Shania Twain is the Artist of the Week

SHANIA TWAIN AOTW15 years ago, Shania Twain scored her sixth number-one country single with “You’re Still the One”. This song went on to become an international mega-hit, and it earned her 4 Grammy nominations, of which she won 2. This week, she celebrates her 48th birthday, and Slacker is paying tribute the Queen of Country Pop.

Shania’s album “Come On Over” is still the best-selling album by a female and the top-selling country album of all time. She was one of the leaders of country music’s renaissance in the 1990s, introducing millions of new listeners to the genre. In 2004, she went on hiatus until she started her “Still the One” residency at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas last year. She is currently working on her fifth studio album, and her fans anxiously await her new music.

On this week’s Artist of the Week station you’ll hear her biggest hits, the music that influenced her as a child when she was singing in bars, and the hundreds of artists that she influenced and inspired.

Listen to Shania Twain on Slacker’s Artist of the Week.

Tim McGraw Honored for “Highway” Milestone

Less than two dozen artists on the planet can boast 34 No. 1 singles, so there was a big reason for Tim McGraw to celebrate this week in Nashville. Friends and colleagues threw a party for the country superstar in midtown Music City to commemorate his 34th chart-topper, “Highway Don’t Care,” which also features Taylor Swift on vocals and Keith Urban on guitar.

Photo by Rick Diamond- Getty

Photo by Rick Diamond- Getty

“I’m a big fan of Keith’s and big fan of Taylor’s. They’re two of the best artists we have, not just in country but in music in general,” McGraw told Slacker and other partygoers, including Urban himself, who beamed at his friend on stage. “Keith is one of those guys who makes everyone look at us here in Nashville, and I’m so proud to have him represent us. And Taylor is so smart, talented, beautiful, and a spectacular songwriter. It was a big deal to have her on this record, and especially a big deal for my three daughters!”

Plaques commemorating the song’s rise to the top were presented to the singer, his producer Byron Gallimore and the “Highway Don’t Care” songwriters, Mark Irwin, Josh Kear, Brad Warren and Brett Warren. McGraw showed as much appreciation for the writers as he did his collaborators.

Brett Warren, Brad Warren, Mark Irwin, McGraw, Byron Gallimore; photo by Thien Phan

Brett Warren, Brad Warren, Mark Irwin, McGraw, Byron Gallimore; photo by Thien Phan

“There are people at 7-Eleven who can sing better than I can, but there are not a lot of people who can write a great song,” he mused. “This town is full of those people. They’re passionate about what they do and work hard at it. The best (songwriters) in this industry are right here in Nashville.”

McGraw’s wife, Faith Hill, was also at the party, as the couple shared a rare night out together in Nashville. They will resume their series of Soul2Soul shows at Las Vegas’ Venetian Hotel and Casino in October. McGraw is also working on a new movie but is keeping mum on details, joking that he’d lose his role if he said anything about it just yet.

Listen to McGraw’s latest No. 1, “Highway Don’t Care,” here.

 

Get Exclusive Access to the Pearl Jam Top 33!

PEARL JAM MUSIC GUIDEThis week marks the 22nd anniversary of the release of Pearl Jam’s classic debut album, “Ten.” Slacker celebrates with an exclusive station built out of their greatest hits including “Even Flow” and “Better Man,” as well as lesser known fan favorites like “Crazy Mary.”

This countdown of Pearl Jam’s Top 33 is determined by Slacker users via our E.Q. (“Engagement Quotient”) methodology, allowing us to rank their 33 most played, most hearted and most shared tracks.

Such one-artist stations are usually reserved for premium users but, thanks to a special arrangement with the band, everybody on Slacker can listen through Sunday 8/25.

The Pearl Jam Top 33, powered by real user engagement–something that could only happen on Slacker. Listen here. 

Mumford and Sons, Phoenix Wow the Osheaga Music and Arts Festival in Montreal

Photo by: Pat Beaudry

Photo by: Pat Beaudry

This past weekend, August 2-4, some 135,000 people (over the 3 days) flocked to Parc Jean Drapeau on the small Montreal island of Ile St Helene to take part in the Osheaga Music and Arts Festival. The largest of its kind in Canada, Osheaga has solidified its spot as THE festival to attend over the Canadian August long weekend, drawing fans from all across Canada, the US and Europe.

