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Charts on Fire: 10-24-07

Posted by Andrew Unterberger on October 26, 2007

You can catch Soulja Boy at your local party, yes he crank it every day. Or you can just check the top of the pop charts, where he’s been for SEVEN FUCKING WEEKS now. Not like I can really blame America for it or anything, dear lord is this song hypnotic. Why I love this song when I hated, hated, hated D4L’s “Laffy Taffy” is utterly beyond me–they’re almost identical in terms of hooks, production and IQ (or, in the case of all three, lack thereof), but D4L topping the charts practically put me into a depression, while I could live with this staying on top until next year.

Nipping at his heels, though, is Chris Brown’s “Kiss Kiss.” Soulja producer Mr. Collipark made some bizarro comment about how Soulja Boy reminds him of a young Michael Jackson (which makes no sense), but far more people have tended to make the comparison with Mr. Brown (which makes perfect sense, though I probably shouldn’t refer to him as Mr. Brown too often). With four Top 15s off his last album (including a tip-topper) and now a #2 with a bullet, he’s already starting to post MJ-like stats, and I gotta say, the song’s damn good, minus the now-obligatory T-Pain cameo (nine top 40 hits this guy is on this year, is nothing sacred????) If he’s not exhuming skeletons and putting voodoo curses on Peter Jackson by ten years’ time, I’ll be pretty disappointed.

Since I haven’t done this column in a long-ass time and have yet to address it, let me also take this time to discuss our country’s #3 single this week, Timbaland and OneRepublic’s “Apologize“. I don’t even remember what my reaction was to this song my first and only listen through Shock Value, but seeing the video for this sorta blindsided me. I’m not even sure if the song’s that great (though I’m certainly digging it), but I just couldn’t get over how different it sounded–splitting the difference between Keane and JT, finding a surprisingly organic-sounding middle ground that actually turns out to be a pretty comfortable way to be. Most of Timbaland’s attempts at rock collabing have been laughable, maybe he just needs to stick to the ballads. In any event, whoever thought Timbo would have three straight top five hits on the left side of the “f/” symbol?

Rounding out the top five are Alicia Keys’ “No One” (suuuuuuuuuucks) and Colbie Cailat’s “Bubbly” (love for this one grows daily). In the low end of the top 10, we’ve got Kanye’s “Stronger” (very ready for this song to die, dropping four to #6), Baby Bash and T-Pain’s “Cyclone” (totally pointless, 11-7), Kanye’s “Good Life” (very ready for this song to go for the glory, up two to #8), Rihanna and Ne-Yo’s “Hate That I Love You” (yawn, 15-9) and that other Timbo single no one’ll remember anything about in a few months except for what a weird title it was (7-10).

Let’s take a minute to address Finger 11’s “Paralyzer” (26-21) and the general recent trend of modern rock bands turning to disco in their moments of need. Maroon 5, Fall Out Boy, and now F11 have all hit paydirt getting into the groove, and this last one is the most improbable example of them all. Anyone remember “One Thing,” their Throwing Copper-ish semi-power-ballad from a few years back? I actually loved that song, but I could never expect a band of such staid accoustic righteousness ever wanting to “make you move,” much less putting their backbeat where their mouth is. Weird.

Other big gainers this week include The-Dream’s “Shawty is a 10” (song{ is more like a 4, LOL, 83-24) Fabolous’s “Baby Don’t Go” (dude’s devotion to mediocrity is touching, 27-25), Playaz Circle f/ Lil’ Wayne’s “Duffle Bag Boy” (there are people on this besides the Lil’est survivor? Whatever, 35-27), DJ Khaled f/ Half the Northern Hemipshere’s “I’m So Hood” (FACT, 40-31), Jordin Sparks’ “Tattoo” (man, did anyone care about the last season of AI? 55-39) and Gorilla Zoe’s “Hood Figga” (only interesting for the clumsy censoring, 41-38).

Speaking of clumsy (yessssss I am amazing at transition sentences), Fergie has a song called exactly that scaling 46 positions to #45 this week. Halfway between “Stars are Blind” and “Ain’t No Other Man” (and yes, I mean both sides of that as a compliment), this is by far the most palatable thing the girl’s done on her own thusfar, though for sheer purposes of fascination, none will ever trump “Fergalicious” or “Glamorous”. Girl’s building up quite the resume, in any event. Take that, M.I.A., you hack.

