Ask Billboard is updated every week. As always, submit your questions about Billboard charts, sales and airplay, as well as general music musings, to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include your first and last name, as well as your city, state and country, if outside the U.S.
WHAT SHOULD LADY GAGA'S NEXT SINGLE BE?
I have a question related to Lady Gaga and the mid-chart success on the Billboard Hot 100 of "Marry the Night," which reached No. 29.
In "Ask Billboard" last week, you wrote: "'Marry' is, ultimately, more of a club groove than a top 40 natural." I want to know what you think are more "top 40 natural"s from Gaga's "Born This Way" album and what you think her next single should be (if you think there should be a next single).
New York, New York
If I worked at Interscope Records and had the almighty power to pick singles, I'd choose "Hair" as the sixth and final single from "Born This Way."
The song already peaked at No. 12 in its only week on the Hot 100 last June as a preview digital track from the album but has not made its way to the radio-listening masses. Co-written by Gaga and RedOne, the song, which has sold 174,000 downloads, according to Nielsen SoundScan, and whose audio video on the official LadyGagaVEVO channel stands at 11 million views, just sounds like a smash, doesn't it? The pair also co-wrote the set's second single, "Judas."
If "Hair" remains an album cut, it'll join that bittersweet group of great songs that were never released as radio singles. Gaga has already has two others, by my humble count:
"Boys Boys Boys," also a Gaga/RedOne co-write
and, "Eh, Eh (Nothing Else I Can Say)," another song from "The Fame" that showcases more of her bubblegum pop side
The artist to whom Gaga seemingly receives the most comparisons also boasts a catalog of album tracks that might've been big radio hits had they been released as singles. Here's one fan's list of five songs that may have been big singles for Madonna had they gotten the chance:
"Dear Jessie" (1989), a European-only single that might've been too left-of-center for U.S. radio. Still, it has a great hook and is similar in sound to fellow "Like a Prayer" cut "Cherish," which hit No. 2 on the Hot 100.
"Love Tried to Welcome Me" (1994), which, had it followed "Take a Bow," might've won over radio more easily than the rather experimental "Bedtime Story" and "Human Nature"
"Time Stood Still" (2000), from the movie in which she starred, "The Next Best Thing," the song built upon the melodic almost-new age vibe in places of her 1998 album, "Ray of Light"
"Amazing" (2000), from "Music," a sonic sequel to 1999's '60s-retro "Beautiful Stranger"
"Devil Wouldn't Recognize You" (2008), a song from "Hard Candy" that she co-wrote with Justin Timberlake, whose obvious influence might've made it fit in better at radio than second single "Give It 2 Me." Then again, since lead track "4 Minutes" featured Timberlake on vocals, releasing "Devil" could've been inferred as Madonna piggybacking too heavily on the starpower of a younger-generation act.
"Ask Billboard" asks you: What's on your list of songs that absolutely, positively should've been radio singles over the years? From the Beatles ("Across the Universe," "Blackbird," "Getting Better," "Here Comes the Sun," "While My Guitar Gently Weeps") to Bruno Mars (what a shame that "Marry You" was never a single), what songs do you think could've garnered years of radio airplay but instead remain hidden album gems.
Share your choices at email@example.com and we'll pick up the discussion in the next "Ask Billboard."