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Friday, December 16, 2011

Countdown to the Countdowns: The Stats

On Monday, the official Alienhits countdowns will begin! 2011 was an odd year. Chock full of singles to get excited about (seriously, my top 20 songs is as strong as I ever remember it being), the year was underwhelming in the albums department. I blame it on the album as we know it becoming more and more of a dying format. That's incredibly sad, yes, but there were still some definite standouts.
For now, take a look at the stats and let the guessing begin! See you Monday.

This year's albums:

Groups - 50% (down from last year)
Solo Artists - 50% (up from last year)

Debut Albums - 35% (up)
Second Albums - 10% (way down)
Fourth Album (or higher!) - 30% (down)

Male Singers - 50% (down)
Female Singers - 40% (up)
Male & Female Singers - 10% (up)

American Acts - 15% (down)
UK Acts - 40% (up)
Swedish Acts - 25% (down)
Australian Acts - 10% (same)
Danish Acts - 5% (up)
Finnish Acts - 5% (up)

Albums that saw a U.S. release - 20% (way down)
Albums with any substantial success in the U.S. - 15% (up!)

Released in the 1st Quarter (including Dec. '10) - 15% (up)
Released in the 2nd Quarter - 15% (way down)
Released in the 3rd Quarter - 20% (down)
Released in the 4th Quarter - 45% (up)


Thursday, December 15, 2011

Countdown to the Countdowns: The Singles Just Outside the Top 50

Look at the quality of these tracks! And these are the songs that aren't in my top 50. This should give you an indication of how strong the actual chart is.

So what do you think, readers? Should any of these have made the final countdown?

51. Nicki Minaj - Super Bass
52. Jennifer Lopez - On The Floor
53. The Wanted - Gold Forever
54. Patrick Wolf - Together
55. The Sound Of Arrows - Wonders
56. Ed Sheeran - The A Team
57. Eva and the Heartmaker - Signals
58. One Direction - Got To Be You
59. Katy Perry - The One Who Got Away
60. Natalia Kills - Free
61. The Sounds - Dance With The Devil
62. Foster the People - Pumped Up Kicks
63. JLS - Take a Chance On Me
64. Selena Gomez - Love You Like A Love Song
65. Vanbot - Make Me, Break Me
66. The Feeling - Set My World On Fire
67. Melody Club - Sweet Disaster
68. Short Stack - Bang Bang Sexy
69. Maroon 5 - Moves Like Jagger
70. JLS - She Makes Me Wanna
71. Wolf Gang - The King And All Of His Men
72. Martin Solveig & Dragonette - Hello
73. Vincent - The Moment I Met You
74. Clare Maguire - The Last Dance
75. Foxy Shazam - I Like It

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Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Countdown to the Countdowns: The Best & Worst TV of 2011

The Best:

American Horror Story
What a breath of fresh air! Some of the things they're doing on this series are just crazy. In a way, the excitement I feel watching this reminds me of the days of Buffy and Angel. It's just unbelievably good. I get giddy even thinking about it.

Shameless (US)
The rare Americanized import that actually worked, due in large part to an outstanding cast and sharp writing. I'm so obsessed with this and can't wait for it to come back.

X-Factor AU/UK
While Australia takes the crown for best contestants this year, the UK version continues to be the most bombastic, must-see television of the year. They know how to put on a show, unlike the dead-in-the-water US version.

The Middle
The most reliable comedy on American TV, I'm in love with these characters and their working class story lines. It's just good old fashioned storytelling.

The Walking Dead
They've got some work to do with this second season (pick up the damn pace!), but it's still one of the most engaging dramas on cable TV.

The best new comedy by a mile, it took a minute for it to completely click with me, but I'm all in now.

The Glee Project
Unlike the show it supports, this packed a heavy dose of humanity, likable "characters" and editing that kept the pace up.

The Worst:

X-Factor US
Could this have been more of a train wreck? Boring contestants, wooden host, horrible judges, watered down production, horrendous voting decisions, and setback after setback. They took one of my absolute favorite shows (guilty pleasure or not) and completely ruined it for the American market. I couldn't have imagined it turning out any worse.


Well, I've actually only watched the first episode of the new series, but it's simply not the same without Nathan.

Terra Nova
Could've been so epic... ended up being so cliche.

Angry Boys
After Summer Heights High (still one of the best series ever), my hopes were high. Sadly, this failed to live up to them in every single way.

It's gone from "must-see" to "I'll watch it if I have to" in such a worryingly short period of time. Too many characters and uneven writing.

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Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Countdown to the Countdowns: The Worst Singles of 2011

yes, it's a matter of taste, but if I didn't have taste I wouldn't be running this blog. So before I count down the best tracks of the year, let's look at a few that I never want to hear again.

