Billboard Hot 100 Analysis: 5/8/2014

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

It’s very rare that we get a new #1 single these days, but that’s what we’ve got today. “Happy”‘s 10-week reign at the top is over, as John Legend’s piano ballad “All Of Me” becomes the singer’s first career chart-topper. That makes its journey to #1 a whopping 30 weeks, good for the 3rd longest ascent of all time (behind only Los Del Rio’s “Macarena” in 1996 and Lonestar’s “Amazed” in 2000). Its crowning moment is bittersweet though, as “All Of Me” registered losses in all sales and airplay categories, hinting that its tenure at #1 might be very short-lived.

Exhibit A: the monstrous debut of “Problem,” instantly becoming the biggest hit to date for both Grande and Azalea. This funky, seemingly “Talk Dirty” inspired track logs the highest debut of any track in 2014, and the highest overall since Eminem’s “Berzerk” likewise debuted at #3 last August. In addition, “Problem” finished behind the top two tracks on the Hot 100 by less than 1% in Billboard’s data, so don’t be surprised if the song finds its way to the top as soon as next week. Just one run lower than that, Iggy Azalea appears again, as Fancy impressively earns the Airplay, Streaming, and Digital Gainer awards this week. “Fancy” has halved its chart rank every week for the past month and a half, and it too has the very real potential to make a run at the top of the charts. If both “Problem” and “Fancy” wind up reaching the summit, Azalea will become the first artist to have their first two charting singles reach #1 since Macklemore & Ryan Lewis did it with “Thrift Shop” and “Can’t Hold Us” last year. Previously, Lady Gaga turned the trick in 2009 with “Just Dance” and “Poker Face.”

BIGGEST MOVERS THIS WEEK

35 Spots: Rude by MAGIC! (97-62)

28 Spots: Am I Wrong by Nico & Vinz (54-26)

15 Spots: Me And My Broken Heart by Rixton (29-14)

14 Spots: Who I Am With You by Chris Young (94-80)

  1. I gave two vastly different chart trajectories for this reggae track, and it appears that my optimistic interpretation was correct, as the Canadian band sees their debut single easily leapfrog a third of the Hot 100.
  2. That’s two weeks in a row as the runner-up on the Biggest Movers list for the Norwegian duo. That’s bizarre, because “Am I Wrong” has climbed 65 spots in those two weeks, so it’s safe to say that Nico & Vinz don’t mind taking second place on this list as their single lights up the Hot 100.
  3. A slew of TV performances in the past week (including The Voice, which is quickly becoming a major must for up-and-coming singles), the British group now have a bona fide hit on their hands as their debut single crests the Top 20. They’re looking to have similar early success like The Wanted and One Direction did in 2012, of whom Rixton are certainly spiritual successors.
  4. The country hitmaker sees a sturdy boost in his new single’s second week on the chart. The ballad benefits from several country tracks on the Hot 100 taking severe tumbles this week.

HOT 100 DEBUTS THIS WEEK

Since there are a veritable bounty of new entries this week, and I know your time is precious, I’ll condense my usual commentary on the debuts to a brief commentary and a prediction.

Problem” by Ariana Grande f/Iggy Azalea (#3)

  • What a track! Blending Grande’s smooth soprano vocals with Azalea’s brash and confident rapping and a beat that reminds me of “Talk Dirty,” this track sounds exactly like the sort of thing Mariah Carey pumped out in the late 90s. Nearly every single Carey put out in that period reached #1, so I would not be surprised at all if “Problem” shoots straight to #1 next week. If that happens, the number of artists born in the 1990s with #1 singles will go up by 50%, as Grande (b. 1993) and Azalea (b. 1990) will join the ranks of Soulja Boy, Sean Kingston, Miley Cyrus, and Lorde.

Love Never Felt So Good” by Michael Jackson & Justin Timberlake (#20)

  • This is some kind of week for the Hot 100. The late, great King of Pop is back on the charts with a brand new single. Well okay, not brand new. It was recorded originally in 1983, but remained dormant until now, when veterans Timbaland and Justin Timberlake brought the dream team back together to make this song ready for the radio. And they certainly succeeded, creating a disco-pop smash that sounds like it came right out of Off The Wall. I don’t know how much radio airplay this will get, but I am quite enthusiastic about this track, and I think it has the legs to make a run for the Top 10.

A Sky Full Of Stars” by Coldplay (#24)

  • Matching the debut of “Magic” two months ago, “A Sky Full Of Stars” becomes the third single to chart from the forthcoming Ghost Stories. Produced by Avicii, this is certainly their most accessible offering yet from the album, as it has an excellent rise and fall, culminating in a well-earned post-chorus romp. If any of the Ghost Stories singles are destined to become a summer hit, this is the one for sure. I think this is the type of song that will make Coldplay relevant again, and I can see the song reaching the Top 5 easily as radio airplay builds, the album releases, and Avicii’s brand helps the track immensely.

