Chart Watch: Billboard Finally Crowns a Winner

Paul Grein
Technical issues that delayed the arrival of the Billboard 200 couldn’t keep Lana Del Rey’s Lust for Life from opening at No. 1.

Billboard finally revealed the identity of this week’s No. 1 album on its flagship Billboard 200 chart— three days later than they usually post that news. The winner is Lana Del Rey’s Lust for Life, which came in just ahead of Tyler, the Creator’s Flower Boy (at No. 2) and Meek Mill’s Wins & Losses (at No. 3).

Billboard routinely posts the top 10 albums from its flagship Billboard 200 chart on Sundays and the top 10 songs from its Hot 100 chart on Mondays. This week, Billboard didn’t post any information until Wednesday afternoon.

Billboard issued this vague statement on its website: “The release of Billboard’s Aug. 12-dated charts is delayed. A top-tier data provider has encountered technical issues, preventing the delivery of its data to Nielsen Music (which provides the sales, streaming and airplay information for Billboard’s charts). Due to this issue, and because there is a close race for No. 1 on the Billboard 200 albums chart, Billboard is holding back the release of all of its Aug. 12-dated charts until we get further clarity from the data provider.”

A well-placed source says that data provider was Spotify.

One consequence of the delay is that Del Rey will have truncated reign at No. 1. Chart-topping albums normally have at least a week on top. Del Rey will be sent packing in just four days.

Lust for Life is Del Rey’s second No. 1 album. She first topped the Billboard 200 in July 2014 with Ultraviolence. It’s her fourth consecutive studio album to reach No. 1 or No. 2. Del Rey is the fourth female solo artist to top the Billboard 200 so far this year. She follows Halsey, Katy Perry, and Lorde.

Lust for Life also debuts at No. 1 on The Official U.K. Albums Chart. Lust is the third album to reach No. 1 on both the U.S. and U.K. charts so far this year. It follows Ed Sheeran’s ÷ and Harry Styles’ Harry Styles. It’s the first album by a female artist to top the charts in both countries since Barbra Streisand’s Encore: Movie Partners Sing Broadway last year.

Tyler, the Creator lands his highest-charting album as Flower Boy debuts at No. 2. It surpasses Wolf, from 2013, which peaked at No. 3. All four of Tyler’s studio albums have cracked the top five.

Meek Mill’s Wins & Losses debuts at No. 3. It’s his fourth album or mixtape to crack the top three.

Top Albums

Two Linkin Park albums return to the top 10 in the first full week following the tragic suicide of front-man Chester Bennington. The band’s current album, One More Light, rebounds from No. 17 to No. 4 in its ninth chart week. The album opened at No. 1 nine weeks ago, but had dropped off the chart in the week of Bennington’s death. The band’s debut album, Hybrid Theory, leaps from No. 27 to No. 8 in its 171st chart week. The album peaked at No. 2 in January 2002.

Hybrid Theory moves up to No. 1 on Top Catalog Albums, displacing Radiohead’s OK Computer: OKNOTOK 1997 2017. This is the first week on top of the catalog chart for Hybrid Theory.

Kendrick Lamar’s DAMN. drops from No. 2 to No. 5 in its 15th week. The album spent its first three weeks at No. 1.

The soundtrack to The Descendants 2, an original movie for the Disney Channel, debuts at No. 6. The soundtrack to The Descendants opened at No. 1 in August 2015. This week marks the first time in more than a year that a TV soundtrack has been the week’s highest-charting soundtrack.

Jay-Z’s 4:44 drops from No. 1 to No. 7 in its third week. The album spent its first two weeks at No. 1.

DJ Khaled’s Grateful drops from No. 4 to No. 9 in its fifth week. The album spent its first two weeks at No. 1.

Romeo Santos lands his third top 10 album as Golden debuts at No. 10. It’s the first album by a Latin artist to crack the top 10 since Santana’s Corazon in May 2014.

Seven albums drop out of the top 10 this week. French Montana’s Jungle Rules drops from No. 3 to No. 19. 21 Savage’s Issa Album drops from No. 5 to No. 12. Ed Sheeran’s ÷ drops from No. 6 to No. 14. Imagine Dragons’ Evolve drops from No. 7 to No. 15. The Moana soundtrack drops from No. 8 to No. 6.  Khalid’s American Teen drops from No. 9 to No. 18. Bruno Mars’s 24K Magic drops from No. 10 to No. 20.

Chris Stapleton’s From a Room, Vol. 1 drops from No. 23 to No. 37 in its 12th week. The album logs its eighth week at No. 1 on Top Country Albums.

Coming Attractions: Look for Arcade Fire to land its third consecutive No. 1 album next week with Everything Now.

Top Songs

Luis Fonsi & Daddy Yankee’s “Despacito” (featuring Justin Bieber) logs its 12th week at No. 1 on the Hot 100. That ties Ed Sheeran’s “Shape of You” for the longest run at No. 1 so far this year.

