dispatches from the pop scene...minus the corn syrup.

Saturday, December 24, 2016

The 10 Best Pop Singles Of 2016

All you fucks thought we were dead, but nah — the past 14 months have been like an extended vacation. Plus, if the Bush era taught the world one thing, it's that the Chart Rigger THOTs thrive best when there's an low-rent imbecile headed to the White House.

So, yes, D'luv (follow me on Instagram) and Moogaboo (follow him, too) took, oh, all of 2016 off from dispensing our pearls of trashdom around here. And December 2015 marked the first time in a decade we didn't do our annual 10 Best Pop Singles of the year list. But screw it — the world is spiraling down the garbage bucket at the speed of light, so it's time to say FUCK YOU TO 2016, flip the lights back on at this dive and educate the chyldryn all over again in the new year.

Before that happens, though, let's look at what was actually good from the past 12 months.

 — Robbie and John | Pittsburgh, PA, December 2016 —


10. Zara Larsson, "Lush Life"

D'luv says: "I listened to 'Lush Life' a lot while poolside over the summer, which is exactly where you'd want to play it. 'Never Forget You' was Zara's big US hit, while this far superior jam flopped on the charts. Isn't that always the way?"
Moogaboo says: "Perfect pop without pretensions, Zara's light summer anthem landed on the right side of the 'tropical house' trend and deserved more play than radio afforded it."
Charts: SWE #1, UK #3, US #75 

9. Ariana Grande featuring Nicki Minaj, "Side By Side"

D'luv says: "Ariana gets a one-song pass from me per album...especially when that song is about getting fucked so hard you can't walk straight."
Moogaboo says: "This catchy fuck-jam broke me down until I found myself reveling in its complete lack of shame. Where were you when you first found yourself repeating the line 'wrist icicle, ride dick bicycle'? (I was at the public library.)"
Charts: AUS #3, US #4, UK #4 

8. Clean Bandit featuring Louisa Johnson, "Tears"

D'luv says: "I think Clean Bandit are the modern day Ace Of Base, and for that alone they should be given the keys to the pop kingdom."
Moogaboo says: "If you watch only one video with an exploding violin this year, it should be 'Tears!"
Charts: UK #5, US Dance #17 

7. Pet Shop Boys, "The Pop Kids"


D'luv says: "I first heard 'The Pop Kids' while crashing at a friend's house in L.A. in February for a few weeks, and that throwback house sound was fantastic while driving around under the sunny skies. Now that the dust has settled on Super, I feel like this will be one of the standout tracks from the duo's whole Stuart Price era."
Moogaboo says: "I love that the PSBs aren't afraid to wear their aged-pop-aunties titles on their impeccably tailored sleeves. 'The Pop Kids' is both wistful and witty, an elegy to '90s disco nights gone by that manages to sound more contemporary and chic than output by peers half Neil and Chris' age."
Charts: US Dance #1

6. Rihanna, "Kiss It Better"


D'luv says: "This just makes me think of sex. Easily RiRi's best single off Anti...so of course it flopped."
Moogaboo says: "Of course! The squealing guitars, pleading chorus, and ghost-sex video put this one over the top for me. In all fairness, Rihanna did leave for lunch before anyone could write a second verse, but I find the copy + paste effect adds to 'Kiss It Better's out-of-fucks charm."
Charts: UK #45, US #62, US Dance #1 
5. Justin Timberlake, "Can't Stop The Feeling!"


D'luv says: "Suck it, haters! 'Can't Stop The Feeling' — a Grammy and Golden Globe nominee, plus the best-selling US single of 2016, mind you — was the feelgood smash in a very feelbad year. "
Moogaboo says: "I bought some new size 32-waist jeans to this Trolls anthem back in October, so I'll let it live. Yes, that's a shallow summation that has nothing to do with anything but my own vanity... THANK YOU, it's great to be back!"
Charts: US #1, CAN #1, FRANCE #1, UK #2, AUS #3

