Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Won the War: Robyn V.S. Sia

This is a series inspired by a tweet from perpetual lightning rod for controversy Azealia Banks when she inferred that although Michael Jackson won the battle, Prince won the war. This will be my take on which two rivals in packaging in the U.S. Music Industry, won the war in terms of longer success.

Round 4 of Won the War involves import singers who have mass adoration through the internet (Mainly through BuzzFeed); Swedish import Robyn and Australian singer/songwriter Sia. Both are bubbly [read as insane] blondes who like to make people feel everything exuberance to salvation. Robyn transitioned from bubblegum pop to dance while Sia transitioned to something of a solo success after writing songs for the likes of Rihanna and Beyoncé. With recent accolades for recent efforts, let's figure out...

In longevity terms, who merely won the battle...and who Won the War?

As of 2014, Robyn has yet to add a proper 6th studio album since 2010's Body Talk collection; Sia added a 6th album to her name with 1000 Forms of Fear. Interestingly enough these women have transitioned between indie label to major to boutique/subordinate throughout their careers.

Here's their charting album peaks from highest to lowest...

- Robyn Is Here at #57
- Robyn at #100
- Body Talk (collectively/2 albums in 1 package) at #142 [*Body Talk: Pt. 2 on its own is the highest charting effort at #41]

- 1000 Forms of Fear at #1
- Some People Have Real Problems at #26
- We Are Born at #37

Due to the fact that these two have made something of a name for themselves, radio has played their songs every now and again. In terms of longevity when was their last #1 hit on the Hot 100?

*Reminder: Hot 100 ranking does matter if you're absolutely looking for a gauge of where an artist is in terms of popularity*

Robyn & Sia have yet to land a #1 single in the U.S. (You'd think critical acclaim means something outside the publication in which it was published)

The last Top 10 hit? Sia only recently had her first successful single in the U.S. with "Chandelier" [at the time of writing] peaking at #9. Although in 1997, Robyn had her 2nd Top 10 hit in the U.S. with the song "Show Me Love" which peaked at #7.

Normally, acting in movies and comparing stats through Rotten Tomatoes would be next. However, neither of them has been in a movie.
Musically, there are naturally some weak points in an artists' career when say...a lead single doesn't go to #1 or released singles chart really low. These are the positions at the lowest of Robyn and Sia's careers...

Robyn's Lowest Charting Singles
- Lowest Charting Lead Single: "Dancing On My Own" at #113
- Lowest Charting Released Single: "Dancing On My Own" at #113
[Technically, this peaked at #13 on the Bubbling Under Charts which extends from #101 to #125]

Sia's Lowest Charting Singles
- Lowest Charting Lead Single: "Chandelier" at #9 on the Hot 100
- Lowest Charting Released Single: "Chandelier" at #9 on the Hot 100
[This reads a little bit like Robin Thicke's only real success with "Blurred Lines"...]

Their career nadirs bring up where they are now. Pre Dance Transition, Robyn was all about bubblegum pop (Which Swedes are required to learn in primary school and I base this on absolutely nothing). Then after her deal with RCA was done after her albums My Truth and Don't Stop the Music had failed to chart in the U.S., she pulled a classic move of female singers before her and switched shit up. Making dance music proved to be successful for Robyn at least in the modern realm of internet culture.
Sia had first splashed onto the scene in the U.S. as an inadvertent part of EDM going mainstream with her feature on the David Guetta song "Titanium". Add in her guest feature on the Flo Rida song "Wild Ones" and her radio mainstream debut had been complete. Songwriter Sia had long been in effect for better and worse. Despite the inevitable bust of the singles released, Sia contributed to Christina Aguilera's Bionic, co-writing and vocal producing 4 of the songs. She did however, pen the massively successful single "Diamonds" [for Rihanna]. She also contributed to Beyoncé's latest album, served as head creative force over Kylie Minogue's recent effort Kiss Me Once (Being partially responsible for the horrible song "Sexercize").

