A Great Big World Deliver A Homerun on Sophomore Album ‘When The Morning Comes’


A Great Big World • When The Morning Comes • Epic • Release Date: 11.13.15 It’s sad when a Grammy doesn’t elevate one’s commercial stature, isn’t it? That’s the case for hella talented singer/songwriting pop duo A Great Big World (Chad King and Ian Axel). AGBW landed a Grammy statuette for gargantuan hit, “Say Something” featuring Christina Aguilera, hailing from their debut album Is There … Continue reading A Great Big World Deliver A Homerun on Sophomore Album ‘When The Morning Comes’

March Madness: 16 Songs For The Sweet 16


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The first four, second round, and third rounds of the NCAA Tournament are over my friends, and after numerous upsets and the birth of those Cinderella teams looking for another shot to slay the giant, the tournament marches on with the upcoming Sweet 16 and Elite 8.  What better way to celebrate and prepare for these deep tournament runs with a playlist of 16 songs fit for the Sweet 16? Let’s go #TEAM! 

1

Queen

“We Will Rock You” 

Most spirited lyrics:

Buddy you’re a young man hard man / shouting in the street gonna take on the world some day / you got blood on your face, you big disgrace / waving your banner all over the place” (verse one)

“We will, we will rock you!” (Chorus)

Swag, swag, swag! The big boys are going to take down the little boys – the fakes are out!  “We Will Rock You” isn’t ultimately about basketball, but the ‘fight’ within the lyrics of the song sounds much like the moxie and the mind-set required on the court.  “We Will Rock You” is confident, much like a veteran, and experienced team that understands their roles should be.  Nope, it’s not basketball specific, but there are more than enough parallels.   

2

Aloe Blacc

“The Man”

(From Lift Your Spirit) 

Aloe Blacc-LMK-060235Most spirited lyrics:

“Well you can tell everybody / yeah you can tell everybody / go ahead and tell everybody / I’m the man, I’m the man, I’m the man”

Athletes and musicians have something in common, even if they come from completely different worlds – they have a swagger, a confidence, sometimes an arrogance.  A lead singer, guitarist, or lead trumpeter can be likened to the star player on a basketball team (regardless of the position he plays be it guard, forward, or center) in the sense there is that fearlessness and confidence.  On “The Man”, Blacc wants everybody to know that he’s “the man”.

3

Jeezy featuring Kanye West

“Put On

(From The Recession) 

Most spirited lyrics:

“I put on for my city, on, on for my city…put on (east side)…put on (south side)…put on (west side) / put on”

Sure, Jeezy didn’t even mention basketball or championships in his song about representing his city, but the sentiment can be transferred into college basketball.  After all, don’t all college basketball players want to represent both college and hometown? Winning the national championship would definitely be away to do so! 

4

Wale featuring Meek Mill & Rick Ross

“Ambition

(From Ambition) 

Wale-20130912-19Most Spirited lyrics:

“For my ambition / easy to dream a dream, though it’s harder to lie it / They gon’ love me for my ambition…Beautiful music, painting pictures that be my vision.” 

There’s a number of ways one could interpret the “ambition” of which Wale speaks.  One such way is just having dreams in general, taken contextually within the tournament, means winning the national championship.  A more liberal interpretation is that Wale is referencing the Cinderella teams, which aren’t favored to win, but ultimately ‘shock the world’.  Yes, the Dayton Flyers (defeated Ohio State 60-59 and Syracuse 55-53) and Mercer (defeated Duke 78-71) among others.  Sigh… if the slipper fits!

5

Chingy

“Balla Baby”

(From Powerballin’) 

Most spirited lyrics

“I’m a balla (say what) high, roller baby (baby, baby) / shot caller (that’s right) aint nobody this crazy (like me) / you a hater (you a hater) why you tryin’ to play me (I don’t think he know) / Fake player (fake player) ain’t nobody killin’ (hey, I’m a balla for real)”

There’s really not a lot that needs to be explained here… Chingy is the point guard (“Shot caller”).  We all know that besides the coach that the point guard is like the coach on court.  And if the point guard doesn’t have a clue, the team is toast.  Horrendous guard play definitely kills the vibe.  Word.   

6

Christina Aguilera

“Fighter”

(From Stripped) 

Christina Aguilera-AES-115812Most spirited lyrics:

“I am a fighter and I / I ain’t gonna stop / There is no turning back / I’ve had enough”

I know what you’re thinking – why the hell is a Christina Aguilera song about a broken relationship on a March Madness-related playlist? Well it’s the ‘sentiment’ of ‘fighting’ more so than the lyrical content.  Aguilera is a “fighter” because she decided not to play the ‘victim’ card and has shown strength from a bad situation.  College basketball players and teams face a different sort of fight – the fight to advance further in the tournament and to live up/meet expectations whether they are realistic or unrealistic.  Blue blood schools in particular are expected to be competing for championships, not merely a sweet sixteen.  That “fighter” mentality that Aguilera refers to apply to collegiate basketball after broken plays whether it’s poor transition defense, a bad foul, a missed shot, etc.  “Fighter” mentality!

