Great pop musicians are split between “album” acts and “singles” acts; the legacy of Thriller aside (50 million copies and counting), Michael Jackson is arguably the greatest “singles” act of all time. And celebrating achievements in single-dom is what the Song of Summer Power Rankings are all about.
Taking a look back reveals that not a ton of Jackson’s singles were released in the warmer months, although “Don’t Stop Till You Get Enough” (July, 1979) and “Wanna Be Starting Something” (May, 1982) surely owned their respective summers. But how many of his jams are what we’re going to call evergreens — the kind of songs you could drop on a sweaty dance floor at any time from now till eternity and still turn the party out? We’re officially nominating “P.Y.T.,” “Billie Jean,” and “I Want You Back,” to start with. And what MJ jam will be the defacto tribute song of this summer? Smart money’s on “Thriller,” although “Man in the Mirror” is making a surprising case for itself, already cracking iTunes’ top fifteen downloads.
And now back to your regularly scheduled programming: After a big shake-up last week, things have calmed down significantly. Congratulations to Young Money’s “Every Girl,” our sole new entrant and this week’s Biggest Gainer.
1. Tie: Black Eyed Peas, “Boom Boom Pow” and “I Gotta Feeling”: We still can’t figure out which one will last. And, apparently, neither can anyone else — the two stay neck and neck at the top of the Hot 100.
2. Mariah Carey, “Obsessed”: Her run at the top was brief, but we’ve got a feeling Ms. Carey — another of history’s all time greatest “singles” acts — will be back.
3. Drake, “Best I Ever Had”: It’s been No. 3 on our Power Rankings for a few weeks now, and finally, America caught up: “Best I Ever Had” jumps from No. 27 to No. 3 on the Hot 100.
5. Keri Hilson feat. Kanye West and Ne-Yo, “Knock You Down”: Tangential Kanye involvement didn’t help “Walking on the Moon” much, so we’re finally giving Hilson her full due for this resilient summer smash.
6. Sean Kingston, “Fire Burning”: Its consistently great showings on iTunes-download charts suggest it’s a younger audience making up the fanbase for “Burning.” Will the fickle youngsters abandon it as quickly as they’ve embraced it?
8. Young Money, “Every Girl” : Lil Wayne’s crew follows their mate Drake from way back in the pack to up front — the track leaped from No. 34 to No. 10 on the Hot 100.
9. Pitbull, “I Know You Want Me (Calle Ocho)”: We know it’s more of a pop hit, but the fact that it gets little love from Hot 97 concerns us.
10. Cobra Starship, “Good Girls Gone Bad”: We just realized that the name of this song is almost identical to the title of the album containing “Umbrella.” Not a bad omen.