And Soulja Boy’s second hit is already appearing on the horizon!! “Soulja Girl” (c’mon, what else were you expecting?) climbs 14 to #44, not quite the martian-sounding transmission of planetary dominance that its predecessor was, but one step at a time, I suppose. Meanwhile, super-underrated country sensation Taylor Swift’s got a new one, “Our Song” (Stylus co-writers like Miranda Lambert but I like Taylor more, probably because I still haven’t listened to the Miranda album, 56-46) and that boring asshole Trey Songz extends his lease on life by another four weeks or so with “Can’t Help But Wait” (60-47).

The two coolest new-ons to the charts this week are both about shadows, because they both have the word shadow in the title and that’s cool because shadows are cool and these songs are pretty cool. This is a roundabout way of mentioning how The Killers’ cover of Joy Division’s “Shadowplay,” from new Ian Curtis biopic Control, is the chart’s top debut this week at #68. Some people are crying heresy, but I’m liking it, because I have no respect for anyone. Meanwhile, Linkin Park put a third simultaneous song on the Modern Rock top 20 (only band besides U2 or R.E.M. to ever accomplish this) with “Shadow of the Day,” the sorta U2-via-“When You Were Young” type anthem you feel like they were going for with all of Minutes to Midnight. Works pretty well–there must be at least a one-disc mix worth of great 80s arena-style chest-beaters in the last two or three years of mainstream rock by now.

Chevelle are still pretty cool. Silversun Pickups are one of the better things to happen to rock in 2007. Rolling Stone needs to get over Bruce Springsteen’s tragic death in 2001 and stop giving his posthumous albums five stars. And I wish I could remember the name of a single Dierks Bentley song.

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Charts on Fire: 09/20/07 (Special 50 vs. Kanye Edition)

Posted by Andrew Unterberger on September 21, 2007

“In every spiritual tradition, you burn in hell for pretending to be God–and not being able to back it up!”

So by now you almost certainly know the story, but let me sum up for those of you too busy with the pennant race and/or Britney Spears’s tragic undoing. Kanye and 50 have been beefing arguably all the way back to anti-Kanye comments 50 made some time in ’05, but tensions have been recently brought to the surface by the concurrent release of both artists’ third almbums (Kanye’s Graduation and 50’s Curtis), which pre-release had already spun off a combined seven singles and were generally being prepped as the two biggest hip-hop releases of the year. A dozen years later, the US were finally having our Blur vs. Oasis–not like rappers have never feuded before, but rarely has it occured in such an organized, non-physically threatening and easily quantifiable manner. Chart watchers across the country rejoiced.

And naturally, such a feud could not go without some arrogant trash-talking. Mostly on the part of 50, who started refering to Kanye as a “worker bee” and to himself in the third person (a sure sign of the onset of supervillainy), parodying “Gold Digger” in concert, and even making the bold proclamation that being so confident in his imminent victory, he would quit the music business altogether were he to lose the battle. One day, and most likely a very sobering conversation with his publicist (“uhhh yeah, 50, about that…”), later, 50 issued a retraction of his promise, but still conceded that if 50 were to be outsold, it would mean that Kanye had made a better album.

Well, the results are in, and as everyone outside of Jamica, Queens could have predicted, 50’s ass got trounced–Curtis pulled in a would’ve-been-impressive- by-anyone-else total of 691k (not so much compared to the 1.1 mil of The Massacre), while Kanye’s scored a career-best 957k (the best total for any album since, you guessed it, 50’s ’05 chart Massacre). In addition to this, Kanye also lands the top spot on the singles chart this week with current mega-smash “Stronger” (Guy Manuel de Homem-Christo, you have your first US #1!!!), and even the chart’s top debut with his T-Pain-featuring (sic) “Good Life” at #1, while 50 remains landlocked at #5 and #42, with “Ayo Technology” and “I Get Money,” respectively. It’s a landslide: No on 50.

And frankly, it couldn’t have come at a better time. In the space of the four years since his ’03 breakout, 50’s shit has gone from charmingly cocky to uncomfortably complacent to disturbingly disinterested. No other celebrity in recent memory with even a claim to musicianship has ever shown as much contempt for his medium of choice as 50, a disgust brilliantly vocalized in review site Coke Machine Glow’s recent piece on the album. I couldn’t even say for sure that 50 made the lesser album, since I doubt I’ll ever listen to it, but if the four singles released are any indication (two of which are actually pretty hott, though due little to 50’s involvement), he’s as uncommitted and unmotivated to doing anything above-average as someone with countless millions who never liked music that much to begin with probably should be.

