Billboard Hot 100 Analysis: 3/6/2014

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

No new entries to the Top 10 this week. The top four songs remain unchanged as well. As such, I’ll focus on the storylines just beneath. Clocking in at #5, “Pompeii” reaches a new peak on the Hot 100 in its 29th week on the chart. This marks the third-longest ascent to the Top Five in chart history, and you guessed it, “Radioactive” holds that record as well with a 42-week climb. Just below that, Lorde’s second hit single “Team” hits a new peak in its 23rd week, an equally impressive feat.

BIGGEST MOVERS THIS WEEK

74 Spots: Partition by Beyoncé (97-23)

20 Spots: Glory And Gore by Lorde (88-68)

19 Spots: Man Of The Year by ScHoolboy Q (81-62)

16 Spots: Human by Christina Perri (67-51)

14 Spots: They Don’t Know by Rico Love (87-73)

  1. The release of the controversial, steamy, erotic, or whatever you want to call it music video for “Partition” dropped last week fueling this massive jump into the Top 30. The 74-spot leap is the largest chart movement since Katy Perry’s “Roar” went from 85-2 in its second week on the charts last August.
  2. Driven by its use in promotional material for the second season of the History Channel’s series Vikings, Lorde’s fourth single from Pure Heroine jumps a healthy spot, surpassing the peak of “Tennis Court.”
  3. Following the release of his album Oxymoron which debuted at #1 on the Billboard 200 Albums Chart this week, ScHoolboy Q experiences a typical boost in sales for both of his currently-charting singles. “Collard Greens,” featuring Kendrick Lamar, is the other, which re-enters this week at #94.
  4. The positive momentum continues for Perri, whose newest single makes the Biggest Movers list for the second week in a row. My hit prediction from four weeks ago is poised to reach the top half of the charts by next week.
  5. Able to escape the usual pitfalls of a #100 debut, Love’s debut single translates a rise to #21 on the R&B charts into Hot 100 respectability. As of this week, the only 2014 single to log a single week at #100 and exit the chart thereafter is Ellie Goulding’s “Explosions.”

HOT 100 DEBUTS THIS WEEK

#SELFIE” by The Chainsmokers (#55)

  • The worst song of 2014? Or the smartest song of the year? I’m actually sticking with the latter interpretation, as the multi-drop Vine-ready track serves as a wonderful parody of the troubling new genre befalling us. Featuring three different drops and the annoying ramblings of a 20-something clubgoer, the track earns Top Debut status with a highly successful music video and a #17 rank on the iTunes charts.
  • Best Case Scenario: Like “Turn Down For What,” the very song it parodies, it gets the legs to reach the Top 40 and remain there for a very long time.
  • Worst Case Scenario: The high debut inevitably is followed by a swift and deep decline, falling off the chart in a few weeks.

Not A Bad Thing” by Justin Timberlake (#65)

  • With a radio edit reducing its initial runtime from 11 minutes to 4:20, Timberlake’s track sees a respectable debut this week. Featuring the same trademark blend of R&B and pop that made “Mirrors” a cross-genre smash hit last year, the final track on the second part of The 20/20 Experience is easy on the ears.
  • Best Case Scenario: Though lacking the hit prowess of “Mirrors” or “Suit and Tie”, the right amount of radio airplay could life “Not A Bad Thing” towards the Top 20.
  • Worst Case Scenario: A swift drop off the chart makes “Not A Bad Thing” an even bigger chart disappointment than “TKO” or “Take Back The Night.”

Wild Wild Love” by Pitbull f/G.R.L. (#89)

  • After the success of “Timber”‘s inclusion of folk elements, Pitbull went right back to the studio and added plenty of acoustic guitar to “Wild Wild Love.” Featuring quintet G.R.L. on the chorus, the two halves of the songs never quite mash in the infectious way “Timber” does.
  • Best Case Scenario: The same audience that ate “Timber” up gets right back to work, particularly loving the first 30 seconds of the track. Their enthusiasm lifts “Wild Wild Love” into the lower rungs of the Top 40.
  • Worst Case Scenario: The lack of star power on the feature credit dooms “Wild Wild Love” to a few struggling weeks in the bottom 20.

