It’s What Happening: On The Charts

billboard-logoDue to a somewhat distracting toothache which saps my concentration, my patience, and my sense of humor, I hope y’all don’t mind if I just phone it in today.

Bit of cool significance to the Billboard charts this week. (For those who don’t know, Billboard has kept track of the popular music rankings in the US since the advent of jukeboxes in the 1930s. In 1958, they began using the current format, known as the Hot 100, which is calculated weekly. When you see references to the Top 40 it’s still based on Billboard, but it relates to radio stations who tend to keep to a strict playlist of only the top sellers. It’s somewhat arbitrary as a cut-off point, but if a song falls outside of the Top 40 it’s not really considered a hit although it might be a hit on a smaller, genre-specific chart like R&B or Modern Rock, for example. Anyway…) For the third week in a row, the top five spots are occupied solely by women. In the past 56 years, since the beginning of the Hot 100 chart, only seven other weeks have had this distinction (it occurred for one week in 1979 and four weeks in 1999).

Meghan Trainor (whose song I posted a couple of weeks ago) sits at #1, followed by Taylor Swift, the trio of Jessie J, Ariana Grande and Nicki Minaj, and then Minaj solo, and at #5 is Iggy Azalea featuring Rita Ora.

But let’s take a moment to look at the pop charts in other parts of the world. The ladies are taking care of business thousands of miles away, too.  As I’ve written elsewhere, these charts are still comprised largely of American songs but also contain a number of songs from closer to home which will never reach these shores (or they’ll show up much later).

So, since I’m always fascinated by what’s popular across the oceans but not here, let’s take a listen to “Prayer in C (Robin Schulz Remix)” by French-Israeli alternative pop and folk duo Lilly Wood and the Prick, which has topped the charts in 21 countries over the last couple of months and currently sits around #122 on the US charts.

And here’s the #1 song in Sweden. It’s not even close to a hit anywhere else. But it kind of grows on you. (contains a few instances of language not suitable for children or work, depending on your children and your work)

4 thoughts on “It’s What Happening: On The Charts

  1. Go ladies! Do you happen to know offhand which female artists were in the Top 5 during those weeks in ’79 and ’99?

    In other news, I’ve nominated you for the One Lovely Blog Award!

    • First of all, thank you very much. That’s very kind of you. Especially considering my extended hiatus. Unfortunately, I can’t follow half of the rules so I will just thank you for your lovely nomination. Secondly, my info was a little off with the female artists because my source material was a little off. For solo ladies making up the Top 5, it happened for a month in 1999 with a combo of Brandy, Monica, Deborah Cox, Cher, Britney Spears, Whitney, Mariah, and Sarah McLachlan and then in 2012 with Adele (2 songs), Katy Perry, Whitney Houston, and Kelly Clarkson. It’s also happened for a couple of weeks with a mix of solo artists and a group: in 1979 with Donna Summer (2 songs), Rickie Lee Jones, Anita Ward, and Sister Sledge. And in 1986 with Heart and I’m not sure who else.

  2. You’re welcome – and I completely understand. I felt a bit weird about the rules, like I was passing along a chain letter. I’ve never been on the receiving end before so the whole shebang was new to me.

    Cher in 1999… There was no escaping “Believe” as I recall. Never understood the purpose of Auto-Tune in that song. The sound of it drove me bananas.

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