Hot 100 Roundup: Jerrod Niemann Gets Happy, Passion Pit Tells A Sad Story, Karmin Remains Annoying, And More

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This week the new entries in the Hot 100 attain a near-perfect balance: Two good to great records (Passion Pit and Jerrod Niemann), two terrible ones (Karmin and Macklemore), and a bunch of mediocre stuff in the middle. Over the course of a year, the quality of the Hot 100 usually settles into a normal probability curve, but it's rare to see the entire spectrum in a single week of new arrivals.

No. 61: OneRepublic, "Feel Again"

Unlike every other record Ryan Tedder has been associated with (Kelly Clarkson's "Already Gone" being the one exception), "Feel Again" doesn't make me sputter with disgust every time I hear it. The usual pretentiousness is subdued, as are the drums, and Tedder's occasional attempts at soulfulness are simply mistakes, rather than embarrassments. The gospel touches are pale imitations but at least they aren't overplayed. OneRepublic has finally crossed over from major irritant to minor mediocrity. They can now be ignored in peace.

No. 73: Lupe Fiasco & Guy Sebastian, "Battle Scars"

Is "Battle Scars" Fiasco's attempt to rectify his not picking up on the star-making "Nothing On You," or his record company's revenge? Whatever the case, his energies are obviously directed elsewhere: gender politics, conspiracy theories, turning Howard Zinn's and Chris Hedges's books into verses. Anything but love. After the first verse Fiasco is barely on this track, and considering his love-is-a-battlefield clichés that's probably just as well. Except that it leaves us with nothing but Guy Sebastian's pale Bruno Mars imitation.

No. 89: Karmin, "Hello"

"Hello" is what Glee would sound like if it was set in a prep school. Since Amy Heidemann isn't yelping "Cheerio!" at the end of every line, this song is less irritating than "Brokenhearted," but she still sings like an entitled, self-superior, spoiled brat, so much so that you wish someone would send her to her room until she learns how to behave around grown-ups (better known in her fantasy world as "the help"). Heidemann and her partner do know how to write, or at least steal hooks, and their music is as bright and bouncy as it is dead and dispiriting. But that only makes them more dangerous, especially when they're lifting their choruses from Nirvana.



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