Yet despite chart shut-outs, both have found a home in internet culture specifically BuzzFeed... [Robyn] [Sia..."Chandelier"]

Now for the final points: iconic singles AKA, the one single people know is by that artist.

Robyn has "Dancing On My Own" as it's the first single that a lot of the internet based generation got into RE: Robyn at all.

Sia is riding on the success of "Chandelier" for her solo career.

A bit of info for posterity: both were made from coloring books. [This is only to be taken with the recommended grain of salt and with nothing else.] Robyn has 2 #7 singles in the U.S. while Sia is a bit "Flavor of the Moment" only having 1 song chart in the U.S..

One has transitioned from a divisive to a better received genre; one made a leap from songwriter to singer with varied results; One has a 90s Pop Culture safety net; one owes a muffin basket the size of Earth to a child from Dance Moms...

Sunday, July 20, 2014

The Next Madonna Is...

*The following is an opinion piece and should be taken seriously whenever the research shows up*

Speculation as to who could inherit and/or assume the position Madonna had as the definitive global superstar has been a process as long as Madge's career. It takes more than singing to be on terms pop culture critics have deemed "legendary" or "iconic". It takes someone who tried their hands at acting, fashion design/branding, etc. at some point in their career.
As to who could be the next Madonna, let's look at assumed contemporary acts who have been speculated by others but stand no chance.

The next Madonna will not be Miley Cyrus. Don't let the live mashup of "Don't Tell Me" and "We Can't Stop" on MTV fool you. Don't believe she's the next Madonna just because she's using the shock value part of sexuality just like Madge (But instead of either Erotica or Hard Candy, Cyrus created her own level of repelling sexual shock value called Bangerz.) "But neither of them are regarded as good singers!" That's like saying McDonald's isn't what a diet should be based on. Even with less than stellar reviews of her live singing, Madge has been able to sing [her best singing having been "Like a Prayer"].
Cyrus on the other Just no. Recent "album success" be damned, we can eliminate Cyrus for her terrible singing and for the fact that she recently started experimenting with her image. Madge was doing that in-between songs since her debut album.
Musically in album releases, discounting all Hannah Montana affiliated and the EP The Time of Our Lives she is technically on her 3rd proper [non-EP length] album. Not enough of an extensive portfolio to really give credit to any Madge sequel labeling.

Also eliminated early on, Katy Perry. Like her other predecessor, she suffers mainly by not being able to sing even on a decent level. What has her a notch above Cyrus (But not by much) are fluke singles that can actually provide some level of audible enjoyment ["Hot 'N Cold" and "Firework"]. Whenever experimenting with image, Perry found and stuck with "Candy Coated Pop-tart" for Teenage Dream; then she tried being a "Candy Coated...'edgy for her' pop-tart" on her recent album Prism.
Image wise alone, Perry cannot be the next Madonna. As opposed to switching up her look from "Candy Coated" to say "40s Noir Glamour", Perry's image is nowhere near flexible as Madonna's. Madge went from "virgin" to "sexual" to "brunette" to "erotic" to "geisha" and Jesus knows what else.
Musically, Perry just added a 3rd album to her name. As with Cyrus, Perry's discography remains sorely underdeveloped to really gauge if she could even be considered as the next Madonna [cover of V Magazine with Madge be damned.]

Interestingly, Britney Spears is not the next Madonna either; even with the fact all 8 of her albums have peaked in the Top 5 of the Billboard 200 [6 of them going to #1]. Spears has gotten plenty of next Madge level criticism for perceived lack of singing ability. Acting isn't a strong suit of any of the names mentioned or yet to be mentioned, especially with Britney ("But Britney knew to quit acting. She can't possibly be the next Madonna!" All T, All Shade...I agree.)
Yet there is something Spears has done that disqualifies her from assuming Madge's former position as Global Superstar of the World...accepting a residency/doing the Vegas thing as Celine Dion, Cher, Toni Braxton and so many other performers have done. Performing in Las Vegas while a guaranteed paying gig...let's face saying "Let me warm up for about 3-5 'Farewell Tours' around the world."
Madonna won't retire willingly or accept any Vegas residency not so long as delusion sets its course...err she draws breath and does her best to put forth new material.

