'Billboard' Hot 100 recap: Vine stars and a new European import

jack-and-jack

Image Credit: Jerod Harris/Getty Images

Vine is beginning to follow in YouTube’s footsteps as an unlikely social-media launchpad for musical talent. Last month, Shawn Mendes—who got his first real break when a six-second clip of him singing Justin Bieber’s “As Long As You Love Me” went viral on the video-sharing platform—debuted his first single, “Life of the Party,” at number 24 on the Hot 100. Mendes had virtually no radio support or traditional marketing, but he does have 3 million followers on Vine, and the single sold 148,000 copies in its first week.

The latest Vine celebrities to land a song on the Hot 100 are Jack and Jack, a pair of recent high school graduates from Omaha, Nebraska who currently have 4.3 million followers on their shared Vine account. Their fan base skews young and female—a profile in their high school newspaper says it “consists almost entirely of 12- to 17-year-old girls,” and in the piece they claim to tailor the content they produce for that demographic.

By tween standards, their new single “Wild Life” is pretty risque. It’s fairly standard turn-up EDM rap, with lots of talk about drinking and dancing and staying up all night—as well as the almost impressively bad line “Everybody hanging like a string from a Tampax.” While people above the legal drinking age will likely roll their eyes over the song, it seems to have succeeded in mobilizing Jack and Jack fans: “Wild Life” debuted this week at number 87 on the Hot 100. Whether it has any staying power remains to be seen, but Mendes’s single, which had more apparent crossover potential, came and went from the chart in the blink of an eye.

Just above “Wild Life” at number 84 is “Stolen Dance” by German electro-folk duo Milky Chance. The latest European pop import to belatedly break in the States, “Stolen Dance” was released in April of last year and charted throughout Europe, reaching number one in France, Austria, the Czech Republic, Switzerland, Belgium, Hungary, and Poland. With its pairing of fingerpicked acoustic guitar and gently thumping electronic beat it shares some of the same sonic space as Gotye’s “Somebody That I Used to Know,” and some of the same potential to reach a broad, demographically diverse audience. There’s a little bit of everything here—a mild folky vibe for adult alternative listeners, a four-on-the-floor nod to dance music, a vague suggestion of light reggae that might help it cross over with fans of Magic!’s “Rude,” —and not much to offend anyone other than those who hate sensitive, acoustic-guitar-toting bohemians. It could very well repeat Gotye’s success and become another quirky consensus hit.

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