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Taylor Swift this week becomes the first female solo artist to replace herself at #1 on the Hot 100. Her new hit, “Blank Space,” leaps from #13 to #1, displacing “Shake It Off,” which held the top spot for four non-consecutive weeks. Swift is the first act to replace itself at #1 since the Black Eyed Peas, which did the trick in July 2009 with “Boom Boom Pow” and “I Gotta Feeling.”
Swift is the 11th artist to replace itself at #1 since 1955 (which predates the inception of the Hot 100 in 1958). She’s the seventh solo artist to achieve the feat, but just the second solo artist to do it with two records that were entirely solo (no collaborations). The first to do this entirely on his own was Elvis Presley, who scored in October 1956 with the double-listed “Hound Dog”/”Don’t Be Cruel” and “Love Me Tender.”
The five solo artists who have done the trick since then—Puff Daddy, Ja Rule, Nelly, Usher and T.I.—did it with at least one collaboration.
"Blank Space" made the biggest leap to #1 since Miley Cyrus's “Wrecking Ball” vaulted from #22 to #1 in September 2013. Both songs soared to the top on the heels of the release of their accompanying videos. The “Blank Space” video was released on Nov. 10.
Swift is the first artist to amass two #1 hits in 2014. 1989 is Swift’s first album to spawn two #1 hits. Her previous album, Red, came awfully close. It yielded a #1 (“We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together”) and a #2 (“I Knew You Were Trouble”).
"Blank Space" returns to #1 on Hot Digital Songs this week. It sold 328K copies in the week that ended Sunday night. That’s the greatest one-week tally by any song since Swift’s "Shake It Off" sold 340K copies in the week ending Aug. 31.
Meghan Trainor's “All About That Bass” holds at #2 on the Hot 100 for the third straight week in its 19th week … Swift's “Shake It Off” drops from #1 to #3 in its 13th week.
Maroon 5's “Animals” dips from #3 to #4 in its 13th week. The song jumps to #1 on the all-genre Radio Songs chart, displacing Tove Lo's “Habits (Stay High).” “Animals” tops the 1 million mark in digital sales this week. (I always crack up at the part where Adam Levine does the howling sound. I wonder how many takes it took to get the perfect howl. He showed real commitment to his art.)
Tove Lo's “Habits (Stay High)” dips from #4 to #5 in its 25th week. The song has climbed as high as #3.
Hozier's “Take Me To Church” jumps from #8 to #6 in its 14th week. The song sounds a lot like early Elton John, who had his own “Take Me To” song. “Take Me To The Pilot” was a highlight of his 1970 album Elton John.
Bobby Shmurda's “Hot Boy” dips from #6 to #7 in its 16th week. It's #1 on Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs for the second week.
"Bang Bang" by Jessie J, Ariana Grande & Nicki Minaj drops from #5 to #8 in its 16th week. The song peaked at #3. Another Grande hit, “Love Me Harder,” a collabo with The Weeknd, unexpectedly drops out of the top 10 this week. I suspect that it simply rose too quickly and that this is only a temporary setback. Grande and The Weeknd are performing the song on the AMAs on Sunday, which should help it return to the top 10.
Sam Smith lands his third top 10 hit as “I’m Not The Only One” moves up from #11 to #9 in its 11th week. “Stay With Me” logged 21 weeks in the top 10, peaking at #2. Smith was also featured on Disclosure's “Latch,” which peaked at #7. Billboard's Gary Trust points out that Smith is the only male artist to land three top 10 hits so far in 2014. Two women have also achieved this feat: Ariana Grande (four top 10 hits) and Iggy Azalea (three). Smith’s debut album, In The Lonely Hour, dips from #8 to #9 in its 22nd week on The Billboard 200. It has sold 802K copies.
While we’re on the topic of “I’m Not The Only One,” Melissa Etheridge had a top 10 hit in 1994 with a song title that expressed the opposite viewpoint, “I’m The Only One.” There have been many other pairs of contradictory song titles. Here are two such pairs: Aretha Franklin hit #19 in 1974 with “I’m In Love.” 10cc reached #2 in 1975 with “I’m Not In Love.” Tevin Campbell hit #9 in 1994 with “I’m Ready.” Keith Sweat" reached #16 in 1999 with "I’m Not Ready."
Nick Jonas's “Jealous” leaps from #23 to #10 in its 10th week. It's Jonas' first top 10 hit on his own; his third counting Jonas Brothers, which scored with a pair of top 10 hits (“Burnin’ Up” and “Tonight”) in 2008. “Jealous” is an excellent record. Jonas is a talented artist. It must be very difficult for artists to “keep it together” in the years when they’re cold and viewed as washed-up by the industry and most music fans. (Memo to aspiring artists: You better have a thick skin.) Jonas’s eponymous album enters The Billboard 200 at #6 (37K).
John Legend's “All Of Me” tops the 5 million mark in digital sales this week. The song spent three weeks at #1 in May.
Ed Sheeran's “Don't” tops the 1 million mark in digital sales this week. The song has climbed as high as #9.
Hillsong United's “Oceans (Where Feet May Fail)” tops the 1 million mark, a rarity for a Contemporary Christian hit. The song reached #83 on the Hot 100 and won a GMA Dove Award for Song of the Year.
To My Readers: I’ll have another Chart Watch column drawn from the Hot 100 later today.
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