Thursday, May 22, 2014

Taking Over the Dancefloor: Havana Brown - "Warrior"

Taking Over the Dancefloor is a weekly column highlighting the current #1 single on the Billboard Hot Dance Club Songs chart. Read why here

It's the third week of our coverage of the Billboard Hot Dance Club Songs chart, and, as promised, the top spot has already shifted hands from the superstars to the relatively unknown, as the peak previously occupied by Beyoncé and Avicii gets a new tenant in Australian DJ Havana Brown, with "Warrior."

Brown got her start in 2011 opening for Chris Brown (oh dear), and released her debut EP, When the Lights Go Out, in 2012, following the success of her breakthrough single, "We Run the Night," which was remixed for its US release by RedOne with a guest rap by Pitbull (natch). "We Run the Night" was Brown's first single to top the Billboard Hot Dance Club Songs chart; another track from the EP, "Big Banana," also hit #1 on the chart.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

9 Reasons Why Iggy Azalea is a Hit

To the casual US pop music consumer, the rise of Iggy Azalea seems to have been a pretty swift operation. In reality, Azalea has been navigating a lengthy label battlefield since signing with Interscope in early 2012; her debut album, The New Classic, suffered numerous delays, an executive producer switch, change of labels, and more. Since her initial pre-release work was focused on the UK market (including three official singles, all of which went top 20), workaday Americans wouldn't have gotten much of a whiff of her until she released her fourth single, "Fancy," in early March. "Fancy" made an immediate impact, and The New Classic finally dropped on April 23, selling 52,000 copies in its first week and debuting at #3 on the Billboard 200; it remains in the top five after its second sales week.

Iggy Azalea, living "Fancy"

The New Classic's long schlep through label development hell is neither extraordinary nor terribly interesting, lacking any of the sort of artistically square label execs, icky capitalist villain soundbites, or sheer magnitude that make for interesting storytelling. What interests me is the way it stuck the landing. Whatever the backstage fuckery that went on, from the moment they decided "Ok, yes. this is happening," they managed the roll-out, and it was a success. So can it really be all that hard, if you do it right, to get at least a decent showing out of a new release? I haven't even listened to the album yet, and I still have a pretty good idea why it sold (I've heard from numerous sources that "Fancy" and "Problem" are outliers). Here are our guesses as to what's behind the rapper's recent success: you decide for yourself.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Ode to the Billboard Hot Dance Club Songs Chart

Billboard magazine is mainly known for its two signature charts, the Hot 100 singles and the Billboard 200 albums. Yet over the years as genres have grown more defined, and different formats and means of distribution have developed, Billboard has grown to include well over a hundred different charts measuring all sorts of things. Most of the charts rank based on sales, radio airplay, online streaming, or some combination of the three. But my favorite  has always been a scrappy, lovably quirky chart called Hot Dance Club Songs.

Hot Dance Club Songs is unlike any other Billboard chart in that it compiles from weekly reports submitted by a nationwide panel of club DJs "detailing the tracks that elicit the most audience response." This unusual methodology obviously makes things more unpredictable on the whole, but it also engenders the chart with a unique kind of personality, with a few quirky habits of its own. The main is that, with the rarest of exceptions, there is a new #1 every week. Not only that, but songs that hit #1 typically have a hilariously big drop the following week, the reason for which is amusing to conjecture. (Surely the audience response isn't "oh, that song is #1 on the Hot Dance Club Songs chart this week, how boring.") In fact, a song will typically spend more time on the chart, especially in the upper regions, if it never actually peaks at #1.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

New Music That Doesn't Suck: May 2014

Summer movie season is approaching, and reboots are all the rage. Not wanting to be left out, I'm reviving an old series, in which I compile some new pop music that's not too terribly objectionable to help you stock your library with as many suckage-free products as possible.

Iggy Azalea, Winner of May 2014

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