With 5 stages nestled throughout the woods of the park and the cityscape of Montreal as a backdrop, Osheaga is an outdoor concert experience you won’t find anywhere else!

Sharing its lineup with Lollapalooza 2013 in Chicago, Osheaga hosted some of the biggest names in music including Mumford and Sons, Beck, Phoenix, The Lumineers, Macklemore and Ryan Lewis, Vampire Weekend, The Cure and New Order.

 

Capital Cities kick it off with a bang!

The first band to hit the main stage on Friday afternoon was Capital Cities. What a kick off! Their fun and energetic set had people on their feet from the moment they started right till the end. Playing all their big tracks from their album In A Tidal Wave of Mystery (trumpet player and all!) it was a perfect way to get people in the mood to party!

Photo by: Pat Beaudry

Photo by: Pat Beaudry

But then the happy vibe quickly ended when Canadian hip-hop artist k-os took the stage 20 minutes late. They were obviously having sound issues because when k-os finally started his set he only played for 2 minutes then said “I can’t do this right now – I can’t hear myself”, and threw his all access pass into the crowd and walked off. Undoubtedly the crowd booed.

The next 3 artists on the main stages – Daughter, Ben Howard and Alt-J – were a bit too chill, especially after Capital Cities.  Two Door Cinema Club stepped out in class with lead singer Alex Trimble sporting a pompadour coif and belting out hits like “Something Good Can Work” and tunes from their latest album Beacons. The crowd was back on their feet and stayed that way through Ellie Goulding and Vampire Weekend.

The best show of the night went to Phoenix. Their catchy and fun melodies perfectly matched their high energy on stage, and that enthusiasm quickly spread like wild fire to the crowd. The epic moment came when lead singer Thomas Mars “fell” into the crowd during their song “1901” and paraded through while being kissed by all those that could reach him. It was awesome to watch.

Photo by Pat Beaudry

Photo by Pat Beaudry

Unfortunately for the Cure, Phoenix was a hard act to follow. Although they played all their hits (well almost, the organizers had to pull the plug on them at 11pm), they just couldn’t get the crowd to that same energy level.

Day 2 – k-os comes back!

I arrived a little later on Day 2 of the festival, missing Grouplove and The Heavy, but heard they played great sets. Canadian twins, Tegan and Sara received a warm welcome and played a nice mix of hits from their latest album Heartthrob and old fan favorites.

Miguel was due to play next at the main stages but cancelled last minute due to a vocal cord injury. Who could they find last minute to fill his spot? How about k-os? He’s gotta work to get paid, right?

Not impressed by his previous day antics, there were a lot of people who decided to skip his show, including myself.

Heading over to the Scene Verte stage in the woods, another set of twins were just getting ready to play, Kim and Kelley Deal of The Breeders. A large crowd of 30 and 40-somethings gathered to relive the mid-90s as the band played their epic album Last Splash from start to finish. Everyone sang along as they rocked through classics like “Cannonball” and “No Aloha”. Pure Awesomeness!

Back to the main stage, the Imagine Dragons performed one of the best shows of the festival.  Energetic, passionate and playful, lead singer Dan Reynolds gave it his all…and the crowd ate it up! Touring on just one album, Night Visions, they were the surprise show of the weekend.

Photo by: Pat Beaudry

Photo by: Pat Beaudry

After that, the crowd was pumped for Macklemore and Ryan Lewis who kept the party going with their party anthems “Thrift Shop” and “Can’t Hold Us”. For their latest radio hit “Same Love”, they invited Tegan and Sara to sing the chorus, usually performed by Mary Lambert. They only managed to play 8 songs in their hour long set because Macklemore would ramble on before every song, telling stories about his grandmother who once worked at the Montreal General Hospital. It was sweet but annoying after the second story.