“Despacito” also returns to No. 1 on the Official U.K. Singles Chart. This is its 10th week on top in that country. “Despacito” is just the fourth song in chart history to log 10 or more weeks at No. 1 in both countries. It follows Whitney Houston’s “I Will Always Love You” (14 weeks on top in the U.S., 10 weeks on top in the U.K.), Drake’s “One Dance” (featuring Wizkid and Kyla, with 10 weeks in the U.S., 15 weeks in the U.K.) and “Shape of You” (12 weeks in the U.S., 14 weeks in the U.K.). As you can see, this is happening more frequently than it used to. Three of these four singles are from the past two years.

“Despacito” sold 102K digital copies in the U.S. this week, which puts it on top of Top Digital Songs for the 13th week. It’s in a four-way tie for the longest run at No. 1 on that chart (which dates to October 2004). The other songs to log 13 weeks at No. 1 on the digital chart are Flo Rida’s “Low” (featuring T-Pain), Mark Ronson’s “Uptown Funk!” (featuring Bruno Mars) and the Chainsmokers’ “Closer” (featuring Halsey).

This is the 12th consecutive week in which “Despacito” has sold at least 100K copies. That’s the longest such streak since Wiz Khalifa’s “See You Again” (featuring Charlie Puth) topped 100K 12 weeks running in 2015.

In the coming week, “Despacito” will top the 2 million mark in U.S. digital sales. It is currently at 1,910,000. It will be the second song to top the 2 million mark in 2017. The first was “Shape of You,” which is up to 2,268,000.

You may remember that DJ Khaled’s “I’m the One,” which also features Bieber, interrupted “Despacito’s” reign at No. 1 on Top Digital Songs for one week. Thus, this is the 14th consecutive week that Bieber has been featured on the week’s top-selling digital hit — an unprecedented occurrence.

If “Despacito” stays on top of the Hot 100 for two more weeks, it will tie Los Del Rio’s 1996 smash “Macarena” to become the longest-running No. 1 hit that is sung primarily in another language. It will also tie “Uptown Funk!” as the longest-running No. 1 from the 2010s.

If it stays on top for four more weeks, it will tie the 1995-96 Mariah Carey/Boyz II Men collabo “One Sweet Day” as the longest-running No. 1 hit in Hot 100 history.

DJ Khaled’s “Wild Thoughts” (featuring Rihanna and Bryson Tiller) holds at No. 2 in its sixth week. The song includes a prominent sample from Santana’s “Maria, Maria” (featuring The Product G&B), which logged 10 weeks at No. 1 in 2000. Will “Wild Thoughts” also reach No. 1? Stay tuned.

Bruno Mars’s “That’s What I Like” holds at No. 3 in its 28th week. The song hit No. 1.

DJ Khaled’s “I’m the One” (which features Bieber, Quavo, Chance the Rapper and Lil Wayne) holds at No. 4 in its 13th week. The song hit No. 1.

Imagine Dragons land their second top five hit as “Believer” jumps from No. 7 to No. 5 in its 25th week. It follows “Radioactive,” which reached No. 3 in July 2013. “Believer” is the first rock song to appear in the top five since Twenty One Pilots’ “Heathens” ended a 15-week run in the top five in December. (It’s interesting that the two songs have nearly opposite titles.)

French Montana’s “Unforgettable” (featuring Swae Lee) dips from its No. 5 peak to No. 6 in its 16th week.

Ed Sheeran’s “Shape of You” dips from No. 6 to No. 7 in its 29th week. The song logged 12 weeks at No. 1.

Shawn Mendes’s “There’s Nothing Holdin’ Me Back” holds at No. 8 in its 14th week.

Charlie Puth’s “Attention” jumps from No. 10 to No. 9 in its 14th week.

Sam Hunt’s “Body Like a Back Road” dips from No. 9 to No. 10 in its 26th week. The song has climbed as high as No. 6. “Body Like a Back Road” tops Billboard’s Hot Country Songs chart for the 25th week. That breaks Florida Georgia Line’s record for the longest run at No. 1 in the chart’s 73-year history. The duo’s hit “Cruise” spent 24 weeks on top in 2012-13.

Liam Payne’s “Strip That Down” (featuring Quavo) jumps from No. 25 to No. 16 in its 10th week. Payne is the fourth past or present member of One Direction to land a top 20 hit. He follows ZAYN, who reached No. 1 with “Pillowtalk,” Harry Styles, who climbed as high as No. 4 with “Sign of the Times” and Niall Horan, who climbs to No. 18 this week with “Slow Hands.”

Only a few other groups have had so many members who had successful solo careers. All four members of the Beatles had No. 1 hits. Four members of the Eagles had top 20 hits — founding members Don Henley, Glenn Frey and Randy Meisner and later-joining member Joe Walsh. Five members of Fleetwood Mac had top 20 hits. Three members of the classic lineup (Stevie Nicks, Lindsey Buckingham and Christine McVie) had top 10 hits, as did early member Bob Welch. Later member Dave Mason had a top 20 hit.

Rihanna’s “Love on the Brain” tops the 1 million mark in digital sales this week. The soulful ballad reached No. 5 on the Hot 100.

See you next week. Earlier in the week, I hope!