4. Zayn, "Pillowtalk"


D'luv says: "So while 'Kiss It Better' makes me think of pleasant, by-the-numbers sex, 'Pillowtalk' is like a 'STRANGLE ME WITH YOUR DICK, KING!' fuck sesh."
Moogaboo says: "Bad boys with delusions of deepness are one of my magnificent obsessions in life. So I'm here for ZaYn and his sleaze-sex-pop magic."
Charts: US #1, UK #1, CAN #1, AUS #1 

3. Calvin Harris featuring Rihanna, "This Is What You Came For"

D'luv says: "Now here's a perfect springtime jam that stuck around all through the summer, too. I love everything about euphoric house gem 'This Is What You Came For', despite the late reveal that it was penned by beige cock hound Taylor Swift."
Moogaboo says: "Making me long for the days of up-tempo Rihanna — she was always an underestimated disco doyenne in my book. Yes, T. Swift's involvement threw a yoga mat over some of its shine for me, but in the end, it's an undeniable twirler."
Charts: AUS #1, CAN, #1, UK #2, US #3 

2. The 1975, "Somebody Else"


D'luv says: "Dreamy new wave synths and regret. This was the first song that snapped me out of wanting to hang myself in the dead of winter earlier this year."
Moogaboo says: "Sometimes this three-Kleenex sad-bop comes on the radio and makes me wish I still had feelings."
Charts: AUS #34, UK #55 

1. The Weeknd featuring Daft Punk, "Starboy"


D'luv says: "This is my 'stealth loner warrior stalking around the city with a disaffected/manic look' song. It's also about Bella Hadid doing coke, plus somehow also a David Bowie tribute. Go figure."
Moogaboo says: " OHHH. Is that what 'she clean it with her face' means? Any song whose title reminds me of RuPaul's crude beginnings as Starbooty! has got a lot to live up to and, IMO, Mr. Weeknd does more than meet expectations with this kinetic, dark-sided meditation on fame."
Charts: CAN #1, FRANCE #1, US #2, UK #2, AUS #2 


D'luv: Clean Bandit feat. Sean Paul & Anne-Marie, "Rockabye"   
 (Three words, kids: Ace Of Base.) 


Moogaboo: Crystal Waters feat. Stead-E & Hybrid Heights, "Believe"
(Admiration for Crystal's tenacity aside — she's been putting out several anthems a year for a quarter-century — "Believe" is a high-energy house throwback in the best way.)


* The Best Pop Singles Of 2014
* The Best Pop Singles Of 2013
* The Best Pop Singles Of 2012 
* The Best Pop Singles Of 2011
* The Best Pop Singles Of 2010
* The Best Pop Singles Of 2009
* The Best Pop Singles Of 2008
* The Best Pop Singles Of 2007
* The Best Pop Singles Of 2006
* The Best Pop Singles Of 2005
* The Top 40 Pop Singles Of The '00s

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Monday, October 05, 2015

My (Second) Duke Dumont Interview

I absolutely love Duke Dumont's brand of house music. And having spoken with him twice now for interviews on Idolator, I can say he's one of the smartest, and most down to earth, artists/producers in the game right now.

His new EP, Blasé Boys Club, Pt. 1, was released this past Friday (October 2). He's also on tour in the States through the rest of the month. You can catch my latest chat with him here, and the previous one I did with him last October here.


Thursday, October 01, 2015

'The X-Files' 2016 Series Extended Trailer: I Think Someone Needs To Hold Me

Any longtime reader of Chart Rigger will remember that I'm a diehard X-phile. (See, for instance, this rather brilliant post I did back in 2007.) And so this week's reveal of the extended, two-minute trailer for January's upcoming six-episode revival series of Fox's The X-Files has me astral-projecting my D sauce all over the walls. (Sorry, Yolanda — I'll tip you an extra fiver to scrub that trash on your next visit.)

I watched the series during its original run here and there throughout the '90s — mostly Seasons 3 (1995) through 8 (2000). Then I re-watched every single episode on DVD in 2007 between February and October that year, averaging about a season a month.

I've now been re-re-watching all the episodes since July, and I'm halfway through Season 4. Scully's about to find out she has cancer. Shit's about to get deep.

Anyway, roll on January 24, 2016!


