Thursday, December 15, 2011

Billboard Hot 100 Wins and Fails: 12/24/2011

Hey guys, it's been awhile since I've posted in this field- and a lot has happened. Let's get into it.


#1 Rihanna f/ Calvin Harris- We Found Love

This song has done a complete 180- from initial disappointment to one of the biggest hits of Rihanna's career. In fact, as it spends its 7th week at #1, it now ties "Umbrella" as her biggest hit ever. As it's still locked in the #1 position on iTunes, I don't see "It Will Rain" or "Sexy and I Know It" stealing the top spot from her- officially making the song Rihanna's biggest hit ever. The song has actually landed on a lot of critics' year end lists, and seems to be just a down and out, genuine, career-defining smash. We'll see how the very mediocre "You Da One" performs before the instant radio hit "Talk That Talk" gets released as the 3rd single.

#4 Katy Perry- The One That Got Away

Capitol records pulled the same trick this week with the 6th single off of Teenage Dream as they did with T.G.I.F.- slashing the price to 69 cents in the iTunes store at the song's peak interest time in order to boost sales. While I'm sure Capitol was hoping the song would vault to #1, they have to be excited about a 6th single getting a release, let alone reaching the top 5. I don't think it will have the momentum to get to #1, though it provides yet another hit for her catalog and is still an absolute bonafide hit. However, we'll see what happens when her label unleashes their 2nd sneaky tactic- releasing a remix with B.o.B. to iTunes next week. I just wish the song wasn't so damn depressing.

#24 Gavin DeGraw- Not Over You

It looks like middle America is giving Gavin DeGraw his third top 40 hit with "Not Over You", a formulaic song to cater to the VH1 crowd. I have to give credit where it's due, as his contemporaries and former top 40 staples Nickleback, Daughtry, and 3 Doors Down have struggled immensely at pop radio this year. The song probably won't make it too much higher on the charts, but it should at least keep him from the brink of irrelevancy for a little while longer.

#57 Tyga- Rack City

If you're unfamiliar, Tyga is a Young Money signee that's poised to be next in line after the blockbuster success of Drake and Nicki Minaj. Problem is, while he's a decent rapper, he doesn't have the personality or individualism to come anywhere close to their level of success. Tyga has dropped countless promotional singles and mixtapes, and it looks like he might finally have some success with "Rack City", as it darts from #73-57. The song isn't really anything to write home about, so who knows if we'll see it hit the top 40- I'm just kind of surprised that it's already received more support than I ever would have thought. Apparently- just make a song for the strip club and you're golden.


#29 Lady Gaga- Marry the Night

Yes, Gaga's 5th single (well, 4th if you don't want to count the flop known as "Judas") from "Born This Way" is still on its ascent- but the reason it's in the fail column this week is that the song is showing early indications of missing the top 10. iTunes sales have remained relatively stagnant as it now sits at #37- and while it's perfect for the current top 40 format, that alone can't propel it into massive success. Billboard just released their year end charts, which doesn't take into account weeks at #1, but weeks and concurrent positions a song charted. Though "Born This Way" on paper is Gaga's biggest hit ever, it came in at a measly #18 on the year end charts, as it peaked with huge interest initially but dropped like a rock afterward. Radio hasn't supported the "Born This Way" singles like they did "The Fame"- is Gaga just too polarizing now for the south, or do the singles just not add up to "Bad Romance" or "Pokerface"? I think it's a little bit of both, as the video for the song feels bloated and overthought. Nevertheless, "Marry the Night" is classic Gaga, and its performance should be a representation of where she stands at this very moment with top 40.

#55 Beyonce f/ Andre 3000- Party

It is with deep and utter sadness for me to report on the relative failure of the "4" project from a commercial standpoint. It's the first actual Beyonce album I've taken the time to listen to all the way through, and the artistry, growth, and timelessness of the sound pretty much made it the album of my summer. Unfortunately, it looks like two of the three songs I thought would be absolute smashes have been failures. "Countdown"'s frequent rhythm changes proves too challenging for top 40 radio, and while the R&B format supported "Party" (current peak of #2) it looks like it either wasn't promoted to top 40 or was met with little interest. It's really a shame, as this song is one of my favorites of the year and deserves success. Beyonce took a huge risk with "4", and it looks like the decision to release the wrong songs as lead singles killed any momentum the project had going.

#80 Avicii- Levels

This is the song that Flo Rida took the 1962 Etta James sample from, used in his chorus and made his biggest hit since his other borrowed-inspiration smash, "Right Round". "Levels" was one of the biggest strictly dance music success stories of 2011, and for a minute there- I thought it might actually cross over. Which would have been awesome, because this song is SO MUCH better than "Good Feeling". 2011 was the year that dance music exploded in the underground, and the fact that this song is charting at all is a testament to that movement. It would just be super cool if they played the song at top 40. "Mr. Saxobeat" and "Take Over Control" were played every 15 minutes on KIIS-FM- why can't this one too?

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