Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper & # 39; s "Shallow" needed more than one Oscar to reach No. 1.

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Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper perform during the 91st Annual Academy Awards on 24 February.

Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper play during the 91st Annual Academy Awards on 24 February.

Photo illustration by slate. Photo by Valerie Macon / AFP / Getty Images.

Years from now, when pop critics and cultural historians write about the phenomenon that Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper & # 39; s & # 39; Shallow & # 39; was tagged as a Billboard card topper, but I bet that there are few or no stories about these stories will notice how bizarre it was that this country rock duet was on top March 2019, nine months after the song was presented to the world in the world A star is born trailer and became arguably 2018 & # 39; s largest musical meme.

In other words: how do I still write about "Shallow" now? Are not we sick of this song … this movie … this glory note delivered vehicle so far? If I can paraphrase the name of this Slate series: Why is this song? only now, finally, Number 1? The short answer is exactly what you think it is: they are the Oscars, stupid. But that underlines how rare this is – in some ways, almost unprecedented. We now have the data to prove it.

About that data: "Shallow" jumps from number 21 to number 1 in this, are 22nd week on the Hot 100.
That is the same number of weeks that Lady Gaga's first hit-topper, "Just Dance," reached No. 1 in January 2009, and since then, the only number 1 s was a slower slower hit by John Legend and Sia. It is also Gaga's first number 1 in eight years, since its self-empowering pro-queer anthem "Born This Way." In contrast to "Just Dance" which, as Gaga's breakthrough hit, had a more traditional slow growth trajectory, "Shallow" has stumbled onto the card since it debuted last fall. In fact, this is the highest position since the vaulted from number 28 to number 5 in the second week on the card in October.

In both cases, Hollywood had more to do with the swelling of the card game than the radio did. The original peak in October coincided with the blockbuster opening of the film in North American cinemas, the same day A soundtrack by Star Is Born went on sale. During that week, last fall, Billboard reported that streaming and radio airplay were just OK – a 34th– placement in streams, a radio audience of 5.1 million, only good enough to crack the Adult Pop Songs airplay chart of the magazine, not the all-genre Radio Songs chart that feeds the Hot 100. It was understandable that airplay would be limited to such an old-school ballad at a time when radio programmers take their signal from streaming services and program the kind of moody fall that dominates Spotify. In the opening weeks of the song, only the download sales, an aging metric that is now favored by older fans, are relatively strong; & # 39; Shallow & # 39; was the biggest dollar download in America for more than a month.

The data contrast for & # 39; Ondiep & # 39; between that week in October and this most recent chart week is illustrative – according to Billboard, the knock-on effect of the Oscars & Shoad is # 39; vaulted to new heights in all three statistics that fuel the Hot 100. digital sales are even stronger than last fall: 115,000 buck-a-songs, the first week every song sold more than 100,000 downloads since the highlight of Drake's "In My Feelings" last summer. That's the kind of song we used to see in the heyday of the dollar download, a technology that was good for Gaga and her fellow Queens of Pop ten years ago. Also on the radio "Ondiep" gets more airplay than ever, with the number now being 27th in radio audience. Finally streaming, a metric in which pop stars with an adult handrail are routinely disadvantaged: "Shallow" crunched the top 10 streaming songs for the first time, with more than 27 million streams last week and a ninth place ranking on a list routinely dominated through the likes of J. Cole and Post Malone.

Is Lady Gaga suddenly a titan from Spotify? Hardly did they and Bradley Cooper get a big boost from all those times when you hit the YouTube replay button on their Oscars duet. (Hey, I'm not immune – maybe I'll just turn the clip to see how the internship crew pushes that piano on stage while Cooper and Gaga make their unannounced walk from the audience … best Oscar performance intro ever, man.) All those episodes of the Oscars clip also counted on Billboard's charts. The magazine does not reveal exactly how big a factor video was, but it is not difficult to extrapolate: under YouTube music titles "Ondiep" makes the top five for the first time this week.

None of this would come as a surprise after a week in which the popcultural news cycle was dominated by frame-by-frame analysis (sometimes literally) of Gaga and Cooper's duet. It should not be a big news if you know Lady Gaga, period: her entire career as a pop star, which all dates after the 2005 YouTube launch, is fueled by the visual. But the fact that it took a buzz-like video to bring Gaga back to number 1 on the flagship of America is not the only way this card triumph is a homecoming. When I dedicated a whole Hit Parade episode to Lady Gaga's career in January, I noticed how the story of A star is born reflected the story of Stefani Germanotta herself: from her elevation of cerebral dance-doll to her quest for "authenticity" to her do the work in her search for fame. The late arrival of & # 39; Ondiep & # 39; Gaga & # 39; s comeback and that meta story complete.

Gaga's return to number 1 after eight years is the biggest gap of this decade afterwards Beyoncé.

