Chart Watch: Who Is Soko And Why Is She #9?

Paul Grein
·Writer

The fastest-breaking song on this week's Hot 100 has received little radio airplay. It sold just 10K digital copies this past week, which places it at #157 on Hot Digital Songs. So why does Soko's "We Might Be Dead By Tomorrow" enter the Hot 100 at #9? The song is the background music to a phenomenally popular YouTube video, "First Kiss," which shows 10 pairs of strangers kissing. The video has racked up nearly 64 million views.

I would guess that few people watching the video pay much attention to the song. The focus is very much on the visuals; on the honest human reactions to an unusual situation. (The meager sales number for the song supports the idea that the song is not a primary draw. Nonetheless, the song benefits.)

Billboard reports that 96% of the song's Hot 100 points come from streaming. But for the past year, streaming has been part of the Hot 100 mix, alongside sales and airplay.

Soko's #9 debut is the highest for an act who was making his/her/its first chart appearance since Baauer's "Harlem Shake," which debuted at #1 in February 2013 and remained on top for five weeks.

Soko (real name: Stephanie Sokolinksi) recorded the moody ballad on her 2011 album "I Thought I Was An Alien." The album charted in her native France as well as Switzerland and Belgium.

Pharrell Williams

's "Happy" heads the Hot 100 for the fourth straight week. The song this week surpasses "Dark Horse" by Katy Perry featuring Juicy J (which also spent four weeks at #1) to become the best-selling song so far in 2014.

If "Happy" winds up as the #1 single of the entire year (a big if, but it's off to a strong start), this would be the first time that the year's best-seller originated in a theatrically-released movie since 1995, when the best-selling physical single of the year was "Gangsta's Paradise" by Coolio featuring L.V. from "Dangerous Minds" (2,534,000 in that calendar year). Three years before that, the best-selling single of 1992 was Whitney Houston's "I Will Always Love You" (from "The Bodyguard" (3,086,000 in that calendar year). "Gangsta's Paradise" was based on an old Stevie Wonder song. "I Will Always Love You" was a cover of an old Dolly Parton song.

"Happy" received 210 million "all-format audience impressions" at radio this past week, according to Nielsen BDS. It's just the third song to crack the 200-million audience threshold in the Radio Song chart's 23-history. The others are "Blurred Lines" by Robin Thicke featuring T.I. + Pharrell (229 million in its peak week in July 2013) and Mariah Carey's "We Belong Together" (212 million in its peak week in May 2005).

"Happy" sold 364K copies this week. This is the fifth week in a row its sales have topped 300K. The song is also #1 on Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs for the sixth week.

"Dark Horse" by Katy Perry featuring Juicy J holds at #2 for the fourth week. The song tops the 4 million mark in digital sales this week. It's Perry's eighth song to reach that plateau. Her best-seller remains "Firework" (6,566,000).

"Talk Dirty" by Jason Derulo featuring 2 Chainz holds at #4 for the second week. The song tops the 2 million mark in digital sales this week. It's Derulo's fourth 2-million-seller. It's the third song to sell 2 million copies in 2014, following "Dark Horse" and "Happy."

Aloe Blacc

's "The Man" jumps from #12 to #10. The song contains the "hope you don't mind" hook from Elton John's first hit, "Your Song," which spent four weeks at #8 in January and February 1971. This is Aloe Blacc's first official top 10 hit, though he was the uncredited lead vocalist on Avicii's "Wake Me Up!" That smash tops the 4 million mark in digital sales this week. It's the first dance/electronic song to reach this plateau, according to Nielsen SoundScan's classifications. David Guetta has the two closest runners-up: "Titanium" (featuring Sia, 3,852,000) and "Sexy Chick" (featuring Akon, 3,507,000).

Here's a recap of this week's top 10 songs.

