Thursday, March 4, 2010

Sade and the Peas Reign Again in Light Chart Week

Follow That Chart!
Week of March 13, 2010
(Data from Week Ending February 28, 2010)

While little changed at the top, the new Billboard rankings show a good deal of significant movement going on just beneath the peak in several key charts. New video releases by Justin Bieber, Rihanna and Ke$ha seem to give the three artists some powerful boosts, while a new Lady Gaga track seems poised to take over as top performer of the blockbuster songstress's repertoire, and Sade's Soldier of Love rules the battlefield for a third week, the longest reign since Susan Boyle broke all rules and records in December 2009.

Hot 100 Singles

The Black Eyed Peas' latest chart-topper "Imma Be" sits comfortably at number one for a second week after finally knocking off nine-week champ "TiK ToK," the debut single by Ke$ha which this week slides another two spots to number four. Lady Gaga's eternal bridesmaid "Bad Romance," which peaked at number two for most of "TiK ToK's" reign (a victim of timing more than anything), slips down one spot to number five, and unless it gets a runoff boost from the supposedly imminent music video for "Telephone," it has likely seen its apex and is therefore doomed to the dreaded "Number 2" club (it is, to be fair, in good company). Young Money's collaborative single "BedRock" moves up to the penultimate slot, but with a strong number one, slow momentum and several rapidly rising singles on its heels, it too may join the runners-up circle in the end. Lady Antebellum's "Need You Now" hops up to number three, but that is more likely due to "TiK ToK's" tumble than its own gains.

"Hey, Soul Sister" (number six), "Say Aah" (number nine) and "In My Head" (number ten) all recorded sales and airplay gains this week, but it is Rihanna's latest single "Rude Boy," breaking into the top ten at number eight after a huge jump from number 23 largely on the popularity of the new video that has earned top-five rankings in hits since its recent debut, that has the momentum none of the previous singles from the 22-year-old Barbadian's fourth album Rated R have had so far (lead single "Russian Roulette" peaked at number nine, while followup stomper "Hard" topped out at number eight). Meanwhile, Ke$ha's new single "Blah Blah Blah" and Lady Gaga's collaboration with Beyoncé, "Telephone," loom in spots eleven and twelve, respectively (Ke$ha's holds its spot from last week while Gaga's is up two slots from number 14), both with big sales and airplay gains as well. Only "We Are the World 25 for Haiti" exits the top ten, plummeting to number 36.

Billboard 200 Albums

Sade's Soldier of Love holds atop the albums chart in a slow week after moving another 127,000 copies, while Lady Antebellum's sophomore effort Need You Now remains runner-up with 118,000 copies in its fifth week. American VI: Ain't No Grave, a posthumous album by Johnny Cash, the last in his American Recordings series, sold a modest 54,000, but it was still good enough for third place, momentarily displacing now-Top 10 mainstays The E.N.D. (The Black Eyed Peas, 50,000 sold) and The Fame (Lady Gaga, 48,000 sold), which land in fourth and fifth in their 38th and 70th weeks, respectively. The latter was certified Diamond earlier in the week by the RIAA signifying sales of over ten million - not an easy feat in this day and age. Two albums make return appearances in the top ten: Justin Bieber's EP My World squeaks in at number ten with nearly 26,000 new sales (still a drop of 20% from the previous week), and more significantly Ke$ha's debut album Animal, which debuted atop the chart in January and somewhat ironically served as the "Imma Be" to Susan Boyle's "TiK ToK" but subsequently tumbled far too quickly down to the double digits, rebounded to the seventh slot with 32,000 copies sold (up 7%), an uptick likely due in part to popularity of and new video for new single "Blah Blah Blah" as well as a tidy Best Buy sale with a price tag of $7.99 (hey, whatever sells albums).

Digital Songs (Downloads)

Only three significant shifts occurred in the often baffling download habits of our fair country. First, apparently last week was the week everyone stopped shelling out for Haiti (mind you, this would have been before the Chile quake too), as "We Are the World 25 for Haiti" tumbled not just a smidge, but out of the Top 40 altogether after topping the chart for the two weeks previous. Also it appears that everyone in the world may finally own a downloaded copy of "Bad Romance," which drops out of the top ten (to number eleven, but still) from number seven in its eighteenth week on the chart. After 21 weeks, it seems enough people still need a new mp3 of "TiK ToK" to hold it at number five (up from number six but only in the absence of "We Are the World"), while "Blah Blah Blah" bumps up one spot to number seven. Last week's top six excluding the Haiti relief mega-single all shift up one slot in the charity tune's absence, bumping "Imma Be" back into the top spot. Smashing onto the scene, however, is Rihanna's "Rude Boy," which makes its top ten debut at number six, up from number 20 the week before.

Radio Songs (Airplay)

DJs again prove just how behind the times they are as "TiK ToK" holds strong at number one on the airplay chart, and its silver and bronze medalists do the old switcheroo as "BedRock" and "Bad Romance" switch to number two and three, respectively. Big airplay gains make it a good week to be a Lady: Lady Antebellum's "Need You Now" moves to number four and Lady Gaga's "Telephone" to number six, each up two spot from the previous week. "Imma Be" inches up to number eight, likely hindered by its almost unrecognizable censored version, while oft-censored Ludacris holds tight at number seven with "How Low." Speaking of censorship, have DJs finally worn out that ghastly product of censorship known as "Sexy Chick," which drops from number five to number nine?

For next week, it remains too soon to predict any major changes in next week's charts, as nothing all that earth-shattering has happened since Monday so far. So unless Lady Gaga's long-awaited "Telephone" video debuts in the next day or so (if indeed it is to be as earth-shattering as she has repeatedly said it is to be), next week's charts may sound less like Bob Dylan's "The Times They Are a-Changin'" and more like Beyoncé's "Déjà-Vu."

Hear some of the songs discussed on this week's Follow That Chart!

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