ooh that was a big post.
Following on from the Britney discussion, something that grabbed me recently is how Rihanna seems to be the only act in the post-physical era capable of guaranteeing her label and team a hit with every single (major) single release. Seriously, when was the last time one of her singles was considered a flop? Or at least the ones that mattered (a bit unfair to count every charting single from an album that usually gains her about 5 or 6 hits before she moves onto the next one)
The big 3 in my opinion in the current climate are Rihanna, Beyonce and Lady Gaga. But the latter two have proven, possibly due to bad single choices or timings, that they're not impervious to bad chart runs.
Given the lukewarm reaction to Hard Candy and Celebration, I really can't see Madonna maintaining another lengthy run of consecutive top ten singles.
Britney and Christina have peaked.
The Guetta and Harris camps are riding the wave of right now, and hip-pop stars like Flo Rida and TI are only as good as their next crap sample. Even the Black Eyed Peas have had the odd disappointing single even as their other singles sell billions.
The days of the Janets and the JLos and even the P Diddys is well over.
Emerging pop princesses like Scherzinger have to work REALLY hard to get a massive hit and you never really know if the next one will perform or not.
The few rock acts that give a shit about massive sales (Coldplay) do not need to worry about every single selling well, and never have.
The ONE other act that springs to mind is Katy Perry, who I have no explanation for. Plus she's only 2 albums in.
IS there actually anyone else, and if there isn't, WHY does RIhanna nail it EVERY time? Is it really just a continuous commitment to strong pop hooks?
Part of the key to Rihanna is that she is able to cross genre with EASE. If you didn't like the last ballad, don't worry there's a CALYPSO TRACK/ HOUSE ANTHEM/ GOTHIC DISCO STOPMER already charting before the end of this sentence. But then there's her sheer WORK ETHIC and the VERY MODERN way of releasing a track a month in some cases. Why WASTE those two weeks in the hit factory on an ALBUM TRACK when there's the chance it might be a top 10 hit!
It is amazingly impressive the rate and consistency that she scores hits with.
As Ag said, she just appeals to such a wide audience. Both the pop and the more r&b-styles that she mixes makes her such an easy and crowd pleasing choice to have on a mainstream radio station. At the same time she isn't too much of either. Pop for example is actually a very wide genre (from Bieber through to Adele through to Britney etc). Rihanna seems to sit smack bang in the middle so she manages to appeal to nearly anyone who has a like for some kind of pop music. I imagine even a straight man in his mid 20's, if he was on a night out in town, would 10/10 times prefer to hear a Rihanna track on the dancefloor than say a Britney or Gaga one.
She's the definition of a crowd pleaser. Largely this is due to her writers and producers but I think by her not being a brash personality (in the Gaga way or even in the quirky Katy Perry way) reinforces this 'happy medium'.
Last edited by Devil; 06-01-2012 at 12:48 AM.
Indeed. "We Found Love" for example, had this been 2002, would've been shoehorned in alongside DJ Sammy. Yet the single before it, "Man Down", is completely and utterly different. Somehow though she just fits BOTH so well. Whatever the trend at the time is she has the perfect voice, look and presence to just BE that song.
While she hasn't quite NAILED the massive global success of the others, Katy's somehow amassed about TEN huge hits in the past three years or so. Which is definitely worth noting, but we haven't quite seen a blockbuster ALBUM from her.
Rihanna's Hot 100 scorecard, for example, looks like it belongs to someone that's been dishing out hits since 1976!
02 Pon De Replay
36 If It's Lovin' That You Want
09 Break It Off
15 Shut Up and Drive
03 Don't Stop the Music
07 Hate That I Love You
01 Take a Bow
51 If I Never See Your Face Again
01 Live Your Life
02 Run This Town
09 Russian Roulette
81 Redemption Song (Hope for Haiti)
16 Stranded (Hope For Haiti)
01 Rude Boy
64 Rockstar 101
01 Love the Way You Lie
01 Only Girl
01 What's My Name?
51 Who's That Chick
37 California King Bed
18 All of the Lights
59 Man Down
07 Cheers (Drink to That)
01 We Found Love
14 You Da One
09 Take Care
65 Where Have You Been?
31 Talk That Talk
20 Princess of China
That's about SIX HITS every year
Last edited by POP!; 06-01-2012 at 01:11 AM.
I'd love to see how many weeks she has on the Top 75 in the UK now, and where that puts her on the all time chart. I know the chart has changed significantly in the last few years in her favour in that regard (and that prior to that it was the exact opposite), but even accepting that she has taken advantage of it more than ant of her contemporaries.
In terms of total weeks on the singles chart I imagine she'd be nipping at the heels of the all time chart greats.