The Walker” by Fitz And The Tantrums (#93)

  • In case this doesn’t sound familiar to you, it’s that song that played during every single Oscars commercial these past two weeks. Surprisingly, this is the first ever appearance on the Hot 100 for Fitz and the Tantrums, who are well-known in the alternative community for tracks like “MoneyGrabber” and “Out Of My League.”
  • Best Case Scenario: The Oscar Buzz is the only reason for “The Walker”‘s debut, so the best scenario for the song would be a three-week ebb off the Hot 100.
  • Worst Case Scenario: It very likely will fall off the chart by next week.

Ain’t It Fun” by Paramore (#96)

  • Invoking new wave tendencies, some catchy riffs, and a gospel chorus à la “Unwritten,” the ever-changing sound of Paramore is evident in their newest single “Ain’t It Fun.” Feeling much less cliché than “Still Into You”,  the song suggests an added level of maturity to the still reasonably-young band.
  • Best Case Scenario: Pop radio continues to dig this new-sound Paramore, and lifts it to heights similar to that of “Still Into You” (which peaked at #24)
  • Worst Case Scenario: The album has been around for a while, so without steady sales to ease its transition to the radio, “Ain’t It Fun” could fall off the chart next week.

Sleeping With A Friend” by Neon Trees (#100)

  • Released in early January, Neon Trees are back with their third-charting effort. Much more subdued than the high-pitched and uptempo “Animal” and “Everybody Talks,” “Sleeping With A Friend” focuses more on a moderate groove bound to please radio listeners who found their early material annoying and/or grating on the ears.
  • Best Case Scenario: The kings of sleeper hits (“Everybody Talks” took over 5 months to reach the Top 10) pull it off again, as “Sleeping With A Friend” starts a lengthy climb into the Top 40.
  • Worst Case Scenario: Like Ellie Goulding’s “Explosions”, “Sleeping With A Friend” becomes the second song by an established artist to clock a #100 one-and-done.

My job is quite difficult this week in picking the best potential hit. The artists with debuting tracks this week have amongst themselves a combined 48 Top 40 singles, so chart potential is clearly evident. I’m going to cross my fingers and bet that “Not A Bad Thing” will add to Timberlake’s growing catalog of Top 40 hits. I really like the easygoing flow of the track, and I’m putting my faith in radio audiences to feel the same way.

#1 SONGS ON THE GENRE CHARTS

  • POP: Dark Horse by Katy Perry f/Juicy J (#2 on Hot 100)
  • COUNTRY: Bottoms Up by Brantley Gilbert (#32 on Hot 100)
  • ROCK: Pompeii by Bastille (#5 on Hot 100)
  • ALTERNATIVE: Do I Wanna Know? by Arctic Monkeys (#70 on Hot 100)
  • R&B/HIP-HOP: Happy by Pharrell Williams (#1 on Hot 100)
  • RAP: Timber by Pitbull f/Ke$ha (#10 on Hot 100)
  • DANCE/ELECTRONIC: Wake Me Up! by Avicii (#22 on Hot 100)
  • LATIN: Odio by Romeo Santos f/Drake (#72 on Hot 100)

FINAL THOUGHTS

  1. I promise that this is the last time that I will talk about “Radioactive” until it eventually drops off of the chart. That being said, it logged its 77th consecutive week on the chart (following a brief isolated 2 week stay in  August of 2012). This finally removes any of “I’m Yours”‘ claims to longevity records, leaving “Radioactive” to stand alone.
  2. The gains registered by “Let It Go” and “Happy” occurred completely independently of their performances at the Oscars on Sunday. Once a full week of sales is logged by next week’s chart, expect the tune from Frozen to reach a new peak, “Happy” to widen its lead at #1, and U2’s “Ordinary Love” to make a re-entry.

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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