Billboard Hot 100 Analysis: 11/13/2014

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. Shake It Off by Taylor Swift
  2. All About That Bass by Meghan Trainor
  3. Animals by Maroon 5
  4. Habits (Stay High) by Tove Lo
  5. Bang Bang by Jessie J, Ariana Grande & Nicki Minaj
  6. Hot Boy by Bobby Shmurda
  7. Love Me Harder by Ariana Grande & The Weeknd
  8. Take Me To Church by Hozier
  9. Black Widow by Iggy Azalea f/Rita Ora
  10. Don’t Tell ‘Em by Jeremih f/YG

The Top 5 is relatively static this week, as “Shake It Off” registers a fourth week at #1. Each of its first 12 weeks spent on the Hot 100 so far have been at either #1 or #2, a feat that hasn’t happened since “I Gotta Feeling” managed 16 consecutive weeks with that distinction in 2009. Rising 4-3, “Animals” continues to be a slow riser for Maroon 5, and could have an outside shot of playing for #1 itself in a few weeks.

Jumping 24-7, Ariana Grande’s latest single “Love Me Harder” bursts into the Top 10 as the lone new entry this week. Giving Grande her 4th Top 10 this year and fifth overall, “Harder” also marks the first trip inside the top region for The Weeknd. In a Top 10 that has remained more or less the same for the past month, it’s exciting to see a new song clear its path so abruptly. We’ll see if “Love Me Harder” can follow this big jump even higher, or if it will peter out in the end like “Break Free” did after rocketing to #4 over the summer.

BIGGEST MOVERS THIS WEEK

27 Spots: Something In The Water by Carrie Underwood (55-28)

21 Spots: Day Drinking by Little Big Town (61-40)

20 Spots: Lips Are Movin by Meghan Trainor (70-50)

19 Spots: Talladega by Eric Church (88-69)

17 Spots: Love Me Harder by Ariana Grande & The Weeknd (24-7)

  1. Following last week’s CMA awards, several country songs performed at the ceremony see big gains this week. The biggest beneficiary is Carrie Underwood, whose latest single also receives some chart help from a recently-released music video.
  2. The CMA awards also helped Little Big Town, who reach the Top 40 for the second time (joining 2012’s “Pontoon”).
  3. Trainor’s latest single is quickly gaining steam, as it has appeared on this list every week for which it has been eligible.
  4. Eric Church’s newest The Outsiders single receives a CMA push as well, as he tries to match the success of “Give Me Back My Hometown.”
  5. Make that 27 consecutive weeks in the Top 10 for Ariana Grande, who now has a safety net to keep the streak going once “Bang Bang” fades.

HOT 100 DEBUTS THIS WEEK

“The Heart Wants What It Wants” by Selena Gomez (#25)

  • Following the success of Stars Dance last year, Selena Gomez seemed pretty content with waiting out 2014. However, in advance of her greatest hits album (I know, we’re getting old right?) which comes out in two weeks, “The Heart Wants What It Wants” serves as its lead single. We’ve seen this happen all the time, perhaps most notably when Pink used the concept to take “Raise Your Glass” all the way to #1 in 2010. Her style is becoming multi-faceted, as the track is a slight departure for Gomez from the club-ready hits of Stars Dance. By the way, I mean that as an artistic compliment. It is a brooding yet well-paced ode to a heartache she knows is bad news but can’t bring herself to resist. Despite being ostensibly about Justin Bieber, this actually is a well-made and well-performed song, and it definitely has huge hit potential. It should experience the requisite drop as digital sales normalize, but I see no reason why it can’t rebound nicely and crack the Top 20, with a decent shot of reaching for the Top 10.

“Ready To Run” by One Direction (#77)

  • One Direction’s new album Four comes out next week, so in anticipation, the Brits have embarked on the now industry-standard practice of releasing promotional singles to tease the tracks on the album. While “Steal My Girl” continues to hang around the top third of the chart as the lead single, “Ready To Run” makes a modest debut as the first of these preview tracks. As we’ve seen with many country acts this year, these songs tend to become one-and-dones, at least until the album comes out. Don’t expect to see “Ready To Run” on the Hot 100 next week.

