Taylor Swift's "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together" returns to #1 on the Hot 100 in the wake of her performance of the song on last week's VMAs. This is the song's third week on top of Billboard's flagship chart. That's the longest run at #1 for a song by a "core country artist" since Kenny Rogers' "Lady" was #1 for six weeks in November and December 1980 (which was a full nine years before Swift was born).
Both of these songs seriously stretch the definition of country music. Pop titans Max Martin and Shellback co-wrote and co-produced Swift's hit. Pop and R&B giant Lionel Richie wrote and produced Rogers' smash. (Country radio was far more accepting of Rogers' adult contemporary-style ballad, which reached #1 on Hot Country Songs, than they have been of Swift's sleek pop hit, which debuted and peaked at #13 on the country chart.)
"We Are Never Ever…" is the best-selling song in the U.S. for the fourth straight week. It's the first song to spend its first four weeks at #1 on Hot Digital Songs since Lady Gaga's "Born This Way" achieved the feat in February and March of last year. Swift's smash has sold 1,467,000 copies in its first four weeks. Only two songs in digital history have been further along at the four-week point. Flo Rida's "Right Round" sold 1,750,000 copies in its first four weeks. "Born This Way" sold 1,474,000 copies in its first four weeks, to narrowly edge Swift's smash for the female crown.
Swift also has the #2 song on Hot Digital Songs: "Ronan," which she introduced on Friday's Stand Up 2 Cancer telethon. Swift wrote the ballad after following the blog of a mother who lost her four-year son, Ronan, to cancer. "Ronan" sold 211K copies, not enough to catch "We Are Never Ever…" (284K), but more than such radio smashes as Maroon 5's "One More Night," fun.'s "Some Nights" and Flo Rida's "Whistle."
Swift is the fifth artist in digital history to have the two best-selling songs in the U.S. simultaneously. Mariah Carey was the first artist to achieve the feat, with "Don't Forget About Us" and her holiday classic "All I Want For Christmas Is You" in December 2005. Beyonce scored in November 2008 with "Single Ladies (Put A Ring On It)" and "If I Were A Boy." The Black Eyed Peas did it in June 2009 with "I Gotta Feeling" and "Boom Boom Pow." Ke$ha followed suit in January 2010 with "TiK ToK" and "Blah Blah Blah" (featuring 3OH3!). (You'll notice that they're all female solo artists or female-centered bands. Beyonce wasn't kidding when she sang "Run The World (Girls).")
"Ronan" enters the Hot 100 at #16. (Hot Digital Songs is based entirely on sales. The Hot 100 also takes into account airplay and streaming activity.)
Swift is the first "core country" female artist to log three or more weeks at #1 on the Hot 100. Let me explain: Debby Boone spent 10 weeks at #1 with "You Light Up My Life," but she had just two top 10 country hits in her career (including "You Light Up"). That's not enough to be considered a "core country" artist. Brenda Lee and Olivia Newton-John were arguably "core country" artists in the 1970s (nine and seven top 10 country hits, respectively), but their long-running #1 pop hits ("I'm Sorry" for Lee and "Magic" and "Physical" for Newton-John) didn't make the country chart). Bobbie Gentry's classic story song "Ode To Billie Joe" logged four weeks at #1 on the Hot 100 in 1967, but it stalled at #17 on the country chart. (Country radio was very strict about what constituted country back then. Now, the same record would almost be considered "traditional country"!) Gentry's only top 10 country hit was a 1970 duet with Glen Campbell, who was the hottest artist in country music at the time. No slight to Gentry, but you or I could have had a top 10 country hit if we'd teamed up with Glen Campbell at that time.
Since "Lady," four songs by "core country artists" have each spent two weeks at #1: Dolly Parton's "9 to 5," Eddie Rabbitt's "I Love A Rainy Night," "Islands In The Stream" by Rogers & Parton and Lonestar's "Amazed."
Maroon5's "One More Night" jumps from #3 to #2. This is the group's seventh week at #2 so far this year. "Payphone" (featuring Wiz Khalifa) spent six weeks in the runner-up spot.
P!nk's "Blow Me (One Last Kiss)" leaps from #11 to #6 in its 10th week in the wake of her striking performance of the song on the VMAs. This is the song's highest-ranking to date: It had previously climbed as high as #9. "Blow Me…" also tops the 1 million mark in digital sales. The song is vying to become P!nk's seventh top five hit. She had three top five hits in her first burst of success in 2000-2001 and has had three more since 2008. One more and she'll have had more in this second run of pop radio success than she had in her first. Will she do it? Stay tuned.
Alex Clare's "Too Close" jumps from #15 to #10 in its 24th week. The song reached #4 on the Official U.K. Chart earlier this year.
Here's the low-down on this week's top 10 songs.