1. Pink - F**kin Perfect/Jessie J - Price Tag
With her first two albums, Pink was very high on my list of the best pop stars out there. Then she began to repeat herself and water down the music. Perfect, with it’s cutesy lyrics and plodding chorus, just turned me right off her. And if that’s not bad enough, we were forced to endure the song twice this year under two names. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, the chorus of Price Tag is exactly the same thing. As if it wasn’t mind-numbing enough the first time.

2. Christina Perri - Jar Of Hearts
Suffers similar problems as Pink’s song. It’s got those kind of Starbucks poetry, precious lyrics that just rub me the wrong way. Still, it was a hit around the world. I know people love it, but I seriously can’t listen to it again.

3. Bruno Mars - The Lazy Song
Almost Don’t Worry, Be Happy levels of irritation. It’s the kind of novelty track that sets an artist back years in my opinion. Everything else Bruno released this year was fine. This made me scream every time I heard it on the radio.

4. Anything by Taylor Swift
Sometimes it feels like I’m the only one in the world that who is totally done with Taylor Swift. I just can’t deal with the “dooby dooby doo… princess… dooby dooby doo… white horse… dooby dooby doo… ballerina…” nature of her songwriting. I know I’m not the target audience and that it’s just a matter of taste, but to me it’s like nails on a chalkboard.

5. Matt Cardle - Run For Your Life
The UK X-Factor winner lived up to his title of dullest champion yet with this unceremonious dirge. The title basically says it all.

6. Hot Chelle Rae - Tonight, Tonight
This epitomizes what irks me about the hipster mentality in pop music. It's like the soundtrack to a bad romantic comedy (in fact, it probably is). None of the little catchphrases in this track are the least bit cute or funny.

7. Coldplay - Paradise
More of a pet peeve of mine than anything. I hate songs whose chorus consists of the same word repeated over and over again. To me, it's lazy songwriting and almost always results in a plodding melody. Coldplay have done much, much better in the past. I can't believe I gave this a decent grade when it first came out.

8. Train - Marry Me
Thankfully it never became as ubiquitous as their last single, because this is the most saccharine track they've ever released.

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Monday, December 12, 2011

Countdown to the Countdowns: An Alienhits Christmas!

Next week kicks off my annual year-end countdowns. Top 20 Albums and Top 50 Singles, here we come! But first, I've got a week-long countdown to my countdown, starting with this requested feature on Christmas music!

While Christmas is definitely one of my most favorite times of the year, when it comes to music I'm more of a Halloween songs kind of guy. Still, there are quite a few of lesser known tracks that I love to listen to around the holidays. Here, in no particular order, are a few of them:

Darren Hayes - Last Christmas
My favorite version of this track, captured during his Savage Garden days. It ups the tempo and pretty much perfects an already perfect pop song.

Melody Club - I Don’t Believe In Angels
The kind of Christmas track I could (and do) listen to all year long. It's got everything: bells, cheesy lyrics, a singalong chorus and that indelible Melody Club charm.

Girls Aloud - I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday (or anything off their EP)
Leave it to Girls Aloud to camp up Christmas. This is them at the height of their powers.

The Who - Christmas
From the best rock opera ever, Tommy, it's not the happiest of tracks, but it's freaking brilliant. I've gotta say, though, I prefer the movie version to the Who's version.

Aqua - Spin me a Christmas
Christmas the euro-pop way! Aqua 2.0 basically can do no wrong, and this follows suit.

Lady Gaga - Christmas Tree
She may have a new, more traditional Christmas EP out now, but I prefer this smutty oldie recorded back when she was still hungry for fame.

Sparks - Thank God It’s Not Christmas
An epic song anyway you shake it, this is just ridiculous bombast. Not the cheeriest of lyrics, but they're amazing anyway.

Hurts - All I Want for Christmas is New Year’s Day
It's about as downbeat as you'd expect from these guys, but that doesn't make it any less enjoyable. The bells make it.

Billy Elliot Soundtrack - Merry Christmas Maggie Thatcher
From the absolute best modern stage musical, this is the show's catchiest track. I listen to it all year, but it's especially festive (in a vitriolic, down-with-Thatcher way) this time of year.

Pikko - The Ghost of Christmas Future
An icy electro track by one of my favorite indie Swedish artists. It's not high on melody, but has a sound that compliments the chilly season.

The Darkness - Christmas Time (Don't Let The Bells End)
Pretty much what you'd expect from a Christmas song by the Darkness. It's got everything stuffed into it. And it's highly melodic to boot.

And some songs that sample Christmas. Can you tell which classics these tracks use?

Prozzak - It's Not Me It's You
The Mo - Rats on the Radio
JLS - Do You Feel What I Feel

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