Billboard Hot 100 Analysis: 5/1/2014

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. All Of Me by John Legend
  3. Dark Horse by Katy Perry f/Juicy J
  4. Talk Dirty by Jason Derulo f/2 Chainz
  5. Turn Down For What by DJ Snake & Lil Jon
  6. Let It Go by Idina Menzel
  7. Fancy by Iggy Azalea f/Charli XCX
  8. Pompeii by Bastille
  9. Not A Bad Thing by Justin Timberlake
  10. Loyal by Chris Brown f/Lil Wayne et al.

“Happy” logs its 10th consecutive week at #1 this week, giving Pharrell his second chart-topper to spend double digits at the summit (after “Blurred Lines” spent 12 weeks at #1 last summer). This makes him just the fifth act in history to achieve this feat, along with Mariah Carey, Boyz II Men, Santana, and the Black Eyed Peas.

Moving 18-7 (for its 5th consecutive double-digit leap), “Fancy” continues its historic juggernaut up the charts. Iggy Azalea becomes the first female rapper in over five years to send her first Hot 100 appearance into the Top 10. The song also matches Charli XCX’s best chart position in her young career, tying “I Love It”‘s #7 peak last summer. With most of the songs in the Top 10 having spent months in the Top 10 now, there’s a fair chance that “Fancy” could reach the Top 5 and potentially even become #1.

BIGGEST MOVERS THIS WEEK

46 Spots: Birthday by Katy Perry (83-37)

37 Spots: Am I Wrong by Nico & Vinz (91-54)

26 Spots: Stay With Me by Sam Smith (93-67)

26 Spots: Empire by Shakira (97-71)

19 Spots: Midnight by Coldplay (84-65)

18 Spots: Summer by Calvin Harris (44-26)

  1. As the Streaming Gainer and Airplay Gainer on the Hot 100 this week, “Birthday” requires only three chart weeks to roar into the Top 40. Perry’s career-long streak of placing every single as lead artist into at least the Top 40 continues.
  2. Looks like I wasn’t alone in rooting for the Scandinavians! Nico & Vinz claim the Digital Sales Gainer award this week, and now own the biggest hit for a Norwegian act since a-ha’s “The Sun Always Shines On TV” reached the Top 20 in 1986.
  3. A combination of The Voiccontestant Josh Kaufman’s rendition and the continued popularity of “La La La” and “Latch” give Sam Smith’s newest single a big boost.
  4. Shakira performed “Empire” last week on The Voice, so digital sales spiked in the days that followed, returning the track to within shouting distance of its debut position.
  5. Continued buzz for Ghost Stories‘ release later in the month spurs its sizable digital sales gain in its second week on the charts. “Magic” also bumped up seven spots this week.
  6. Calvin Harris could not have released “Summer” at a more opportune time, and he’s seeing the dividends pay off as the track leaps into the Top 30 this week.

HOT 100 DEBUTS THIS WEEK

Hello Kitty” by Avril Lavigne (#75)

  • A song this bad is not worth the cyberspace room I’m granting it. The only reason Lavigne’s newest single makes the chart at all this week is because of its music video. The controversial, downright racist video has gotten over 12 million views in the past week. I’d like to think that these are all ironic views, and that its popularity is a temporary YouTube trend.
  • Prediction: No need for multiple scenarios here. This song will leave the charts by next week. There’s no way that such a bad song can continue to receive formidable YouTube plays, so once that cools down in the next few days, there will be no airplay or sales to save “Hello Kitty” from a one-and-done situation.

Stay With Me” by Josh Kaufman (#92)

  • As I mentioned before, Kaufman is a finalist on The Voice who covered Sam Smith’s ballad on last week’s Top 10 episode. The rendition immediately jumped into the Top 10 on iTunes, leading to its debut on the actual Hot 100 this week.
  • Prediction: Again, no need for scenarios here. No single by a Voice contestant has spent more than three weeks on the chart, and the ones that lasted more than one week debuted in the Top 40. With no such luxury, this cover will not be returning to the Hot 100 next week.

Who I Am With You” by Chris Young (#94)

  • Trying to build off the success of “Aw Naw” last year, Chris Young debuts with his hopeful country hit for the summer of 2014. It’s much more subdued than his previous singles, but his lack of a distinctive vocal quality makes this song more generic than anything else.
  • Best Case Scenario: His song “Voices” in 2010-2011 got a lot of country airplay, so if he can match that feat , “Who I Am With You” has the potential to peak in the 40s.
  • Worst Case Scenario: The track slowly rises into the 70s or 80s but never reaches any higher in its 10-12 week run.

We Are Tonight” by Billy Currington (#96)

  • The title track of Currington’s latest album comes almost a full year after “Hey Girl” became a surprise country hit. The song contains similar amounts of energy, and I particularly like the uptempo chorus. Despite peaking commercially in 2007-2008. Currington seems to still have the same creative energy which made him a star a few years back.
  • Best Case Scenario: The song is the laid-back yet uptempo example of what summer country hits are all about, so I see this track receiving a good deal of airplay. A peak in the Top 30 isn’t out of the question.
  • Worst Case Scenario: The year-long wait proves too much, and “We Are Tonight” can only muster up a peak in the 80s.

