HITS Daily Double
IF THIS IS HEAVEN, I NEED SOMETHING MORE: One of the few benefits of being me (and they’re woefully few), is that I have had the privilege of working with Arcade Fire for the past decade. The new album Reflektor, out on Oct. 29, is the band’s masterpiece. With each listen, more is revealed, and favorite songs keep changing. Currently, “We Exist” is the one that moves me, but I’m also obsessed with “Normal Life” and “Here Comes the Night Time.” After you’ve heard the album, let’s discuss. In the meantime, “Reflektor” is feeling like a real HIT, with the most ridiculous (in a good way) MScores I’ve ever seen at 91X, and overwhelmingly positive feedback from programmers. It’s what we all wish for on behalf of this band… Last week, despite a sinus infection, I was able to score a ticket to see Simple Minds, and was able to reconnect with Jim Kerr and Charlie Burchill. They were one of the first bands where my efforts on their behalf had a tangible effect on their career. I first saw them in Cleveland, newly minted as a college rep at A&M Records, during the New Gold Dream tour. Jim added a lyric from Television’s “Glory” into one of their songs, and I was forever smitten. That was in 1983. Thirty years later, after many hugs, I was able to tell Jim how grateful I was for the eight years we worked together. And also tell him that I now owned the ’58 Jazzmaster that Tom Verlaine used to record those Television records. They played all of my favorite Simple Minds songs—at least a dozen that I had “worked.” Rob Goldklang can attest—it was a magical evening. Will the bands being played by Modern Rock today have that longevity, or has the collective attention span of the audience been whittled down to one 3-minute song at a time? The prevailing blueprint for breaking bands in the early era of Modern Rock was three albums, with a hit soundtrack song in between the second and third. Now a song has six weeks to prove itself. So much for artist development…. A big hail to our (mine and Ted’s) boyfriend Nick Petropoulos on another stellar week with Chvrches, including KTBZ, WBOS, KNRK and WWWX, plus new spins at KKDO! Lenny, my fearless leader, will ask me two weeks into a song’s life at radio if it’s a hit. Since every song has its own path, my response tends to be, “I would certainly love that to be the case,” and then hope to be proven right as the months pass. With “The Mother We Share,” it’s unequivocal—the song is a smash… As I’ve described in other columns you didn’t read, there’s nothing more torturous than playing a song for a PD in their office, only to watch their focus wane until they’re in a complete fugue state, usually less than two minutes in. All of your most compelling arguments and sushi dinners can’t undo that first impression. Nothing like setting up a song with the caveat, “it’s a grower.” And to be fair, some of the biggest hits are (Tame Impala’s “Elephant” is an obvious example). But if you’re lucky enough to work a song that “plays” well in a meeting, that’s half the battle already won. The new Airborne Toxic Event single “Hell and Back” is that perfect song—an absolute one-listen stomper. It’s Modern-day driving music (not surprising, since Mikel wrote it while riding his motorcycle from Tulsa to LA). Now it’s also the first single from the soundtrack to Dallas Buyer’s Club! New adds this week include 91X, KCXX and X-96, with many more pegged for next week. Very exciting!… Another song that is moving from in-office favorite to on-air reaction record is Kongos “I’m Only Joking,” which Q87 was first to play, and it’s now showing up as a widely searched song in Chicago on Shazam. KRXP, KTCL and KKDO are also on board with this band, a group of four brothers originally from South Africa, now based in Phoenix. At the core of the song is a Burundi-like beat, similar to Bow Wow Wow or Adam Ant, reflecting the band’s African roots. It’s the propulsive beat that immediately hooked Walt and PJ (both musicians) at Q87. Lyrically, it’s been compared to AWOLNation’s “Sail,” and we know how that song wound up doing… Congrats to Mike DePippa and Amanda Walk for their big win with MS MR’s “Hurricane,” now firmly entrenched in the Top 10! Look for similar success with Haim in the coming months… Vampire Weekend’s “Unbelievers” is an absolute smash. This band is the Modern Rock band who will still be meaningful in the decades ahead, whether or not you choose to participate.
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