Until about four months ago, relatively few pop fans had heard of fun., an indie pop group from New York City. More had heard of R&B singer Janelle Monae, who performed on the Grammys in February 2011, but most probably couldn't have named one of her songs. This week, these newcomers break a record previously held by two of the biggest superstars in pop music, Eminem and Rihanna. "We Are Young" becomes the first song in digital history to top 300K in weekly sales six times. The old record was held by "Love The Way You Lie," which topped 300K in weekly sales five times in the summer of 2010.
And "We Are Young" will probably extend its record. It sold 390K copies this week, its best showing to date. It may well top 300K for one to three more weeks.
"We Are Young" tops the 3 million mark in digital sales this week. This is the earliest in the year that a song has topped the 3 million mark in digital history. The previous record was set in 2009, when Flo Rida's "Right Round" topped the 3 million mark in the week ending April 26.
(The first song to sell 3 million copies in 2011 was "E.T." by Katy Perry featuring Kanye West, which achieved the feat in the week ending May 8. The first to do it in 2010 was Train's "Hey, Soul Sister," which scored in the week ending May 30. The first to do it in 2008 was Leona Lewis' "Bleeding Love," which hit that mark in the week ending Aug. 17. Prior to 2008, no songs topped 3 million copies in a calendar year.)
"We Are Young" is #1 on all three of the subordinate charts that feed the Hot 100: Hot Digital Songs (for the seventh time in the past nine weeks), Hot 100 Airplay (up from #2 last week) and On-Demand Songs (it has been on top since the chart debuted four weeks ago).
"Somebody That I Used To Know" by Gotye featuring Kimbra jumps from #3 to #2. Like "We Are Young" it reached #1 on Billboard's Alternative chart. This marks the first time that the top two songs on the Hot 100 were both #1 (or even top 10) hits on the Alternative chart. That chart debuted in September 1988.
"Somebody That I Used To Know" logged five weeks at #1 in the U.K in February and March. Fully half of this week's top 10 songs have reached #1 in the U.K. The others are The Wanted's "Glad You Came," which was #1 in the U.K. for two weeks in July; One Direction's "What Makes You Beautiful" (one week in September), Katy Perry's "Part Of Me" (one week in March) and Carly Rae Jepsen's "Call Me Maybe" (this week). The Wanted and One Direction are British, Perry is American, Gotye is Belgian (he was raised in Australia), Kimbra is New Zealander and Jepsen in Canadian.
Justin Bieber's "Boyfriend" drops from #2 to #5 in its second week. It's Bieber's first song to spend two weeks in the top five. It surpasses "Baby" (featuring Ludacris), which spent one week in the winner's circle in February 2010. "Boyfriend" sold 295K copies this week, down from last week's tally of 521K. (It was #1 on last week's Hot Digital Songs chart, but it missed out of the #1 spot on the Hot 100 because it trailed in radio points and had almost no on-demand streaming points.)
Unless "Boyfriend" tops the Hot 100 in a future week as it builds radio and streaming points, it will set a dubious record. It will go down as the song that sold the most digital copies in one week without ever hitting #1. That record is currently held by Iyaz's "Replay," which sold 447K copies in its peak sales week in December 2009. "Replay" is followed by Lady Gaga's "Bad Romance" (445K in its peak week in December 2009), Cee Lo Green's "F**k You (Forget You)" (412K in its peak week in February 2011) and Taylor Swift's "Love Story" (360K in its peak week in December 2008). The Iyaz, Gaga and Green hits all stalled at #2 on the Hot 100. Swift's song reached #4.
So will "Boyfriend" climb to #1? The song drops from #1 to #3 on Hot Digital Songs, but leaps from #24 to #16 on Hot 100 Airplay and enters On-Demand Songs at #35. It won't be easy, but I hope Bieber pulls it off. It must be hard to come so close and fall short.
