Weekly insights into our crazy world.

Saturday, April 8, 2017



To see what defines a decade in American culture, it's best to turn to Pop Music. For example, the top selling musician in the 1950's was Elvis Presley. Meanwhile, the 1960's had the Beatles, while the 1970's had the BeeGees. All speak volumes about what average Americans valued in that period. Think about their hair, their message, rebellious attitude, colorful polyester pants, etc... You get the picture. So we here at the DUNER BLOG thought it would be interesting to see which pop musicians are tops in the new millennium. Using a simple formula, here are our findings:

#5. LADY GAGA. Album sales: 25,000,000, #1 Hits: 3. Born Stefani Germanotta in NYC's Upper West Side, this Italian spitfire attended numerous art academies as a teen. Then, Stefani spent five grueling years, releasing dozens of demos and trying a dozens of crazy costumes in hopes of making it big. Fortune smiled on her when she hooked up with producer Rob Fusari. He claims to have given her stage name after the Queen song Radio Ga Ga. In 2008, Just Dance was released, ushering in five solid years of hits. Although her third and fourth albums flopped, this year's Super Bowl Halftime Show reminded everyone of the Power of GaGa.

#4. JUSTIN BIEBER. Album sales: 18,000,000. #1 Hits: 4. While everyone loves to pick on the Bieber, please remember: Every generation has an equivalent teen idol. It's one of the music industries' surest bets: Selling music to teen girls. That's why *NSYNC and Sean Cassidy exist. And while Justin has had lots of difficulty adjusting to fame in his personal life, his celebrity continues to grow. We expect him to change from music to entertainment soon. Justin will soon be the go-to host for any music show and will soon become the new Ryan Seacrest.

#3. KATY PERRY.  Album sales: 16,000,000. #1 Hits: 9. This glam girl from Santa Barbara released her first album with her real name: Katy Hudson. This confused people who thought she was the actress of the same name. So she re-branded herself as Katy Perry. Her silly-lesbian song "I Kissed A Girl" hit #1 and Katy signed with Capitol Records. For her second album, she teamed with Swedish songwriter Max Martin. 'Teenage Dream' racked up five more #1 hits, tying her with Michael Jackson as the only person to accomplish this feat. Unfortunately, her music future looks dim. Her current single has yet to crack the Top Ten. Currently, she seems more interested in politics than music and could soon run for office.

#2. TAYLOR SWIFT. Album sales: 32,000,000. #1 Hits: 4. Born and raised in Western Pennsylvania, Taylor moved to Nashville as a teen. At age 14, she became to youngest person to ever sign a contract with Sony Music. It was a smart move. Her self-titled debut quickly moved from the Country charts to the Pop Music charts. Eager to show her musical talents, Taylor wrote every song on her second album, Fearless. However, on her third and fourth albums, she too went to Sweden to employ the talents of Max Martin and had four #1 hits. With a rabid fan base, look for Taylor to continue to dominate the industry.

#1. RIHANNA. Album sales: 35,000,0000. #1 Hits: 13. Far and away, the most bankable Pop Star of the new millennium in Robyn 'Rihanna' Fenty. While it took years for GaGa and Katy Perry to break into superstardom, things went pretty quickly for Rihanna. Like many people in Barbados, she worked in the tourism industry. She and two friends sung karaoke songs in a beachside club. One night, famed producer Evan Rogers just happened to be there on vacation. He told Rihanna to lose her two classmates and call Jay-Z in the morning. The rest is music history. She has managed to find the perfect song and manages to stay relevant every year. Congratulations!

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