Lils Mama And Weezy Make Big Moves, Shake Up Top 10

lolly.jpgEd. note: Chris “dennisobell” Molanphy, our resident chart guru, looks at the upward, downward, and lack of movement on this week’s Billboard charts:

As we previewed yesterday, Leona “Limey Mariah” Lewis has fulfilled our prediction from last week and shot to No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 with her debut single, “Bleeding Love.”

But she’s not the only newsmaker in the winners’ circle. After one of the most stagnant winters in pop-chart history–just last week, the top seven records were unchanged–music lovers welcome spring by throwing a grenade into the middle of the Top 10, where songs scatter everywhere. The results: Lil Wayne has his first Top 10 hit as a lead artist, Lil Mama has her second, and an exceedingly tacky Ray J song is hurtling toward the top.

He’ll have to wait, however, if he expects to crown the chart. Lewis is going to be replaced at No. 1 next week, but not by him.

First, a word about Weezy. “Lollipop,” Lil Wayne’s attempt to cash in on the T-Pain vocoder sound and the 50 Cent-style single-entendre, previews his long-delayed Tha Carter III with an actual Top 10 hit. Just two months ago, Wayne’s supporting performance on Wyclef’s “Sweetest Girl (Dollar Bill)” made it to No. 12; his highest charter to date as a supporting act was on Destiny’s Child’s No. 3 hit “Soldier” (2005). Frankly, both of those are better songs than “Lollipop,” which features the recently deceased Static Major and not so much of the flow that makes Weezy a demigod. But at least he reaches the upper tier in style: the song makes this year’s biggest move on the Hot 100, shooting 76 spots to No. 9 thanks to a fat debut on iTunes.

Until this week, the biggest jump of the year was last week’s 73-place vault by Lil Mama’s “Shawty Get Loose.” Bucking the recent trend of songs that make a big move thanks to iTunes sales and then recede, “Shawty” has another great week and moves up another nine spots to No. 10, placing Lil Mama one space behind Lil Wayne and matching the peak position of last summer’s “Lip Gloss.”

Finally, Ray J’s “Sexy Can I,” the stupidest Top Three U.S. hit since “My Humps,” now matches that song’s peak position. It’s right behind Lewis and Usher at No. 3, thanks to ever-growing airplay and digital sales blowing up by more than 50%. With its novelty lyrics and insidious hook, “Sexy” smells like the kind of fad hit that tops the charts from time to time, but if that’s going to happen, it won’t be anytime soon.

That’s because Leona Lewis’s forbear, Mariah Carey, is expected to fulfill her destiny next week and hurtle to No. 1 with the wispy, Jack-the-Page-fueled “Touch My Body.” She will do it despite sliding one notch to No. 15 this week (she maintains her bullet), because the song’s sales on iTunes are already explosive.

It’ll be the least surprising leap to No. 1 from outside the Top 10 in chart history. And it will make chart history by putting Carey all alone in second place among acts with the most No. 1 hits, pulling her out of a tie with Elvis Presley and placing her just two smashes shy of the Beatles’ all-time record.

Here’s a rundown of the rest of this week’s charts:

• Even though we kind of saw it shaping up last week, the seven-notch leap to No. 1 by Lewis’s “Bleeding Love” was something of a jaw-dropper. Usher’s “Love in This Club” has been on a tear both in terms of sales and airplay (even as he falls to No. 2 this week, the song maintains its bullet), and Lewis’s fat week of Oprah-fueled downloads might not have been enough to give her the edge. But radio helped: while Usher picked up more than 600 spins on monitored Top 40 stations last week, Lewis picked up over 700; he still leads her in airplay, but she’s narrowed the gap considerably. That airplay plus her 219,000 buck-a-song downloads propel her to the top.

• What was the song of winter ’08? Arguably, it wasn’t Flo Rida’s No. 1-hogging “Low,” but rather the radio-burnout smash “Apologize” by OneRepublic (credited to producer Timbaland), which never reached the top slot but spent a staggering 25 weeks in the Top 10. That’s not a record, but as Billboard chart columnist Fred Bronson points out, that’s the longest any song has spent in the Top 10 since Santana’s “Smooth” in 1999, which polluted our brains with Rob Thomas’s white-boy mambo for 30 weeks.

It’s somehow poetic that “Apologize” finally exits the Top 10 in the first chart following the onset of spring. But over at OneRepublic headquarters, they’re still popping the bubbly: lead singer/songwriter Ryan Tedder cowrote “Bleeding Love,” Leona Lewis’s new No. 1. (The other writer: fellow moonlighting singer Jesse “Beautiful Soul” McCartney, who’s also a moonlighting actor.)

