As the year winds down, the Billboard charts are due to be shaken up by holiday shopping and the reactions to Grammy nominations and critics’ end-of-year best-of lists. For now, though, it’s a pretty tame week, though we have a dethroning on the singles chart. On we go with this week’s recap:
- “Locked Out” Is Locked In. The new No. 1 belongs to Bruno Mars, making his fourth visit to the peak with “Locked out of Heaven.” He could be there for a while, as the impending release of his Unorthodox Jukebox album, a sure-shot No. 1 of its own, will certainly inspire more interest. (And Mars’ follow-up single has already arrived as well: “When I Was Your Man” debuts on the Hot 100 at No. 69.) Rihanna falls to No. 2 with her brightly shining “Diamonds” after reigning for three weeks, while upward movement is seen from Flo Rida (“I Cry,” now at No. 6) and Justin Bieber, whose “Beauty and a Beat” collab with Nicki Minaj rises to 10 and becomes his third Top 10 hit from his Believe album.
- Greatest Gainers. It’s not just the worldwide celebs who are making gains this week. The cleverly named Swedish house outfit Swedish House Mafia, after several weeks of slow burn, is hitting its stride with “Don’t You Worry Child,” now up to 14, while a song we love more with each listen, Macklemore’s “Thrift Shop,” powers to 21 on the strength of streaming-media interest. (We hope his “Same Love” gets similar love.)
- ’Tis the Season. We’d expected this weeks album chart to reflect last week’s announcement of the year’s Grammy nominees, but it seems that won’t take effect until next week’s chart. Which means it’s Christmas all over. If you’re in search of new holiday tunes to buy, consider the following: Rod Stewart, Merry Christmas, Baby (No. 3); Blake Shelton, Cheers, It’s Christmas (No. 8); Lady Antebellum, On this Winter’s Night (No. 11, after last week’s No. 8 peak); and Scotty McCreery, Christmas with Scotty McCreery (No. 15; peaked at No. 4). And it’s fun to see, back on the singles chart, Mariah Carey’s perennial “All I Want for Christmas Is You” make its highest charting to date with its No. 29 return – presumably inspired by her joyous rendition of the song with the Roots on kids’ instruments on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon.
- Liner Notes. The princesses of the pop singles world aren’t faring so well with their albums, Ke$ha comes in at a disappointing No. 6 with Warrior, while Rihanna’s Unapologetic tumbles out of the Top 10 in only its third week. It really won’t be long until, for some of these artists at least, albums are eschewed altogether in favor of a steady stream of singles and collaborations.
Got questions about the charts, past and present? E-mail me at Joseph_McCombs@timemagazine.com