. Remember the good ol’ days when it only took one skilled tunesmith to write a hit single? Yeah — our minds don’t stretch back that far, either. In fact, if you have to travel in time, to “Somebody That I Used To Know” in 2012, to find the last single to top the Billboard Hot 100 with only one writer credited to it. (That would be Mr. Gotye
himself, Wally de Backer.)
These days, it takes a small army to craft what we naive listeners would deem to be the simplest of songs. Remember Flo Rida‘s “Whistle”? You know — the chart-topping oral sex jam disguised as a radio-friendly, sing-song trifle for the whole family to purse their lips and blow to in the car? That one took no less than half-a-dozen writers to put together.
Below, we rounded up another 10 such pop smashes that required a team of musical geniuses — or at least Pitbull — to pen. Some may surprise you and even shatter the illusion of your favorite artists as unique jacks-of-all-trades, able to dash out catchy hits all by their lonesome.
Carry on to find out the wicked truth behind all the glitter, pop fanatics! More »
‘s sexy Minnie Mouse debut of “Problem”
was the highlight of the Radio Disney Music Awards last night (April 27), even though Grande didn’t actually win any awards at the ceremony. And if the ’90s babies’ answer to Mariah Carey
doesn’t get honored, then do the Radio Disney Music Awards matter? Well, since Radio Disney is “the #1 radio network devoted to kids, tweens and families” and there’s a category called [I have to gather myself after letting out a room-collapsing sigh before typing this]
“The Bestest,” and I am a grown-ass man, maybe I’m not the right person to answer that question.
That said, I’d even posit that kids, tweens and families don’t even care about the RDMAs, as a concept. But, because important names like Justin Timberlake, Taylor Swift, Britney Spears and Fifth Harmony were involved, the RDMAs must matter, by default. And so: Selena Gomez, Demi Lovato, Swift and One Direction were the big winners in a big celebration of white-bread pop. Check out the full list of winners below. More »
The 2014 Billboard Music Awards finalists have been announced (finalists, as opposed to nominees, because this is all based on cold, hard sales figures and popularity, as opposed to all these other esoteric awards shows that claim to reward “art” and “vision” and whatnot), with Lorde
and Imagine Dragons
leading the field with nods in 12 of the 40 categories. Among the categories they’re both up for include Top Hot 100 Artist, Top Radio Songs Artist, Top Hot 100 Song and Top Digital Song.
Also at the top of the pack is Justin Timberlake, who’s named in 11 categories, Katy Perry with 10 and Macklemore & Ryan Lewis with 8. Rather improbably, if JT brings home some hardware, it’ll be his first Billboard Music Awards win as a solo artist. For the night’s biggest award, Top Artist, he’ll be facing off against Miley Cyrus, Bruno Mars, Perry and Imagine Dragons.
Head here to see the full list of finalists and categories. More »
is about to complete his victory lap around the world, and now just about a year after releasing the first installment of The 20/20 Experience
, he has announced another
round of North American tour dates. By our count, this will be his fourth
tour of the States in 2013-14, following his Legends of the Summer trek with Jay Z
, his original 20/20 run here and his extended summer leg
which hasn’t even happened yet.
Timberlake will perform 13 more arena shows, starting November 20 in Portland and working his way down the west coast, before heading eastward and finishing up December 20 in Atlanta. Tickets go on sale April 14 at Live Nation. Head below to see the fresh crop of tour dates. More »
A bunch of suits in a conference room have decided that the world needs another awards show, so here we are, talking about the first iHeartRadio Awards and a bunch of nominated names we’ve already named regarding nominations for all the other awards shows. In the future, there will be only awards shows, in order to keep the huddled masses in check.
Rihanna leads the pack of pop star nominees with seven nominations, including artist of the year (um, what year?!) and song of the year. Justin Timberlake nabbed five nominations and Imagine Dragons got four, and they’ll both be competing against RiRi in the artist of the year category. Macklemore, Lorde, Maroon 5, etc etc etc, they’re all represented. Nominees for the awards were selected based on the “iHeartRadioChart, which compiles airplay-based listener feedback and performance data, digital streaming data from the iHeartRadio platform and sales, social video data and tags from Big Champagne and Shazam.” Sure why not. Look, we’re in the business of pop music here, and when there’s an awards show, business is good. But, just stahp.
