The Bridge: Queens Bey, Rih, and Robyn Reign Over Different Kingdoms

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S1: If you get. Hey, everybody, this is Chris, M.A., host of Hit Parade, Slate’s podcast of Pop Chart History. Welcome to the bridge. That’s Water under the Bridge by Adele from her blockbuster 2015 album 25. Adele was one of the decade’s top artists and this was one of her dozen hot 100 hits in the 2010s.

S2: It was a decade of major shifts in hit music from IDM to dance, pop to hip hop.

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S1: But Adele commanded the charts regardless of prevailing trends. Water under the bridge, which reached number 26 in twenty seventeen, is Adele’s most recent top 40 hit, though surely not her last.

S2: And these mini episodes, bridge are full length monthly episodes. Give us a chance to catch up with listeners and enjoy some hit parade trivia. And this episode. Some trivia about hit parade, including some corrections to the record. Stay tuned for that. This month. I’m pleased to welcome back to the Mike, my regular producer for these mini episodes, ushe solution. Hey, Aisha.

S3: Hey, Chris. Happy end of the decade.

S2: Happy end of the decade. So we’re just coming out of my hits of the 2010s episode. I got a lot of interesting feedback on the episode, but there is one question that I got more than any other by far. What happened to Beyonce? Say this question came in on Facebook. It came in on Twitter. You know, the Bagian C did not blindfold me and throw me into the back of a moving van.

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S4: Yeah. So I survived it. It was what? Nobody was nasty about it. But several people asked and a few even said, because, of course, you know, the payoff at the end of the episode is I basically call Rihanna the artist who navigated the DEKI better than any pop star. And I stand by that. But folks were asking. I don’t think I said the word beyond, say, once in that entire episode. So what’s up with that, Chris? Yes. So, you know, personally, I am a pretty serious Beyonce, a fan.

S2: And her self-titled 2013 album and Lemonade or two of my favorite albums of the decade. But that’s the thing I keep saying the word album. Beyonce say this decade basically transformed herself from a hit single generator to a cutting edge album artist Beyonce. She was also almost single handedly responsible for something we now take for granted, which is the surprise album Drop, which is something we have seen routinely in the last five to seven years. But when she did it in 2013 with her self-titled album, that is something that had never been done before.

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S3: Change the game with that digital drop, as she said it herself, game when that, you know, you love that digital pop.

S2: That’s not the way men are female. It makes no difference. Locked up the carry on. By the way, few people remember this. You know, in a decade that eventually became dominated by the stream that was exclusively available as an i-Tunes download with music videos. That was the only way that you could acquire for the first couple of weeks the self-titled Beyonce album. There’s no question that Beyonce was an enormous influential artist. The difference, however, between Beyonce, say in let’s say, the 2000s and beyond, say in the 2010s, was that she was not a chart topper on the Hot 100. In fact, the only number one single she had the entire decade was as a featured performer on the Ed Sheeran number one hit perfect in late 2017.

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S5: Well, it wasn’t even her record is his record. She did a brilliant job, of course, because she’s Beyonce. As I said in my is the song number one series at the time when I wrote about Perfect.

S4: It was her first number one hit in eight years since single ladies topped the Hot 100 in late 0 8 early 0 9.

S6: And I think that’s emblematic of how Beyonce pivoted her career. She basically is an activist, a cultural conversation starter and a cutting edge album.

S2: Artists, you know, Lemonade and Beyonce say the album were consumed as a total piece. Yes, there were very memorable singles like Formation Drunk in Love Drank.

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S7: And several of these were hits on the Hot 100. They just weren’t enormous hits. Drunk in Love did the best. It peaked at number two, largely because of digital downloads to rabid fans. It was a medium sized radio hit. It wasn’t the sort of song you were likely to hear on Top 40 radio in the middle of the day. And that was true of a lot of her hits.

S2: They were important videos, cultural conversation starters, but not necessarily sort of radio omnipresent wallpaper like we had from everybody from Taylor Swift to Katy Perry to Drake to Adele.