7

Drake featuring Kanye West, Lil Wayne, and Eminem

“Forever”

Drake-AES-089760Most spirited lyrics:

“…I’m shutting down sh*t in the mall…I want this sh*t forever, man” (Hook)

“Forever” is the ultimate baller’s anthem.  Sure, the song really has nothing to do with being on the court, but like many of the cuts on this playlist, there are parallels to having ‘swagger’ on the court.  Drake’s opening rhymes from his verse exhibit the grit and confidence players must show: “Last name Ever, first name Greatest / Like a sprained ankle, boy I ain’t nothing to play with.”  Kanye West’s swagger is even more pronounced on the second verse, in which he claims “I stuck my d**k inside this life until that b**ch came / and went hard, all fall like the ball teams.” Ignore the overt sexual references, and West is the MVP…he’s already claimed victory.  For good measure, Lil Wayne references Space Jam while Eminem just goes H.A.M.  

8

DJ Khaled featuring Ludacris, Rick Ross, Snoop Dogg & T-Pain

“All I Do Is Win”

Most spirited lyrics:

“All I do is win, win, win no matter what / Got money on my mind, I can never get enough / and every time I step up in the building / everybody hands go up / and they stay there, and they stay there…” (T-Pain, on the hook)

Confidence is essential to playing sound basketball – it’s part of the whole teamwork aspect.  The best teams have the confidence knowing they will be playing deep into March.  Teams that lack the resolve and the “winning” spirit exemplified by “All I Do Is Win” go home with their heads hung down.  T-Pain sings it best on the hook – ‘nuff said.

Continue reading “March Madness: 16 Songs For The Sweet 16”

Review: Various Artists, Now 49: That’s What I Call Music


Now 49 is an improvement over previous compilations Various Artists • Now 49: That’s What I Call Music • UMe • US Release Date: February 4, 2014 Compilation efforts have great intentions, but also can possess their respective flaws as well.  The Now Series is a superb way to give music lovers some of the biggest hits via one album.  The problem with the series … Continue reading Review: Various Artists, Now 49: That’s What I Call Music

Frozen Soundtrack Returns To A Familiar Spot – No. 1


The Frozen soundtrack ascends back to no. 1, selling 93,000 copies.  For a soundtrack, the sales have been quite impressive.  The next closest album, 2014 Grammy Nominees is nowhere near Frozen’s sales, landing at no. 2 selling 59,000 copies.  Next week, however, billboard.com prognosticates the compilation could rise to no. 1, with 85,000 copies sold.  Still, 85,000 copies aren’t exactly breathtaking numbers.  Still below that … Continue reading Frozen Soundtrack Returns To A Familiar Spot – No. 1

Review: A Great Big World, ‘Is There Anybody Out There?’


 A Great Big World Showcase Both Classicism and Creativity on its debut album  A Great Big World • Is There Anybody Out There? • Epic • US Release Date: January 21, 2014 As the wise, old saying goes, “Two heads are better than one.”  Indeed, new singer/songwriter duo A Great Big World is the epitome of that sentiment – two talented, young musicians.  Comprised of … Continue reading Review: A Great Big World, ‘Is There Anybody Out There?’

Thoughts: Lady Gaga featuring R. Kelly, “Do What U Want”


Gaga strikes gold on ARTPOP’s second single “Do What U Want”  Lady Gaga (featuring R. Kelly)⎪ “Do What U Want” ⎪Streamline / Interscope ⎪⎪ US Release Date: October 21, 2013 I’ll be the first to admit that I wasn’t applauding too much over Lady Gaga’s first single “Applause” from her upcoming studio album ARTPOP due November 11.  It was merely ‘good’ in my opinion, but … Continue reading Thoughts: Lady Gaga featuring R. Kelly, “Do What U Want”

Could Cassadee Pope Become The First Success of ‘The Voice’ Franchise?


Being different from American Idol is usually a good thing, right? To some extent.  For rival The Voice, while it has its attributes, it has also failed miserably at one thing – no superstars have emerged.  Sure, watching Adam Levine go at it with Christina Aguilera and Blake Shelton is fun to watch, but it has nothing to do with the ‘talent’ they are supposed … Continue reading Could Cassadee Pope Become The First Success of ‘The Voice’ Franchise?

Beyoncé’s Promotional Blunder? Can She Rebound?


Since Monday, MLK Jr. Day and the Second inauguration of President Barack Obama, the  focus of the historical event at had shifted from history to a pop cultural icon, Beyoncé. Why? Well Beyoncé supposedly lip-synced the near flawless performance of The National Anthem.  Controversy was heard ’round the world after a member of the military band let out the most infamous news that Mrs. Carter’s promotional campaign could’ve … Continue reading Beyoncé’s Promotional Blunder? Can She Rebound?

