After the Black Eyed Peas took up permanent residence at the top of the Billboard Hot 100 for most of the first part of the year, the recent weeks have been wide open, allowing a number of interesting and esoteric tracks to make their way to the top of the heap. Last week saw Owl City's "Fireflies" take the pole position, and this week sees Jason DeRulo's "Whatcha Say" as the top song in the country. DeRulo becomes the fourth artist this year to top the chart with a debut single, Lady Gaga ("Just Dance"), Jay Sean ("Down") and the aforementioned Owl City. (Of course, coupled with the recent chart surge and the New York Yankees' World Series victory, Jay-Z's "Empire State of Mind" will probably topple it next week.)
"Whatcha Say" is a pretty unlikely chart-topper. The tune is built around a sample of Imogen Heap's "Hide and Seek," which is best known as a featured song on a season finale of "The O.C." a few years back. DeRulo wraps his sweet, slightly Auto-Tuned voice around the song's groove, turning Heap's haunting, melancholy track into a head-nodding R&B jam.
Of course, it's been great for Heap, who not only must be cashing some sort of royalty check but is also getting the mainstream attention she has long deserved. She first gained attention as one half of Frou Frou (whose song "Let Go" accompanied the trailer for the 2004 Zach Braff film "Garden State"), and just released her third solo album Ellipse. She hasn't received the same kind of chart success as DeRulo, but at least she's in the conversation.