S8: So true. And I would even say and I think Beyoncé has sort of intimated that this was almost by design. Right. She made her music kind of hard to access. And she included themes that weren’t going to play on, like you said, on radio in the middle of the day. Her songs were raunchy. They were activists themed. So she sort of just took herself away from the top 40 environment and said, this is what I want to be making.

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S9: Really became an no tour auteur is actually exactly the right word. That’s how Beyonce transformed herself this decade.

S8: So, Chris, the fans all want to know, what were your favorite singles of the 2010s?

S2: There were some in this episode. I snuck in a couple of singles in this episode that we’re not number one hits, but that I love. For example, when I was doing the Bieber verse and talking about all of Justin Bieber’s many singles, I played not only number one hits like Sorry, by the way, not so secretly. I really love sorry, but also where are you now? Which was merely a top 10 hit, but a very important one that Bieber did with the producers Skrillex. Where do you need to.

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S10: You do, and it’s a very innovative single. By the way, if you’ve ever listened to it and wondered what that high trilling sound is, that is actually Bieber’s own voice, manipulated by Skrillex and Diplo and made into kind of this dolphin like sound.

S11: I’ve often joked that you could rename that song My Life in the Beba of Ghosts because it sounds like, you know, David Byrne slash Brian, you know, sort of experiment with Biebers voice. It was an amazing record to hear on Top 40 radio in the middle of the decade because it was IDM, but it wasn’t about the bass drop.

S2: It certainly wasn’t about dancing. It was this heart rending, very affecting single that kind of changed the game both on the radio and in Justin Bieber’s career.

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S3: Yeah, I’m a huge kind of ashamed diplo fan. So that’s just part of me.

S8: Another song that didn’t hit, number one that you’ve snuck into the episode as well was that Riana, Konya W and Paul McCartney’s single for five seconds.

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S12: That is definitely one of my favorite songs of all time.

S13: Talk to me about how you got that one in there.

S2: I mean, I got it in there because it was an easy excuse to sort of draw a comparison between Riana and a former Beatle, since she is slowly, quietly creeping up on a record of the Beatles. She has 14 number one hits. They have 20. So it’s entirely possible that, you know, someday if she keeps recording and keeps scoring, number one hits, she’ll creep up on their total. And also because like you, I really just love the record. It is such a wonderfully strange record. It’s a very Konya record, although it comes in an interesting moment for Konya. It’s probably the most straightforward and accessible song that Kanye West worked on this decade. And then in the middle, there’s this great bridge that Rihanna sings.

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S14: Mundaring.

S15: That sounds like an in from the world of indie rock, because it did. It was basically written by Dave Longstreth of Dirty Projectors, almost atonal compared to the rest of the single. But it totally works and it’s really amazing.

S8: Could not agree more. I love that French. So did you have any favorites that didn’t hit the Billboard charts?

S2: Well, this is almost a trivia point, but I’ll bring it up. A lot of end of decade lists are coming out right now. And one song that’s appearing on a lot of them, deservedly because it’s amazing, is Dancing on My Own by Robin.

S16: I’m not sure people realize that Robin didn’t really score any big hot 100 hits this decade, including dancing. I know that bubbled under the Hot 100, but this is also the decade and it really started in the 2000s, but accelerated in the 2010s where Robin turned herself into an indie artist, which is a little crazy because I did talk about Robin in my Britney Spears episode because of course, she was first produced by Max Martin. She’s Swedish. She comes out of that late 90s school of mega pop.

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S2: But then she transformed herself into sort of the coolest, catchiest indie pop star of her era. And Dancing on My Own is such an amazing song.

S8: It’s the best deservedly making the very top spot on some end of decade lists. I totally agree. One favorite of mine that didn’t necessarily hit the number one spot, though, did have some billboard chart action this decade was says a love Cizre. Yeah, her debut full length album Control.

S17: I did have some chart love, I think the song Love Galore with Travis Scott. Yes.

S13: It reached number 32. There’s a bigger record on R&B radio where it reached the top five.

S17: Yeah, yeah, I think she had a top 10 hit with Kendrick Lamar. All the stars.

