By Brandon Ousley, Kemet High, Vrinda Jagota, and Leah Mandel of Third Bridge Creative
In this edition of our Trending Tracks Report, we’re exploring Marvin Gaye-inspired R&B, a South Carolina’s hustler’s anthem, the next regional Mexican heartthrob, Tom Petty’s enduring legacy, and the ‘00s song everyone’s dancing naked to, thanks to Saltburn (movie spoilers ahead!).
Chartmetric Artist Rank: 118,764
Los Angeles-based indie R&B polymath Larrenwong has attracted great buzz with his mellow neo-soul flair and sensual croon. Boasting a melody that interpolates Marvin Gaye’s 1971 album track, “Flyin’ High (In the Friendly Sky),” his track “Greenroom” (the lead single for his new three-song EP of the same name) reflects on the singer-songwriter’s troubled pursuit of love while pursuing his dreams in music. The song’s laid-back, bluesy vibe and personal lyrics have made an impression, sitting alongside Larrenwong’s top-streamed tracks on Spotify, with 61.2k streams since its December 13 release as well as playlist additions on R&B Weekly and New Music Friday. Thanks in part to Larrenwong’s social media presence, his Spotify monthly listeners jumped from 15.8k to 48.4k in the month following the track’s release, with his Chartmetric engagement rank up by 262k slots over the same period.
Chartmetric Artist Rank: 27,895
Huntsville, S.C. native Trap Dickey established himself as an artist to watch with the August 2023 release “Blue Devils,” a gooey anthem about hustling that samples Missy Elliott’s “The Rain (Supa Dupa Fly).” But the song really started picking up steam when Dickey performed it during the Philadelphia edition of On The Radar’s Freestyle series in November. On top of the video receiving over 494k views on YouTube, Dickey’s song was also placed in Spotify’s Viral 50 - USA chart in December. With increased visibility, his Spotify monthly listener count has gone from 14k to 472k in the last three months. The song has amassed 2.1 million spins on Spotify and has been supported editorially on playlists like Get Turnt, Internet People, and Most Necessary.
Chartmetric Artist Rank: 117
Mexican American musician Xavi has started the year out strong. Since its November 30 release, the 19-year-old’s track “La Diabla” has gotten 209 million streams on Spotify and #1 placements on both the Spotify Global chart and the Billboard Hot Latin Songs chart. He is the first artist of Mexican descent to top the former chart solo. Xavi, who has been signed to Interscope for two years, initially went viral on TikTok when he released his debut song, “La Victima.” The track hit #5 on the Billboard Hot Latin Songs chart as well. An executive at the label has said that Xavi’s team intentionally uses social media to foster his success. They reached out to “genre-specific music reviewers” online and recorded a lot of behind-the-scenes moments that they felt would resonate on social media.
Chartmetric Artist Rank: 774
Grand Theft Auto VI isn’t out until 2025 (and apparently will involve T-Pain), but fans are already amped following one of the biggest gaming leaks ever in September 2022: an appearance of the late great Tom Petty’s “Love Is A Long Road.” The song was featured in a trailer released on December 4, only adding to the buzz. The music supervisors at Rockstar have been getting it right for a long time, and GTA Radio is an actual phenomenon. Since the trailer dropped, Petty’s 1989 Full Moon Fever deep cut was up 8000%, according to Billboard, with 22.4 million new Spotify streams and a 6.3 million view increase on YouTube. It even got the rock legend on Spotify’s “big on the internet,” and at the top of "Now Loading," Spotify's playlist for gaming promo tracks.
Chartmetric Artist Rank: 124
The final scene of Saltburn was made to go viral. Barry Keoghan’s character, Oliver Quick, dances naked through the empty Saltburn manor to Sophie Ellis-Bextor's 2001 hit “Murder On The Dancefloor.” Since Saltburn hit streaming services in late December, Ellis-Bextor has seen her Spotify monthly listeners more than double (now at 17.6 million) and her Chartmetric rank soar from 2875th to 124th. The song has reached 298 million Spotify streams, up 69 million, and 8k radio plays in the past month. And, it’s been used in over 340k TikTok posts. Wealthy people have created a new “trend” for themselves: dancing to the track through their own huge houses. Critics of those critics (and the film) argue that there wasn’t anything to get from Saltburn in the first place. Either way, the film’s music supervisor, Kirsten Lane, understood the assignment. It’s not every day a song from a film soundtrack — an indie song from 2001, at that — gets so much traction. It’ll be hard to hear Ellis-Bextor and not think of Barry Keoghan murdering the dancefloor.
Graphics by Nicki Camberg and cover image by Crasianne Tirado; data as of Jan. 26, 2024.