Perry’s "Friday" crashes "Party," ties record

Written by Hunter Schwarz on . Posted in Music

It’s been a few days since Billboard announced the big news. Katy Perry’s Teenage Dream has tied Michael Jackson’s Bad for an album to launch the most No. 1 singles on the Hot 100. Since then, I’ve experienced shock, denial and pain. Hopefully now I’ve party rocked through the stages of guilt and can begin accepting the fact that the I Kissed a California Gurl [sic] girl has rewritten the Billboard record books.

This week, Perry’s “Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.)” overtook LMFAO’s “Party Rock Anthem” for the No. 1 spot, giving Teenage Dream a fifth No. 1 single. It is the first time a female artist has managed the feat and the first time since Jackson pulled it off the summer of 1988.

When Billboard announced Perry’s historic achievement, she promptly took to Twitter to celebrate her “little-engine-that-could of a song” for finally going No. 1, and it’s a miracle that it did. After being stuck behind LMFAO’s summer conquering jam for three straight weeks, it seemed like the window of opportunity was quickly closing for Perry. So obviously, Capitol Records pulled out all the stops.


The History of Rock ‘N’ Roll in 25 Songs: Elvis Presley – "Hound Dog"

Written by Hunter Schwarz on . Posted in Music

The History of Rock ‘N’ Roll is 17 Track’s attempt to squeeze more than sixty years of music onto a mixtape.There are many ways to tell a story, and the story of rock ‘n’ roll is one that has been told many times in many ways. It’s messy, complicated and difficult to follow in some parts, and the entire history of it could fill volumes. But what if you didn’t have volumes? What if you only had a blank CD-R and you had to tell the story through songs? Each song in this list represents a moment or movement in the development of popular music. It’s not a list of the best, most important or most influential songs, it’s exactly what it professes to be – a history.

The third song, Elvis Presley’s “Hound Dog,” tells the story of rock ‘n’ roll getting it’s first true star who revolutionized rock forever.


TV: What Bentley Williams and The Bachelorette Can Teach Us About the Mormon All-Star

Written by Hunter Schwarz on . Posted in TV

The Bachelorette had what host Chris Harrison called “one of the most talked about moments we have ever had” when one of the contestants left the show, leaving bachelorette Ashley Hebert in tears.

Production was almost cancelled when Bentley Williams, a 28-year-old divorced Mormon from Salt Lake City, left the show, saying Hebert wasn’t his type. Williams was considered a frontrunner, winning coveted roses, the tokens necessary to elude elimination, in every episode. Though Hebert wasn’t his type, it didn’t stop Williams from leading her on.


Lady Gaga Lives Up To Monster Expectations on "Born This Way"

Written by Hunter Schwarz on . Posted in Music

It’s hard to believe that only 31 months ago, Lady Gaga was an underground electro-pop artist struggling to get her songs played on American radio. She sang about losing her phone and turning her shirt inside out, and she seemed destined to be the type of artist celebrated by the blogosphere but ignored by mainstream pop (an American Robyn). She’s since become the most important pop star on the planet, and today, released one of the most anticipated records of the 21st century.

The promotion Born This Way has received is unrivaled by any album in recent memory, thanks to Gaga hyping it long before we even knew what it would be called (She said she wrote the “core of it” more than a year ago). She went as far as to call it the “greatest album of this decade,” fueling the anticipation, and showcasing a hubris we’ve come to expect from the likes of Kanye West and pre-fatherhood Brandon Flowers. While self-promotion is an essential skill for every pop star, Gaga’s unprecedented plugging threatened to backfire – the entire project buckling under the weight of  unrealistic expectations and self-importance – unless she delivered the groundbreaking opus she promised.


CHART WATCH: On A Roll: Adele Building Steam on Hot 100

Written by Hunter Schwarz on . Posted in Music

Chart Watch is 17 Tracks’ weekly look at the happenings on the Billboard Hot 100 with chart expert Hunter Schwarz.

Katy Perry clenches the No. 1  spot for a fifth non-consecutive week with “E.T.” featuring Kanye West, and it’s become painfully obvious that Perry’s fourth Teenage Dream chart topping single is not a flash-in-the-pan.

“E.T.” is coming off its best sales week ever two weeks ago (344,000) and is down slightly this week with figures slightly north of 300,000.  In total, “E.T.” is on track to be the top-selling song of 2011 to date. Its 2.48 million sales are hot on the tail of Cee Lo Green’s 2.49 million sales of “F**k You.” Sales of “E.T.” are on par with last summer’s smash “California Gurls” feat. Snoop Dogg, and they might even eclipse her ode to the Golden State, becoming her best-selling single ever.


Help us LMFAO, you’re our only hope

Written by Hunter Schwarz on . Posted in Music

Twenty-three summers ago, a song by a rising pop act reached the summit of the Hot 100 before being steamrolled by one of the biggest recording artists of the decades achieving an unrivaled chart feat. The song was “Foolish Beat” by Debbie Gibson, and the steamrolling superstar was Michael Jackson whose “Dirty Diana” became the fifth No. 1 from his Bad album. A handful of albums have pulled off four chart toppers, but for more than two decades, Bad has been the sole album with a quintet of No. 1s. That could all change next week, however.

