There’s not much to say about this week’s Hot 100 on first glance. The top six songs–”Moves Like Jagger,” “Someone Like You,” “Pumped Up Kicks,” “Party Rock Anthem,” “Stereo Hearts” and “Lighters”–remain unchanged in position, and the only real surprise is that LMFAO’s “Sexy And I Know It” is somehow suddenly popular enough to squeeze into the top 10. Then you read the details (assuming you do actually read this stuff; read ours, at least.) No matter how much Adam Levine wants to think “Moves Like Jagger” is a lone warrior of a track, the only song of the summer and/or fall, it’s not. It has competition: in this case, Adele’s ballad, which snatched the No. 1 spot once already based mostly on post-VMA downloads and which is now surging in radio airplay as well. And the last time Adele topped the charts was “Rolling in the Deep”‘s seven weeks.
In other words, “Moves Like Jagger” needs some last-ditch moves. And since Maroon 5 can’t stage a second VMA ceremony and snub Adele, why not take the other proven tactic: a quick remix? Something like Rihanna convincing as big a superstar as Britney
and her conservators to don “S&M”‘s gear as an anti-”E.T.” measure. Something like Katy Perry doing the same with rap superstars Kanye West on “E.T.” and Missy Elliott on “Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.)” Something like getting Mac Miller.
Wait, what? Mac Miller, whose “Donald Trump” pleased Donald Trump and more than 20 million YouTube viewers, but who’s not yet a household name so much as “that guy who’s from Pittsburgh and sometimes works with Wiz Khalifa”? That’s not really a Hail Mary; it’s more like a mumbled prayer. Producer Benny Blanco sort of explained the remix to XXL:
You know I’ve been down with Mac a while ’cause I’m down with [Mac's label] Rostrum [Records]. And so I was actually sitting with one of my homies, Zvi [Edelman, vice president of A&R at Atlantic], he’s the dude that signed Wiz [Khalifa]. We were listening to it. I was like, ‘Yo, who could we put on this song?’ ’Cause, we were trying to get someone to do a remix. I was like, ‘I know exactly who,’ because I just put Mac on another remix.
Explains everything. Yes, we could be wrong about the motivation for this, but it’s really telling how Mac Miller announced he’d be on the thing the week after Adele hit No. 1 the first time. And the track’s indeed going to radio (next week) and iTunes (October 4). We doubt it’ll be successful, though. All the other remixes had name recognition and fanbase mobilization–you’re a Ke$ha fan? Now you get to care about “Till the World Ends”‘ remix enough to buy it! Mac Miller’s only got one of these, and some fans in the comments on HipHopDX are panning his guest spot regardless, because it’s on “Moves Like Jagger.”
That’s an oversimplification, though; not everyone’s really impressed with the remix. Mac’s verses–at least he gets more than one–aren’t his best or even his better, but that’s not the problem. Blanco’s approach to production was already roughly the same as a Jenga player’s approach to tower safety, and the remix is just as unwieldy. The point of “Moves Like Jagger” is to play off Adam and Christina’s non-relationship, but now there’s third-wheel Mac Miller butting in–literally; his verse comes after Christina emotes but before she sings–and killing the mood. Then he disappears, and “Moves Like Jagger” is a straight duet again; it’s just haphazard. Listen for yourself, below (warning: pitch-shifting):