Hello and welcome to the inaugural edition of Billboarding, our bi-weekly look at one of Billboard's Top 10 charts. Your guide to what the kids are listening to? None other than our own Jeff Giles, who can count to 10 with the best of 'em, and does his best to prove it here. Now, for your reading enjoyment, the top 10 of Billboard's Hot 100 for the week of October 29, 2007, which we have dubbed the House of T. Pain.
1. Soulja Boy Tell ‘Em, “Crank That” (Interscope/ColliPark)
Hey, remember Kris Kross? Something tells us the folks at Interscope do – and they’re raking in this 17-year-old kid’s royalties every which way while the iron is hot. Like your asshole officemate, Soulja is as deeply annoying as he is inescapable. Fun bonus fact: The line “Superman that ho” refers to a sexual act that involves dried smegma and a pissed-off girl with a sheet stuck to her back. Tell ‘em!
2. Chris Brown feat. T-Pain, “Kiss Kiss” (Jive)
Twenty-two weeks into its chart run, “Kiss Kiss” reaches a new peak, only being kept from the top spot by “Crank That” – mighty unusual in an era of ‘here Tuesday, gone Friday afternoon’ single releases, and even more unusual when you take into consideration the fact that it was only released to iTunes last week. The song’s entry into the digital realm accounts for its 20-spot jump this week, and also marks the first of this week’s three appearances by the vocoder-lovin’ sensation known as T-Pain.
3. Timbaland feat. OneRepublic, “Apologize” (Interscope/Mosley/Blackground)
It’s got Timbaland’s name on top, but it sounds like Vertical Horizon – and that, in a nutshell, is the state of Top 40 in 2007. It’s a far cry from groundbreaking Tim productions such as “Are You That Somebody?” or pretty much anything he’s ever done with Missy Elliott, but if you need something to keep on repeat while crying in your beer, this’ll do in a pinch.
4. Alicia Keys, “No One” (J)
The queen of 21st-century neo-soul makes a welcome return to the Top Ten this week with the leadoff single from her forthcoming album, As I Am. At least in terms of image and lyrical focus, Keys has always tended to err on the retro side, so it’s no surprise that “No One” rocks a chunky old-school groove, complete with a farting synth line right out of the late ‘70s. Of course, it doesn’t help that she’s gone the glamour route in the video – and does the whole “prop keyboard” thing better than anyone since Brian Wilson.
5. Colbie Caillat, “Bubbly” (Universal Republic)
Yeah, she’s saying nothing, but at least she isn’t talking loud. It’s as wispy and/or inane as you’d expect from its title, but sandwiched between all these bright mixes and mechanized beats, it’s actually something of a welcome respite on the chart. Besides, people need to listen to something while they’re shopping at the Gap, and “Crank That” probably wouldn’t sell as many sweater sets as “Bubbly.”
6. Kanye West, “Stronger” (Def Jam/Roc-A-Fella)
In which Kanye jacks a Daft Punk beat and rides it all the way to the top of the charts. Since being knocked out of the Number One spot by “Crank That,” “Stronger” has showed impressive staying power; like the song’s beat, it refuses to quit. (Those glasses he wears in the video, however, are another story.)
7. Baby Bash feat. T-Pain, “Cyclone” (Arista)
…And here we have the official Most Irritating Song of the Week! Yes it sticks in your brain – the same way a busy signal or an air raid siren keeps echoing after it shuts off. There is no part of this song that isn’t annoying. We’ll definitely be seeing it on the charts for weeks, in other words.
8. Kanye West feat. T-Pain, “Good Life” (Def Jam/Roc-A-Fella)
Hello again, T-Pain! This song actually uses Mr. Pain to good effect, limiting the Framptonesque vocoder antics of R&B’s producer du jour in favor of a light “urban” coating on what might be Kanye’s brightest, bounciest number. It doesn’t possess the brain-bruising power of, say, “Crank That” – but that’s probably what we like best about it.
9. Rihanna feat. Ne-Yo, “Hate That I Love You” (Def Jam/SRP)
Of all the R&B songs on this week’s Top 10, this one might be the most timeless. Don’t misunderstand; we aren’t saying this will be showing up on Best So-and-So lists 20 years from now, just that it’s easy to imagine hearing “Hate That I Love You” on the dial at any point in the last couple of decades, and there’s something to be said for that. It’s awfully hard to argue with a song that owes this big a debt to classic pop and R&B…or a video featuring this many shots of Rihanna in her skivvies.
10. Timbaland feat. Keri Hilson, “The Way I Are” (Interscope/Mosley/ Blackground)
No, that isn’t a typo, smart alecks – the song is actually called “The Way I Are,” and yes, you are hearing it in the background of a McDonald’s commercial. Give Timbaland credit – the album this single is from, Timbaland Presents Shock Value, was commercially left for dead a few months ago, but his promotional hustle has led to a Top Ten that’s two-tenths Tim. And that’s the way the chart are.