the Buzz for September 2013


Phillip Phillips — “Gone, Gone, Gone”
(from The World from the Side of the Moon) —

Do you ever bet that Mumford & Sons wish this Phillips punk would go back to wherever the hell he came from? Sure, they get all the album sales and critical love and Grammy glory, but then this poor socially awkward gravelly-voiced child comes along and essentially apes the Mumford sound wholesale — perhaps buffed up with a slightly poppier sheen — and steals all the mainstream radio airplay right out from under them. (A nifty trick our favorite Idol grad in forever has pulled off here, but how long until top 40 grows bored with the apparent one trick this kid can successfully perform?)


Serena Ryder — “Stompa” (from Harmony) —

Pity the plight of the poor Canadian songstress, who eternally seems to face a steep climb when trying to broaden their audience stateside. (Indeed, for every Joni Mitchell or Sarah Mac that breaks through the din of noise, there’s a Chantal Kreviazuk and a Jenifer McLaren wondering why the hell they can’t get themselves arrested south of Saskatchewan.) This ravishing track has been a sensation at adult radio for most of the summer and now faces a tough transition to top 40; I strongly suspect this tune might require the exact same tender loving care that made Emeli Sandé’s deliciously nifty “Next to Me” a hit a full year after the album dropped, but this oddball opus feels to me like a sleeper smash just waiting to happen. A single of the year contender, without question.


Daniel Merriweather featuring Adele — “Water and a Flame”
(from Love and War) —

I heard a rumor — that’s a damn lie, I read it in Billboard last week — that none other than Celine Dion is covering this criminally overlooked gem on her next album (due in November). And while I’m trying hard not to pre-judge this endeavor as anything other than a massive creative folly before actually having heard Dion’s take on it, if her decision to give this tune whatever would be the pop-star-equivalent of a papal blessing actually ends up driving much more attention to the original version than it has won heretofore — odd, particularly when you take into account the ginormous scale of Adele’s coming-out party a couple of years ago — that can’t be a bad thing.