Thing is, 50 follows after Jay-Z in this matter–business before pleasure always with his music, with getting five mics never as meaningful as getting five top ten hits. But while Jay-Z at his best still felt like he was about as hungry in his music as he was in his personal finances, 50 has always treated music as a means to an end. If he could get the same amount of fame, cash, respect and ass as he does now being a plumber or an interior decorator, you get the feeling he’d have no problem switching careers in a heartbeat. Kanye’s arrogance is far more upfront–he’s made a career out of it, practically–but 50’s is much worse, much more deep-seated and much more destructive. ‘Ye’s arrogance drives him to continually be proving himself as much as he possibly can, 50’s arrogance drives him to try to maintain the status quo while exerting as little effort as possible. It’s the kind of unnervingly prevalent “less is more–for meee!!!” attitude that’s leaving me totally dispirited about mainstream hip-hop in 2007.

So man, is it doing my heart good to see Kanye (who looks about as narcissistic as Skee-Lo in comparison) beat him unequivocally on the only level that 50 truly understands, the numbers. He can spin this however he likes–and over the next few weeks, I imagine he will–but on this one, it’d be hard for the most over-confident-with-the-least-reason-to-be man in music to chalk it up as anything but a loss. Now you can’t tell Kanye nothin’, right?

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Charts on Fire: 08-23-07

Posted by Andrew Unterberger on August 24, 2007

Sort of a slow chart week, but I’m still a little too emotionally exhausted from last night’s horror to write about anything much of consequence. Sean Kingston goes for week #4 at the top spot, in an extremely stilted top five (Kanye West’s “Stronger” is the only mover, up one to #5). Only new one in the top ten is Soulja Boy’s awful if somewhat fascinating “Crank That (Soulja Boy),” which moves 11-6. Has there ever been a year with more dance craze-focused rap hits than 2007? Lame, lame, lame, although at least this one’s video helps out the squares a little bit with its execution.

Disney’s newfound decision not to leave the pop charts their last unconquered pop culture corner results in the Jonas Brothers having a top 20 single, the irritatingly titled “S.O.S.” (a pop-punk Rihanna cover might’ve been pretty cool, maybe), up 65-17. To be fair, it’s a whole lot catchier than those High School Musical chartburners, and at a surprisingly clipped 2:33, it’s hard to be too objectionable. The other big winners this week: J Holiday’s “Bed” (42-24) a Polow da Don-sounding ballad interpreted by Wikipedia as such:

“The song is an R&B song about J. Holiday putting his girlfriend to bed. The song can simply be thought of him putting his girlfriend to bed or as many think, sexual intercourse. The lyrics “Wrap me up in your legs” state that there is more than putting her to bed involved aswell as “Then I’ma rock your body, turn you over, love is war, I’m your soldier, touching you like it’s our first time”.”

Deep, but I think I’ll stick with “Promise”. And then there’s Paramore’s “Misery Business,” whose re-entry at #34 is a real fucking headscratcher. I have no idea whether I like the song yet or not, but the angry, shrill and structurally dense song doesn’t exactly scream top 40 to me. In any event, props to lead singer Haley Williams for being arguably the first female inducted into the boys club of emo hitmakers, I suppose. That new 50 Cent Single with Timbaland and Justin Timberlake (now officially the Usher & Lil’ Jon of ’07), “Ayo Technology,” is up a few to #18 as well this week, and marks not only another notch in Timberrrr’s streak of awesome hits, but possibly the first interesting beat 50’s worked with on one of his hits since “In Da Club”. Bout fucking time if you ask me.

Aside from yet another High School Musical-related top 40 debut (Zac Efron & Vanessa Anne Hudgens’ “You Are the Music in Me” at #38, I’m not even going to bother trying to find the mp3 on Soulseek), the only other debut in the chart’s top half is that of Gym Class Heroes’ Jermaine Stewart-inspired “Clothes Off!” at #46. Having two straight hits with FOB crooner Patrick Stump singing the (stolen) hook almost guarantees that the band will never have another actual hit again (just ask The Game how well his solo singles ended up working out), but I guess it’s good to see some nice old-fashioned gimmickry on the charts again, as well as song titles with exclamation points!

Meanwhile, Modern Rock chart-topping new Foo Fighters single “The Pretender” is the best thing the band’s done in a half-decade (which means it’s like a seven instead of a five, hallelujah), Maroon 5 continue to surprise and impress with their above-decent blue-eyed soul, and Will.i.Am does the inevitable solo single thing, with predictably questionable results.