With them out of the way, here are the three names to consider when speculating who the next Madonna could be: Lady Gaga, Rihanna and Beyoncé. When talking about contemporary acts whose divisive perceived singing abilities, horrible acting and fashion ventures for better or worse rivals that of "her Madgesty", these three have the field beat. However, there are certain areas where one has the others beat in terms of discography, filmography and overall selling points.
Yet the strengths in certain areas are clear enough to differentiate 3rd, 2nd and 1st...

3rd place is Rihanna. She has enough of the discography in terms of quantity that can be measured in this; and of the three candidates, has the most albums to her name. All 7 of Rihanna's albums have ended up in the Top 10 of the Billboard 200:

- Unapologetic at #1
- Good Girl Gone Bad at #2
- Loud at #3
- Talk That Talk at #3
- Rated R at #4
- A Girl Like Me at #5
- Music of the Sun at #10

Considering this is up against Madge's discography, with Like a Virgin, True Blue, Like a Prayer, Music, American Life [amazingly], Confessions on a Dance Floor, Hard Candy and MDNA having gone #1 and Rihanna's first #1 having taken 7 albums to do...she doesn't have the commercial pull even Madonna has. Image wise, while versatile, just revolves around sex; even with the different hairstyles and level of clothing being questionable, it is not enough.
Madge has experimented with being deep on an album twice. The first time was the Grammy winning Ray of Light which came with the image of "attempted spiritual depth/bohemian one with the Earth". Even in the 80s Madge experimented with androgyny in the video for "Express Yourself". Rihanna has yet to do anything that qualifies as daring in that regard.
Her acting was met with negative reviews just like Madonna. However, "Riri" was really in the 2012 movie Battleship and that movie was derided by anybody that even heard of the movie. Filmography isn't there yet.

With Gaga and Beyoncé left, it's difficult on the surface to tell who the next Madge is. With ARTPOP, Gaga just added a 3rd album to her name. In terms of quantitative discography, Gaga isn't quite there yet, but she's been around since 2008-2009. Beyoncé hasn't switched up her image that much if at all [save for a pixie haircut that mysteriously got the hair length that appeared in "XO"] and has really gone from blonde to brunette in around 2006, back to being blonde. That being said, there is a slight favor for one more so than the other and it isn't who people think...

2nd place is Lady Gaga. "WHAT?!" I know, but I will explain that later. Let's get this out of the way now. There are a LOT of similarities between Mother Monster and "Her Madgesty":

BOTH have worn some crazy outfits in the name of artistic expression, sexual liberation/"Girl Power" trope, shock value and fashion [most often all at once] Madonna's most daring outfit? The "Cone Bra". Gaga's most daring outfit? The Meat Dress (There was a lot to consider when picking the most batshit outfit from either one).

BOTH have been read for filth in terms of acting and have Razzie Award nominations to their names. (But Gaga only having one nomination for Machete Kills and Madge...still trying to act.)

The key in Gaga getting second place in this is the fact that she has really done one major movie role and it wasn't a female lead. That and it is way too obvious to declare Gaga the next Madonna ("Because Gaga can sing. You can say it." That's actually the next point.) if we are looking at singing.
To be the next Madonna, the artist in question has to be divisive as all hell when it comes to perceived singing ability. Gaga's flack is poured upon through antics and fashion choices; not singing and that is the difference. Any of the previous candidates can be lambasted for their antics but Gaga's singing ability isn't as divisive as the number one candidate and woman I'm declaring the next Madonna...

1st place and the Next Madonna...Beyoncé. Yes, she doesn't switch up her image every other day. However, there are these things that are eerily similar to the career of Madonna...