Chart Moves: One Direction No. 1; Rihanna Tops Hot 100; Rihanna on Deck For no. 1 Possibly


One Direction, Take Me Home

One Direction Bows Big @ no. 1

They went from a no. 1 debuting album at 176,000 copies sold to a no. 1 sophomore effort less than a year later with 540,000 copies sold.  My prediction was only 15,000 copies off – I said they’d split the prognosticated 500,000 – 550,000 at 525,000.  By anyways, One Direction may be captivated by “Little Things” as they sing on no. 1 bowing Take Me Home, but the Brit-Irish band have a lot to be excited by, landing the third biggest debut of the year behind Queen Taylor Swift (1.21 million) and alt-folksters Mumford & Sons (600K).  I believe the band ought to enjoying it “…while [they’re] young” as we know how quickly ‘trends’ fade. Yes, look back to Jonas Brothers or Miley Cyrus who both faded.  Go back further to *N Sync, 98 Degrees, or the Backstreet Boys, who are either broken up or past their lucrative prime.

The Weeknd, Trilogy

Also that Twilight soundtrack bowed at 93,000 copies a no. 3 behind one Taylor Swift, who added another 145,000 to her nearly 2 million selling RedThe Weeknd shockingly outsells a crop of more familiar acts (Soundgarden, Christina Aguilera, Green Day, and Lana Del Rey) to bow at no. 4 with his ‘compilation’ major label bow Trilogy with 86,000 copies sold (about 4,000 copies shy of projection). Trilogy is a 3-disc, 30 track affair comprised of The Weeknd’s three previously issued mixtapes (House of Balloons, Thursday, and Echoes of Silence) plus three bonus tracks.

Soundgarden gets some reunion love at no. 5 with a robust 83,000 given the lengthy hiatus prior to King AnimalChristina Aguilera finds herself underperforming at no. 7 as Lotus disappoints with 73,000 sold (about 2,000 shy of projections). Making Aguilera’s debut more lackadaisical is the fact that 2010’s Bionic brought in more enthusiastic numbers with a no. 3 bow with about 111,000 copies sold.  Keep in mind that that album bombed (failed to be certified gold). Remember a little Christina Aguilera album called Back To Basics in 2006? It sold nearly twice the combination of the two’s debut weeks (346,000 compared to a combined 184,000). No, albums don’t sell

Billie Joe and company have had better days commercially… just saying…

nearly as well, but Aguilera’s star seems to have, well shriveled.

Green Day underperforms much worse this go around, managing to bow at no. 9 with a weak 69,000 copies sold of ¡Dos!, the second of the trilogy of albums released by the band this fall.  Compared to what was deemed an incredibly underwhelming selling first disc (¡Uno! bowed at no. 2 with 139,000 copies sold), ¡Dos! looks like the ultimate bomb for the band. 

Lana Del Rey has no reason to hang her head as Paradise bows at no. 10 with 67,000 copies.  Guess what? That’s only a shade less than what Born to Die bowed with at no. 2 earlier this year (77,000 copies). Born to Die also posted a gain this week.  Big winners? One Direction, The Weeknd, Soundgarden, and Lana Del Rey. Big Losers? Christina Aguilera and Green Day.

Continue reading “Chart Moves: One Direction No. 1; Rihanna Tops Hot 100; Rihanna on Deck For no. 1 Possibly”

Impressions: Christina Aguilera, Lotus


Christina Aguilera, Lotus

Introduction

Christina Aguilera, Bionic

I have no doubt that Christina Aguilera would take back 2010’s Bionic if she could. It was her weakest selling album to date, failing to go gold.  I was one of few people who liked parts of the album, but most critics were quick to chastise and pan it. Aguilera’s voice was not enough to get past the futuristic pop stylings and the ‘copycat’ lead single “Not Myself Tonight.” Add to the bombing album an overall horrible year for Aguilera including a bombed National anthem at the Super Bowl (which she practiced flawlessly) and a bombed film via BurlesqueThe best of the best truly took a tumble, but things since that turbulent time have looked up for the pop/R&B chanteuse.

Aguilera managed to snag a judging post on NBC‘s The Voice, which has really elevated her falling star back

The Voice Judges and Host Carson Daly

up to its rightful place.  The question is, can 2012’s comeback effort Lotus translate into minimally gold sales? First single “My Body” may not have been the best choice to lead the excellent comeback effort, but it did showcase that Aguilera lost none of her vocal appeal or savvy.  Perhaps The Voice performance of  “Make The World Move” with Cee Lo Green will give Aguilera more traction in an ultra competitive week, where she is prognosticated to sell 75,000 copies.  For Aguilera, those numbers are underwhelming as 2010’s Bionic did better with 110,000 sold at no. 3 only to bomb ultimately.  Add to that notion she may sell equally or less equal than Lana Del Rey (Paradise) and the numbers get plumb bothersome.

While her days of platinum selling albums seem behind her, sad given the breadth of her voice, 2012’s Lotus ends up being a pleasant surprise. Ignore “Your Body” as there are better cuts than run circles around the obligatory modern pop single. Too bad only 75,000 or so will join for the enjoyable ride that is Lotus.

Continue reading “Impressions: Christina Aguilera, Lotus”