The Top Five: Pharrell Williams's "Happy" holds at #1 for the fourth week in its 11th week on the chart. This is its seventh week in the top 10. Digital sales rank: #1 (364K) … "Dark Horse" by Katy Perry featuring Juicy J holds at #2 for the fourth week its 26th week on the chart. This is its 11th week in the top 10. Digital sales rank: #4 (165K) … John Legend's "All Of Me" holds at #3 for the second week in its 23rd week on the chart. This is its fourth week in the top 10. Digital sales rank: #2 (215K) … "Talk Dirty" by Jason Derulo featuring 2 Chainz holds at #4 for the second week in its 13th week on the chart. This is its eighth week in the top 10. Digital sales rank: #3 (198K) … Bastille's "Pompeii" holds at #5 for the third week in its 31st week on the chart. This is its eighth week in the top 10. Digital sales rank: #7 (106K).

The Second Five: Lorde's "Team" holds at #6 for the third week in its 25th week on the chart. This is its ninth week in the top 10. Digital sales rank: #11 (80K) …. OneRepublic's "Counting Stars" rebounds from #8 to #7 in its 39th week on the chart. This is its 21st week in the top 10. Digital sales rank: #17 (63K) …."Drunk In Love" by Beyonce featuring Jay Z dips from #7 to #8 in its 13th week on the chart. This is its seventh week in the top 10. Digital sales rank: #13 (75K) … Soko's "We Might Be Dead By Tomorrow" debuts at #9. It's her first top 10 hit. Digital sales rank: #157 (10K) … Aloe Blacc's "The Man" jumps from #12 to #10 in its 12th week on the chart. It's his first (credited) top 10 hit. Digital sales rank: #8 (97K).

Two songs drop out of the top 10 this week. Idina Menzel's Oscar-winning "Let It Go" drops from #9, after a single week in the top 10. Digital sales rank: #5 (122K) … "Timber" by Pitbull featuring Ke$ha drops from #10, ending a 17-week run in the top 10.

American Authors

's "Best Day Of My Life," which jumped from #21 to #16 on last week's Hot 100, tops the 1 million mark in digital sales this week. Digital sales rank: #10 (82K).

"Turn Down For What" by DJ Snake & Lil John, which jumped from #28 to #27 on last week's Hot 100, also tops the 1 million mark in digital sales this week. Digital sales rank: #9 (83K).

The Chainsmokers

's "#Selfie," which shot from #55 to #28 on last week's Hot 100, is expected to move up nicely again this week. Digital sales rank: #6 (111K). The novelty song about the red-hot "selfie" explosion is the latest in a long string of singles that were quick to comment on a cresting phenomenon. Others include Ray Stevens's "The Streak" (#1 in 1974), about that year's streaking phenomenon; C.W. McCall's "Convoy" (#1 in 1976), about the booming citizens band (CB) radio phenomenon; Buckner & Garcia's "Pac-Man Fever" (#9 in 1982), about the videogame explosion; and "Valley Girl" by Frank Zappa featuring an uncredited Moon Unit Zappa (#32 in 1982), about suburban teens' "Valley-speak."

Flo Rida

's "Good Feeling" tops the 4 million mark in digital sales this week. It's his third song to reach this plateau, following "Low" (featuring T-Pain, 6,959,000) and "Right Round" (featuring an uncredited Ke$ha, 5,572,000). "Good Feeling" reached #3 in January 2012.

Cassadee Pope's "Wasting All These Tears" tops the 1 million mark in digital sales this week. Pope was the Season 3 winner on "The Voice." This is the first song by a contestant on "The Voice" to become a million-seller. "Wasting All These Tears" reached #37 on the Hot 100.

Cole Swindell's "Chillin' It" tops the 1 million mark in digital sales this week. The song was #1 on Hot Country Songs for two weeks.

David Nail's "Whatever You've Got" tops the 1 million mark in digital sales this week.

To My Readers: I'll have a separate Chart Watch report on this week's key movers and debuts on the Hot 100 later today. I won't recap the top 10 in that second report. It will be fresh material.