Several Gaga stories were already baked in the song itself – "Ondiep" may not sound like a previous Gaga card topper, but it actually does a lot of elements of her oeuvre. The Americana-rock taste of the song, co-written by super producer Mark Ronson and producer-songwriters Anthony Rossomando and Andrew Wyatt, was a continuation of Gaga's country-inflected work with Ronson on her 2016 album Joanne. The deeply tuned piano ballad has precedents in a series of Gaga concert staples The famous monster"Speechless" for artpop& # 39; S "Dope" Joanne& Million Reasons. & # 39; Even that weeping, wordless glory you notice that karaoke fans are so fond of – that is an old Gaga trope. In an interview in Los Angeles Times during the Grammy and Oscar hunting of the song, Ronson revealed that he had encouraged Gaga to vocalize without words like she had on hits like "Poker Face" (which gave us the five-syllable "Pa-pa -pa-poker "") and "Bad Romance" (the immortal "Rah rah ah-ah-ah").

Billboard points out that Gaga's return to number 1 after eight years is the longest gap this decade after Beyoncé, who took nine years between 2008 & # 39; s "Single Ladies (stop there on a ring)" and her duetrol on Ed Sheeran & # 39; s 2017 smash "Perfect". "As Queen Bey – who in the course of the years 2010 has become more acclaimed album-statement-maker than pop-hit generator, and drove the jastails of Sheeran from the late years of 2010 to No. 1-Gaga, also needed an X-factor to bring her back to the top after that long gap Starring in Bradley Cooper's movie was big, but not quite enough, as we saw in October And, of course, as a singer, he is not Ed Sheeran Cooper rides musically on Gaga's jackets, not the other way around, and it's safe to say that winning the prize would not have been enough either – if Gaga had won the Best Original Song the first time she got tough favored for the price, for the year 2015 "Til It Happens to You", the song probably would not have turned into a Top 10 hit, let alone a number.

The data support this. Five years ago, during the awards season of 2014, I did an analysis for Pitchfork about the impact of a Best Original Song Oscar on the track of a song and found that the little golden man has little effect. More than half a century of Oscars, less than 10 percent of all winners can be said to have been boosted by taking the statue. And Best Song winners who become number 1 hits? They are even rarer. In the 60 years that the Hot 100 existed, there were only 16 Hot 100 No. prior to last month. 1 hits among the Best Song winners – from "Raindrops Keep Fallin" on My Head "to" Lose Yourself. " We almost had another one in 2014, when two big hits – Ida Menzel & # 39; s "Let It Go" and Pharrell & # 39; s "Happy" – were on the hunt and one went to number 1 after the broadcast – but it was "Happy", the Oscar-runner-up, while the prize winner, "Let It Go", peaked at number 5.

"Ondiep" is the second best song winner who is number 1 after winning the statue.

In fact, only one song in the history of Oscars and Hot 100 reached number 1 after winning the image: Maureen McGovern's "The Morning After" from 1972 The Poseidon adventure, a graph topper from 1973. In his Billboard Book or Number One Hits, graph analyst Fred Bronson shows the role of the Oscars in the success of McGovern, "[O]nly after the extra attention that the song garnered from winning an Academy Award [did] it became a hit. "

This makes Gaga and Cooper's "Shallow" only the second Best Song winner to win No. 1 after winning the statue. But even within this club of two there is a difference: McGovern's "The Morning After" has crept to number 1 in August 1973, more than four months after the Oscar broadcast of that year. Of course, in 1973 the graphs were slower, there was nothing digital and there was no MTV, let alone YouTube. Yet Bronson's book and Oscar's history does not show any exceptional performance by McGovern, nor any promotional magic resulting from its Academy Awards victory: the song does not so much debut on the Hot 100 to June 1973, three months after the Oscars. All this makes "Ondiep" really exceptional: the first hit that eventually went directly to number 1 because of his exposure to Oscars.

All this number crunching brings us so far of course only: "Shallow" also went to number 1 because it is "shallow". It is powerfully written, memorable, memorable, karaoke-friendly and triumphant, sung not only by the woman who wrote it in the first place, but who also plays a version of herself, singing in a film that has made hundreds of millions and counts . Like "Up Where We Belong" or "(I & # 39; ve Had) The Time of My Life", it is a cinematic, sultry-inducing duet. Just like Johnny Cash & # 39; s cover of & # 39; Hurt & # 39; – saddened alone, because Lady Gaga is all 32 – it is a twangy popmeta song that summarizes the bow of a beloved musical career and at the same time boosts that career. And it won an Oscar in the most memorable way possible. Every song with so many factors in its favor, even if it sounds like nothing else on the radio, would have a big chance to reach the top of the list … in the end. Ally Maine can be a resounding success A star is bornbut Lady Gaga knows that no success really happens from one day to the next. This is hard work.