This week’s Billboard Hot 100 singles chart (the one dated April 16, 2016) is full of fun song title couplets and triplicate combos containing puns, riddles, antonyms and good ol’ fashion wordplay that’ll have you scratching your head and wondering how this all came to fruition in one week. In fact, I don’t know that I’ve ever seen a chart like it – and I’ve followed Billboard for almost 40 years.
It’s a chart full of songs whose titles form all kinds of combos with coincidental messages, antonyms, or word associations that are a trivia geek’s dream. And, get this: several of these unusual title combinations are occupying back-to-back positions on the chart.
Now this is not a commentary on any of the songs themselves, just the word games that their titles create when considered with another title on the chart.
Take, for instance, the two songs that bookend this week’s top ten. There’s the #1 song, Rihanna’s “Work” (7th week at the top by the way). While “Work From Home” by Fifth Harmony climbs to #10. (Notably, Fifth Harmony had to retitle their telework-minded single to avoid confusion with Rihanna’s chart-topping hit).
Then, rapper Flo Rida is riding at #6 with “My House,” while further down the chart (at #50) is “My Church” by newcomer Maren Morris. (Further holy redemption is achieved by Ty Dolla $ign’s “Saved” – at #83 – adding to the church angle.)
Right behind “Church” at #51 is the chilling remake of Simon & Garfunkel’s “Sound of Silence,” which is back-to-back with “I Like the Sound of That,” at #52, by country act Brooks & Dunn. Of course, this wordplay wouldn’t be complete without a song called “Noise” on the chart (as is made the case by fellow country act Kenny Chesney at #72).
Recent “Best New Artist” Grammy winner Meghan Trainor is part of two noteworthy chart couplets this week. Her latest single, simply titled “No,” is on the chart at the same time as its antonym “Oui” by R&B singer Jeremih (of course, “Oui” is “yes” in French, but it still counts for this purpose).
Then Trainor’s recent top ten hit, “Like I’m Gonna Lose You” (#46) is right next to a song called “Lost Boy” (#47) by singer Ruth B.
Blake Shelton gets in on the title fun with his latest “Came Here To Forget” at #48, while the song “Never Forget You” generates chart memories for Zara Larsson & MNEK at #15. Dustin Lynch adds to the thinking theme with “Mind Reader” (at #74).
Now for the folks who’ve jumped on the Uber bandwagon recently, or if you just like cars, then you’ll appreciate the fact that “Fast Car” – the Jonas Blue remake of Tracy Chapman’s 1988 hit – is right next to “Uber Everywhere” by MadeinTYO, at Numbers 98 and 99, respectively. The novelty of this coincidental pairing is punctuated by the fact that there is also the song “Ride” by twenty one pilots climbing at #88.
Nope, we’re not done yet. There’s more where those came from…
There’s “Beautiful Drug” by Zac Brown Band (#76) and “I Took a Pill in Ibiza” by Mike Posner (#9).
Then there’s the first-word/last-word consecutive triplicate of “Don’t,” “Don’t Let Me Down” and “Down in the DM” at Numbers 24, 25 and 26 (it doesn’t matter who they’re by, naming the artists would just take away from the effect in this case).
Adele’s “Hello” (#19) is still on the chart at the same time as both “One Call Away” (#16 by Charlie Puth) and “2 Phones” (#18 by rapper Kevin Gates). You can add two more phone references to this grouping: the booty-call smash, “Hotline Bling” by Drake, which rests at #38, and “Digits,” new at #98 by Young Thug.
Speaking of young, Adele’s “When We Were Young” and “Youth” by newcomer Troye Sivan are both on this word-association dream chart.
Taken right from the “say what you mean, mean what you say” file is Justin Bieber, who asks “What Do You Mean?” at #41, while Tory Lanez’ “Say It” is right next to Biebs at #42.
Right next to that at #43 is “Somewhere On A Beach” by country crooner Dierks Bentley, while DNCE’s “Cake By The Ocean” falls to #11. (I don’t know about you, but I always think of a big ol’ piece of cake when I’m on a beach.)
Speaking of pieces, there’s “Piece By Piece” by Kelly Clarkson and “Little Bit Of You” by Chase Bryant, which are nibbling at #79 and #82, respectively.
On the act-of-contrition front is Bieber’s “Sorry” (#13), Florida Georgia Line’s “Confession” (#56) and “Nobody To Blame” by Chris Stapleton (#81).
You can also go from being a “Best Friend” at #66 (Young Thug) to just being “Acquainted” at #70 (The Weeknd).
But perhaps the best examples of coincidental chart song titles on this week’s Hot 100 are the tunes “Might Not” (by Belly featuring The Weekend) and “Might Be” (by DJ Luke Nasty), two completely unrelated and very non-committal songs that happen to be back-to-back at #77 and #78, respectively.
What does all of this mean? Absolutely nothing. Except that maybe this chart geek had a little too much time on his hands to ponder all this stuff. But it also just goes to show how much fun one can have with song titles, especially ones that happen to appear on the same chart, that have similar or polar opposite meanings and which can tell a story in and of themselves when combined with others.
The April 16 Hot 100 singles chart is a word association geek’s dream!