The Saturday night closer was Beck, whom the promoters had been trying to get to Montreal for 7 years. Coming out in a cowboy hat and looking like Bob Dylan in his younger days, Beck kicked it off with a funky rendition of “Devil’s Haircut”. Despite the rain, fans held on. A fave moment came when Rishi Dhir of Montreal band Elephant Stone played sitar during “Loser”. Although Beck played nothing from his albums Mutations nor Midnite Vultures, he played several covers including Korgis’ “Everybody’s Got To Learn Sometime” and Michael Jackson’s “Billie Jean”.

Day 3 – Mumford and Sons draw record attendance

Day 3 of the festival was the first day to sell out, and most can assume it was because of Mumford and Sons. The day was quite cool and windy and there was a heavy downpour of rain in the afternoon (which can always ruin a buzz) so the earlier shows such as Little Green Cars, Silversun Pickups, Big Boi, The Lumineers, Father John Misty and Kendrick Lamar lacked luster, compared to the artists of the previous days…or maybe it was just me!

oshega4

As the sun (or what there was of it) started to fall, the crowd revved up for 80s/90s legends, New Order. With ¾ of the original band (minus Peter Hook) present, Bernard Sumner belted out classics such as “Bizarre Love Triangle”, “True Faith”, “Blue Monday” and “Temptation” to an adoring crowd…most of who weren’t even born in New Order’s heyday! Their hour and a quarter set closed with a trio of songs from their Joy Division days – “Atmosphere”, “Shadowplay” and “Love Will Tear Us Apart” – with pictures of singer Ian Curtis splashing on the screen behind them.

Last but not least, the final show of the festival, Mumford and Sons. With stringed lights strewed from the stage to the sound booth, the crowd was on their feet before they even took to the stage. The place was packed, there was barely anyone sitting down. There was no doubt this was a record attendance for Osheaga!

Marcus Mumford and his bandmates took to the stage in blue light and softly harmonized to the beginning of “Lovers’ Eyes”, until the peak of the song when the bright white lights came on and the energy on stage as well as in the crowd was explosive.  “Little Lion Man” followed, everyone in the crowd sang at the top of their lungs. From “I Will Wait” to “Lover of the Light” to an awesome Springsteen cover of “I’m on Fire” to the closer “The Cave”, Mumford and Sons demonstrated they were worthy of being top headliner at this festival.

It was a perfect way to cap off the amazing weekend and put the Osheaga Music and Arts Festival in the top ranks of summer music festivals worldwide.

 

 

 

The Top Five Hits on Twitter

Screen Shot 2013-08-16 at 1.10.01 AMQuick: Tell us what your newest favorite song is and why in 140 characters or less.

Twitter has become a major player in the music business, with millions of users tweeting about what they’re listening to and sharing songs with their followers. Slacker has our ears open to what’s chirping, so we’ve created a Twitter Top 50 station to bring you the most popular tunes on the social network.

We update the station every Wednesday to reflect the current Twitter “Superstars” chart, which counts down Twitter users’ most listened-to tracks. Check out which hits are getting the most tweets this week by tuning in here.

While you’re listening, here are our favorite five hits from Twitter Top 50 this week:

1. Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, “Can’t Hold Us” (featuring Ray Dalton): “Looking for a better way to get out of bed,” raps Macklemore in this caffeinated track. Dude, just play your own song. The energy in this collaboration is infectious and anything but cliché. Just try to keep your hands down.

2. Bruno Mars, “Treasure”:  It’s vintage Michael Jackson meets ‘70s disco when Mars croons about the woman of his dreams. The harmonies on this track rival anything on the singer’s stellar debut album, and if it’s possible to out-sexy himself, he’s done that too.

3. Cher, “Woman’s World”: Note to Madonna: this is how you stay relevant. Cher’s new girl-power anthem fits right in any dance club mix alongside Ke$ha, P!nk and other pop tarts half her age. The first single from her 26th studio album, this track reminds us why Cher has been a musical force to be reckoned with for almost half a century.

4. Hunter Hayes, “I Want Crazy”: In the lyrics of this song, we learn that country music’s newest heartthrob isn’t a fan of vanilla relationships – he’s more of a rocky road guy. In the melody, we hear the multi-instrumentalist play guitar, mandolin, banjo, fiddle and drums. This song proves why he should’ve been voted Biggest Flirt and Most Likely to Succeed in high school (which was just a few years ago).

