Friday, June 15, 2012

Week In Music: As Carly Jae Jepsen Tops Singles, Dinosaurs Rule CDs

After eight weeks at the top of the singles chart, Gotye has been polite enough to step aside with his mammoth 2012 smash “Somebody That I Used To Know.” In its place, pop jewel “Call Me Maybe,” sashays to No. 1 on the Hot 100, in its 16th week on the chart.

“Maybe” is an across-the-board bona hit in the classic sense that pop chart watchers love to love. No gimmicks, no guest rappers, no manipulation via chart-tipping remixes or latent add-on “featured” acts.

Simply, it is a smash that has captivated pop culture at large—a wonderfully melodic sing-along seasonal song. For that reason, I, for one, couldn’t be happier. That’s not to take anything away from Gotye or the previous No. 1 before him, fun.’s “We Are Young,” because they, too, are anthemic songs with indelible choruses that will heard on radio years from now, prompting those “I remember when” moments. And that, friends, is what pop hits are supposed to be all about.

Okay, off the soapbox and on to the stats: Jepsen spends a fourth week atop Digital Songs, reaping 3.3 million downloads to date. At radio, “Call Me Maybe” moves 4-2 with 117 million impressions among all formats—up 14%. It also reaches No. 1 at the top 40-focused Pop Songs airplay chart as Greatest Gainer, according to Nielsen BDS; and tops the YouTube and On-Demand Songs lists.

“Maybe” first spent four weeks at No. 1 in Jepsen’s native Canada in February; and logged a month at the top in the U.K. It becomes the best-selling U.S. hit so far this year by a lead female solo act, dethroning Kelly Clarkson's "Stronger (What Doesn't Kill You)." And finally, 26-year-old Jepsen is the first lead female to top the Hot 100 with a debut hit since January 2010, when Ke$ha’s sing-songy "TiK ToK" pulled the lever for nine weeks.

Jepsen is set to open for pal Justin Bieber on 47 dates of his North American "Believe" tour, which begins in September. By then, let’s hope she has a debut album out to maintain momentum.

Moving on, Gotye's fine "Somebody," featuring Kimbra—at No. 2 on the Hot 100—remains atop Radio Songs for a fourth week. It tops the 5 million mark this week—reaching the milestone faster than any song in digital history by 11 weeks. The previous holder: LMFAO's "Sexy And I Know It.”

Maroon 5's "Payphone," featuring Wiz Khalifa, holds at No. 3 for a fourth week; in its eight weeks on the chart, it has never dropped lower. Fun.'s six-week No. 1 "We Are Young," featuring Janelle Monae, also stays put, at 4. One Direction's "What Makes You Beautiful" is up 6-5, flipping slots with Nicki Minaj's "Starships," 5-6; while Flo Rida's "Wild Ones," featuring Sia, is stuck at 7.

Rihanna’s “Where Have You Been” is up 9-8—her 22nd Hot 100 top 10 hit. That now makes the singer the fifth bestselling female act in the chart’s 50-year history. One notch down is Katy Perry, catapulting 19-9 with “Wide Awake,” her 11th top 10 among six No. 1s. And at No. 10—on the cusp of his album release “Believe” June 19—is Justin Bieber’s “Boyfriend.” His sophomore single from the album "All Around the World," featuring Ludacris, is the Hot 100's Hot Shot Debut at No. 22. It’s the Bieb’s second collaboration with the rapper: Their previous “Baby” reached No. 5 in 2010.

On the album side, the banner headline for the week reads: Adele’s “21” returns to No. 1 on the Billboard 200 for a 24th astonishing week. After last holding the title there March 17, Billboard’s Chart Beat columnist Gary Trust adds that "21" has never left the top 10 in its 68-week chart run, dropping only as low as No. 7 on Dec. 10, 2011.

It debuted at No. 1 on March 12, 2011. Overall sales are 9.34 million. Meanwhile, Adele’s 24-week reign equals the soundtracks to "Purple Rain" and "Saturday Night Fever," with only five albums ruling that chart for longer: Harry Belafonte, “South Pacific” and Fleetwood Mac (all with 31), Michael Jackson (37) and “West Side Story” (54).

Unless Justin Bieber has more power than God, “21” will likely become the No. 1 album of 2012—again—making it the first album to claim two consecutive years as the top-selling set in nearly 30 years, since Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” in 1983 and 1984.

Adele sells only 2,000 more copies of the set that debuts at No. 2: country crooner Alan Jackson’s “Thirty Miles West.” This is his 12th top 10 album on the Billboard 200; and his 13th No. 1 on Country Albums, where it debuts at the peak.

At No. 3, things get mighty interesting on the Billboard 200. The Beach Boys score their highest-charting album since 1974 with "That's Why God Made the Radio." The album of all new material is part of a 50th anniversary celebration of the classic Cali group, and its 14th top 10. Paul Grein offers in his Yahoo! Music “Chart Watch” column that the Boys first charted in 1962, giving them a 49-year span of top five albums starting with “Surfin' U.S.A.” Only Frank Sinatra has had a longer span of top five albums: 62 years, from 1946 to 2008.

And speaking of dinosaur acts, Neil Young’s "Americana" launches at No. 4. Again, Grein gives us the goods: It’s Young's 12th top 10 album (counting three albums with Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young) and his highest-charting since CSNY's hits compilation “So Far” in 1974.

The re-appearance of the Beach Boys and Neil Young makes Lionel Richie seem like a chart kid. His recent No. 1 album “Tuskegee” (which falls 10-16 this week) is the No. 2 bestseller so far this year, behind Adele. And there’s more: Launching at No. 12 is Joe Walsh with “Analog Man,” his sixth solo album to make the top 20. Walsh joined The Eagles in 1975, and first charted with the group’s 1976 “Hotel California.” Before that, as a member of The James Gang, he cracked the top 20 in 1970—giving him a chart life of some 42 years.

At No. 5, rapper Big K.R.I.T.’s  debut studio album "Live From the Underground," also opens at No. 1 on Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart and the Rap Albums tally. One Direction's former No. 1 "Up All Night" slips 4-6; last week’s No. 1 from John Mayer, "Born and Raised" falls to 7; rapper Curren$y debuts at 8 with "The Stoned Immaculate"; Carrie Underwood's "Blown Away" falls 3 to 9; and Brandi Carlile's "Bear Creek" is new at No. 10, her first top 10 set.

Coming up: Usher’s “Looking 4 Myself” looks like an easy bid for next week’s No. 1 debut. Meanwhile, all eyes are on the following week, when we tally the number of albums sold by enduring tween sensation Justin Bieber after “Believe” is issued this Tuesday. *