Radio Hits One: Nine Songs From 2012 That Should Have Been Huge

The term "flop" in a musical context usually refers to an unsuccessful album. Although singles constantly perform above or below expectations, a song will rarely get a reputation as a flop unless there's a lot riding on it, such as a pre-release single from a big-name album. In 2011, Beyoncé's "Run the World (Girls)" and Lady Gaga's "Judas" failed to launch and became notorious stumbling blocks for two women who had up to that point experienced one success after another.

In 2012, no singles have fallen short of expectations in such a high-profile way, but hundreds of songs are constantly being lobbed at radio, and some great tracks get lost in the shuffle. Last year, I critiqued the singles campaigns of recent albums, suggesting how different tracks could have been released in a different order. But right now, I feel compelled to highlight some singles that simply deserved better, because by December, these songs will be long forgotten in lists that boil the year in pop down to "Somebody That I Used to Know" and "Call Me Maybe."

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100 & Single: fun., Gotye, Carly Rae Jepsen, And The Era Of The Snowball Smash

If you're a pop fan, I'm going to guess you like at least one of the last three No. 1 songs in America. In many ways, 2012 has been an entertaining year for discriminating chart-watchers, as a slew of left-field singles have made strides on Billboard's Hot 100.

I've met people who love fun.'s "We Are Young" featuring Janelle Monáe—it spent six weeks atop the Hot 100 for a reason—and people who hate it. But at least some members of the latter group have a soft spot for the record that ejected it from No. 1 in April, Gotye's Kimbra-assisted "Somebody That I Used to Know."

That Gotye smash, one of the least predictable chart-toppers of the last decade and the current frontrunner as Billboard's 2012 song of the year, inspired both admiration and passionate loathing during its eight weeks on top. But virtually everyone I know who hates "Somebody" loves Carly Rae Jepsen.

I mean, does anybody hate "Call Me Maybe"? About the worst thing anyone's said about it is it's like a drug. Frankly, even those of us who loved the Gotye record were rooting for Carly Rae to take over the penthouse, which she finally did in late June. Her smash is now in its ninth week on top.

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Interview: Ashanti On Her Starring Role in The Wiz and R&B Kids These Days

"I mean the biggest artists and biggest acts haven't been selling nearly as much as they used to, too, so everyone is suffering from this recession--it's hitting everyone."


One day after we interviewed r&b singer Ashanti about her latest gig as Dorothy in NY City Center Encores! production of The Wiz, Irv Gotti--the chart-topping producer who's credited for her multi-platinum success--announced plans to drop the "Princess of The Inc." off his label, claiming lack of chemistry but more significantly, communication. For fans who've been following the 28-year-old artist's career, this move came as no surprise. Tensions between the two were obvious with the production and release of last year's The Declaration, Ashanti's first album that was produced sans Gotti. "She's having her little Janet Jackson Control moment. Every artist has their moment when they feel they need to take over their own music and this is hers," Gotti was quoted as saying.

Although the album may have been a personal victory for the headstrong singer, it was a commercial disappointment. But Ashanti's not wasting any time. Besides memorizing lines and stepping into those famous silver heels for The Wiz, she's also in the midst of recording a new album (the night before this interview, she left the studio at 3:30am). Just like Janet, Ashanti might be in an evolutionary phase, as her ex-producer says. But, speaking over the phone recently, she sounded upbeat when talking about her career's newest phase.

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