Pop Power Ranking: Justin Timberlake Brings Mediocrity Back, Can’t Stop Beyoncé and Drake From Slaying
Climb to the top of the pops and dive deep down into the depths with the flops in our latest edition of Pop Power Ranking.
Welcome back to Pop Power Ranking, my attempt to make sense of the week that was in the world of pop. Please consult the inaugural Pop Power Ranking for a bit more information on how I put this together (and also check out our last ranking for a peek at how things have moved around), but also know that it’s pretty self-explanatory — I start with the flops and end with the week’s biggest winner — and that you can probably just jump right in…
5) Meghan Trainor and Ariana Grande
Please see last week’s Pop Power Ranking for a rundown of why these two young stars are struggling in their new album eras and why they’re lumped together at the bottom of this ranking. What’s changed since I wrote that? Not much! Trainor’s album is now out, and it’s currently stuck at No. 4 on iTunes behind Beyoncé’s Lemonade, Drake’s Views, and Radiohead’s A Moon Shaped Pool. That’s… not great. Despite several pre-album singles, only “No” remains on the Hot 100, and it’s falling. (It’s at No. 19 this week). The week’s most notable moment for Trainor was her epic faceplant on The Tonight Show. A metaphor if ever there was one. As for Grande, her album, Dangerous Woman, is out this Friday, and whether it’s a hit remains to be seen, but like Trainor, she is struggling to prove herself on the singles chart. This week, she has two songs on the Hot 100: “Dangerous Woman” bounces up from No. 18 to No. 16, and “Into You” debuts at No. 83. These are not numbers befitting of superstars.
Power Rating: 23/100
Last Week: No. 5
Mediocrity reigns as Timberlake’s new single (and his first in years) debuts at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100. “Can’t Stop the Feeling” is a forgettable mush of adult contemporary genericness, but I suppose it just doesn’t matter at the end of the day, because at the end of the day it’s the No. 1 song in the country. You, America, made this troll song (literally: it is from the soundtrack to the movie Trolls) the most popular in our once-great land on the wings of 379,000 downloads. That’s a lot of downloads! That is a lot of people wanting to own the musical equivalent of a vat of treacle! In fact, it is the most a Timberlake single has ever sold in a one-week period. You really like this song better than “Cry Me a River” or “SexyBack” or “Suit & Tie” or “Mirrors”? Hell, you really like this song more than Drake’s “One Dance,” which only held the No. 1 spot for one week before getting knocked back to No.2? C’mon, that was Drake’s first No. 1 as a lead artist! Cut the Meme King a break! Poor drake. But really: Poor us.
Power Rating: 42/100
Last Week: N/A
This week, Rihanna earns her 29th (!!!) Top 10 Hot 100 hit as “Needed Me” climbs from No. 13 to No. 10 on the Hot 100. Just last week, she earned her 28th Top 10 hit when “This Is What You Came For” (a Calvin Harris song on which she happens to feature) debuted at No. 9. (It falls this week to No. 15.) 29 Top 10 singles in 11 years is pretty damn impressive, no joke. Meanwhile, over on the Album 200, Radiohead’s A Moon Shaped Pool, released last week to rapturous acclaim, was blocked from hitting No. 1 album by both Drake’s Views (No. 1) and Beyoncé’s Lemonade (No. 2). Still, because the album was released on a Sunday, they had less than a full week to chart (and yet still managed to sell 173,000 copies, their best week since 2003). The album reviews are stellar, and it’s their sixth Top 10 album overall. More than 20 years into their career, and they’re still making waves (and, it should be said once again, art of great importance).
Power Rating: 57/100
Last Week: No. 4 (Rihanna) and No. 3 (Radiohead)
— Formation World Tour (@FormationWT) May 17, 2016
At this point, there is little left to say about the hugeness of Beyoncé’s current era. Lemonade sits pretty at No. 2 on the Album 200 in its fourth week with 202,000 units moved (153,000 of which were pure sales). (In its fourth week, it is still pulling bigger numbers than ANTI did its debut week.) The album remains the most critically-acclaimed release of the year. Her Formation World Tour is raking in the coins. Not that she needs a hit single to solidify Lemonade’s success, but it should be noted that, after all 12 tracks from the album debuted on the Hot 100 the week after its release, only four currently remain, and they’re all plummeting. Just goes to show that some people (Rihanna) are more comfortable being singles artists while others (Bey) carry themselves and their legacies with albums.
Power Rating: 78/100
Last Week: No. 2
Despite getting knocked off his Hot 100 perch by Justin Timberlake on his worst day, the view is still good for Drake. “One Dance” falls to No. 2, but the track is still gathering steam on radio and remains strong in downloads and streams, meaning there’s a chance it will reclaim the top slot. Views notches its second week atop the Album 200 with 313,000 units moved. (175,000 of those units were pure sales.) Those are strong numbers, but they are a steep drop from his debut last week. What does this say about Views’ longevity? Paired with not-great reviews, it could spell a quick slip down the charts and out of our lives. Still, Views is already platinum, so Drizzy probably isn’t complaining. Drake also hosted and performed on Saturday Night Live, much to the delight of the internet. Not so delightful was Drake unveiling his beardless face.
Power Rating: 85/100
Last Week: No. 1
PLEASE RETURN NEXT WEEK FOR ANOTHER EDITION POP POWER RANKING TO SEE IF UR FAVS MADE THE CUT.