Life is full of surprises, and sometimes, so is pop music. In recent weeks, it’s recovered its long-dormant ability to shock, or at least catch us off guard with the unlikely hit, or the unexpected comeback.
Several months ago, I never dreamed I would ever ask the question that is the title of this article. It had been more than twenty-five years since Lionel Richie’s commercial heyday, and on the charts, he had been succeeded by younger romantic leads in pop and R&B many times over (Babyface, Usher, Ne-Yo, among others).
Then came one of those surprise developments seldom seen in pop anymore: On Billboard magazine’s Top 200 album chart for the week following the March 26 release of Tuskegee, Richie’s first studio album since 2009’s Just Go (which didn’t make the US Top 20 and failed to go gold), he debuted at No. 2 with first-week sales of 199,000 copies, right behind Madonna’s latest, MDNA.
“I get high with a little help from my friends,” Ringo Starr sang on the Beatles‘ 1967 classic. These days, so do many of music’s top stars. Two’s company, and so is three and sometimes four. The more the merrier, the higher and higher they get.
On the charts, that is.
In the Top 40 of Billboard’s Hot 100 for the week ending December 10, seventeen songs were collaborations between separate recording entities. Four of them featured Drake, and three apiece featured Rihanna and Nicki Minaj, who both appeared on tracks with Drake and with each other. But will.i.am featuring Jennifer Lopez and Mick Jagger”and debuting at No. 36 with “T.H.E. (The Hardest Ever),” which the threesome performed on the November 20 American Music Awards”was probably the one that nobody saw coming.
Old-school Rolling Stones fans must be cringing at the idea of Jagger going anywhere near Lopez and will.i.am so soon after Maroon 5 featuring Christina Aguilera went to No. 1 by invoking his hallowed name on “Moves Like Jagger.” But for a sixty-something legend like him, hit records”even if in name only, a la Duck Sauce‘s GRAMMY-nominated “Barbra Streisand”are a near-impossible dream unless they’re in tandem with other, often younger, stars.
Few artists can include World War II veteran, jazz singer, painter and MTV fixture on their resume, but Tony Bennett has it sewn up. Almost twenty years after breaking through to the MTV generation and twice that in the industry, Bennett is relevant yet again with Duets II.
MTV Networks premiered Bennett’s duet of “Body and Soul” with the late, great Amy Winehouse (watch the video after the jump), and with another song recorded with the unstoppable Gaga, Duets II debuted at No. 1 on Billboard’s top albums chart, selling 179,000 units in the first week and holding steady in the Top 5 on iTunes.
Two webisodes down, two to go! Over the last two weeks hundreds of fans have been buzzing around the Internet voicing their opinions about which OurStage artist reigns supreme on The OurStage Panel. Last week Austin Renfroe was crowned Fan Favorite of webisode 2 after over 500 people weighed in.
The fans are speaking, and will not go ignored. Watch today’s new webisode featuring Odelia, Katie Cole, Matt Bailie and Sleeperstar and let us know who YOU think is tops. Cast your vote in the poll on the OurStage Facebook page and speak your mind on Twitter using the #ourstagepanel hashtag (make sure to follow @OurStagePanel too!). We’ll tally up the responses and on Friday one artist will be named this week’s Fan Favorite.
The Fan Favorite from each week, four total, will then be thrown in the ring together for a final round of voting, and the winning artist will walk away with $1,000 of their own.
But that’s not all! By telling us your favorite each week on Facebook and Twitter you’ll automatically be entered to win a “Perfect Pair” of Tony Bennett Signature Edition Headphones from KOSS. What better way to listen to all the great music put forth by artists competition in The OurStage Panel?