Striving For Perfection: The Chase For Chart Excellence

Flawless fellows and females.

Flawless fellows and females.

As expected, boy band One Direction‘s latest single “Perfect” is already a worldwide hit and currently sits at #1 on iTunes here in the States. Co-written by two of the quartet’s members (among its seven listed co-writers), it follows “Drag Me Down” (now at #3 on my top 40) as the second radio single from their upcoming Made In The A.M. album, due on November 13. Of course, like the majority of their singles, a splashy opening doesn’t guarantee that it’s an automatic top ten on the pop radio survey, but we’ll have to wait and see how this one does in the long run.

Speaking of the pop radio chart, we’ve had a bunch of “perfect” pop titles hit both the Radio & Records and Mediabase listings. I think it’s time to relive some of those musical moments. From the beginning of the archives in the fall of 1973 and into 2015, this list of seven splendid singles (which will soon be growing to eight) keeps it ideal:

1985
“Perfect Way”, Scritti Politti (#10, December 10)
A variation on the Italian phrase scritti politici, or political writings, this English act wrote a place for themselves on the charts in 1985 with this fun synthpop sound. “Way” remains the group’s only top 40 hit in the U.S., though their had five in the U.K. (with this single, surprisingly, a miss on that side of the pond.)

1988
“Perfect World”, Huey Lewis & The News (#2, August 26 – September 9)
They dominated the national charts in the 80’s with huge top ten singles over several album cycles, though it was Small World in 1988 that essentially marked a downturn in popularity for the California act. “World” remains their last top five single. The guys still play together, but not at the rate they did years ago.

2003
“Perfect”, Simple Plan (#4, December 19)
It may be one of the best album titles of the 00’s: No Pads, No Helmets…Just Balls. Taken from it, this tune is still their highest-charting release at the format, and though the Canadian band hasn’t ranked on this particular survey in years, they’re continuing to crank out the jams ahead of a forthcoming studio set.

2010
“The Perfect Mistake”, Cartel (#39, June 10)
Two minor titles made the top 40 during 2010, with this single being one of them. It was the second of two songs to chart for the band from Georgia, who peaked with their previous albums. Though Will Pugh and the guys built up a sizable following, it never fully translated into the best radio play or sales numbers.

“Perfect Nightmare”, Shontelle (#38, October 17)
After a not-so-“Impossible” run up to the top ten that summer, this performer from Barbados couldn’t pull off the same trick, as her follow-up single barely edged into the top 40 at the format. She’s been absent from pop radio since the conclusion of her No Gravity era in 2011, though it appears she is still singing.

2011
“F**kin’ Perfect”, Pink (#1, March 20)
Two number-one singles from a hits compilation doesn’t happen too often nowadays, but this Pennsylvania singer did it in 2010 and 2011 with “Raise Your Glass” and this song. Her newest release is called “Today’s The Day”, and it was recently picked as the new theme song of daytime’s The Ellen DeGeneres Show.

2014
“She Looks So Perfect”, 5 Seconds Of Summer (#17, June 8)
Hey everybody, it wasn’t too long ago that this release was cruising up radio lists everywhere as the first major label single from the young and popular Aussie band. To date, it’s their only multi-Platinum hit in the U.S., but that can obviously change. Fans of the act have under a week until their newest album release.

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