Sunday, December 25, 2005

US Chart Analysis, 2005 Year-End

Mariah Carey tops the Billboard Hot 100 year-end chart for the first time in her 15-year career with her massive #1 hit "We Belong Together," while 50 Cent's The Massacre is the year's biggest album. Kelly Clarkson is #1 and #2 on Radio & Records' year-end Top 40 chart.

Keep reading for analyses of the top 10 Billboard singles and albums and the Radio and Records top 40 airplay of 2005.

Billboard Hot 100

Billboard, having changed it's chart formula a bit this year, has restored greater equilibrium between music's greatest genres: namely R&B, pop, and rock, after R&B had dominated the 100 for several years. It's mostly veterans at the top of the chart this year, with the exception of The Pussycat Dolls.

1. We Belong Together - Mariah Carey

2005 was Mariah Carey's year--the year she came back strong with a best-selling album, multiple Grammy nominations, and a handful of hits topped by this one, which spent 14 weeks at #1, just 2 weeks shy of the record (held by Carey herself for "One Sweet Day"). Although she's had 17 #1 hits, including some very big ones, this is the first time Carey's topped the year-end Hot 100 chart. She came closest in 1996 with "One Sweet Day" at #2. She was #8 in 1993 with "Dreamlover," #5 in 1994 with "Hero," and #5 in 1996 with "Always Be My Baby." I believe "Vision of Love" and "Someday" may also have been in the top 10s for their years (1990 and 1991).

2. Hollaback Girl - Gwen Stefani

Gwen Stefani released her solo album, Love. Angel. Music. Baby. late last year, and 2004 was filled was no less than 5 singles from the album. This one was the biggest, and spent four weeks at #1. She also hit #7 with "Rich Girl." Although 2005 saw Stefani stepping out solo, she's no stranger to the charts. With her band, No Doubt, Stefani's had three top 10 hits, the biggest of which, "Underneath It All," hit #3 in 2002. ("Don't Speak" was chart ineligible in 1996/97 since Billboard did not yet chart tracks that weren't commercially released as singles.) This is actually Stefani's second appearance as a solo act within the year-end top 10; in 2001, "Let Me Blow Ya Mind" by Eve Featuring Stefani was the 7th biggest hit of the year.

3. Let Me Love You - Mario

Mario hit #1 the first week of the year, and spent 9 weeks there--the third-longest stay this year. This was his second top 40 hit, after his 2002 remake of "Just a Friend," which made #4.

4. Since U Been Gone - Kelly Clarkson

Kelly Clarkson had a #1 single in 2002 ("A Moment Like This") and a top 10 hit in 2003 ("Miss Independent"), but in 2005 she crossed the superstar line: four top 10 hits. "Since U Been Gone" was the biggest, peaking at #2 and spending nearly a year on the chart (46 weeks). It's the track that Avril Lavigne, Pink, or Liz Phair wished their last albums included, instead it ensured Clarkson would be lasting name.

5. 1, 2 Step - Ciara Featuring Missy Elliot

Ciara is the only artist in this year's top 10 who was also in the top 10 last year. Her first single "Goodies" spent 7 weeks at #1 and was the 9th biggest hit of 2004. She quickly followed it with "1, 2 Step," which spent 7 weeks at #2 early this year and 39 weeks on the chart (1 more week than "Goodies." Ciara returned the favor of her featured artist Missy Elliot, and did vocals on Elliot's "Lose Control," which finished just below the top 10 at #14 this year.

6. Gold Digger - Kanye West Featuring Jamie Foxx

Kanye West and Jamie Foxx were featured artists on the 2004 #1 Twista single, "Slow Jams." This year, West finally had his own #1 single (also featuring Jamie Foxx). The track was the second-longest running #1 single of the year, spending 10 weeks at the top. Excluding "Slow Jams," it was West's second top 10 hit, after the 2004 single "All Falls Down" which reached #7.

7. Boulevard of Broken Dreams - Green Day

Green Day had never had a Billboard top 40 hit until this year. It's a bit of a technicality, created by the fact that they never release proper singles and Billboard wouldn't allow tracks that weren't singles to chart until 1999. But still, fair being fair, Boulevard of Broken Dreams is Green Day's first Billboard top 40 hit, which climbed to #2 and stayed there for 5 weeks. Technicalities aside, "Boulevard of Broken Dreams" is Green Day's biggest hit, no matter how you slice it. It's an epic grand slice of rock, which they followed by the equally brilliant epic slice of rock, "Wake Me Up When September Ends," as well as the less serious and jaunty "Holiday." Green Day's been in the public eye for 11 years, but 2005 was their biggest yet.

8. Candy Shop - 50 Cent Featuring Olivia

50 Cent had the #1 hit of 2003 with "In Da Club," his second single. Since then, he's raked up 7 more top 40 hits (plus 4 others as a featured artist), including two #1 hits. This was his biggest since "In Da Club," and spent 8 weeks at #1 this year.

9. Don't Cha - The Pussycat Dolls

Not since the Spice Girls has a girl group been as instantly successful as The Pussycat Dolls. "Don't Cha," their first single, spent 3 weeks at the top last summer.

10. Behind These Hazel Eyes - Kelly Clarkson

Not content with just one single in the year-end top 10, Kelly Clarkson shows up again with "Behind These Hazel Eyes," a less rambunctious and more serious rock/pop opus. It only peaked at #6, but it's spent 34 weeks on the chart (it's currently #42 and won't let go, even though she's released 2 tracks subsequently). Clarkson also appears in the year-end chart at #27 with "Breakaway" and #72 with "Because of You."

