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The top songs of the week take a nostalgia trip, courtesy of Eminem

Eminem, performing here during the Super Bowl LVI Halftime Show at SoFi Stadium in 2022, returns to the top 10 of the <em>Billboard</em> Hot 100 chart this week with "Houdini."
Kevin C. Cox
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Eminem, performing here during the Super Bowl LVI Halftime Show at SoFi Stadium in 2022, returns to the top 10 of the Billboard Hot 100 chart this week with "Houdini."

This week's dive into the pop charts is a reminder that nostalgia is one powerful trip, from a brand-new single that explicitly references both 1982 and 2002 to a viral cover of a 2006 hit. Meanwhile, Taylor Swift still continues to reign supreme on the albums chart.

TOP SONGS

Post Malone's "I Had Some Help," featuring Morgan Wallen, is holding strong with a fourth week at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 songs chart.

We have a new entrant at No. 2, however: rapper Eminem's "Houdini" — which, I should hasten to note, bears no relation to vampy siren Dua Lipa's song of the same name, released a mere seven months ago. (A whole eon ago in cultural memory, apparently.)

This "Houdini" is stuffed full of old-fashioned musical magic tricks that urge it towards success. Not only does Em reference his 2002 hit "Without Me" — "Guess who's back, back again?" — but he interpolates Steve Miller Band's hit "Abracadabra," which itself went to No. 1 on the Hot 100 in September of 1982. (You know what kind of music lots of people really like? Music that they know they already really like.)

Rounding out the Billboard 100 top five: Tommy Richman's "Million Dollar Baby," Shaboozey's "Tipsy (A Bar Song)" and Kendrick Lamar's "Not Like Us."

TOP ALBUMS

Taylor Swift continues her reign at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 albums chart, scoring a seventh week in the top spot. As Billboard notes, however, her equivalent album sales have continued to fall, notching 148,00 units this week.

It’s still enough to hold off everyone else, at least for now. As on the songs chart, we have newcomers in the second slot on the 200: the eight-member K-Pop band Ateez, with their EP (or, as they like to call it, the "mini-album") Golden Hour: Part.1. Interestingly, Ateez failed to crack the Hot 100, despite the global success of their single "Work," which pays tribute to the daily grind. (A brief musicological complaint: the “Work” video opens with one character — buried up to his neck in dirt — pretending to play a flute, although the actual track uses the sound of a clarinet. Since we are discussing cycles of nostalgia and history this week, I must note that this is just like the Jason Derulo “Talk Dirty” video, featuring models “playing” the trumpet, all over again — where the actual song used saxophones, courtesy of a sample of the band Balkan Beat Box. Also, the less said about the technique employed by the fake instrumentalists in both videos, the better.)

Ateez is followed by two returners: Billie Eilish's Hit Me Hard and Soft, which this week slipped down one spot to No. 3, and Morgan Wallen's One Thing at a Time at No. 4. This week, Shaboozey debuted on the albums chart at No. 5 with his Where I've Been, Isn't Where I'm Going, which was released on May 31 -- an understandable progression given the popularity of his "Tipsy (A Bar Song)," which introduced this album.

WORTH NOTING:

Just in case anyone doubted a particular social media platform's ability to move the cultural needle, Billboard has been charting the TikTok Top 50 every week since last September "based on creations, video views and user engagement."

It's probably no surprise that Tommy Richman's "Million Dollar Baby," which first found its audience on TikTok, has been leading this chart for the past five weeks. But the TikTok chart is packed with more offbeat singles than the Billboard 100, including a rather maudlin cover of Gnarls Barkley's "Crazy," courtesy of a Canadian comedian, actor and singer named Stephen Kramer Glickman and featuring cellist Marza Wilks. (Just to drive his point home, Glickman made a Joker-themed video for this song.) This version of “Crazy” entered the TikTok chart this week at No. 6. (Say it with me: You know what kind of music lots of people really like? Music that they know they already really like.)

Copyright 2024 NPR

Anastasia Tsioulcas is a reporter on NPR's Arts desk. She is intensely interested in the arts at the intersection of culture, politics, economics and identity, and primarily reports on music. Recently, she has extensively covered gender issues and #MeToo in the music industry, including backstage tumult and alleged secret deals in the wake of sexual misconduct allegations against megastar singer Plácido Domingo; gender inequity issues at the Grammy Awards and the myriad accusations of sexual misconduct against singer R. Kelly.
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