Welcome back for another analysis of the Billboard Hot 100! Here’s all you need to know about the chart released today.
THIS WEEK’S TOP TEN
- Dark Horse by Katy Perry f/Juicy J
- Timber by Pitbull f/Ke$ha
- Counting Stars by OneRepublic
- Say Something by A Great Big World & Christina Aguilera
- The Monster by Eminem f/Rihanna
- Talk Dirty by Jason Derulo f/2 Chainz
- Let Her Go by Passenger
- Team by Lorde
- Royals by Lorde
- Pompeii by Bastille
In its 19th week on the chart, “Dark Horse” finally reaches the summit of the Hot 100, becoming Katy Perry’s 9th chart-topper. That’s far and away the longest climb to the top for Perry, and the longest ascent to #1 overall since “Set Fire To The Rain” by Adele took 21 weeks in 2011-2012. A little further down, Jason Derulo’s raunchy “Talk Dirty” continues its impressive run, bounding into the Top 10. Moving 15-6, this marks the fourth week in a row that the track featuring 2 Chainz has halved its chart rank. Hard to believe it sat at #85 at the beginning of the month. Scarily, it has a fighting chance to make a run at #1, which would make it arguably the most bizarre #1 single in recent memory.
BIGGEST MOVERS THIS WEEK
25 Spots: Rewind by Rascal Flatts (83-58)
22 Spots: All Of Me by John Legend (49-27)
18 Spots: Doin’ What She Likes by Blake Shelton (84-66)
14 Spots: Happy by Pharrell Williams (25-11)
14 Spots: Young Girls by Bruno Mars (68-54)
- Looks like the one single a year method is working wonders for Rascal Flatts as they fight the natural ebb of a lengthy country music career. Most songs of this nature do tend to see second week jumps, so this isn’t necessarily noteworthy news, but another sizable gain for next week could propel “Rewind” into the Country Top 5 in a mere three weeks, which would be something.
- Following a live performance at the Grammys that stood up as one of the strongest of the night, “All Of Me” leaps ahead massively from its previous peak position. With John Legend’s voice and piano providing the only instrumentation, comparisons to “When I Was Your Man” can start to flow now. With the jump, “All Of Me” becomes his biggest hit since “Ordinary People” in 2005 helped him win Best New Artist.
- Exact same commentary as the Rascal Flatts song. Shelton’s looking for yet another #1 single from Based on a True Story, and this is certainly a good start.
- Looks like my prediction a few weeks ago is holding up quite well. That makes it three weeks in a row seeing “Happy” on the biggest gainers list, and it would be a great shock to me if it doesn’t make the Top 10 next week. The buzz of the 24 hour music video, its Oscar nomination, and even Pharrell’s strange hat at the Grammys add up to huge publicity for “Happy.” I see #1 in this song’s future.
- Debuting the same week as “Happy”, it was tough not to pick “Young Girls” as the song with the biggest hit potential. While I think I made the correct choice, Bruno’s newest single is not disappointing. Following my Best Case Scenario model almost to a T, it’s popularity is steadily rising ahead of his Super Bowl performance on Sunday, which should create a nice spike to possibly lift “Young Girls” into the Top 40.
HOT 100 DEBUTS THIS WEEK
“Mmm Yeah” by Austin Mahone f/Pitbull (#60)
- Trying to ease the sting of “What About Love” not becoming the summer hit it seemed destined to be, 17-year-old Austin Mahone tries again with “Mmm Yeah,” this time enlisting the help of Pitbull, who’s notorious for elevating small-time pop stars into hitmakers. The beat is very uptempo and reminiscent of Pitbull’s classic work, down to the very childish lyrics.
- Best Case Scenario: It already earned a Hot Shot Debut this week, and its 69 cents price on iTunes translates well into digital sales. Expect strong airplay from pop radio, I can see this song eclipsing the Top 30.
- Worst Case Scenario: A high debut like this is often beset by a quick decline in the second week, so it could possibly fall off the chart in a week or two.
“Man Of The Year” by ScHoolboy Q (#81)
- Building off the success of his featured role on Macklemore’s “White Walls” and anticipation for his album that drops next month, ScHoolboy Q’s “Man of the Year” has a reasonably high bow for a rap single from an as-0f-yet unproven rapper in the mainstream. I’m not a huge fan of his style or his predictably sex-based lyrics, but the beat is fine, and I could definitely see hip-hop stations playing this a lot.
- Best Case Scenario: Rap songs with little mainstream potential like this one don’t typically do to well on the actual Hot 100, so the ceiling for a track like this would probably be somewhere in the 35-40 range.
- Worst Case Scenario: Like previous single “Collard Greens” (which re-entered at #92 this week), ScHoolboy Q makes his presence known but doesn’t translate that into chart success. The #81 debut could very easily be the peak.
“El Perdedor (Bachata)” by Enrique Iglesias f/Marco Antonio Solis (#85)
- Seeing songs like “Propuesta Indecente” and “Darte Un Beso” achieve massive success on the Latin charts and lasting success on the Hot 100, Enrique Iglesias dropped his newest single, sung in all Spanish and sounding almost identical to the previously mentioned singles. Iglesias’ star power figures to give it the potential to last long, like Marc Anthony’s 2013 hit “Vivir Mi Vida”.