S8: Yes, but my favorite and most streamed, according to the data powers that be track of the decade was Garden Mymy.

S18: By keeping me down.

S13: Which is just this beautiful, like meandering melody. It’s a funny comparison, but Cizre almost reminds me of a Joni Mitchell where she has the vocal power to produce a pop hit, but she’s usually choosing to go and such like a mysterious direction with her melodies holding.

S19: That’s it.

S10: But it just doesn’t hit like a pop song. That’s a wonderful analogy. I couldn’t think of a better one because Joni Mitchell was exactly that kind of artist. Like I’m capable of writing a hit song. But that’s not what I’m doing right now. And all over that says album. She’s been both accessible and adventurous, and that’s what I loved about that.

S2: Now it’s the time in hit parade, the bridge where we do some trivia. And joining me on the line from Monterrey, California, is Alec.

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S20: Are you there, Alec? I’m here, Chris. Thank you so much for joining us today. How are you? Doing really well. Thanks for having me on. So, Alec, tell us how you discovered our podcast.

S21: Yes. So I kind of go through different phases with musicians. I just have to listen to their entire discography and order and then learn everything I can about them. And I was in the middle of a Donna Summer phase when I came across the queen of Disco Edition on Hit Parade. And I’ve been a fan of the podcast ever since.

S2: Well, that just warms my heart. That Donna Summer episode is often the one I cite as one of the ones that’s closest to me because I grew up with Donna Summer and just really love her music so much. Can I also ask I believe you’re a slate plus member. Is that right?

S21: I am. I’m a slate plus baby. I’ve been a member for about three months.

S2: Fantastic. Well, while this bridge episode is available to all hit parade subscribers, we only open our trivia rounds to Slate Plus members. So if you are a member and would like to be a trivia contestant. Visit Slate dot com slash hit parade. Sign up. That’s Slate.com. Slash hit parade. Sign up. So, Alec, I think you know how this works. We’re gonna do three trivia questions. The first is a callback to the most recent full length episode of Hit Parade. And the next two are a preview of our forthcoming full length episode. And then at the end, you get to turn the tables and ask me a trivia question. Are you ready for some trivia? I think I’m ready. All right. Here we go. Question one. Last month, I offered my decades of pop theory about musical trends that shift in the middle of a decade and the so-called pivot records that topped the charts and shift us into that new sound. What 2015 number one hit? Spent 14 weeks at number one on the hot 100 and was in essence the pivot record for the 2010s. A Taylor Swift blank space. B Mark Ronson with Bruno Mars. Uptown Funk.

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S20: C Wiz Khalifa featuring Charlie Puth. See you again. Or D Fedi Wop Trap Queen. It’s one of my favorites from the decade and it’s the Uptown Funk.

S22: And that is correct. The correct answer is B. Uptown Funk.

S6: Just what it spent 14 weeks atop the Hot 100 and signaled that the charts were pivoting from female led dance pop to male driven R&B and hip hop.

S9: The other choices all spent fewer weeks at number one and Trap Queen peaked at number two. All right. Excellent. One for one. Here we go with the preview questions. Are you ready for question 2? I’m ready.

S2: What was the most recent Christmas song to hit number one on Billboard’s Hot 100? A. The Chipmunks with David Civil.

S23: The Chipmunk Song Be the Eagles.

S2: Please come home for Christmas. See Wham last Christmas. Or D. Mariah Carey. All I want for Christmas is you.

S21: I believe the answer is a Chipmunks Christmas song.

S22: You are correct again. The Chipmunk song A is the correct answer.

S15: It hit number one during the holiday season of 1958, the year Billboard launched the hot 100 of the other three choices. The Eagles reached number 18 in 1978 with their holiday hit and Mariah reached number three just last year. As for wham’s holiday perennial, it was never issued as a single in America in 1984.

S9: All right, you are running the table here, are you ready for Question 3? Let’s have it.

