A very recent year totally blanks on the top 100. This time the songs were:
Tonight (I'm Loving You) - Enrique Iglesias featuring Ludacris and DJ Frank E
I Need a Doctor - Dr. Dre featuring Eminem and Skylar Gray
Down on Me - Jeremih featuring 50 Cent
The Lazy Song - Bruno Mars
Lighters - Bad Meets Evil featuring Bruno Mars
Stereo Hearts - Gym Class Heroes featuring Adam Levine
Without You - David Guetta featuring Usher
Of these, 2, 4, 6 and 7 all made it pretty far in the decision process but all got dropped. This is an example of year with a lot of solid songs but nothing truly outstanding. Except 3. That is not good.
Worst higher charting song: I Turn to You - Christina Aguilera
Top 100 #4 Hits 1955-2003 Rank: #7
Eminem's first top ten hit was a standard debut album single where he comes out swinging against as many shibboleths as possible. The groove is laid down early and ends 45 seconds after the rapping does. The swearing, the rage, the clever rhymes. Everything that makes Em Em is here. Of course, he succeeds more fully with this concept on 2002's Without Me, but as a first draft with different targets, this one merits some attention too, though even some of that may be reflected glory from the non-top ten My Name Is... which led off the first album.
Coming up: #60 - "I tried carrying the weight of the world but I only have two hands"
62. If You Leave – Orchestral Maneouvers in the Dark
#4 for 1 Week in 1986 (May-June)
Best higher charting song: Live to Tell - Madonna
Worst higher charting song: On My Own - Patti LaBell & Michael McDonald
Top 100 #4 Hits 1955-2003 Rank: #99
Certainly, OMD would have never had a top ten without being in a film soundtrack. Certainly, much of this song's added oomph comes from being from a movie that lends it gravitas. Certainly, there are better songs about how the end of a relationship would become burned bridges. But despite all of this (and maybe when it came out is a factor too), If You Leave is iconic and memorable through its soaring vocal lines and gently moving synth.
Coming up: #62 -"Y'all act like you never seen a white person before"
Best higher charting song: Washington Square - The Village Stompers
Worst higher charting song: Sugar Shack - Jimmy Gilmer & The Fireballs
Top 100 #4 Hits 1955-2003 Rank: #52
The Impressions, moreso than even Motown, tell the story(-ies) of Black America from 1958-1975. That this song is their biggest hit is neither surprising nor particularly noteworthy. So while, Mayfield's voice is great and the song cooks from stem to stern, the though of missing something else... something bigger is evident. The fact that this song made it in the months just ahead of the British Invasion points to maybe a counterfactual 60s where America's race problem was still critiqued from within without Brits taking old soul songs and turning them into up beat dance records divorce from their social context. It didn't turn out that way but it's all right.
Coming up: #62 - "Seven years went under the bridge"
64. What Have You Done For Me Lately – Janet Jackson
#4 for 1 Week in 1986 (May)
Best higher charting song: West End Girls - Pet Shop Boys
Worst higher charting song: Greatest Love of All - Whitney Houston
Top 100 #4 Hits 1955-2003 Rank: #71
Janet's debut still holds up pretty well. It is a little too long and the groove isn't quite groovy enough, but this is a song about an ossifying relationship and being stuck in a synth solo makes a certain amount of sense. Indeed, some parts of this song presage the move toward rap without ever not being a sung song.