by (@unclegrambo)

Shearer’s Spotlight: A Special Playlist Dedicated To The USA Women’s World Cup Team

Each Friday here on the VH1 Blog, our VH1 Top 20 Video Countdown host Jim Shearer (@jimshearer on Twitter) will be sharing his Shearer’s Spotlight with us. Be sure to tune into the Top 20 countdown tomorrow morning when it airs on VH1 at 9 a.m. ET/PT, when the Top 20 Spotlight will be shining on none other than Beyoncé!

If you’re not watching the USA vs. Japan Women’s World Cup finals match this Sunday at 2 p.m., I don’t think we can be friends (unless, of course, you have a really good excuse).

Here are three songs that will be included on my pre-game playlist:

“Ridin’ Solo,” Jason Derulo

I’m sending this one out to USA’s Hope Solo. I decided to go with this Jason Derulo tune, because in sports, you always pin your hopes on your star player, and “ride” them through the finals. And because Solo plays the lonely position of goalkeeper, she is “ridin’ solo” in many ways. For any of you taking this song title out of a sports context and bringing it into, say, the bedroom; shame on you, what a dirty mind you have.

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by (@unclegrambo)

Shearer’s Spotlight: Fireworks, Barbeques And The Fourth Of July

Each Friday here on the VH1 Blog, our VH1 Top 20 Video Countdown host Jim Shearer (@jimshearer on Twitter) will be sharing his Shearer’s Spotlight with us. This feature will include three things —sometimes related, sometimes not!— that Jim is obsessing over this week. Be sure to tune into the Top 20 countdown when it airs on VH1 at 9 a.m. ET/PT tomorrow morning, coming at you from the lovely environs of Long Branch, New Jersey.

For years I’ve been compiling Fourth of July mixtapes and playlists. Sometimes I keep them thematic, and sometimes it’s just about choosing tracks that will keep the backyard barbeque rockin’.

Anthems like Katy Perry’s “Firework,” Bruce Springsteen’s “Born In The U.S.A.,” or George Michael’s “Freedom! ’90″ are obvious boom-box picks, but if you want to get downright specific, here are my three favorite Fourth of July songs that actually mention the holiday by name:

“Good” by Better Than Ezra
Depending on how you listen to this classic ‘90s modern rock ditty, you could either take it as joyous song of freedom, or a sad breakup tune. Either way, Better Than Ezra’s Kevin Griffin points out that the only time he’ll possibly call or write his ex is on—you got it—the Fourth of July.

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by (@unclegrambo)

Voting For Your Favorite Videos Is Easier Than Ever With Our New VH1 Top 20 Video Countdown Site!

Good news, VH1 Top 20 Video Countdown fans! Earlier this afternoon, we launched a brand new site which makes both watching and voting for your favorite videos easier than ever. Just head over to top20.vh1.com and check it out our new digs.

Not only can you now cast up to 20 votes for your favorite videos per week, you can also share your votes with your followers on Twitter and your Facebook friends. This makes it easier than ever to rally support for your fave videos and, hopefully, propel them up our weekly chart.

Don’t forget to tune in to VH1 each and every Saturday morning at 9 a.m. ET/PT to catch host Jim Shearer count down what’s topping the chart that week.

by (@unclegrambo)

Shearer’s Spotlight: When Father’s Day Turns Sour

Each Friday here on the VH1 Blog, our VH1 Top 20 Video Countdown host Jim Shearer (@jimshearer on Twitter) will be sharing his Shearer’s Spotlight with us. This feature will include three things —sometimes related, sometimes not!— that Jim is obsessing over this week. Be sure to tune into the Top 20 countdown when it airs on VH1 at 9 a.m. ET/PT tomorrow morning; this week’s special guests is none other than American Idol Season 7 winner David Cook!

Father’s Day weekend is almost upon us, and while popular music has given us goodies like “Papa Was a Rolling Stone” and “Papa Has a Brand New Bag”—surely inspiring musical monikers like Big Daddy Kane, Daddy Yankee and even Kris KrossMack Daddy & Daddy Mack—Father’s Day can sometimes be a sore subject with musicians.

If you’re looking to put a smile on your dad’s face this weekend, please DO NOT include these tracks on your Father’s Day mix:


“Cat’s In The Cradle” by Harry Chapin

The mother—or, I guess the father—of deadbeat dad anthems. It’s a classic tale of what goes around comes around, teaching us all that if you don’t play catch with your young son, he won’t want to hang out with you when he gets older.

Ironically, most of your fathers probably enjoy this classic tune, so if you’re thinking of incorporating it into a playlist for him, just make sure you don’t accidentally download the cover version from Ugly Kid Joe.

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by (@unclegrambo)

Song Of The Summer Countdown: Adele Is Still Dominating, But Here Comes Bruno Mars


[Click here for a larger image]

If it doesn’t feel quite like summer yet, that’s because it’s still technically spring until the summer solstice arrives on June 21. After looking at the release dates of the songs atop this week’s Song Of The Summer chart, it certainly appears as if we’re still mired in springtime.

As you’ll see in our handy Microsoft Excel chart, Adele‘s dark and wintry chart topper “Rolling In The Deep” —which, we’ll continue to note until (if?) it leaves this countdown, was released in December (!)— has a strangehold on the Song Of The Summer crown for the third consecutive week. However, the smoky-voiced Brit seems to have some competition by the name of Bruno Mars, who lept over Katy Perry and J. Lo this week to snag the #2 spot with his breezy ditty, “The Lazy Song.”

