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).
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