After a year of reviewing only Top 10 hits, it seems I've pretty much run out of Drake jokes. For now, anyway — don't go thinking I'm gonna stop making Drake jokes. Actually, I was lying — I've still got a shitload of Drake jokes. But to avoid using them up all at once, I thought I'd do things a little differently this week. I'm gonna pick through the Billboard
Hot 100 and review five tracks by artists I've never heard of. That doesn't mean these artists are unknown — they're popular enough to chart, so they must have something
going on. They've just never crossed my path.
28. THE SCRIPT, "BREAKEVEN" | These guys have been burning up the Irish singles charts for a while, but they've managed to escape my notice till now, and thank God for that. Imagine Coldplay without the artsy airs, totally content to be nothing more than adult-contemporary dregs. Or maybe imagine a cross between the Buzzcocks and Train — and then totally remove the Buzzcocks.
32. JERROD NIEMANN, "LOVER, LOVER" | First of all, this dude can't impress me just by putting superfluous letters in his name — Tom York from Radiohead already tried to pull that shit, but I don't play those games. Second of all, raise your hand if you have any interest in hearing a country cover of a forgotten Sonia Dada hit from 1992. Any takers? No? Well, I guess somebody out there likes it. Niemann has an adequate voice and a pleasantly square-jawed Billy Ray Cyrus country-hunk face. It doesn't quite add up to superstar material, but he won't die broke — he's urgently needed in Maxwell House commercials and minor-sit-com-love-interest story arcs.
50. CALI SWAG DISTRICT, "TEACH ME HOW TO DOUGIE" | No! I hate being late to a trend! It seems that people have been Dougieing their asses off since April, and somehow I missed out. It's such an easy dance, too — to judge by the video, you just kind of hold your elbows at your sides and move your shoulders around. I think it used to be known as the "White Guy Shuffle," and I can totally do that. But now everybody's probably moved on to Larrying or Arthuring, and I'd just look like that dorky dad who's still doing the Macarena or Cranking Dat Soulja Boy. Maybe I can get on the next big thing, because we haven't heard the last of Cali Swag. "We're pretty sure we won't be one-hit wonders," rapper Smoove da General told Billboard. Shh! Nobody tell Smoove what's happened to every single group that's ever had a dance-craze novelty hit in the entire history of pop music.
58. CHRISTINA PERRI, "JAR OF HEARTS" | This is the weepiest teenage-girl shit to come out since Evanescence, but lacking that dark edge of gothic metalness or ambiguous Christianness. Instead, it's pure, undiluted mope. "Jar of Hearts" (eew, by the way) is like the second Twilight movie, where Bella just hangs out in her room clutching her stomach and biting her lip for, like, six hours — except it somehow lasts way fucking longer. To be actively avoided, unless you're a suicidal teenager looking for one last bit of misery before you kick the stool out.
95. THE DIRTY HEADS, "LAY ME DOWN" | Do you ever get nostalgic for the days of Sublime and 311, when mellow, hip-hop-flavored white-guy reggae was all the rage? Don't you wish a new group of fresh-faced white guys from Orange County would come along and rekindle the lukewarm fire of idiot-stoner-reggae sex jams? If you answered yes to either of those questions, please put on this paper gown and report to the sterilization room.
DAVID THORPE | firstname.lastname@example.org