Wednesday, July 15, 2009

FootColumn: How will "Mess of Me" do on the radio?

Switchfoot's lead single, as we all know now, is going to be "Mess of Me," a hard-charging, anthemic rock song that will be targeted specifically to Mainstream Rock and Active Rock formats.

I did some research, and currently, as of June 15, 2009, the Top 10 on Mainstream rock is:

1. "New Divide" - Linkin Park
2. "Sound of Madness" - Shinedown
3. "Drowning (Face Down)" - Saving Abel
4. "Oh Yeah" - Chickenfoot
5. "Burn It to the Ground" - Nickelback
6. "Know Your Enemy" - Green Day
7. "Whiskey Hangover" - Godsmack
8. "Lifeline" - Papa Roach
9. "Second Chance" - Shinedown
10. "Champagne" - Cavo

The Top 10 on Active Rock is:

1. "New Divide" - Linkin Park
2. "Sound of Madness" - Shinedown
3. "Champagne" - Cavo
4. "Whiskey Hangover" - Godsmack
5. "Burn It to the Ground" - Nickelback
6. "Drowning (Face Down)" - Saving Abel
7. "I Get Off" - Halestorm
8. "Scarlet Letters" - Mudvayne
9. "All Nightmare Long" - Metallica
10. "Ain't No Rest For the Wicket - Cage the Elephant

(It's interesting to note how similar the Top 10 is for those two charts. )

Listening to what the top songs on these formats sound like, it is very easy to envision Switchfoot cracking back into the secular radio limelight by first targeting these two formats and crossing over afterward. Very rock-oriented in nature, a song like "Mess of Me" could very well become a staple on these formats, fitting in comfortably with the Cavo's and Chevelle's of the world.

Active Rock is the much bigger of the two formats, which is odd, considering the name "Mainstream Rock" would entail a wide audience. However, the numbers don't lie: Active Rock's audience is much larger than "Mainstream Rock."

However, under Billboard's charting system, both formats feed into the Billboard Mainstream Rock chart. So if it's a hit on both formats, it will definitely get a Billboard chart position, which is good news.

One fact that I think is conspicuously missing in yesterday's announcement is that "Mess of Me" is reportedly not going to Modern Rock (or Alternative) radio. This is the most lucrative of the rock formats, as it is the most respected and most-listened to format. I do hope that Switchfoot and ATO work that format as well.

"Mess of Me" definitely has the hard edge that people look for when listening to rock radio, and I think the strength of this song will be the bridge/pre-chorus, where Jon Foreman belts out the line, "There aint no DRUUG! There aint no DRUUG! There aint no DRUUG! No drug can make me well..." etc. etc. Another factor to consider is that this song really does sound nothing like anything Switchfoot has released to radio before. It's harder, it's faster, and Jon's vocals soar to heights as yet unseen in a Switchfoot radio single.

Prediction: So, my prediction for "Mess of Me" is that it becomes a Top 15 hit at Mainstream and Active Rock radio, while it charts in at least the Top 30 on Modern Rock. Not going to put my expectations too high on this one, and I doubt it is going to be a crossover, Top 40 hit. But if I'm proven wrong, I will be quite happy.

Thanks for reading. :)

- Job

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