Welcome back to The Week in Number Ones, where all the biggest movers from the US and UK charts get condensed into one article. Last week, we tracked how TikTok is the primary driver of top ten singles through Cat Burns’ ‘Go’, remained stupefied at how Imagine Dragons continue to pander to just the right audiences, and started some fires with The Prodigy.
On the album charts, the Red Hot Chili Peppers have solidified the triumphant return of their best-loved lineup as their 12th studio album Unlimited Love lands at number one on the UK album charts. Their first LP with guitarist John Frusciante since 2006’s Stadium Arcadium, Unlimited Love also gives the Chili Peppers their fifth number one LP after studio albums By the Way, Stadium Arcadium, and I’m With You, along with the live album Live in Hyde Park, all previously topped the chart. The Chili Peppers might have found the number one single to be elusive, but the number one album is one they have on lock.
Over in America, I am sad to report that Machine Gun Kelly is currently rubbing his nutsack all over the number one spot on the US album chart. Mainstream Sellout is a truly horrendous album: too self-aware to be funny, too legitimately bad to enjoy ironically, and too big to fail. Kelly’s second foray into Travis Barker-led pop-punk after 2020’s Tickets to My Downfall (which also hit number one), Mainstream Sellout has a bright future as an illegal means of torture at whatever hellhole the government uses as a replacement for Guantanamo Bay.
This week, Jax Jones and MNEK signal the return of Eurodance with their infectious single ‘Where Did You Go?’, Latto produces a copy of a copy with the third-generation version of some sweet 1980s beats on ‘Energy’, and Fun create an apocalyptic celebration of youth with ‘We Are Young’. All that and more as we round up all the best chart news of the modern-day and recent past.
Current UK Number One: ‘Starlight’ – Dave
Gather ‘round, kids, and listen to ol’ Grandpa tell you a little something about Eurodance.
Evolving from both the synth-heavy sounds of disco and the more electronic bounce of house music, Eurodance coalesced mainly in countries like Germany and Italy throughout the mid-1980s. As electronic dance music began to factor into subgenres like rave, baggy, trance, and hi-NRG, eurodance emerged as the boldest, brightest, and most obviously mainstream of all.
It didn’t take long for Eurodance to invade the British charts. Black Box’s ‘Ride on Time’, Technotronic’s ‘Pump Up the Jam’, and Snap!’s ‘The Power’ were all number one hits from the first wave of European DJs and producers. There was an easy formula to follow: Eurodance artists didn’t have to have names, personalities, or identifiable members. The music did the talking, and it continued to spread until it had infected just about everywhere in the world by 1990.
In America, Eurodance never really caught on, quickly having been snuffed out by the likes of gangster rap and grunge. In England, scores of different dance music genres were more homegrown and, at least on the surface, more genuine than the flashy and anonymous Eurodance. Big beat and Warp Records made Eurodance seem excessively cheesy, as did the rise of over-the-top acts like Aqua and Eiffel 65. By the late ‘90s, the Eurodance party was officially over, but clearly, it had made its mark on scores of young listeners.
How else can you explain something like ‘Where Did You Go?’, the bright and shiny hit single that is currently riding in at number nine on the singles chart? The line between genuinely infectious pop tunes and blatant parody is razor thin with neo-Eurodance (I’m just going to invent that subgenre right now), but ‘Where Did You Go?’ captures the catchiest and most colourful elements that propelled the original wave of Eurodance into the mainstream.
UK Singles Top Ten (Week of April 6th, 2022):
- ‘Starlight’ – Dave
- ‘Baby’ – Aitch/Ashanti
- ‘Peru’ – Fireboy DML & Ed Sheeran
- ‘Where Are You Now’ – Lost Frequencies/Calum Scott
- ‘Make Me Feel Good’ – Belters Only ft. Jazzy
- ‘Go’ – Cat Burns
- ‘Down Under’ – Luude ft. Colin Hay
- ‘Where Did You Go’ – Jax Jones ft. MNEK
- ‘BMW’ – Bad Boy Chiller Crew
- ‘Bam Bam’ – Camila Cabello ft. Ed Sheeran
Current US Number One: ‘Heat Waves’ – Glass Animals
Here’s an important question: what artist do you think of when you happen upon the unmistakable first few notes of The Tom Tom Club’s ‘Genius of Love’? Is it The Tom Tom Club themselves, who scored their only top 40 hit in America with the song? Is it Mariah Carey, who heavily sampled the song on her own 1995 number one hit ‘Fantasy’?
Or is it the scores of other artists, particularly in the genre of hip hop, who have sampled the song? According to whosampled.com, ‘Genius of Love’ has been sampled 170 different times, including in songs like ‘Return of the Mack’ by Mark Morrison, ‘High Speed’ by Tupac and Outlawz, ‘Brick City Mashin’ by Redman, and ‘Tumbling Down’ by Ziggy Marley and the Melody Makers.
