Welcome back everyone and Merry Christmas! Today the countdown continues with songs 40-31 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 #40!
#40: Gone, Gone, Gone by Phillip Phillips
Peak: #24 2013 Weeks on Chart: 30 Points: 1665
Kudos to Phillip Phillips for not falling into the common trap of becoming an American Idol one-hit wonder. Following the dominant success of his coronation single “Home,” the Season 11 champion went out and recorded his full-length album The World From The Side Of The Moon. The second single “Gone, Gone, Gone,” although thematically and lyrically similar, proved to have almost as much staying power on the chart as his debut single, lasting for 30 weeks thanks to heavy rotation on Adult Contemporary radio stations. As for Season 12 champion Candice Glover, her championship song “I Am Beautiful” only reached #93 this year, by far the weakest outing ever for an Idol winner.
#39: Bad by Wale f/Tiara Thomas
Peak: #21 2013 Weeks on Chart: 26 Points: 1668
Here we have perhaps the most surprising song remaining on the countdown. Wale, a rapper from Washington D.C., has never been a very large name in the popular music scene. In fact, his only claim to fame prior to 2013 was his verse in Waka Flocka Flame’s 2010 hit “No Hands.” However, he has had great success with his albums, as 2011’s Ambition sold 400,000 copies, and his 2013 effort The Gifted debuted atop the Billboard Albums chart. The first single off that album, “Bad” climbed the charts rapidly and lingered in the 20-30 range for a few months, eventually spending half of the calendar year on the Hot 100. Featuring newcomer Tiara Thomas and a constant background noise of creaking bed springs, “Bad” used its R&B/rap crossover potential to secure a high spot on the countdown.
#38: Demons by Imagine Dragons
Peak: #6 2013 Weeks on Chart: 34 Points: 1678
The story of Imagine Dragons’ “Demons” is truly a tale of two chart runs. Spurred on by the gigantic success of “It’s Time” and “Radioactive,” it charted solely as an album cut. Never climbing above #50, it fell off the charts after its 20th week. But, once “Radioactive” finally fell out of the top 10 in October, “Demons” was officially released as the third single from Night Visions. Debuting at #46 the very next week, the song’s popularity rapidly spiked, and has quickly become the band’s second Top 10 single, continuing their formidable streak of radio hits. At the time of publication, “Demons” is sitting at its peak position of #6, so there is good reason to believe that an even higher peak is possible.
#37: Counting Stars by OneRepublic
Peak: #3 2013 Weeks on Chart: 26 Points: 1706
It’s nice to see Ryan Tedder keep a song for himself for a change. As one of the music industry’s busiest songwriters, it often can seem like he has little time for his band OneRepublic. The group’s 2012 album Native sputtered a bit when the first two single “Feel Again” and “If I Lose Myself” failed to dent the upper regions of the chart. However, the third single “Counting Stars” struck pop radio gold, becoming their first Top 10 single since 2011’s “Good Life.” It stands as OneRepublic’s most successful single since “Apologize” peaked at #2, but like “Demons,” it spent the last week of 2013 at its peak position, so even greater success could be in store for “Counting Stars.”
#36: Hold On, We’re Going Home by Drake f/Majid Jordan
Peak: #4 2013 Weeks on Chart: 19 Points: 1735
Although the vast majority of Nothing Was The Same features Drake’s signature abrasive style of rap, “Hold On, We’re Going Home” served as a pleasant surprise for mainstream audiences this fall. This catchy R&B track has absolutely no rap vocals, as Drake does all the singing himself. He did this before with his earlier single “Find Your Love,” which coincidentally was his last Top 5 single as a lead artist prior to this one. It was a busy year for Drake, as he was a part of 4 songs on the countdown, tying Taylor Swift for the most entries.
#35: Love Me by Lil Wayne f/Drake & Future
Peak: #9 2013 Weeks on Chart: 22 Points: 1745
Just like Puff Daddy and Mase back in the late 1990s, it seems that Lil Wayne and Drake have forged a commercial partnership of sorts, appearing together on popular rap singles with great regularity. Since first teaming up on “Forever” in 2009, the two have rapped together on no less than 17 charting singles, including “The Motto” and “She Will.” Add “Love Me,” off Lil Wayne’s 2013 I Am Not A Human Being II album to the consistently growing list. To help them out this time, the pair recruited the services of Future, the Autotune aficionado who reminds me more and more of T-Pain with each new song.
#34: Roar by Katy Perry
Peak: #1 (for 2 weeks) 2013 Weeks on Chart: 19 Points: 1760
As I reported earlier on my posting about “Applause,” it looks like Katy Perry won this round of the seemingly-perennial Lady Gaga vs. Katy Perry showdown. Released within weeks of each other, “Roar” easily outperformed “Applause” in the battle of lead singles. In addition to spending two weeks at #1 on the Hot 100, “Roar” is already being used in promotional material for the upcoming 2014 Winter Olympics. This continued exposure should keep it on the chart for at least another few months, as well as its Grammy nomination for Song of the Year. “Unconditionally” and “Dark Horse,” two other tracks from Prism, are also achieving chart success, as both have peaked in the Top 20.
#33: Feel This Moment by Pitbull f/Christina Aguilera
Peak: #8 2013 Weeks on Chart: 24 Points: 1768
As Flo Rida has proved time and time again with his hit singles, choosing a recognizable sample is often a formula for success in the popular music scene. Pitbull is certainly a follower of this mantra, and “Feel This Moment,” the 4th single off his 2012 album Global Warming album, chose lofty inspiration indeed. Sampling the hook from the seminal 80s classic “Take On Me” by a-ha, the Christina Aguilera collaboration became Pitbull’s first Top 10 single since hitting #1 in 2011 with “Give Me Everything.” He ended 2013 on a high note as well, as his new single “Timber” featuring Ke$ha utilized the newfangled “folktronica” obsession to jump all the way to #2 on the Hot 100.
#32: Summertime Sadness by Lana Del Rey & Cedric Gervais
Peak: #6 2013 Weeks on Chart: 23 Points: 1780
Once one of the indie scene’s most beloved treasures, Lana Del Rey burst into the mainstream with a highly successful 2013. Her first brush with wide audiences came in May, when she performed “Young And Beautiful” for The Great Gatsby‘s soundtrack. That song became her first Top 40 single on the Hot 100, reaching #22. Over the summer, French DJ Cedric Gervais remixed “Summertime Sadness,” a ballad from her Born To Die album into a radio-friendly dance track. Despite being a relatively predictable remix, the rejuvenated single received gratuitous airplay, becoming the first Top 10 single for both parties.
#31: Started From The Bottom by Drake
Peak: #6 2013 Weeks on Chart: 22 Points: 1781
Looks like today’s edition of the 101 Biggest Hits of 2013 should be retitled “The Drake Show,” as three of his four appearances in the countdown occur in the 30s. “Started From The Bottom” served as the lead single for Nothing Was The Same, and documented his rise from his childhood in urban Toronto to his global superstardom today. A rarity in modern rap, the song does not feature any other artists. It is worth noting however that Drake’s adolescent years saw him starring on the Canadian show Degrassi, so I think it’s safe to say that he wasn’t exactly at “the bottom” per se.
Once again, here’s wishing that everyone had a safe and joyous Christmas today! Check back tomorrow for songs 30-21 of the 101 Biggest Hits of 2013!