Billboard Hot 100 Analysis: 1/3/2014

So here we go with the inaugural edition of my weekly analysis of the Billboard Hot 100 chart! This article is coming on Friday because Billboard released the charts later this week on account of the New Year’s holiday. In future weeks, you can expect these articles on Thursdays. As today is my first post of this sort, here’s what you can expect. For your convenience, I will recap the Top 10 songs of the week, along with any additional commentary that might merit. Next, I will discuss the biggest movers on the chart, in other words, the songs which jumped up the most spots that week. That will bring us to the signature part of my analysis, where I will look closely at each new entry on the chart. I will give a brief review/description of the song, along with a best and worse case scenario for its future chart prospects. At then end of this segment, I will predict which song I think will have the greatest success in 2014. From time to time throughout the coming months, I will check in on my predictions. To conclude the week’s analysis, I will talk about any noteworthy storylines to keep an eye on in the upcoming weeks. So with all that logistical business out of the way, let’s look in-depth at the Billboard Hot 100!

THIS WEEK’S TOP TEN

  1. The Monster by Eminem f/Rihanna
  2. Timber by Pitbull f/Ke$ha
  3. Counting Stars by OneRepublic
  4. Royals by Lorde
  5. Say Something by A Great Big World & Christina Aguilera
  6. Demons by Imagine Dragons
  7. Let Her Go by Passenger
  8. Roar by Katy Perry
  9. Story Of My Life by One Direction
  10. Wake Me Up! by Avicii

There are no new entries and no new peaks in the Top Ten this week, and in fact, all the songs in this upper region have registered at least five frames here. Sitting atop the chart is “The Monster” for a fourth week, as “Timber” similarly spends a fourth week at #2. Other than that, it’s a pretty uneventful week in the Top 10, which leads me to believe that a major shakeup will occur soon.

BIGGEST MOVERS THIS WEEK

40 Spots: The Fox by Ylvis (98-58)

32 Spots: Survival by Eminem (96-64)

29 Spots: Berzerk by Eminem (77-48)

28 Spots: Best Song Ever by One Direction (82-54)

26 Spots: All That Matters by Justin Bieber (85-59)

22 Spots: Let It Go by Idina Menzel (54-32)

22 Spots: That’s My Kind Of Night by Luke Bryan (56-34)

18 Spots: Let It Go by Demi Lovato (61-43)

We have two categories of big movers this week. First off all, two tracks from the Frozen soundtrack experienced sales booms following the Disney movie’s highly successful Christmas week at the box office. Both version of “Let It Go,” the in-film by Idina Menzel and the end-credits by Demi Lovato, moved into the Top 50 of the Hot 100 and could experience continued success with Oscar time drawing near. The other jumps this week are commonplace for this time of year. As you may notice, these are songs across all genres that were fairly successful in the autumn months. Seemingly every year when Christmas rolls around, the gifting of music players and iTunes gift cards leads many people to purchase their favorite songs of 2013 for the first time, leading to large (and very brief) spikes in those singles’ chart positions. None of these should result in real resurgences for any of the songs, but their temporary renaissances do reveal the power of Christmas shopping.

HOT 100 DEBUTS THIS WEEK

Turn Down For What” by DJ Snake & Lil Jon (#38)

  • Here we have the first Vine-ready twerk anthem of 2014. Consisting of nothing more than 3.5 minutes of Lil Jon saying a brief line about doing shots and the titular phrase over and over and over. In the background is a repetitive, yet embarrassingly danceable beat which carries the song through its too-long runtime. What we have is yet another example of a song made for 30 seconds or fewer of listening (in the style of Harlem Shake and all those Vine songs) stretched out into a full-length song.
  • Best Case Scenario: The return of Lil Jon inspires a Vine frenzy comparable to “Gas Pedal” and spends a lot of time in the 30s and 40s on the charts.
  • Worst Case Scenario: Like “Don’t Drop That Thun Thun,” it has its moment in the sun this week and just as quickly descends and departs the charts.

Do You Want To Build A Snowman?” by Kristen Bell, Agatha Lee Monn & Katie Lopez (#65)

For The First Time In Forever” by Kristen Bell & Idina Menzel (#74)

  • I’m combining analyses for the above two tracks, since they both come from the soundtrack of Frozen. Following phenomenal holdover at the box office and a stellar Christmas weekend, four songs from the Disney musical have found their way onto the chart this week. The two debuts come from Kristen Bell, who voices the protagonist Anna. Both of these songs are markedly more lighthearted than the versions of “Let It Go,” and are more indicative of the “fun song” half of Disney songwriting.
  • Best Case Scenario: Frozen continues to gather steam throughout the winter, and these songs stay on the chart for a few more weeks.
  • Worst Case Scenario: The Christmas spike is the only reason for these entries, and they leave the chart in a week or two. This scenario is probably the likeliest.

Neon Lights” by Demi Lovato (#96)

  • Capitalizing on her performance of “Let It Go” for the Frozen soundtrack, Demi Lovato put out another single from her 2013 Demi album. Sounding like a cross of 2011 Selena Gomez with Chris Brown’s “Yeah 3X,” “Neon Lights” is paced reasonably well but suffers from overproduction and sounds a little too-tailored for clubs and not as much for kid-friendly pop radio.
  • Best Case Scenario: “Let It Go” paves the way for her new hit, and it reaches the Top 20 like “Give Your Heart A Break” and “Heart Attack.”
  • Worst Case Scenario: “Let It Go” crowds out any upward mobility for “Neon Lights,” and its chart run is short-lived.

In all honesty, none of these songs this week really jump out at me as major hit potential. “Turn Down For What” has the early advantage because of its strong debut, but I’m going to have to go with “Neon Lights” as my first prediction of the year. While it’s certainly not Demi Lovato’s best material, it won’t alienate her fan base, and it should have a fair chance at club airplay. Like I said, likely not going to be a big hit, but if any of these four songs have a chance, it’s “Neon Lights.”

FINAL THOUGHTS

  1. “Radioactive” by Imagine Dragons and “Sail” by AWOLNATION logged their 70th and 69th weeks on the chart respectively this week. That places both songs in the Top 5 for longest Hot 100 chart runs of all time, and within shouting distance of Jason Mraz’s record of 76 weeks for “I’m Yours.” Both songs are still hanging around in the Top 40, so there is definitely a chance to witness history in the upcoming months. Keep an eye out for their run at the record, and I’ll keep you posted as the magic number gets closer.
  2. “HeadBand” by B.o.B. rose four spots this week to #53 on the Hot 100. This might sound inherently unimpressive, but the song logged its 29th week on the chart. Since Billboard introduced its “20 week” rule in 1991, no song has lasted this long without crossing into the Top 50. “HeadBand” has managed to remain on the chart by logging sales increases in each of the last 9 weeks, exploiting the only exception to the 20 week rule.

That’s all for this week! I’ll be back on Thursday with a look at the next edition of the Hot 100. More predictions and analysis coming at you in a week!

Until then,

Ryan

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