HITS Daily Double

By Karen Glauber

On 4/1, I’ll finally be eligible to join the Hunger Games-esque pursuit of the vaccine in California. This momentous day also marks my 31st anniversary at the “career cul-de-sac” known as HITS, as well as my 29th sober birthday. Maybe I’ll be ready to rejoin the world once I’m vaccinated—Ted is excited at the prospect of summer/fall festivals: Lollapalooza, Life Is Beautiful, Outside Lands, etc.

Todd Rundgren’s Clearly Human virtual tour has kept me relatively sane since February. Anchored in Chicago, Todd mounted a 32-day “tour” with an 11-piece band and $1 million worth of production, focusing on a different city every night. I watched 13 shows, the final night as a member of the “virtual” audience. It was those thrice-weekly shows that kept me tethered to feeling almost like myself.

I’m not especially nostalgic about how things used to be—certainly not enough to devote a column to the “Glory Days of Post Modern,” but I appreciate the emotional comfort that a beloved genre of music has meant during the past year. It’s not a coincidence that pop/punk and emo-leaning music is having its resurgence at radio right now. Memories of Warped Tours past appeal to the upper part of the demo, while the younger listeners are drawn to this sound by exposure to artists like carolesdaughter, Nessa Barrett, Jdxn, etc., on TikTok.

I’m convinced that the reason the callout and MScores are so high for MOD SUN’s “Flames” is Avril Lavigne’s feature on the track. She remains the goddess of the genre, and her vocals still soar above all others who’ve followed in her wake. Travis Barker has assumed the role as the Auntie Mame of this renaissance, and his recognizable drumming propels most of these tracks, including KennyHoopla’s “Estella,” spearheaded by Arista’s Petropoulos and Boulos, which is now Top 10 at the format.

It’s also mandatory that Iann Dior is a featured vocalist on every song at Alt—you’ve seen the memo, right? The best of the bunch is the new Illenium single, “First Time,” which is already at 5 million streams in two weeks. WSFS Miami added this week, and the impact date is on 4/12.

How many weeks will Glass Animals’ “Heat Waves” stay at #1? All of them would be fine by me (allowing a week or two for AJR’s “Way Less Sad” to hit #1). How thrilling to see a “pure” Alternative band that we’ve loved for years have a #1 song at the format! AND the song is crossing to Top 40 now, bolstered by insane streams, proving that our beloved niche genre can generate REAL hits. After you congratulate Amanda Dobbins and Drew Hauser at Republic for their masterful campaign, give yourselves some credit for breaking this phenomenal band.

As disappointed as I was that Phoebe Bridgers went 0-for-4 at the Grammys, her pandemic year has been in the service of making her music known to millions, and “Kyoto” had a huge shot at radio, thanks to Lisa Worden’s belief in her. Black Pumas’ appearance on the show was a catalyst for a massive boost in airplay, as programmers were able to see for themselves why people love this band so much. Congrats to Howard P., Ed Green and their team on steering “Colours” to the top at multiple formats.

Entercom leads the way on Foushee’s “Deep End,” which is now breaking format-wide. If Imagine Dragons had come out one week later, RCA’s Dennis Blair would have four songs in the Top 10, with Kings of Leon, Cage the Elephant, Foo Fighters and Foushee commanding their rightful chart-topping places. Bravo to DB!

Girl in Red’s “Serotonin” reminds me of why I fell deeply in love with Kate Bush in high school. This is the record that will stealthily ascend to the top of the chart, because quality and passion still count for everything.

SONG TO HEAR: beabadoobee’s “Last Day on Earth.”


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