Friday, June 22, 2012

The Week In Music: Rookies Rule The Roost

The singles chart has become a rookie’s wonderland. For the past 16 weeks, the summit has been commandeered by a trio of debut artists—the longest such streak in nearly 35 years.

Carly Rae Jepsen spends a second week at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 with her first entry, "Call Me Maybe." That follows previous newcomers Gotye (featuring Kimbra), who spent eight weeks on top with "Somebody That I Used to Know," preceded by fun. (featuring Janelle Monae), whose “We Are Young” logged six weeks atop the heap.

Billboard columnist Gary Trust reports that the last time a trio of Hot 100 newbies ruled the chart was July 1977.

Then, Bill Conti hit No. 1 with "Gonna Fly Now" from "Rocky," followed by Alan O'Day’s "Undercover Angel," and Shaun Cassidy's "Da Doo Ron Ron." Before that, it was 1967 when as many as four new acts lined up at the chart summit: Bobbie Gentry, the Box Tops, Lulu and Strawberry Alarm Clock.

The delightfully peppy pop "Call Me Maybe," meanwhile, has also become a viral phenomenon, with countless covers online—including a killer live acoustic performance featuring Jimmy Kimmel and The Roots with Jepsen, and others by Justin Bieber, the Miami Dolphin Cheerleaders, Harvard Baseball, Abercrombie & Fitch models and, uh, President Barrack Obama.

All told, the song remains No. 1 on the Hot 100, the Digital Songs chart (for a fifth week) and On-Demand Songs. On the Radio Songs’ all-format tally, it’s No. 2, according to Nielsen BDS. It has sold 3.6 million downloads so far.

Elsewhere among the top 10 singles, Gotye's "Somebody" is static at No. 2, and No. 1 on Radio Songs for a fifth week. It becomes the first song to sell 5 million copies in 2012—and in fact, according to Paul Grein’s Yahoo! Music Chart Watch, it's the first song to sell as many in a six-month period since Elton John's 1997 "Candle In The Wind.”

Also holding is Maroon 5's "Payphone" at 3. Katy Perry catapults 9-4 with "Wide Awake"—her 10th top five hit in four years—which pops onto On-Demand Songs at No. 24, logging 309,000 streams, even without the presence of a music video, which just debuted June 18.

Fun.'s "Young" eases 4-5; One Direction's "What Makes You Beautiful" drops 5-6, Nicki Minaj's "Starships" falls 6-7, Rihanna's "Where Have You Been" holds at 8, Flo Rida's "Wild Ones" falls 7-9 and Justin Bieber's "Boyfriend" is locked at 10, spending all 12 of its charted weeks inside the top 10.

And speaking of Biebs—which we’ll likely be doing a lot in the weeks ahead—he brings in the Hot 100’s top new entry for a third consecutive week, with "As Long as You Love Me" (featuring Big Sean), launching at No. 21 (debuting at No. 5 on Digital Songs). Last week, "All Around the World" (featuring Ludacris) crashed on at No. 22, and the week before, "Die in Your Arms" came to life at No. 17.

As we’ve previously tipped, next week it’s going to be all about Bieber fever, with the release of his third album “Believe” on Tuesday, June 19. Already, the album is on target to launch at No. 1 next week with the biggest debut of 2012, so far. Projections run as high as a half-million copies—which would surpass Madonna’s 359,000 launch of “MDNA” earlier this year.

Meanwhile, on this week’s album chart, Usher squeaks in a No. 1 debut with “Looking 4 Myself,” which sells a fairly tepid 128,000 copies. This is his fourth chart topping set, following 2010’s “Raymond v Raymond,” which opened with sales of 329,000. Usher’s single “Climax” logs a 10th week atop the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart, while pop/dance single "Scream" is No. 11 on the Hot 100. A third song, “Lemme See" (featuring Rick Ross) moves from No. 80 to 61.

At No. 2 on the Billboard 200, dino-rockers Rush achieve their best sales week in 10 years with the debut of "Clockwork Angels." Adele's "21," which was No. 1 last week for a 24th week, falls to No. 3. Country crooner Josh Turner debuts at 4 with “Punching Bag,” which also tops the Country Albums chart. Brit singer/songwriter Ed Sheeran enters at No. 5 with “+,” a previous chart-topper in 2011 at home.

One Direction's "Up All Night" is lodged at 6, Neil Young and Crazy Horse's "Americana" falls 4-7, Alan Jackson's "Thirty Miles West" plummets 2-8, and the "Rock of Ages" soundtrack roars 15-9 in its second week, following the film's theater debut June 15. (That gives Tom Cruise his first top 10 album as a vocalist: The flick’s star sings eight of the 20 songs on the ST, either solo or as collaborations.) And at No. 10 is debut “Triple F Life” for rapper Waka Flocka Flame.

Coming up: It’s not only Justin Bieber that is likely to crash into the high reaches of the album chart next week. Country king Kenny Chesney’s “Welcome To the Fishbowl” could launch as high as No. 2; along with high-profile releases from Smashing Pumpkins and Fiona Apple (whose last album was in 2006). *