Billboard 200:

2005 was not a good year for new artists, and the Billboard 200 top 10 is made up entirely of veterans, several of whom have been in this top 10 in recent years past, although none of the artists in last year's top 10 made it back this year. For for the fourth year in a row, the top album is by an R&B/hip-hop act.

1. The Massacre - 50 Cent

50 Cent was #1 in 2003 with Get Rich or Die Tryin' and he's back again at the top this year with The Massacre, a similar affair of gangsta and party rap, best known for the #1 single "Candy Shop" as well as top 10 hits "Disco Inferno," "Just a Lil Bit," and "Outta Control."

2. Encore - Eminem

Following 50 Cent is his former musical mentor Eminem, whose fourth album becomes his third to land in a year-end top 10 chart following The Marshall Mathers LP (#3 for 2000) and The Eminem Show (#1 in 2002). Rumoured to be his last album, Eminem followed it with a late-November greatest hits collection. The album is best known for the top 10 hit, "Just Lose It."

3. American Idiot - Green Day

Green Day had their biggest year for singles from American Idiot, which also became their biggest album, and second to land in a year-end top 10 list (1995's Dookie was that year's #7 album). Released in the fall of 2004, the album was a nominee last year for the Album of the Year Grammy. Best known for top 10 hits "Boulevard of Broken Dreams" and "Wake Me Up When September Ends."

4. The Emancipation of Mimi - Mariah Carey

The accolaides just keep rolling in for Mariah Carey, who enjoyed a banner year in 2005, returning her to the level of fame and success she achieved in her early- and mid-'90s heyday. The album was a big-seller, biggest since Daydream, reaching just under 4.6 million in sales by the end of 2005 (although #4 for the chart year, the album may easily be the #2 best-selling album of the calendar year, given that the #2 and #3 albums won't sell as well during December 2005). This puts it under her two megasellers--1995's Daydream (7.5 million) and 1993's Music Box (7.2 million) and even her 1990 debut, Mariah Carey (4.8 million), but well ahead of the dismal sales for her last two albums, the embarassing 2001 release, Glitter (600,000 copies sold) and 2002's Charmbracelet (1.1 million). This is Mariah's fourth year-end top 10 album, following Daydream (#2 in 1996), Music Box (#2 in 1994), and Mariah Carey (#1 in 1991).

5. Breakaway - Kelly Clarkson

Kelly Clarkson's first album, 2003's Thankful, generated a couple of significant hits, namely the top 10 "Miss Independent," and included her #1 debut from 2002, "A Moment Like This," but failed to really take off in the sales department; it sold about 2.4 million copies, finished the year at #31 and was outsold by American Idol 2nd year runner-up Clay Aiken's debut, Measure of a Man (2.8 million copies). By comparison, Breakaway has generated 4 top 10 hits, including "Since U Been Gone," has sold over 4.1 million copies, and is still in the top 10 after 55 weeks, having never fallen below the top 20 during that time.

6. Love. Angel. Music. Baby. - Gwen Stefani

Gwen Stefani stepped away from No Doubt late year to release her debut solo album to spectacular results. The hugely successful album generated 4 top 40 hits, including the #1 single "Hollaback Girl" and was nominated for a Grammy for Album of the Year. Counting her time with No Doubt, this is her second appearance in the year-end top 10, after No Doubt's Tragic Kingdom, #2 in 1997.

7. Destiny Fulfilled - Destiny's Child

Believe it or not, Destiny's Child's fourth album is their first to land in the year-end top 10; Survivor, the groups third album from 2001 is by far their best-seller, but because it was released mid-year, only reached #12 at the year-end chart. Destiny Fulfilled, as the title and subsequent hits package imply, is the last album from Destiny's Child. The group reached their pinnacle early this decade with hits like "Say My Name," "Independent Women," and "Bootylicious" from their second and third albums. This one wasn't as good, but did contain 1 great single, the stomping #3 smash "Lose My Breath."

8. How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb - U2

U2 continues their streak of solid hit albums, and scored another Grammy nomination for album of the year with their latest, released late in 2004. Best known for "Vertigo."

9. Greatest Hits - Shania Twain

Shania Twain's album always sell well, in fact her 1997 album, Come On Over, is the biggest-selling album by a female or country artist, and at 20 times platinum (double diamond) is the 7th best-selling album of all time in the U.S. It should come as no surprise then that her Greatest Hits package, released late in 2004, continued to sell well into 2005. Twain was #3 in 2003 with "Up!," #3 in 1999 with Come On Over, #5 in 1998 with Come On Over, and #6 in 1996 with The Woman in Me.

10. Feels Like Today - Rascal Flatts

Country star Rascal Flatts had a big hit album this year, but I really don't know anything about it.

Radio & Records CHR/Pop Top 40 (Airplay):

Kelly Clarkson pulls a 1-2 punch, ending the year at #1 with "Since U Been Gone," which spent 7 weeks at #1, and at #2 with "Behind These Hazel Eyes," which spent 8 weeks at #2. Close behind at #3 is Mariah Carey with "We Belong Together," the track that kept "Hazel" from #1.

R&R Top 10:

1. Since U Been Gone - Kelly Clarkson
2. Behind These Hazel Eyes - Kelly Clarkson
3. We Belong Together - Mariah Carey
4. 1,2 Step - Ciara Featuring Missy Elliot
5. Boulevard of Broken Dreams - Green Day
6. Let Me Love You - Mario
7. Let Me Go - 3 Doors Down
8. Hollaback Girl - Gwen Stefani
9. I Don't Want to Be - Gavin DeGraw
10. Don't Cha - The Pussycat Dolls

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