BOTH owe a muffin basket the size of Earth to the trope of "Girl Power". Beyoncé's "Girl Power" was est. with the Destiny's Child song "Independent Women" and was mainstreamed with the Beyoncé snippet turned song "***Flawless" when a key portion of a TEDTalk with Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie was discovered to have been inserted into the song.
Madge has used the "sexual liberation" version of "Girl Power" since Like a Virgin onward.

BOTH had their first single be a bust and not chart on the Hot 100. Beyoncé's first solo single, "Work it Out" from the Austin Powers: Goldmember failed to chart on the Hot 100 [around the time Kelly Rowland found #1 success with "Dilemma" ft. Nelly].
Madge's first single "Everybody" failed to chart on the Hot 100 [but began the backup plan of the century; finding success on the Dance charts].

BOTH aren't regarded as actress dujours, but have been in a critically favored movie where the cast ended up elevating their acting profile. Beyoncé has the movie adaptation of the Broadway musical Dreamgirls as a plus in her acting anthology...even if Jennifer Hudson went on to win the Oscar.
Madge has A League of Their Own as possibly the only plus in her acting career without singing (Or playing Eva Peron)...even if she was easily outshined by co-stars Tom Hanks and Geena Davis.

Finally, BOTH have the most polarizing perceived singing ability of any current female music act. Beyoncé and Madonna even have been blasted for relying on choreography and image to make up for their "questionable" singing ability.
The key difference is Beyoncé's live shows. Just like "Her Madgesty", there is a ton of visual spectacle at a Beyoncé concert [especially with husband Jay-Z currently with the On the Run tour]. However, live singing of Mrs. Knowles-Carter has been met with better fanfare than Madonna.

Oh and for posterity, both have had a string of 5 number 1 albums in the 2000s...

- Dangerously in Love #1 [2003; debut]
- B'Day #1 [2006]
- I Am...Sasha Fierce #1 [2008]
- 4 #1 [2011]
- Beyoncé #1 [2013]

- Music #1 [2000; 8th album]
- American Life #1 [2003; same year as Beyoncé's debut]
- Confessions on a Dance Floor #1 [2005]
- Hard Candy #1 [2008]
- MDNA #1 [2012]

With everything accounted for...

Beyoncé is The Next Madonna.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Azealia Banks and the What the Future SHOULD Hold

The following is an opinion piece/think piece over Harlem, NY rap phenomenon Azealia Banks.

A huge amount has happened since I last touched on the career thus far of Azealia Banks in Post 9 of the W.W.C.I.I.T.M.I. series. As of July 10th, 2014 she is no longer with Universal Records [the "head" label of Interscope Records (U.S.)/Polydor Records(U.K.)]

Long before and well after this, she had long been considered a troublemaker and shit-stirrer with many of the celebrity world. When news broke that she had been freed from her contract with Universal, it wasn't until late into the night, after celebrating the thought that her much anticipated debut effort Broke With Expensive Taste might finally have more confirmed details [other than a never happened leak or vague summer release] a slight issue arose.
What would happen to her intended mixtape sequel Fantasea II: The Second Wave and its known single "Count Contessa"? Let's start by analyzing the events before being freed from the label.

It started in January 2014, when Banks made it known through her Twitter account that she was "in hell" having no material released since "ATM JAM" [the song then being scrapped from any incarnation of the intended album due to poor reception by fans]. She would later relay her regret of not signing with Sony Records as it was apparent that something of a bidding war had happened between Interscope and Sony for Banks.
June 8th rolls around; her gig at Los Angeles PRIDE though met with polarizing impact upon announcement received rave reviews from the crowd [specifically for her covering of the Robin S. song "Show Me Love"]. Days later another Twitter feud with Atlanta rapper T.I. ended up creating more buzz that the U.S. had become more familiar with more so than her music...