Latto’s ‘Energy’ is just the latest gonzo reworking of the classic song. Moral watchdogs might take umbrage with Latto’s salacious, obscene, pearl-clutching lyrics, but I’m in the exact opposite camp. I’m pretty sure 4th graders know what “big dick energy” is, and as far as I’m concerned, the more ridiculously filthy the lyrics, the better. If it’s not bordering on parody at all times, then I’m not interested.
With that in mind, I should probably like ‘Energy’ more than I actually do. It’s definitely a damn catchy song that would give the Hot 100 a necessary shakeup after one-too-many weeks stuck in Glass Animals’ ‘Heat Waves’. But ‘Energy’ is less of a song and more of an elaborate callback to ‘Fantasy’, so much so that it barely has any identity of its own. You could replace all of Latto’s raps with a loop of Ol’ Dirty Bastards’ one verse on the Bad Boy Remix of ‘Fantasy’ and it would pretty much be the same song. Plus you’d get the unhinged vision of ODB, which is always welcome in all songs.
But ‘Energy’ is still a welcome refresh of a Hot 100 that is starting to go stale. We’ve all heard ‘Stay’, ‘Ghost’, ‘ABCDEFU’ and ‘We Don’t Talk About Bruno’ endless times over the past few weeks, so Latto’s infectious blend of throwback beats and wildly profane energy makes for a solid respite, even if it never makes a serious run for the number one spot.
US Billboard Hot 100 Top Ten Singles (Week of April 9th, 2022):
- ‘Heat Waves’ – Glass Animals
- ‘Stay’ – The Kid Laroi & Justin Bieber
- ‘Big Energy’ – Latto
- ‘Super Gremlin’ – Kodak Black
- ‘Enemy’ – Imagine Dragons X JID
- ‘Ghost’ – Justin Bieber
- ‘ABCDEFU’ – Gayle
- ‘We Don’t Talk About Bruno’ – Disney’s Encanto Cast
- ‘That’s What I Want’ – Lil Nas X
- ‘Woman’ – Doja Cat
This Week in Number Ones: ‘We Are Young’ – Fun ft. Janelle Monáe (#1 on the Billboard Hot 100, April 7th, 2012)
Pop music is made for young people. It’s meant for late-night celebrations, emotional turmoil, and love at first sight. It’s meant to soundtrack the days when growing up seems like it’s far away and the greatest days are now. It’s bombastic and silly in a way that doesn’t relate to the banalities of adult life. In that way, ‘We Are Young’ is a strange bridge between growing up and staying a kid.
Fun were all indie veterans by the time they came together. Formed by singer Nate Ruess and instrumentalists Jack Antonoff and Andrew Dost in 2008, the band’s first album was a solid set of indie-pop tracks that landed with a solid thud when it was released in 2009. Aim and Ignite is more prickly and wonky than the streamlined sound that the band would adopt for their next record, and the trio were clearly feeling like they were battling the clock in terms of age and relevancy when they regrouped for 2012’s Some Nights.
It takes that kind of maturity to celebrate youth while understanding the stifling realities that the future holds. Fun wound up ridiculously frontloading their sophomore LP Some Nights, with the album’s three hit singles, ‘Some Nights’, ‘We Are You’, and ‘Carry On’, all coming in the first four tracks (preceded only by the album’s substanceless intro track). Those three tracks were enough to launch Fun into the stratosphere, landing three consecutive top 20 hits and a couple of Grammys to boot, including the supposedly cursed Best New Artist award.
Indeed, Fun would implode almost immediately after the promotional cycle for Some Nights finally concluded. Antonoff was clearly itching to be at the front of the stage, accomplishing his goal by forming the new band Bleachers and retaining his behind-the-scenes bonafides by producing artists like Taylor Swift and St. Vincent. After his solo career didn’t amount to much, Ruess notched songwriting credits for the likes of Halsey and Zedd. Dost has all but disappeared after Fun’s hiatus, keeping a low profile outside of mainstream music.
But perhaps that sense of “be here now” is what keeps ‘We Are Young’ so fascinating. With an apocalyptic level of drama, Ruess narrates the kinds of moments that precariously hang in everybody’s mind between the ages of 16 and 29: “Tonight, we are young / So I set the world on fire / We can burn brighter than the sun”. Fun themselves were as fleeting as the moments they sang about, but both will live forever in the annals of pop culture, thanks largely to ‘We Are Young’, one of the simplest, purest, and greatest distillations of youth in the 2010s.
Billboard Hot 100 Top Ten (Week of April 7th, 2012)
- ‘We Are Young’ – Fun ft. Janelle Monáe
- ‘Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You)’ – Kelly Clarkson
- ‘Glad You Came’ – The Wanted
- ‘Somebody That I Used to Know’ – Gotye ft. Kimbra
- ‘Starships’ – Nicki Minaj
- ‘Set Fire to the Rain’ – Adele
- ‘Wild Ones’ – Flo Rida ft. Sia
- ‘Part of Me’ – Katy Perry
- ‘Take Care’ – Drake ft. Rihanna
- ‘Turn Me On’ – David Guetta ft. Nicki Minaj