As I’ve mentioned previously, what’s popular in music depends greatly on your GPS coordinates. Where in the world you are determines not only whether you’ll be lunching with Carmen Sandiego, but also whether the restaurant plays Dizzee Rascal or Rascal Flatts. Sure, some songs turn out to have universal appeal, but you can’t always predict which ones. Many simply don’t translate, either because of language or because they’re region-specific (e.g. the UK’s love of FA Cup songs and The Wurzels). For other tracks, their inability to cross oceans is inexplicable.
Speaking of the UK—as well as Continental Europe and New Zealand, for that matter—if I have any readers there, please allow me to offer my apologies for this post. If you listen to the radio, or watch TV, or spend any time out in the world, at least two of these songs have been in your face for weeks, if not months. This post is basically for everyone else. But I’ll make it up to you someday, I promise.
Let’s begin with Avicii’s “Wake Me Up!” which is in every country’s Top 5 right now, and it’s at #1 in most — except over here, where it doesn’t exist. Avicii is the chosen name of Swedish DJ Tim Bergling, and Aloe Blacc takes the vocal.
Then there’s John Newman, who’s already been a guest vocalist on a #1 song for electronic group Rudimental, and now has his own UK #1 with “Love Me Again.”
Finally, we have Lorde, a 16-year-old New Zealander whose first single, “Royals”—released in the US back in March—has actually made the lower reaches of the Hot 100 (but that still means most people here haven’t heard the song.) She’s the first New Zealander ever to place four songs in her homeland’s Top 20 at the same time.