This entailed the uneven reputation Banks ended up with. Europe audiences have seen and heard a lot more music than any U.S. market has. For posterity, L.A. PRIDE was her first major U.S. event since Coachella 2012 [she did perform at a Forever 21 held "Cranechella" recently, but we are talking major events]. For a stretch of time, she performed at the Glastonbury, Reading, 1Xtra Live, Frauenfeld and MELT! festivals in the U.K., Switzerland and Germany respectively [her Twitter account has many more European dates and international travel dates].

With new found freedom, speculation turns to these main concerns: Will Broke With Expensive Taste see the light of day? Did she retain intellectual property rights to her only previously released label work the EP, 1991? How long is she going to be in "indie world" before another label signs her [if she wants to have label representation again; if say Sony signs her to their label]? Is she going to rap again? All of these questions, naturally have complicated answers.
First, there will be some incarnation of BWET released. Yet it is unclear if Banks even retained the rights to the material that was eventually going to end up on the album. If she did, the album might be released under a different name or as a mixtape whose name could be even more unclear than that.
Second, there is a 50/50 possibility that Banks was able to retain any rights to 1991. Even with scant promotion as an EP, it peaked at #133 on the Billboard 200 and #1 on the Heatseekers Album charts. The chart positions might have been enough for Banks to retain her material for other use at her discretion, but this is pure speculation.
Third, the ball is in the middle of the court as far as any label offering representation and Banks' desire to be on a label after the struggle with Universal. The only other known label that she had ever expressed wanting to be a part of was Sony. It is unclear if Sony will consider opening up any offer it had with her or even if Banks would reach out to Sony to look into the offer they had so long ago.

As far as the fourth question, it takes a studious fan of Banks to know where the hell her musical style will end up. In an appearance on Hot 97 personality Peter Rosenberg's Complex Magazine YouTube series, The Process, it was revealed that Banks had long considered herself a better singer than rapper. Fans of hers know of her singing ability due to the fact that in addition to rapping, singing appears on damn near all of her tracks. The cuts with pure singing to almost pure singing include "Luxury", covers of "Slow Hands" by Interpol and "Barely Legal" by The Strokes.
Banks also stated that before she had even made "212", she had been a musical theater girl and had been something of a "Broadway Baby" hopeful... [The Process | Azealia Banks]

If any incarnation of BWET is released, it seems like it's going to be most of the stuff fans of hers already know about her. There might be a chance that XL Recordings era single "L8R" might make an appearance. As for her known BWET material that hasn't already been scrapped, "Yung Rapunxel" is still going to be on the album. However, she might create entirely new material and scrap the entire album herself [again, pure speculation; this cannot be confirmed.]
"Count Contessa" on the other hand might be included on a deluxe incarnation of BWET should it ever see the light if Fantasea II: The Second Wave gets scrapped to make up for BWET to get the release it should have years ago. If not, "Count Contessa" might not even be on any album [pure speculation given the history of her discography].

Now let's talk about what needs to happen as far as Azealia Banks in the now. Should Sony Records scoops Azealia Banks up, they better promote her music on U.S. radio. Seriously, she's "written off" for no reason Stateside because Universal either didn't or wouldn't let Interscope promote her stuff in the U.S. Why else was she limited to Europe? Doing Glastonbury to MELT! festivals in Europe is OK thanks to YouTube.
However, none of her stuff was really promoted for U.S. markets. Why else were "1991", "Luxury", "Jumanji", "212" ft. Lazy Jay and a whole shitload of songs NEVER added to her YouTube/VEVO account?