5. One Republic, “Counting Stars”: When a commercially successful pop/rock band tries to sound more indie, it usually doesn’t work. One Republic proves the exception with this song, which relies just as much on its introspective lyrics as it does a catchy beat.

Check out all of these songs and more on Slacker’s Twitter Top 50.

 

This Week’s Slacker EQ Charts Are Here!

EQ PlayThe Slacker’s EQ charts for the week of August 4th are out now! Take a look here. 

Millions of Slacker music fans determine how these charts are ordered. By measuring how listeners listen to, skip, Heart, and Ban songs on Slacker, we are able to present these charts, which are a true measure of how engaged music fans are, with the songs that they hear. Simply put: here are the songs that you love the most this week across all genres.

On the Overall chart, Robin Thicke narrowly maintains the #1 spot with “Blurred Lines.” He got an extra boost from last week’s feature as Slacker’s “Album Of The Week,” which allowed millions of Slacker listeners to listen to his entire album on-demand. Also on the Overall chart, Zedd’s “Clarity” continues to crossover from the EDM chart in a major way; it’s up 15 spots to break into the top 15.

We see three new songs that Slacker listeners are pushing up the Hip Hop/R&B chart. Wale’s “LoveHate Thing,” Big Sean’s “Beware,” and B.o.B.’s “Headband” all make their debut this week. Imagine Dragons continue to jam up the Alt/Indie chart; 3 of the top 5 songs belong to the band. Panic At The Disco’s “Miss Jackson” and Sick Puppies’ “There’s No Going Back” both make their debut on the chart this week.

Meanwhile, on the EDM chart, we see two massive debuts as Martin Garrix’s “Animals” debuts at #20, and Run DMT’s “Starlight” debuts at #27. At Rock, Three Days Grace’s new single “Misery Loves My Company” makes a huge debut–up 41 spots to land at #9. Papa Roach’s “Leader Of The Broken Hearts” is up 78 spots to break into the top 15.

Over on the Pop chart, One Direction’s “Best Song Ever” makes a huge debut—up 29 spots to land at #39. This huge jump is largely due it’s feature as a Slacker “Song Stuck In My Head” last week. The same goes for Avicii; his “Wake Me Up” debuts at #40. We had initially projected Bruno Mars to overtake Robin Thicke for the #1 spot this week, but Miley Cyrus’ “We Can’t Stop” has jumped 2 spots to land at #2, very close to unseating “Blurred Lines.”

Finally, on the Country chart, Tim McGraw has the biggest debut of the week; his new single “Southern Girl” is a hit with Slacker music fans, as it jumps 46 spots to land at #27. Lee Brice’s “Parking Lot Party” and Keith Urban’s “Little Bit Of Everything” both jump 8 spots to break into the top 15. A favorite of your Slacker curators, Kacey Musgraves makes her Country chart debut, with “Blowin’ Smoke” landing at #39.

Check back next week to see which songs music fans all over the US and Canada are most engaged with; the Slacker EQ charts are updated every Wednesday evening. And you can hear all of these songs on the Slacker Top 40, hosted by Slacker DJ Parker—listen here! 

Want to learn more about what the EQ score is? Read more here or check out our nifty infographic here.

The “55 Best Ideas in Music History” Station Rewards Risk-Takers Who Expanded Our Musical Palates

55 BEST IDEAS IN MUSIC HISTORY2“This is never going to work.”

That was the recurring theme when it came to creating Slacker’s brand-new station, the “55 Best Ideas in Music History.” The brainchild of music historians (and two of the funniest guys we know), Craig Marks and Rob Tannenbaum, this station counts down the creative curveballs that left lasting impressions on the music world. Most of these ideas warrant a big, fat “I told you so” from their respective artists, as they started out as pipe dreams that others swore would never work.

“55 Best Ideas in Music History” spans several decades and genres, with an eclectic mix of musical gambles. For instance, what was Adele thinking when she made an entire album about one bad relationship? She was thinking all the way to the bank. Trailblazing folk icon Bob Dylan infuriated fans when he dared to plug in on an album and on tour. But adding a little electricity to his repertoire certainly received more cheers than jeers.

