Sunday, January 24, 2010

Ke$ha and "Tik" Top Again, But Is Their Time Limited?

Follow That Chart!
Charts for Week of January 30, 2019
(Data for Week Ending January 24, 2010)

This is the first edition of Vertigo Shtick's new column, Follow That Chart! In this column, which will appear weekly and exclusively on Vertigo Shtick, I will explore and explain several of the most recent Billboard charts, tracking what's up and what's down, what's coming up and what's on its way out, and mostly, why it all happened and what it all might mean! Follow That Chart! will focus specifically on four of the five charts whose Top Ten are listed and updated weekly on the left sidebar of the Vertigo Shtick homepage: the Hot 100, Billboard 200, Radio Songs, and Digital Songs charts. Reader questions or opinions are more than welcome, so please ask or express them via email or in the comments section! And with that, welcome to the inaugural installment of Follow That Chart!

January isn't quite the trash heap in the music industry as it is in the movie business, where bottom-shelf flicks are often banished since most awards eligibility periods end December 31 and the industry's attention is almost entirely focused on the awards season that spans the following three months or so and the films and artists being thus honored. On the music business side, Grammy eligibility ends the last day of August (as of the 2010 Grammys, a shift ahead one month from previous years when eligibility ended September 30), and the sometimes laughably ludicrous immediacy (e.g. Golden Globe nominations - announced December 15, 2009 for the most recent awards - often including films yet to be released) is replaced by a sometimes puzzling datedness, honoring songs that have long left even the most repetitive radio dj's playlist. For instance, consider the current Record of the Year nominees:
  • "Poker Face" by Lady Gaga (released Sept 23, 2008; #1 on Hot 100 April 11)
  • "You Belong With Me" by Taylor Swift (released November 4, 2008; peaked at #2 on Hot 100 August 12) 
  • "Halo" by Beyonce (released January 20; peaked at #5 on Hot 100 September 5) 
  • "I Gotta Feeling" by the Black Eyed Peas (released May 21; first hit #1 on Hot 100 July 11) 
  • "Use Somebody" by Kings of Leon (released December 8, 2008; peaked at #4 on Hot 100 Sept 12).
Anyway, while as I said January isn't really a wasteland for music the way it is for other media, it is historically part of one of the two common periods of elongated singles chart domination, albeit the shorter and less certain of the two. In other words, a quick glance at several years' worth of lists of which tracks hit the top spot on the Hot 100 singles chart and when reveal certain commonalities, particularly that in the usual length and time of year of lengthy stays atop the chart for particular tracks. Summer is the worst offender: since 2005, sixteen songs have seen the top of the chart in the 65 weeks that have fallen between June 1 and August 31, including a fourteen non-consecutive week run by Mariah Carey's "We Belong Together" in 2005, six weeks at the top for Nelly Furtado's "Promiscuous" in 2006, seven weeks of Rihanna's "Umbrella" in 2007 and Katy Perry's "I Kissed a Girl" in 2008, and the midpoint between The Black Eyed Peas' dominating runs with "Boom Boom Pow" (12 weeks) and "I Gotta Feeling" (14 weeks). But the winter months have seen bulldozers like Whitney Houston's "I Will Always Love You" (14 weeks, 1992-93); Eminem's "Lose Yourself" (12 weeks, 2002-03); Destiny's Child's "Independent Women Part I" (11 weeks, 2000-01) and all time chart champ "One Sweet Day" by Mariah Carey and Boys II Men (16 weeks, 1995-1996).

By these standards, the run of pop newcomer Ke$ha's debut single "TiK ToK," which celebrates its fifth week atop the Hot 100 this week, along with a smattering of other charts, is impressive if not quite earth-shattering. Considering the track has been at or near the top of iTunes' most downloaded songs since November at least, it was all but inevitable that the lightweight dance-pop number should at least briefly see the top of the major singles chart. Three weeks after it did so, on the chart dated January 2, 2010 (data for the week ending December 20, 2009), it was also unsurprising that the accompanying debut album, Animal, should do what Alicia Keys and Mary J. Blige hadn't been able to do: unseat Susan Boyle from the top spot on the Billboard 200 (granted, by then Boyle had been on top for six weeks, and with the holiday shopping season having abated it seems most of the 3.1 million Americans who wanted Boyle's album had gotten it by then). But where last week's charts spelled Ke$ha domination, this week's charts may look quite a bit the same but tell rather different stories of what may be to come.

