… In which we take a twice-monthly look at the top ten of one of Billboard magazine’s many singles charts. This week: the Hot 100!
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1. Leona Lewis, â€œBleeding Loveâ€ (J)
Honestly, I’m torn. On the one hand, I honestly believe there’s an art to crafting a heartfelt, yet perfectly inoffensive, midtempo ballad â€” and if the vocalist can get it across without suffering a melismatic meltdown, so much the better. On the other hand, “Bleeding Love” was co-written by Ryan Tedder, frontman for the terrible OneRepublic, so I’m pretty sure common decency requires me to hate it. Sorry, Leona! I would say “better luck next time,” but I’ve heard the rest of your album, and I know there wouldn’t be any point.
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2. Lil Wayne feat. Static Major, â€œLollipopâ€ (Universal Motown)
I love “Lollipop,” and let me tell you why: Lil Wayne’s migraine-inducing “singing” here surely represents the final shark-jumping of the vocoder effect that the kids apparently can’t get enough of. It’s barely a song, but if it kills this trend dead, it deserves a Grammy.
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3. Jordin Sparks feat. Chris Brown, â€œNo Airâ€ (19)
I’ve never watched American Idol, so I have no feel for where Jordin Sparks falls on the great vanilla continuum of the show’s former contestants, or whether she and Kimberley Locke are actually the same person. R&B fans need cliched ballads just as much as the rest of us, so “No Air” is performing sort of a public service, I guess, but I can’t help wondering what it would sound like if Ozzy and Lita were singing instead of these two.
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4. Usher feat. Young Jeezy, â€œLove in This Clubâ€ (LaFace)
I can’t find a single version of the actual video that’s allowing embedding, so fuck it â€” here’s some girl doing a cover in her bedroom, on the ukulele. I like this version better anyway. Usher is stupid.
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5. Mariah Carey, â€œTouch My Bodyâ€ (Island)
Mimi’s record-setting 18th Number One drops from the top spot to Number Five this week, but I still prefer it to any of the songs outranking it â€” even if, as Jason has repeatedly complained, the lyrics make a soon-to-be-totally-dated YouTube reference. I could take or leave a lot of her stuff, and “Touch My Body” is wafer thin, but it’s also a lot of fun.
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6. Ray J & Yung Berg, â€œSexy Can Iâ€ (KOCH/Epic)
Aside from his extracurricular activities, I know nothing about Ray J; I’d always assumed he was the sort of C-list singer who spent his summers playing water parks and ribfests. I also had no idea Epic had gotten into the habit of picking up after KOCH’s sloppy seconds. Oh, and here’s something else I’d never have guessed: I can’t help liking “Sexy Can I.” This should have been a summer hit.
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7. Madonna feat. Justin Timberlake, â€œ4 Minutesâ€ (Warner Bros.)
After whiffing with American Life and Confessions on a Dance Floor, Madonna apparently didn’t want to hedge her bets for her final Warners hurrah, and went out and got herself a pair of real live chartbusters for the lead-off single. “4 Minutes” is a pile of hooks, propped up by icy synths, all stridently, adamantly forward-looking â€” in other words, it’s vintage Madonna, which is why it’s sort of funny that she makes what amounts to a cameo appearance on the song. Remember the good old days, when aging, hit-hungry artists just called Don Was? It was a simpler, more innocent time.
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8. Chris Brown, â€œWith Youâ€ (Jive)
Hearts all over the world tonight are getting tired of hearing “With You.” This was released as a single back in…what, December? It’s nice to see a song have legs once in awhile, but still â€” in another few weeks, this is going to go down as Chris Brown’s personal “Two Princes.”
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9. Sara Bareilles, â€œLove Songâ€ (Epic)
Another one that seemingly can’t be embedded, but that’s fine â€” in the space of a couple of months, I’ve gone from kinda liking this song to wishing Sara Bareilles could be shipped off to an island with Colbie Caillat. It’s nice to have something breaking up all the canned hip-hop and R&B in the Top Ten, but does it always have to be chick pop that sounds like it was lifted from an episode of a show on the CW?
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10. Flo Rida feat. T-Pain, â€œLowâ€ (Atlantic)
The hit we can’t get rid of, from the soundtrack to a sequel no one asked for. I’m pretty sure “Low” has been somewhere on the Top Ten for all of 2008 â€” you’d think that kind of longevity would wear down a person’s negative feelings for a song, but no; I hate it just as much now as I did back in January. The best thing about “Low” is that the movie it’s shilling, the horrible Step Up 2 the Streets, stars Briana Evigan, the daughter of Greg Evigan. You know, this guy:
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…And that’s it for this week’s Billboarding, folks! Meet me back here in two Mondays, when we’ll look at the Top Ten from another chart!