• The Hot 100′s highest debut of the week is yet another track by Flo Rida: “Roll,” which has Sean Kingston backing him up, enters at No. 61. Uncle Flo’s official followup single, “Elevator” with Timbaland, is back up at No. 19 but still hasn’t matched its peak of No. 16 from three weeks ago. Both tracks benefit from the release of Flo Rida’s album Mail on Sunday, but America must finally be sick of his original hit, “Low,” because it’s down in both sales and airplay.

• Other Hot 100 debutantes include “4 Minutes” by Madonna featuring Justin Timberlake (No. 68)–you can expect that song to shoot into the Top 10 next week, thanks to big iTunes sales; Ferras’ American Idol-fueled “Hollywood’s Not America” (No. 84); the presumptive second single from Gnarls Barkley’s new album, “Going On” (No. 88); and Ne-Yo’s “Go On Girl” (No. 96).

• Sam Endicott is having the last laugh: the Bravery, once dismissed as a Killers-imitating flash in the pan, is emerging as a staple modern-rock radio act. “Believe” is their biggest hit yet, elbowing into the Top Five on the Hot Modern Rock list and bubbling under the Hot 100. That sound you just heard was Brandon Flowers’s ego shrinking a little.

Top 10s
Last week’s position and total weeks charted in parentheses:

Hot 100
1. Leona Lewis, “Bleeding Love” (LW No. 8, 6 weeks)
2. Usher Featuring Young Jeezy, “Love In This Club” (LW No. 1, 6 weeks)
3. Ray J & Yung Berg, “Sexy Can I” (LW No. 7, 8 weeks)
4. Chris Brown, “With You” (LW No. 2, 17 weeks)
5. Sara Bareilles, “Love Song” (LW No. 4, 21 weeks)
6. Jordin Sparks with Chris Brown, “No Air” (LW No. 6, 12 weeks)
3. Flo Rida feat. T-Pain, “Low” (LW No. 7, 22 weeks)
8. Rihanna, “Don’t Stop the Music” (LW No. 5, 18 weeks)
9. Lil Wayne feat. Static Major, “Lollipop” (LW No. 85, 2 weeks)
10. Lil Mama feat. Chris Brown & T-Pain, “Shawty Get Loose” (LW No. 19, 5 weeks)

Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs
1. Keyshia Cole, “I Remember” (LW No. 1, 21 weeks)
2. Usher Featuring Young Jeezy, “Love In This Club” (LW No. 6, 7 weeks)
3. The-Dream, “Falsetto” (LW No. 3, 16 weeks)
4. Alicia Keys, “Like You’ll Never See Me Again” (LW No. 2, 22 weeks)
5. Ray J & Yung Berg, “Sexy Can I” (LW No. 11, 11 weeks)
6. Mario, “Crying Out for Me” (LW No. 9, 30 weeks)
7. J. Holiday, “Suffocate” (LW No. 4, 25 weeks)
8. Mariah Carey, “Touch My Body” (LW No. 10, 7 weeks)
9. Mary J. Blige, “Just Fine” (LW No. 5, 26 weeks)
10. Chris Brown, “With You” (LW No. 7, 17 weeks)

Hot Country Songs
1. Alan Jackson, “Small Town Southern Man” (LW No. 1, 20 weeks)
2. Trace Adkins, “You’re Gonna Miss This” (LW No. 3, 16 weeks)
3. Chris Cagle, “What Kinda Gone” (LW No. 6, 36 weeks)
4. George Strait, “I Saw God Today” (LW No. 7, 7 weeks)
5. Carrie Underwood, “All-American Girl” (LW No. 2, 17 weeks)
6. James Otto, “Just Got Started Lovin’ You” (LW No. 9, 23 weeks)
7. Rodney Atkins, “Cleaning This Gun (Come on in Boy)” (LW No. 4, 27 weeks)
8. Jason Aldean, “Laughed Until We Cried” (LW No. 10, 33 weeks)
9. Taylor Swift, “Picture to Burn” (LW No. 11, 11 weeks)
10. Phil Vassar, “Love Is A Beautiful Thing” (LW No. 13, 21 weeks)

Hot Modern Rock Tracks
1. Foo Fighters, “Long Road to Ruin” (LW No. 1, 22 weeks)
2. Puddle of Mudd, “Psycho” (LW No. 2, 21 weeks)
3. Linkin Park, “Shadow of the Day” (LW No. 3, 25 weeks)
4. The Bravery, “Believe” (LW No. 7, 25 weeks)
5. Atreyu, “Falling Down” (LW No. 9, 9 weeks)
6. Seether, “Rise Above This” (LW No. 11, 5 weeks)
7. Seether, “Fake It” (LW No. 4, 30 weeks)
8. Foo Fighters, “The Pretender” (LW No. 6, 34 weeks)
9. Paramore, “crushcrushcrush” (LW No. 5, 19 weeks)
10. 3 Doors Down, “It’s Not My Time” (LW No. 14, 5 weeks)

idolator
  • tigerpop

    the Bravery, once dismissed as a Killers-imitating flash in the pan, is emerging as a staple modern-rock radio act

    . . . with auto-tune to spare.

