Man, oh man, has radio taken a wicked step back in time. A couple years ago, Lady Gaga, Katy Perry and Rihanna revolutionized top 40 by resurrecting melodies over the pop airwaves after 15 years of cliched hip-hop loops, corporate beats and work-for-hire female hook-singers.
Michael Musto nailed it in his recent Village Voice column where he personified "the biggest musical cliché for years: a female singer wailing some monotonous refrain, segueing to a rapper barking half-rhymes about respect and shit, then ceding it back to the chanteuse, who trills the refrain in a vocoderized higher key."
A look at this week's Billboard Hot 100 has me scratching my noggin. What happened to all the goodness shining down on the masses? At No. 1 for a fifth week is synth-frenzied "Party Rock Anthem" from newcomers LMFAO featuring Lauren Bennett and GoonRock, which sounds like it came from an early 1990's dusty dancefloor vault (no, not in a good way). Would this stand a chance if Berry Gordy's son & grandson weren't bankrolled as the act's leads?
Meanwhile, non-talent Nicki Minaj's rapid-fire tripe-fest "Super Bass" is humiliating the No. 3 spot; wearisome Pitbull & Lil Wayne are No. 4 and 5, respectively; and Bad Meets Evil, the aptly named duo of rappers Eminem & Royce da 5'9", blows at No. 7 with "Lighters," which is a hit only because of talented featured vocalist Bruno Mars.
Fortunately, 2011's belle of the ball Adele remains locked in the top 10 for an 18th week with No. 1 "Rolling In the Deep," while Gaga's "The Edge of Glory," which peaked at No. 3, hangs on at No. 10. Hell, I'm even amused by Britney Spears' 11th top 10 "I Wanna Go," at No. 9.
But what the hell is the deal with Adele's follow-up "Someone Like You," which is lumbering up the chart at a feeble No. 73? (Actually, the dance version of "Set Fire To the Rain" is what radio should be indulging. Confession: That track is a contender to be my No. 1 for the year.)
So let's look to Europe for hope, shall we—going back in time at that. Enduring boy band Westlife will release its 11th album in November, a second Greatest Hits, including several new songs, produced by John Shanks. The first uptempo single will be released next month. Yeah, baby.
In addition, one of my fave artists of all time, Kim Wilde, is issuing a covers album, Snapshots, Aug. 26, including tracks from the Cure, Sugababes, Erasure, David Bowie and more. The lead single is “Sleeping Satellite,” a Tasmin Archer re-rub (love, love that song). Her video for the track is below!