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Charts on Fire: 08-02-07

Posted by Andrew Unterberger on August 3, 2007

So yeah, we haven’t had one of these in a while, and a couple things of changed in the interim. Rihanna’s “Umbrella” ended its tyrannical seven-week reign at #1, making way for the first ever emo #1 hit, Plain White T’s “Hey There Delilah” (I still think the song is pretty good, for the record). But that one’s come and gone now, and in its first week of iTunes availability, Sean Kingston’s super-addictive “Beautiful Girls” has become the first ever dance hall / Motown hybrid #1 hit. Hard to decide whether it’s the best or worst single of the year quite yet, we’ll see how it’s doing once it’s in its seventh or eighth week at pole position.

Meanwhile, Fergie, Rihanna and Timbaland are rounding out the top five, while we still got two T-Pain songs in the top ten (“Bartender” at #6, “Buy U a Drank” at #8) and Hurrican Chris and Fabolous at #10 and #9, respectively, with two of the most deathly singles of 2007 (has there been a shittier year for popular hip-hop in recent memory? It’s starting to get depressing).  Just outside the top ten is Akon’s new one, “Sorry, Blame It All on Me,” whose despicable hypocrisy and hilarious self-righteousness deserves a blog entry of its own. Soon enough.

Idol must’ve done something right this week, as Elliot Yamin (20-13) and Chris Daughtry (27-17) are both big bouncers this week. Yung Berg (30-18), Keyeshia Cole (48-26), Ne-Yo (42-30) and Fantasia (48-32) are the big gainers this week (boooooo), while a couple winners with Souljah Boy’s ridiculous but strangely compelling “Crank That (Souljah Boy)” (something about self-referential songs…I don’t even know, 28-25) and Taylor Swift’s super-sweet “Teardrops on My Guitar” (39-33) also make some headway. Good with the bad, no kidding.

Kanye West’s “Stronger” makes the highest debut of the week at #47 with his meh-ish Daft Punk-sampling “Stronger,” obviously a much higher charter than any position DP’s ever reached. Besides him, the new ons to the top 100 are limited to Baby Bash’s “Cycolne” (yet ANOTHER FUCKING T-PAIN FUCKING SINGLE FUCK, #65) and a whole bunch of country dudes (Toby Keith at #83, Rascal Flatts at #84 and Brooks & Dunn at #89). Starting to remember why it’s been four (five?) weeks since the last one of these I wrote. Here’s hoping for a more exciting Autumn or something.

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Something’s Always Wrong: Re-Appreciating The Godfather Part III

Posted by Andrew Unterberger on July 29, 2007

“You people are all right. Godfather…I seen that movie 200 times. Godfather II was definitely the shit. The third one…a lot of people didn’t like it. But I think it was just…misunderstood.” -Massive Genius, The Sopranos

You’re not going to find too many people to disagree with the general statement that in the last few years, AMC has gone to shit. More than any other basic cable channel, with the possible exception of VH-1 and MTV, AMC has completely lost sight of what it was originally supposed to represent, adding in commercials, changing its playlist from golden-age classics to countless re-runing of US Marshalls, and essentially transforming from American Movie Classics to Another Movie Channel. It’s just a good thing the transition happened after I stopped watching Oscar-winners 24 hours a day, the heartbreak would’ve been unimaginable seven or eight years ago.

But there is one good thing about the new AMC: they’ll use any excuse they can come up with to have a Godfather marathon. Robert Duvall’s birthday? Time for a Godfather marathon. Sofia Coppola has a new movie coming out? Time for a Godfather marathon. 4th of July, Labor Day, Memorial Day, Veretans Day, or any other holiday where they can run a series of commercials using the “I believe in America” quote from I in a sardonic, semi-topical ad blitz? Time for a Godfather marathon. And most recently, a new TV show with loose connections to the idea of doing immoral business while wearing a flashy suit?

So, guess what I’ve been watching today. There aren’t many movies that simply don’t get unwatchable with repeated upon repeated viewings, but really, the Godfather trilogy is on an entirely different plane when it comes to that shit. With the constant re-running, I must watch each of the movies at least three or four times a year, and still, when one of them comes on (even w/ censoring and commercials), I know what I’m watching for the next three-four hours. My dream house would have a wall-wide TV that would just constantly be re-running these movies on a loop, and whenever I walked by it, I’d stop in for fifteen minutes or so, quoting along with the dialogue and whistling along to the score.

