Billboard Hot 100 Analysis: 2/20/2014

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

  1. Dark Horse by Katy Perry f/Juicy J
  2. Happy by Pharrell Williams
  3. Talk Dirty by Jason Derulo f/2 Chainz
  4. Say Something by A Great Big World & Christina Aguilera
  5. Drunk In Love by Beyoncé f/Jay-Z
  6. Counting Stars by OneRepublic
  7. Timber by Pitbull f/Ke$ha
  8. Pompeii by Bastille
  9. Team by Lorde
  10. Let Her Go by Passenger

Every song in the Top 10 is the same this week, with some minor switches in the lower rung. What I’ll focus on today is how close the race between Dark Horse and Happy is. There is less than a 5% points difference between the two songs this week, and all signs point towards Happy becoming the new #1 single next week. However, the Egyptian-themed music video for Perry’s song dropped today, so the streaming frenzy could make for an interesting storyline. We’ll see what wins out.

BIGGEST MOVERS THIS WEEK

13 Spots: Cop Car by Keith Urban (73-60)

12 Spots: Rewind by Rascal Flatts (79-67)

11 Spots: Na Na by Trey Songz (80-69)

10 Spots: Chillin’ It by Cole Swindell (38-28)

10 Spots: Neon Lights by Demi Lovato (46-36)

  1. Urban’s newest single, most notably performed at the Grammys with Gary Clark, Jr., sees a sizable jump in its third week on the chart. Also, it is the only song remaining on the chart that debuted the same week.
  2. Following a predictable large drop after its initial digital sales boom, the newest track from the Ohio trio settles in with country radio and starts its ascent toward its previous peak.
  3. I’ve taken to the habit of not referring to “Na Na” as the new Trey Songz single, but rather as the new DJ Mustard single. Because let’s be real, he’s the only reason a song like this is gaining any traction on the Hot 100. Sorry if that sounds bitter, because I actually am a fan of Mr. Mustard.
  4. The newest #1 on the Country singles chart also happens to be the debut single for Swindell. Kudos to him for reaching a new peak in the song’s 18th week on the chart.
  5. Two weeks in a row on the Biggest Movers list for Lovato, who has her second Top 40 hit in 2 months (following “Let It Go”, which is still hanging around). My first-ever selection for biggest hit potential is proving not to disappoint.

HOT 100 DEBUTS THIS WEEK

Everything Is AWESOME!!!” by Tegan And Sara f/The Lonely Island (#62)

  • Only 7 weeks in, 2014 has already been a banner year for movie soundtrack songs. Following the four charting efforts from Frozen, Tegan and Sara’s take on the theme song for the smash hit The LEGO Movie takes top debut honors this week. The song is simply pure energy, and features very humorous verses from The Lonely Island.
  • Best Case Scenario: Like “Let It Go”, the film’s long-standing box office success propels to song into the Top 40, where it remains for many weeks.
  • Worst Case Scenario: The song’s debut is merely a result of the first-weekend box office frenzy. As such, its sales drop significantly this next week, and the song falls immediately off the chart.

Automatic” by Miranda Lambert (#63)

  • Intent on not succumbing to the massive amounts of success her husband Blake Shelton has been having the past year, Miranda Lambert is cranking out just as many singles. Her newest track is a nostalgic quasi-ballad about the times before technology took over our lives. She sings the lyrics believably, and there’s a sort of easygoing nature to the instrumentation, so it’s definitely relistenable.
  • Best Case Scenario: Miranda guns for her next chart-topping Country single, following in the footsteps of “Mama’s Broken Heart.” A peak in the 20s is definitely reachable for an artist of her caliber and star power.
  • Worst Case Scenario: The debut is a little high for a traditional chart run of a country song, so it could conceivably suffer a big drop next week. We’ll have to see though.

Stoner” by Young Thug (#75)

  • Is this song a joke? I’m not sure, but it sounds a lot like a novelty song to me. This first charting single for Mr. Thug repeats over and over again how he is an avid connoisseur of drugs and all their intended uses. Accompanied by the most generic rap beat imaginable, this is truly a lazy, lazy song.
  • Best Case Scenario: Stupid silly songs like this have a bad habit of either becoming Vine-friendly or gaining unnecessarily frequent radio airplay. As such, even a track like this is hypothetically capable of reaching the Top 40.
  • Worst Case Scenario: It’s novelty factor peaks with the song’s debut, and “Stoner”‘s trip on the charts (get it? a drug pun) is short-lived indeed.

