Starting a week after I wrote my pop hit limericks, the charts shifted dramatically. Most notably, “Somebody That I Used To Know” by Gotye finally fell out of the top ten after several months of consistently felicitous placement and Taylor Swift’s “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together” hit number one. As for the latter, how is it as a song? Eh, it’s okay. Taylor Swift is hardly maturing out of her blindered teenage girl persona, but I never had any serious expectation that she would, and this song is basically just “Stronger” by Kelly Clarkson but a little bit better.
However, I am inclined to be more charitable than usual toward it–anything that ousted Flo Rida’s somewhat catchy but achingly stupid “Whistle” from the top slot was always going to start off in my good books. Far more interesting than the song itself is the fact that it debuted at #1. “Lights,” “Some Nights,” even “Call Me Maybe” had to claw their way up the charts to reach the top ten. Hell, even “Whistle” bided its time just outside of the top ten for weeks on end before finally breaking through.
This much, however, is obvious. Of course songs by more established artists will have less difficulty climbing the charts than those by relative nobodies. The fairness of this will inevitably vary from artist to artist, as some artists are well-established for a very good reason. But the flaws in the system manifest themselves in artists like Katy Perry, who suffered a drastic drop-off in quality and yet seemingly get a free top ten pass to this day.
And then there are aberrations like LMFAO, who have one decent hit in them (“Party Rock Anthem”), and consequently get a free pass for their next song, no matter how execrable (“Sexy and I Know It”).
Is there a point to this? Not really. It isn’t fair, true, but no one ever said it had to be. The charts, like the universe, are indifferent to notions of pleasure and happiness. They just do what they do.