  • Al Shipley

    Lloyd’s “You” peaked at #9 last year, so this is actual Wayne’s third top 10 appearance.

    Also, “Sexy Can I” is lewd and maybe does capitalize on Ray J’s sex tape notoreity in a weird way (“it’s a Kodak moment” has never sounded so gross), but I don’t really understand why you’re characterizing it as a fad/novelty song along the lines of “My Humps.” Sounds like pretty garden variety 2008 radio R&B to me.

    Interesting to see the 4th single from Ne-Yo’s last album finally cracking the Hot 100, 2 and a half months after the video released and actually after the lead single from his next album leaked. I can’t complain, though, “Go On Girl” is probably my favorite strummy Stargate production since “Irreplaceable.”

  • Charles A. Hohman

    “It’ll be the least surprising leap to No. 1 from outside the Top 10 in chart history.”

    What about Kelly Clarkson’s 52-to-1 vault following the CD single (ah, the good ol’ days) release of “A Moment Like This” in 2002? That too was a foregone conclusion, arguably more so than “Touch My Body.”

  • Tauwan

    “Finally, Ray J’s “Sexy Can I,” the stupidest Top Three U.S. hit since “My Humps,” now matches that song’s peak position. It’s right behind Lewis and Usher at No. 3, thanks to ever-growing airplay and digital sales blowing up by more than 50%. With its novelty lyrics and insidious hook, “Sexy” smells like the kind of fad hit that tops the charts from time to time, but if that’s going to happen, it won’t be anytime soon.”

    I was riding shotgun in my girl’s ride on Easter Sunday when Sexy Can I came on the radio. This was my first time hearing it. [Funny how I only hear popular songs I manage to escape on a day-to-day basis when I am riding in someone's car]. And you know what? I was transfixed. Like started off laughing and being all like “are you kidding me?” to eventually “sitting in silence enjoying the ride and the track and bobbing my head” transfixed. Ffing innocuous hip-hop and R&B tracks.

    And that is why Sexy Can I is inching towards the top.

    Though it must be said that Sexy Can I doesn’t even come close to matching the head nobbing, ass shaking ear candy greatness of Wait A Minute, that old single of his feat, Lil Kim.

  • Chris Molanphy

    @Al Shipley: Lloyd’s “You” peaked at #9 last year, so this is actual Wayne’s third top 10 appearance.

    Whoops — and I knew that, too (mentioned it in a previous column re: Weezy). Thanks, I edited the above to reflect that. (“Soldier” is still his biggest hit.)

    @Tauwan: What about Kelly Clarkson’s 52-to-1 vault following the CD single (ah, the good ol’ days) release of “A Moment Like This” in 2002?

    I see your point with six years’ hindsight, but back then? No way. The first American Idol winner? We had no idea back in 2002 that the chart points would line up, each and every time, to give the winner a guaranteed No. 1 hit. It might not have been a total, hit-me-over-the-head shock, but when Clarkson went to No. 1, I definitely remember thinking at the time, Wow, I guess this show really is huge. Prior to that, not so much. (Remember, Idol was a successful summer show and seeming cultural fad, not a total ratings juggernaut, in ’02. Clarkson beat Justin effin’ Guarini, for crying out loud.)

    Also, Clarkson was on the chart all of two weeks before shooting to No. 1; even if you half-predicted that moonshot, the speed was breathtaking. This Mariah single? We’ve been waiting for this thing to reach No. 1 for six weeks now. So, yeah, I reiterate what I said above.

    @Tauwan: I’m all for stupid hits. This one just isn’t doing it for me. I reserve the right to change my mind later; I’ve been an easy lay for a dopey hook before.

  • Nunya B

    @tigerpop: Didn’t they just rerelease their album in a major, gimmicky way?

    Maybe Lil Mama’s album will come out now. I’m hoping it does- she’s pretty awesome, even if she does look exactly like Bow Wow.

  • Tauwan

    @Al Shipley:

    “I can’t complain, though, “Go On Girl” is probably my favorite strummy Stargate production since ‘Irreplaceable.’”

    I wish I could agree with you on that tip buddy, but Chris Brown’s With You [though it took some time] takes the cake for me when it comes to Stargate’s strumtacular post Irreplaceable tracks.

  • Chris Molanphy

    @Tauwan: I’m just glad to see that, two months after Matos teased me for the word “strummy,” we all agree it’s the most accurate word to describe the sound of a Stargate production.