My name is Alexander and I write reviews for pop songs. I rank these songs based on four categories: catchiness, originality, creativity, and artist involvement, and I also provide a chart potential score and 5-week outlook for the Hot 100. Add up the scores for catchiness, originality, creativity, and artist involvement and you get a song's overall score, which, depending on how many points it gets total, can range from 4 to 55. Click here for more info!

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Monday, October 22, 2012


Wednesday, September 26, 2012

REVIEW: "Gangnam Style" Psy

Length: 3:39
Written by: Psy
Produced by: Yang Hyun-seok
Label: YG, Universal Republic
Release date: 15 July 2012

ALEXANDER'S TAKE: Song popularized by crazy and rapidly spreading viral video isn't all that bad.

"Gangnam Style," the lead single off of Psy's 6th album, PSY's Best 6th Part 1, wasn't designed to go viral. Psy said so himself that he didn't expect it to be watched or listened to outside of South Korea, but the video had all of the characteristics of a successful viral video: something catchy and cool (the awesome dance), some sort of music involved (the song), and over-the-top swag (the entire video). The song itself is actually really catchy. Psy raps over an infectious electro-hip hop beat that will get you moving to the beat, especially if you're trying to learn the horse-riding dance that Psy described as "cheesy." Basically, "Gangnam" is a really good electro-rap song on steroids.

CATCHINESS: 10/10. Before you know it, you'll be singing and rapping in Korean. This song has been stuck in my head for weeks.

ORIGINALITY: 12/15. Electro-rap is a relatively new genre, and to some it's not even considered a genre yet. This song exposes the genre to a massive amount of people and shows that you don't need a synth-pop beat to be successful in top 40.

CREATIVITY: 9.5/15. The song is about Gangnam, a very wealthy district in Seoul, and about how Psy loves the girls from there.

ARTIST INVOLVEMENT: 15/15. Not only did Psy write the song, he also choreographed the music video of the year. HUGE props for that.

CHART/RADIO POTENTIAL: 20/20. "Gangnam" will most certainly hit #1. Just by APPEARING on the chart (it debuted at #64 two weeks ago), "Gangnam" became the first song by a Korean artist to ever grace the Hot 100. Due to exponentially gaining YouTube views, millions of people buying the song on iTunes, and U.S. top 40 radio latching on to the song, "Gangnam" rocketed from 64-11 last week. Radio and streaming services continued to fuel "Gangnam" this week, as it is now #19 on U.S. top 40 radio, #9 on the On-Demand Songs chart, which tracks how often songs are played on streaming services such as Spotify and Rdio (the On-Demand Songs chart contributes to a song's performance on the Hot 100). It has stayed at #1 on iTunes for a week straight, brushing the debut of One Direction's "Live While We're Young" off to the side. All of that propelled "Gangnam" to #2 this week, and Gary Trust of Billboard noted that this week, "Gangnam" had gained 67% in overall Hot 100 points, while the current #1, Maroon 5's "One More Night", had only gained 12%. Trust also said that there was a significant chance for "Gangnam" to hit #1 next week. And with 10-15 million more YouTube views every day, I have a hunch that that will happen.

PREDICTED PEAK POSITION: #1 (worst case scenario: #2)



26 September 2012
Alexander's Music Reviews

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

REVIEW: "This Kiss" Carly Rae Jepsen

Length: 3:48
Written by: Carly Rae Jepsen, Matthew Koma, Kelly Covell, Rob Danzen, RedFoo
Produced by: Matthew Koma, RedFoo
Label: 604, Schoolboy, Interscope
Release date: 10 September 2012

ALEXANDER'S TAKE: Jepsen follows her massive breakout song "Call Me Maybe" with another surefire pop radio hit that is a little more electro-synth than "Maybe."

"This Kiss," the follow up to the huge, uber-popular hit "Call Me Maybe," is the second single off of Jepsen's second album, Kiss. It's a synth-pop song with hints of electro- and dance-pop, but it mostly sticks to the tried-and-true pop formula that worked so well for "Maybe." Despite being similar in composition to many generic pop songs, "Kiss" only sounds slightly generic, and not One Direction-like generic. Nevertheless, "Kiss" is a very well-crafted and well-produced pop song, with an upbeat sound that shines through, especially in the chorus but in the verses, too. It's the perfect follow-up to the signature song of 2012 and shakes off the "one-hit wonder" label really well.

