Welcome back everyone! Today the countdown continues with songs 90-81 of the 101 Biggest Hits of 2013! If this is your first time checking in on the countdown, please read this for the process by which I ranked the songs you are about to see! Without further ado, let’s pick up where we left off with song #90!
#90: Round Here by Florida Georgia Line
Peak: #28 2013 Weeks on Chart: 20 Points: 1027
As I mentioned with song #94, Florida Georgia Line is the “it” group right now in country music, and everything they’ve touched this year has turned to gold. Same holds true for their third consecutive #1 Country single, an homage to the country way of life, proclaiming “That’s how we do it round here.” Since their album Here’s To The Good Times was released last year, their seemingly bottomless supply of hits is starting to run a bit thin, but their 4th single “Stay” is the current #1 Country song. It was released a little too late to make enough points for this countdown, but it serves as a noteworthy bridge between their breakout 2013 and their hopes for an equally successful 2014.
#89: #Beautiful by Mariah Carey f/Miguel
Peak: #15 2013 Weeks on Chart: 16 Points: 1027
Ah, hashtag. We meet again. Following the modest success of will.i.am’s Twitter-friendly experiment “#thatPOWER,” legendary vocalist Mariah Carey utilized the multi-talented pound sign for her newest single. Hard to believe that Carey is only 43 years old, as it’s been a healthy 23 years since her debut single “Vision of Love.” In her lengthy and massively successful career, Mariah has called upon the services of many famous R&B acts, from Boyz II Men on “One Sweet Day” (which still holds the record with 16 weeks at #1 on the Hot 100) to Luther Vandross on her cover of “Endless Love.” This time, Carey found Miguel, the critically-acclaimed and Grammy-nominated crooner behind Kaleidoscope Dream and its single “Adorn.” Hard to say why someone as well-known as Carey felt the need to use a hashtag in her song, but my guess is that she feels threatened by the fact that Rihanna is now within a stone’s throw of her tally of 18 #1 singles. No such luck with this effort, although it marks her first time in the year-end countdown since 2009’s “Obsessed.”
#88: Next To Me by Emeli Sandé
Peak: #25 2013 Weeks on Chart: 20 Points: 1030
It seems that Adele has paved the way for a new generation of British singers. Ever since 21 became the best-selling album of 2011 AND 2012, America has seen a new influx of successful female Brits, as names like Jessie J and Cher Lloyd have filled the airwaves. Add Emeli Sandé to that growing list, a 26-year-old from Scotland with a decidedly retro feel. She has said in interviews that she wants her music to be reminiscent of Nina Simone, and her breakthrough single “Next To Me” certainly carries a similar powerful vibe. Although “Next To Me” was actually released in late 2011 in the UK, she also achieved moderate success over the summer by teaming up with Labrinth on the ballad “Beneath Your Beautiful.”
#87: Runnin’ Outta Moonlight by Randy Houser
Peak: #24 2013 Weeks on Chart: 20 Points: 1033
At age 38, Randy Houser is a relative latecomer to the country music scene. To put things in perspective, Tim McGraw already had 20 #1 Country singles by his 38th birthday. Nonetheless, Houser has become a familiar name in the industry in the past year, ensuring that his breakout 2009 hit “Boots On” was not a fluke. Following the popularity of late 2012’s “How Country Feels,” “…Moonlight” was released in perfect tandem with the onset of summer 2013, the time of year when country’s music fondness for good weather and fun times often results in hit songs.
#86: Mama’s Broken Heart by Miranda Lambert
Peak: #20 2013 Weeks on Chart: 20 Points: 1053
Marriage has been good to Miranda Lambert. Ever since she tied the knot with Blake Shelton, her career has maintained its steady hitmaking pace which would loom even larger were it not for Shelton’s ever bigger surge in popularity. Ever since breaking out in 2005 with the purposefully crazy “Kerosene,” Lambert has assumed the “bad girl of country role” left void by Gretchen Wilson‘s flash-in-the-pan success. 2013 was a big year for Miranda, as “Mama’s Broken Heart” proved to be a frantically-paced return to the “psycho breakup” motif of her earliest hits. She also added the Keith Urban duet “We Were Us” to her repertoire of #1 Country singles. No word from Blake Shelton yet on if he gave her permission to record that song.