Nicki Minaj's "Starships" holds at #6 for the second week. Three other Minaj songs enter the chart this week. "Right By My Side" (featuring Chris Brown) bows at #51, "Beez In The Trap" (featuring 2 Chainz) opens at #78 and "Va Va Voom" bows at #79. Minaj's Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded enters The Billboard 200 at #1 this week. You already know that if you read Chart Watch: Albums. If you missed it, here's a link.
Kelly Clarkson's "Stronger (What Doesn't Kill You)" (which drops from #5 to #8) this week surpasses her 2009 smash "My Life Would Suck Without You" to become her best-selling digital hit to date. "Stronger" has sold 2,707,000 copies. "Suck" has sold 2,613,000. Clarkson has two other 2-million-sellers. "Since U Been Gone" has sold 2,460,000 copies. Jason Aldean's "Don't You Wanna Stay," on which she was featured, has sold 2,021,000. The Fine Print: "Since U Been Gone" was released in December 2004, before digital sales really took off. If it had come out five years later, it would have easily sold 5-6 million copies.
Carly Rae Jepsen's "Call Me Maybe" holds at #10 for the second week. This is one of the biggest hits in pop history to feature the powerfully ambivalent word "maybe" in its title. Wings' "Maybe I'm Amazed," a live version of a song that appeared on Paul McCartney's first solo album in 1970, peaked at #10 in 1977. "Maybe" songs that made the top 20 include the Chantels' "Maybe" (#15 in 1958), the Crickets' "Maybe Baby" (#17 in 1958), Lesley Gore's "Maybe I Know" (#14 in 1964) and the Jackson 5's "Maybe Tomorrow" (#20 in 1971).
Here's the low-down on this week's top 10 songs.
1. fun. featuring Janelle Monae, "We Are Young." The song holds at #1 for the sixth straight week in its 16th week on the chart. This is its ninth week in the top 10. Digital sales rank: #1 (390K).
2. Gotye featuring Kimbra, "Somebody That I Used To Know." The song jumps from #3 to #2 in its 14th week on the chart. This is its sixth week in the top 10. Digital sales rank: #2 (311K).
3. The Wanted, "Glad You Came." The song rebounds from #4 to #3 in 13th week on the chart. This is its seventh week in the top 10. Digital sales rank: #7 (209K).
4. One Direction, "What Makes You Beautiful." The song leaps from #9 to #4 in its eighth week on the chart. The song tops the 1 million mark in digital sales this week. Digital sales rank: #4 (294K).
5. Justin Bieber, "Boyfriend." The song drops from #2 to #5 in its second week on the chart. Digital sales rank: #3 (295K).
6. Nicki Minaj, "Starships." The song holds at #6 for the second week in its eighth week on the chart. It has been in the top 10 the entire time. Digital sales rank: #5 (232K).
7. Flo Rida featuring Sia, "Wild Ones." The song holds at #7 for the third week in its 14th week on the chart. This is its fourth week in the top 10. Digital sales rank: #8 (198K).
8. Kelly Clarkson, "Stronger (What Doesn't Kill You)." The former #1 song drops from #5 to #8 in its 16th week on the chart. This is its 12th week in the top 10. Digital sales rank: #10 (137K).
9. Katy Perry, "Part Of Me." The former #1 song dips from #8 to #9 in its eighth week on the chart. It has been in the top 10 the entire time. Digital sales rank: #9 (138K).
10. Carly Rae Jepsen, "Call Me Maybe." The song holds at #10 for the second week in its seventh week on the chart. This is its second week in the top 10. Digital sales rank: #6 (216K).
Calvin Harris' "Feel So Close" jumps from #14 to #13 in its ninth week…Train's "Drive By," which shows more than a little influence of their tour mates Maroon 5, jumps from #15 to #14 in its 13th week. The song has climbed as high as #13…B.o.B's "So Good" jumps from #23 to #19 in its seventh week. The song has climbed as high as #11.
Adele's "Rumour Has It" jumps from #35 to #23 in its 17th week. It's likely to become the fourth top 10 hit from 21. The album is likely to return to #1 on next week's Billboard 200. It would be its 24th week on top…Eric Church's "Springsteen" jumps from #38 to #26 in its sixth week. It's Church's highest-charting hit to date on the Hot 100. His previous peak was #40 for "Drink In My Hand."
