Radio Hits One: Will Grouplove And Walk The Moon Follow fun. And Gotye On The Crossover Path?

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Both fun.'s "We Are Young" and Gotye's "Somebody That I Used To Know." topped the Hot 100 and the Alternative Songs chart, and did so in quick succession. The success of both those songs after a number of years when songs from the Alternative Songs chart seemed to be almost completely absent from pop radio might portend a cultural sea change, or at least the instant impact of Billboard beginning to factor Spotify streams into its formula for calculating the Hot 100.

Will a third alt-rock crossover rise to No. 1 this year? Will fun. and/or Gotye score big follow-ups, or begin to accrue the "one-hit wonder" stigma? I don't doubt that both will enjoy a healthy afterglow from their respective smashes—fun.'s "Some Nights" has already climbed to No. 8 on Alternative Songs and No. 41 on the Hot 100. But the future reception of those singles is up in the air. Will they continue to dominate both pop and alternative radio, or will they settle in one format? Both acts had followings prior to these songs—internationally in Gotye's case, and in the American indie/emo underground in fun.'s case—but neither had any previous Alternative Songs hits to establish that chart as their home base.

Ever since becoming a significant force in mainstream music in the early '90s, so-called "alternative rock" has struggled with an identity crisis about what, exactly, it's an alternative to—especially after it began to compete commercially with hard rock and metal. But even at its peak as a sales force, alt-rock has always been a relatively minor presence on the pop singles charts—Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit" hit No. 6 on the Hot 100, but that victory helped open the floodgates for the band and its contemporaries to dominate album charts and rock airwaves. Hot 100 success remained elusive.


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Gwen Stefani "All Tied Up" at L.A.M.B. Fashion Week Show

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Stacey Anderson

Gwen Stefani
L.A.M.B. fashion show
Milk Studios
Thursday, February 11

Somewhere in here is a trenchant quip about Gwen Stefani getting "all tied up," but it is out of deep, California sisterhood that I will not sink to it.

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Live: No Doubt and Paramore Stay Young at Jones Beach

No Doubt/Paramore
Jones Beach Theater
Saturday, June 27

"I always thought I'd be a mom" is not the most obvious applause line at a rock concert. But when Gwen Stefani cooed just that in the middle of the conflicted 2000 power ballad "Simple Kind of Life," the thousands of girls-- teens with teens, teens with moms, twentysomethings without moms-- that filled up the Jones Beach Theater on Saturday roared in approval. Much of the gut acknowledgment was thanks to simple tabloid recognition--people know Stefani has delivered a couple kids since "Simple Kind of Life." But her life doesn't seem to be less complicated. After becoming a bare-midriffed tomboy-feminist icon with mainstream pleas like "Just a Girl," Gwen got the husband and the family while becoming even more famous and touring the earth as a solo artist over the last five years or so. She had it up to here, then she went ahead and did something about it.

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