By Bill Lamb
These are the 40 current songs that the world is hearing. They are the current definition of pop music.
At first listen, Pharrell Williams' smash hit "Happy" might seem like a simple ditty for the animated film Despicable Me 2. However, its jazz-soul fusion sound is a breath of fresh air on mainstream top 40 radio. The song has touched a chord around the world becoming a huge pop smash, and it has earned an Academy Award nomination for Best Original Song.
Katy Perry turns to a darker, trap influenced sound on the third single from the album Prism. This is one of the first songs introducing trap into the mainstream. The accompanying music video features the star in a colorful version of ancient Egypt as Katypatra.
The release of Jason Derulo's "Talk Dirty" was delayed in the US while his single "Marry Me" became a moderate hit. Meanwhile, "Talk Dirty" went to #1 in the UK. Back here in the US, the catchy, sexy, horn-driven song has roared on to the charts to become Jason Derulo's biggest hit since his debut "Whatcha Say."
This is the song that insisted on being a major hit regardless of publicity patterns. "Drunk In Love" received early radio airplay from Beyonce's "surprise" release of her most recent album. The accompanying video shows a romantic update to her previous Jay-Z collaboration "Crazy In Love" that helped kick off Beyonce's solo career. She performed "Drunk In Love" live to open this year's Grammy Awards.
The melancholy breakup ballad "Say Something" first gained major exposure on the TV show So You Think You Can Dance. However, it really took off when Christina Aguilera, coach on The Voice, decided to record a new version featuring her vocal contributions. The song is part of what might be a new small wave of slow ballads to hit the pop charts after being nearly absent for a number of years.
This single proves that Lorde's success with the single "Royals" is no fluke. Here she is in a slightly more mainstream pop mood. By the end of the first time through you will likely be singing along here. While Lorde easily maintains her distinctiveness, Lana Del Rey fans might think some of "Team" visits familiar territory.
OneRepublic have earned a major worldwide pop smash with "Counting Stars." It is a top 10 hit across Europe. It is a single from the album Native. Like any OneRepublic hit, the song is distinctly percussive in the mix and this time features influence from the recent folk rock trend in mainstream pop.