America’s New Favorite Song Proves Post Malone Is a Full-Blown Pop Star

With “Psycho,” the “rapper” behind “Rockstar” confirms he’s this generation’s Everlast. With sincere apologies to Maya Angelou, I’m starting to think when white “rapper” Post Malone showed us who he was, we should have believed him the first time. I place “rapper” in scare quotes, because Malone has been running away from hip-hop for the [...] Read more

America’s New Favorite Song Finds Drake Saying “Sorry” for “Hotline Bling”

With his latest No. 1, the rapper takes a page from Justin Bieber and breaks another record. Now, where was I? Eleven weeks ago, in the closing paragraph of my “Why Is This Song No. 1?” article about “God’s Plan”—Drake’s previous chart topper and the song he himself ejects from Billboard’s penthouse this week—I offered [...] Read more

Drake’s Latest No. 1 Was a Foregone Conclusion. Is There Anything Left for Him to Prove?

The Beach Boys’ “God Only Knows” is now considered one of the greatest recordings in rock history, but when it was released in 1966, it never climbed higher than No. 39 on Billboard’s Hot 100. As I explained in the latest episode of my Slate podcast Hit Parade, this was partially because Brian Wilson’s exquisite [...] Read more

What Cardi B’s New No. 1 Has in Common With J. Lo’s First, and Taylor Swift’s Last

Growing up in the Bronx, a young Jennifer Lopez would dabble in anything that might one day make her famous: acting, dancing, choreography, even gymnastics and track. Oh, and singing—but it was Lopez’s least-pursued talent prior to her mid-twenties. As she rose to prominence during the 1990s, Lopez was, variously, a regional theater actress and [...] Read more

“Despacito” Is the Most Dominant Song of the Summer Ever. Could It Become the Biggest Hit, Period?

The last time Billboard’s Hot 100 had a new No. 1 song, the United States was still in the Paris climate accord. The Senate hadn’t even started Obamacare repeal, let alone botched it. North Korea hadn’t yet fired off a Hwasong-14 missile. And virtually no one outside of the investment banking community had heard of [...] Read more