RADIO ACTIVE — A Weekly Chart CHRonicle (August 20, 2017)

Welcome to Radio Active, a Sunday evening 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. Get those special shades ready for that total solar eclipse tomorrow afternoon, and get your “Total Eclipse Of The Heart” of choice on while observing it! (I think I’ll probably get to both Bonnie Tyler and Nicki French‘s versions, but do as you please.) Meanwhile, things are sunny on the charts, so let’s grab some stats and get going:

WHO’S GOT YOUR “BACK” NOW?: Settling just over 100 spins above his nearest competitor, Shawn Mendes holds atop the pop survey for a second week with “There’s Nothing Holdin’ Me Back”. Look for it to reach the top of the Hot AC chart next week. In addition to those two formats, it also climbs 11-8 on AC radio this week, while it’s just below the top 50 on the Rhythmic list. (A new remix featuring Gucci Mane and Quavo might be needed for it to officially chart there.) Mendes has yet to announce a next single from his Illuminate album, or if he’ll be moving on from that era, but I’ll continue to look out for any information once it’s out there. Meanwhile, I’m sure Mr. Mendes is enjoying the continued love from programmers around the country.

Only one track is new to the top ten this week, the recent Country chart-topper from Sam Hunt called “Body Like A Back Road”. At #10, up two notches, it marks Hunt’s first single to reach this region of the Top 40 chart. Previously, he peaked at #28 for two weeks in July 2015 with “Take Your Time”. Could this mean we’ll see top-selling artists like Florida Georgia Line or Thomas Rhett try for another crossover hit in the coming months? What about Devin Dawson or Kelsea Ballerini? We’ll have to wait and see! So, back to the chart stats…

“FRIENDS” IN HIGH PLACES: Just in case you haven’t had enough Justin Bieber this year, his fourth top 40 collaboration of 2017 debuts at #35 this week. “Friends” gives Bieber his 23rd top 40 hit since 2009, but it also marks the artist debut of BloodPop, the writer and producer born Michael Tucker. He has a total of three top 40 singles to date from behind the boards, including the #1 hit “Sorry” for Bieber, which spent three weeks at the top in December 2015 and January 2016. Will the Canadian superstar grab his second #1 this year, while making the American producer a household name? It’s definitely possible. I’ll be rooting for it!

A notch below “Friends” is “Two Ghosts” by Harry Styles, up from 41-36. It’s the second top 40 hit from his self-titled solo release. Of course, this means that every member of the original lineup of One Direction, except ZAYN, has at least one title in the top 40. (Oh, ZAYN, where art thou?) Styles’s song is seeing a slow start in digital sales, but it’s still early on in its run. There are a number of great cuts still left on that album, if this one doesn’t work out as a radio single in the long run.

WHAT’S SO “BAD” ABOUT THEM?: Well, in the eyes of many pop fans, nothing at all! There are three new songs in the top 50 portion of the chart this week, all by solo women. The highest of the three is the fifth chart single for Halsey, coming in at #45. This hit, titled “Bad At Love”, is the follow-up to “Now Or Never”, which peaked at #3 three weeks ago. Both tracks are taken from the set titled Hopeless Fountain Kingdom, which debuted at #1 on the Billboard 200 earlier this year. Though she hasn’t equaled the major success of ten-week chart-topper “Closer” by The Chainsmokers, on which she appeared as the featured vocalist, this song will be around well into the fall, so watch out for it.

The other two performers debuting in the countdown land just below Halsey’s new entry, with “New Rules” (#46) by Dua Lipa and “Why” (#47) by Sabrina Carpenter adding some girl power to the top 50. Lipa has now entered the top 50 with five tracks, two of which were collaborations with other artists. She has yet to score a top ten song. Carpenter made her debut at the pop format earlier this year with “Thumbs”, which peaked at #26 for two weeks in March and April. Her new radio hit was the second Most Added title here last week.

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