Ed. note: Chris “dennisobell” Molanphy, our resident chart guru, looks at the upward, downward, and lack of movement on the Billboard Hot 100 in the latest installment of “100 And Single”:
All you chart-watchers who felt that three simultaneous Top 10 hits featuring T-Pain weren’t enough to satisfy your urge for 2007′s hook-singing MVP can raise your pimp cups high: “Low,” a fourth Painful smash (led by fellow Sunshine State MC Flo Rida), explodes nearly 60 spots this week on Billboard‘s Hot 100. Parked just outside the top five (and directly adjacent to two other Pain-supported hits), Flo Rida’s club banger instantly becomes a contender to take over the No. 1 spot in the next couple of weeks. But first he’ll have to get past the reigning T-Pain-kissed smash, Chris Brown’s “Kiss Kiss,” which stays at No. 1 for a third week. Oh, and Alicia Keys might have something to say about it, too.
Flo Gets “Low,” Keys Says “No”: The spur for Flo Rida’s and Pain’s big jump? What else: iTunes–the digital release of “Low” in the middle of last week resulted in an instant best-seller. It’s been iTunes’ top track for days now and probably would’ve been Billboard‘s top seller for the chart week if Chris Brown’s smash didn’t have incumbency (and a full week of data) on its side. So for this chart week, Billboard ranks “Low” as its third-biggest seller, but it will inevitably be the top-seller of the next chart week.
With all those sales (131,000 downloads last week alone), “Low” probably would’ve landed at an even higher Hot 100 rung if its radio airplay weren’t still so modest. It’s increasing in spins, but still just scraping the top 40 most-played songs at radio–unlike, say, Alicia Keys’ “No One,” radio’s most-played song, which has been creeping toward the top for a dog’s age. Up another notch to No. 2 (as Timbaland and OneRepublic drop back to third place with “Apologize”), “No One” has a seemingly clear path to No. 1 next week. The release of Keys’ album has already given her a boost on iTunes, and “No One” is, at midweek, outselling “Kiss Kiss” and second only to “Low.” Flo Rida’s edge in digital sales is likely massive, but his radio deficit will probably be too large to prevent her from claiming the throne.
The Ghost of Fitty: For those T-Pain fans wondering how long it’s been since one act has appeared four times in a single week’s Top 10, well, it’s been… two whole years. (Not that impressive, is it?) As Billboard chart columnist Fred Bronson points out, he last guy to do it was 50 Cent, back in the heady days of The Massacre: during the first week of April 2005, Fitty was namechecked at Nos. 1, 5, 6 and 8. And his feat was somewhat more impressive than the Pain-meister’s, because 50 was lead artist on two of those hits (“Candy Shop” and “Disco Inferno”) and arguably an equal duet partner in the third one (“Hate It or Love It” with erstwhile posse-mate The Game); the fourth hit (“How We Do”) was more clearly a Game joint with 50 as backup.
On the other hand, the sheer range of acts T-Pain is supporting in this week’s Top 10 is impressive, not to mention geographically diverse: in addition to state-mate Flo Rida, T-Pain is supporting Virginia native Brown, Chi-town homeboy Kanye West, and California cholo Baby Bash.
And let’s face it, as tired as we all are of hearing T-Pain’s vocal hooks, something tells me we won’t all be lustily rooting for his downfall in an album battle a couple of years from now.
Quick Takes: Given the late release of this week’s chart, we’ll run down just a few brief highlights:
• Finger Eleven make good on our prediction last week and score their first U.S. Top 10 hit with “Paralyzer.”
• As Maura reported yesterday, the Country Music Association awards were good to any act that performed on the air, particularly Taylor Swift (“Our Song” moves up 12 slots to No. 24) and Sugarland (“Stay” vaults 26 notches to No. 32). In both cases, iTunes sales are the big spur, but Sugarland’s radio spins are up solidly, too.
• We are officially eating crow on American Idol 2007 winner Jordin Sparks, whose “Tattoo” was sluggish in its first month but seems to have caught on: it makes a big move into the Top 20 in its seventh chart week. Blake Lewis, your move?
The top 20, with last week’s position and total weeks charted in parentheses:
1. Chris Brown, “Kiss Kiss” (LW No. 1, 9 weeks)
2. Alicia Keys, “No One” (LW No. 3, 10 weeks)
3. Timbaland feat. OneRepublic, “Apologize” (LW No. 2, 15 weeks)
4. Soulja Boy, “Crank That (Soulja Boy), Soulja Boy Tell’em” (LW No. 4, 18 weeks)
5. Colbie Caillat, “Bubbly” (LW No. 5, 20 weeks)
6. Flo Rida feat. T-Pain, “Low” (LW No. 64, 3 weeks)
7. Kanye West feat. T-Pain, “Good Life” (LW No. 8, 9 weeks)
8. Baby Bash feat. T-Pain, “Cyclone” (LW No. 7, 16 weeks)
9. Kanye West, “Stronger” (LW No. 6, 16 weeks)
10. Finger Eleven, “Paralyzer” (LW No. 14, 23 weeks)
11. Rihanna feat. Ne-Yo, “Hate That I Love You” (LW No. 9, 11 weeks)
12. Fergie, “Clumsy” (LW No. 20, 5 weeks)
13. Timbaland feat. Keri Hilson & D.O.E., “The Way I Are” (LW No. 10, 24 weeks)
14. J. Holiday, “Bed” (LW No. 11, 17 weeks)
15. matchbox twenty, “How Far We’ve Come” (LW No. 15, 11 weeks)
16. Fergie, “Big Girls Don’t Cry” (LW No. 12, 30 weeks)
17. The-Dream, “Shawty is a 10″ (LW No. 18, 10 weeks)
18. Jordin Sparks, “Tattoo” (LW No. 27, 7 weeks)
19. 50 Cent feat. Justin Timberlake & Timbaland, “Ayo Technology” (LW No. 16, 14 weeks)
20. Pink, “Who Knew” (LW No. 17, 23 weeks)