CATCHINESS: 8.5/10. The chorus would have to be catchy for "Kiss" to be successful, because a true pop song can't live off of verses. Luckily, "Kiss" has quite the catchy chorus, with Jepsen singing comfortably over an electro-pop style beat (possibly made by producer RedFoo of electro-pop duo LMFAO).

ORIGINALITY: 8/15. Like I said, it's very similar in composition to a generic pop song.

CREATIVITY: 8/15. Love song.

ARTIST INVOLVEMENT: 6/15. Jepsen wrote the song with four others, including producers Koma and RedFoo.

CHART/RADIO POTENTIAL: 19/20. I honestly think that "Kiss" will have an easy time skyrocketing up the charts now that Jepsen has become a household name. I can already see the similarities and differences between artists like Jepsen and artists like Rihanna. Jepsen seems like the type of artist that will churn out new albums consistently, but still keep them original and be involved in their production. Artists like Rihanna and Britney Spears, however, don't write their song and most of their stuff sounds the same. I can also see pop fans like me liking Jepsen over Rihanna and other similar artists due to this fact. Now that Jepsen is so well-known, I expect "Kiss" to be a big hit.

PREDICTED PEAK POSITION: #5 (best case scenario: #1 and worst case: #20)


11 OCTOBER #24
18 OCTOBER #16

OVERALL SCORE: 31.5 pts (Worth more than a few listens)

19 September 2012
Alexander's Music Reviews
Post #36

Saturday, September 15, 2012

REVIEW: "I Can Only Imagine" David Guetta feat. Chris Brown & Lil Wayne

Length: 3:29
Written by: Chris Brown, Lil Wayne, Jacob Luttrell, Nasri Atweh, David Guetta, Giorgio Tuinfort, Frédéric Riesterer
Produced by: David Guetta, Frédéric Riesterer, Black Raw
Label: Virgin, EMI
Release date: 28 April 2012 (7 August 2012 to U.S. top 40 radio)

ALEXANDER'S TAKE: Awesome electro-pop song with a Black Eyed Peas-feel is a perfect club hit.

"I Can Only Imagine," the fifth single from French DJ David Guetta's mega-successful album Nothing but the Beat, is one of his most diverse and club-ready songs to date. I have a feeling that "Imagine" will be big because it appeals to a lot of different music fans: R&B (Chris Brown is in the song), hip-hop (Lil Wayne is also featured), EDM (because Guetta is so popular in that genre) and of course dance-pop/club-pop (because that's the genre of the song). The catchy chorus features Brown singing over a very "Without You"-esque beat and when he's done singing, an awesome electronic beat kicks in that just makes you want to dance.

CATCHINESS: 9/10. This is one of the first songs ever that's gotten a beat AND a chorus stuck in my head. Brown's singing goes perfectly with the upbeat feel of the song.

ORIGINALITY: 10/15. Kudos to Guetta for branching out of his genre and including some hip-hop artists, as it makes for an interesting song that spans multiple genres. Hip-hop club beats have been done before, but "Imagine" also has a little bit of EDM fused into it, making for a unique sound, one that hasn't been covered much.

CREATIVITY: 8/15. To me, it's unclear what this song is about. During the chorus, Brown sings "Every touch it would bring me to life/I can only imagine, only imagine what it'd be like," which to me doesn't have a very clear meaning. Half points.

ARTIST INVOLVEMENT: 7/15. Guetta, Brown, and Wayne wrote the song with four others and Guetta produced the song with two others.

CHART/RADIO POTENTIAL: 19/20. Not only will "Imagine" receive healthy play on top 40 stations, it will also look to get some spins on rhythmic radio, primarily because Brown and Wayne are featured on the track. "Imagine" has many elements of past Guetta songs that have become hits: an infectious club beat, major artists featured, and a catchy chorus. These just happen to be elements of many successful pop songs, and I think that "Imagine" will easily motor into the top 10, and maybe even enter the top 5 with the amount of exposure this song has (Guetta, Brown, and Wayne are all household names). Also, "Imagine" is already at #61 in its 5th week on the chart, but it is notable that it only climbed 3 spots this week.

PREDICTED PEAK POSITION: #8 (worst case scenario: #23 and best case: #3)


11 OCTOBER #26
18 OCTOBER #18

OVERALL SCORE: 34 pts (Worth more than a few listens)

15 September 2012
Alexander's Music Reviews
Post #35

Sunday, September 9, 2012

REVIEW: "Hello" Karmin

Length: 3:58
Written by: Mikkel S. Eriksen, Amy Heidemann, Tor Erik Hermansen, Claude Kelly, Nick Noonan, Autumn Rowe
Produced by: Stargate
Label: Epic
Release date: 31 July 2012

ALEXANDER'S TAKE: Dance-pop song mixes rapping into what would otherwise be an uptempo club beat.

