Results for #1
Britney Spears Femme Fatale
Britney Spears isn‘t a schoolgirl anymore. Seven albums in, she’s now a record industry veteran, which begs the question: is she over? Her latest album Femme Fatale debuted at #1, but with only 276,000 copies sold. That's nothing compared to artists like Taylor Swift and Eminem. And, as Jim and Greg add, where does Britney fit in these days when you have Katy Perry on one end of the pop spectrum and Lady Gaga on the other? They also wonder where she fits in on her own album, which has 28 songwriters and 13 producers. It's a well-oiled machine, and a very well-produced one, but Britney is almost incidental. Jim calls Femme Fatale soulless and gives it a Trash It rating. Greg doesn't argue with this, but recommends listeners Burn It just to hear the top notch production.
This week British singer Adele bumps the big names off the Billboard chart. Her new album 21 is currently at #1. The former hairdresser impressed Jim and Greg with her debut 19, and now she's amped up the production with some big names including Beyoncé, Rick Rubin and Dan Wilson. But bigger isn't always better. Greg loves Adele's powerful voice, but the quality of the singing trumps the quality of the songs. He gives 21 a Burn It rating. Jim is even more disappointed. He thinks Adele should know better than to sing some of the“nonsense”on this record. She's gone Hollywood, so he's going with a Trash It.
Eminem released a new album this week, and it went on to not only debut at #1, but it became the biggest seller in a single week since 2008. Recovery is the follow-up to Relapse, an album that the rapper himself admits was kind of misstep. But now, after going through a lot of pain in his personal life, he's taking a more“emo”approach according to Greg. The lyrics are more introspective, which Greg applauds, but the production really brings it all down. It's only a partial“Recovery,”so Greg gives it a Try It rating. Jim also hears introspection, but it's of the Lifetime movie variety. He admits that Eminem is still a truly impressive rapper, but enough with the lame pop culture pot shots. Jim gives this record a Trash It.
Last week Jim and Greg predicted that Susan Boyle would be one of the year's biggest success stories. But they had no idea she'd make chart history. Despite coming in #2 on Britain's Got Talent, Boyle shot to #1on the U.S. charts with over 700,000 copies sold. This is the biggest opening sales figure for any debut album since Snoop Dogg's in 1993-and that's during CD's heyday. Furthermore, Jim notes that Boyle's success is also remarkable in that only 6% of sales for I Dreamed a Dream were digital. One can imagine that Boyle's standards' covers appeal to an older demographic…one that still buys physical product…one that the record industry will continue to tap.
Bob Keane, the founder of Del-Fi Records, died last week at the age of 87. Keane was behind the sound of acts like the Bobby Fuller Four and Ritchie Valens, and as Greg explains, those Del-Fi recordings are highly coveted by collectors and music fans because the sound is so raw and pristine. Keane wanted listeners to really get a sense of each band. After both Fuller and Valens died tragically at young ages, Keane decided to close the Del-Fi doors in 1967. Jim and Greg play Valens' 1958 hit "Come On. Let's Go," in honor of Bob Keane.Go to episode 210
By Christmas this year, get ready for war…in the digital universe, that is. Google has announced plans to open a digital store and music service that would compete with iTunes. Not to be left out, Apple has gotten in on social networking with its new service Ping. Currently there are other sites like Pandora that merge social sharing with music, but with iTunes' 160 million users, they are likely to dominate this turf.
With a #1record on the Billboard Chart, Eminem hardly needs any handouts. But, a court ruling recently made him an even richer man. A federal appeals court has overturned a victory for Universal Music Group in a dispute over how much in royalties it owes the rapper for digital sales of his songs. A previous ruling said that Eminem would receive traditional song royalties for digital tracks. Now he'll be“licensing”his songs rather than selling them. So his rate of return jumps from 18% to around 50%. If this decision sticks, the music industry is in for some big losses.
Sound Opinions wishes congratulations to recent guests The xx. The British trio was just crowned the winner of that country's Mercury Prize. Jim and Greg note that this achievement can sometimes mean more than prizes like the Grammy's in the states because the judges are not just industry insiders, but critics like this year's chairman Simon Frith. Frith credits the group's mysterious atmosphere for the win, which many thought would go to veteran musician Paul Weller. Cheers to you xx!Go to episode 250
Fetty Wap tops the Billboard 200 chart with the release of his self-titled debut. The album release follows the drops of his three top-ten singles, "Trap Queen," "679," and "My Way." The rapper makes a splash as the first hip-hop artist in two years to land a premiere album in the #1 spot since A$AP Rocky's Long.Live.A$AP.
The third time's the charm for The Beatles' 1 album, which you might remember from its original release in 2000 or its second remastered release in 2011. The new three-disc edition, out November 6, features promotional films and restored videos of the group. Greg wonders how many times the same album can be resold to the same audience. Despite the lack of any real change in content, Jim predicts,“It'll debut at #1.”
Thanks to a new interactive tool distributed by The Wall Street Journal, it is now possible to discover what's playing on jukeboxes across America, just by entering a zip code online. Data gathered from the jukebox vendor TouchTunes provide a look at more than 60,000 jukeboxes across the country and what music was played from September 2014 to August 2015. The map is broken up by zip code, displaying popular artists and genres in each area. Check out what tunes are gathering the most quarters here.Go to episode 515
Last week Jim and Greg rated Drake's new album Take Care. This week he's at #1on the Billboard chart with 631,000 copies sold in the first week. Greg notes that Drake has had luck achieving commercial success by initially giving his music away to build a fan base. The same model worked for last week's #1 artist Mac Miller. Using mixtapes and social media to build an audience, Miller became the first indie artist to debut at the top of the charts since 1995.
Speaking of the charts, Billboard has decided to change the rules. Earlier this year Lady Gaga jumped to #1, thanks in large part to some deep discounting from retailer Amazon. They sold her album Born This Way for $0.99, and helped Gaga reach the million sold mark. But according to Billboard, that's cheating, and they‘ve now instituted a mandatory price point of $3.49 in order for an album to be counted on the chart. Jim thinks this is telling about how dramatically the idea of“Number one”has changed in the last decade. In the mid and late ’90s, top-selling artists sold upwards of 7 million albums. Today that's down to 3 million, and that number will continue to plummet. So why then is Billboard making it even harder to recognize success? In an era when artists are giving away their music for free or close to free, Jim suggests we need to change the definition of success.Go to episode 313
Every year it's interesting to look at what albums took the top slots on the Village Voice Pazz & Jop poll. This is a much more accurate barometer of any given year in music than the Grammy Awards. However, this year Jim and Greg actually gave negative reviews to a lot of the Pazz & Jop winners including Watch the Throne and Let England Shake. But they were happy to see Tune-Yards' Whokill at #1.
Members of the Velvet Underground including John Cale and Lou Reed have filed a lawsuit against the Andy Warhol Foundation for Visual Arts over the famous banana featured on their 1967 album cover. Warhol served as producer of the album and gave the band the image, however it was never copyrighted. And now the Velvets want to prevent the banana from going Apple.
Jimmy Castor isn‘t a household name, but chances are you’ve heard his music, or at least samples of it. He had a pop-funk hit with "Troglodyte (Cave Man)" in 1972, but also a string of funk and soul gems that ended up being sampled by hundreds of hip hop acts. Castor died this week at age 71, so to honor the late musician, Jim and Greg play one of the often-sampled tracks, "It's Just Begun."Go to episode 321