Yesterday (May 9) Meghan Trainor originally released the video for her latest single ‘Me Too.’ Trainor took the video down after just a few hours because she believed the video was heavily photoshopped. Her waist, which she claimed “is not that teeny,” had been trimmed down throughout the video.
On Snapchat, Trainor let her fans know that she wasn’t going to put up with that kind of treatment and said the people behind the video were going to make things right.
Today, Trainor and her team worked quickly to re-release the video today.
Trainor and this song are all about confidence. It is nice to see that she is holding those around her to a higher standard.
These songs from Miley, JT, 1D and other pop superstars could have ignited radio, if they had just been given the chance.
Have you ever listened to a just-released album, gravitated toward one particular track and thought with certainty, “Oh, this song is definitely going to be a single!”? And then you wait, and other songs are chosen as singles from that album, and you keep waiting, and the album cycle ends… and you realize that the most obvious single choice (to you, at least) was never chosen?
We know that feeling of incredulity: there have been several high-profile pop projects over the past few years with out-and-out standout tracks that seem ripe for radio play… and yet, for one reason or another, they never make it there. These songs will forever exist as precious album cuts and fun hypotheticals for pop nerds to kick around. And, yes, your favorite hit-maker has a song that could (or did) make this list.
Check out 15 of the best pop songs from the past five years that weren’t released as singles before their respective artists’ album cycles came to a close, but really should have been:
Miley Cyrus, “#GETITRIGHT”
As a No. 1 pop album with multiple smash singles, Miley Cyrus‘ Bangerz album was an anomaly for only having three official singles released. “We Can’t Stop” was the Mike WiLL-assisted reinvention and “Wrecking Ball” gave Cyrus her first Hot 100 No. 1 single, but after the somber, gorgeous “Adore You” was released as a follow-up in late 2013, the controversial pop star embarked on the Bangerz tour and ceased with the single releases. The logical fourth single that never was, of course, is this slinky Pharrell Williams cut, which Cyrus performed on television but never gave a music video or radio push. As breezy as “Wrecking Ball” was intense, “#GETITRIGHT” remains a stellar album cut, but not a single. #BUMMER.
Rihanna, “Lost In Paradise”
Rihanna has been startlingly good at selecting the most sensible singles from each of her seven albums; scan through her discography, and you’ll be hard-pressed to find too many irrepressible bangers that weren’t given a shot at radio. One of the exceptions to that rule is “Lost In Paradise,” the final track onUnapologetic that steps forward on a contemplative foot and explodes when Rihanna declares, “It may be wrong but it feels right, to be lost in paradise!” The song presented an interesting mix of pop elegance and techno animation, and more complex emotion than something like “Right Now.”
Justin Timberlake, “Let the Groove Get In”
Those searching for a Justin Timberlake dance floor burner to follow up “SexyBack” and “My Love” on The 20/20 Experience were rewarded roughly 47 minutes into the comeback album with the intricately energetic “Let the Groove Get In.” Stretching past the seven-minute mark, the Afro-pop-influenced collection of calls and responses seemed like the logical next step for JT after “Suit & Tie” and “Mirrors,” but instead Timberlake pushed out “Tunnel Vision,” then quickly skipped ahead to the second half of The 20/20 Experience with “Take Back the Night.” If only one new album had been released, “Let the Groove Get In” could have been the stealth dance hit Timberlake’s 20/20 Experience opus curiously lacked.
Demi Lovato, “Something That We’re Not”
“Something That We’re Not,” from Demi Lovato‘s most recent album Demi, is the type of song that takes one listen to completely embrace: the big-haired pop-rock sound, the please-acknowledge-the-friend-zone concept and cheeky background of ‘hey!’s’ make the song one of Lovato’s most fully realized to date. The pop star gave “Really Don’t Care,” a Cher Lloyd collaboration in a similar vein, a proper single look, as well as more uptempo dance fare like “Heart Attack” and “Neon Lights.” All three of those tracks were Top 40 hits for Lovato, but none offer the unadulterated shout-along joy of “Something That We’re Not.”
Beyonce, “End of Time”
Real talk: “End of Time” is the catchiest song on Beyonce‘s 4 album, with a bulletproof chorus and masterful control of its melodies. Beyonce released a whole bunch of singles and videos from 4, delivering official clips for “Run The World (Girls),” “1+1,” “Best Thing I Never Had,” “Party,” “Love on Top” and “Countdown” before taking time off to deliver her first child, Blue Ivy Carter. Those six songs help make 4 one of Beyonce’s strongest full-lengths, and “End of Time” should have been squeezed into that group.
