Charts on Fire: 03-06-08
Posted by Andrew Unterberger on March 7, 2008
Meet the new boss, slightly less annoying than the old boss. That’s right, after Flo Rida’s ten week reign of mild intimidation on the top of the charts, we have a new #1, and I had never even heard of it before. Usher’s “Love in This Club“–his first official single since 2005–jumps 50 spots in its first week of iTunes availability and lands at pole position. The single itself, while destined to be the most pandering club success since that other song about the state of being In The Club, is actuallya fairly disappointing slow jam. Producer Polow Da Don (he of “Glamorous” and “Throw Some D’s” breakout success) brings his A game (or I guess this would technically qualify as his B+) but the song itself is relatively nothing–weak hook, unmemorable vocal, way more of a third or fourth single than a lead. Of course, the projected lead (“Dat Girl Right There,” leaked about four months ago) was weird enough to have the potential to break the pop charts had it succeeded, so maybe it’s for the best. Doubtful though.
Oh, and Jordin Sparks now has a second top ten single (Chris Brown duet “No Air,” #6). I thought we had reached the point where Idol winners were no longer guaranteed legit pop success unless they were also halfway decent pop stars, but the roundly unimpressive Sparks seems to be destined for Daughtry-Underwood-Clarkson numbers. Unfortunate. And just when you thought it was safe to go back to the city bars, Flo Rida has a new single in the top 20 (“Elevator,” #16). To prove that he doesn’t need big name guests to help sell his single, he’s gotten some no name called Timbaland to sing the hook, and keeps all the memorable shit for for his own verses, like….uh….well, I’m sure after hearing it 100 times I’ll probably remember a line or two.
Lest I be perceived as an all-out pessimist / doomsayer, there is some good news: I just saved a boatload of money on car insurance by switching to Ray J and Yung Berg’s new single, “Sexy Can I” (#13), not exactly a trailblazer but far above par from two of the more mediocre stars of the last few years (though to be fair, Berg’s “Sexy Lady” sounds exactly like one of those hits I’ll be ecstatic to hear for the first time in five years). And Janet Jackson has her first top twenty hit and first great single in seven years with “Feedback” (#19), off the #1 sales of her new album, Discipline. Or at least I assume she hasn’t a great single since–I don’t think I heard any from the last two albums more than twice (one of ’em sampled “Rockit,” right?) Anyway, good call from Janet to jump on the house-jackin’ bandwagon, definitely one of the more exciting trends to surface in R&B lately (and good call to have someone besides Jermaine Dupri produce it–recuscitating the careers of both her and Mariah Carey is just too much for one man to handle).
Speaking of Mariah, she’s back too, at #24 this week with “Touch My Body,” lead single from comeback-comeback album E=MC2 (automatic 500 points for that title, btx). Frankly, for a single that should prove that she’s still on top of the current R&B heap, this sounds practically retro–if you had told me this was some Butterfly album track, I doubt I would’ve given a second thought. That might not be such a bad thing–late-90s Mariah was a pretty special thing, and “We Belong Together” didn’t exactly break new ground either–but nice as it is, this song isn’t nearly as special as WBT was, so let’s hope she’s got more in her bag of tricks than this. And goddamn it JD, do you still really need to spend twenty seconds shouting yourself out? There’s a reason why Just Blaze is as popular as he is.
Aside from the ascnedance of the least exciting rap single since “A Bay Bay” (Shawty Lo’s “Dey Know,” 42-32), an infuriatingly misleadingly titled country song (Rodney Atkins’ “Cleaning This Gun (Come On In Boy),” 45-40) and a Lifehouse song that somehow breaks their once-every-three-years hit streak (“Whatever It Takes,” 68-50) the real story in the lower reaches of the top 50 is the appearance of Leona Lewis’s “Bleeding Love“. I’d never heard of it, but apparently it was the #1 single in the UK of all 2007, and has gone to #1 in 15 countries (Lewis was a winner on UK talent competition The X-Factor, which I guess is a big deal in some places). Co-written be ex-pop star Jesse McCartney and one of the OneRepublic dudes, the song…doesn’t exactly sound like it should set the world on fire, but I guess they barely ever do until the 570th time you hear ’em, huh? We’ll see.
In other news, Glen Hansard and Market Irglova are at #61 this week with their Oscar winner “Falling Slowly,” a debut that would’ve been a lot more surprising a few weeks ago but which still ranks as surely as excellent a song as can be found on the charts these days. Also, Atreyu have their second top 20 Modern Rock hit with “Falling Down,” which sounds precious little like the band I remember my brother being super into in High School. I guess this just marks yet another formerly-underground band that he can bitch about being into before they were popular (joining the proud ranks of Bush, Limp Bizkit, and AFI).