John Heaton (jheaton) wrote,
John Heaton

Hot Rock Songs

Back in May, I started following the Billboard Hot Rock Tracks each week. I'm not exactly sure why, but it was probably related to a sense that I was woefully out of touch when it came to contemporary rock music. The same could be said with pretty much any musical genre -- to my knowledge, I've yet to hear the so-called song of the summer, "Blurred Lines" -- but I've always preferred rock to pop or country or R&B and any of the other genres Billboard tracks the popularity of, and the Hot Rock Songs chart seemed to provide the best overview of contemporary rock, because it ranks popular alternative, mainstream rock and triple A songs ranked by radio airplay across all formats, sales data, and streaming activity.

Anyway, that first week, the number one song was "Radioactive" by Imagine Dragons. And so it remained, every single week ... until yesterday, when "Royals" by Lorde took over the top spot. It was weirdly exciting. And historic! The Rock Songs chart was created in 2009, and Lorde is the first woman ever to hold the #1 spot. Well, the first solo woman, anyway; Kimbra and Janelle Monáe received "featuring" credit on "Somebody I Used To Know" and "We Are Young" respectively.

One of the things I find fascinating about the Hot Rock Songs chart is how stable it is. I made a Spotify playlist containing the top 25 songs from the chart on May 27, updating it weekly, and 11 of the songs that were on the chart then are still on the chart this week, and "Royals" is only the third song this year to hit the top of the chart. (The third was "Ho Hey" by the Lumineers.) But on the other hand, it can be tremendously volatile. Songs don't really move up and down the chart; they appear, hang around the same basic area of the chart, and then vanish. The number two song the week I created the playlist was "My Songs Know What You Did In The Dark (Light Em Up)" by Fall Out Boy. In July, it dropped to #3, and in mid-August to #6. It wavered between #6 and #7 for a few weeks ... and then, this week, it vanished completely. How does a song go from the seventh most popular rock song in the country one week and fall off the chart next? It's weird.
Tags: music

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