How Meghan Trainor Is Exploiting Body Image, Just Like Everybody Else

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There are a lot of admirable things about Meghan Trainor’s number one single, “All About That Bass.” It fits snugly into a new pop which has won out in recent times—its retro production hammering more nails in the coffin of the out-of-control, EDM-flecked, four-on-the-floor style of yesteryear.

I’m all for evolution on the pop charts, and while this tune’s arrangement doesn’t represent a total departure into unfamiliar territory (it’s basically Amy Winehouse’s aesthetic by way of Iggy Azalea’s self aggrandizing), it’s part of a trend that pushes pop in a different direction.

Also admirable about the song is the validation it provides to various smart-alecky people: anyone working within the pro-audio industry, anyone fostering a love of wordplay, or both.

A song that dominates the pop charts while successfully making metaphors of bass (i.e., bottom end) and treble (i.e., top end—and I’ll let you figure out for yourself what the metaphors mean) demonstrates two things about the American populace:

1) The common person tends to comprehend musical terminology enough to actually understand the metaphor (satisfying musicians who know the terms—“hey, we’re not alone in the dark here!”).

2) The common American is smart enough to understand why this musical lingo constitutes a metaphor (satisfying a rhetorician’s desire see the subtleties of the English language prosper, even in the era of the “txt msg”).Read more

Denzel Washington’s ‘The Equalizer’ Levels The Box Office With $35 Million Debut

Sony_TheEqualizer_UKQuadFlexing his star power, Denzel Washington led the thriller “The Equalizer” to a $35 million debut, according to studio estimates Sunday.

The Sony-Columbia Pictures release dominated the weekend box office, surpassing some expectations for the film. Washington plays a former commando living a quiet life in Boston when the disappearance of a prostitute acquaintance (Chloe Grace Moretz) lures him into a battle with the Russian mafia.

The strong opening marks the third-best debut in Washington’s career, trailing only 2012’s “Safe House” ($40.1 million) and 2007’s “American Gangster” ($43.6 million). Washington, who will turn 60 in December, has been one of Hollywood’s most reliable draws without the benefit of anything like a superhero franchise.

Rewinding the Charts: 23 Years Ago, Garth Brooks Lassoed History

GARTH BROOKS MADE HISTORY ON SEPT. 28, 1991, when his third album, Ropin’ the Wind, debuted atop the Billboard 200: the record became the first country title to bow at No. 1. It also dethroned Metallica’s then-five-week-old eponymous album. (No small achievement: The latter recording went on to become the best-selling album – 16 million units – in the United States since Nielsen SoundScan began tracking sales in May 1991.)

After moving 300,000 in its first week, Ropin’ the Wind has sold 9.6 million to date and ranks as the best-selling country album by a male artist. Most remarkably, Brooks, then 29, achieved these milestones without the benefit of crossover airplay. Rather, it was his electric live concerts and a string of modern country classics from his first two albums, Garth Brooks and No Fences, that helped rocket his third album to No. 1, and propelled country radio to new ratings highs in the early 1990s. Read more…

Kendrick Lamar, One Direction Highlight Social Chart Action

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Kendrick Lamar reaps chart rewards after the title of his first single since 2012’s Good Kid, M.A.A.d City was leaked online Sept. 17. Entitled “i,” the track’s artwork soon appeared and the online conversation around the song’s expected debut the following week immediately sent it to the top of the Billboard + Twitter Trending 140 chart that day.

For the week, “i” starts as the second-highest debut on the weekly Twitter Top Tracks chart at No. 9. One Direction claims the week’s top arrival with “Steal My Girl,” which roars in at No. 2 after the group (and each member separately, except for Harry Styles, per his typical fashion) tweeted a short snippet of the track on SoundCloud.

On the Social 50, however, One Direction tumbles 6-8 with a 17 percent loss in overall points. General online reaction for “Steal” was not a match for the amount of activity generated from the Sept. 8 announcement of the act’s forthcoming album Four. That news spurred a 101 percent gain for the group two weeks ago (on the chart dated Sept. 20), when One Direction vaulted 24-7.

Ladies First: Meghan Trainor & 20 Females Who Topped the Hot 100 With Their First Entry

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On this week’s Hot 100 chart, Meghan Trainor’s “All About That Bass” climbs to No. 1 in its ninth week on the chart, giving the 20-year-old her first No. 1 single on the chart with her first chart entry. With that achievement, Trainor joins an elite group of female artists that have guided their debut Hot 100 entry to a No. 1 spot on the chart — Madonna, Rihanna, Taylor Swift and Adele can’t claim to have had their first Hot 100 hit reach the peak position, but these ladies can brush their shoulders off and tout the accomplishment. Read more

Weekend Report: ‘No Good Deed’ Succeeds, ‘Guardians’ Passes $300 Million

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No Good Deed easily took first place ahead of Dolphin Tale 2 on another quiet weekend at the domestic box office.

Playing at 2,175 locations, the Screen Gems thriller opened to an estimated $24.5 million. That’s in the same general range as 2009’s Obsessed ($28.6 million), which shared a producer (Will Packer) and star (Idris Elba) with No Good Deed. More impressively, it debuted significantly higher than last year’s The Call ($17.1 million), which was also a Sony thriller featuring a female protagonist in a confined location.

No Good Deed
managed to successfully combine a few key ingredients. First, and most importantly, it was well-positioned within the perennially successful home invasion subgenre. These movies manage to tap in to one of our most common fears (harm to our home/family), while also promising an element of wish fulfillment (taking control and fighting back against these invaders).

On the Verge: Now, the kids of Echosmith are cool

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Echosmith, uncovered: The members of Echosmith used to play covers in their sets to create moments where the audience would sing along. The quartet doesn’t need them anymore. Cool Kids, No. 21 on USA TODAY’s top 40 airplay chart and No. 12 on hot adult contemporary, has sold 464,000 downloads, according to Nielsen SoundScan. “It’s weird going from throwing in a cover that people knew to all of a sudden having a song that people knew,” says guitarist Jamie Sierota, 21, the oldest of the four siblings that comprise the group. Read more

Guardians of the Galaxy’ likely to top box office on slow weekend

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A traditionally slow weekend after Labor Day could put “Guardians of the Galaxy” at No. 1 at the box office for the third weekend in a row.

Disney’s Marvel Studios film sci-fi film could add up to $10 million to its domestic gross of roughly $283 million, according to people who have seen pre-release audience surveys. The expected weekend bump puts the film on track to become the first movie to reach $300 million in the U.S. and Canada this year.

The unconventional comic book movie stars Chris Pratt, Vin Diesel and Zoe Saldana (and Bradley Cooper voicing a raccoon). It set August box-office records and ended up as the summer’s highest-grossing film.

“Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles,” also released in August, may shred to second. The remake is projected to add $8 millionto its domestic gross of roughly $167 million.