Almost two months after our first column, we return to the Hot 100 -- and guess what? That T-Pain dude is still all over the chart. Matter of fact, quite a few of the songs we covered last time around are still in the Top 10 -- six of them, to be exact. Is it that the songs are just so good, or is it that nobody's releasing (or buying) enough new music to make a dent on the charts? We'll let you decide...and hope you enjoy some T-Pain. Here's hoping that by the time we reconvene in 2008, there's been a major shakeup, 'cause if we have to hear "Bubbly" one more time, someone's going to pay. On with the Top 10!
1. Timbaland feat. OneRepublic, “Apologize” (Mosley/Blackground)
You know, when Timbaland first penetrated the public consciousness a little over a decade ago with Missy Elliott’s “The Rain (Supa Dupa Fly),” nobody could have predicted that he’d wind up remixing this soggy ballad, performing it with the band on “One Life to Live,” and taking it all the way to Number One on the pop charts. Congratulations, OneRepublic! You’ve unseated Vertical Horizon as the most recent adult contemporary band from Colorado to crest the charts!
2. Alicia Keys, “No
The album it’s from might be completely uneven, but “No One” is easily one of the most powerful R&B songs of the year, making Keys’ year-end chart domination more richly deserved than most. The label will have problems when it comes time to choose the third or fourth single from the album – but that’s a pretty nice problem to have, no? Just sit back and sing along.
3. Flo Rida feat. T-Pain, “Low”
The follow-up to Flo Rida’s instant classic, “Bitch I’m From Dade County,” “Low” is guaranteed to be a thousand times better than the movie whose soundtrack it’s featured on – “Step Up 2 the Streets” – and even if that says less about the song than the stupid movie, that’s fine; we’ll take our Hot 100 victories where we can get them these days. As is required by law, the song features T-Pain, although his involvement is far less annoying than certain other songs we could mention. (More on that later.)
What, a song about all the dumb things Fergie does ‘cause she’s in love, and not a single line about wetting her pants? How disappointing. All kidding aside, “Clumsy” is easily the least annoying thing we’ve ever heard Fergie do. In fact, it might even be kinda cool; we could certainly do without the hokey spoken-word bridge, but the retro vibe is nifty – and best of all, she isn’t talking about her fucking humps, lumps, or bumps. Nicely done, Dutchess.
5. Chris Brown feat. T-Pain, “Kiss
He hails from Tappahannock, VA, and rocks the vocoder as convincingly as T-Pain; in fact, that’s Chris Brown you hear singing this song’s obnoxiously catchy hook, not the ubiquitous digital talkbox king. Anyway, this song has had a nice run, but its staying power might actually be keeping Brown from feeding stations a suitable third act from Exclusive – and the next single really can’t come soon enough, because we’re deeply tired of this song.
6. Colbie Caillat, “Bubbly”
Speaking of tired, here’s “Bubbly” in its 31st week on the chart! There’s no denying Colbie’s musical pedigree – her dad is Ken Caillat, co-producer of Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours and Tusk – but this song is as substantial as the last few bits of granola at the bottom of the bag. Are people really so desperate for gentle acoustic ballads that they’ll keep this song on the charts for the better part of a year? Yes. Yes, they are.
Jordin Sparks, “Tattoo”
“You’re on my heart just like a tattoo”? What the fuck? We realize the lyrical bar isn’t exactly set high for “American Idol” finalists, but seriously, that’s one of the dumber hooks we’ve heard on the Top 10 in quite some time. (Look around – that’s really saying something.) Sparks’ debut album hasn’t exactly been moving heaven and Earth at retail, and if “Tattoo” is the best the record has to offer, it’s easy to understand why. But hey, at least she doesn’t beatbox. Shame on you, Blake Lewis.
8. Rihanna feat. Ne-Yo, “Hate
That I Love You” (Island Def Jam)
Maybe it isn’t as much of a timeless throwback as “No One,” but “Hate That I Love You” does hearken strongly back to the late ‘80s-to-mid-‘90s flavor of R&B, when the hooks were firmly planted in the pop realm, and crossovers happened because there were actually other formats for songs to cross into. In the spring of 1990, this song would have been rubbing shoulders with After 7 and Bell Biv DeVoe – and it would have sounded just as good then as it does now. Also, Rihanna in lingerie never goes out of style.
9. Finger Eleven, “Paralyzer”
Not that we’re complaining about an honest-to-God rock song actually making it into the Top 10, but why this song? Why this band? It sounds like something matchbox twenty might have cooked up on a good day…which actually explains everything, come to think of it. Never mind. Way to identify a vacuum and fill it, Finger Eleven!
Baby Bash feat. T-Pain, “Cyclone”
On one hand, you really have to love a country in which a reformed crystal meth dealer with a bad ankle can hit the Top 10, especially with a song that inspires random chicks across the country to strip down to their skivvies and make their own videos. On the other hand, “Cyclone” is really, really stupid – the kind of song that’s a 30-second countdown to a migraine anywhere outside the club. It’s still better than “Na Na (The Yummy Song),” but you knew that just by reading the title. We’ll return to the Hot 100 in a few weeks, Baby Bash, and we don’t want to see you here when we get back.