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

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Love Remains The Same

I was driving across a bridge into downtown Pittsburgh one weekend while home from college, clouds against blue and the city skyline ahead of me, and I found that one of the local radio stations had changed formats to alternative while I was away at school.

There hadn't been an alternative station in Pittsburgh since 1988, when the short-lived WXXP, or "Double X", went off the air after only two short years. Of course, U.S. alternative at that point was Depeche Mode, The Cure, Bananarama and Erasure. So basically anything British. With R.E.M. thrown in to boot.

By the previously-mentioned weekend in October 1995—when I was headed on my way to see Get Shorty, of all things, with some 18-year-old (Pipe down, I was only 21.)—alternative had a new, post-grunge sound.

Within that 45 minute drive, I heard Bush's "Comedown," No Doubt's "Just A Girl" and Smashing Pumpkins' "Bullet With Butterfly Wings" on the radio for the first time. (Though I didn't remember then that I'd actually first heard "Just A Girl" a few months prior in Clueless.)

I was already a Smashing Pumpkins fan, but for whatever reason, I really dug "Comedown" and got into Bush's first album. Who knew that 13 years later—though they began dating around that point—Gwen Stefani would become the pop force she is today, and that she'd marry Bush frontman Gavin Rossdale.

And, who knew that after a few failed career attempts post-Bush, Gavin would tone it down and have a surprise hit with a ballad. This week his "Love Remains The Same" cracks the Top 40 of Billboard's Hot 100, after moving up from #51 to #37. The alt rock lite station here in L.A. plays that song to death, so I was wondering if it would catch on.

Elsewhere, Pink is up from #9 to #3 with "So What," giving her the highest-charting single of her career (outside of the "Lady Marmalade" collab with those other sluts). Katy Perry jumps from #47 to #20 with "Hot N Cold," Leona Lewis is at #22 with "Better In Time" and Ne-Yo is up 66 positions to #32 with "Miss Independent."

And speaking of the '90s, Darius Rucker is at #40? With a country song? What? No, Hootie, no!

The U.S. Top 10:

1. "Whatever You Like" - T.I. *2 weeks* *airplay gainer*
2. "Disturbia" - Rihanna
3. "So What" - Pink
4. "Forever" - Chris Brown
5. "Paper Planes'" - M.I.A
6. "Dangerous" - Kardinal Offishall Feat. Akon
7. "Viva La Vida'" - Coldplay
8. "Closer'" - Ne-Yo
9. "I'm Yours" - Jason Mraz *sales gainer*
10. "I Kissed A Girl" - Katy Perry

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