#85: 23 by Mike Will Made It f/Miley Cyrus, Wiz Khalifa and Juicy J
Peak: #11 2013 Weeks on Chart: 13 Points: 1063
One unfortunate development of the 2000s rap scene is the creation of “posses,” groups of artists uniting around a common idol or producer. T.I. is the leader of the “Hustle Gang,” Wiz Khalifa has his faithful “Taylor Gang,” and it looks like Mike Will Made It is eager to join the fray. His recent flurry of production credits rivals RedOne’s massive 2009, and his self-named “Made It Mafia” comprises this raucous collaboration. This song has it all, from Miley Cyrus showing off her rapping “chops” to Juicy J saying “J’s on my feet” in a rhythm nearly identical to his 2012 hit “Bandz A Make Her Dance.” Thematically, this song is a spiritual sequel to 2002’s “Air Force Ones,” replacing the aforementioned Nike brand with Michael (#23) Jordan’s namesake athletic shoe. I’m still waiting for that overdue rap collaboration about Crocs. “23” is also the first song on the countdown so far to still be on the actual Hot 100, as it still has yet to leave the Top 20.
#84: Sweater Weather by The Neighbourhood
Peak: #14 2013 Weeks on Chart: 27 Points: 1085
Remember what I said earlier about summer being the time of the year where country songs get popular? Well, looks like American indie band The Neighbourhood took a few notes. Their debut album I Love You came out in April, with “Sweater Weather” being the lead single. The song languished in the lower third of the Hot 100 for 18 weeks, never rising above #70. However, when the month of November rolled around, a certain chill in the air flew in along with the advent of fall. Sure enough, the band took full advantage of this advantageous weather and re-released the single. With the song’s climate-based subject material matching perfectly with the actual weather outside, “Sweater Weather” has taken off. The song climbed 50 spots in just 5 weeks, and reached its peak of #14 on the Hot 100 yesterday. As the weather continues to get colder, I see no reason why this song can’t make a run at the Top 10 and stay there for the duration of winter. Keep an eye out next year, I have a hunch “Sweater Weather” could appear 2014’s countdown as well.
#83: Crooked Smile by J. Cole f/TLC
Peak: #27 2013 Weeks on Chart: 20 Points: 1102
One of the most noteworthy artist “battles” of 2013 occurred in the summer between J. Cole and fellow hip-hop artist Kanye West. Both men released albums the same week, and it became a common point of conversation as to whether Cole’s Born Sinner or West’s Yeezus would become more successful. Although Yeezus garnered more critical acclaim, Born Sinner actually outsold West’s album in the long run. Perhaps accounting for that difference was the success of the two lead singles off of Born Sinner, “Power Trip” (which will be featured later in the countdown) and “Crooked Smile.” Featuring backing vocals from the living members of legendary R&B trio TLC, this midtempo track served as lighthearted counter-programming to the more hard-hitting material from Yeezus.
#82: U.O.E.N.O. by Rocko f/Future & Rick Ross
Peak: #20 2013 Weeks on Chart: 20 Points: 1106
If those featuring credits look familiar to you, don’t be alarmed. Turns out that Rocko used the same two artists for “U.O.E.N.O.” as Ace Hood did for “Bugatti.” There’s not too much to say about this track, since it predictably discusses the benefits of material wealth along with the forgetfulness brought on by ecstasy use. The one distinguishing feature of this otherwise ordinary rap song is the titular phrase’s meaning. Did you assume it was a creative acronym? I thought so at first too, but it turns out that when Rocko says “U.O.E.N.O.” within the context of the song, he really means to say “You don’t even know.” Hmm, you learn something new everyday right?
#81: Troublemaker by Olly Murs f/Flo Rida
Peak: #25 2013 Weeks on Chart: 20 Points: 1114
Olly Murs is a classic example of an act who is huge in his native Britain, but hasn’t quite yet come into his own here in the States. In the UK, his breakout hit was “Dance With Me Tonight,” a 2011 neo-swing record that trademarked Murs’s flair for retro grooves. His next single from Right Place, Right Time was “Troublemaker,” which became a modest hit in the States mainly due to the Flo Rida verse added into the American release of the single. The song sounds a bit too similar to Maroon 5’s “Misery,” but its inescapable catchiness and infectious use of a string section ensured that it found a home on the Hot 100 in the early months of 2013.
A big thank you again to everybody for reading the second installment in the 101 Biggest Hits of 2013! Check back tomorrow for songs 80-71, as we march closer and closer to the songs that will define the year 2013 in decades to come!