WHO ARE THESE PEOPLE?




I’m bewitched, bothered and bewildered, with a very strong emphasis on bewildered. I feel so out of the loop. I’m looking at Billboard‘s new Hot 100 and wondering, where did the superstars go? Suddenly, the charts are dominated by total strangers? Most of the Top 10 songs are by acts no one had heard of a few months ago: Owl City (above, second, No. 2), Jason DeRulo (above, top, No. 3), Iyaz (No. 4), Jay Sean (No. 7) and Ke$ha (above, third, No. 10). Lady Gaga (No. 9), Lady Antebellum (No. 5, no relation) and Miley Cyrus (No. 8), who only have been charting for the last couple years, are practically fossils by comparison.

I have to admit, I haven’t bothered to check out most of these upstarts. When I listened to “Tik Tok” by the ridiculously monikered Ke$ha (that dollar sign is a presumably unintentional sad commentary on what music making, for the most part, has come to) a week or so ago, it was so awful, it scared me off newcomers for a while. I still haven’t been able to bring myself to check out the new singles by Kris Allen and Adam Lambert.

Thank God, for Jay Z and Alicia Keys at No. 1, an album chart ruled by virtual dinosaurs Bon Jovi, and a Reba McEntire resurgence over on the country list. But you know we are in the middle of strange days indeed when the first singles from new albums by Rihanna, Chris Brown, Usher, Alicia Keys (solo) and Leona Lewis are flopping or struggling.

Outside of the Top 10, Drake, a rapper nobody knew anything about a year ago who has yet to even release his debut album, is featured on 5 songs on the Hot 100 and has already charted four others. Meanwhile, Justin Bieber (above, bottom) — a 15-year-old singer I had never heard of until today when a Facebook friend commented that she was in an elevator with him, and he “was maybe the size of my right leg, maybe” — recently charted four singles in the Top 40. And his album didn’t even come out until Tuesday!

But there’s good news for old chart farts like Beyonce, Black Eyed Peas and Jay-Z: The hits keep coming. Poor Madonna and Whitney Houston must be so green with envy!

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