Hot 100 Roundup: Jerrod Niemann Gets Happy, Passion Pit Tells A Sad Story, Karmin Remains Annoying, And More

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This week the new entries in the Hot 100 attain a near-perfect balance: Two good to great records (Passion Pit and Jerrod Niemann), two terrible ones (Karmin and Macklemore), and a bunch of mediocre stuff in the middle. Over the course of a year, the quality of the Hot 100 usually settles into a normal probability curve, but it's rare to see the entire spectrum in a single week of new arrivals.

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Oddsmaker: Do Beyoncé And André 3000 Have Enough Swagu To Beat Kanye And His Dozens Of Friends At The Grammys?

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The Grammys created the awkwardly named Best Rap/Sung Collaboration category ten years ago, around the time Ja Rule's various "thug love" duets were dominating the airwaves. The award recognized a growing sector of popular music that didn't quite fit into the preexisting rap, R&B or pop song awards, and its creation was a prescient move. In 2001, 13% of Billboard's Year-End Hot 100 Songs featured at least one rapper and one singer; in 2011 that number had doubled to 26% (after peaking at 33% in 2010). The category's a little more unpredictable this year, as NARAS snubbed the biggest dancefloor-friendly rapped-and-sung hits of the year ("Give Me Everything," "Party Rock Anthem," "On The Floor," "E.T.") in favor of more urban radio fare.

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Radio Hits One: Hot 100 Peaks Only Tell Half The Story For Cee Lo, Britney Spears, And Other Year-End Winners

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One of the most frustrating things about discussing the Billboard singles charts is how a song's peak position—the highest spot it occupied on a chart during its run—is almost universally regarded as the permanent measurement of its success or popularity. Any song that reaches No. 1 is embalmed forever as a chart-topper, the biggest of the big, and any song that didn't is presumed to be less successful in every way. And in the iTunes era, peaks can be even more misleading, as songs by artists with big fanbases rocket up the chart the week after they go onsale, and then have to slowly pick up momentum in the slower moving world of radio to actually stay on the chart.

That's why I love looking at Billboard's year-end charts: you finally get authoritative rankings of how successful songs were relative to each other, based on their entire chart lifespan during the year, not just how popular they were on the particular week they reached critical mass. You can always use anecdotal evidence, or more complicated statistics like sales figures or radio spins to measure a song's staying power, but the 2011 year-end Hot 100 lays it all out, in simple single- and double-digit numbers as easy to understand as a chart peak. Of course, as my colleague Chris Molanphy has noted, the year-end chart runs from the beginning of December to the end of November, and heavily favors songs that broke earlier in the chart year. But even taking that into account, the 2011 list handily debunks the validity of the chart peak as the final word.


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Radio Hits One: T-Pain Escapes Lead Single Purgatory

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The Revolver cover.
On Thursday Jive Records announced that T-Pain's fourth album rEVOLVEr would be out on December 6. That same day, the rappa ternt sanga's single "5 O'Clock" reached a new Hot 100 peak of No. 25 . The timing wasn't exactly coincidental. The track, on which T-Pain is supported by Lily Allen and Wiz Khalifa, is the sixth single he's released in support of the album, and it has quickly become the most successful to date. But for over two years, he was lobbing one song after another into the marketplace, and each time it would quickly fall off the charts, and Jive would delay the album and start over from scratch.

The press release announcing the album calls "5 O'Clock" the second single from rEVOLVEr, designating "Best Love Song" featuring Chris Brown as the first. Truthfully, they're the sixth and fourth singles, respectively, but they're also the only top 40 hits from the campaign so far—which means everything else that missed will likely be tossed out, or only included as bonus tracks on certain editions of the album.

Not long ago, an album with half a dozen Hot 100 hits would be considered a runaway success. But the bar for singles-chart success to serve as a benchmark for potential album sales has been raised so high in recent years that rEVOLVEr has struggled for two years to find its way into stores, and other albums like it have as well.

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Ne-Yo Fancies Himself A Fantasy Object On His "Motivation" Flip

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Singer/songwriter/all-around smoothie Ne-Yo is spinning the success of the very-beneath-him-but-still-huge Pitbull "Give Me Everything" into the release of a mixtape sometime later this month. Last week to give people a taste he released his take on Jay-Z and Kanye West's "Try A Little Tenderness"-powered ode to the self "Otis". Today he jumps on Kelly Rowland's icy "Motivation," which has already been leapt on by R. Kelly, Busta Rhymes, and a ton of other dudes—Ne-Yo's twist is that he's flipped the song into something worthy of the title "She Uses Me (Masturbation)." I bet you can figure out the plotline for that one! Clip below.

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Power 105 Is Throwing A Big Concert On Governor's Island Next Month


Power 105 has announced Power Live, a multi-artist affair with a bill that includes the likes of Kelly Rowland, J. Cole, Fabolous, and Big Sean. The show goes down on Sunday, August 21, and tickets range between $45 and $105 before surcharges; the more expensive ticket not only grants access to the VIP section, it allows for priority ferry boarding. Fancy! Full lineup below.


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