For the past 42 weeks chart watchers have had the constant company of the confusingly named “Cups (Pitch Perfect‘s ‘When I’m Gone’)” by Anna Kendrick. It’s a cover of an old Carter Family song, “When I’m Gone,” and more specifically a cover using an arrangement combining A.P. Carter’s composition with the Cup game that was originally devised by the British twee-folk band Lulu & the Lampshades and went viral via Reddit back in 2009. Pitch Perfect is a 2012 film starring Anna Kendrick, who prior to filming learned the Lulu & the Lampshades version of “When I’m Gone” and ended up working it into the movie. Kendrick’s performance took the song viral a second time, but this time with the promotional push to land the song on the Billboard charts in January of this year. From its opening slot at number 93 the song—first as 76-second clip and then in a longer edit more suitable to pop radio—slowly climbed the Hot 100 to eventually peak at number six.
This week it’s at number 38, down from number 30 the week before, which looks like the kind of slide that quickly becomes terminal. America’s weirdly long love affair with a novelty twee-folk song performed by one of the girls from Twilight, taken from a film that’s like a dance movie but for college singing groups, and based on an Internet meme is finally coming to an end. And although I can only appreciate the song itself in the “I guess I can see why people might like this” way, the state of having a song that fits this long and confusing (on several levels) description has made the Hot 100 a much more interesting place for the past year.
But even as Kendrick’s unlikely hit begins its fall, the slot in the Top Ten that American pop listeners seem to have reserved for weird novelty songs with extremely unlikely backstories has already been filled. This time it’s a nonsense EDM song by a Danish comedy group previously unknown in the States that’s about what noises different animals make and was produced by the people who produced one of the best Beyonce songs and one of the best Rihanna songs. I hope Billboard never stops using Internet popularity to gauge the pop charts.