Last week, Billie Eilish ended the historic run of Lil Nas X’s “Old Town Road.” “Old Town Road” had been at #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for 19 weeks — the longest run ever. For nine of those weeks, Eilish’s “Bad Guy” had been at #2, stuck behind “Old Town Road.” When she finally got past “Old Town Road,” Eilish became the first artist born this century to score a #1 hit. But the reign of “Bad Guy” did not last long, and now we’ve got another new #1 hit.
This week, as Billboard reports, Shawn Mendes and Camila Cabello’s “Señorita” has ascended to #1. “Señorita” came out back in June, and it was one of the many big singles to debut at #2 behind “Old Town Road.” It’s the first time that Mendes has had a #1 hit, and it’s the second time for Cabello; her “Havana” got to #1 early last year. Mendes and Cabello, a real-life couple, are going to perform “Señorita” for the first time ever at the VMAs tonight. Their one previous duet, “I Know What You Did Last Summer,” peaked at #20 in 2016.
Seen from a certain perspective, “Señorita” is part of the gen-Z youth movement that seems to be taking over the Billboard Hot 100. Mendes, 21, and Cabello, 22, aren’t much older than Lil Nas X (20) and Billie Eilish (17). But “Old Town Road” and “Bad Guy” were both weird home-recorded genre-splices, while “Señorita” is down-the middle centrist pop. The established pop system appears to be back in control.
“Señorita” is the product of eight different songwriters: Mendes, Cabello, Charli XCX, Ali Tamposa, Jack Patterson, Andrew Watt, Benny Blanco, and Cashmere Cat. Charli XCX and Cashmere Cat are both Stereogum favorites, of course, and both have made weird music elsewhere. But “Señorita” is very much an example of them succeeding from within the machine. There’s nothing weird about “Señorita”; even its percolating Spanish guitar comes from the American-version-of-Latin-pop playbook. The song has already been at #1 in 34 different countries, including the UK and China. So basically, there’s nothing fun about this.
In other chart news, Lizzo’s “Truth Hurts” climbs up to #3. That two-year-old song got two big remixes this past Friday, so we’ll see if those are enough to push it up to #1 on next week’s charts. And Queens teenager Lil Tecca’s “Ran$om” is now up to #5, a new peak.