The Billboard charts, regardless of what you think about their relevance in an increasingly streaming/inscrutable musical climate, are at least very good at indicating massive hits. And Luis Fonsi, Daddy Yankee, and Justin Bieber’s “Despacito” has gone beyond big fat hit to cultural phenomenon (quite possibly the biggest hit song of all time, in fact, according to chart expert Chris Molanphy). This week, it ties with Mariah Carey and Boyz II Men’s ode to friends we lost along the way, “One Sweet Day,” to become the longest-running No. 1 in Billboard Hot 100 history as it spends its 16th week on the summit.
That’s great for Fonsi, Yankee, and, of course, Bieber, whose presence on the track’s remix (now the definitive version) certainly exposed it to an audience that isn’t generally keeping up with what’s new in reggaeton. But it’s kind of a bummer that Mariah and Boyz II Men now share their record with another track. Makes it less special. Imagine having to share a status symbol you attained 22 years ago with some new kids. Not that many people can fit in a Ferrari F50 and Bieber is going to crash it anyway, I just know it.
Mariah’s legend has always been backed by data—her first five singles went to No. 1, she’s had three songs debut at No. 1, she had at least one Top 5 hit in every year of the ’90s. She has 18 Hot 100 No. 1's to her name (more than any other solo artist in Hot 100 history), a fact she’s so proud of that she based her Las Vegas show around it. And so having to share one of her records diminishes her narrative just slightly. It’s not like she has that much of a shot at breaking new records, given her recent commercial performance. (Rihanna, still very much a hitmaker, too, is breathing down her neck in terms of most No. 1's—she has 14.)
So, pour out a little Moet for Mariah, who now has to share a chart record like a plebe. And I know you’re shining down on me from heaven, “One Sweet Day,” where someone else is shining down on you from another heaven, like so many chart records Mariah held along the way...