"Hello" is a perfect title for a song that will most likely introduce Karmin to top 40 listeners. The second single from their debut EP of the same name, "Hello" follows in the steps of first single "Brokenhearted" which was also a dance/synth-pop song with elements of rap and hip-hop. The chorus is catchy but not the most original, with "Hello" being repeated many times. The verses feature Heidemann's unmistakable rapping over a fast hip-hop beat, which creates distance from it and the generic pop song.

CATCHINESS: 8/10. The chorus is pretty catchy, and I'm in the process of learning the rap. Simple choruses sometimes works best, and "Hello"'s chorus fits into that category.

ORIGINALITY: 12/15. I'm glad that Karmin broke out because their original songs have a lot of potential. From the beat to the lyrics to the synths, everything sounds different in "Hello." It's hard to explain, but once you listen to it, you'll see what I mean.

CREATIVITY: 8/15. It's hard to tell what "hello" means in this song, but my best guess is that it relates to love, which is referenced multiple times in the song.

ARTIST INVOLVEMENT: 7/15. Karmin (Heidemann and Noonan) wrote the song with three others.

CHART/RADIO POTENTIAL: 15/20. Earlier this summer, Karmin broke out with their #16-peaking "Brokenhearted" which far exceeded expectations and put them on the map of top 40 radio stations and listeners. "Hello" is slightly more hip-hop geared, so it might get some spins on rhythmic radio, but all in all I don't expect "Hello" to peak as high as "Brokenhearted." Granted, the catchy chorus could work some magic, but for right now, I expect "Hello" to stay away from the top 20 for now despite a strong debut (#89 this week).

PREDICTED PEAK POSITION: #26 (best case scenario: #14 and worst case: #48)


11 OCTOBER #32

OVERALL SCORE: 35 pts (Worth more than a few listens)

9 September 2012
Alexander's Music Reviews
Post #34

Monday, September 3, 2012

REVIEW: "Let Me Love You (Until You Learn To Love Yourself)" Ne-Yo

Length: 4:14
Written by: Shaffer Smith (Ne-Yo), Mikkel S. Eriksen, Tor Erik Hermansen, Mark Hadfield, Mike Di Scala, Sia
Produced by: StarGate
Label: Motown
Release date: 10 Jul 2012

ALEXANDER'S TAKE: Generic, catchy synth-pop song is nothing special.

"Let Me Love You..." is the second song with a really long name that I've reviewed recently, the other being ""We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together" by Taylor Swift. Anyways, "Let" is the lead single off of Ne-Yo's fifth album, R.E.D. and it is definitely a letdown (no pun intended). The chorus is dramatic and features plenty of Ne-Yo's trademark crooning and the verses are basically an extension of the chorus: synth and dance-pop beat, uptempo, synths, etc. "Let" is a perfect example of the generic pop song, and that's not a good thing. However, "Let" is doing a fine job on the Hot 100, as it jumped from #88 to #74 this week, its fourth.

CATCHINESS: 6/10. Being a generic pop song, "Let" is not that catchy. Behind a normal dance-pop beat and normal synths, the only indication that the song is by Ne-Yo is his crooning and voice.

ORIGINALITY: 5/15. As the Wikipedia article perfectly describes it, "Let" is a "up-tempo club song" with a "celebratory chorus," something that is all too common in the pop world these days. There is really nothing more to say other than that "Let" is very forgettable because it's so similar to all the other generic club beats out there.

CREATIVITY: 8/15. The lyrics are also forgettable, describing someone who is learning to love herself.

ARTIST INVOLVEMENT: 4/15. Ne-Yo wrote the song with 5 others, including "Titanium" singer Sia.

CHART/RADIO POTENTIAL: 18/20. Being generic, "Let" could go a long way on the chart, and with Ne-Yo being such a known artist in the U.S., "Let" has a better chance at scaling the chart than a song by an obscure singer. Also, because Ne-Yo's songs are often played on rhythmic radio, that could give "Let" a boost on the Hot 100. Overall, "Let" has a pretty high chance at reaching the top 25, and maybe even the top 10 if a little luck kicks in.

PREDICTED PEAK POSITION: #18 (worst case scenario: #52 and best case: #7)



3 September 2012
Alexander's Music Reviews
Post #33

Sunday, September 2, 2012