“THE DUKE SPIRIT ANNOUNCE SUMMER TOUR WITH INCUBUS.” The British blues-rock outfit the Duke Spirit is supposed to rip it live, and I have a soft spot for the recent run of singles by the California rock-radio stalwarts. Click the Duke Spirit’s pic for dates, and the video for the Duke Spirit’s outstanding “The Step And The Walk.”
Obviously, we need to talk about the new song that takes over the top of Billboard‘s Hot 100, and the mind-blowing record it sets.
But before we do that, let’s talk about Hilary Swank.
I find Swank’s movie career totally incomprehensible: She either wins Oscars, or she tanks. Not even Meryl Streep has won two Best Actress statues, yet in under a decade Swank has gone to that podium twice, like some kind of modern-day Katharine Hepburn. You’d think that would make her one of Hollywood’s biggest stars, or at least its most respected. Sure, she wins roles in some blockbuster-type stuff (The Core) or prestige-like stuff (The Black Dahlia), but these movies are invariably flops. Swank’s successes seem to have had no impact on her career, or the way she’s regarded by the general public. She’s some kind of metaphor for the in-and-out nature of post-millennial fame.
All this leaps to my mind when I consider Flo Rida, the rapper who reaches No. 1 on the Hot 100 for the second time, with the kind of sales total that you’d think would make Lil Wayne, Kanye West or Jay-Z bow respectfully.
But if I were them, I wouldn’t. Because after all, who is this clown? How did Flo Rida become the Hilary Swank of pop music?
In the annals of popular music, certain albums stand out for their sheer percentage of hit-bound material. Michael Jackson’s Thriller is the most famous, not just because it spun off seven Top 10 singles—the first album to do so—but because the whole disc had only nine tracks. That’s a stunning 78% hit ratio. Shania Twain’s Come on Over, roughly 70% of which charted on the country and pop charts over the course of two years, is nearly as legendary. More recently, Rihanna has mined just over half of Good Girl Gone Bad for a string of hits.
Normally, feats like these are the result of months of patient promotion, as singles are promoted one by one—lined up for release to radio like planes on a slow-moving runway.
When you’re an 18-year-old country-pop phenomenon, however, things move a lot faster.
For the first time in months, the most oft-recurring name on Billboard‘s Hot 100 isn’t ubiquitous rapper Lil Wayne. It’s Taylor Swift, who appears with seven songs this week, six of them brand-new to the chart.
We’ve seen this chart ubiquity happen several times this year—not just with Weezy but with American Idol winner David Cook and the Jonas Brothers. What’s unprecedented is just how much of an individual Swift album has now made the chart.
Eat your heart out, Michael: just one week after it debuted in stores, Swift’s Fearless is 85% hit.
A while back, when Maura noted that one of the few albums that had experienced a sales increase during a particularly grim week on the Billboard 200 was by the MySpace-spawned mask-wearing rap metal goofballs Hollywood Undead, I cracked, “I don’t know if I’m dreading or anticipating this ridiculous band cracking a radio chart so that I have to write about them.” And so it is with a strange mix of horrified glee that I report to you that Hollywood Undead has debuted on Billboard‘s Hot Modern Rock Tracks chart this week with “Undead” at No. 36. As it turns out, as of the time of my comment, they’d already begun their climb on the Hot Mainstream Rock Tracks chart; “Undead” has since ascended to No. 21.
Many people find it hard to tell the great from the godawful when it comes to 21st-century mainstream rock. To help figure out which is which, here’s “Corporate Rock Still Sells,” where Al “GovernmentNames” Shipley examines what’s good, bad, and ugly in the world of rock and roll. This time around, he celebrates the 20th anniversary of Billboard‘s Modern Rock chart by cherry-picking some of its most oddly notable chart-toppers:
Since many people find it hard to tell the great from the godawful when it comes to 21st-century mainstream rock, welcome to “Corporate Rock Still Sells,” where Al Shipley (a.k.a. Idolator commenter GovernmentNames) examines what’s good, bad, and ugly in the world of Billboard‘s rock charts. This time around he takes a look at Billboard‘s Top 40 Hot Modern Rock Songs Of 2007 to see just what “rock” meant to radio this year: