Chart Watch

Week Ending July 28, 2013. Songs: Radio Hesitates On One Direction

Chart Watch

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One Direction’s “Best Song Ever” enters the Hot 100 at #2, but that stat doesn’t tell you the whole story. The song is off to a fast start in terms of digital sales and streaming, but it has yet to catch fire at pop radio. The song enters Hot Digital Songs at #1 this week (and Streaming Songs at #2), but it has yet to crack the top 30 on the Mainstream Top 40 airplay chart, which measures airplay at Top 40 stations around the U.S. (It jumps from #40 to #32 on that chart, which is also known as Pop Songs.)

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Even though the boy band has avid fans, pop radio doesn’t seem to be convinced that they have broad-based or lasting appeal. Billboard’s Keith Caulfield and Gary Trust wrote this past week that, “Despite the group's high profile, top 40 radio has so far been hesitant to fully embrace One Direction. Their debut smash ‘What Makes You Beautiful’ rose to #3 on Pop Songs, but the act's next four chart entries prior to (the new single) peaked between #15 and #19. ‘Live While We're Young,’ for instance, reached #16 on Pop Songs…”

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“Best Song Ever” is the first song to enter Hot Digital Songs at #1 since Taylor Swift’s “I Knew You Were Trouble.,” which bowed at #1 in October 2012 with first-week sales of 416K. “Best Song Ever” sold 322K digital copies in its first week, which is a shade less than “Live While We’re Young,” which sold 341K copies in its first week (which was also in October 2012). That song also entered Hot Digital Songs at #1. One Direction is one of just four acts to top the Hot Digital Songs chart in both 2012 and 2013. The others? Swift, Bruno Mars and Nate Ruess of fun.

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“Best Song Ever” samples The Who’s 1971 rock classic “Baba O’Riley (Teenage Wasteland)” which never cracked (or even “bubbled under”) the Hot 100. (“Won’t Get Fooled Again” and “Behind Blue Eyes” were the top 40 hits from the band’s Who’s Next album.)

“Best Song Ever” is One Direction’s third top five hit on the Hot 100, following “What Makes You Beautiful” (#4) and “Live While We’re Young” (#3). 1D is the first boy band to amass three top five hits since *NSYNC piled up five top five hits from 1999 to 2002.

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Want to know where 1D ranks among the top boy bands of the past 30 years? Boyz II Men is out front, with nine top five hits from 1991 to 1997. New Kids On The Block and Backstreet Boys are tied with *NSYNC with five each. All-4-One and 98 Degrees are tied with One Direction with three each.

Note: In all cases, I’m counting only singles on which the boy bands were lead (or co-lead) artists.

“Best Song Ever” will appear on One Direction’s upcoming third studio album, Where We Are. Incidentally, the song’s title makes T-Pain featuring Chris Brown’s ambitions seem modest. Their 2011 collabo was titled “Best Love Song.”

“Best Song Ever” also enters the U.K.’s Official Singles Chart at #2, just behind Avicii’s “Wake Me Up,” which holds at #1 for the second week.

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If it seems like you hear “Blurred Lines” every time you turn on the radio, there’s a good reason for that: The Robin Thicke smash, which features T.I. and Pharrell, this week logged the second-largest weekly audience since Nielsen BDS starting measuring such things in December 1990. “Blurred Lines” rang up 207.4 million all-format “audience impressions” this past week. The only record with a weekly larger audience was Mariah Carey’s “We Belong Together,” which drew 212.2 million audience impressions in the week ending July 9, 2005.

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Both of these songs were comeback hits. “We Belong Together” was Carey’s first #1 hit in more than five years. “Blurred Lines” is Thicke’s first song to crack the top 40 since his 2006 breakthrough hit “Lost Without U.”

The audience for “Blurred Lines” jumped from 197.7 million last week. If it makes another gain like that next week, it may break Carey’s record. Stay tuned.

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“Blurred Lines” may be a week away from tying another important record. The song sold 312K copies this week. If it tops 300K again next week, it will become only the second song in digital history to top 300K in weekly sales nine times. The first was “Thrift Shop” by Macklemore & Ryan Lewis featuring Wanz. (As it is, these are the only two songs to top 300K eight or more times.)

Whether “Blurred Lines” ties either or both of these records next week or not, Thicke will have the week’s #1 album. His album, also titled Blurred Lines, is expected to sell about 130K copies in its first week (a fairly disappointing sum, given how massive the single is).

“Blurred Lines” is #1 on the Hot 100 for the eighth week, which is the best showing since Maroon 5’s “One More Night” logged nine weeks at #1 last fall. “Blurred Lines” was strongly influenced by Marvin Gaye and Michael Jackson. Neither of those legends ever had a song at the top of the chart for eight weeks. Gaye’s biggest hit, “I Heard It Through The Grapevine,” was #1 for seven weeks in 1968-’69. Likewise, Jackson’s two longest-running #1 hits, “Billie Jean” and “Black Or White,” each had seven weeks on top.

Only two hits by “second-generation stars” have had longer than eight weeks at #1. (In this case, I’m defining this as someone whose parent also made the Hot 100.) Whitney Houston’s “I Will Always Love You” logged 14 weeks at #1. Debby Boone’s “You Light Up My Life” spent 10 weeks on top. (Thicke’s mom, Gloria Loring, hit #2 in 1986 with “Friends And Lovers.” Houston’s mom, Cissy Houston, reached #92 in 1971 with a remake of the Ronettes’ “Be My Baby.” Boone’s dad, Pat Boone, had six #1 hits from 1955 to 1961.

“Blurred Lines” is also #1 on Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs for the eighth week. But it dips to #2 on Hot Digital Songs.

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Imagine Dragons’ “Radioactive” dips from #3 to #4. It’s #1 on Rock Songs for the 19th week.

Daft Punk’s “Get Lucky” (which also features Pharrell Williams) dips from #4 to #5. It’s #1 on Dance/Electronic Songs for an 11th week.

“Holy Grail” by Jay-Z featuring Justin Timberlake jumps from #8 to #7 in its third week. It’s the highest-ranking record that moved up this week. The song jumps from #2 to #1 on Hot Rap Songs, displacing “Can’t Hold Us” by Macklemore & Ryan Lewis featuring Ray Dalton, which spent 14 weeks at #1.

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“Cruise” by Florida Georgia Line featuring Nelly drops from #7 to #10. The song is #1 on Hot Country Songs for the 22nd week, which sets a new all-time record since the chart originated in 1944.

Here's the low-down on this week's top 10 songs.

The Top Five: “Blurred Lines” by Robin Thicke featuring T.I. + Pharrell holds at #1 for the eighth week in its 15th week on the chart. This is its ninth week in the top 10. Digital sales rank: #2 (312K)…One Direction’s “Best Song Ever” debuts at #2. It’s the boy band’s third top 10 hit. Digital sales rank: #1 (322K)…Miley Cyrus’ “We Can’t Stop” dips from #2 to #3 in its eighth week on the chart. This is its sixth week in the top 10. Digital sales rank: #3 (191K)…Imagine Dragons’ “Radioactive” dips from #3 to #4 in its 48th week on the chart. This is its 15th week in the top 10. Digital sales rank: #5 (159K)…“Get Lucky” by Daft Punk featuring Pharrell Williams dips from #4 to #5 in its 15th week on the chart. This is its 11th week in the top 10. Digital sales rank: #8 (114K).

The Second Five: Bruno Mars’ “Treasure” dips from #5 to #6 in its 11th week on the chart. This is its sixth week in the top 10. Digital sales rank: #9 (110K)…“Holy Grail” by Jay Z featuring Justin Timberlake jumps from #8 to #7 in its third week on the chart. It has been in the top 10 the entire time. Digital sales rank: #4 (160K)…Anna Kendrick’s “Cups (Pitch Perfect’s When I’m Gone)” jumps from #9 to #8 in its 31st week on the chart. This is its fourth week in the top 10. Digital sales rank: #11 (102K)….“Can’t Hold Us” by Macklemore & Ryan Lewis featuring Ray Dalton drops from #6 to #9 in its 25th week on the chart. This is its 17th week in the top 10. Digital sales rank: #16 (77K)…“Cruise” by Florida Georgia Line featuring Nelly drops from #7 to #10 in its 43rd week on the chart. This is its 14th week in the top 10. Digital sales rank: #7 (119K).

Justin Timberlake’s “Mirrors” dips from #10 to #11 in its 24th week, ending a 15-week run in the top 10.

The heartfelt “Same Love” by Macklemore & Ryan Lewis featuring Mary Lambert dips from #11 to #12 in its 20th week (but retains its bullet). Digital sales rank: #10 (105K)…Capital Cities’ buoyant “Safe And Sound” jumps from #16 to #15 in its 13th week.

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Ariana Grande’s “Baby I” is the week’s second-highest new entry at #21. Digital sales rank: #6 (141K). It’s from her debut album, Yours Truly, which is due Sept. 3…Randy Houser’s country crossover hit “Runnin’ Outta Moonlight” jumps from #28 to #25 in its 12th week… The elegant “Beneath Your Beautiful” by Labrinth featuring Emeli Sande vaults from #86 to #34 in its seventh week. It’s Sande’s second top 40 hit…Lana Del Rey’s “Summertime Sadness” jumps from #46 to #37 in its third week.

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“Everything Has Changed” by Taylor Swift featuring Ed Sheeran re-enters the chart at #41, the song’s highest ranking to date...Darius Rucker’s “Wagon Wheel” drops from #36 to #46 in its 25th week. The song tops the 2 million mark in digital sales this week. It’s his first song to reach that level. It’s the 17th song to sell 2 million copies so far in 2013. It’s the second country song to do so. "Wagon Wheel" peaked at #15.

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Ellie Goulding’s “Burn” debuts at #53. It’s from Halcyon Days, which is distinct from her second studio album, Halcyon... “#Beautiful” by Mariah Carey featuring Miguel drops from #37 to #54 in its 12th week. The song tops the 1 million mark in digital sales this week. It’s Carey’s first million-seller since 2009’s “Obsessed” (1,742,000). It’s Miguel’s third million-seller, following “Sure Thing” (1,106,000) and “Adorn” (1,014,000). “#Beautiful” peaked at #15. #Deservedbetter.

“Love More” by Chris Brown featuring Nicki Minaj debuts at #56. It’s from his sixth studio album, X, which is due Aug. 20…Two songs by Sage the Gemini are bulleted on this week’s chart. “Gas Pedal” (featuring Iamsu!) debuts at #58. “Red Nose” drops from #62 to #64 in its second week.

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Selena Gomez’s “Slow Down” re-enters the chart at #66, its highest ranking to date. It’s from her first solo album, Stars Dance, which debuts at #1 on this week’s Billboard 200.

Jason Aldean’s “Night Train” jumps from #77 to #69 in its fourth week…“Crusin’ For A Bruisin’” by Ross Lynch, Grace Phipps & Jason Evigan debuts at #82. The song is from the Teen Beach Movie soundtrack, which surges from #8 to #3 on The Billboard 200 this week. It’s this year’s Camp Rock!...Paramore’s “Still Into You” jumps from #100 to #86 in its third week. The song has climbed as high as #83….“Type Of Way” by Rich Homie Quan jumps from #98 to #89 in its second week.

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Marc Anthony’s “Vivir Mi Vida” debuts at #92. This is Anthony’s first foreign-language song to make the Hot 100. It’s from his album, 3.0, which this week became his first salsa album to make the top 10 on The Billboard 200. His first two top 10 albums were English-language pop albums...Kenny Chesney’s “When I See This Bar” debuts at #97. It’s from his former #1 album Life On A Rock.

Emblem3’s “Chloe (You’re The One I Want)” debuts at #98. It’s from the trio’s debut album, Nothing To Lose, which is expected to enter The Billboard 200 right around #6 next week, with first-week sales in the 40K range. The trio finished fourth on Season 2 of The X Factor. (The song title may make Olivia Newton-John look twice. One of her biggest hits, of course, is “You’re The One That I Want.” And her daughter’s name is Chloe.)…Tim McGraw’s “Southern Girl” debuts at #100. It’s from his former #2 album Two Lanes Of Freedom.

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“Feel This Moment” by Pitbull featuring Christina Aguilera tops the 2 million mark in digital sales this week. It’s Pitbull’s fifth 2-million-seller as a lead artist. The song peaked at #8.

Avril Lavigne’s “Here’s To Never Growing Up” tops the 1 million mark this week. It’s her sixth million-seller. The song peaked at #20.

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