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

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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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Live: The Darkness Return, Bringing Glam And Sweat With Them


The Darkness
Irving Plaza
Saturday, February 4

Better than: Your ironic love of hair metal.

There's a sea of white people two-fisting 24 oz. Bud Lights the size of Pringles cans and dudes in collared shirts amusing each other with their cartoonish falsettos. Sure, glam rock may not be as popular as the tightened-up variety these days, but this sold-out crowd of suburban squares and aged mall girls couldn't care less. U.K. phenoms the Darkness, best known for their massive 2003 hit "I Believe in a Thing Called Love," have returned from their 2006 split, when singer-guitarist Justin Hawkins left the band after completing rehab. In March of last year, the original quartet announced a reunion that will hopefully help tickle modern rock's brittle, arthritic funny bone, because, cripes, you know shit is dismal when Coldplay, the Decemberists, and Mumford and Sons are Grammys nominees for Best Rock Performance. The Darkness must be aware of what we fun-starved whores are dealing with: The chug of Thin Lizzy's "The Boys Are Back in Town" signaled their impending arrival on Saturday night.

Lead man Hawkins, his guitarist brother Dan, bassist Frankie Poullain, and drummer Ed Graham hit the stage and promptly blazed through "Black Shuck." Hawkins wore a sleeveless Captain America/Evel Knievel mashup, special attire, presumably, for the U.S. dates of this tour. And thank heavens for his dedication, because if you happened to catch a glimpse of David Lee Roth's outfit at Van Halen's Cafe Wha? gig, you'd have noticed that Diamond Dave—the man that pranced out of the womb in a zebra unitard—was wearing camel-colored Carhart overalls. For the love of Lycra, Dave, do you work for Con Ed or one of the world's biggest rock bands? If Gene Simmons can still squeeze his doughy moneymaker into KISS gear, you, sir, can skip the fire sales at Sears and get your ass into something that doesn't have a hammer loop.


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