Sunday, May 26, 2024

Friday Pop: Zayn Goes Straight to Number 1, Charlie Puth Is for Real, Rihanna Releases, “Wonderful” Elton


Big Friday in pop music for January. Where were all these people last fall?
ZAYN MALIK has shot right to #1 with his first solo single, “Pillowtalk.” Zayn left One Direction last year. On March 25th he’ll be the first member of the group to have a solo album, called “Mind of Mine.” He’s no Charlie Puth, but Zayn could pull off some success based on his One Direction fan base. His “Pillow Talk” is not nearly as interesting or sexy as Sylvia Robinson’s famous “Pillow Talk” or even the movie with Doris Day and Rock Hudson. But it’s a start. His “Pillow Talk” is a “Paradise and a Warzone.” He needs MyPillow from Bed Bath and Beyond.

CHARLIE PUTH already has hits and an Oscar nomination. Now he has an album, “Nine Track Mind,” which I think has 12 tracks. Anyway. This kid an Elton and a Billy Joel rolled into one. He’s the child they never had. Only, he needs a producer like the late Phil Ramone. One of his songs, “Left Right Left,” sounds just like CeeLo Green’s “F— You.” Whoops! And “Suffer” is a new version of James Brown’s “It’s a Man’s World” via Alicia Keys’ “Fallin.'” But I really love “Dangerously.” And the Selena Gomez duet “We Don’t Talk Anymore” is headed to #1. Puth’s melodies are catchy like crazy, and he has an appealing voice. He also actually plays the piano, I’ve seen it. He may be a keeper.

RIHANNA‘s meshugenah marketing plan continues today with her “Anti” album hitting iTunes after two days of being free — or something– on Tidal. It was also supposed to be free on Samsung phones, but I’ve yet to figure that out. Nothing on “Anti” matches her previous hits, like “The Monster” with Eminem, or “Diamonds.”
ELTON JOHN’s Wonderful Crazy Night shows Sir E. and Bernie Taupin just keep pouring out great music. It’s 45 years since “Your Song.” It’s like a dream. Anyway, “Wonderful Crazy Night,” “Blue Wonderful,” and “Looking Up” are strong hits like the pair’s classics from the old days– I wish radio would just say the hell with it and play one of these tracks. Z100 would be so cool if it mixed in a legacy artist or two with a new record. Elton and Bernie are the template for sophisticated pop compositions. This is a CD worth owning, not just streaming or beaming. It’s out next Friday, February 5th.

Will any of these people unseat Adele? Unlikely. But all good for mid-winter blues.

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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