The Top Five: Taylor Swift's "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together" returns to #1 for a third week in its fifth week on the chart. This is its fourth week in the top 10. Digital sales rank: #1 (284K)… Maroon 5's "One More Night" jumps from #3 to #2 in its 12th week on the chart. This is its fourth week in the top 10. Digital sales rank: #3 (196K)…Flo Rida's "Whistle" drops from #1 to #3 in its 17th week on the chart. This is its ninth week in the top 10. Digital sales rank: #5 (151K)…fun.'s "Some Nights" jumps from #5 to #4 in its 29th week on the chart. This is its fifth week in the top 10. Digital sales rank: #4 (160K)… Ellie Goulding's "Lights" dips from #4 to #5 in its 38th week on the chart. This is its 12th week in the top 10. Digital sales rank: #23 (64K).
The Second Five: P!nk's "Blow Me (One Last Kiss)" rebounds from #11 to #6 in its 10th week on the chart. This is its fifth week in the top 10. Digital sales rank: #8 (113K)…"As Long As You Love Me" by Justin Bieber featuring Big Sean rebounds from #9 to #7 (its highest ranking to date) in its 12th week on the chart. This is its fourth week in the top 10. Digital sales rank: #7 (114K)… Neon Trees' "Everybody Talks" drops from #6 to #8 in its 26th week on the chart. This is its second week in the top 10. Digital sales rank: #11 (93K)…"Good Time" by Owl City & Carly Rae Jepsen dips from #8 to #9 for the second week in its 11th week on the chart. This is its third week in the top 10. Digital sales rank: #10 (108K)…Alex Clare's "Too Close" jumps from #15 to #10 in its 24th week on the chart. This is Clare's first top 10 hit. Digital sales rank: #6 (127K).
Two songs drop out of the top 10 this week. Katy Perry's "Wide Awake" drops from #7 to #11, ending a 13-week run in the top 10. Carly Rae Jepsen's "Call Me Maybe" drops from #10 to #12, ending a 23-week run in the top 10. It's the year's second biggest hit and, like the year's biggest hit, "Somebody That I Used To Know" by Gotye featuring Kimbra, is likely to receive a Grammy nomination for Record of the Year.
Phillip Phillips' "Home" dips from #21 to #22 in its 11th week. The song has climbed as high as #9. The song logs its seventh week in the top 10 on Hot Digital Songs. Digital sales rank: #9 (111K)…Chris Brown's "Don't Wake Me Up" jumps from #27 to #24 in its 11th week...Little Big Town's "Pontoon" drops from #23 to #27 in its 14th week. The song climbed as high as #22. The song holds at #1 on Top Country Songs for the second week.
"Girl On Fire" by Alicia Keys featuring Nicki Minaj debuts at #37. This is from Keys' album of the same name, which is due Nov. 27. Keys performed the song on last week's VMA Awards, with assists from Minaj and Olympic gold medalist Gabby Douglas.
Frank Ocean's "Thinkin Bout You" jumps from #78 to #39 in its ninth week in the wake of Ocean's performance of the song on the VMA Awards. This is by far the highest the song has climbed to date. Its previous peak was #72…Miguel's "Adorn" jumps from #53 to #41 in its sixth week. The song jumps to #1 on Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs. It's Miguel's third #1 R&B hit in the past 16 months, following "Sure Thing" and Wale's "Lotus Flower Bomb," on which he was featured...Imagine Dragons' "It's Time" jumps from #63 to #49 in its 14th week. The video for the song was nominated for a VMA last week as Best Rock Video. The band's debut album, Night Visions, enters The Billboard 200 at #2 this week.
Ne-Yo's elegant "Let Me Love You (Until You Learn To Love Yourself)" jumps from #58 to #50 in its sixth week. The song enters the Official U.K. chart at #1. It's Ne-Yo's fifth #1 hit in the U.K., following "Sick," "Closer," "Beautiful Monster" and Pitbull's "Give Me Everything," on which he was featured. It's vying to become his third #1 in the U.S., following "Sick" and "Give Me Everything." Will it do it? Stay tuned. (Meanwhile, can somebody explain to me why a pop and R&B singer who was born in Arkansas has had more #1 hits in the U.K. than he has in his own country?)
"Clique" by Kanye West, Jay-Z, Big Sean debuts at #55. This is from Cruel Summer, a GOOD Music label sampler, which is due Sept. 18… "I Can Only Imagine" by David Guetta featuring Chris Brown and Lil Wayne jumps from #64 to #61 in its fifth week….Psy's "Gangnam Style" debuts at #64. Psy, as you have probably heard by now, is a South Korean rapper. The title refers to a trendy, affluent district of Seoul. The song is from PSY's Best 6th Part 1.
Luke Bryan's Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye" jumps from #75 to #68 in its third week…"Birthday Song" by 2 Chainz featuring Kanye West jumps from #79 to #70 in its fifth week…Karmin's "Hello" jumps from #89 to #77 in its second week…Passion Pit's "Take A Walk" jumps from #99 to #87 in its second week..
Trey Songz's "Dive In" re-enters the chart at #93, where it debuted two weeks ago. Trey Songz' album Chapter V has sold 200K copies in the past three weeks…"No Worries" by Lil Wayne featuring Detail debuts at #96. It's from the mixtape Dedication (with DJ Drama)…Beyonce's "Dance For You" debuts at #100. It's the seventh song from Beyonce's 2011 album 4 to crack the Hot 100. The only problem? None of them has climbed higher than #16.