CHRIS WHO?: Chris Tomlin tops this week’s chart with his seventh album Burning Lights, which sold 73,000 copies this week, according to Nielsen SoundScan figures released Wednesday. OK, so who is Chris Tomlin? He’s a 40-year-old contemporary Christian artist from Texas whose previous chart high came in 2008 when his album Hello Love debuted at No. 9. Tomlin benefited from a weak sales frame —this week marks the lowest sales tally for a No. 1 album since September, when another Christian act, tobyMac, hit No. 1— and his numbers were buoyed by sales at churches and other non-traditional outlets, which accounted for a full 40 percent of the album’s sales, Billboard notes. Guest artists on Burning Lights include Lecrae, Kari Jobe and Phil Wickham; Tomlin must not have 2 Chainz’ most recent phone number.
P!NK GOES PLATINUM: Congratulations are in order for P!nk, whose September release The Truth About Love crosses the platinum marker this week. The album, which debuted at No. 1 last year with 281,000 first week sales, sold 28,000 copies this week, landing at No. 12 and bringing its total sales to 1.014 million copies. P!nk is mounting a U.S. tour in support of the album which kicks off Feb. 13 at Phoenix’s US Airways Center, and we’re guessing there will be aerial stunts involved.
Last week, we successfully brought you the VH1 staff’s favorite songs of 2011 without any bloodshed, and we’re happy to report that no one’s brain exploded while trying to narrow down the amazing albums of 2012 into a concise list. Again, what VH1 staffers enjoyed in 2012 was a rich and vibrant tapestry of genres, created both by newcomers and veterans.
As far as consensus is concerned, there were 23 LPs that appeared on multiple ballots, but only 6 that appeared on four or more lists: Miguel‘s Kaleidoscope Dream (7 ballots), Emeli Sandé‘s Our Version Of Events and Frank Ocean‘s channel ORANGE (6 ballots apiece), Kendrick Lamar‘s good kid, m.A.A.d. city (5 ballots), Taylor Swift‘s RED and Macklemore & Ryan Lewis‘ The Heist (each with 4 ballots).
Now, on with the show!
On this week’s episode of the VH1 Top 20 Countdown, we’re rolling out the Top 20 videos of the year from Herald Square, New York City. That’s right, all the videos that have led the countdown throughout the different seasons of the year will now battle it out for Top 20 supremacy. But before the show airs on Saturday at 9am EST, you can still cast your vote for the video you think should take the crown for 2012. Who will it be? You’ll have to tune-in and check back with us on Saturday to find out!
When we began compiling our Best Songs of 2012 list, there were many differing opinions, and after briefly toying with the idea of pitting all our staff against one another in a Hunger Games fight-to-the-death scenario against the backdrop of Times Square, we conceded that the most diplomatic and least murderous thing to do would be to each submit our own list. You know, in the name of preserving a civil work environment and whatnot (not to mention our longstanding policy of avoiding contact with the human resources department). So while we didn’t battle it out in a conference room or some such nonsense, each one of us faced an internal battle — choosing our favorite songs of the year.
As far as consensus is concerned, there were 21 songs that appeared on multiple ballots, but only eight that appeared on three or more lists: Carly Rae Jepsen‘s “Call Me Maybe” (4 ballots), Frank Ocean‘s “Pyramids” (4 ballots), fun.‘s “We Are Young” (4 ballots), Gotye‘s “Somebody I Used To Know” (3 ballots), P!nk‘s “Just Give Me A Reason” (3 ballots), Usher‘s “Climax” (3 ballots), Azealia Banks‘ “212″ (3 ballots), and Miguel‘s “Adorn” (3 ballots).