Look at how it compares with this list I found on wikipedia, which admittedly only covers up to 1996:
All-time total weeks on chart (15 Nov 1952 – 31 December 1996)
1. Elvis Presley 1,160 weeks
2. Cliff Richard 1,118 weeks
3. The Shadows/Drifters 769 weeks
4. Diana Ross 653 weeks
5. Elton John 525 weeks
6. Michael Jackson 469 weeks
7. Beatles 456 weeks
=. Rod Stewart 456 weeks
9. Frank Sinatra 439 weeks
10. Madonna 430 weeks
11. David Bowie 426 weeks
12. Stevie Wonder 409 weeks
13. Status Quo 404 weeks
14. Paul McCartney/Wings 399 weeks
15. Queen 390 weeks
16. The Rolling Stones 360 weeks
17. Tom Jones 356 weeks
18. Everly Brothers 345 weeks
=. Roy Orbison 345 weeks
20. Lonnie Donegan 341 weeks
I'm wondering if that chart only covers up to the end of '96 because that was the last Guinness book to cover it? We need a chart geek with some more up to date stats.
20 years ago that chart peak list would have looked like she'd had some flops, but the market is SO different now, what with the various non-video singles and buzz singles and remixes and so on. And like you say, it looks more like an Elton John singles discography spanning 30 years than a pop artist who's achieved all that in about 6, so you can forgive her for having the odd #80 track... if you just take 3 or 4 singles from each album, like most successful artists would be happy to have, it's an ASTONISHING run
I hear what you're all saying about variety and the like, but I still don't really understand why she's done it where so many struggle. Yeah Gaga can be blamed for being samey and Beyonce just can't get her singles right, but is that the major reason? Back in the 80s, the icons would chart with every single release just because the FANZ were buying it. So even if the 5th single of a Madonna/Jacko/Prince/Janet/Whitney album didn't sell an awful lot, it would still get to #9 or something based on initial CD buying and big airplay
These days? Trying releasing a sixth single and automatically expect a) radio to mass play it, b) climb quickly on iTunes and c) make a splash on youtube with some sort of video. Again, that's only Rihanna doing THAT...
I do worry that she is in very serious danger of a major burnout soon... she needs that all important break. The demand for new Rihanna won't lessen if she takes time off, if anything it'll go up and she can start the whole crazy process again in 2/3 years time, maybe put out a couple of big collab singles in the meanwhile to bridge the gap. I'd love either a Rihanna vs (insert popstar here) mini-album like the Jay/Kanye one, or for four or five of the big females to team up for a MAMMOTH MAX TRACK!
kyoko, it's me
I think she needs to end the year with an Immaculate Collection-style Greatest Hits. If she milks that for all its worth with a couple of massive new hits and a DVD of some sort, she'll cement herself as one of the all time greats and reward herself with a couple more years off without worry of killing her momentum. At the moment she's probably worried that any sort of break would end her run... whereas post some sort of Best Of, the comeback will be a big deal.
Which is why it's so easy nowadays for labels to just quickly scrap singles and move onto the next one. With diminishing need for official videos or official singles (EPs) with every release (or at least BEFORE the single is pushed!) it's often 'throw at the wall and see what sticks'. Labels are much quicker now to give up and move on.
Last edited by POP!; 06-01-2012 at 01:50 AM.
I believe they would go top 40, but for Prince and Janet in particular (just using the least successful in the UK of your examples), you would struggle to call them much more than minor hits. But this certainly isn't to denigrate what they achieved, just to underline the fact that even in THIS climate (where like you say, singles crash and burn quicker) Rihanna is consistently landing multiple massive singles from each album, worldwide.
Hmmm maybe it is to do with the artist input? As much as Gaga captured the world with her first album, the second hasn't done so. As much as Beyonce did with Sasha Fierce, 4 hasn't done that. But both of those artists for example are very hands-on with their music, both explore concepts with their albums as it be. Therefore it'd be harder for them to constantly score with the public each time as it very much relates to them. Like Madge, I guess. When her concept was 'sex' or 'r&b', the Erotica and Bedtime Stories albums relatively under performed. Similar to American Life.
Rihanna on the other hand has very minimal of her own input. I remember reading the whole 'Loud' album was created via a two day (?) writing camp of the best in the industry which Rihanna/hear team then selected the 11 most appropriate (read: biggest hits) and recorded them. The whole process probably took two weeks, using the current top writers and producers at that time.
It's therefore much easier for her to be releasing things that are always on the mark given the sound of the times, whereas someone like Beyonce firing at us with "4" is alot riskier.
Going back to the funk's comment about the 80s, it was actually VERY DIFFERENT in the 80s. In the 90s, yes, fan purchases got LOADS of "unworthy" singles to the top ten- big first week debut, massive crash off. But in the 80s, singles "grew" far more than they did even now and loads of records just didn't take off- it was why the likes of Bananarama could go top ten with "Venus" but then the follow up would miss the top 40 entirely.
Take the aforementioned Madonna as an example- looking at Polyhex, it took until "Fever" in 1993 for her to register a single that didn't improve on its opening week peak...