However, even though “The Lazy Song” has yet to crest, we sorta feel like Pitbull‘s club-friendly plea as to why it’s best to just give in to your carnal desires, “Give Me Everything,” has the most momentum this week. Not only did it make its debut in the VH1 Top 20 Video Countdown, but it’s also holding down the number two spots on both the Billboard 100 and iTunes sales charts, which certainly signals that people are going to be listening Ne-Yo crooning this song’s catchy, Eurotrance-y hook all summer long.

What song do YOU think is poised to make a big leap this summer? Continue along with our analysis and then let us know in the comments!

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by (@unclegrambo)

Shearer’s Spotlight: School’s (Almost) Out For The Summer!

Each Friday here on the VH1 Blog, our VH1 Top 20 Video Countdown host Jim Shearer (@jimshearer on Twitter) will be sharing his Shearer’s Spotlight with us. This feature will include three things –sometimes related, sometimes not!– that Jim is obsessing over this week. Be sure to tune into the Top 20 countdown when it airs on VH1 at 9 a.m. ET/PT tomorrow morning; this week’s special guests are none other than Death Cab For Cutie and Nick Jonas!

Even though I’m out of school—sadly, for many years now—every year at this time I like to put myself in the mindset and sneakers of jubilant kids who are celebrating the end of another year of education.

If today was indeed my last day of school—after doing a few donuts in the high school parking lot—here are the first three songs I’d play at maximum volume in my powder-blue station wagon:


 
“School’s Out” by Alice Cooper
There is no better song to celebrate the end of a school year. This song was specifically written for mid-June, which Cooper claims—along with Christmas—is the best time of the year. Just think, before this song was released kids had to gather in a kumbaya-circle and sing along to the “No More Pencils, No More Books” nursery rhyme, which is also conveniently referenced in this rock classic. (Ed. Note – This performance of “School’s Out” from the Muppet Show is my personal fave of this song.)

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Sneak Peek: Raphael Saadiq Performs For Top 20 Live

Raphael Saadiq‘s new album Stone Rollin’ hit stores today, and the man himself hit up VH1′s New York City offices, appearing for an interview on Big Morning Buzz Live this morning and then recording an exclusive VH1 Top 20 Live set that we were lucky enough to witness.

The youthful Saadiq (if not for Tony! Toni! Toné! you’d never believe he turns 45 on Saturday) immediately got the assembled crowd clapping—and even singing a callback—for “Heart Attack,” the album’s opener and one of its more straight-ahead soul tracks. But despite adapting retro song styles (like the blues form of “Daydreaming”), his songs still sounded like music of today, a distinction implicitly proven by their juxtaposition with the band’s cover of Marvin Gaye‘s 1963 classic “Pride and Joy.” That cut was retro in the best way: some audience members even provided callbacks without prompting.

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Video Premiere: Bruno Mars, “The Lazy Song”

“Today I don’t feel like doin’ anything,” Bruno Mars sings in the new video for his reggae-tinged “The Lazy Song,” an ode to staying at home and, well, monkeying around.

Mars and his backup dancers attempt to Dougie.

The lyrics are packed with of-the-moment references: besides watching (and aping) Cali Swag District‘s signature dance, Mars mentions “chillin’ in my Snuggie,” and, idly planning his proactive future, vows to “do some P90X.” And yet the lyrics don’t feel as instantly-dated as, say, “she checks out Mozart while she does Tae-Bo” (sorry, Train), because the joyful hedonism of inactivity that Mars’s details help flesh out are timeless. Bruno is just the latest to accept Al Bundy as a life coach: “I’m gonna kick my feet up and stare at the fan/ Turn the TV on, throw my hand in my pants,” he sings, and while he doesn’t throw his hands in his pants in the video, as the monkey-dancers do, he does do this:

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by (@unclegrambo)

Video Premiere: Kid Rock ft. Sheryl Crow, “Collide”

Quick, name Kid Rock‘s biggest hit! “Bawitdaba”? “All Summer Long”? “Cowboy”?

If you guessed any of the above, sadly, you would be wrong. Despite his image as a hard drinking, hard partying rap star turned rock ‘n’ roller, Kid Rock’s most successful single to date is his lovelorn duet with Sheryl Crow, “Picture.” The song, which was initially released to radio stations in late 2002 with vocals from Alison Moorer — legend has it that Sheryl Crow’s management was not thrilled that she decided to record a track with the man born Robert James Ritchie until the Moorer version started climbing the charts — was a huge crossover smash, charting at #4 on the Billboard Hot 100 and logging 33 weeks on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart, before becoming a staple of karaoke bars across the country.

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by (@unclegrambo)

Video Premiere: Foo Fighters, “Rope”

After we whet your appetite this morning with a special 30-second sneak preview of the new Foo Fighters single, “Rope,” now it’s time to feast your eyes on the whole video. Don’t adjust your tracking, either; the video’s jumpy and primary color laced visual aesthetic is all part of director Dave Grohl’s master plan to pay homage to the VHS era of his youth*.

Not only is this song another in a long line of propulsive and catchy rock tracks from the Foos, this video represents a reunion on a few different levels. In addition to Grohl, drummer Taylor Hawkins, guitarist Chris Shiflett and bassist Nate Mendel, you old school Foo Fighters fans will also recognize that guitarist Pat Smear is back in the mix these days. As if that wasn’t exciting enough, it’s also worth noting that Grohl and Smear’s Nirvana bandmate, Krist Novoselic, makes an appearance on the Foos’ forthcoming LP, Wasted Light (although he’s not in this video). Grohl also reunited with producer Butch Vig while recording this album, the man who was responsible for turning Nirvana from local Seattle heroes into international grunge gods with his flawless production work on their seminal LP, Nevermind.

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