Taylor Swift, “State of Grace”
With singles like “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together,” “22” and “I Knew You Were Trouble.,” Taylor Swift‘s Red album represented the transition to mainstream pop that 1989 completed two years later. Here’s the best-kept secret of Red, though: it features the best straight-ahead rock song of Swift’s career. Opening track “State of Grace” pummels the listener with guitar riffs as towering as skyscrapers and a central theme — blindsiding love — that can be summed up with a 12-word chorus: “And I never saw you coming/And I’ll never be the same.” Released as a promotional single ahead of Red, “State of Grace” might have dominated alternative radio for months on end if a different artist had created it… but then again, no artist could have pulled off this anthem as well as Ms. Swift did.
Usher, “Show Me”
Usher‘s 2012 album Looking 4 Myself contains about five songs that could have been among the R&B king’s biggest Hot 100 hits, from the Luke Steele-assisted strut of the title track to the pre-“Get Lucky” style of the Pharrell Williams collaboration “Twisted.” “Show Me,” however, remains the most frustrating non-single, a classy throwback to Usher’s “U Remind Me” days that didn’t need to resort to studio gimmickry in order to sizzle. Remember those pained shrieks at the end of “Scream”? “Show Me” is the exact opposite of them: calm, collected, effortlessly cool.
Britney Spears, “(Drop Dead) Beautiful”
“Hold It Against Me,” “Till The World Ends” and “I Wanna Go” stood apart from the rest of Britney Spears‘ Femme Fatale album, and deserved to be the electro-pop project’s first three singles. But pour some out for Sabi and her would-be breakout moment, “(Drop Dead) Beautiful,” a Britney song with a gorgeous hook, an Auto-Tuned rap breakdown (from Sabi, not Britney), and lines like “You must be B-I-G/Because you got me hypnotized” and “Your body looks so sick, I think I caught the flu.” Top 40 radio never caught the “(Drop Dead) Beautiful” flu in 2011, but we sure did.
Katy Perry, “Double Rainbow”
Katy Perry struck a lot of different poses with her PRISM singles — tribal empowerment on “Roar,” trap-hop salaciousness with “Dark Horse,” goofy dance-pop on “This Is How We Do,” disco on “Birthday” — and while “Unconditionally” waved the stone-serious mid-tempo ballad flag admirably, “Double Rainbow” had the prettier pedigree. Produced by Greg Kurstin and co-written by Sia, Perry and Kurstin, “Double Rainbow” is not the powerhouse Sia co-write that Perry probably envisioned, but it’s arresting enough to warrant multiple rewinds. All the way, “Double Rainbow” — all the way.
Justin Bieber, “Roller Coaster”
True Beliebers understand that Justin Bieber‘s Journals tracks showcased an impressive level of R&B artistry during a tumultuous time in the former teen superstar’s career. Nowhere is this more clear than “Roller Coaster,” an understated funk delicacy with a savvy breakdown in the bridge leading into the glide of the chorus. Who says that all of Journals is downbeat? “Roller Coaster” certainly isn’t an international pop play like “As Long As You Love Me,” but it’s something more nuanced and ultimately smarter.
P!nk, “Are We All We Are”
Holy cow, does P!nk‘s The Truth About Love album start out strong: the 2012 full-length boasts “Are We All We Are,” “Blow Me (One Last Kiss),” “Try,” “Just Give Me a Reason” and “True Love” as its opening five tracks! The first of those five, of course, was the only one to not be released as a single — and what a shame, because “Are We All We Are” is a classic fist-pounding-against-chest P!nk single, a distant cousin to “So What” and an inspiring stomper vaguely reminiscent of P.O.D.’s “Youth of the Nation.” But, you know, in a good way!
Lady Gaga, “MANiCURE”
Lady Gaga‘s ARTPOP album has a few quietly stunning track sequences nestled within its 15 songs, and the lovably “MANiCURE” injects a jolt of energy into the middle section of the full-length. An underrated expansion of Gaga’s sound,ARTPOP still lacks the sort of otherworldly hooks that Fame Monster fans longed for — but “MANiCURE” totally hits its mark as a triumphant post-breakup romp, and is one of the instances on the album in which Gaga’s vocal performance is jubilantly unabashed. Perhaps if the album had been given a few more cracks at a smash hit, “MANiCURE” would have reached its potential as one.
One Direction, “Little Black Dress”
While One Direction swiveled toward arena rock on 2013’s Midnight Memories, “Little Black Dress” took a bite out of the power-pop of Cheap Trick and the Knack — and excellently so. Seriously, listen to this song and wrap your head around the fact that the Strokes haven’t made a rock song this good over the past decade. Maybe “Little Black Dress” wouldn’t have caught on at radio, but it’s a song that defiantly slays the image of 1D as a mainstream pop act, and goes a long way toward establishing their post-teenybopper cred.