And as I’m sure you can notice by now, unlike most of the trilogy’s fans, I don’t make exceptions for The Godfather Part III. Doubtful you could find a single person in the world to argue it superior, or even equal, to the other two–like 99.9999% of movies, it’s imperfect, and it just so happens that the other two make up about half of the .00001% of movies that are. But I find it a more than worthy ending to the trilogy, and arguably the best Part III of any film trilogy I can think of (and yes, that includes Back to the Future Part III and Army of Darkness). But before defending this position, I will first get the movie’s gaping faults out of the way (FAIRLY MAJOR SPOILER ALERTS PROCEED HERE, SO STOP READING IF YOU HAVE NOT SEEN THIS MOVIE YET BECAUSE REGARDLESS OF WHAT ANYONE SAYS YOU REALLY REALLY SHOULD):

  1. Robert Duvall’s Tom Hagen character is badly, badly missed, and the milquetoast lawyer dude they got to make up for it (B.J. Harrison, played by George Hamilton) is definitely no substitute.
  2. The major hit scene–in which the great majority of the Corleone family’s major players and important friends are wiped out by Joey Zasa (Joe Mantegna) by locking them in a hotel room meeting while a helicopter sprays the room with bullets–is wildly ridiculous and implausible, and is a travesty when compared to the innovatively nuanced direction with which Coppola handled the trilogy’s other hit scenes, including the subsequent one in which Vincent Mancini (Andy Garcia) takes Zasa out.
  3. Much of the immobiliare subplot, involving the corruption in the highest level of the catholic church, is underdeveloped and largely irrelevant. I get what Coppola was going for–even the most holiest of institutions does not offer the redemption Michael so desparately craves–but he bit off a bit more than he could chew on that one.
  4. I’m sorry, but no henchman in history has ever banked on stabbing a man with his own reading glasses as a reliable method of assassination. An unfortunately LOL-worthy moment in an otherwise brilliant montage.
  5. The final scene–in which a now-elderly, present-day Michael sitting on a bench merely keels over and dies–is possibly the worst final scene in any movie that could otherwise be considered great, or good, or even watchable. It’s pointless, gratuitous, and intelligence-insulting, and it’s a real fucking shame that it’s the scene that caps the greatest film series of all-time.

So now that’s out of the way, let’s talk about the good stuff. First and most obviously, Andy Garcia more than deserved the Best Supporting Actor nomination he received for his role as Vincent, the illegitimate kid of I’s Sonny Corleone. He’s the next generation, pure and simple, and you can see how he’s the inevitable successor to Michael–more impulsive, less thoughtful, but capable of the action that Michael can no longer bring himself to make. My favorite Vincent scene, and one of my favorites in the whole movie, is after he finishes screwing the thrillseeking reporter played by Bridget Fonda, and two of Zasa’s thugs break in to wipe him out. He disarms one, kills him in front of the other and promises the other that he’ll live if he releases Fonda and tells Vincent what he knows, then shoots him in the head after getting the necessary information. “C’mon sweetheart, that’s gambling,” he tells a horrified Fonda. “You wanted gambling, that’s gambling.”

And like the first two movies, there are some great villains–not exactly of the James Bond variety, but probably more unsettling. There’s Don Altobello, played by Eli Wallach (yes, the guy who played Tuco in The Good, The Bad & The Ugly, and let me tell you how that blew my mind when I found out), Michael’s kindly old mentor, always shown smiling, who is nonetheless orchestrating much of the plot against the Corleone family (old guys really don’t like being displaced in the Godfather trilogy). There’s Joe Mantegna–young, arrogant, amoral and Altobello’s very opposite, who nonetheless is similarly hungry for a taste of the Family’s action. And then there’s Mosca, the nearly mute but eerily proficient old-school assassin sent to take out Michael–watching the incredibly suspenseful final scene at the opera, a finale more than worthy of the climactic scenes of I & II, it’s the only time in the series you believe his life to be legitimately in danger.

You might have noticed that while listing the film’s faults, I did not mention the Sofia Coppola’s infamous last-minute replacement performance as Michael’s daughter Mary. That’s because while I think Coppola’s performance clearly shows her acting inexperience, and while I find her character more than a little grating, I don’t find her performance entirely inapporpriate for the role. Mary should’ve been annoying, and a little bit simpering, because that’s the way spoiled, inarticulate teenage girls generally are, and I didn’t find her character any less compelling for it. She’s a believable daughter to Michael, and that’s all the role really required.