Rude” by MAGIC! (#97)

  • The Canadian reggae band (never thought I’d say that) makes its US debut with a track that reached #2 in their native land last fall. Reggae has long been fodder for crossover potential, but “Rude” actually remains pretty true to the traditional reggae beats and instrumentation. This could prove to be either positive or detrimental to its chart potential.
  • Best Case Scenario: A laidback groove like this could get some airplay, and I can see it peaking in the 60s with the right environment. It could chart much higher, but I’m just uncertain of how popular radio will handle a track like this.
  • Worst Case Scenario: One and done is a possibility for a song like this, especially since it’s been six months since its initial worldwide success.

Yeah” by Joe Nichols (#98)

  • Joe Nichols’ comeback was one of the biggest surprises of 2013, as “Sunny And 75” became one of the most-played country tracks of the whole year. He hopes to have a similar level of success this summer with the follow-up single “Yeah.”
  • Best Case Scenario: It probably can’t match the success of “Sunny And 75”, but “Yeah” is very summery, and could peak inside the Top 50 with the right amount of country airplay in the coming months.
  • Worst Case Scenario: A generic beat and an even more generic title dooms this track to flounder in the 80s and 90s for a month or two without gaining any ground.

Wake Up Lovin’ You” by Craig Morgan (#99)

  • It’s been quite a while since “That’s What I Love About Sunday” was the most-played country song of 2005, but Morgan has strung together plenty of middling country hits over the years. This newest single has the worst possible beginning (a piercing alarm clock sound that made me quiver in pain), but his emotional delivery the rest of way is pretty authentic, and improves the midtempo ballad immensely.
  • Best Case Scenario: Morgan’s comeback and new album has been circulating through music news outlets, so this new single has been carrying some good buzz. It could easily peak in the Top 50.
  • Worst Case Scenario: Morgan hasn’t charted in four years, so “Wake Up Lovin’ You” could easily turn into a one-and-done situation.

I Won” by Future f/Kanye West (#100)

  • Everybody’s favorite Auto-Tune aficionado tries to have two hits on the Hot 100 simultaneously as “I Won” debuts at the same time as “Move That Doh” continues its steady rise. This song is a bit of a dirge, containing little production value as Future wails his lyrics about wanting to win a trophy.
  • Best Case Scenario: Kanye delivering a verse helps, and that could lead the song to peaking in the 70s, but I don’t see it getting any higher than that.
  • Worst Case Scenario: The current success of “Move That Doh” makes people forget that “I Won” even exists, and makes it the second one-and-done with a #100 peak in 2014.

With the two highest debuts being almost-certain one-and-dones, it makes my job just a little bit more difficult in picking the biggest potential hit this week. It will either be one of the country debuts or “Rude,” so it’s a battle of the most summer-inspired genres today. I’m going to give the edge to Billy Currington’s “We Are Tonight,” purely on the grounds that I have heard of the song and listened to it on the radio prior to its debut on the chart. This indicates to me that it has a shelf life on the Hot 100, moreso than the newest tracks of Joe Nichols and Craig Morgan. If I’m wrong and “We Are Tonight” doesn’t become a hit, look for “Rude” to become a potential sleeper hit.

#1 SONGS ON THE GENRE CHARTS

  • POP: All Of Me by John Legend (#2 on Hot 100)
  • COUNTRY: Play It Again by Luke Bryan (#15 on Hot 100)
  • ROCK: Pompeii by Bastille (#8 on Hot 100)
  • ALTERNATIVE: Come With Me Now by KONGOS (#74 on Hot 100)
  • R&B/HIP-HOP: Happy by Pharrell Williams (#1 on Hot 100)
  • RAP: Fancy by Iggy Azalea f/Charli XCX (#7 on Hot 100)
  • DANCE/ELECTRONIC: Turn Down For What by DJ Snake & Lil Jon (#5 on Hot 100)
  • LATIN: Odio by Romeo Santos f/Drake (not on Hot 100)

FINAL THOUGHTS

  1. Lana Del Rey’s “West Coast” drops off the chart completely this week after its lofty debut at #17 last week. It’s the second time in the past two months that a Top 20 debut has vanished completely after one week (Soko’s “We Might Be Dead By Tomorrow” is the other). We can’t give up completely on this song yet though, because its music video still hasn’t been released. It could easily re-enter in the next few weeks.
  2. After almost three months off the charts, Phillip Phillips’ “Raging Fire” re-enters the Hot 100 at #81 this week. I picked it as a potential summer hit, and I’m still standing by that prediction. The warmer weather, the always-hungry adult contemporary stations, and Phillips’ history of summer anthems lead me to believe that its best days are still ahead of it.

 

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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