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> Why don't ballads to as well as they used to?, It's a ballady shame...
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M4NG0
post Oct 29 2014, 02:07 PM
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So Ed Sheeran's 'Thinking Out Loud' is on course to be #1 this week but it seems to be have become something of a rarity for ballads to do well. Looking back at the Number 1s of the 90s and 2000s, there seemed to be a lot more slower songs doing well - 'Nothing Compares 2 U', 'Show Me Heaven', 'Stay', 'I Will Always Love You', 'Hero' to name just some of the big ones.

I've done a quick calculation for what percentage of total Number 1s by year were ballads:

1990 - 41% (7 out of 17)
1992 - 33% (4 out of 12)
1997 - 24% (6 out of 25)
2002 - 29% (9 out of 31)

Then we look at this year and last year:

2013 - 10% (3 out of 29) - 'Wrecking Ball', 'Somewhere Only We Know' and 'Skyscraper'.
2014 - 6% (2 out of 32) - 'Stay With Me' and 'Thinking Out Loud' are the only Number 1s so far this year which can really be classed as ballads (though obviousy there'll be at least one more, after the X Factor winner is crowned).

Of course the definition of a ballad varies slightly from person to person so some people might count 'Ghost' as a ballad, but I don't think I've been too unreasonable in saying that I'd call that more mid-tempo than ballad.

Even looking at this year's Top 20 selling singles so far, only 3 of these are ballads: 'All Of Me', 'Stay With Me' and 'Let It Go'.

So why don't ballads do as well as they used to 20 years, or even 10 years ago? Surely everyone loves a good love song? Are pop artists intentionally releasing less slow songs now, in favour of more dance songs which seem to be more in flavour these days? Do you think there'll come a time where ballads are as popular again as they were in the 90s? Does anyone (apart from me) even care? unsure.gif


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fiesta
post Oct 29 2014, 02:19 PM
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I think they have dramatically reduced since the demise of Boyzone and Westlife laugh.gif
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fchd
post Oct 29 2014, 02:23 PM
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Probably because they're not getting played on the main Media outlets - check out the Radio 1 playlist and you'll see how few ballads appear on there or on the music channels
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NellyEverySundae
post Oct 29 2014, 02:26 PM
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Nah ghost isn't a ballad. I think that's it this year ohmy.gif Bet then there will be x-factor's winner who'll no doubt be number one with a ballad
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Cameron
post Oct 29 2014, 02:26 PM
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Radio's seem to prefer to play dance and electronic music. Personally I love a good ballad sad.gif
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M4NG0
post Oct 29 2014, 02:27 PM
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QUOTE(fchd @ Oct 29 2014, 02:23 PM) *
Probably because they're not getting played on the main Media outlets - check out the Radio 1 playlist and you'll see how few ballads appear on there or on the music channels

Yeah but isn't that just because people aren't releasing ballads?
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Coral5
post Oct 29 2014, 02:27 PM
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QUOTE(Cameron @ Oct 29 2014, 05:26 PM) *
Radio's seem to prefer to play dance and electronic crap. Personally I love a good ballad sad.gif


Fixed.
Agree.
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fiesta
post Oct 29 2014, 02:30 PM
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I think it helps if when an artist release a ballad, they also make it available with remixes, I know that is why a lot of ballads were successful in the 90's like Celine Dion and Toni Braxton, the cd singles came with remixes as extra tracks
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Nadolig Llawen!
post Oct 29 2014, 02:31 PM
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Ballads often get the boring tag these days. Remember when Reggie had to play a ballad on the chart and he'd always moan about it?
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fiesta
post Oct 29 2014, 02:36 PM
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I think also with the huge popularity in club culture, has given way to the demise of the ballad. Years ago a slow song was played at the end of the school disco, but clubs dont tend to go in for that kind of thing
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dancember
post Oct 29 2014, 02:42 PM
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I think it's because radio stations absolutely LOVE playing mid/up tempo MOR music (see the success of Happy, Ghost, Budapest and Sing to name a few from this year) so artists will make songs catered to radio as it will guarantee them a smash. Anything too much on either side of 'radio friendly mid-tempo' may be seen as too risky for them, as too slow will bore the listener and too edgy will put the listener off.

Releasing a remix alongside it could definitely help, like it did for John Legend whose All Of Me was remixed by Tiesto and then that version got airplay by Capital whilst Heart would probably play the original.