Slacker caught up with Craig and Rob, who also host the station, to reminisce on these musical milestones. The guys, who co-authored the hilariously poignant book, I Want My MTV: The Uncensored Story of the Music Video Revolution, explained to us how they crafted this station and which off-the-wall musical moves shocked them the most.

[hr]

Slacker: How did you come up with this list of ideas and songs?

Craig: We thought about shifts that may have seemed unusual or profound at the time, but turned out to be the best thing [the artist] has ever done. We put a lot of hours in, researching and combing through the history of music, and we asked some friends for their opinions.

Rob: Let’s put the emphasis on “asked friends.” We like to crowd source as much as possible, so that other people are doing our work and we’re getting paid for it.

Slacker: A lot of these ideas were huge risks at the time, from sampling animal sounds on a song to publicly poking fun at Justin Bieber. What would you say is the biggest career risk on this station?

Rob: Probably Taylor Swift dating John Mayer.

Craig: Biggest risk for whom? I’d say for him, really!

Rob: We’re talking about a risk/reward scenario. This shows how smart Taylor Swift is. There are lots of other less-smart women who’ve dated John Mayer and ended up miserable over it. She managed to make it work for her.

Rob: Another great example is Fleetwood Mac’s orgy. If you were in Fleetwood Mac and said to a friend, “Hey, what do you think of the idea of us all having sex with each other over a period of years?,” the friend would say, “Are you out of your mind? That’s a horrible idea!” And that’s why you should never listen to your friends. Fleetwood Mac ended up having multiple affairs with one another and then made one of the best rock records of all time, specifically about their affairs.

Slacker: A lot of these musical ideas also led to iconic moments in television and film — for instance, Blue Oyster Cult’s use of a cowbell in “Don’t Fear the Reaper” was hilariously parodied on “Saturday Night Live.” You also reference “Wayne’s World,” “The Sopranos” and “Late Night With Jimmy Fallon” on this countdown.  How did the big and small screens become such a big part of this station?

Craig: With “Bohemian Rhapsody” and songs like that, we wanted to tap into popular rock songs from the ‘70s and make you think about them in a new way. Plus, Rob and I think that scene in “Wayne’s World” was one of the greatest scenes in any movie in film history. And in the case of Blue Oyster Cult, it was an amazing parody of “Behind the Music” and gave the band an enormous boost.

Rob: I’d also say that Jimmy Fallon and The Roots help illustrate how we came up with this whole list: realizing we’re idiots. I remember when it was announced that the Roots were going to be Fallon’s late night band. I thought, “That’s a terrible idea. That’s never going to work.” Of course, Fallon and the Roots were right, and I was a moron. So this was a way for both of us to use our stupidity for our own personal gain.

Slacker: A few alter egos made the list, such as Beyonce’s “Sasha Fierce” persona. But why no Garth Brooks as “Chris Gaines”?

Rob: We are both fascinated by Chris Gaines and have to restrain ourselves from not putting him in every list we do. But we’re working on the “55 Worst Ideas in Music History” right now, so maybe he’ll show up on that list.

Slacker: Without giving away your choice for the #1 best idea in music, what criteria played a part in choosing it?

Rob: The decision was once again motivated by laziness. Craig and I co-wrote a book about MTV, and it’s a topic that, for once, we know a lot about. We’d already done the research. Music videos are things we love, so this gets our personal preferences up at the top.

Craig: If you listen to pop radio today, it’s largely centered around urban music. [Our #1 pick] was really one of the primary agents to allow black pop music to become the dominant stream of pop music in America. While Dylan going electric was profound, it didn’t have the affect on music that this video had that still resonates today.

[hr]

Check out our new station, “55 Best Ideas in Music History” to hear Craig and Rob’s picks for the risks that changed the course of music, along with their humorous, expert commentary. It’s a history lesson that will actually keep you awake! Also, check out the guys’ cleverly comedic ode to the good old days when MTV actually played music videos, I Want My MTV: The Uncensored Story of the Music Video Revolution. 