But really, this is Pacino’s movie, through and through. His amount of classic lines is equal to the first two–“Our true enemy has not yet shown his face,” “Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in,” and my personal favorite, his reaction to the news of Joey Zasa’s murder–“It…was not…WHAT I WANTED!!! And it’s just an all-around powerhouse performance–in every action he makes in GIII, in every word and every facial expression, you can see the effect of two decades of cruel business, familial alienation and horrible, horrible deeds. You know that try as he might to find redemption–in his kids, in his ex-wife, and in the church–the man is doomed. Another of my favorite scenes in the movie has Michael confessing his sins to Cardinal Lamberto (Raf Vallone), including his murder of brother Fredo, breaking into tears for the first time in three movies. “Your sins are indeed terrible,” the Cardinal tells him. “It is just that you suffer.”

And then there’s Michael’s final silent scream, pictured above, when he sees that Mosca’s assassination attempt on him has left him wounded but alive, while fatally catching daughter Mary in the crossfire. Some said this shot was cheesy and excessive, but I think it’s one of the most powerful moments in the entire trilogy–considering Michael has now officially lost his one possibile shot at redemption, in addition to the only thing he really loves in the world, I’d say it was a fair enough reaction. What’s more, if a sign of a true tragic hero is that he needs to have knowledge of how his actions led to his downfall, then the death of Mary as an inevitable result of his decades of misdoings was necessary for such an epiphany.

More importantly, there needed to be a Godfather III. Brilliant as it was, II just didn’t feel like the end to a story, it felt like an epic middle act. But all great stories need a great ending, and even if it was a flawed one, I still believe Godfather fans should feel blessed to get one as inspired as Part III was.

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Charts on Fire: 06-21-07

Posted by Andrew Unterberger on June 21, 2007

“Umbrella” takes week #4 at the top spot–somehow managing to be the longest-running #1 of the year so far (besides “Irreplaceable,” which started its run in ’06). Rest of the top ten is pretty boring (Shop Boyz, Fergie, T-Pain, Plain White T’s, Maroon 5, Avril Lavigne, Justin Timberlake, Amy Winehouse and Lil’ Mama, respectively), with the Lil’ one being the only new entry to the top strata (12-10). I suppose, yes, “Umbrella” has officially made its claim for Summer Jam status, but has a mediocre UK indie band done a semi-ironic cover of it yet, though? Because it can’t be a summer jam until a mediocre UK indie band sucks the life out of it at least once.

Fabolous is the big jumper in the top 40 this week, up 61 spots this week with his new Ne-Yo guesting single “Make Me Better” (boring even by Fabbo standards, yikes, #13), joining Sean Kingston’s very near hot one “Beautiful Girls” (#37) and Timbaland’s gramatically superior “The Way I Are” (probably one of the better Shock Value tracks, #40) as the three new ons to the top 40 this week. New to the bottom strata of the top 50 are Boys Like Girls’ “The Great Escape” (sorta non-descript emo pop/rock, but hey, I guess it’s summer or something, #44) and Eve’s hott-at-first-but-now-just-kinda-whatever “Tambourine” (#50).

My Chemical Romance have the top debut to the top 100 this week with the surprisingly swaggering “Teenagers” (I guess every decent semi-androgynous rock band has to ape T. Rex at least once, #87). Joining them in the bottom half of the list for the first time are Jack Johnson, whose “Imagine” cover (presumably for that John Lennon tribute album that debtued in the top 20 this week) is at #93, and Plies f/ T-Pain’s “Shawty,” which seems like a pretty lame excuse to get T-Pain on yet another hit single, at #94. Yawn.

Big Dog Daddy Toby Keith has the #1 album this week, yee-haw. And KoRn has the new Worst Song Ever in the Modern Rock top 20 this week. Nice one, country.

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Charts on Fire: 06-14-07

Posted by Andrew Unterberger on June 14, 2007

Week tres for Rihanna & Jay-z at pole position, with Shop Boyz’ “Party Like a Rockstar” now also having occupied the runner-up slot for that long. In fact the whole top five is the same as last weeks (3-5 rounded out by T-Pain, Fergie and Maroon 5, respectively), but we have two semi-exciting noobs in the next five–The Plain White T’s “Hey There Delilah” (does anyone else dig this song? C’mon, no judgement at Intensities in Ten Suburbs, let your pussy flag fly) is up ten to #6, and Amy Winehouse’s “Rehab” (fresh off her super-uncomfortable MTV Movie Awards Performance) is up 38 to #10. I don’t know if I can quite call it as Summer Jam ’07 yet, but it’s at least this year’s “Crazy,” a totally left-field hit that nonetheless seems to be well-liked by just about everyone.