Big Black Delta Featuring Debbie Gibson, "RCVR": You're Going To Thank Me For This One

Out of the ether (or, perhaps more appropriately, out of the blue), Big Black Delta premiered band new track "RCVR" today over at Stereogum, and the song features the woman BBD (aka James Bates) calls his hero as a duet partner: Debbie Gibson.

No joke, this song is synth-pop drama frenzy heaven, and you should drop to your knees and start gumming Big Black Delta's monster knob for recording this. And Deb's left tit.

There's a PledgeMusic page set up to help fund BBD's upcoming album (due out early in 2016), and one of the items up for grabs is a limited edition 7" of "RCVR." Grab it before I do, you little bitch.

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JoJo's "When Love Hurts": Watch The Video For One Of The Year's Classiest Jams

Now, usually when love hurts, it's because someone jammed their D up the wrong entrata or uscita, kids — without using spit. But in JoJo's case, she's referring to the pain of two people at odds in their relationship here on "When Love Hurts," the main single off her, um, #tringle, III.

Now, the video looks like it was made for six bucks and a pack of Tic Tacs that were used to bribed the night guard down at the recycling center, so he'd let JoJo and her friends pile in and vogue in front of two cameras and a wind machine for an hour.

BUT NO MATTER! This '90s throwback jam is the best major-label thing JoJo's done in years! Well, okay, it's the only major-label thing she's done in nine years. But anyway...


Monday, July 27, 2015

Disclosure & Sam Smith Reunite For "Omen": Watch The Video

The truth — well, my truth — about Sam Smith is, I can't stand his dull ballads. Sorry, folks...it's just snooze central to me. What I have loved from him is his features on Disclosure's "Latch" and Naughty Boy's "Latch," plus "Like I Can" and "Reminds Me Of You" off Smith's own album (the latter being a lovely, synthy bonus track done with Lorde's producer, Joel Little).

So here we are with the reunion of Disclosure and Smith (not to mention "Latch" songwriter Jimmy Napes), "Omen." It's the second single off Guy and Howard's upcoming sophomore LP Caracal (out September 25), and I think it's pretty fantastic. The first person I played it for this morning said, "It's not as immediately catchy as 'Latch'" — a sentiment I don't quite agree with, but you say tomato, I say tomahto; I think it's the same pleasantly-lazy house beat, and a slightly more instantly memorable chorus.

Anyway, as for the video, it was directed by Ryan Hope and is the second in a series of four clips coming from Disclosure that tell some type of story or other about a man and a woman on the run in Mexico City during what appears to be some futuristic, military-state type takeover.

The first in the series was "Holding On," which premiered earlier this month.

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Wednesday, July 22, 2015

U.S. Chart Roundup: "Lean On" Is My Jam

I feel like Major Lazer, DJ Snake and 's "Lean On" is the best song of the summer, as far as overplayed Top 40 nonsense goes, and so I'm thrilled to see it jump into the Top 10 of the Billboard Hot 100 this week (at #9). It's the first Top 10 single for all involved except DJ Snake, who had that painfully obnoxious "Turn Down For What" trash last year that somehow slithered its way to #4.

Everything else on the Hot 100 is kind of super butt this week — especially the fact that my other favorite jam of the summer, Demi Lovato's "Cool For The Summer," has slid down to #30. That's, chyldryn, is a crime. But the video premiere is right around the corner, so hopefully the song will get somewhat of a bump after that.

Down in the nether regions, Adam Lambert's "Ghost Town" moves back up from #80 to #74, one notch lower than its original #73 peak position.

Geez, between Demi and Adam, Max Martin is losing his touch.

