Let's do the Time Warp again!
Used with permission / Wikimedia commons
Billboard’s Hot 100 is seeing some big changes of late. Adele isn’t in the Top 10 for one of the first times in recent memory, and superstars Nicki Minaj, Katy Perry and Kelly Clarkson are on their way out. But who are they making room for?
Gotye managed to unseat Fun. and claim the top spot with his relatively old single, “Somebody That I Used To Know.” While it’s odd to see this single back in the charts after being released July 6 of 2011, recent attention from Jimmy Kimmel and Saturday Night Live appearances have helped spur the single back into the spotlight.
Fun. may have relinquished the top spot, but these two indie stars have managed to hold back some of the biggest names in pop. Justin Bieber and Maroon 5 both released singles within the last month, and neither have been able to grab first.
Two new appearances of note on the chart right now are Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Call Me Maybe” and One Direction’s “What Makes You Beautiful.” While these are more standard pop hits than the current chart champs, both are breakthrough hits that breathe life into the radio.
One Direction is effectively a collection of five Justin Biebers, a New Kids on the Block or Hanson for our generation. “What Makes You Beautiful” is a sticky-sweet bubble gum pop hit in the same vein as boy bands from the last 30 years, as well as a shameless steal from the much more recent Jonas Brothers.
Jepsen is a bit of a wild card, a mix of Joan Jett’s girl power and The Go-Go’s radio friendly love songs. “Our Lips Are Sealed” formed the template for songs like “Call Me Maybe” to follow.
Justin Bieber is a mini-Michael Jackson if ever there was one. His smash hit “Baby” could have easily been written by The Jackson 5, and Bieber’s transforming image into bad boy heart-throb is now complete with the “edgy” new single, “Boyfriend.” “Smooth Criminal” of ‘80s super-fame is mirrored in so many ways with Bieber’s new single, even if the lyrics aren’t quite as creative as Jackson’s achievement. Let’s just hope J-Biebs sticks with kids his own age to play with...
A vanguard of quality pop music, Maroon 5 just debuted “Payphone” at No. 3 (Not to be confused with Lady Gaga and Beyoncé’s hit “Telephone” from 2010s “The Fame Monster”). This new single is a throwback to Prince’s “Little Red Corvette” or “Kiss.” Maroon 5 has always straddled the fence of radio-friendly and underground, just as Prince did in the ‘80s, and it has brought them significant success. Their combination of retro instrumental play and catchy lyrics have provided them with widespread appeal.
On the album front, alt-rock superstar Jack White’s new album, “Blunderbuss,” has just debuted at No. 1. Of The White Stripes and The Raconteurs fame, White is one of the most talented musicians of our time. His style is a throwback to ‘90s grunge, and his musical versatility can rival even that of David Grohl, ex-Nirvana drummer and current frontman of The Foo Fighters. Musical talent is not the only facet of Nirvana that White shares; Nirvana, Alice in Chains and Pearl Jam are all fantastic artists Jack White fans should enjoy.
Jason Mraz’s “Love is a Four Letter Word” album has been falling slightly in the charts, but I predict a resurgence. The radio loves Mraz, and it’s only a matter of time until a single from “Love” hits No. 1. His laid back, ukulele-filled melodies are inspired ‘60s and ‘70s reggae; Bob Marley fans would do well to hit up Mraz, and vice-versa.
Carly Rae Jepsen