Most notable elsewhere in the top 50 is the stunning re-entry of Lil’ Mama’s “Lip Gloss” at #12 this week (previously had peaked in the 90s–was wondering what was taking this song so long). I dig it, mostly because I dig songs about oddly specific subject matter (and no, “Lip Gloss” isn’t a metaphor for anything, chick just really likes her lips glossy), though I could see it getting grating real quick. Besides that, T-Pain and Akon are jumping 75 with the fairly awful “Bartender” (the two must appear on 30 top 40 hits between them this year, #22), UNK is up 14 with the similarly execrable “2 Step” (#24), Hannah Montana a.k.a. Miley Cyrus gets her first top 40 hit with the #28 debut of “Nobody’s Perfect” (one more and she’s got more than Dad Billy Ray) and Down a.k.a. Kilo’s “Lean Like a Cholo” is up 12 (finally got a chance to listen…pretty much what I’d expected, though with “What a Fool Believes”-like synths, #38).

Aside from Hannah and Mama, the highest entry on the chart this week is the #88 debut of Rihanna’s “Shut Up and Drive,” from her much ballyhooed Good Girl Gone Bad album, which debuts at #3 on the album charts this week. It’s not bad–sounds like the song Britney Spears should be doing about now if she wasn’t too busy being batshit insane. Rodeny Atkins also appears at #94 with “These Are My People,” (country dudes still love being country dudes, go figure), Hurricane Chris has a #95 debut for “A Bay Bay,” a surefire contender for stupidest single of 2007, and AI season five castaway Kellie Pickler manages to squeeze a #100 hit out of her deadly “I Wonder“–like I’ve said before, no one TV show should have this much influence.

T-Pain narrowly beats out Rihanna for the #1 album this week with his Epiphany (yeah, we all remember when we first discovered how awesome the vocoder was too, T-P), selling about 180k. Paul McCartney gets to #3 for his Memory Almost Full, which I’ve had an urge to listen to for some reason, despite never having listened to a single other Macca solo album. Anyone know if it’s worth it?

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Charts on Fire: 05-31-07

Posted by Andrew Unterberger on May 31, 2007

Riding an assload of digital downloads in its first week available on iTunes, Rihanna and Jay-Z’s “Umbrella” (or as it will forever be known, “Umberellah, Eh Eh Eh”) catapults 40 spots to the top of the charts. Shooting up right behind it is Shop Boyz’s “Party Like a Rockstar,” up 49 from last week, now officially kicking Freak Nasty’s ass. Fergie (21-8) and Kelly Clarkson (17-9) are gunning for the top as well, and JT is up 9-6 this week, one of the most fluid top tens we’ve seen in some time now.

Two Idol debuts make up the hot shots this week, with Jordin Sparks’s “This is My Now” bowing at #15 and Blake Lewis’s “You Give Love a Bad Name” at #18. T.I.’s relatively solid “Big Shit Poppin’ (Do It)” bows at #30, and Lil’ Boosie’s awful “Wipe Me Down” moves up 28 to #42. We also have a top 50 noob providing perhaps 2007’s best artist and title combination thusfar, Down A.K.A. Kilo’s “Lean Like a Cholo” (wish I had listened to it in time to make a pithy comment about it–next week, promise). Pretty much nothing else of note goes on in the chart’s top half.

In the bottom half, Smashing Pumpkins get their highest chart entry in almost a decade with the #54 debut of “Tarantula” (also rockets to #6 on the MR charts this week, where Linkin Park is #1 for like the 28th week). I heard it on the radio the other day and I was sort of pleasantly surprised–they’ve always been a pretty solid singles band, though, even in the dirths of their Machina days. And Gwen Stefani has a new song, “4 in the Morning,” at #76–like a less interesting “Sweet Escape,” and by less interesting I mean with no “WOOOO-OOOOH, YEEEEE-OOOOH!!!”s. Meh.

Maroon 5 have a #1 album this week, which sells a fair amount of copies. Good for them.

