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”:
The stasis continues in the upper reaches of Billboard‘s Hot 100, with Flo Rida’s “Low” on top for a fourth week and the next four positions unchanged. But a rising hit is knocking on the door of the Top Five, and it gives Chris Brown two simultaneous Top 10 hits, just a couple of weeks after his current album crossed one million in sales. In a music industry gone mad–or maybe just gone dead–it’s good to be a 18-year-old R&B/pop star with moves.
Somebody, Do Something: I’ve said it more than once recently, but I’ll say it again, with hope in my heart–the new hits are coming, to rescue us from the winter blahs. You wouldn’t know it from the current Top Five, which, if you get your chart data from a CNN bumper or an elevator screen, is all you’ll see. But there are a lot of strong risers further down the chart, including several in the Top 20. Now all we need is for one of them to evict OneRepublic, Alicia, or Fergie.
The real action starts at No. 6, where Brown‘s Stargate-fueled, “Irreplaceable”-esque jam “With You” makes a big move from No. 12. It’s just two spots below his now-ancient hit with T-Pain, “Kiss Kiss.” And as if all this Top 10 action weren’t enough, way down the chart, he’s dueting with Jordin Sparks on the biggest Hot 100 mover of the week, the ballad “No Air” (No. 69, up 26 spots); it’s conceivable that within another couple of weeks, Brown will have three simultaneous Top 40 hits. Who does this kid think he is, T-Pain?!
Sean Kingston finally has a full-blown Top 10 followup to his No. 1 summer smash “Beautiful Girls,” as the J.R. Rotem-produced “Take You There” slides up three spots to No. 10. That’s after two singles of his that fell just shy: the Zeppelin-sampling “Me Love” and the Natasha Bedingfield duet “Love Like This,” both of which got stuck in the teens. With its Sean Paul-like sound, “Take You There” is more radio-friendly and will probably hang around the upper rungs of the chart for a while.
The two most encouraging movers are at Nos. 12 and 13, where Snoop Dogg’s “Sensual Seduction” and Rihanna’s “Don’t Stop the Music” move about a decile each. Both tracks are growing in digital sales and radio airplay, but the big driver for one song is the opposite of the other’s.
The Snoop hit is all about airplay: “Sensual” is already among the Top 10 most-played songs on the radio, with R&B/hip-hop stations (natch) hitting it particularly hard. Weirdly, its sales are solid but a bit slow.
For Rihanna, the picture is flipped: airplay is just starting to really catch fire, but on iTunes, it’s just outside the Top 10. Overall, it’s one of the few digital tracks to grow in sales this week (three weeks after Christmas, digital sales are still settling down from the post-gifting explosion).
All Growed’s Up: I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the biggest mover into Top 40, a little ditty called “See You Again” by one Miley Cyrus. Perhaps you’ve heard of her?
The snarly, über-catchy single is not only embarrassingly good (seriously, is anyone as sheepishly in love with this song as I am?); by giving the erstwhile Hannah Montana her first Top 40 hit, it’s also arguably the first successful crossover by a teen-TV star since the Disney Channel mainstreamed Hilary Duff about six years ago. Unlike all the short-lived “hits” by the High School Musical gang, which appeared on the chart thanks only to temporary bursts of iTunes sales, “See” is scoring actual radio airplay on actual radio stations heard by actual adults. This week, it makes its debut on Billboard‘s airplay chart…way down at No. 69 (on a 75-position chart), which means it has a ways to grow. Still: virtually every Radio Disney hit of the last five years, including the output of Jonas Brothers and Ashley Tisdale, hasn’t even done this well on the radio. It’ll be interesting to watch this fungus spread.
Stuff to Watch: There’s an interesting record brewing on the country chart, where women have been No. 1 for nine straight weeks, thanks largely to Taylor Swift. Although it’s down a bit on the Hot 100, on Hot Country Songs her hit “Our Song” is in its sixth week at No. 1, and it followed a three-week run for Carrie Underwood’s “So Small.” As Fred Bronson pointed out in his chart column last week, that’s the longest that solo ladies have topped this chart–traditionalist as ever, the country format normally prefers its men in hats. If Swift can hold onto the top for two more weeks, she’ll tie the longest-running No. 1 female-sung country hit of all time, from 1964: Connie Smith’s “Once a Day.”
The top 20, with last week’s position and total weeks charted in parentheses:
1. Flo Rida feat. T-Pain, “Low” (LW No. 1, 12 weeks)
2. Alicia Keys, “No One” (LW No. 2, 19 weeks)
3. Timbaland feat. OneRepublic, “Apologize” (LW No. 3, 24 weeks)
4. Chris Brown feat. T-Pain, “Kiss Kiss” (LW No. 4, 18 weeks)
5. Fergie, “Clumsy” (LW No. 6, 14 weeks)
6. Chris Brown, “With You” (LW No. 12, 7 weeks)
7. Finger Eleven, “Paralyzer” (LW No. 7, 32 weeks)
8. Colbie Caillat, “Bubbly” (LW No. 6, 29 weeks)
9. Jordin Sparks, “Tattoo” (LW No. 8, 16 weeks)
10. Sean Kingston, “Take You There” (LW No. 13, 11 weeks)
11. Sara Bareilles, “Love Song” (LW No. 9, 11 weeks)
12. Snoop Dogg, “Sensual Seduction” (LW No. 21, 7 weeks)
13. Rihanna, “Don’t Stop the Music” (LW No. 26, 8 weeks)
14. Rihanna feat. Ne-Yo, “Hate That I Love You” (LW No. 11, 20 weeks)
15. Soulja Boy, “Crank That (Soulja Boy), Soulja Boy Tell’em” (LW No. 10, 27 weeks)
16. Alicia Keys, “Like You’ll Never See Me Again” (LW No. 25, 10 weeks)
17. Taylor Swift, “Teardrops on My Guitar” (LW No. 18, 32 weeks)
18. Wyclef Jean Featuring Akon, Lil Wayne & Niia, “Sweetest Girl (Dollar Bill)” (LW No. 15, 18 weeks)
19. Natasha Bedingfield feat. Sean Kingston, “Love Like This” (LW No. 17, 13 weeks)
20. Taylor Swift, “Our Song” (LW No. 16, 16 weeks)