The Big Hurt: On-Demand Songs

Who charted?
By DAVID THORPE  |  April 20, 2012

fun1
PHOTO ILLUSTRATION BY REBECCA GRUNBERG

The On-Demand Songs chart is a radical new way to measure the consumption of music. Billboard has teamed up with Nielsen and the Subscription Music Work Group to grab streaming stats from services like Rdio, Spotify and MOG (fear not, nobody — Zune support is coming soon!). These services offer tens of millions of streaming songs, often for free; there's no paid-off middleman in a radio booth, no record stores or 99-cent download fees. Finally, we can see what people will choose to listen to when given unfettered access to a virtually the entire history of recorded music.

Pretty much the same bullshit as always, as it turns out!

1_FUN (FEAT. JANELLE MONÁE), "WE ARE YOUNG" | Debut single from the new poster boys for the "selling-in" era: instead of licensing hit songs for commercials and TV shows, commercials and TV shows make the hits. This lukewarm, nutless indie-pop creampuff tanked in the charts upon release, then became a huge comeback hit after a Glee cover and a Chevrolet Super Bowl ad. To its credit, the track moves around a little more than last year's insufferable fake-indie model, "Pumped Up Kicks." Still, it's about as exciting as snorting bumps of bee pollen at a social media mixer with the hot young A&R man from Honda of America. Death to this track and its entire horseshit ilk. I'd be morally obligated to say the same even if it weren't a worthless track, but it is.

Oh, by the way, it's time to come up with a new meaningless term for corporate assholes to co-opt — "punk" and "alternative" are long dead, and it looks like we just wrung the last few drops of blood out of "indie." Maybe they can move in on "avant-garde" just to keep us on our toes.

2_GOTYE (FEAT. KIMBRA), "SOMEBODY THAT I USED TO KNOW" | Barely audible even at high volume, but I can comfortably imagine that a person might choose to listen to this.

3_CARLY RAE JEPSEN, "CALL ME MAYBE" | It's impossible to conceive of a universe in which this song isn't a hit. That's not a comment on the merit of the art, but on the inevitability of its tune. It's guileless cornball pop, but I feel like I can trust it; I'd choose this polished gem over that corporate false-flag shit at #1 any day.

4_THE WANTED, "GLAD YOU CAME" | This garbage was still at number 85 on the Hot 100 last time we looked, but it's been creeping up the charts like a deer tick looking for soft, warm genital meat. I wanted to assume a boy-band throwback charted automatically because nobody was paying attention, but its inclusion here means people have been actively seeking it out — bug chasers, dude.

5_NICKI MINAJ, "STARSHIPS" | I'm OK with the fact that Nicki doesn't belong to hip-hop fans; we occasionally have to suffer through this kind of shit so she can fund the good stuff. "Super Bass" was easy enough to get through, but this one: woof. Imagine if Katy Perry shed her skin like a snake and then someone filled it with mouldering Black Eyed Peas residue. Boosted slightly by occasional attempts to slip into Hammertime.

6_TYGA, "RACK CITY" | I've liked this dumbass song since day one. Reasons: 1) More vaguely menacing than is required for a strip-club jam. 2) "Got your grandma on my dick." 3) "Hunnits." 4) In the edited version, the hilarious change to "got my other chick huggin' on my other chick/huggin' all night, we ain't celibate" — aren't you, hug dude? 5) My friend Jon Hendren's hilarious Twitter discovery of dozens of teens mistaking the lyrics for "rat city bitch." ^

DAVID THORPE | dthorpe@phx.com

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