It is an open question whether American Idol still has the power to create a pop superstar from its contestant pool. However, the show just might have the ability to break a band with US pop music fans. Last night the Irish band Kodaline performed their single "All I Want" and wowed the studio audience as well as viewers at home. As a result the group has broken into the top 100 of the iTunes chart and created strong buzz among pop fans.
Originally known as 21 Demands, the group made Irish chart history in 2007 with "Give Me a Minute," the first independently produced single to hit #1 on the pop singles chart. In 2011 the band became Kodaline and signed a contract with RCA. Their debut album In a Perfect World was released last year and it hit #3 on the UK albums chart. It included five Irish hit singles and a pair of songs that reached the pop top 40 in the UK. Kodaline perform a live show tonight in Chicago before heading back to Ireland for a tour of their home country and the UK. Check out the band performing "All I Want" below.
- Watch Kodaline perform "All I Want"
Photo courtesy RCA
For fans with any fears about whether Phillip Phillips could successfully follow up his platinum selling debut album The World From the Side Of the Moon, last night's triumphant return to the American Idol stage should help ease them. He performed his new single "Raging Fire" which is the first release from an upcoming second studio album. Following the performance, the song roared into the top 10 of the iTunes digital sales chart. Phillip Phillips helped write "Raging Fire," and the record was produced by Greg Wattenberg who produced the debut album except for the American Idol coronation song "Home." Phillip Phillips has quickly risen into the ranks of the most successful of former American Idol champions. He has topped the adult contemporary chart twice and both of those songs reached the top 30 on the adult pop radio chart as well as being certified platinum for sales. Watch Phillip Phillips sing "Raging Fire" in his return to American Idol below.
Single cover courtesy Interscope
Superstar producer Timbaland is hard at work on posthumous Michael Jackson music. Yesterday he shared a snippet of the song "Slave To the Rhythm" via SoundCloud. A little over halfway through following lush strings, Michael Jackson's inimitable voice breaks in with, "She's a slave to the rhythm!" Reportedly L.A. Reid enlisted Timbaland to work on previously unreleased Michael Jackson material, and last fall Timbaland said he had a lot of such material. There is no word of any official release dates, but for fans eager to hear a bit more of Michael Jackson, check out the snippet below.
- Listen to "Slave To the Rhythm"
Photo by Steve Jennings / Getty Images
26 year old Rihanna continues to re-write pop music record books. Today the UK's Official Charts Company announced that her single "Diamonds" has now sold over one million copies in the UK. That makes it her fourth million selling single on those shores. She now ranks second only to the Beatles with the most million selling songs of any recording artist. The other three are "We Found Love" featuring Calvin Harris, "Love the Way You Lie" with Eminem, and "Only Girl (In the World)." Just last week Pharrell Williams scored his third million seller as "Happy" reached the landmark. Rihanna has sold more than 120 million singles worldwide since releasing her first music in 2005. She has reached #1 on the US pop music chart 13 times tying her for third place all time with Michael Jackson. Rihanna is reportedly at work on her eighth studio album with David Guetta among the producers. Check out million seller "Diamonds" below.
- Watch "Diamonds"
Single cover courtesy Def Jam
Despite critical acclaim, Mariah Carey's single "The Art Of Letting Go" failed to gain a place on mainstream pop radio. Now, with her new release "You're Mine (Eternal)" she has made her way back on to pop radio playlists. Mediabase charts are now showing the song surging into the top 50 with significant audience growth. The new song comes in both its original version and in a midtempo remix that features singer Trey Songz. "You're Mine (Eternal)" has been compared to Mariah Carey's massive comeback single "We Belong Together" from 2005. It is the third single released from the upcoming album The Art Of Letting Go. For those who are keeping track it has now been over four years since Mariah Carey last reached the pop top 10 in 2009 with "Obsessed." She is one of the most successful pop recording artists of all time having more number one pop hits in the US, 18, than any other artist except for the Beatles who topped the chart 20 times. Check out "You're Mine (Eternal)" below.
- Watch "You're Mine (Eternal)"
Single cover courtesy Island
Despite there being no big wave of K-Pop crashing on US shores following Psy's huge success with "Gangnam Style," the Korean style of pop music has slowly made headway here. This week Crush, the second studio album from girl group 2NE1, becomes the first K-Pop album to crack the upper half of the US album chart. It opens at #61 after selling 5,000 copies in its first week, another record for a K-Pop album. The album appeared on a Thursday giving it a shortened first week of sales. It was not preceded by any singles, and, instead, "Come Back Home," the official first single, received a video release on Sunday. "Come Back Home" debuts at #2 on Billboard's K-Pop Hot 100 this week.
2NE1 first hit Korean charts in 2009. They have since hit #1 at home in Korea with 11 singles and the debut album To Anyone. Their 2012 single "I Love You" reached #1 on the K-Pop Hot 100 in the US. Check out the video for "Come Back Home" below.
- Watch "Come Back Home"
Photo by Ken Ishii / Getty Images
Pharrell Williams' "Happy" Is First Song To Sell 400,000+ In Consecutive Weeks Since "Blurred Lines"
Another sign that Pharrell Williams rules the sound of current pop music. His current #1 pop hit "Happy" sold 413,000 copies last week for its second consecutive week selling more than 400,000 copies. That makes it the first single to accomplish that feat since Robin Thicke's "Blurred Lines" produced and co-written by Pharrell Williams sold more than 400,000 copies for three consecutive weeks back in June 2013. "Happy" stands a good chance of making it three consecutive weeks with the boost provided by Pharrell Williams' live performance of the Oscar nominated song at last weekend's 86th Academy Awards. "Happy" has been an even bigger hit in the UK. There it has spent four weeks at #1 and has sold over one million copies making Pharrell Williams one of only three artists, along with the Beatles and Rihanna to appear on three million selling singles.
