “Hello, hello girl, what’s your name? / I was thinking maybe we do dinner and a movie”.  That said, I’m sure Mr. Biggs can get any woman he wants, even at 72.  The rest of us… not so fortunate.  #ForeverMackin


Mayer Hawthorne, “Her Favorite Song

From album Where Does This Door Go? (Republic)

Genre: R&B

On “Her Favorite Song”, Mayer Hawthorne impresses vocally.  The elements of classic soul are potent, but the cut also eschews anachronism, through tweaking the formula. Mayer Hawthorne literally sings about his lady’s ‘favorite song’ soothing her: “But when she gets home, she puts her headphones on / she plays her favorite song and fades away / and when the music’s on she can do no wrong/ and she feels safe and calm and it’s ok / and she says (ba ba dum ba dee ah dum ba / ba ba dum ba dee ah dum ba…” If you watch the music video, there are literally ‘dogs’ in a bar setting, making the reasoning behind ‘her favorite song’s therapeutic nature. #TherapeuticMuzik


Cody Simpson, “Pretty Brown Eyes

From album Surfer’s Paradise

Genre: Pop

Cody Simpson-PFR-010439No I’m no big teen pop fan… I mean I’m in my twenties.  That said, since I promised something for everybody, I included something for the youth in Cody Simpson’s Pretty Brown Eyes”. I mean Simpson’s vocals are thin, specifically the falsetto, but he’s all of twelve… um sixteen.  But hey, that lyric “The JT song that can move that body / she dancing all night long” is sorta slick, right? If you are a tween… #TweenPop


Ciara, “Sophomore

From album Ciara (Epic)

Genre: R&B

Sophomore” plays on school grades you might say. It sounds dumb, but actually, it’s a turn on.  “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…” Yeah, that’s real hot!  What’s most shocking about “Sophomore” is that Ciara doesn’t even break a sweat.  She’s playful, but coupled with the excellent if somewhat subtle production, “Sophomore” packs a punch without overdoing anything.  #SophomoreBaby


John Mayer, “Wildfire

Single (Columbia)

Genre: Pop / Rock

John Mayer-JTM-064600Need a reason to look forward to John Mayer’s upcoming studio album?  This folksy/roots/country/pop hybrid sounds distinct from anything the pop/rock artist has released previously. Vocally, Mayer sounds clear and enthused.  And that guitar solo – that’s where ole boy is at his best.  #Fiery


The Weeknd, “Belong To The World

Single (Republic)

Genre: R&B

There’s just something about that boyish tenor voice isn’t there? This particular cut is a bit busy, but it’s hard to deny The Weeknd is one of the R&B artists to watch int he future.  I’m excited for his upcoming album; I’m still riding high off “Twenty Eight” and “Wicked Games” (Trilogy).  #ModernSoul


Steve Grand, “All-American Boy

Single/Viral Hit

Genre: Country

Has there ever been a viral hit that was such a ‘hit’? Steve Grand’s country song with a gay love story has made a gargantuan impact, like everywhere.  I’ve written about it and here I am including it in my playlist post.  #ProgressiveCountry


Dawn Richard, “Meteors

Single (Our Dawn Entertainment)

Genre: R&B

Don’t sleep on the former Danity Kane / Diddy-Dirty Money singer.  BTW, Dawn Richard previously released and album called Goldenheart“Meteors” is modern R&B epitomized, with experimentation full throttle with production and vocal tricks.  #OutOfSpaceSoul

MGK, Lace Up: Album Analysis


Not being a ‘smart aleck,’ but every time that I hear the statement that “Bad Boy don’t

stop,” I chuckle a little. No disrespect to Diddy as I am a fan who actually purchased his most recent albums Press Play as well as Diddy-Dirty Money’s Last Train To Paris (quite underrated), but Bad Boy since its heyday has been incredibly unstable.  The label sparks a new run and then falls off once again.  I hope for talented newbie MGK and also French Montana that the label has some more ‘traction’ this time. MGK’s debut album Lace Up, like preceding EP Half Naked & Almost Famous is released via Bad Boy but distributed via

Bone Thugs N Harmony are pre-eminent midwest rap proponents hailing from Cleveland

Interscope, quite a stable label.

MGK (Machine Gun Kelly) holds his own with the best in a crop of new MCs, race regardless.  MGK’s agile, wordy flow epitomizes midwest rap, something that has been missing from rap.  Let’s face it, midwest rap has generally gotten less notoriety or attention. Bone Thug N Harmony had their peak, but don’t perform nearly as well commercially as they once did.  Like MGK, Bone Thug N Harmony hail from Cleveland, OH.

Lace Up turns out to be a solid album.  There are more than enough start studded guest

Lil Jon appears on “Lace Up,” the title track.

spots (Bun B, Lil Jon, Waka Flocka Flame and DMX among them) and the production is generally exceptional throughout (Drumma Boy, J.U.S.T.I.C.E. League, Alex Da Kid, and Boi-1da amongst producers).  There are no overt misses, even when some songs are stronger than others.  Despite the guests artists, MGK is never over shone, which is the mark of a talented artist.  The  standard edition of the effort yields thirteen cuts, including the popular “Wild Boy” while the Deluxe yields 16 (and the iTunes version yields 17).

Continue reading “MGK, Lace Up: Album Analysis”