This week, we pay our third visit to the Hot 100, and even though that damn OneRepublic song is still here, the rest of the chart is mostly a pleasant surprise. Okay, so that Flo Rida song is a piece of garbage, and the source of Sean Kingston's appeal continues to elude us -- but how much fault can you find with a chart that puts Yael Naim next to a keytar-rocking Snoop Dogg? Not much, as Jeff discovers while counting down your Hot 100 Top 10 for the week of February 18, 2008. Ready, set, count!
1. Flo Rida featuring T-Pain, “Low” (Atlantic/Poe Boy)
What the hell is this? Only one T-Pain appearance in the entire Top 10? Homeboy be slippin’ – but hey, at least Mr. Pain is showing up at the top, right? Anyway, “Low” is the leadoff single from the soundtrack to Step Up 2 the Streets, the dance-drama sequel America must have asked for, we guess, seeing as how the song is setting sales records all over the place. Um…there isn’t much else to say about this song, really. She got low. Low, low, low, low, low.
2. Chris Brown, “With
Okay, so the Stargate shtick is starting to wear awfully thin, and at some point, tastefully strummed acoustic guitars are going to stop earning so much mileage with R&B audiences, at which point they’ll go back underground for another decade until the next Tony Rich comes along. But right now, “With You” is at Number Two, extending a winning streak that includes Beyonce’s “Irreplaceable” and Rihanna’s “Hate That I Love You.” Plus, it’s hard to get too mad at a song that goes out to “hearts all over the world tonight,” isn’t it? Chris Brown is like a smoother Wolfman Jack!
3. Rihanna, “Don’t
Stop the Music” (Def Jam)
Cynics are already quibbling about the timing behind this single’s release – the "Mama-say, mama-sa, mama-ko-sa" chanting in the bridge reaches back to Michael Jackson’s “Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin’” (which lifted from Manu Dibango’s “Soul Makossa”) just in time for the deluxe 25th anniversary reissue of Thriller – but that misses the point, which is that there’s no stopping Rihanna right now, and when she spends a video pouring herself into a tight dress and getting nasty in the club, you might as well just clear a path between this song and the Number One spot.
Alicia Keys, “No
We called this thing a hit months ago, and were we ever right – “No One” has been the record industry’s official success story in ’08, and given Keys’ career a boost after many assumed her days of tapping into the zeitgeist were over. Are you sick of hearing it yet? Us neither.
5. Timbaland featuring OneRepublic, “Apologize”
This song, on the other hand, we’d be very happy to never hear again. We’ve gone through the five stages of grief with this song, and although we’re reluctant to call our feelings for it “acceptance,” we can at least take comfort in the knowledge that, God willing, our next sojourn into the Hot 100 will be blissfully OneRepublic free. Curse you, Timbaland.
6. Sara Bareilles, “Love
Out with the Colbie Caillat, in with the Sara Bareilles – the piano-playing singer/songwriter is the estrogen set’s latest happy discovery, thanks to a ubiquitous (and, it must be said, actually kinda clever) commercial for the Rhapsody service. Not a bad little pop tune, right? You’re kinda bouncing in your chair a little, right? So are we – which is why we’re dreading this song’s inevitable multi-format crossover and long, long lingering on the charts. Let’s just enjoy it before it overstays its welcome, shall we?
Yael Naim, “New
In which a French-Israeli singer/songwriter rides a Macbook Air television spot onto the Top 10, becoming the hippest Middle Eastern pop export since Ofra Haza in the process. It’s the kind of left-field success that makes you believe in the music business all over again, if only for a few minutes. In six months, we’ll probably be talking about all the ways Atlantic dropped the ball on the Stateside release of Naim’s album, but in the meantime, isn’t it a hoot seeing this on the charts?
8. Snoop Dogg, “Sensual
It’s deeply unoriginal and clearly a half-serious nod to the seemingly bottomless well of nostalgia for ‘70s soul. It’s also without a doubt the coolest thing we’ve seen all week. Consider us seduced, Mr. Broadus. Do your thang.
9. Sean Kingston, “Take
You There” (Epic/Beluga Heights)
The most consistently non-threatening overweight hip-hop performer since Heavy D, Kingston takes his Caribbean love to what is hopefully its logical conclusion here, making like Jimmy Buffett with a darker complexion and an armload of vintage synths. The song, though? It tries hard, but doesn’t really go anywhere – kind of like Kingston trying to swim upstream. Why is this a hit?
Yep, that Buckcherry. We’re telling you guys – the music biz is a strange, strange place right now. How else to explain a Top 10 pop hit from a B-list rock band that everyone thought broke up years ago? The logical next step, we suppose, is a hit from Cry of Love. Then maybe Steelheart. Then again, those bands probably couldn’t put together a song that sounds this much like an unholy cross between Goo Goo Dolls, Foreigner, and Daniel Powter. Wow.