S2: All right. Question three. Speaking of Mariah Carey, she holds the record for the most U.S. number one hits by a solo artist. And she is in second place among all hit acts. Exactly how many Hot 100 chart toppers has Kerry amassed?

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S23: A, 14, B, 17, C, 18 or D, 20?

S21: Chris, I am a lamb, so I know the answer to this question. And it is C 18 and you have run the table.

S16: That is exactly right. 18 number one hits for Mariah Carey from Vision of Love in 1990 through Touch My Body in 2008. By the way, the artist with 14 number ones is Rihanna and Elvis Presley has 17, including his pre hot 100 hits. As for Mariah, one more. No one would put her one song away from the Beatles, who with 20 number one hits, still hold the All-Time record.

S4: Well, you just dispatch those questions like they were nothing well-done. Alec. Congratulations. Thank you, Chris. So I understand you have a question for me. Do you wanna ask me a trivia question?

S21: I do. Are you ready, Chris? Ready as I’ll ever be. OK. Here’s the question. Which rock group had a Christmas song on the Billboard Hot 100 in 2006, peaking at number 54?

S24: Is it A, Coldplay, B, The Killers, C, the Goo Goo Dolls or D, Blink 182?

S25: Oh, okay. I have to zap myself back to 2006 and think who is likeliest to have a number fifty for Christmas hit in that year? The two likeliest, it seems to me thinking about 2006 are either the killers or Coldplay. And between the two, I’m going to take a flyer and say Coldplay.

S26: I’m sorry. The answer is B, the killers. They’ve released 11 Christmas songs over the years, but only their 2006 Christmas jam. A great big sled hit the billboard Hot 100. Coldplay had a number twenty five Christmas lights four years later in 2010. Blink 182 Christmas song I Won’t Be Home for Christmas. Never made the Billboard Hot 100. But it’s their only number one to date. Canada.

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S27: Fascinating. I did not know that about Blink 182.

S2: I remembered that Coldplay had some kind of Christmas record. I just couldn’t remember when they did it. Which is why I guess them. And that’s a heartbreaker. I came so close. So once again, I’ve been trounced by my own contestant and proudly in this case. So congratulations to you, Alec. I hope you are holding your head up high this holiday season.

S21: Thank you so much, Chris, and thanks for having me on.

S2: So as my last two trivia questions indicate, our next episode of Hit Parade is going to be about Christmas hits on the Billboard charts and about Mariah Carey. Christmas songs are, to put it simply, billboard anomalies. Over the years, many of these songs either have not charted at all or they have been subject to arcane chart rules that have kept them off of the Hot 100 and other Billboard charts. But thanks to an odd confluence of factors, all I want for Christmas is you by Mariah Carey may be about to go all the way. In fact, this episode could well be a cliffhanger, not unlike our December 2018 episode, which covered the U.K. Christmas number one competition. We may be in for another nail biter, folks, because once again, as I indicated in one of those trivia questions, Mariah Carey got all the way to number three last year with all I want for Christmas is you. And this is the 25th anniversary of that song. It is entirely possible that Mariah will score her amazing 19th number one hit before the 2010s are over. So stay tuned for that. Coming to your podcast, feed in less than two weeks.

S28: You know, Asha, I always feel better when I get the trivia question wrong, but I at least get it down to a 50/50 and it’s heartbreaking to go, you know, to screw up on a 50/50 shot.

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S8: Yeah. I really wanted you to get it right. But part of me also really didn’t. Chris.

S2: Yeah, I know. That’s how this works. And speaking of things that I haven’t gotten right, we’re going to do something we haven’t done in quite some time on hit parade. I’m going to round up a few corrections from previous episodes of Hit Parade, because throughout this year, 2019, we’ve made no fatal errors, but a few small errors along the way that I would like to get, right? Yeah. Let’s do it. All right. So in our Genesis episode, which was the May episode of Hit Parade, I have two corrections. First of all, a song from the Genesis album, The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway called The Carpet Crawlers. We accidentally played not the original 1974 version of that song. But a 1999 re-recording by the reunited Gen.. It’s easy to confuse these two, but a couple of very sharp eared listeners who are Genesis fans. Let me know that we had the wrong recording in that episode. And also in that episode a little later in the 70s, when Genesis scored their first hot 100 hit your own special way.