The totally necessary ceremony airs May 1 on NBC. Head below for the full list of nominees. More »
has released the video for “Not A Bad Thing,” the cheery “Mirrors”-esque ballad that serves as one of the (few, in my opinion
) highlights of the second volume of The 20/20 Experience
. JT premiered the clip via Ellen
and as the host explains, the “documentary about finding love” is based on the (supposedly) true story of a man who recently proposed to his girlfriend on an NYC-bound LIRR train using this song. Timberlake still hasn’t identified the couple, so the video is sort of a scavenger hunt to find the real couple. Kind of a cool idea!
Unfortunately, the execution is a tad cheesy. There are tons of clips of norms talking about love, plus an unintentionally hilarious True Detective-like investigation board. (Sample index card: “Who is she? What is her name?” This is a great starting point. If they answer that, I think they just might crack the case.) But maybe I’m just a cold-hearted cynic.
Check it out below. More »
is the highest paid musician of the past 12 months, according to a new list compiled by Billboard
. The 22-year-old superstar raked in $39,699,575, roughly $30M of which came from her six-month Red tour, which makes her tour haul the highest of anyone on the list. Coming in at number 2 is another country star, Kenny Chesney
, who earned just under $33M, edging out Justin Timberlake
‘s $31.4M. Beyonce
, Maroon 5
comprise the rest of the pop acts in the top 10, while classic rock has heavy representation with Bon Jovi
, The Rolling Stones
and Fleetwood Mac
. Once you hit the top 20, the pop takeover begins, with names like Justin Bieber
, Bruno Mars
, One Direction
For the rankings, Billboard calculated US earnings from touring, music sales and royalties from streaming and other sources. Some earnings, like corporate sponsorship and merchandise, were not tallied. See the top 10 below, and head over to Billboard for the full list and more details on each entry and the methodology. More »
Back in 2002, Pharrell
had a huge hand in Justin Timberlake
‘s transformation from boy band heartthrob to adult pop star who deserved to be taken seriously. As part of The Neptunes
with Chad Hugo
, Pharrell produced the majority of Timberlake’s debut album Justified
, including the hits “Like I Love You,” “Rock Your Body” and “Señorita.” For JT’s next three albums, though, he wouldn’t call upon Pharrell’s Midas touch (relying instead on that other dude who spins gold behind the boards, Timbaland
). Fans always felt the partnership ended too soon. Luckily, Timberlake recently appeared on a Pharrell joint in the form of Jay Z
‘s “BBC,” and now the two have reunited in earnest for “Brand New,” off G I R L
The two trade lines about a relationship that still has that new car smell, over a soulful, tropical-tinged beat. Like much of The 20/20 Experience, it wraps lyrics about love’s comforting warmth with the equally warm analog tones of the ’70s. The retro sound certainly contrasts with the guys’ boundary-pushing collaborations from over a decade ago.
Hear it below. More »
Did You Hear?
:: Pharrell is auctioning on eBay the Vivienne Westwood hat that he wore to this year’s Grammys. Proceeds will go to his From One Hand to Another charity. Bids are at $12,500. [AP]
:: Justin Timberlake joined Jimmy Fallon on The Tonight Show to reprise a Late Night favorite: History of Rap. Watch closely for songs by LL Cool J, Salt ‘n Pepa, OutKast, Drake and tons more. [Okayplayer]
:: James Blake revealed that longtime fan Kanye West has reached out for a collaboration. The fandom is mutual. “My monotonous tone of voice won’t show you that, but I’m excited,” Blake says. [Rolling Stone]
:: Nicki Minaj faces a lawsuit from former “wig guru” Terrence Davidson. He claims that she stole wig designs, then sold and licensed them without cutting him on profits. (Minaj’s official website does sell wigs.) [TIME]
:: A judge ordered Chris Brown to stay at rehab for further treatment. Brown had just completed his court-ordered 90 days and announced a May 5 release date for his delayed album X. [E!]
After the jump, find out what music you can catch on TV today. More »
supposedly won’t officially
be revealing a tracklist to his solo album G I R L
ahead of its March 3 release, but now we have an idea of which of his friends in high places he has recruited to cameo on the album. A writer for Noisey
was at a listening session for the album, attended by Skateboard P himself, and says Daft Punk
, Justin Timberlake
, Miley Cyrus
and Alicia Keys
are all featured on the LP. Oh, and one more: film score superstar Hans Zimmer
arranged some strings.
The song with Daft Punk is apparently called “Gust Of Wind” and finds the Robots returning the favor for “Get Lucky” and “Lose Yourself To Dance,” lending vocals to the track.
[UPDATE: Noisey has now posted a track-by-track review, head below for the tracklist.] More »