Monday, January 10, 2011

Hitting On All Cylinders

Do you ever think about recording artists who produce an amazing song and then disappear into the annals of the one-hit wonders?  How about acts that crank out uninspired hits and then out of nowhere release a record that's magic, only to return to mediocrity?  Some performers create top-notch product every time.  Katy Perry, Taylor Swift, Rihanna, and Pink are some of today's artists who accomplish that feat.

In 2010, three incredible songs exploded onto the landscape, and all started getting airplay at about the same time last spring.  All three have become staples of the recurrent list in several formats.

Train has been around since the mid-90's and first gained national exposure in 1998 with Meet Virginia, a nice song for CHR, Hot AC and AAA, but not exactly a classic.  The group's success grew both artistically and monetarily with Drops of Jupiter and then Calling All Angels, both good songs.  We had heard little from Train since 2003.

Lead singer Pat Monahan must have found a used ukulele at a garage sale, but he created musical alchemy when he picked it up and sang Hey, Soul Sister.  Everything came together, and the song blasted onto the radio and the charts in 2010.  In Atlanta, Q100 and Star 94 still have it in heavy rotation, and it's been around so long that B98.5 is playing it.  Yet after Hey, Soul Sister, it was back to being a nice band for Train, as both If It's Love and Marry Me received airplay, but neither was special.  Will Train ever climb to such heights again?

Lady Antebellum had been around a few years and was a leading Country act.  Love Don't Live Here and I Run to You had hit big and established the group as one of Country radio's darlings.  In 2010, however, Lady Antebellum released Need You Now.  It's full of hooks and harmonies, and both the singing and instrumentals border on perfection.  The song crashed through the Country ceiling and landed on CHR, Hot AC and AC stations.  On Atlanta radio, it still gets heavy airplay in all those formats.  Hungry for some Lady Antebellum to follow Need You Now, stations added I Run to You, which was actually released in 2008.  The group's real follow-up was American Honey and then Our Kind of Love.  But none of those came anywhere near the greatness of Need You Now.  Will Lady Antebellum's future appeal be to Country fans alone?

Radio stations in the U.S. started playing Breakeven by the Script after the song hit big in Europe.  Although it never cracked the top 10 in this country, it was a fabulous song that hit on all cylinders.  And of course it was right in the respective wheelhouses of Q100 and Star 94, fitting CHR and Hot AC.  It's still a regular part of the young Atlanta female's diet.  After Breakeven peaked, stations added The Man Who Can't Be Moved, which had reached #2 in the band's home country of Ireland in 2008.  But it was not the song that Breakeven was.  Will the Script ever do it again?

Weekenders Getting Noticed
Weekend air talent often sounds like it's there to save money, which is probably the case.  A few recent additions, however, have risen above the crowd.  For several months, the very talented Joe Rosati has been appearing on Star 94 in the Saturday evening slot.  Rosati is not actually in Atlanta, even though he announces songs requested by Linda in Lawrenceville and Vicki in Smyrna.  He's voicetracked from Detroit, where his day jobs are afternoon drive on 106.7 The Beat (WDTW-FM) and Imaging Director at Channel 955 (WKQI-FM).  On the Saturday that Star 94 dropped its hit music positioning, Rosati had not gotten the memo.  Ah, the perils of voicetracking.

Rachel Logan is Star 94's newest weekend personality, and she did a fair amount of filling in during the holiday weeks.  She sounds exceptionally good, comes across as a natural, and apparently loves her job.  I remember her holding things down on 97-1 The River, probably before Kaedy Kiley took over mornings.  I am told that Rachel worked off-air at Cox/Atlanta and moved to air work later in life than most.  But I love listening to her.

Over at Q100, Adam Bomb, who left the station last year for mornings at Cumulus' i93 in Dallas, has been back doing voicetracked weekend shifts.  Maybe the fact that Adam's evening replacement at Q100, the syndicated Billy Bush, is so bad makes me appreciate him even more.  But he's definitely making the Bomb family proud.  I understand that Grandpa Bomb talks constantly about his grandson to anyone who will listen.

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