Ask Billboard is updated every Friday. Submit your burning music questions 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.
First off, this will be my last "Ask Billboard," as next week, fellow Billboard Chart Manager Gary Trust will be taking over the column. Those of you dying to read more of my musings and thoughts can still find me in the pages of Billboard magazine (and online at billboard.biz) in the "Over the Counter" column, and of course, in the occasional story on Billboard.com.
And now, we have two questions about the same thing: a few of our favorite things.
Hi Mr. Caulfield,
Will you be publishing a top 10 [albums of the year] list? I see the top 10 list for the Billboard critics altogether, but haven't seen your individual list.
You have made me aware of a number of artists in past year's lists. I miss your list, because you have the same taste in music as I do, but the overall critics' list doesn't always go along with my taste. Please let me know.
Thanks very much,
And another question on the same topic:
I missed the link [to your year-end picks] and would love to see your favorites of the year. Last year I picked up a few based on your recommendations and enjoyed most of them
Happy new year!
Hello to both of you Jim and Mike,
Thanks for asking about how to find my year-end top 10 albums list. It is on Billboard.com's Web site, but it's a bit hard to find. All of the top 10 lists from Billboard's staffers can be found here.
That said, here are my top 10 albums of 2008:
1. Girls Aloud, "Out of Control" (Fascination/Polydor/Universal).
2. Madonna, "Hard Candy" (Warner Bros.).
3. Kylie Minogue, "X" (Astralwerks/Capitol).
4. McFly, "Radio:ACTIVE" (Super).
5. Booty Luv, "Boogie 2Nite" (Hed Kandi America).
6. Sugababes, "Catfights and Spotlights" (Universal/Island).
7. Pink, "Funhouse" (LaFace/Zomba).
8. Does It Offend You, Yeah?, "You Have No Idea What You're Getting Yourself
Into" (Almost Gold).
9. The Pussycat Dolls, "Doll Domination" (Interscope).
10. The Saturdays, "Chasing Lights" (Fascination/Polydor/Universal).
A few notes about the above list. We had to submit it in mid-November, so I had not heard Britney Spears' "Circus" album. Had I been able to, it would have likely ended up at No. 2 on this list. That said, I'll have to save it for next year's top 10!
Another interesting point: only two of the albums on my list (Girls Aloud's "Out of Control" and Pink's "Funhouse") appeared on any other top 10 list submitted by a Billboard staffer.
Also, Girls Aloud's "Out of Control" just barely missed the No. 10 slot on the overall Billboard Critics list. It earned 26 points, while the two albums tied at No. 10 on the overall list [Lil Wayne's "Tha Carter III" and MGMT's "Oracular Spectacular"] had 29 each.
Switching back to my own list for a moment, the albums at Nos. 1, 6 and 10 were not released in the U.S. The set at No. 4 saw a U.S. digital release, but a physical CD has yet to be domestically released in America. (You can, of course, buy it as an import.)
As for "Does It Offend You, Yeah's" inclusion on the list, I only became aware of the group thanks to the U.K. TV drama "Hollyoaks." (This is where I'm sure my U.K. readers might have a laugh. Or two.) The act's "Epic Last Song" was used in a key scene in the John Paul McQueen/Craig Dean story. The music was used so effectively, I sought out the track and ended up liking the whole album, which is quite diverse and worth checking out.
Because our top 10 list was essentially limited to only albums, here is an alphabetical list of some of my favorite tracks and singles of 2008:
"4 Minutes," Madonna featuring Justin Timberlake
"American Boy," Estelle featuring Kanye West
"Black & Gold," Sam Sparro
"Bleeding Love," Leona Lewis
"Circus," Britney Spears
"Deeper Into You," Johnny Hazzard (specifically the 2008 Solar City remix)
"Disco Lies," Moby (specifically the Spencer & Hill remix)
"Epic Last Song," Does It Offend You, Yeah?
"Hot N Cold," Katy Perry
"I Hate This Part," the Pussycat Dolls
"If This Is Love," the Saturdays
"Into the Nightlife," Cyndi Lauper
"Just Dance," Lady GaGa
"L.E.S. Artistes," Santogold
"Let It Rock," Kevin Rudolf featuring Lil Wayne
"Let Me Think About It," Ida Corr & Fedde Le Grand
"Love Is Gone," David Guetta and Chris Willis
"The Promise," Girls Aloud
"So What," Pink
"Sensual Seduction," Snoop Dogg
"Something Good '08," Utah Saints
"We Break the Dawn," Michelle Williams
"Womanizer," Britney Spears
"Work," Kelly Rowland (Freemasons remix)
THE 'MAC IS BACK
With Fleetwood Mac going on tour again soon, I was wondering how many albums they have sold since Nielson SoundScan started, specifically their last few releases?
I'm excited that Fleetwood Mac is going back on the road, but still sad that they are touring without Christine McVie. Really, the band just isn't the same without her. But you didn't ask about that, did you?
Since 1991, when SoundScan began tracking sales, Fleetwood Mac has sold 16.4 million albums in the U.S. The biggest seller is its 1997 live album "The Dance," which has sold 4.5 million. The group's last studio set, 2003's "Say You Will," has shifted 858,000.
Fleetwood Mac's Unleashed tour begins on March 1, 2009 in Pittsburgh.
MIXI AND THE VERONICAS
I actually have two different questions. I am a member on a forum called ATRL.net and a member there has really gotten me hooked on a song called "I Miss Those Days (Ghost)" by Mixi. I was wondering just how many copies it has sold digitally.
My second question is in regards to the Veronicas, who are huge in Australia, and it seems like their single "Untouched" will be their breakthrough into the U.S. I was wondering how many copies their album "Hook Me Up" has sold in the U.S.
First, Mixi's "I Miss Those Days (Ghost)" has sold just over 3,000 digital downloads according to Nielsen SoundScan.
Secondly, you are very right about "Untouched" really helping the Veronicas break America. The single debuts at No. 75 on the Hot 100 Airplay chart this week (dated Jan. 10) while it moves up to No. 23 on Hot Digital Songs. Over on the Billboard Hot 100, which combines both radio airplay and sales data, the song motors 35-29 this week.
On our Top Heatseekers albums chart, which ranks titles from new and developing artists, "Hook Me Up" jumps from No. 8 to No. 3 this week. So far, the album has sold 44,000. (Meanwhile, "Untouched" has sold a whopping 438,000 digital song downloads.)