S27: My script implied that that song was written by Phil Collins. It was not. It was actually written by guitarist Mike Rutherford.

S2: Interesting that their first pop hit of any kind in America was not actually written by Phil, but by Mike then in our Woodstock episode, which was our August episode.

S27: I want to correct the record about Sean non-UN, who were one of the performers at Woodstock and whom I counted down in our countdown of acts that benefited from Woodstock.

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S2: The singer Bowzer John Bauman was not a member of Chanen up until 1970, the year after Woodstock. So while I was correct that Bowzer was a front man for the group, he did not factor into the group in Woodstock. One small sidebar while we’re talking about the Woodstock episode, I believe I said the word Coachella correctly in that episode. Can you keep me honest on that, Asha?

S8: Yeah, I think you did say it right in the Woodstock episode.

S7: Woodstock, though hardly the first of its kind, codified the idea of the music festival and quite literally set the stage for multi act concerts in decades to come from the US Festival to Live Aid to Lollapalooza to Coachella.

S2: But did I say it right all year long?

S17: No. There may have been some episodes where you said it a little more like Coachella. The festival business has gotten so big with the likes of Coachella, which, you know, I take some responsibility for because I believe I was actually the producer on one of those episodes.

S2: Yeah. Apparently I have said Coachella both as Coachella and Coachella. And all I can say is that if I said Coachella, I feel like an asshole. Anyway, moving on to our post-punk episode, our October episode which covered the Cure, Depeche Mode, The Smiths New Order. I’d just like to point out that the song Blue Monday was not on new orders album Power, Corruption and Lies, which my script strongly implied.

S6: It’s a bit confusing because of the U.S. edition of Power, Corruption and Lies added blue Monday to the seedy version in 1986. So it’s an easy mistake to make, but I just want to clarify the record on that.

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S2: Finally, I’m going to move back to June and are Broadway episode. I have two big corrections on this one. First of all, I apologize to the Jennifer Holiday fan community because I claimed that her legendary hit and I am telling you I’m not going was not a top 40 pop hit.

S27: It absolutely was. It peaked at number 22 on the Hot 100 in 1982. So while it underperformed on the pop chart compared to the R&B chart where it was a number one hit, that song from the Broadway musical Dreamgirls was in fact a top 40 hit. My script was incorrect. I read it incorrectly and I truly regret the error.

S2: But there is no error in 2019 that I regret more than my other mistake in the Broadway episode, which is, well, why don’t you just play it, Asha for a meek rat and a warthog living in the pride lands of Africa.

S9: So yeah, the word meek rat is not an actual thing. For the record, Tim Owen, the character from The Lion King, is a mere cat. I know what a mere cat is. I know that there is no animal in the animal kingdom called a meek rat. This reminds me Àsia a little bit of the movie Anchorman. I feel like I had a Ron Burgundy moment where any word that’s put in my teleprompter is exactly what I say.

S29: The entire Channel 4 news team. I’m Veronica chording staff.

S30: And I’m Ron Burgundy. Go yourself, said Diego.

S2: It was misspelled in my script. My producer didn’t catch it. Nobody at Slate caught it. I certainly didn’t catch it.

S9: And now my stepchildren are mercilessly making fun of me. Week after week for saying Mique read even worse than that. This episode came out the week before my wedding and there were guests at our wedding who were asking me what exactly a meek rat was. The answer is it’s a word I made up. I truly regret calling to moan from The Lion King Amy Gret.

S3: You know, in some ways this is the worst mistake that you made in 2019, but in some ways it was the absolute best because I definitely got a huge laugh out of it.

S8: I’m sure that others out there did, too.

S27: My thanks to Àsia solution for not only joining me, but also producing this episode of Hit Parade The Bridge.

S13: Thanks to you, Chris, for Slate podcasts. I’m Asha Soldier.

S27: And I’m Chris M.A.. Keep on marching on.