There was also much more attention paid to singles in those days too- in a world where there was no downloading, for example, people might genuinely be interested in buying a single for remixes- look at Five Star who actually got their 2nd biggest hit off their second album with the final (sixth) single- likely because it was in a (vastly superior to the album version) massively remixed form which encouraged people to go out and buy it.
It's been too long, it's been too long...
Rihanna's chart discography, when listed like that, is incredible in a relatively short space of time. But as others have pointed out, she very much represents the way the music industry has changed and the way her record company have adapted to downloads is probably the best example of any other artist around. But there is nothing about Rihanna that makes me think "we're never going to see anything like this again" - indeed I think in the next 10-20 years, providing the market doesn't change again (which it could well do, it would be silly to discount), we'll see MORE artists accumulating hits in the way that she does. It just so happens that the position she's in is one where I guess she's the obvious choice to attach a hit to. If she took a 2-3 year break, I think a label could easily create another Rihanna - she keeps working, she isn't a massively open or involving performer in terms of what she actually DOES on a day-to-day basis.
My feelings on Gaga are quite clear, but it would be silly to say that a record label could just find another one of her overnight. She's a pop star, a performer (for better or for worse), she's about the pomp and the SHOW. The problem she faces at the moment is that like every other "event" pop star, from Madonna (in her day) to the Spice Girls (in their day), she cannot maintain the same level of hype and fever that she did during her debut when she reinvigorated a pop genre that was becoming a bit lazy and a bit tired. I think she and the public are having a hard time adjusting their expectations to seeing her translate what made her unique into something that will make her an enduring pop star, because more recently we're used to seeing these kind of things implode after 2-3 years.
Beyoncé...well, I think the main problem for her in the very long-term is that she's of a genre which already has its icons and its legacy. And unlike pop music, R&B legends tend to be more fixed and not attached to a particular decade or movement (in the way that, for example, the Spice Girls were a 90's phenomenon, but no-one - besides Louis Walsh - really uses them as a comparison point for Girls Aloud, Sugababes, etc because "popular culture" has changed since the mid-90's). I think there will be a time when Beyoncé, if she continues doing what she does, will be considered an R&B "legend" because I believe that for people of the last few decades, there isn't anyone like her; but it won't be until the larger population of the music community who grew up with Aretha, Diana Ross, etc. are gone.
The R&B legends who have remained largely true to original R&B roots of blues, gospel, soul, such as Aretha Franklin, James Brown, Otis Redding for example, are not known for being the biggest album sellers in the world. They're not.
Beyonce has pushed the pop music card a LOT over the years - quite wisely - to broaden her appeal, never moreso than on Sasha Fierce, but when you look at the first 2 albums, and interestingly the recent album, there is a sense that deep down she doesn't really want to comprimise her sound. Not in the way Rihanna has done, at least. She's still influenced by funk, rare groove, doo-wop, gospel, etc. She's not trying to be Amy Winehouse or Erykah Badu of course, but on the scale between original and commercial R&B, she's much further down the Aretha Franklin side than the Diana Ross side.
Whether that's the reason or not I don't know, but that's a fundamental difference between the two. Of course, the theory would be so much EASIER if Rihanna didn't sell albums, like so many other hitmakers, particularly in the UK do, and you could argue that Beyonce is your adult R&B singer with bigger album sales and fewer hits. But she's not. Rihanna's got EVERY BASE COVERED.
Fucked if I know.
Last edited by funky; 06-01-2012 at 10:27 AM.
I agree funks. My sense is that Beyoncé's preference is for rather non-commercial, noisy R&B tracks. She continues to record them even though they only rarely work out for her commercially (see: SL(PAROI)). Rihanna and Gaga are quite different propositions, in that each and every song on their most recent albums could conceivably be released as a POP single (that's not to make a comment on the quality of the tracks, more to say that they are all quite commercial in nature).
Oh and Beyoncé is not as big at Rihanna and Gaga in terms of sales/albums (I think figures have just been published putting Rih and Gags at 40+m digital sales and Bey at 30m), but has shown far greater longevity (she's been having hits in one way or another since 1998!), and will continue to be a relevant force in music for at least the next 10 years short of a massive personal implosion.
In response to the actual point of the forum I don't doubt at all that we'll have another global hit maker in the future.
Though at the moment she is clearly leagues above everyone else in terms of global hit turnover and sucess; but then again there isn't a popstar out there who has a team like hers who put so much effort (and money) into getting the best material and singles for her to release - and as a result she seems to be the go to person for a guest feature to get a hit on "insert artist" album - the fact that even Coldplay are doing it says a lot.
The only artist who is in a similar league to compete at the moment is Katy Perry and a massive factor in her success is her team of song writers and her very public likeable image.
It's like you're screaming . . . and no one can hear;
you almost feel ashamed . . . that someone could be that important
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