(Btw, before we get into this, we’d like to note that we put together the following Spotify playlist for your listening pleasure: VH1 Staffers Pick Their Favorite Songs Of 2012. It’s sequenced in alpha order by artist first name, so we wholeheartedly recommend you hit Shuffle while listening to this 92 track playlist. Now, on with the show…)
Sure L.A. Reid may not be the huge celebrity draw for The X Factor like his co-judges Britney Spears, Simon Cowell or Demi Lovato, but his ear for talent is as seasoned as they come. L.A. Reid is known for his hand in leading music’s biggest acts–Mariah Carey, TLC, P!nk, Toni Braxton–to platinum success. His gift to spot a star the way a tiger smells its preys will be missed on the third season of The X Factor. Read more…
Shoulda, coulda, woulda they say, and if we were heading up things at these labels, we might’ve done things a bit differently. But alas, we do not so we do what we do best and make a catchy end of year list that points out songs that deserved their run at the pop charts. Even if they never see the light of Billboard glory, they’re certainly some of the best songs of the year and should get your listen. Who knows! Did you know “Starships” wasn’t even on the original run of Nicki Minaj‘s Pink Friday? That’s right, and mostly why there was a “Pink Friday 2″ aka Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded. So there’s always a chance for long-lost songs to see new glory. Here are the ones we think deserve it.
Ciara, “Livin’ It Up”
Talk about a missed opportunity, Ciara’s “Livin’ It Up”, a tropical romp across a Kid ‘N Play sample, isn’t even included on the final version of her album One Woman Army. Snatched from a Cosmopolitan Magazine sampler CD, blogs went nuts over the track after it leaked across the web in anticipation for the album. Too bad that when Ciara released her first single, the apty-named, and decidedly down-beat “Sorry”, turned out “Livin’ It Up” was more of what everyone wanted.
Frank Ocean, “Lost”
channel ORANGE received a whole bunch of attention this year, although it was Frank Ocean’s sexuality that managed to steal the spotlight most of the time. The album ended up being a gorgeous collection of songs that perfect flowed in and out of each other–even the 9+ minute “Pyramids” shined. But if any song had a chance at the pop charts, it would’ve been “Lost” a song that tells the tale of a drug-cooking girlfriend atop a catchy pop melody.
The nominees for the 55th Annual Grammy Awards were announced in Los Angeles tonight during a live special that aired on CBS. Hosted by LL Cool J and Taylor Swift, the show featured performances from the likes of fun., Maroon 5, Ne-Yo and more. The 2013 Grammys will be broadcast on CBS February 10th at 8/7c.
This year’s nominations were dominated by a few big names: The Black Keys‘ Dan Auerbach, fun., Jay-Z, Mumford & Sons, Frank Ocean, and Kanye West top the nominations with six each; the Black Keys, Chick Corea and Miguel each garner five nods; and producer Jeff Bhasker, mastering engineer Bob Ludwig and Nas are each up for four awards. [via Grammy.com]
Here’s a (mostly) complete list of the 2013 Grammy Nominations!
RECORD OF THE YEAR
The Black Keys, “Lonely Boy”
Kelly Clarkson, “Stronger”
fun., “We Are Young”
Gotye, “Somebody I Used To Know”
Frank Ocean, “Thinkin Bout You”
Taylor Swift, “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together”
P!nk vocally has the ability to cover the gamut of hard rock to soulful R&B. Over in the UK P!nk put her trademark stamp on a cover of Alicia Keys‘ hit single “Girl On Fire” on BBC Radio. Both Storytellers singers have vastly different musical styles. P!nk’s badass rocker chick influences her music versus Alicia Keys’ more safe pop and R&B zone. Weirdly enough the two sound quite similar in their different variations of “Girl On Fire,” and we think it’s the yelling the song almost demands. Read more…
P!nk is one of those seriously underrated artists who consistently produces pop hits ranging from heart-wrenching to hilarious and rarely gets recognized as being fully in the realm of powerful pop star. Perhaps it’s because she rejects the idea that she is one herself, but perhaps it’s also because she so blatantly doesn’t fit within the box. Her songs are rich with context, be it blatant middle fingers to record label rules (“Don’t Let Me Get Me”) or a weaving tale of addiction and heartbreak (“Just Like A Pill”). All of that makes her the perfect VH1 Storytellers artist. The stories happen to flow endlessly, and they unsurprisingly turns out to be completely unlike the cookie-cutter explanations you’ve heard before.