Chartbreaker 9-22-10

Here I am again with another look at the wacky world of the Billboard charts. I truthfully don’t understand how they work. It’s supposedly built upon a mix of physical sales, digital sales and radio airplay. But I don’t know sometimes. The one thing that irks me about how Billboard works is the chart separations. Beyond the hot 100, there are smaller charts such as Rock, R&B and Country. Let’s say you have a song that’s #1 on the Rock charts, one would think it would be a big hit on Hot 100. No, because those charts are based on airplay while the top 100 is based on airplay and sales and the question I have is- is there an even balance between the criteria? Looking even deeper, they don’t check the same amount of radio stations for each genre.

It’s a head scratcher. The Hot 100 is basically a mix between the Hot 100 airplay chart, the Hot singles chart and the Hot digital chart. But how are they balanced? Is it 33% each? What if a song has great airplay but doesn’t get a physical single? Or is a song that has a lot of digital sales but falls in a genre that doesn’t have as man radio stations checked by Billboard (i,e.  jazz which only gets 14 stations reviewed in comparison to country which gets 126 stations reviewed). Then there’s the whole digital sales bit. Ever compare Billboard’s Digital Songs chart to the iTunes chart? There are some definite differences. Where are they compiling their results from? And what about other changes in the way we listen to music- things like YouTube, Slacker, Pandora…..

Enough venting. It’s still fun to look at the Billboard charts as a bit of the picture, even if it isn’t the whole picture.

92- “Introducing Me” by Nick Jonas

It was bound to happen that one of the songs from Disney’s Camp Rock 2: The Final Jam was going to end up on the charts. I am a little surprised to see it was this one. I saw the movie with my kids and the songs were mildly entertaining. This one on the other hand was basically a big rip off of Jason Mraz done over a set of extremely hokey lyrics as Nick Jonas attempts to woo an actress who will spend the rest of her being told “You should play Angelina Jolie’s daughter“. The song does get some charm as it increases its pace but in comparison to songs like “It’s On” and “Fire”, I’m surprised this is the one that charted.

84- “Dumb Love” by Sean Kingston

“Come Go With Me” by the Del Vikings is a song that has proven to be a classic. The Beach Boys covered it quite well in the 80’s. It even survived being sung on Saved By The Bell. But Sean Kingston turning it into “Dumb Love”, that may be the final straw. And what is it with Sean Kingston’s old r&b revision kick. “Beautiful Girls” was based on a  “Stand by Me” sample. This would be a terrible trend if he were to continue it.

78- “Check It Out” by & Nicki Minaj, 93- “The Dog Days are Over” by Florence + The Machine

It’s the post VMAs chart and a few songs got a lift out of being performed on the show. My favorite performance of the night, the amazingly sung “Dog Days Are Over”, got Florence Welch her first hit in the US. My least favorite performance, the pre-show performance by Nicki Minaj and a very very oddly dressed, earned them a #78 debut. I’ll give them kudos for a great choices of sample (“Check it Out” is based on “Video Killed The Radio Star” by the Buggles a.k.a. the first song played on MTV) but other than that, is it a great song. It’s just another Nicki Minaj song and the over exposure is getting a bit much for me.

68- “Free” by the Zac Brown Band, 72- “As She’s Walking Away” by the Zac Brown Band f/ Alan Jackson

As a New Yorker, I knew nothing of the Zac Brown Band prior to watching the Billboard charts. And I’m pretty sure if I asked a bunch of my friends who Zac Brown was, they would probably give me some sort of wisecrack about getting the guy from Saved by the Bell’s last name wrong (wow, two SBTB references today). But Zac Brown is slowly becoming quite the powerhouse on the charts. Free is now in its 17th week on the charts, after peaking at #34. Their new song is climb up the charts as well. They’ve got a couple of platinum singles under his belt too. They may not be a household name but I can really see them becoming much more well known (outside of the world of Country) as they slowly compile a stack of hits.

55- “Hollywood” by Michael Buble

The Buble is back. In Canada, he’s a god. Here in the States, we are slowly catching on. Buble realizes this and is playing it up in a big way. His album “Crazy Love” is being re-released thus giving more people a chance to get on the bandwagon. And what about his already loyal followers. They get a couple of new tunes thrown their way, including “Hollywood”. He may be singing “Hollywood is Dead” but it won’t be long before they come calling for Mr. Buble who is slowly becoming a hit in the US as well. (We can be a little slow with these things sometimes…)

45- “No Hands” by Waka Flocka Flame f/ Roscoe Dash & Wale

I wish you all could have seen my reaction when going through the charts and seeing this debut by Waka Flocka Flame. My reaction was “What the hell is a Waka Flocka Flame?”  Well, besides having one of the most ridiculous stage names that I have ever heard, he’s the former protegé of Gucci Mane. And now he’s only a couple of spots away from having a bigger hit than Gucci ever did. Gucci’s biggest hit on the top 100 was only a #36 hit last year. It would also be interesting because the two no longer speak. Mane fired Flame’s mom as his manager and now in a twist of fate, Flame is the one with the hit record while Gucci’s last two singles failed to make it to the hot 100.

35- “A Year Without Rain” by Selena Gomez and the Scene

There was no doubt in my mind that this song was going to chart big.  The Disney Princess has got a slew of people backing her up and making her shine. On her album (to which this is the title track), she’s got songs written by Katy Perry, Kevin Rudolf, Fefe Dobson, Toby Gad, Antonina Armato, Matt Squire, RedOne and others. What she doesn’t have is any songs written by Selena Gomez.

Did I mention that "Like a G6" is in the top 20 this week?

30- “Hot Tottie” by Usher & Jay-Z

As much as I like Jay-Z, I don’t know about this one. For one thing, it rhymes hot toddy with kemosabe. Really? Next, who still drinks hot toddys? That is such an old school drink. But I have to admit the Polow da Don beat is pretty good (very reminiscent of Swizz Beatz’ work on “On To The Next One”) and Jay-Z is as good as ever. But there is something a bit chesy about this song. Usher’s verses are weak as newborn children.

9- “Club Can’t Handle Me” by Flo Rida f/ David Guetta, 6- “DJ Got Us Falling In Love Again” by Usher

Last weekend, the girlfriend and I went to a wedding. The whole affair was very traditional with a very long full Catholic mass. But then came the reception. A very very loud emcee walked out and began doing the introductions for the wedding party and what song does the DJ play? Usher. The wedding party did all the hokey dances and stuff that we have come to expect but what came next, I did not see coming. The emcee directed us to the seats where the bride & groom were to be seated. The area was on a lazy susan. It began to turn and presented the happy couple in front of a huge video screen, as a smoke machine billowed and what music played? Flo Rida. I never though of either of these songs as wedding songs. I stand corrected.

3- “Just The Way You Are” by Bruno Mars

Where do I begin? Do I talk about the video for this song where Bruno croons about loving a person just the way they are. So, who gets chosen for this video? They go for Nathalie Kelly. They had to go for the girl who is super model pretty? Sigh.Or do I talk about Bruno Mars’ recent problem with the law as he was arrested in Vegas for doing coke in a bathroom stall. When the police busted him, he said he had never done anything like that before. So, he’s trying to say that for the first time he was ever going to do cocaine, he chose a public restroom stall in Las Vegas? Does that add up to you? Oh well. Maybe this will all lead to a Bruno Mars/ Amy Winehouse collaboration?


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