The late ˜70s gave us a plethora of short-term disco stars who lived”and quickly died”by the groove, while the Tacos, the Kajagoogoos and the After the Fires of the early ˜80s, arrived wielding synthesizers and tressed for fifteen minutes and less of success. More recently, in 2005 and 2006, sensitive singer-songwriter guys Daniel Powter (Bad Day) and James Blunt (You’re Beautiful) helped usher out the pre-Rihanna/Katy Perry/Lady Gaga phase of pop.
In 2009, as a higher number of headlining newcomers than usual ascended to the summit (Lady Gaga, Jay Sean and Jason DeRülo, among them), at least one, Owl City”the act behind Fireflies”was bound to never fly anywhere near those heights again. And last year, with dance music dominating the airwaves more dramatically than it had since the aforementioned disco age, we got indie-pop with a beat for exactly one massive hit single, courtesy of Foster the People, who went all the way to No. 3 with Pumped Up Kicks.
Which of 2012’s first-timers so far are most likely to not still be succeeding by their next single? fun., the rock trio that recently spent six weeks at No. 1 with “We Are Young”? Or Gotye, who rode a quirky song and an even more oddball video all the way to the top?
At a quick glance, Gotye seems to have all of the trappings of a one-hit wonder. Interesting name that one might need a pronunciation key to get right? Check. Song that sounds unlike anything else on the radio? Check. A colorful video that jumps off the screen for reasons that have as much to do with the high concept as the song itself? Check.
This was a brutal exercise, listening to at least large chunks of every Number 1 single on the Billboard Hot 100 for the years between 2000 and 2010 (I should have stopped at 2009, but I’m a glutton for punishment). Anyway, in order to avoid repetition, if a song was a Number 1 in more than one year (carried over from a previous year), I only considered it for the first year in which it hit the top spot. I thought I might see some kind of trend in quality of pop music, but no such luck”highs and lows abound throughout.
Best: Smooth by Santana featuring Rob Thomas. Rob Thomas tries really hard to wreck this song with his awful singing, but it’s still really catchy. Sorry Rob, but I’ve come from the future to tell you that you’ll have more success offending listeners with your solo record.
Worst: The epic and universal terribleness of Arms Wide Open by Creed beats out such dreck as Everything You Want by Vertical Horizon and a song called I Knew I Loved You by a band that wrote the name Savage Garden on a piece of paper, looked at it and said, Yes. Let’s name our band that. That’s not totally stupid at all.
Dishonorable mention: Independent Women Part 1 by Destiny’s Child, for opening the song with a shout out to Charlie’s Angels, the movie in which it is featured, and for kicking off the verse with the lyric, Question: Tell me what you think about me. Yeah, that’s not a question, that’s a command. What do I think about you? I think that you’re too pushy and have a tenuous grasp on parts of speech.
Don’t let their young age fool you, Asper Kourt turns out tunes and draws in fans with the experience of any seasoned indie act. Call us scene teens, but we’re just suckers for a garage band story, and Asper Kourt serves up exactly that. High school pals Kevin Herig, Nate Boitano and Heath Warren started up in a garage on a street called Asper Court, which would later become the band’s namesake. What initially started as afternoon jam sessions soon grew into strong and passionate musicians recognizing talents in each other. Bassist Mat Beston and piano-playing Kurt Sorenson sealed Asper Kourt’s lineup and laid back sound.
Asper Kourt serves up a lyrically poignant, sometimes folksy mix of pop and rock with a piano pop flare that lends itself to the easy-going charisma the band has cultivated for itself. It seems people are taking notice, being crowned champion of UNM’s Battle of the Bands, named Albuquerque the Magazine’s Best Local Band Headed for Stardom” and even being one of 3 finalists considered by the Goo Goo Dolls for the Subway “Fresh Artists” Competition on OurStage.
Want to know more? Check out the video below, comment, share, post, send up smoke signals, you get the idea. And stay tuned for more from Asper Kourt all week!
For fans of: Jack Johnson, Jason Mraz, 311, James Blunt, Train