Music Power Rankings: Pop rules as Justin Timberlake, Taylor Swift, Lady GaGa make the cut
There’s a lot of movement in the pop world as Justin Bieber, Taylor Swift and Lady GaGa all have monumental weeks, but we’re giving the slight nod to Swift. There’s been a lot of speculation as to if she can keep the momentum from “Fearless” going, in part, because it’s nearly impossible to capture lightning in a bottle twice, but, more importantly, Swift straddles a difficult line.
She’s not quite as wholesome as a Disney artist (although you could argue she’s much less salacious than Miley Cyrus), yet she seems young enough—at 20—that she shouldn’t be singing about sex, like her near peers in Lady Antebellum. How does she make that move from the girl who sings repeatedly about high school to the woman who is discovering what she wants from love.
Swift gets it right with “Mine,” the first single from her forthcoming October album, “Speak Now.” The track allegedly “leaked” two weeks before her label, Big Machine, was officially going to release it. Amazingly, within a few hours of the “leak,” the label was ready to service the track to country radio and to iTunes. A lot of folks clearly wanted to make “Mine” theirs, as the track soared to the top of Apple’s download chart.
1) Taylor Swift (not ranked): Excitement for her new project, “Speak Now,” is at such a fever pitch that first single, “Mine,” “leaks,” according to her label, forcing Big Machine to service the song to radio and iTunes two weeks early. “Mine” instantly surges to the top of the iTunes singles chart. Looks like America’s Love Story with Swift continues.
2) Justin Bieber (not ranked): He’s barely old enough to drive (and definitely isn’t tall enough to see over the steering wheel) and yet Justin Bieber is already at work on an autobiography and a 3D biopic/concert film (that was enough to land him the top spot on Movie Power Rankings). Seven-year olds start saving their weekly .50 cent allowances now for February’s movie opening.
3) Irving Azoff (not ranked): Move over Kanye: The man the NY Times hyperbolically calls the most powerful figure in the history of music industry started tweeting this week. The head of Live Nation Entertainment’s opening salvo: “So if you want ticket prices to go down, stop stealing music.” Almost a quarter of his first 17 posts are taking on scribes such as Wall Street Journal’s Ethan Smith and Billboard’s Glenn Peoples. They should consider that the new badge of honor.
4) Avenged Sevenfold (No. 3 last week): The hard rock band does what the likes of Drake and Rick Ross could ot do: they knock the mighty Marshall Mathers out of the top spot on the Billboard 200 as “Nightmare” replaces Eminem’s “Recovery” at No. 1
5) Arcade Fire (not ranked): Avenged Sevenfold’s glory will burn brightly but be short lived when Arcade Fire torches its way to No. 1 next week with new album, “The Suburbs.”
6) Lady GaGa (not ranked): She leads all nominees for the VMA Awards, and sets a record for most nominations ever, but what really has people talking is her comment to Vanity Fair: that she doesn’t have sex because she’s afraid someone will “take my creativity from me through my vagina.” Oh honey, were you absent the day that was all explained in sex ed? It doesn’t work that way.
7) Wyclef Jean (No. 10): He makes it official. Last week, the ex-Fugee hinted that he may run for president in his native Haiti and he has now filed the official paperwork. The election is Nov. 28. I guess the scandal over his Yele Haiti charity doesn’t even register a blip compared to some of the misdeeds by former Haitian leaders.
8) Farm Aid (not ranked): The multi-artist benefit concert launched by Willie Nelson, John Mellencamp and Neil Young in 1985 turns 25 this year and will commemorate the occasion with a stadium concert in Milwaukee also featuring Dave Matthews. Farm Aid has raised more than $37 million for family farms. That’s a lot of seed money.
9) Lollapalooza (not ranked): The last of the big summer festivals takes place in Chicago this weekend with headliners including Soundgarden, Arcade Fire and Lady GaGa. Like Coachella and Bonnaroo, despite a horrific summer touring season, Lollapalooza is on track for a lollapalooza of a successful festival—especially after releasing an extra 60,000 tickets several weeks ago.
10) “American Idol” (not ranked): Between the speculation over the new judges, the return of Nigel Lythgoe, and producer 19 Entertainment’s move from Sony Music to Universal Music Group, there’s been more “Idol” chatter this past week than the entire last season.
Music Power Rankings appear every Friday. What do you think of this week's list?
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