Pop Charts 6/7/2014

In this column, I provide brief notes and reviews for all of the number one songs in the United States according to the Billboard charts. In addition to the #1 overall song (as per the Hot 100 chart), the top songs on Billboard’s primary genre charts are also featured.

This week (issued for 6/7/2014), four charts have new or returning #1s, ending John Legend’s sappy reign of emotional manipulation.

 

 

Hot 100, R&B/Hip-Hop: Iggy Azalea – “Fancy (feat. Charli XCX)”

I reckon I should brace myself for think pieces on outmoded concepts like authenticity and cultural appropriation thanks to white Australian rapper Iggy Azalea scoring a #1 hit, akin to what happened when Macklemore & Ryan Lewis did the same. The fact that it also tops the R&B/Hip Hop chart despite not ranking among the top 25 songs on R&B/Hip Hop airplay is odd, but of course consistent with the changes Billboard made to its charts a few years back.

As for “Fancy,” I am just not feeling it. The production is too generic to be memorable, even though its simple synth-line makes the effort. Azalea’s flow is equally unimpressive, sounding labored rather free, as if Azalea lacks confidence in her abilities. Charli XCX does her best Gwen Stefani impression on the chorus, which is decent enough but feels as if it was phoned in. Ultimately, I find the song to be boring. Someone with the capacity to piss off so many people should not put out songs so uninteresting. Iggy Azalea has no business being the Coldplay of Hip Hop, but with “Fancy” that’s exactly what she is. Still better than “All of Me” though.

This is the second top 10 hit and first #1 for Charli XCX as a songwriter, following Icona Pop’s “I Don’t Care.” Presumably, her contributions to “Fancy” were not as significant as “I Don’t Care,” even though her voice does not get buried in chorus on “Fancy” like it does on the latter. Her solo work has won some critical acclaim but has thus far only found an audience in indie circles (her 2013 album True Romance has sold a scant 12,000 copies in the US as of May 2014 and faired only slightly better in her native UK). I wonder if Charli XCX will ever tire of allowing other artists to cash in on her songwriting talents while her solo work—despite being perfectly accessible—struggles to make an impression. Perhaps the increased exposure due to the success of “Fancy” will bolster the performance of Charli’s upcoming album. Perhaps she’s using Azalea to test her marketability that same way Azalea is using her for credibility. Perhaps she really should have kept “I Love It” for her own album.

Rating: 4


Pop:  Justin Timberlake – “Not a Bad Thing”

“Not a Bad Thing” slips to 8 on the Hot 100, but bests Jon Legend’s “All of Me” on the pop chart. “Not a Bad Thing” is not “Mirrors,” but I suppose it does not need to be. It’s a summer slow jam, and it works well in that capacity. Still, I cannot help but view every song from The 20/20 Experience – 2 of 2 as a collection of B-sides and this song is a good illustration as to why. It’s pleasant, in that Timberlake can zone in and crank out decent pop songs at will, but is not something I can see myself revisiting once its time on the charts comes to a close.

Rating: 6


Country: Luke Bryan – “Play It Again”

This is the seventh week at #1 on the country charts for “Play It Again.” A new Miranda Lambert song could spell the end for “Play It Again” at #1, as it topped the Country digital sales chart this week. But for now, Bryan can enjoy almost two months on top and a return to the Hot 100 top 20.

Rating: 7


Rock: Paramore – “Ain’t It Fun”

Glad to see these guys back. After Coldplay bumped it to on the rock charts #2 last week, “Ain’t It Fun” is back and hopefully this time it sticks around for a bit longer. It is one of my favorite hit songs on the radio these days.

Rating: 8


Dance/Electronic: DJ Snake & Lil Jon – “Turn Down for What”

Week number seven for “Turn Down for What” on top of the Dance chart, and still holds strong at #5 on the Hot 100. Its main challenger is “Summer” by Calvin Harris which dropped one spot to 12 on the Hot 100 this week. Elsewhere, Imaginary Skyscapes approved “Latch” moves up to 29 on the Hot 100, suggesting that it is still capable of threatening DJ Snake & Lil Jon and gives Sam Smith appearances on three sequential songs on the Hot 100 (Disclosure’s “Latch at 29, Naughty Boys’ “La La La” at 30, and his own “Stay with Me” at 31).

Rating: 7


Latin: Enrique Iglesias – “Bailando (feat. Descemer Bueno & Gente de Zona)”

“Bailando” is still strong across the Latin charts and holds steady on the Hot 100, dropping just one spot this week to 76.

Rating:  6


In review:

Hot 100: Iggy Azalea – “Fancy (feat. Charli XCX)” [4]

Pop: Justin Timberlake – “Not a Bad Thing” [6]

Country: Luke Bryan – “Play It Again” [7]

Rock: Paramore – “Ain’t It Fun” [8]

R&B/Hip-Hop: Iggy Azalea – “Fancy (feat. Charli XCX)” [4]

Dance/Electronic: DJ Snake & Lil Jon – “Turn Down for What” [7]

Latin: Enrique Iglesias – “Bailando (feat. Descemer Bueno & Gente de Zona)” [6]


Notable Hot 100 Movers and Debuts:

Nico & Vinz – “Am I Wrong” [#8, up from 17]

Jason Derulo – “Wiggle (feat. Snoop Dogg)” [#10, up from 20]

Michael Jackson – “Billie Jean [live at Wembley, 1988]” (#14, re-entry]

Magic! – “Rude” [#15, up from 28]

Sam Smith – “Stay with Me” [#31, up from 49]

OneRepublic – “Love Runs Out” [#34, up from 69]

Miranda Lambert – “Somethin’ Bad (feat. Carrie Underwood” [#39, debut]

Michael Jackson – “Slave to the Rhythm” [#45, debut]

Nicki Minaj – “Pills N Potions” [#47, debut]

Sia – “Chandelier” [#48, up from 62]

 

Link: Billboard

 

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