RADIO ACTIVE — A Weekly Chart CHRonicle (March 19, 2017)

Welcome to Radio Active, a new weekly report from POP! Goes The Charts that gets to the chart of the matter: highlights from the CHR/Top 40 chart, as published by Mediabase 24/7 and Mediabase Resarch. Time to store those Shamrock Shakes away until next year; we have to get back to shaking our groove things, bon-bons, tailfeathers and, of course, it off. (Just don’t make me get out that Take 5 CD single I bought at Strawberries with my allowance money when I was ten.) Here’s what’s shakin’ on this week’s pop chart:

ALL ABOUT “YOU”: As I predicted last week, singer/songwriter Ed Sheeran‘s “Shape Of You” holds on at #1 for a fifth week on the pop chart. “Shape” is now the longest-running #1 at the format by a solo male since John Legend’s “All Of Me”. That spent five weeks at #1 (4/20-5/18) in 2014. Just below the top 50 this week is follow-up “Castle On The Hill”, which was reissued to radio when his previous single appeared to be peaking. (“Shape” has since lost its bullet.) Also of note, “Galway Girl”, which is doing quite well in the U.K. and Ireland, spiked at several stations on St. Patrick’s Day following the debut of a lyric video for the song. See, we can root for at least one orange-haired leader nowadays, because it’s common understanding that “Castle On The Hill” trumps Capitol Hill.

This means that ZAYN and Taylor Swift’s “I Don’t Wanna Live Forever” stays in the runner-up position for the fourth consecutive week, despite a valiant effort to reach #1. Last year, three songs spent four weeks at #2, with two eventually climbing to the top spot: “Stressed Out” (2/28-3/6) by twenty one pilots, and “Don’t Let Me Down” (6/26-7/10) by The Chainsmokers featuring Daya. So, what missed? That would be “This Is What You Came For” (#2 from 7/24-8/14) by Calvin Harris featuring Rihanna, a single that was co-written by Swift (originally credited as Nils Sjöberg.) Does history repeat itself? Does Zaylor pounce at the pop peak next week? Do I ever stop being so darn inquisitive? Probably not. Anyways, grab a partner and a hairbrush and belt out your best “When You Believe”. We’ll see what happens seven days from now.

TAKE THE “CAKE”: Sources tell us that rapper Flo Rida celebrated Pi Day with some “Cake”, and though it may not be the exact pop pastry for the day, it sure is a sweet one for he and duo 99 Percent. Their collaboration is up from 36-30 on this week’s survey. This hit is taken from the compilation This Is A Challenge, which is essentially a graveyard full of all those viral singles that you knew pop programmers would avoid because the callout was atrocious. (No shade, but shade.) It’s too early to tell what will happen to this entry, but if I were you, I would look for some alternative desserts to indulge in. That being said, I’m not sure we’ll ever have a smash called “Baklava”, but I’ve been wrong before.

Prior to this chart confection, the Average White Band‘s “Cut The Cake” (#34, 6/6 and 6/27/75 R&R) and DNCE‘s “Cake By The Ocean” (#2, 4/10-17/16) were the only CHR cakes to bake in the top 40. Of course, the latter single took 27 weeks in the top 40 to get to its peak of #2, just short of the PPW era record for any single to achieve its highest position: 33 weeks to #9 for “I’ll Be” (10/2/98 R&R) by Edwin McCain. Don’t expect the new “Cake” to be hanging around this bakery for nearly that long.

LITTLE EYE, BIG HIT: The origin of the phrase “I spy with my little eye…” and the accompanying children’s game may not be the clearest, but 23-year-old newcomer Kyle seems to be the current musical master of the concept. The secret is out at radio, as “iSpy” leaps from 43-35 this week. The hit features rapper Lil Yachty, who previously reached the top 40 as a featured act on D.R.A.M.‘s “Broccoli” (#18, 11/13/16). Perhaps this is a good time for me to make my musical debut as Lil Yacht Rock, where I seamlessly rap on fire beats from the likes of DJ Kenny Loggins and Mixmasters Pablo Cruise. Eh, maybe not. Anyways, more of the programming community is bound to keep spying on the action for this one in the coming weeks, as it continues to sell and stream well.

Spies haven’t appeared in top 40 titles for several decades, but perhaps that’s just because they’ve been undercover all this time. The last one to chart was “Spy In The House Of Love” (#22, 12/2-9/88 R&R) by Was (Not Was), which is still a jam, though I also like a bit of “Spies Like Us” (#9, 1/24/86 R&R) by Paul McCartney. Now, back to our musical mission, secret agent men and women…

FREAK OF THE “WEAK”: From Marvelous 3 to a marvelous chart achievement for the Met brothers, pop trio AJR is rising up the chart from 42-38 with “Weak”. It’s their second top 40 hit, and first in nearly three years. “I’m Ready” took a slow ride up to #25 (7/27/14) and probably ruined any good memory you had of watching SpongeBob SquarePants as a kid. (Let’s be fair, the only thing most of us were “ready” for was that song to get pulled and crash.) That being said, it is nice to see the three guys back on the chart. I think “Weak” has some room to grow, especially because a number of major markets aren’t playing it, and a lot of the airplay for it is relegated to the dreaded overnight shift. You know, someone’s gotta work those indies…

A number of tracks in this week’s top 50 share exact titles with previous charting songs, but “Weak” is one that matches a past #1 hit. 24 years ago, another trio, the three ladies known as SWV, took their “Weak” to #1 for four weeks (7/2-23/93 R&R), becoming the biggest song of their career. Of course, this was at a time when the Rhythmic and Top 40 panels were still combined, but it was quite a year for the three women.

WISHING ON A STARGATE: If you read the most recent Add Lib report on Tuesday, you already know that “Waterfall”, by duo Stargate and featuring P!nk and Sia, was the Most Added CHR song of the week. All that radio response allows it to debuts at #47 on this week’s published update. The all-star team could prove to be a major contender for 2017’s Song Of The Summer, even if it’s a little early to start discussing the topic. There’s no comment from TLC or Wendy & Lisa at press time; water they waiting for? It’s sure to be an interesting song to track over the next few months.

Though this is Stargate’s first charting song as a main-credited act, they’ve had plenty of hits as producers and writers. However, this wasn’t always the case. You can always count on me to remember such classics (well, not quite) like Mikaila‘s “So In Love With Two” (#25, 12/22/00 R&R) and Ashley Ballard‘s “Hottie” (#48, 3/30/01 R&R), which were the duo’s first two pop chart entries. We all start somewhere, folks. (Mikaila’s song was actually a pretty big hit on my personal chart, but Ballard’s was not. I was 10 and 11 at the time!)

“PRETTY” YOUNG THING: After millions of plays on Spotify across several singles, and a notable amount of Viral chart success, 18-year-old singer Maggie Lindemann makes her CHR chart debut at #50 this week with “Pretty Girl”. Though the track does not gain in spins from last week, it might have just missed charting if it wasn’t supported by syndicated program Most Requested Live on the past two Saturday night programs. The single is also benefiting from a discount at digital retailers, with week-to-week sales gains for over a month.

The name Maggie appears in a few song titles throughout the decades, most notably 1971’s “Maggie May” by Rod Stewart, but it’s a rare one when it comes to charting singers on the pop survey. Now, that’s not to discourage any of you expecting parents reading the blog right now, but if you are expecting a boy, I highly recommend the name Adam. I’m not biased at all, I promise.

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