The only songs that even got the "VEVO Seal of Approval" via the YouTube joint VEVO w/o fuckups were "ATM JAM" and "Yung Rapunxel". "Van Vogue" got flagged enough for it to be censored unless you happen to have an account on YouTube. Even worse, "Liquorice" was originally published under the misspelled "AzaeliaBanksVEVO" channel [the "pre-migration" count being 2,149,498 views] *For the record, the video has 7,379,322 views as of 1:38 AM, today July 11th*

Here's a reminder/newsflash: every released single for radio she's had has been for the international markets of the UK, Netherlands, Ireland, Belgium and Australia. "212" ended up a Top 15 hit in the UK and Netherlands (#12 and #14 respectively), a Top 10 hit in Ireland at #7, a Top 20 hit in the Flanders region of Belgium (#17), a Top 40 hit in the Wallonia region of Belgium (#34) and a Top 100 hit in Australia (#68). "Liquorice" only went to #73 in Flemish Belgium; "Yung Rapunxel" only went to #152 in the UK; "ATM JAM" despite being her second Top 40 Walloon Belgium hit, was scrapped from the album most likely compounded by the Flemish peak of #55 and UK peak of #169.
She's never had singles serviced for U.S. radio on any level. There is a great deal of potential for her to have that radio breakthrough to add to her viral sensation from 2011, "212".

That being said, it is going to take a lot more than corrected business savvy on any U.S. label end. Banks herself needs to continue the positive spin she's built for herself from L.A. PRIDE. Long before her reputation sat in limbo [specifically with the LGBT community] she inspired people as a hardcore East Coast rapper who openly identified as bisexual...

Before this same author of the article link would go on to express disappointment in Banks for her future attitude, there has been est. connection of a U.S. fanbase. Why Universal/Interscope never used this as leverage to spread her music to mainstream radio is simply baffling.

What can be summated is this; Azealia Banks' future in the music industry can go many directions after being freed from Universal. The next move can be made in a matter of seconds, minutes, hours, days, etc. with her. Somebody needs to make the move soon and hopefully restore the potential Banks showed merely 2-3 years ago.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

The Voice U.S. S7 Thoughts

Since S4, I've been recapping and criticizing episodes of The NBC Show with Ratings. I've been watching since S1. With a new season and two new coaches, it's time to relay some thoughts (In the form of criticizing potential pitfalls of the new season) as to how S7 will end up...

1. It will be better than the last 2 seasons combined: Not exactly the highest bar to jump over, but S7 should be a completely revitalized season in all the right ways. S5 was a lackluster reboot of S1 that gave Adam Levine his first female winner and the show's third female winner in a row. S6 was a terrible season compared to seasons prior and seemed really rigged when the "Twitter Save" was used in the Top 5 to ensure The Grimmie Reaper stayed regardless of weak for her iTunes sales.

S7 is introducing producer/singer Pharrell Williams as a proper coach [he was the Battle Rounds adviser in S4 for Usher's team] and No Doubt lead singer, Gwen Stefani. At least how Gwen will be is sort of up in the air as this is most likely her first foray into TV Competition Shows *FUN Fact: she turned down ABC's Rising Star for this. Wise move, Gwen.* I'm looking forward to that much even if...

2. No weirdo friendly coach looks to be est.: Jesus knows The Voice needs a weirdo/"personality" since S6 diminished hope altogether for them; S5 screwed them all for HRFH -2.0 (and a bust coronation song) and S4 was too country-laden for Michelle "Amazing Human" Chamuel to win. Apart from Chamuel, the last true "personality" came in the form of Cody Belew from S3 (And to think Nicholas David's awful singing beat him...T_T). The problem is, Cee-Lo Green was really the bastion for the freak flag to fly [Usher and Chamuel was a bit of a fluke.]

S7 does have Pharrell and Gwen, but they might not infer that weirdos are welcome. The best chance for a weirdo/"personality" friendly coach is Pharrell. He's a diehard "Trekkie", worked with Kelis pre-"Milkshake" and is pretty much from Neptune [when you get it...] Gwen is a bit of a weirdo herself but even with her solo efforts and that contracted posse "Love. Angel. Music. Baby.", she's probably going to push for [hopefully] pop/rock vocalists like Adam; or sadly end up enabling the most likely fact...