- Best Case Scenario: Singles like this with no crossover potential to pop radio have trouble rising above 70, but Iglesias’ star power is well-documented. We’ll set a peak potential of #65 or so.
- Worst Case Scenario: It’s been over 3 years now since Iglesias’ semi-comeback with “I Like It” and “Tonight (I’m Lovin’ You), and his most recent Spanish-language single “Loco” failed to break out of the 90s. “El Perdedor” has an equal chance of similar ignominy.
“Invisible” by Hunter Hayes (#88)
- This anti-bullying song from the young country star made its premiere on Sunday at the Grammys. While his live performance was extremely pitchy and not very well-received, the song itself has a positive message and the music is comforting as well. Country radio loves Hunter Hayes, so this will receive airplay.
- Best Case Scenario: The caveat with Grammy-aided debuts is that they often comprise the song’s best weeks of sales/buzz. That being said, Hunter Hayes is a bankable act, so this song could peak in the 40s or 50s like “Somebody’s Heartbreak.”
- Worst Case Scenario: The Grammys were indeed “Invisible”‘s high point, and the falloff of sales next week pushes it off the chart as quickly as it came.
“Na Na” by Trey Songz (#91)
- Trey Songz has proven in his career that he is at his best when performing mid-tempo danceable and quotable club anthems, like “Bottoms Up” and “Say Aah.” I guess he tried for a similar effect here by employing the production services of “it” producer DJ Mustard, but the result is very strange. Trey is clearly trying too hard to incorporate his 2010 understanding of the pop R&B/hip-hop scene into 2014’s terms.
- Best Case Scenario: DJ Mustard can do no wrong right now, so the brand recognition could easily drive an otherwise mediocre track like this into the Top 40.
- Worst Case Scenario: Trey Songz has clearly started taking steps to alternate career paths (e.g. acting in “Texas Chainsaw 3D”) in case his musical success dries up, so it appears that even he might be giving up somewhat. This song could be one and done as well.
“Chocolate” by The 1975 (#96)
- Add The 1975 to the rapidly expanding list of British rock bands searching for success in the States. Their sound could easily be compared to Bastille, but I like to imagine “Chocolate” as the kind of single that I wish had appeared on the most recent Fall Out Boy album. The instrumentation is way different, but their singer sounds very much like a Cockney Patrick Stump. And I like that very much.
- Best Case Scenario: Huge potential here for “Chocolate” to be the first “Let Her Go”/”Pompeii”/fill in the blank with any British rock song that takes a while to achieve success. It also helps that the beat is undoubtedly funky and listenable. The sky’s the limit here, so I’ll say that a peak inside the Top 20 is possible.
- Worst Case Scenario: The slow but steady rising of “Do I Wanna Know” by Arctic Monkeys proves to sate America’s current need for rising British rock songs, and “Chocolate” unfortunately fails to get legs on American radio.
“They Don’t Know” by Rico Love (#100)
- Much like Sevyn Streeter, whose “It Won’t Stop” is currently at #48 on the chart, Rico Love is known in the music industry primarily as a writer/producer, writing songs like Nelly’s “Just A Dream” and Beyoncé’s “Sweet Dreams.” However, he takes his place behind the mike for his first charting effort “They Don’t Know.” The best comparison I can make is that it sounds to me like the singing-only variety of Drake singles (like “Hold On, We’re Going Home” or “Find Your Love.”
- Best Case Scenario: Since it doesn’t feature any major artists, it can’t plausibly reach the Top 40 like “It Won’t Stop” did, but this could be a moderate hit in its own right, peaking in the low 50s or high 60s.
- Worst Case Scenario: Just like “Ride” by SoMo a few weeks ago, songs like this that debut at #100 are always in danger of becoming yet another “one week at 100, then gone forever”. That could happen again here.
I’m going to go out on a bit of a limb with my prediction this week. “Mmm Yeah” has potential for sure, and Pitbull’s hard to ignore, but I will pass him over this week. The biggest hit potential here has to belong to “Chocolate.” There is a high demand for these “released a long time ago, but ready to be popular now” rock songs, especially those from British acts. This is the perfect time for The 1975 to make their splash over here in the States, so look for it to start plodding its way up the Hot 100 in the coming weeks.
- A Grammy collaboration with Kendrick Lamar helped “Radioactive” push forward 8 spots back up to #33 in its 74th week on the chart. That puts it a tantalizing two weeks away from “I’m Yours” in its quest for longest lasting Hot 100 single of all time. That boost makes its assumption of the title an almost guarantee. I’ll let you know when the date arrives.
- Even though it’s been a huge song for a long time, I don’t think everybody is aware of just how long “Royals” has been dominating the Hot 100. With its Song of the Year victory on Sunday, a second wave of sales boosts is in the future for Lorde, and this week, “Royals” notched a remarkable 22nd consecutive week in the Top 10. We’ll see if it can challenge “Smooth” and “How Do I Live” by reaching 30 consecutive weeks.
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!