"Dance Again" by Jennifer Lopez featuring Pitbull debuts at #27. The pair's previous collabo, "On The Floor," reached #3 in May 2011. It has sold 3,486,000 copies. J.Lo has a history of repeat engagements with recording partners. She also recorded two hit collabos with Ja Rule ("I'm Real" and "Ain't It Funny") and LL Cool J ("All I Have" and "Control Myself"). All of these hits made the top five. J.Lo also recorded two charted collabos with Fat Joe, but they didn't make the top 40.
Luke Bryan's "Drunk On You" jumps from #39 to #31 in its sixth week…Miranda Lambert's "Over You" jumps from #44 to #35 (its highest ranking to date) in its 12th week…Lee Brice's "A Woman Like You" drops from #34 to #36 in its 16th week. It jumps to #1 on Hot Country Songs. It's the first #1 country hit for Brice, who first hit the country chart in 2007..."Mercy" by Kanye West featuring Big Sean, Pusha T and 2 Chainz bows at #38. It's the first single from the forthcoming GOOD Music, the first album from West's record label of the same name.
"Feel Like A Rock Star" by Kenny Chesney & Tim McGraw bows at #40. It's from Chesney's 13th studio album, Welcome To The Fishbowl, which is due June 19. The song debuts at #13 on Hot Country Songs. Billboard's Gary Trust notes that this is the second highest debut on the country chart since 1990. It trails only Garth Brooks' "More Than A Memory," which debuted at #1 in September 2007. (Chesney has three of the top four debuts since 1990. Next in line are his hits "Don't Blink," which bowed at #16 in September 2007 and "The Boys Of Fall," which opened at #17 in July 2010.)
"Take It To The Head" by DJ Khaled featuring Chris Brown, Rick Ross, Nicki Minaj and Lil Wayne bows at #63. It's the first single from DJ Khaled's sixth album Kiss The Ring, which is due later this year…Demi Lovato's "Give Your Heart A Break" bows at #70. It's the second single from her third studio album Unbroken, following the top 10 "Skyscraper"…One Direction's "One Thing" re-opens at #75 (its highest ranking to date). It's the second single from the boy band's former #1 album Up All Night…Alex Clare's "Too Close" jumps from #100 to #80 in its third week. The song has climbed as high as #68.
T.I.'s "Love This Life" bows at #81. It's the first single from T.I.'s eighth studio album, Trouble Man, which is due this summer…"Another Round" by Fat Joe featuring Chris Brown opens at #83...Andy Grammer's "Fine By Me" opens at #87. It's the second single from Grammer's eponymous debut album, following the zesty "Keep Your Head Up," which reached #53…Two bands that have albums in this week's top 10 enter this week's chart. Of Monsters And Men's "Little Talks" bows at #92. Shinedown's "Bully" re-enters at #94.
Beyonce's "Love On Top" is #1 on Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs for the seventh straight week, but it drops off the Hot 100 (from #58 last week). It peaked at #20 on the Hot 100.
The Fray's "How To Save A Life" tops the 4 million mark in digital sales this week. It's the band's best-selling and highest-charting hit. It reached #3 on the Hot 100 in October 2006.
Flo Rida's "Good Feeling" tops the 3 million mark in digital sales this week. It's the hip-hopper's third song to hit that level. "Low" (featuring T-Pain) has sold 6,277,000. "Right Round" has sold 5,163,000. "Good Feeling" reached #3 on the Hot 100. It's noteworthy that the song became a smash so soon after the Black Eyed Peas' 2009 smash "I Gotta Feeling," but I guess having "a feeling" is a pretty universal concept.
Selena Gomez & the Scene's "Love You Like A Love Song" tops the 2 million mark in digital sales this week. It's the act's first 2-million-seller, though they've come close twice with two previous hits. "Naturally" has sold 1,854,000. "Who Says" has sold 1,771,000. "Love You Like A Love Song" reached #22 on the Hot 100.