Pharrell Williams released his new solo album G I R L earlier this week. It should debut near the top of the album chart next week. The new collection includes guest appearances from Daft Punk, Miley Cyrus, and Justin Timberlake.
Single cover courtesy Back Lot
If you are a fan of current British pop music, you are certainly familiar with the throaty, soulful vocals of Jess Glynne. However, you may not even know her name. She is the voice behind two of the biggest pop hits of the year so far in the UK. Jess Glynne provides featured vocals on Clean Bandit's #1 smash "Rather Be." It spent four weeks at #1 selling over 400,000 copies and has since hit the top 10 in many other countries around the world. This week she is the vocalist on the breakthrough pop hit from producer Route 94 "My Love." The song is likely to debut at #1 on the UK pop singles chart this Sunday.
Beyond her #1 hits as featured vocalist, Jess Glynne also released her own song "Home" to YouTube in February. The track was put together with the cooperation of Grime producer Bless Beats. Jess Glynne is following a path to success similar to that of Emeli Sande and Sam Smith before her. Her featured performances have made the sound of her voice familiar to mainstream pop fans preparing the way for Jess Glynne's own future recordings. Check out the song "Home" below.
- Watch "Home"
Photo courtesy Jess Glynne
It is not a big surprise, but Adam Lambert fans will rejoice at the news he is heading out on the road this summer as lead vocalist for legendary rock band Queen. Original members of the band Brian May and Roger Taylor will take part in the concert tour. The first date is June 19, 2014 in Chicago and will continue for 19 shows across Canada and the US. Adam Lambert first performed as lead vocalist for Queen in 2009 on American Idol. They also appeared at the 2011 MTV Europe Music Awards and have toured overseas. In the press release announcing the concert tour, Adam Lambert references Queen's late lead vocalist Freddie Mercury saying, "I'm honored to be able to pay my respects to Freddie's memory; he's a personal hero of mine, and I am deeply grateful for the chance to sing such powerful music for fans of this legendary band."
Queen's Greatest Hits album recently became the first album ever to sell more than six million copies in the UK. Their single "Bohemian Rhapsody" ranks #4 in my listing of the Top 100 Pop Songs Of All Time, and the paired songs "We Will Rock You" and "We Are the Champions" have been inducted into the Grammy Hall Of Fame. Adam Lambert's most recent album Trespassing reached #1 on the album chart. He is currently at work on his third studio album. Check out the tour dates for Adam Lambert and Queen below.
Adam Lambert and Queen Tour Dates
- Jun. 19 - Chicago, IL (United Center)
- Jun. 21 - Winnipeg, MB (MTS Centre)
- Jun. 23 - Saskatoon, SK (Credit Union Centre)
- Jun. 24 - Edmonton, AB (Rexall Place)
- Jun. 26 - Calgary, AB (Scotiabank Saddledome)
- Jun. 28 - Vancouver, BC (Pepsi Live at Rogers Arena)
- Jul. 1 - San Jose, CA (SAP Center)
- Jul. 3 - Los Angeles, CA (The Forum)
- Jul. 5 - Las Vegas, NV (The Joint)
- Jul. 6 - Las Vegas, NV (The Joint)
- Jul. 9 - Houston, TX (Toyota Center)
- Jul. 10 - Dallas, TX (American Airlines Center)
- Jul. 12 - Detroit, MI (The Palace Of Auburn Hills)
- Jul. 13 - Toronto, ON (Air Canada Centre)
- Jul. 14 - Montreal, QC (Bell Centre)
- Jul. 16 - Philadelphia, PA (Wells Fargo Center)
- Jul. 17 - New York, NY (Madison Square Garden)
- Jul. 19 - Uncasville, CT (Mohegan Sun Arena)
- Jul. 20 - Washington, DC (Merriweather Post Pavilion)
Photo by Brad Barket / Getty Images
This year had already set a landmark as the first year since 1997 to feature two top 20 pop hits among the nominees for Best Original Song at the Academy Awards. Now, with the assistance of outstanding live performances at the ceremony, three of the four nominated songs are currently riding high in the top 10 of the iTunes digital sales chart. Pharrell Williams' nominated "Happy" holds down #1 as it does on the Billboard Hot 100. It is followed by the winner of the award "Let It Go" at #2. Both songs have spent much of the young year in the top 10 on the sales chart. They are now joined by legendary rock band U2 with their nominated song "Ordinary Love." Although it is still some distance from the top 10, the fourth nominated song "The Moon Song" from Her is resting comfortably inside the top 40. This is a sharp turnaround for the relative lack of connection between pop audiences and Academy Award nominated songs in recent years. One notable exception was last year's winner "Skyfall" by Adele. This year the Awards reversed a recent trend of not presenting performances of a number of nominated songs at the ceremony. This was the first time in four years that all nominated songs were performed live. Hopefully, the success of the nominees and the high viewership of this year's awards will convince producers to restore movie songs to their proper place at the Academy Awards.
Film posters courtesy various producers