With Labor Day having come and gone, we know two things for sure: it”s time to put away our white shoes and we”re ready to look at the summer”s hits and misses in music. Sure, there were much worse things going on than sinking album and ticket sales, like the BP spill and Mel Gibson”s rants, but there was plenty going on to make us smile and sigh this summer.
Eminem: It”s good to be king. He reigned on the Billboard 200, Hot 100 and Digital Songs. From “Relapse” to “Recovery” in record time. The only question left is if “Recovery” will surpass Lady Antebellum”s “Need You Now” for bragging rights as the top-selling album of the year. 8- Ball says “yes.”
Katy Perry: It”s a twenty-something dream for Perry as “California Gurls” is the song of the summer.
Nicki Minaj: After guesting on everyone”s album but Susan Boyle”s, Minaj hits paydirt with “Your Love.” The tunereaches the summit of Billboard”s Rap Songs chart, making Minaj the first female artist to top the chart as a solo artist (we won”t ruin Minaj”s moment by ruminating on that pathetic stat for too long).
Cee-Lo: C”mon, you know why. Simply the catchiest song ever built around a curse word that ensures it will never get the airplay it deserves. We have one thing to say to the clean version, “Forget You”: “Fuck You.”
“American Idol”: We know you”re shocked to see the Fox show on the list, but imagine this: After its lowest-rated season ended in May, “A.I.” managed to capture headlines and our attention all summer long with the “Will they? Won”t they?” antics of whether Jennifer Lopez or Steven Tyler would be new judges. And we still don”t know a damn thing. Nice work.
Drake: Unlike many of his fellow fill-in-the-blank hot, new R&B-flavored pop male (B.o.B., Jason DeRulo, Taio Cruz, Mike Posner), this sexy Canadian is selling both single downloads and albums. “Thank Me Later” has sold more than 1 million in 11 weeks. By contrast, “Rokstarr” fromCruz, who”s had two massive hits, has sold less than 100,000 in a longer time period.
Lady GaGa: She and her Little Monsters scare up the hottest tour of the summer.
Christina Aguilera: It really hurts us to write this since Xtina is massively talented, but “Bionic,” her first album in four years, proved to be anything but. It has sold less than 250,000 copies since its June release and is falling rapidly down the Billboard 200 (as of this writing, it stands at No. 147). Underated tracks like the bouncy “Elastic Love” and gorgeous “I Am” went unheard after radio distanced itself from Christina 2.0 and her desperate MILF, “watch-me-on-all-fours-while-I-drink-from-a-dog-bowl” antics in first video, “Not Myself Tonight.” Her peerless voice won”t be denied, so we”re predicting a sweet comeback. No dog collar required.
M.I.A.: The talent doesn”t match the hype and at some point, agit-prop just become annoying. Other than “Paper Planes,” M.I.A. has failed to strike a chord with the mainstream and her petty feud with a New York Times writer just made her look churlish. M.I.A.”s breathlessly-anticipated “Maya” arrived D.O.A. and has sold less than 62,000 since its release two months ago.
Lilith Fair: To be sure, the femme fest was hardly the only tour this summer to struggle, but it became the symbol of the broken touring season and was trotted out as the whipping boy (girl?) in every story to describe this summer”s concert woes.
Katy Perry: Yes, she can be on both lists. “California Gurls” and “Teenage Dream” sold gazillions (okay, millions) of downloads and Perry could not have promoted her sophomore album more if she”d gone door to door, but when the first week album numbers came out, “Teenage Dream” couldn”t muster more than 193,000 in sales. Will we look back “Teenage Dream” as the industry”s tipping point where album sales quit being the barometer for a project”s success?
Miley Cyrus: This little peacock got her tail feathers clipped with “Can’t Be Tamed.” Following the massive success of “Party in the U.S.A.,” it would have been logical to figure the follow-up album would benefit from that momentum, but Cyrus’s insistance that she morph from Disney darling to Playboy pin-up in three easy steps alienated everyone. Cue to comeback 20 years from now when she’s playing the next big thing’s mom on the Disney Channel. It’s a shame because the album had some very catchy tracks.
Album Sales: We”re clearly working a theme here. Album sales hit their lowest weekly tally in June, slipping below 5 million units for the first time since the 1991 birth of SoundScan. And then, just to end summer the way it began, sank even lower in mid-August. The race to 4 million is on.
Who do you think deserved to be on the hits and misses lists? Share your thoughts below.