“Something Big” by Shawn Mendes (#92)

  • Teenage Vine star Mendes made his Hot 100 debut earlier this year with “Life of the Party,” but his newest single sounds much different. “Something Big” is surprisingly a fairly catchy and uptempo tune as opposed to his balladic debut single, and it actually was a fun listen for me. That being said, artists of his type have a tough time finding success on the Hot 100. He was the youngest artist ever to debut inside the Top 40 in July,  but “Life of the Party” quickly fell off the chart. Even though “Something Big” is a lead single off a studio album, look for it to have the same snags as a social media-induced hit. There’s an outside chance it could see some radio airplay, but I don’t expect it to get much higher than #85.

“Mean To Me” by Brett Eldredge (#95)

  • It’s been a while since “Don’t Ya” and “Beat Of The Music” gave Brett Eldredge a strong 2013-2014 fiscal year. “Mean To Me” is much different than those singles, more of a midtempo ballad than a singalong country jam. It’s good to see a touch of depth to Eldredge’s music, as he is one of the more talented artists to have broken out in the past year or so. His name is notable enough to merit repeated airplay, so expect “Mean To Me” to be a modest Hot 100 crossover hit, peaking somewhere in the 50-60 range.

“Homegrown Honey” by Darius Rucker (#97)

  • The former Hootie & The Blowfish frontman has been doing country music for nearly a decade now, but no one could expected the level of success he attained last year when “Wagon Wheel” was one of the year’s biggest hits. He keeps the positive energy flowing this year with “Homegrown Honey,” a pleasingly uptempo traditional track with fiddles thankfully replacing the pop production that has plagued mainstream country music as of late. I’ve already heard “Homegrown Honey” on the radio a few times, so it certainly will get plenty of airplay. Look for Rucker’s latest to peak in the 60s, with potential to do even better.

“Shut Up + Dance” by Walk The Moon (#98)

  • An Ohio indie-pop band that embraces pop as much (if not more) than indie, Walk The Moon has been making singalong anthems for the past two years. They haven’t graced the Hot 100 until now, as “Shut Up + Dance” makes a modest debut this week. I absolutely love this song for its eminent dance-ability and insatiably catchy hook, and it has all the makings of a sleeper hit. In addition, iTunes named it their “Single of the Week” this week, so it is currently free on iTunes. Add all of those elements together, and I think there could be a bright future for Walk The Moon’s maiden Hot 100 voyage. As with all songs like these, it’s very hit and miss whether or not they catch on, but if it does, “Shut Up + Dance” could make a run at the Top 40.

All things considered, this was a very light week of debuts, with only six songs making their entry today. “The Heart Wants What It Wants” is the surefire pick by virtue of its high debut. It’s 50-50 whether or not it will peak any higher than #25, but that number alone is already higher than I realistically see any of the other five tracks peaking. That being said, “Shut Up + Dance” has a pretty fair shot at making a splash on the Hot 100, so I’ll throw it out there for potential hit consideration as well. Hopefully my subjective bias towards Walk The Moon’s track isn’t clouding my judgment of its commercial fate, but I can’t help but wish that it catches on in the coming weeks.

#1 SONGS ON THE GENRE CHARTS

  • POP: Habits (Stay High) by Tove Lo (#4 on Hot 100)
  • COUNTRY: Something In The Water by Carrie Underwood (#28 on Hot 100)
  • ROCK: Take Me To Church by Hozier (#8 on Hot 100)
  • ALTERNATIVE: Stolen Dance by Milky Chance (#57 on Hot 100)
  • R&B/HIP-HOP: Hot Boy by Bobby Shmurda (#6 on Hot 100)
  • RAP: Hot Boy by Bobby Shmurda (#6 on Hot 100)
  • DANCE/ELECTRONIC: Blame by Calvin Harris f/John Newman (#20 on Hot 100)
  • LATIN: Bailando by Enrique Iglesias (#41 on Hot 100)

FINAL THOUGHTS

  1. Debuts inside the Top 20 usually suffer a catastrophic downward plunge the week after, but that’s not the case for Taylor Swift. Even without taking into account the millions of music video views which will take effect next week, “Blank Space” moved 17-13 on the merits of its radio airplay alone. That’s a very impressive feat, one matched this year very rarely, although notably by Maroon 5’s “Maps” (which bumped 14-13 in its second week).  Once the music video hits kick in, I think “Blank Space” should take up residence in the Top 10 by next week.

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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