This summer, the foolish beat is “Party Rock Anthem” by rising pop act LMFAO featuring Lauren Bennett and GoonRock. Katy Perry takes the role of pop juggernaut. Singles from her Teenage Dream album have been unstoppable in their march to No. 1. Last summer, she began her assault with “California Gurls [sic]” featuring Snoop Dogg followed by “Teenage Dream,” “Firework” and “E.T.” featuring Kanye West.


Jimmy Eat World’s "Bleed American" turns 10

Written by Hunter Schwarz on . Posted in Music

To say Jimmy Eat World’s Bleed American is the soundtrack of my youth is an understatement. I’ve spun that disc – which turns 10-years-old this week – more than any other. Growing up Mormon in Gilbert, Arizona, it’s to be expected. Down there, Jimmy Eat World is bigger than the Beatles, at least in the crowds I ran with. Everyone loves them and everyone is familiar with each of the 11 songs on their breakthrough record like they were all smash hit singles.

I blasted “Sweetness” before every track cross country and track race I ran. I replayed the guitar riff in “Get It Faster” every time I listened to it and plucked it out on the piano regularly. I played “Hear You Me” the day a friend died. To this day, my brother and I play Jimmy Eat World at the end of the 11-hour car ride from Provo, Utah to Gilbert.

The album’s biggest hit, “The Middle,” was never among my favorite tracks from the album, mostly due to its radio saturation, but as I’ve grown up, I’ve realized that all I need to know, I learned from that  song. Lessons like “don’t write yourself off yet,” “it’s only in your head you feel left out or looked down on” and “you’re doing better on your own, so don’t buy in” are the type of pep talk lyrics we all occasionally need when things are rough. And in the “It Gets Better” era where pop stars are constantly reminding us we were “born this way,” Jimmy Eat World’s music video for the song featuring  a scantily clad house party where two dressed teens find each other and leave seems to portray the message of not trying to fit in better than Gaga’s most sincere pleas.


Lady Gaga Joins the Seven Figure Club

Written by Hunter Schwarz on . Posted in Music

New York City subways were plastered in Lady Gaga images, one of the many tactics Interscope used in their mammoth promotional push for her album “Born This Way,” the 17th album to sell more than a million copies in a week.

The numbers are in, and Lady Gaga’s Born This Way is the 17th album to sell more than a million copies in a week. Surprisingly, Born This Way is Gaga’s first No. 1 album on the Billboard 200 album chart, and with the official tally at 1,110,420, it earns the distinction of shifting more copies in a week than any album since 50 Cent’s The Massacre in 2005, and more than any female artist since Britney Spears’ Oops!…I Did It Again in 2000.

As record sales tumble year after year, first week sales in the seven figures have become increasingly rare. Taylor Swift did it last year with Speak Now, but when you consider ten albums managed to sell more than a million during the first half of the ’00s (five of them in 2000 alone) while from 2005-2009, only two did, the decline of album sales is apparent.

Anti-War Rock in the 2000s Dixie Chicks Madonna American Life Green Day American Idiot

Ain’t No "Fortunate Son": Reflecting on ’00s Anti-War Rock

Written by Hunter Schwarz on . Posted in Music

Artists like the Dixie Chicks, Green Day and Madonna sang about their opposition of President George W. Bush and the Iraq War during the ’00s, but without a draft, their music lacked the same fire of the anti-war rock of the Vietnam era.

With my iTunes on shuffle, I read the latest issue of Newsweek, a rush released edition on the death of Osama bin Laden. Out of the countless hours’ worth of music in my library, it was quite the coincidence when songs from Green Day’s American Idiot, Madonna’s American Life and Bloc Party’s Weekend In The City all played, and I couldn’t help but reflect on the impact the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, the War on Terror and the Iraq War had on the music of the ’00s.

Cheryl Cole Boombox X Factor US Girls Aloud

British Record Artist Cheryl Cole Tapped for U.S. X Factor

Written by Hunter Schwarz on . Posted in Music, TV

British pop star Cheryl Cole will join Simon Cowell on the American X Factor, but what does that mean for her former chart topping and critic charming group Girls Aloud?

British recording artist and U.K. X Factor judge Cheryl Cole has been announced as the third judge on the American edition of X Factor alongside Simon Cowell and record executive L.A. Reid.

It’s doubtless that many people will assume they know who Cheryl Cole is upon hearing her name. She’s the one who dated Lance Armstrong and sang that one song about soaking up the sun, right? Wrong. You’re thinking Sheryl Crow. Although both ladies make music and are known for their high profile relationships and subsequent breakups with professional athletes, the similarities end there.

Cheryl Cole rose to fame in 2002 at the age of 19 as a contestant on the reality singing competition Popstars: The Rivals. The show whittled down contestants to form two groups, the boy band One True Voice, and the girl group Girls Aloud, who competed on the British charts for the coveted Christmas No. 1 spot. One True Voice released a predictable and boring reality show single, while Girls Aloud dropped the most inventive reality show coronation song ever – “Sound of the Underground.”