Wiggle” by Jason Derulo f/Snoop Dogg (#68)

  • Well, it looks like Jason Derulo is refusing to grow up. And why should he? “Talk Dirty” is on pace to become his most successful single ever. Featuring lyrics as deep as “you know what to do with that big fat butt,” the track relies on help from Snoop Dogg, and a Vine-ready trap drop. It can’t possibly match the cultural phenomenon that “Talk Dirty” represents, but look out for “Wiggle” to at least bump its way towards the Top 40 in the coming weeks. Best case scenario, “Wiggle” could peak in the upper teens with the right amount of airplay.

Hold On, We’re Going Home” by Christina Grimmie (#74)

  • We’ve got our second cover from Season 6 of The Voice debuting this week. As is customary with all singing competition singles, don’t expect anything more out of this chart run. It will almost certainly be off the chart by next week.

Bailando” by Enrique Iglesias (#81)

  • After Romeo Santos’ “Odio” topped the Latin Charts for months, genre stalwart Enrique Iglesias finds himself back on top with “Bailando.” He hit #1 on the Hot 100 in 1999 with a song called “Bailamos,” but that was an English-language song on the Wild Wild West soundtrack. Spanish-only singles have never had a great deal of success on the Hot 100, so it likely won’t peak any higher than #70.

My Baby’s Guns N’ Roses” by Brantley Gilbert (#87)

  • Brantley Gilbert currently has the most successful country single of 2014 with “Bottoms Up,” and he’s trying to follow that up with a heavy name-dropping dose of rock and country. His fans are eating this song up, and it has been in the Top 10 of iTunes for a while now. Once country airplay kicks in (which I’m sure it will), it should have no trouble giving Gilbert his second consecutive Top 40 single.

Work” by Iggy Azalea (#88)

  • We’ve seen this before, where a breakout single spurs the re-release of previous singles. Such is the case for “Work,” which was originally released last spring. Included on The New Classic, the song is a little less accessible and a lot more explicit than “Fancy,” so it won’t be as big of a mainstream success as “Fancy.” Nonetheless, it showcases her rap skills nicely and has a pretty catchy beat, so it could conceivably peak in the 30s or 40s.

My Eyes” by Blake Shelton f/Gwen Sebastian (#97)

  • Not too much to say about this one, other than that Shelton hopes to rebound from the less-than-stellar chart run of “Doin’ What She Likes.” Featuring Sebastian, a Season 2 contestant on The Voice, the track is steamy enough, but lacks the starpower needed to make this a chart-friendly duet. Expect it to peak no higher than #45.

Keep Them Kisses Comin‘” by Craig Campbell (#99)

  • This debut represents Campbell’s fourth Hot 100 appearance, although none of his tracks have fared too well on the chart. His highest career peak is at #83 with “Fish” in 2011, so don’t expect “Keep Them Kisses Comin'” to do much better. Granted, it is a favorable market this year for country music, so the track has the potential to peak in the 70s.

The Big Bang” by Katy Tiz (#100)

  • The British newcomer makes her Hot 100 chart debut this week with a cover of the Rock Mafia song which reached #98 in 2010. Featuring her Adele-esque voice, a funky guitar/beat combo, and a catchy whistle riff, this midtempo track has a fair amount of potential. Under ideal conditions, it could peak in the 40s or 50s, but I unfortunately also easily can see “The Big Bang” spending just the one week on the Hot 100.

 

This is a really hard choice for me this week, as the three highest debuts all have the potential that would make them easy picks in any other week. I’m going to (very reluctantly) throw the Michael Jackson song out of the running, just because sustained pop radio airplay could be tough to come by. In the end, I’ll have to give Ariana Grande and Iggy Azalea the edge this week, only because there’s a 75% chance that “Problem” will be #1 as soon as next week. It’s just too infectious and well-made of a song not to latch on to when it comes to matters of success. That being said, fully keep an eye out on “A Sky Full Of Stars,” as it is hands-down the best chance that Coldplay will have for a true summer hit off of Ghost Stories. I fully believe that we could easily see both songs eventually share a place in the Top 10.

#1 SONGS ON THE GENRE CHARTS

  • POP: All Of Me by John Legend (#1 on Hot 100)
  • COUNTRY: Play It Again by Luke Bryan (#17 on Hot 100)
  • ROCK: Pompeii by Bastille (#10 on Hot 100)
  • ALTERNATIVE: Come With Me Now by KONGOS (#65 on Hot 100)
  • R&B/HIP-HOP: All Of Me by John Legend (#1 on Hot 100)
  • RAP: Fancy by Iggy Azalea f/Charli XCX (#4 on Hot 100)
  • DANCE/ELECTRONIC: Turn Down For What by DJ Snake & Lil Jon (#7 on Hot 100)
  • LATIN: Bailando by Enrique Iglesias (#81 on Hot 100)

FINAL THOUGHTS

  1. The day has finally arrived to bid farewell to the most illustrious chart run of all time. After an eye-popping 87 weeks logged on the Hot 100, “Radioactive” by Imagine Dragons finally bows out of the chart. To put things in perspective, 87 weeks ago was August of 2012, when I had not yet started college. Here I am now preparing for my final papers of my sophomore year, and that really is an unbelievable accomplishment for a single song. It’s safe to say that a phenomenon like this will not be occurring for a long time, as “Radioactive” was able to conquer alternative, rock, AND pop radio stations for the better part of two years. It truly was a great run.

 

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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