The U.S. Top 10:

1. "Cheerleader (Felix Jaehn Remix)" - OMI *2 weeks*
2. "Can't Feel My Face" - The Weeknd
3. "See You Again" - Wiz Khalifa feat. Charlie Puth
4. "Bad Blood" - Taylor Swift feat. Kendrick Lamar
5. "Watch Me" - Silento
6. "Trap Queen" - Fetty Wap
7. "Shut Up And Dance" - Walk The Moon
8. "Fight Song" - Rachel Platten
9. "Lean On" - Major Lazer & DJ Snake feat. MØ
10. "The Hills" - The Weeknd

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Monday, July 20, 2015

UK Chart Roundup: Little Mix Work Their "Black Magic"

Back in May, Britney Spears and Iggy Azalea released their colossal flop "Pretty Girls," a song that girl group Little Mix wrote but ultimately opted to scrap. Instead, the broads went with the far catchier "Black Magic" as the lead single from their upcoming third LP Get Weird (out in November), and the result is their first UK #1 since 2012's "Wings."

Meanwhile, I can't believe it's already been three years since "Wings." I remember driving around Dallas, Texas with that song playing on the radio. Dark moments in life, chyldryn. Dark moments in life we must continue to try to block out.

Elsewhere, the umpteenth version of Robin S' house classic "Show Me Love" to come along in the past year, this time from Sam Feldt and vocalist Kimberly Anne, makes its debut on the UK chart at #4. Kudos to Sam for at least making this a complete melodic overhaul of the track.

Elsewhere, poor Nathan Sykes plunges from his #14 debut last week with "Kiss Me Quick" to #58. Those Wanted guys are just basically doomed, aren't they...?

The UK Top 10:

1. "Black Magic" - Little Mix *new* *1 week*
2. "Shine" - Years & Years 
3. "Are You With Me" - Lost Frequencies
4. "Show Me Love" - Sam Feldt feat. Kimberly Anne *new*
5. "House Every Weekend" - David Zowie
6. "Waiting For Love" - Avicii
7. "Not Letting Go" - Tinie Tempah feat. Jess Glynne
8. "Shut Up & Dance" - Walk The Moon
9. "Cheerleader (Felix Jaehn Remix)" - OMI
10. "Worth It" - Fifth Harmony feat. Kid Ink

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Wednesday, July 15, 2015

US Chart Roundup: "Cheerleader" Is #1

Much as its already done in nearly 20 other countries throughout the world, OMI's "Cheerleader" takes over the top spot on the Billboard Hot 100 this week. Yay? This ends the nonconsecutive 12-week reign of Wiz Khalifa and Charlie Puth's "See You Again," a song that, quite frankly, that I was going to launch a bomb into my mouth with a mortar if it spent another another week at #1.

"Cheerleader" has already worn out its welcome, too — brace yourselves for its inevitable 13-week stint at #1 — and it's now only the fourth single (after "Uptown Funk," "Bad Blood" and "See You Again") to climb to the top of the singles chart in 2015. Taylor Swift's "Blank Space" was #1 in the first couple weeks of the year, but it first reached the top last November.

Do any of these above-mentioned songs not make you want to eat glass?

The U.S. Top 10:

1. "Cheerleader (Felix Jaehn Remix)" - OMI *1 week*
2. "See You Again" - Wiz Khalifa feat. Charlie Puth
3. "Can't Feel My Face" - The Weeknd
4. "Bad Blood" - Taylor Swift feat. Kendrick Lamar
5. "Watch Me" - Silento
6. "Trap Queen" - Fetty Wap
7. "Shut Up And Dance" - Walk The Moon
8. "Fight Song" - Rachel Platten
9. "Where Are Ü Now" - Skrillex & Diplo with Justin Bieber
10. "Hey Mama" - David Guetta feat. Nicki Minaj, Bebe Rexha & Afrojack

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Monday, July 13, 2015

Jess Glynne's "Don't Be So Hard On Yourself" Video Looks Much Like A Jess Glynne Video

Ginger belter Jess Glynne has now managed to rack up four chart-topping songs in the UK over the past year-and-a-half (plus six overall Top 10 singles) and win a Grammy. Basically, she's become the First Lady Of House Music in this latest era of pop we're all drifting through.

And so it's a safe bet that her latest release, "Don't Be So Hard On Yourself" — the second official single off her upcoming debut album I Cry When I Laugh (out in the UK August 14 and September 11 in the US) — will effortlessly become her umpteenth hit.

After all, drum and house cut sounds much as you'd expect a Jess Glynne single to sound, and the public's heart wants what it wants.