Kesha, “Only Wanna Dance with You”
Some of Kesha‘s sophomore album Warrior sounds belabored, as if the electro-pop star’s crazy misadventures needed to be spelled out in extreme detail; meanwhile, “Only Wanna Dance With You” remains disarmingly sweet, a tale of two kids drinking wine on the cement outside of a 7-11, not wanting to develop feelings but knowing that they now exist. The airy ditty would have made for a lovely change-up to singles like “Die Young” and “C’Mon,” but continues to be a hidden gem for Kesha completists.
Adele, “I’ll Be Waiting”
As one of the biggest-selling albums of the century and the home of three No. 1 singles, Adele‘s 21 is an album that doesn’t have too many smudges on its resumé. Still, could the rousing “I’ll Be Waiting” have been the fourth No. 1 single had it been performed at one of the many awards cermeonies that Adele was sweeping in 2011-12? The uncharacteristically fast tempo, nifty piano refrain and brassy vocal take combine for one of the album’s most emphatic releases, and after “Set Fire to the Rain,” “I’ll Be Waiting” could have very well set Top 40 radio ablaze, had it been given the chance.
The “Thinking Out Loud” star’s music has helped shape new projects by Shawn Mendes and Cody Simpson. How far will Ed’s influence extend?
Ed Sheeran turns 24 years old today (Feb. 17). By the time he turns 25, we will have a pretty good idea as to the extent of the U.K. singer-songwriter’s influence on popular music over the next decade. Odds are, we will be hearing the reverberations produced from a hit single like “Thinking Out Loud” for years to come.
Sheeran’s current single, an endless-love waltz diabolically programmed to appear at wedding receptions for the next half-century, has climbed to a No. 2 peak on the Hot 100 chart. That makes “Thinking Out Loud” Sheeran’s highest-charting Hot 100 hit to date, zooming past the previous singles from his x album, “Don’t” (No. 9 peak) and “Sing” (No. 13). Both of those songs are less traditional and more conducive to club play than “Thinking Out Loud,” but the tender ballad has been more widely accepted. And while one might expect a song like “Sing” — a sleek dance burner released for summer weather, produced by Pharrell Williams and immediately recalling Justin Timberlake‘s “Like I Love You” — to chart higher than a lovably sappy folk song, current radio trends pointed to “Thinking Out Loud” being the bigger (and, perhaps, more influential) hit all along.
Sheeran arrived at the correct moment with “The A Team,” his somber debut single released in 2011 and peaking in the Top 20 of the Hot 100 in January 2013; at that point, the tempo of popular music had begun an overdue process of slowing down. An immediate antecedent to the dance-pop of the Black Eyed Peas, Kesha, Taio Cruz and Dr. Luke that ruled radio at the start of this decade, the current sound of pop is defined by more contemplative fare like Hozier‘s “Take Me To Church,” Sam Smith‘s “Stay With Me,” John Legend‘s “All of Me” and, most recently, the Rihanna/Kanye West/Paul McCartneycollaboration “FourFiveSeconds.”
“The Calvin Harris music, the Alesso, the [David] Guetta — a lot of that music was great, and performed well at radio,” says Sharon Dastur, iHeartMedia’s senior VP of programming integration and former program director of New York’s Z100. “Because we are very cyclical, when you go with one strong sound with a lot of product, it gets to a point where people are itching for that next sound. I don’t think Ed’s timing could have been better.”
So Sheeran recognized that growing desire for a slower pace, churned out some expertly written pop-rock tracks and made himself an ambidextrous star. In the last three years, Sheeran became a Grammy darling, duetted with Taylor Swift, wrote songs for One Direction and sold enough albums and singles to justify his own arena trek, coming later this year. He has already performed to massive crowds while sharing his stage with just a guitar, drawing raves for his bold performance style. Teens love Ed Sheeran; my mom loves Ed Sheeran; Beyonceloves Ed Sheeran, too. And what’s next for Sheeran does not have anything to do with his continued output, but might become the most important part of his legacy: impacting a significant number of pop artists who crave his type of singular success. Those artists aren’t here yet, but they’re coming.
