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This Week’s Billboard Adult Contemporary Top Ten Is Really Weird

June 12, 2009

I don’t really know what the phrase “Adult Contemporary” means. When I was really young, I used to think that it was just a synonym for anything performed by Grover Washington Jr., who performed the jazz bumps shown on The Cosby Show whenever they’d show a picture of the Huxtable brownstone.  Then I got older, and realized that it was music I heard at the orthodontist’s office. And then, when I realized that there were entire radio stations focused around “adult contemporary,” I came to the conclusion that it was just code for music that I heard often, but didn’t really like, just sifted into its own special bin reserved for particularly vanilla, non-threatening tunes.

But lately I’ve been thinking: these days, I am an adult. And I don’t mind telling you that I fancy myself somewhat contemporary at that. But I don’t consider myself to be a demographic for “adult contemporary” music. I’ve always relegated that demographic to be “anyone older than myself” even though technically, I would fit into that demographic now.

That said, I decided to see what my “peers” are listening to these days, and I popped over to Billboard for a look at the top ten in adult contemporary music this week. And it seemed a little odd. Walk with me.

1. Shinedown – Second Chance

Before today, I had never heard this song before, but as I listened to it, it seemed strangely like I’ve heard it dozens of times. It sounds like…oh, I can’t think of the name…it’ll come to me…it sounds exactly like…

2. Nickelback – If Today Were Your Last Day

Yes. Nickelback. That’s it. Oh, Glorious Nickelback! Purveyors of fangless, safe, inspirational rock! Let me let you guys in on a secret: Nickelback only has one song. They just change the tempo and the words every three or four months and then send the new record out to your local Applebee’s. But you didn’t hear that from me.

3. The Fray – You Found Me

You can find The Fray filed under two distinct categories. The first is “Musicians Who Are Only Famous Because Their Music Is Played Over and Over Again During Touching Montages on Network TV.” The other category is “Bands Who Have Sorely Misjudged Their Own Sounds By Giving Themselves Names Based Upon Violent Vernacular.” It may come as no surprise to you that they are found under the letter “F” in both categories, just beneath Five For Fighting.

4. The All-American Rejects – Gives You Hell

I’m just guessing here, but I would presume that The All-American Rejects would rather the public not know that they’re on the “Adult Contemporary” list. That could really hurt their Hot Topic airplay. Don’t worry, AAR! I won’t tell anyone!

5. Theory of a Deadman – Not Meant to Be

I know it’s you, Nickelback! Those fake beards aren’t fooling anyone!

6. Pink – Sober

And the hell-raising, shit-kicking Pink finds herself on the Adult Contemporary list. Which is strange, to me. I thought Pink was still big with the kids. I guess that’s why I’m perusing the Adult Contemporary charts. 

7. Rob Thomas – Her Diamonds

Apparently, Rob Thomas has another song besides the one he did with Carlo Santana. You learn something new every day.

8. Kelly Clarkson – My Life Would Suck Without You

Here’s where things start to get a little weird. I guess I can sort of understand Kelly Clarkson appealing to older crowds, or maybe parents in particular, but I guess I could see hearing this in a doctor’s waiting room. Or maybe a T.J. Maxx somewhere.

9. Miley Cyrus – The Climb

Huh? This must be a misprint. Are contemporary adults really listening to Hannah Montana? That not only seems implausible, but slightly creepy. I’m beginning to think this whole category is a sham. I want the guidelines, now, Billboard

10. Pink – Please Don’t Leave Me

Hey, there’s Pink again! And she’s back to kick your Miley Cyrus-loving ass right out of your orthopedic shoes. Apparently Pink is the darling of the contemporary adult crowd, which would explain why the receptionist at my local Water & Sanitation office just got that face tattoo. Rock it out, contemporary adults!

One Comment
  1. Anonymous permalink
    June 12, 2009 5:15 pm

    Bullshit! This list is fake. It’s supposed to have people on it like Michael McDonald and Leonard Cohen, if he’s still alive. Is this what it’s like to be an adult and contemporary? I want out.

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