Every year since 1990, I’d been publishing my own weekly Top 10 chart, based on my personal preferences and iTunes airplay. The No.1 Christian song of the year on my chart is Mandisa’s Overcomer. No surprise there. Having been No.1 for 14 weeks – a new record – it was a no-brainer. Overcomer finishes at No.13 for the year on Billboard’s year-end Top Christian Songs, a surprise to me, considering it went to No.1 for ahem, 10 weeks, but I’m sure Billboard has its reasons. lol
The rest of the year-end Top 10 is interesting for its mix of chart-toppers and critically acclaimed singles that weren’t quite supported at radio. Several of them were No.1 hits – Billboard Christian Songs year-end No.1 Chris Tomlin’s Whom Shall I Fear finishes at No.5 on my chart, while its runner-up on Billboard, Matthew West’s Hello My Name Is, finishes better on my year-end chart at No.3. Meanwhile, Building 429’s We Won’t Be Shaken, stopped from reaching No.1 by West’s most successful single on Billboard’s Christian Songs chart to date, bests it on my chart, finishing second only to Mandisa. At year-end No.6, Francesca Battistelli’s Strangely Dim is the only other bona fide Christian AC Top 10 hit.
Also noteworthy is Chris August, who places two songs in the year-end Top 10: Restore, which topped my chart for two weeks, and the upbeat Unashamed of You, which totally fizzled out on the Christian Songs chart but topped mine for seven weeks, and is, IMHO, August’s best single to date. Unashamed of You is one of only three non-top 10 singles in my year-end Top 10, the other two being Dara Maclean’s brilliant single, Wanted, and Shine Bright Baby’s irresistibly effervescent Beautiful Love. August’s Restore and Laura Story’s I Can Just Be Me were also not Top 10 hits on the main chart, but they were both No.1 hits on Soft AC/Inspo, which is still something to be proud of, in my opinion.
August’s The Upside of Down is also my favorite album of 2013. (Technically released in 2012, but its 2nd and 3rd singles were so strong this year that it registered more airplay altogether than Mandisa’s Overcomer and Jimmy Needham’s The Hymns Sessions Vol. 1, the two runners-up.
Other noteworthy songs that didn’t make the final cut – but were right up there, and it was so tough not to place them in! – include Jamie Grace’s bubbly Beautiful Day, Mark Schultz’s pop/rock gem I Gave Up, Josh Wilson’s delightful Pushing Back the Dark, Kristian Stanfill’s powerful One Thing Remains, The Afters’ toe-tapping Every Good Thing, Love and the Outcome’s passionate He is With Us, and Jimmy Needham’s soulful Come Thou Fount.
1. Mandisa Overcomer
2. Building 429 We Won’t Be Shaken
3. Matthew West Hello My Name Is
4. Chris August Unashamed of You
5. Chris Tomlin Whom Shall I Fear
6. Francesca Battistelli Strangely Dim
7. Chris August Restore
8. Laura Story I Can Just Be Me
9. Dara MacLean Wanted
10. Shine Bright Baby Beautiful Love
Meanwhile, on the Top 40 mainstream chart, K-Pop and acapella continued to dominate the year. I find myself not listening to Top 40 most of the time now – I think an indication of my age, more than anything – and I’m not in tune with most of the songs that now hit the airwaves over on the “secular charts.” This, however, isn’t to say that I’m completely out of it, but I really don’t appreciate most of the songs that do happen to make the charts.
Six of the Top 10 year-end songs are K-Pop songs, led by the absolutely brilliant Give It to Me by SISTAR. It’s the first year-end chart-topper for the four-member girl group, and it’s an improvement over Alone, which finished last year at No.7 for the year. The success of Give It to Me relegates fellow K-Pop girl group Secret’s Yoo Hoo! to a No.2 year-end finish. It’s the second year in a row that Secret finishes at No.2; last year, Poison was runner-up to Big Bang’s Fantastic Baby. But just like last year, Secret also finishes with another song in the year-end Top 10: last year, it was Talk That at No.4; this year, it’s I Do I Do at No.6. Secret’s lead vocalist Song Ji Eun also released a dramatic solo single this year, False Hope, that finishes the year at No.9. Other K-Pop songs that finish in the Top 10 include f(x)’s hypnotic Rum Pum Pum Pum and Brown Eyed Girls’ Kill Bill. (Jewelry’s Hot and Cold just missed out on the Top 10.)
Last year’s highest-ranking English song was Jason Mraz’s I Won’t Give Up at No.6; this year, Idina Menzel, who scored two No.1 hits on my personal chart prior to this year with Defying Gravity and Brave, earns her biggest hit on my chart to date with Let It Go from the OST of Disney’s Frozen. The song finishes at No.3, a notch ahead of Pentatonix’s Royals, a stunning revival of the No.1 Hot 100 original by Lorde. Only one of the songs in my year-end Top 10 was a bonafide Top 10 hit on the Billboard Hot 100: Anna Kendricks’ Cups; Britney Spears’ Work B**** (No.5 year-end) didn’t reach the Top 10.
TOP 40/KPOP CHARTS
1. SISTAR Give It to Me
2. SECRET Yoo Hoo!
3. Idina Menzel Let It Go
4. Pentatonix Royals
5. Britney Spears Work B****
6. f(x) Rum Pum Pum Pum
7. Secret I Do I Do
8. Brown Eyed Girls Kill Bill
9. Song Ji Eun False Hope
10. Anna Kendrick Cups