Achy Breaky 2” by Buck 22 f/Billy Ray Cyrus (#80)

  • Looks like I spoke too soon about joke songs. I never in a million years saw this coming. Apparently Buck 22 is a self-proclaimed “country rap” group, and here they’ve taken Billy Ray Cyrus’ classic “Achy Breaky Heart” and rap-ified it. If that wasn’t enough, Cyrus himself shows up to sing the chorus with the group. This might have already won the award for Worst Song of 2014. Oh, and the video features an appearance from Larry King. So there’s that as well.
  • Best Case Scenario: I honestly don’t see a song this bad gaining any traction, so I’ll set best case scenario parameters for a a peak of no higher than #75.
  • Worst Case Scenario: This also serves as the likely scenario. The song will not remain on the chart for any longer.

You’re Mine (Eternal)” by Mariah Carey (#88)

  • Following the success of “#Beautiful,” legendary songstress Carey debuts with her second single in anticipation of her forthcoming studio album. Much more of a ballad than the previous single, “You’re Mine” hearkens back to the golden age of Mariah, namely the early 90s sweeping ballads which made her the biggest name of the decade.
  • Best Case Scenario: Much like she saw re-emergence in popularity from 2005-2008, Carey turns the trick again with a second consecutive Top 20 single.
  • Worst Case Scenario: The pop music scene isn’t ready for more ballads just yet, and relegates Carey’s track to a few lonely weeks of languishing in the lower 20 ranks on the chart.

Classic” by MKTO (#96)

  • I’ll admit, when I saw the name of the song and the name of the group, I assumed that “Classic” would be another large-group rap single. But surprise! It’s actually a very fun-sounding pop/rock group that reminds me a lot of Hot Chelle Rae from back in 2011. The song name-checks several classic R&B artists while elaborating as to why the singer’s love interest is just as “classic” as those established superstar’s musical output.
  • Best Case Scenario: Much like Hot Chelle Rae’s “Tonight Tonight”, this fun summery song takes quite a while to catch on in popular radio, but by the late months of spring, it becomes a sleeper hit, possibly even reaching the Top 20.
  • Worst Case Scenario: The song has already been around for a few months, so this one week on the chart could be the representation of its peak in popularity.

Explosions” by Ellie Goulding (#100)

  • I honestly don’t think that I’ve heard Ellie Goulding sing a straight ballad since her famous cover of Elton John’s “Your Song” in 2010. Nonetheless, her newest single from her Halcyon album is just that: mainly her voice with some ambient synth and orchestral accompaniment. I’ve always been a fan of Ellie’s unique voice, so this serves as a good showcase for her vocal talents.
  • Best Case Scenario: Goulding is gunning for her 5th straight Top 50 single on the Hot 100 (Lights, Anything Could Happen, I Need Your Love, Burn), and “Explosions” has good potential since it is markedly different in style. It could reach the Top 40 with the right amount of airplay.
  • Worst Case Scenario: The song only peaked at #13 in Britain, where she usually cleans up on the charts, so that could be a sign that the over-a-year-old song spends only this one week at #100.

So many choices this week, as a wide variety of genres are represented amongst the seven debuting tracks. My gut is telling me that “Everything Is AWESOME!!!” will gain the traction it deserves as a novelty hit of the highest caliber, but I’m also persuaded to take a flyer on “Classic.” So I’ll tell you what. I’ll stick with Tegan and Sara’s LEGO hit for now, but put this down in writing that I think “Classic” has a chance to become 2014’s first sleeper hit. “Everything Is AWESOME!!!” will win the initial race though, I can’t stop listening to that song.

FINAL THOUGHTS

  1. A big congratulations to “Radioactive” for logging its 77th week on the Hot 100 this week, forever altering the record books as the sole owner of the longest chart run in Billboard Hot 100 history. In addition, AWOLNATION’s “Sail” logs its 76th week on the chart, momentarily tying it with “I’m Yours”. Barring anything extraordinary next week, the songs will register the two longest runs in history concurrently. Very cool.
  2. Taking nineteen weeks to reach its peak this week, John Legend’s “All Of Me” sits just outside of the Top 10 at #11. The song notably consists of only piano and vocals, so it has a realistic chance to join Timmy T, Adele, and Bruno Mars as the only artists to take such a song to #1 on the charts. It’s unlikely, given the dominating presences of “Dark Horse” and “Happy,” but hey, anything’s possible right?
  3. At age 52, Billy Ray Cyrus’ appearance on the chart makes him the oldest person to appear on the chart since 96-year-old Fred Stobaugh appeared as a featured artist last September on “Oh Sweet Lorraine.” If you’re looking for a lead artist of advanced age, go back to 2012 when a then-54-year-old Madonna reached the Top 10 with “Give Me All Your Luvin'”.

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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