Welcome to Radio Active, a weekly report from POP! Goes The Charts that gets to the chart of the matter: all the highlights from the CHR/Top 40 chart, as published by Mediabase 24/7 and Mediabase Research. Yesterday was Record Store Day, and I certainly got a lot of great singles from artists like Deee-Lite, Madonna and Prince. Hey, it’s always best to have more wax in your hands than in your ears, even with a Q-Tip in my RSD collection. So, listen up as we rewind the week, then hit play and slay through the latest stats from the pop radio survey:
CAN’T GET IT OUT OF MY ED: …and here we are again, folks. For the tenth week in a row, Ed Sheeran‘s “Shape Of You” stays at that top spot on the CHR/Top 40 chart. It’s the third ten-week #1 so far this decade, and the only one that isn’t a collaboration. (In 2008, Leona Lewis‘s “Bleeding Love” was the last double-digit leader by a sole performer, also spending ten weeks at the top.) The song in second place for the fourth week, Bruno Mars‘s “That’s What I Like”, should finally get its first frame at #1 next week. Will I be rejoicing? No tea, no shade, but that’s an affirmative. Sheeran’s “Castle On The Hill” makes a notable jump from 30-22 on the list, while also rising 22-18 at the Hot AC format. At this rate, I’d expect that “Castle” will likely be in the top ten by the end of May, due to a number of summer single premieres (you know they’re all coming!) over the next few weeks.
“Shape” is still in the top five on at least four radio formats this week (beyond the aforementioned charts, AC and Rhythmic), while it also maintains a top 20 placing on, believe it or not, the Spanish chart. How’s it doing so well there? Well, thanks to a remix featuring reggae duo Zion & Lennox, the mass appeal hit continues to be, well, even more mass appeal. Will it ever stop? Ay, Dios mío…
EVEN “STRANGERS” NEED A “CURE”: Two of the most talked about tracks on the pop radio chart this week really know how to make an entrance, shooting straight into the top 40. The higher of the twosome is “Kissing Strangers” by DNCE, bowing in at #36 on the chart. It’s the group’s fifth top 40 hit since 2015, while featured artist Nicki Minaj scores her 34th top 40 entry at the format since 2010. Needless to say, neither act is a stranger to the top 40, though DNCE is a stranger when it comes to #1 songs, as “Cake By The Ocean” (#2, 4/10-17/16 MB) could only nibble at the pop pastry supreme at the top of the bakery… erm, could only knock on the door to the top of the chart, but were turned away by a pair of performers who only cared about themselves.
Lady Gaga‘s surprise single “The Cure” enters one spot below “Kissing”, rushing into the top 40 at #37. This means that the Joanne era is likely over after two radio singles, but we’ll always remember that pink hat in our hearts, though probably not in our closets. At 18 top 40 singles since 2008, including seven chart-toppers, the Lady continues to get her fill of pop success. Her next project? A new spin on the classic film A Star Is Born. No, I’m not expecting her to take on “Evergreen” anytime soon; let’s save that in 1977, please.
WHO’S YOUR DADDY?: Fathering a new top 50 song this week is a collaboration featuring 40-year-old rapper Daddy Yankee, a bilingual performer from Puerto Rico who last appeared on the chart with “Rompe” (#19, 5/19-26/06 R&R) off his Barrio Fino En Directo album. This week, he and fellow Puerto Rican Luis Fonsi take a Spanglish mix of their international hit “Despacito” into the top 50 at #47. Of course, Canadian singer Justin Bieber is also on that version, singing in both English and Spanish. By the way, for all of you chart buffs out there, the first bilingual rapper to ever reach the pop chart was Cuba-born Mellow Man Ace, who charted with “Mentirosa” (#34, 7/6/90 R&R) in his only top 40 appearance.
Though “Despacito” is the first chart entry to use that word in its title, it’s not the first to use it in the lyrics of a top 40 song. In fact, it was just a few months ago that “Bailar” (#35, 11/13/16 MB) by DJ Deorro and featured artist Elvis Crespo opened on that word. A remix featuring Pitbull aided its performance at the pop format, because I’m sure he had zero other hits to ruin at that time. I mean, who else could have done it? Gerardo?
SHAWN’S GOT YOUR “BACK”: After “Mercy” peaked at #6 six weeks ago, 18-year-old singer/songwriter Shawn Mendes gets off to a good start with his latest single, “There’s Nothing Holdin’ Me Back”. It enters at #49 on this week’s CHR chart, ranking after a little over three days of airplay. Now, in anticipation of this song dropping a few days ago, yours truly dipped into the archives of pop perfection and through the undervalued “holding back” category, stopping at huge songs like “Holding Back The Years” (#3, 6/27/86 R&R) by Simply Red, “I Can’t Hold Back” (#10, 11/30/84 R&R) by Survivor and “I Won’t Hold You Back” (#4, 4/22-5/6/83 R&R) by Toto. So, if you weren’t holding back something in the 80’s, I’m not sure what you were doing. Hey, where’d my Jane Fonda tapes go?
Mendes first entered the top 50 in November 2014 with “Something Big”, which peaked at #44 by the second week of January. It was the follow-up to “Life Of The Party”, which couldn’t break the top 50 in either of its two radio runs, along with a reissue of “Big”, with a slightly altered mix, in the spring of 2015. Of course, with four consecutive top ten releases since those days, it’s safe to say that he’s doing alright for himself now and not looking “back”. Can he make it five? I sure hope so.