Hot 100

The top three spots remain unchanged this week, with Lady Gaga biding her time at No. 2 with "Bad Romance" and Jay-Z and Alicia Keys retaining their minor bounce up to No. 3 from last week, prolonging their trip back down the chart. The big news rests with "BedRock" by Young Money Featuring Lloyd, which jumped from No. 8 to No. 4 in what has for the past couple months been an all but stagnant Top Ten. Also noteworthy: Train's single "Hey, Soul Sister," the lead single of an album that has been out since last August and has itself charted since October, also clobbered its way into the pack at No. 7, up from No. 23 last week. Ludacris' "How Low" (No. 10) is back in the top ten after a week's absense.

Three tracks rounding out the top twenty, however, are on trajectories that merit watching: number 18, "Two Is Better Than One" (Boys Like Girls Featuring Taylor Swift), leapt up from number 24 and made strong showings in other charts; "Say Aah" (Trey Songz Featuring Fabolous) jumped to number 19 from number 28; and Lady Gaga and Beyonce's duet "Telephone," which has been working its way up the chart (and radio Top 9 at 9-style nightly request countdowns) despite its official release date still to come on Tuesday January 26, hopping another eleven spots from number 31 to number 20.
  • Who's New
    • 7. "Hey, Soul Sister" Train (up from No. 23)
    • 10. "How Low" Ludacris (up from No. 14)
  • Who's Up
    • 4. "BedRock" Young Money featuring Lloyd (from No. 8)
    • 8. "Hard" Rihanna featuring Jeezy (from No. 9)
  • Who's Down
    • 5. "Replay" Iyaz (from No. 4)
    • 9. "Fireflies" Owl City (from No. 5)
  • Who's Out
    • "Blah Blah Blah" Ke$ha featuring 3OH!3 (No. 12 from No. 7)
    • "Down" Jay Sean Featuring Lil Wayne (No. 16 from No. 10)
What to Expect: Given the slip in sales of Animal (see below) and the meteoric rise of "BedRock" and "Hey, Soul Sister," the steady climb of "Hard," and this week's airplay release of "Telephone," this week may be "TiK ToK"'s last atop the Hot 100, and if so expect it to be replaced by “BedRock” or possibly “Bad Romance.” (“Hey, Soul Sister” remains a long shot, with airplay likely to hold it back for the upcoming chart.) “Fireflies” will likely drop out of the top ten next week, and “Replay” should begin a steady if slow descent.

Billboard 200

While Susan Boyle's juggernaut I Dreamed a Dream holds in second, Ke$ha's debut album Animal drops to third this week, its slot atop the albums chart usurped by indie rock band Vampire Weekend's sophomore album Contra, debuting at number 1 with 124,000 copies sold, roughly the same number Animal moved the week before. Meanwhile, the big winner this week was Lady Gaga, whose appearance on The Oprah Winfrey Show likely boosted sales for debut album The Fame, which in its 64th week on the chart came close to topping Animal's second-week sales of 67,000, and The Fame Monster EP, which leapt four spots to No. 6 with 36,000 sold, up 14% from last week. The new albums from Alicia Keys and Mary J. Blige saw sales drops of over 20% (23% and 26%, respectively), while Taylor Swift's Fearless moved another 33,000 copies in its 62nd week on the chart and the Black Eyed Peas sold 32,000 more copies of The E.N.D. in the album's 32nd week. The best debut of the week was Omarion's Ollusion, which sold a measly 19,000 copies without a hit single to advertise for it.
  • Who's New
    • 1. Contra Vampire Weekend (Debut)
  • Who's Up
    • 6. The Fame Monster (EP) Lady Gaga (from No. 10)
  • Who's Down
    • 3. Animal Ke$ha (from No. 1)
    • 4. The Fame Lady Gaga (from No. 3)
    • 5. The Element of Freedom Alicia Keys (from No. 4)
    • 7. Stronger With Each Tear Mary J. Blige (from No. 5)
    • 8. Fearless Taylor Swift (from No. 7)
    • 9. Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakuel Soundtrack (from No. 6)
    • 10. The E.N.D. The Black Eyed Peas (from No. 8)
  • Who's Out
    • My World (EP) Justin Bieber (No. 11 from No. 9)
What to Expect: With typically weak all-around January sales, the Billboard 200 can be seemingly volatile when in fact chart standings reflect far lower sales than, say, late spring or early December, so it can be hard to predict. With Contra's likely sales drop, some pundits (including Billboard's own) have postured Susan Boyle for a comeback at number one, which would mean sales for the week would have to have been drastically underperforming. However, if the Hope for Haiti Now fundraising compilation album is allowed to chart, my bet will be on that one to take the top spot. Also on tap for the upcoming week are a new album from indie rock band Spoon and the 2010 Grammy Nominees compilation album, which could easily end up in the top ten on a lackluster sales week (Hope for Haiti Now being the likely exception).

