Billboard Hot 100 Analysis: 8/21/2014



Welcome back for another analysis of the Billboard Hot 100! Here’s all you need to know about the chart released today.


  1. Rude by MAGIC!
  2. All About That Bass by Meghan Trainor
  3. Stay With Me by Sam Smith
  4. Break Free by Ariana Grande f/Zedd
  5. Fancy by Iggy Azalea f/Charli XCX
  6. Am I Wrong by Nico & Vinz
  7. Problem by Ariana Grande f/Iggy Azalea
  8. Black Widow by Iggy Azalea f/Rita Ora
  9. Chandelier by Sia
  10. Bang Bang by Jessie J, Ariana Grande & Nicki Minaj

This could very well be the busiest week we’ve had in the Top 10 this summer, despite “Rude’ remaining atop the chart once again. Rising 4-2, “All About That Bass” continues to take the Hot 100 by storm, and has a very realistic chance of claiming the top spot next week in just its seventh week on the chart.

Jumping 18-4, “Break Free” rides the popularity boom from its recently-released music video to become Grande’s second Top 5 single and Zedd’s first. In a similar turn of events, the new music video for “Black Widow” gives Iggy Azalea another Top 10 single and Rita Ora her first.

If you look closely at the list above, that makes three songs currently in the Top 10 apiece for Ariana Grande and Iggy Azalea. Not only is this the first time in history that two acts have simultaneously held three spots each in the Top 10, but the two join Adele and Ashanti as the only female acts to have ever achieved the feat. Furthermore, Ariana Grande is the lead artist on all three of her entries here, a demarcation that excludes all but Adele from the previous distinction. It looks like Summer 2014 will go down as a season of girl power, as we see 8 female artists represented in the Top 10 this week.



35 Spots: New Flame by Chris Brown f/Usher & Rick Ross (73-38)

26 Spots: No Flex Zone!! by Rae Sremmurd (94-68)

20 Spots: Hot Boy by Bobby Shmurda (72-52)

14 Spots: Break Free by Ariana Grande f/Zedd (18-4)

13 Spots: Stolen Dance by Milky Chance (84-71)


  1. Never say never on a Chris Brown track. After originally being a one-and-done, “New Flame” re-entered the Hot 100 a few weeks ago and hasn’t looked back. This week, it makes Chris Brown the owner of a whopping 35 Top 40 singles.
  2. THEY KNOOOOW BETTER! Yeah, “No Flex Zone” has definitely officially lodged itself in the part of your brain that gets songs stuck in your head. Viral hits are starting to become a force to be reckoned with, and Vine is the battleground for most of these songs.
  3. Like I just said, once you conquer Vine, the Hot 100 opens up as your playground these days. In just two weeks, “Hot Boy” has raced from the 90s to #52, and could become the first Vine-driven Top 40 hit since “Gas Pedal”.
  4. As I mentioned in the previous segment, a new music video spurs “Break Free” to the Streaming Gainer award, and gives Grande her second Top 5 hit.
  5. It was a viral hit in Europe last summer, and it looks like this quirky German duo is on its way to achieving a similar fate here in the States with their minimalist yet catchy “Stolen Dance.”


“Best Mistake” by Ariana Grande f/Big Sean (#49)

  • Determined to be one of the top headlines every week this summer, Ariana Grande once again snags the Top Debut this week, her fourth such occasion in the past three months. However, “Best Mistake” is her lowest debut of the year (although #49 is nothing to sneeze at), and the slower tempo could easily account for this slower start. The ballad lends itself well to Grande’s vocal range, although frequent collaborator Big Sean’s rap verse seems a little out of place. Since it is a promotional single and not an official release, it has the makings to either make a swift decline this week or have an outright fall off the chart.

“Shell Shocked” by Juicy J, Wiz Khalifa & Ty Dolla $ign (#84)

  • Every movie has to have an end credits song these days, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is no exception. Aside from the punny title, there’s not much to this song besides the admittedly catchy hook “knock knock, you about to get shell shocked.” When the original Ninja Turtle movie came out in 1990, the song “Turtle Power” peaked at #13 on the Hot 100, but that was in the heyday of soundtrack songs. Since the movie isn’t cleaning up at the box office anymore, look for this collaboration to be a one-and-done scenario.

“Hookah” by Tyga f/Young Thug (#94)

  • I thought “Stoner” had disjointed vocals, but after hearing Young Thug’s vocal contribution to “Hookah,” his first single sounds tame by comparison. He repeatedly bellows “pass me the hookah” in a voice that sounds like he woke up five seconds earlier, and a repetitive beat and uninspired verses from Tyga make this track something I’d rather forget. But, the chorus has been lodged in my head, and I wonder if it will get radio airplay. My best guess is that it won’t peak any higher than #60, but I could easily (and unfortunately) be wrong, as novelty songs like this can have extended chart runs.

“Take Me To Church” by Hozier (#96)

  • Released last September, I first heard this song around January and immediately liked it for its balladic pace but emotive vocal delivery. Now that Sam Smith has paved the way for radio-friendly ballads this year, it makes sense that Hozier’s single finds its place here almost a year after its release. However, that delay in debuting could prove problematic for its future on the chart. There still is hope for “Take Me To Church” though, as the ballad seems to be in this summer, so look for the song to have some potential to be a sleeper hit.

“Later On” by The Swon Brothers (#100)

  • Following in the footsteps of Cassadee Pope, the Swon Brothers become the second The Voice act to land a song on the chart that wasn’t a cover used on the show. Both acts achieved this feat through utilization of the friendly confines of country radio, and I’ve already heard “Later On” a few times. I don’t think it has the potential to be a huge radio hit, but a peak in the 60s or 70s isn’t out of the question.


All five of the songs this week lack the “it” factor needed for me to declare any of them as potential huge hits. I’m pretty sure that “Best Mistake” and “Shell Shocked” have already peaked, and the other three songs debuted in the bottom ten places, which always makes prediction difficult. It pains me to say this, but “Hookah” has the most upward mobility this week, if only for its novelty factor which has helped many rap tracks succeed in 2014. I’m rooting for “Take Me To Church,” but Tyga’s track will most likely have the longest run of this week’s crop of debuts.



  • POP: Stay With Me by Sam Smith (#3 on Hot 100)
  • COUNTRY: Burnin’ It Down by Jason Aldean (#20 on Hot 100)
  • ROCK: Habits (Stay High) by Tove Lo (#30 on Hot 100)
  • ALTERNATIVE: Riptide by Vance Joy (#64 on Hot 100)
  • R&B/HIP-HOP: Fancy by Iggy Azalea f/Charli XCX (#5 on Hot 100)
  • RAP: Fancy by Iggy Azalea f/Charli XCX (#5 on Hot 100)
  • DANCE/ELECTRONIC: Break Free by Ariana Grande f/Zedd (#4 on Hot 100)
  • LATIN: Bailando by Enrique Iglesias (#15 on Hot 100)


  1.  While its two days of radio airplay last week weren’t enough to earn it a spot on the chart this week, look for a massive debut next week for Taylor Swift’s “Shake It Off.” The preview single for her upcoming 1989 album has received a ton of publicity (good and bad) through its controversial music video, and that can easily translate into a huge first-week showing. It’s almost certain to debut in the Top 5, probably will debut in the Top 3, and very easily could become the first song to debut at #1 since “Harlem Shake” last year. My hunch is that it will debut at #2 or #3, but we will see what happens next Thursday!

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,



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