Spring is in the air, and the record industry's glitziest high-stakes gambles of the second quarter are popping up on the airwaves -- a Mariah here, a Madonna there, a long-delayed Lil Wayne popping Cristal in the back -- and it all adds up to one of the most entertaining Hot 100 charts we've seen in a long, long time. Boost the bass, pump up the volume, and get your hits on!
1. Mariah Carey, “Touch My Body” (Island)
Mimi’s 18th Number One single vaults her past Elvis and into the record books as the solo artist with the most Hot 100 toppers in the rock era – and leaves her just two Number Ones shy of the Beatles. (Her songwriting credit on “Touch My Body” also puts her in third place among writers with Number One hits, but c’mon – Carey’s as much of a songwriter as Elvis was.) It’s become awfully fashionable to hate on her in the post-Glitter era, but this song is hard to resist. Why make the effort?
2. Leona Lewis, “Bleeding
It was written and produced by Ryan “OneRepublic faux-hawk dork” Tedder, but Lewis’ voice somehow trumps even the influence of the hand behind “Apologize” (which is, for the record, Billboarding’s official Most Hated Song). Is this just another doofy midtempo ballad, or is it the “Vision of Love” of the 21st century? We can’t tell.
3. Madonna feat. Justin Timberlake, “4
Minutes" (Warner Bros.)
After trying (and failing) to make the leap to fortysomething club cougar with her last album, Madge stops hedging her bets with the leadoff single from her 11th album, Hard Candy: Not only did she draft Justin Timberlake and Timbaland as co-writers, she essentially acts as a glorified hook girl. Lucky for her it isn’t a bad hook, even if it does bring to mind something you’d hear over the opening credits of "MacGyver: The Movie. "
Lil Wayne feat. Static Major, “Lollipop”
This is absolutely horrible. But look at the bright side – “Lollipop” will most likely mark the spot where the Annoying Vocoder Fad of ’07-’08 finally jumped the shark. Thanks, Lil Wayne!
5. Usher feat. Young Jeezy, “Love
in This Club” (LaFace)
The video looks like a high-school production of "Blade Runner," and the beat may or may not have been lifted whole from Apple’s GarageBand program, but it’s hard to argue with results, and here’s what matters most: Usher’s back in the Top 10 after years away from the spotlight. It’s obvious LaFace was bunting for a double when they released this as the leadoff single from Usher’s new album, but as long as they’ve got a home run somewhere in the lineup, what difference does it make?
6. Ray J & Yung Berg, “Sexy
Can I” (KOCH/Epic)
KOCH and Epic screwed up bigtime by not releasing this in the spring – it screams “summertime hit” as loudly as “No Scrubs” did way back when – but hey, a hit’s a hit, and even if the label did drop it in the dead of winter, “Sexy Can I” earned Kim Kardashian’s ex-mouthpiece his first Top 10 showing. We refuse to believe Ray J has another song like this in him, but this is still impossible not to enjoy while it lasts.
Jordin Sparks feat. Chris Brown, “No
That fat, elastic beat is the best thing about this utterly generic R&B ballad – well, that and counting the number of times Sparks’ voice is deeper than Brown’s – but the folks at 19 Records are no slouches at chart math; they know that when you add one mid-level star and one budding career artist, you get yourself one Top 10 hit.
8. Chris Brown, “With
Brown’s actually lucky he’s on that Sparks duet – if it weren’t for that, he’d only have this moldy second single from Exclusive going for him, and given that it’s been in rotation at R&B stations since December, “With You” is probably on the verge of “Two Princes”-style overexposure. At this rate, Jive may need to start paying independent promoters to stop spinning it.
9. Sara Bareilles, “Love
Hey, speaking of overplayed, here’s Sara Bareilles’ “Love Song”! Back in February, we lamented this cute little number’s inevitable overstaying of its welcome, and whaddya know, that day has come. Having extended the chain of cute Caucasian girls that Colbie Caillat started on the Hot 100 last year, Bareilles is now finally getting ready to drop out of the Top 10. Who’ll be next?
Flo Rida feat. T-Pain, “Low” (Atlantic)
After lingering like an unbelievably noxious fart all year long, this looks like the week that Flo Rida’s “Low” finally loosens its foul grip on the Top 10. Good Lord, maybe this chart will be completely T-Pain free when we make our way back to it in a couple of months. Dare we hope?