Consider the rising stardom of Shawn Mendes, the 16-year-old Canadian singer-songwriter who used Vine videos as a launching pad for a proper pop career. Last June, Mendes became the youngest artist ever to debut in the Hot 100’s top 25 with a first chart entry when his first single, “Life of the Party,” a piano dirge with bleeding-heart lyrics about breaking away from social conventions, started at No. 24 on the tally. Mendes followed the song’s record-setting launch by joining the summer 2014 tour of Austin Mahone, a pop artist many expected to succeedJustin Bieber as the next teen male heartthrob to dominate mainstream music; Mendes now seems a safer bet to keep the teens squealing for years to come, however, with Mahone failing to produce a hit from debut EP The Secret and Mendes being recently tapped to open on select dates of Taylor Swift’s upcoming stadium tour (a slot Sheeran filled on her last stadium tour).
But Handwritten, Mendes’ debut album due out in April, is less influenced by Bieber’s dance swagger than by Sheeran’s earnest folksiness. The sticky-sweet sentimentality of “Life of the Party” is duplicated on tracks like “Stitches” and “Never Be Alone” — rousing sing-alongs with acoustic finger-picking up front and compassionate lyrics that the production never obscures. Mendes shines on these songs, and Sheeran’s shadow looms over a lot of them — meanwhile, the rollout of the album has presented Mendes as a performer cut from the same cloth as the British star. In the new video for album track “A Little Too Much,” for instance, Mendes is seen in black-and-white, strumming a careful ballad to an empty theater with only a pianist accompanying him onstage.
Another pop artist who has recently name-checked Sheeran as an inspiration isCody Simpson, the Australian singer-songwriter best known for dance tracks like “On My Mind” and “iYiYi” featuring Flo Rida. Unlike Mendes, who is beginning his career with guitar in hand, Simpson is actively transitioning away from dance music and embracing an easy-listening vibe on his upcoming independent album,Free. His new single, “Flower,” captures the same gentle shimmer as a Sheeran track like “Tenerife Sea.”
During a recent visit to Billboard, Simpson acknowledged the importance of Sheeran’s success in allowing him to pursue a new sound, and says that he wants to be part of the “next generation of authentic musicians” to bring guitar-driven music back to Top 40. “I think people now are accepting of all kinds of [pop] music,” says Simpson, “especially even now, hearing things on the radio that you wouldn’t have heard like three years ago. You’re starting to hear all live instrumentation on the radio again, and it’s so cool.”
Granted, neither Mendes nor Simpson is a household name in the U.S. yet, and there’s no guarantee they will be. But Dastur believes that Sheeran’s success is allowing these two artists — and possibly many more to come — to be given a mainstream shot with quieter material, not dance music, at the forefront. “From all genres, people see what a unique path Ed’s created, and I can totally see people like Cody and Shawn being inspired by that,” says Dastur. “I think that’s something they’ve always had inside of them, but they weren’t sure how the audience would accept it. And now they see the audience accepts it in such a big way.”
So how far will Sheeran’s reach extend within, and change, the genre? It’s hard to say since it’s just beginning, but we can certainly look to the influence of another guitar virtuoso with a knack for crafting melodic tunes for clues. Following the teenybopper explosion at the beginning of the 2000’s, John Mayer‘s 2001 debutRoom For Squares was heralded as a refreshingly guitar-based pop effort for all ages. Mayer collected the younger fans who had outgrown their boy band phases, and spent the next decade producing hits, touring arenas and, in hindsight, bringing every guitar bro out of the woodwork for their 15 minutes. Would Jack Johnson, Gavin DeGraw or Jason Mraz broken through to Top 40 without Mayer leading the way? Would Howie Day‘s “Collide,” James Blunt‘s “Beautiful” or (gulp) Daniel Powter‘s “Bad Day” been nearly as ubiquitous without “No Such Thing” coming before them? Mayer’s success allowed these artists and songs to shine on a grand stage — at least until high-BPM pop returned at the turn of the decade.
Earlier this month, Sheeran and Mayer shared the stage at the Grammy Awards, with the elder guitarist supporting the young star on “Thinking Out Loud” alongsideHerbie Hancock and Ahmir “?uestlove” Thompson. Sheeran shares the appreciation of musical legends that made Mayer endearing and older listeners accepting. His albums are critically acclaimed, his singles are commercially successful and now he’s starting to sway the musical direction of hopeful male pop artists. The best thing he can do at this point? Avoid doing an interview with Playboy.
In a recent interview, the reigning Queen of Pop crowned her successor in Taylor Swift.
“It’s good to have princesses [of pop]. It means there’s lots of pretty dresses around,” she said. “I like Taylor Swift. I think she writes some really catchy pop songs. I can’t get them out of my head.”
After Taylor heard Madonna’s comments, she took to Tumblr and wrote: “Thanks, now I’m dead.”