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Charts on Fire: 05-24-07

Posted by Andrew Unterberger on May 24, 2007

M5 flip with T-Pain back to #1 this week, its third week on top. Liking this song more and more, good to see it return to its ascension. Boring top ten otherwise, with some large gains from so whats Daughtry (13-5), Carrie Underwood (11-8, making “Before He Cheats” the single to take the longest to ever get to the top ten–38 weeks, not bad) and Justin Timberlake (14-9). Do we have anything even resembling a Summer Jam prospect yet? Not in this top ten, certainly.

Lower in the top 40, some movement from Fall Out Boy (24-14), Fergie (41-21), and Plain White T’s (37-27), as well as an album sales-assisted rebound for Linkin Park (23-12), who have the best numbers in years with a 600k or so first week for their third LP Minutes to Midnight. Some new ons to the low end of the top 50 this week with Tank’s “Please Don’t Go” (also sales assisted, 64-42), Freak Nasty’s “Do It Just Like a Rock Star” (was this really just a hit because people accidentally downloading it thinking it was some other song? And why can I find it nowhere? 56-45), and Big & Rich’s “Lost in This Moment” (63-49), as well as a Hot Shot debut from Enrique Iglesias’s “Do You Know? (The Ping Pong Song)” (I guess everyone else remembers it from the same thing I do, #33).

Only a pair of debuts (listed on the website, anyway) in the chart’s bottom 50. One is a re-entry from Amy Winehouse, whose “Rehab” reaches a new peak at #72–I gotta say, I would never have guessed this woman to reach mainstream popularity, but she looks well on her way to outdo the would be-crossovers of Lily Allen and Lady Sov. I guess people dig the tattoos. The other is from the Billboard-claimed “MySpace.com sensation” Colbie Caillat, “Bubbly” (sounds kinda nice actually–for one listen, anyway,. Sort of like a 00s Lisa Loeb, #91).

That’s about it. Smashing Pumpkins have a new song at #30 in the MR charts.

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Charts on Fire: 05-17-07

Posted by Andrew Unterberger on May 17, 2007

The 2nd least explicable single to hit #1 this year, T-Pain and Young Joc’s “Buy U a Drank (Shawty Snappin’)” replaces Maroon 5 at the top spot this week, predictably bringing the winning streak of quality-ish #1s (“Give it To Me,” “Girlfriend,” “Makes Me Wonder”) decidedly to an end. People still really, really like vocoder I guess (meanwhile, he’s ruining it for the rest of us–I’ll never listen to Zapp & Roger the same way once this dude is done). It’s also notable for marking the second single this year to brag about having “money in the bank” in a non-sequitur lyric. Sort of interesting, I guess.

Bone Thugz n Harmony (f/ Akon), Huey and Pink are the gainers in the top ten this week, moving 9-6, 11-7 and 16-10 respectively (none thrill me much, though the Bone Thugz single at least evokes pleasant memories). Lower, Daughtry and Timberlake continue their slow climbs (19-13, 18-14), Fall Out Boy start to take off with “Thanks fr the Mmrs” (a fourth top ten single? 38-24), and DJ Khaled and Plain White T’s start to set pace (35-30, 41-37–hope to see both getting at least ten or so higher).

Three new ons to the top 50, besides Fergie coming back with “Big Girls Don’t Cry” (51-41). The first two are pretty exciting–a hot shot debut for 50 Cent’s comeback single “Straight to the Bank,” probably the best thing he’s done since “P.I.M.P.” (fake british laughing = always a plus, #32) and some long-overdue heat from Rihanna and Jay-Z’s “Umberlla” (possibly the best song on the subject since The Hollies’ “Bus Stop,” 52-44). The third is no slouch either, though–Lifehouse takes their shot at three-hit wonder status with their 00s equivalent of AM Gold, “First Time” (more reminiscent of “Hanging By a Moment” than “You and Me,” luckily, #48). Cool stuff, all around.

In the bottom half, we got a couple debuts from new Timbo protege Bobby Valentino with “Anonymous” (can the team-up produce the next “Icebox” or “My Love”? Not really feeling it yet, #52), as well as the long-awaited return from Ryde or Die chick Eve, with comeback single “Tambourine” (seems like a lifetime since she was conceivable as a popular artist, but this is still impressively hot, #72). R. Kelly and Usher’s “Same Girl” also peeks out its head for the first time at #79, hopefully a harbinger of a great chart run to come.

Michael Buble has the #1 album this week, and Nine Inch Nails have a song using the Schaffel beat burning up the modern rock charts. Besides that, life is more or less as it should be.

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