3. Female "hard rocker" types are going to make a resurgence: ...and that is going to suck. Ever since S2 and Juliet Simms losing to Jermaine Paul, some critics and some viewers have been praying for a hard "rawk" chick to win. While there's nothing utterly terrible about "rawk", the "rawker" types that make it to The Voice are revealed to be complete and utter try-hard wannabes [At least from Simms onward, most notably, Kat "CopyKat" Robichaud who swagger jacked Chamuel and every rawker chick in existence.]

S7 might have Gwen being pigeonholed into finding "the next Stevie Nicks/Joan Jett/Pat Benetar" and that is a complete disservice to the other weirdo Gwen is supposed to be.

4. Some wacky format change is going to occur: Oy gevalt; The Voice is about gaining sentience away from being like a Pop Diva: changing what they're about every other right now. First, every coach had a guaranteed artist in the finale where the top finalists could write their own songs. Then, that stopped in S3 where "No Man's Land" was introduced. At that time, the Knockout Rounds were introduced. Then, some idiot in S6 said "Hey, what if we extended the Battle Rounds?" You suck...whoever you are. S5 introduced Twitter users on the East Coast having a say as to whose ass gets saved from being in the bottom 3.

S7 will most likely introduce a new wacky element in the game. Who knows what, but maybe they'll pull from a tradition known as the "Fishbowl" and have contestants pull songs from a fishbowl [or container of sorts] and have to perform it then and there. OR...*this is where the game of Speculate Random Bullshit begins* perhaps this season, the contestants can only perform songs by anybody who has been a coach on the U.S., U.K. or Australian versions of The Voice.

5. Song selection is going to suck...again: Songs performed in past seasons are going to find their way back to being performed in public because SHEEZUS forbid anybody perform songs by Lady Gaga, Lana Del Rey, Janelle Monae, Azealia Banks, Chrisette Michele, Steve Grand, Cody Belew or anybody interesting in the music industry. Instead, expect "Free Fallin'", some "indie" labeled/"rawker" horseshit like Imagine Dragons, OneRepublic garbage and country general...

It's perfectly fine for the usual Blake Shelton advised contestant because country is all they know. Any NON-country Team Blake person or any Team Adam, Cee-Lo, Christina, Shakira or Usher [add in Pharrell and Gwen] that does a country song and they inferred no allegiance of any kind to country music..."God help you; you know how the children are." Thanks end credit voice from Paris is Burning! The point is, I wish song selection was a lot more interesting than the crap most of the contestants end up doing.

6. I will hate the winner: It's a sad tradition, but anybody I like doesn't win the show. And at least since S3, I have positively loathed the winners. I'm already calling it 0 for 7.

That's my thoughts on S7 and I will be an absolute bitch about defending all of them XD

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Won the War: Justin Timberlake V.S. Robin Thicke

This is a series inspired by a tweet from perpetual lightning rod for controversy Azealia Banks when she inferred that although Michael Jackson won the battle, Prince won the war. This will be my take on which two rivals in packaging in the U.S. Music Industry, won the war in terms of longer success.

Round 3 of Won the War involves former N*SYNC punching bag turned solo singer Justin Timberlake against recent mainstream phenom and creepy uncle of music Robin Thicke. They both shook off an image of their initial careers. Justin shook off "boy bander" while Robin shook off commercial bust on his debut. With recent efforts getting them some level of success, let's figure out...

In longevity terms, who merely won the battle...and who Won the War?

As of 2014, Justin has 4 albums to his name; the most recent effort being The 20/20 Experience – 2 of 2 in the fall of last year. Robin has 7 with the just released (July 1st, the day I started writing this) effort, Paula (Which is named for the wife he cheated on and is trying to woo back; -_- -_- -_- -_-) but without much of the singles known, his last complete effort was his 6th released, the 2013 effort Blurred Lines.

Here's their album peaks from highest to lowest...