The Top 13 Pop Songs of 2013…So Far

The anthems, the dance floor smashes, the songs that make the bedroom shake – we’ve got the top 13 (being that it’s 2013) pop songs of the year so far. We are only halfway through the year and the list was already almost too difficult to narrow down.  Here we go….

robinthickeRobin Thicke featuring Pharrell & T.I. “Blurred Lines”
The official (said by me) song of the 2013 summer because not only does this song make you want to take your clothes off but you want to dance your bootie off! Mr. Thicke and his buddies get into some serious sexy and dirty business…hey hey hey.

Macklemore & Ryan Lewis “Can’t Hold Us” / “Same Love”
Coming from my hometown of Sea-Town, Macklemore and Ryan Lewis have taken this world by a (no pun intended) Seattle storm with songs that frankly, mean something. It’s really hard to pick a best song from their forceful album “The Heist”. But these two songs in particular have made tremendous impact on not only the industry itself but with civil rights. Taking a stand with their beliefs make their force unstoppable.

calvin harris 2Calvin Harris featuring Florence Welch “Sweet Nothing” 
Not only has 2013 been the year for DJ/Producers but this has been Calvin Harris’ year for sure. “Sweet Nothing” pairs Calvin with the ubër talented lead singer of Florence And The Machine with a build up of all build ups that cries of unfulfilled love.

Bruno Mars “Locked Out Of Heaven”
If I was a Grammy voter “Unorthodox Jukebox” would be my bet for best Pop album of the year. “Locked Out Of Heaven” screams with the super catchy, sing-a-long, get up out of your seat that stacks up with the best.

Zedd featuring Foxes “Clarity”
If you’re into EDM (Electronic Dance Music) then you know Zedd by his producing and DJing skills. But did know that he’s remixed songs for superstars Black Eyed Peas and Lady GaGa? He’s got skills to pay the bills. Anton Zaslavski aka Zedd created one of the hottest songs on the dance floors this year in full fist-pump style.

Drake “Started From The Bottom”
With his “whole team here”, Drake drops his story of the hard-work, determination and grind that took him from the Toronto streets to half a million for a show.

daft punkDaft Punk featuring Pharrell & Nile Rodgers “Get Lucky”
Who doesn’t love disco mixed with a little Pharrell and a funky Nile Rodgers baseline? I do, I do!!! We waited over 10 years for their futuristic sounds, space masks and man did they deliver with this one. The jury may still be out on the “Random Access Memory” album but this song was an instant classic.

Justin Timberlake “Mirrors”
As all child stars do, they grow up! We’ve seen Justin grow from teen boy band member to the biggest Pop superstar in the world. “Mirrors” follows Justin’s real life in finding his true love or his better half aka Jessica Biel. One of the best love songs of the year for sure!

Baauer “Harlem Shake”
In the social media world that we live in nothing can compare to the user created videos that made this song an internet smash.

swedish house mafiaSwedish House Mafia “Don’t You Worry Child”
Any rave kid or EDM head would have been jumping up and down with glow sticks in hand at the super DJ groups “One Last Tour”. An anthem of child hood days, heartbreak and the memories that are everlasting in life. Even though Axwell, Steve Angello, and Sebastian Ingrosso are no longer together this song will go down in Swedish house history.

P!nk Featuring Nate Ruess “Just Give Me A Reason”
I can’t remember the last great pop duet? Can you? With such strong voices and harmonies from both of the singers this song was written by Pink from her broken relationship with now husband Carey Hart. The song is true and is such a great reminder of why P!nk is and has been a force to be reckoned with.

Chainz “F*ckin’ Problems”
One of the best pop songs of the year you say? How can you not turn up this jam and not act like you have the same problem as all rappers on this song. I’d like to have problems like that. JK!

Icona Pop “I Love It”
Okay okay I don’t have to say a whole lot here because it’s pretty obvious right? When you hear this song, you turn it way up and just want to crash a car into a bridge right?!?

Check out all these songs on Today’s Hits on Slacker and let tell me what song is your favorite of 2013…so far?

1 5 6 7 8 9 14