Radio Songs

The typically most time-delayed chart finally catches up to the rest of the world as "TiK ToK" finally unseats "Empire State of Mind" for the top spot, while "Bad Romance" inches up to second place and the top three, for once, mirror the Hot 100. "BedRock" sits in sixth, a strong standing for such a new track; case in point, the age-old Taylor Swift Grammy-nommed track "You Belong With Me" sits at number 8 for a second week after its baffling re-entry into the top ten several weeks ago (likely due to the upcoming Grammy awards). "How Low," at number 10, is the big gainer, jumping from number 18, while David Guetta and Akon's "Sexy Chick" and Rihanna's "Hard" hold relatively steady in rank but earn airplay increase honors.
  • Who's New
    • 10. "How Low" Ludacris (from No. 18)
  • Who's Up
    • 1. "TiK ToK" Ke$ha (from No. 2)
    • 2. "Bad Romance" Lady Gaga (from No. 3)
    • 4. "Sexy Chick" David Guetta feat. Akon (from No. 5)
    • 6. "BedRock" Young Money feat. Lloyd (from No. 10)
  • Who's Down
    • 3. "Empire State of Mind" Jay-Z and Alicia Keys (from No. 1)
    • 5. "Replay" Iyaz (from No. 4)
    • 7. "Hard" Rihanna feat. Jeezy (from No. 6)
    • 9. "Fireflies" Owl City (from No. 7)
  • Who's Out
    • "Whatcha Say" Jason Derulo (No. 12 from No. 9)
What to Expect: Not much changes week to week on the Radio Songs chart, but expect another week of "TiK ToK" on top while "BedRock"'s climb continues. Train's "Hey, Soul Sister" may show up near the top ten but isn't even in the top 40 this week; Trey Songz' "Say Aah" is the most likely newcomer to the top ten, if there is to be any next week. "Fireflies" and "Replay" should continue down the chart, the former more rapidly than the latter.

Digital Songs

"TiK ToK" reigns another week atop the digital sales chart with bridesmaid "Bad Romance" moving one spot up to regain second after Ke$ha's "Blah Blah Blah" loses steam and drops to fifth. "Hey, Soul Sister" is the big gainer, jumping from 14th to number 3, perhaps because radio stations couldn't or wouldn't play it. "BedRock" jumps three spots to number 4, while the rest of the top ten remains relatively stable.
  • Who's New
    • 3. "Hey, Soul Sister" Train (from No. 14)
  • Who's Up
    • 2. "Bad Romance" Lady Gaga (from No. 3)
    • 4. "BedRock" Young Money feat. Lloyd (from No. 7)
    • 9. "Sexy Bitch" David Guetta feat. Akon (from No. 11)
  • Who's Down
    • 5. "Blah Blah Blah" Ke$ha featuring 3OH!3 (from No. 2)
    • 6. "Empire State of Mind" Jay-Z and Alicia Keys (from No. 5)
    • 7. “Replay” Iyaz (from No. 4)
    • 8. “Fireflies” Owl City (from No. 6)
  • Who's Out
    • “I Gotta Feeling” The Black Eyed Peas (No. 11 from No. 8)
What to Expect: While sales for “Hey, Soul Sister,” “TiK ToK,” “Bad Romance” and “BedRock” should hold steady, several new singles have entered iTunes' Singles download chart, still a strong indicator of overall digital sales. Taylor Swift's “Today Was a Fairytale” from the soundtrack to upcoming rom-com Valentines Day (in which Swift co-stars), Justin Timberlake's Hope for Haiti Now single “Hallelujah,” and fast-rising Black Eyed Peas single “Imma Be” would shock no one should they appear in the top ten on next week's list. Timbaland's “Carry Out” featuring Timberlake, from the new album Shock Value II, is another possibility.


Justin Timberlake performs "Hallelujah" during 
the Hope for Haiti Now Telethon Jan. 22 on MTV.


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What's in store next week? What shockers might Thursday's music news bring, and what snoozers too? Will Hope for Haiti Now bow atop the Billboard 100 and prove I'm a better prognosticator than the newswriters at Billboard.com? Will we have a new number one Hot 100 single, and if so which will it be? And is "Bad Romance" doomed to membership in the infamous Number 2 club, or can it push ahead of surges by Train and Young Money? Stay tuned until next week where your answers will come to you as we continue to Follow That Chart!
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