In the case of Thinking Out Loud/Stay With Me, they do have a beat behind them which probably increases the radio friendly factor (as it will keep the listener interested).
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M4NG0
post Oct 29 2014, 02:42 PM
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I'm not convinced by that theory - I'm sure just as many people went clubbing in the 90s as they do now.

Yeah ballads do tend to get tagged as boring these days, but still can't find an explanation as to why they're so much less popular now.
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Eric_Blob
post Oct 29 2014, 02:48 PM
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QUOTE(T Boy @ Oct 29 2014, 02:31 PM) *
Ballads often get the boring tag these days. Remember when Reggie had to play a ballad on the chart and he'd always moan about it?


I remember there was one week around Christmas time where he had to play 5 piano ballads in a row or something, followed by a Pitbull song, and he had a bit of a melt-down. laugh.gif

I feel like there are a lot of ballads doing well in the past few years though. Just now they tend to have longer chart runs (due to excessive radio airplay), but not peak at #1. Perhaps a more accurate way to calculate would be to see how many ballads make the year-end top 50 in each year. Like the way the OP calculates it misses out some huge chart hits like Empire State of Mind Part II, Jar of Hearts, All Of Me, The A Team, Just Give Me a Reason, Stay, etc.


This post has been edited by Eric_Blob: Oct 29 2014, 02:48 PM
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M4NG0
post Oct 29 2014, 02:58 PM
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QUOTE(Eric_Blob @ Oct 29 2014, 02:48 PM) *
I feel like there are a lot of ballads doing well in the past few years though. Just now they tend to have longer chart runs (due to excessive radio airplay), but not peak at #1. Perhaps a more accurate way to calculate would be to see how many ballads make the year-end top 50 in each year. Like the way the OP calculates it misses out some huge chart hits like Empire State of Mind Part II, Jar of Hearts, All Of Me, The A Team, Just Give Me a Reason, Stay, etc.

That's kinda why I included the stats for the Top 20 selling songs of this year so far:
QUOTE
Even looking at this year's Top 20 selling singles so far, only 3 of these are ballads: 'All Of Me', 'Stay With Me' and 'Let It Go'.


We could look at last year's Top 40 if you like - 'Let Her Go', 'Just Give Me A Reason', 'When I Was Your Man', 'Stay', 'Somewhere Only We Know' - so that's still only 5 out of 40 (12.5%)!
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vidsanta
post Oct 29 2014, 02:58 PM
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QUOTE(Mango @ Oct 29 2014, 03:27 PM) *
Yeah but isn't that just because people aren't releasing ballads?


Because people aren't buying them?

OK, admittedly that's a bit of a circular argument. tongue.gif
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NellyEverySundae
post Oct 29 2014, 03:02 PM
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QUOTE(Mango @ Oct 29 2014, 02:42 PM) *
I'm not convinced by that theory - I'm sure just as many people went clubbing in the 90s as they do now.

Yeah ballads do tend to get tagged as boring these days, but still can't find an explanation as to why they're so much less popular now.


Dance music kinda blew up at the beginning of the year and has been getting more so over the past few years. I think people are moving onto more uptempo music at the moment
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Umi
post Oct 29 2014, 03:05 PM
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It's due mostly to the collapse in people actually releasing ballads. I couldn't tell you the last major star who released one?
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fchd
post Oct 29 2014, 03:08 PM
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Ed Sheeran?
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Joe ho ho!
post Oct 29 2014, 03:22 PM
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Paloma Faith 'Only Love Can Hurt Like This' and John Legend 'All Of Me' count, yes?

Sam Smith, Stay with me? Katy B - Crying For No Reason? Some of the highest selling songs of the year have been ballads?

(I'm aware none of these went to number 1, but still did well)


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Klampus
post Oct 29 2014, 03:36 PM
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Yeh, I wouldn't say it's a big issue because when ballads are big, they're BIG.

The problem is that they're are hard to thing get right and you can easily be accused of just releasing the same song over and over again. It's harder to connect to every ballad song than it is to an upbeat song.

Also, many artists use the strategy of releasing a big obvious hit in the summer, followed by a ballad single in the lead up to Christmas that is released just before the album. Q4 is often where many songs get lost as it's often very busy and so people aren't given time to connect to the songs and they're overshadowed by the first hit.

It's a lot more safe to release an obvious upbeat hit as your main lead single than a ballad.
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