Justin Timberlake
- FutureSex/LoveSounds at #1
- The 20/20 Experience at #1
The 20/20 Experience – 2 of 2 at #1
- Justified at #2

Robin Thicke
- Blurred Lines at #1
- Something Else at #3
- The Evolution of Robin Thicke at #5
- Sex Therapy: The Session at #9
- Love After War at #22
- A Beautiful World at #152 [considering this is of the Billboard 200 ranks, it sounds pathetic. However, Thicke was signed under a different boutique/vanity label of Interscope Records. Read "different" as "label that ain't shit."]

Due to the fact that these two have made something of a name for themselves, radio has played their songs every now and again. In terms of longevity when was their last #1 hit on the Hot 100?
*Reminder: Hot 100 ranking does matter if you're absolutely looking for a gauge of where an artist is in terms of popularity*

Justin's last #1 on the Hot 100 was "What Goes Around... Comes Around" from the 2006 release FutureSex/LoveSounds. 2 albums and 8 years ago? O_O Robin's last #1 was "Blurred Lines" from last year. However, that is his only #1 hit.

The last Top 10 hit? Justin has "Not a Bad Thing" from his most recent album at #8. Not bad considering that part 1 and 2 of "The 20/20" experience was 6 months apart and seemed a bit rushed. Robin on the other hand has never had a Top 10/Not #1 hit; ever. The closest he got was "Lost Without U" at #14 in 2007.

Normally, acting in movies and comparing stats through Rotten Tomatoes would be next. However, as far as I know, Robin Thicke has never been in a movie. His personal life however, is playing like the tackiest soap opera in production. *shaaaaaaaaaaaaaaade*

Musically, there are naturally some weak points in an artists' career when say...a lead single doesn't go to #1 or released singles chart really low. These are the positions at the lowest of Justin and Robin's careers...

Justin Timberlake's Lowest Charting Singles:
- Lowest Charting Lead Single: "Take Back the Night" at #29 on the Hot 100.
- Lowest Charting Released Single: "TKO" at #36 on the Hot 100.

Robin Thicke's Lowest Charting Singles:
- Lowest Charting Lead Single: "Magic" at #59 on the Hot 100.
- Lowest Charting Released Single: "Can U Believe" at #99 on the Hot 100.

Their chart nadirs are rather telling of their careers. Timberlake's chart nadirs came from the same album, but even at his charting lowest they were still in the Top 40 of the Hot 100. That is nothing to sneer at, especially considering that his tenure for SNL guest appearances has more or less overshadowed his music career. Keep in mind, the gap between albums 2 and 3 was technically 6 years.
Thicke's chart nadirs went from his lowest from his album The Evolution of Robin Thicke to his lowest lead single of verified effort Something Else. In terms of career, he was on a rise until "something else" [the scandal] came up. 2013 rolled around and Pharrell alongside T.I. helped make Robin Thicke a thing in popular music (They even contributed to the "pearl clutching controversy" of the song which media outlets had eloquently described as "rapey".) Then, the only song he's had mega-success with gets the attention of the Marvin Gaye estate for plagiarism accusations. Add the scandal of him cheating on his wife and the separation that follows and the fact he named his July 1st released album Paula in the most desperate looking attempt of wooing her back and this much is clear; at least he'll be a two hit wonder before his personal life overwhelms his career.

Now for the final points: iconic singles AKA, the one single people know is by that artist.

Justin's signature song is the earworm "SexyBack". It could easily be "Rock Your Body" or "Cry Me a River" as well, but "SexyBack is the song people cannot shut up about the minute its name is uttered.

Robin's signature song is "Blurred Lines". Enough said here. *shaaaaaaaaaaade*

Forget bits of info for posterity; I think it's time we reveal the winner. One has 4 Top 3 albums; one just hit #1 in the biggest way conceivable; one has relied on perceived male pop vocalist talent; the other owes a muffin basket the size of Earth to Pharrell and the MTV Video Music Awards...the result is as follows...