Billboard Chart Decoded: ‘Gangnam Style’ Vs. Maroon 5

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Brendan McDermid / Reuters

Korean rapper-singer Psy performs on NBC's "Today" show in New York September 14, 2012.

Welcome to our weekly recap of what’s happening on the weekly Billboard singles and album charts. Compiled on the basis of weekly sales and, in the singles charts, radio and streaming airplay, the Billboard listings have for years been the prime authority on what’s hot and what’s cooling off. This week, we look at the charts dated Oct. 6, 2012.

  • Almost Hear You Psy. Already the first Korean solo artist to scale the Top 40 — the prefab group the Wonder Girls were the first act from Korea to make the Hot 100, with the No. 76 hit “Nobody” in 2009 — Psy now approaches the throne, sending his coffee-chugging “Gangnam Style” to the runner-up spot in only its third chart week. With a 64-11-2 ascension so far, Psy could well end up with the biggest hit of the year as his horsey dance continues to catch on, Macarena-style.


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  • One More “One More Night.” To get to the top, though, Psy will have to dislodge Maroon 5, whose “One More Night” holds for a second week there. It’s the second time a song with that title has ruled the roost; Phil Collins spent two weeks atop the list in early 1985 with a far more somber “Night.”


  • Never Say “Never.” Taylor Swift’s former No. 1 “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together” cannot be ruled out from a return to the perch; once it’s made available to streaming services, it’ll have an additional source of chart points. (The Hot 100 positions are measured through a combination of sales, radio airplay and streams.) For the moment, there’s not much competition with momentum.


  • “Body” Work. But there could be soon. Christina Aguilera has only just begun to make an impact with “Your Body,” the lead single from her upcoming album Lotus and the highest debut of the week. She’s had a bit of a resurgence thanks to her Voice gig, which scored her a No. 1 duet with co-host Adam Levine and Maroon 5 on “Moves like Jagger.” But astonishingly, she has not had a chart-topper fully on her own since 2000’s “Come on Over Baby.” She may be due.


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  • A New King in Town. Meanwhile, Lil Wayne has achieved something no one could have imagined during his Hot Boyz days: with the No. 82 arrival of “Celebration,” on which he and several other rappers help out the Game, he’s now hit the Hot 100 more than any other solo artist in chart history, taking the crown from Elvis Presley. Of course, solo isn’t the most apt word, given that on 67 of his 109 hits to date, he’s been a guest artist rather than the lead. Still, there’s something to be said for being in demand, and Weezy is nothing if not in demand. (He still has quite a way to go before approaching the all-around record: the Glee cast, owing to a fan base that reliably buys every digital single upon release, is up to an absurd 204 Hot 100 hits.)


  • Liner Notes. On the album side, the Dave Matthews Band, after scoring its sixth consecutive No. 1 studio album with Away from the World, relinquishes the crown to Pink, who finally gets her first No. 1 there with The Truth About Love. Truth’s lead single, “Blow Me (One Last Kiss),” sits at a peak position of No. 5, helped perhaps by her appearance on The Daily Show. Further down the list, Kanye West’s G.O.O.D. compilation and the Killers have strong Top 5 debuts, while Carly Rae Jepsen and Ben Folds Five enter in the Top 10. The 25th anniversary reissue of Michael Jackson’s Bad comes in at a disappointing No. 23.

(ALBUM REVIEWG.O.O.D. Music’s Cruel Summer)

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