“There is no future/ in England’s drrrrrreaming.” Rotten’s notoriously haphazard band never sounded better, a lean, gnashing machine that roared all the way through Rotten’s instantly iconic outro: “No future/ no future/ no future for you.” The BBC and the Independent Broadcasting Authority banned the single from radio and television immediately, but the bumbling censorship only amplified the song’s message of gleeful, paranoiac anti-authoritarianism. The internet, luckily, has no seven taboo words, and the song became a viral underground anthem, reaching No.
50 on It never made the pop charts, though—or rather, it hasn’t yet. But no matter its chart fortunes (past and future), it’s one fantastic song.
— Three major elements factor into the Hot 100: airplay, sales, and streaming.
The chart is an average of these three pools of data.
Given the lack of significant airplay for a single that is foul-mouthed, nearly a year old, and not being actively promoted to radio right now, one leg of this , a half-dozen songs have debuted at No.
1 on the Hot 100, led largely by explosive sales totals: Taylor Swift’s “Shake It Off”; Justin Bieber’s “What Do You Mean?
Much of the most consequential music in our history made its difference because people laughed and drank and sang and danced to it, and people did those things because they knew it was making a difference.
Like “God Save the Queen” before it, the track works first and best as music on its own terms, an austere and sharp-edged trunk-rattler that packs the perfect combination of seduction and menace.
It’s an unexpectedly positive and inclusive song, starting with YG’s opening line: “I like white folks/ but I don’t like you.” (To drive this point home, YG went as far as recording a remix with Macklemore; personally I would have been fine just taking his word for it.) The song’s entire third verse is a call to solidarity with Mexican Americans: “It wouldn’t be the USA without Mexicans/ and if it’s time to team up, shit, let’s begin.” Even the song’s sheer existence is a testament to togetherness: Nipsey Hussle is affiliated with the Crips and YG with the Bloods.
Though YG—like the Sex Pistols before him—may be an imperfect vessel, he’s since disavowed the life of crime he chronicles in his art and is now, by his own admission, “a fuckin’ square.” (Not that this has prevented consternation from certain circles.
If you wish to analogize the Hot 100 to the federal government, you can think of radio as the judicial branch—slow-moving and defined by custom and format.
Sales are like the legislative branch—very responsive to each group’s base constituency (whether they’re anti-tax crusaders or diehard Beliebers). It’s increasingly the largest factor on the chart, but it’s often the craziest and least predictable, liable to be driven by something as momentary as a Twitter meme.