On the Charts: Goodbye to the Smash Hits of 2012

Plus: Macklemore and Ryan Lewis might have a big sleeper hit on their hands

Macklemore and Ryan Lewis
Steven Dewall/Redferns via Getty Images
January 16, 2013 12:35 PM ET

WINNER OF THE WEEK: Macklemore and Ryan Lewis. "Thrift Shop," which came out in 2012, has a chance to be the Lady Antebellum-Mumford & Sons-Lumineers chart story of the year. That's not just because it's laid back and has a countryish feel, but because it's hung around the charts for months, never quite becoming huge, until one day – boom. The hip-hop duo's song sold 279,000 copies and leaped from Number Two to Number One on Billboard's digital songs chart and also hit Number One on iTunes. Will Macklemore and Lewis (as well as collaborator Wanz) become the Gotye of 2013? The signs point to "maybe, only smaller" – "Thrift Shop" jumped just three slots on BigChampagne's latest Ultimate Chart, which measures Internet criteria, to Number Four; it also is catching on slowly at radio, rising from Number 25 to Number 23 on the pop songs airplay chart, which indicates programmers aren't yet Adele-style excited.

LOSER OF THE WEEK: Giant 2013 hits. Remember "Call Me Maybe"? "Somebody That I Used to Know"? "Die Young"? And, uh, "Gangnam Style"? All were huge in 2012, and all seem to be withering in the extreme cold of 2013 (excuse the weather metaphor – I live in Denver, where earlier this week it was one degree outside). Let's look at the numbers. Gotye plunged months ago. Carly Rae (although, see below, all the critics still love her in New York) is lingering at Number 19 on the Ultimate Chart, which often predicts sales and radio play. Ke$ha's "Die Young," thanks to pushback from programmers who didn't like her title in the wake of the Sandy Hook tragedy, dropped seven slots on the Ultimate Chart. And poor Psy's run may be finally ending, as "Gangnam Style" dropped in sales by 45 percent this week, selling just 105,000 and plunging on the Digital Songs chart from Number Six to Number 10. I'm still hopeful for Bruno Mars' "Locked Out of Heaven," though, a great, funky song that came out in late 2012 and is hanging on at Number Four despite a drop (31 percent in a slow week).

Watch Bruno Mars Make 'Unorthodox Jukebox'

THE YEAR'S MOST INTERESTING CHART: The Village Voice's annual Pazz & Jop 2012 critics' poll came out the other day – Frank Ocean's Channel Orange, not surprisingly, won by 501 votes for best album, and Carly Rae Jepsen's "Call Me Maybe" took top single by 38 mentions. For anybody who follows magazine, newspaper and blog music writers, the entries here weren't a huge surprise – Miguel, Japandroids, Kendrick Lamar, Fiona Apple and Jack White were all over the two big lists. But the collection of ballots (here's mine) is both an alternate look at the year's top music compared to record sales and a great way of discovering stuff you missed. Of course, consensus is impossible for anything involving thousands of rock critics: one of them called Channel Orange "the Obama of pop music – bland, inoffensive, droning, electable."

Last week: 'Les Miz,' Mumford Lead Deep Discount Week

To read the new issue of Rolling Stone online, plus the entire RS archive: Click Here

Music Main Next

blog comments powered by Disqus
Around the Web
Powered By ZergNet
Daily Newsletter

Get the latest RS news in your inbox.

Sign up to receive the Rolling Stone newsletter and special offers from RS and its
marketing partners.


We may use your e-mail address to send you the newsletter and offers that may interest you, on behalf of Rolling Stone and its partners. For more information please read our Privacy Policy.

Song Stories


Mariah Carey | 1995

Serendipity stuck when Mariah Carey rediscovered the glitchy Tom Tom Club hook, a sample of which is the heart of this upbeat slice of dance pop. "I had the melody idea for 'Fantasy' and I was listening to the radio and heard 'Genius of Love,' and I hadn't heard it in a long time," Carey said. "It reminded me of growing up and listening to the radio and that feeling the song gave me seemed to go with the melody and basic idea I had for 'Fantasy.' I initially told [co-writer] Dave Hall about the idea, and we did it. We called up the Tom Tom Club and they were really into it."

More Song Stories entries »