Chart Watch: Kenny Chesney debuts at No. 1. Sorry, Kelly Clarkson

Wendy Geller
Senior Editor, Yahoo Entertainment

Kenny Chesney lands his eighth No. 1 album on the Billboard 200 with Live in No Shoes Nation. He beat out a studio album by Kelly Clarkson, which debuts at No. 2.

Sure, Chesney is a big star, and country music is huge, but how can a live album beat out a studio album by a popular singer, who seemed to be everywhere (including The Voice) during release week?

Live in No Shoes Nation was bolstered, as many albums have been in recent months, by a concert ticket/album sale “redemption program” with Chesney’s upcoming stadium tour. So fans who buy a ticket to Chesney’s 2018 tour can opt to get a CD along with it.

Here, Billboard‘s Keith Caulfield explains how it works: “The cost of the CD of Chesney’s album was bundled into the price of each ticket sold online for his tour (which went on sale Sept. 22). After purchasing a ticket, customers received (via email) a redemption offer for the album, where they could choose to redeem the CD and have it mailed to them. The only sales that count towards the charts are those albums that are redeemed by customers.”

It’s not cheating — many No. 1 albums in the past couple of years have been boosted by the same practice. It’s become one of the tools record companies use to offset declining album sales.

Live in No Shoes Nation moved 219K equivalent units, which includes 217K in traditional album sales. That’s the highest tally for a live album since Paul McCartney’s Back in the U.S. Live 2002 bowed with 224K copies sold in December 2002. (That was back when albums flew off the shelves. And, for that matter, back when there were shelves.)

The 29-track album collects live highlights from Chesney’s various tours, stretching back to 2007. Among the guests on the album: Taylor Swift, Dave Matthews, Eric Church, and Grace Potter.

Live in No Shoes Nation.is the first live album to top the Billboard 200 since the various-artists charity collection Hope for Haiti Now in February 2010. It’s the first live album by a single act to reach No. 1 since Sugarland’s LIVE on the Outside in August 2009.

Only one other country artist has amassed as many as eight No. 1 albums on the Billboard 200. Garth Brooks leads the country pack with nine No. 1 albums.

Live in No Shoes Nation also enters Top Country Albums at No. 1, displacing Chris Young’s Losing Sleep. It’s Chesney’s 15th album to top the country chart. It’s Chesney’s second live album to top the country chart, following 2006’s Live: Live Those Songs Again.

The title of the new album, Live in No Shoes Nation, is a play on the title of Chesney’s 2002 album, No Shirt, No Shoes, No Problems. That was his first album to reach No. 1 on both the Billboard 200 and Top Country Albums.

Top Albums

Kelly Clarkson’s Meaning of Life debuts at No. 2. All eight of her studio albums have made the top three.

Chris Brown’s Heartbreak on a Full Moon debuts at No. 3. All eight of his studio albums have made the top 10, as did a 2015 collabo with Tyga.

Without Warning, a collaboration by 21 Savage, Offset and Metro Boomin, debuts at No. 4. It’s the second top 10 album for 21 Savage, following Issa Album, which reached No. 2. It’s the first for Offset as a solo artist. (He reached No. 1 as a member of Migos with Culture.) It’s the first for Metro Boomin. Three-way collabos are rare. Four-way collabos are even rarer. Twenty years ago this month, a collaboration by four solo artists debuted at No. 1. Nas (Escobar), Foxy Brown, AZ and Nature joined forces for The Firm—The Album, which topped the chart in November 1997.

Post Malone’s Stoney dips from its No. 4 peak to No. 5 in its 47th week.

Yo Gotti lands his third consecutive top 10 album as I Still Am debuts at No. 6. The title of the new album is a play on the title of his 2013 album, I Am.

Big K.R.I.T.’s 4eva is a Mighty Long Time debuts at No. 7. All three of his studio albums have made the top 10.

Ed Sheeran’s ÷ dips from No. 7 to No. 8 in its 35th week. The album spent its first two weeks at No. 1.

Future and Young Thug’s Super Slimey drops from No. 2 to No. 9 in its second week.

Lil Uzi Vert’s first full-length album, Luv Is Rage 2, dips from No. 9 to No. 10 in its 10th week. The album debuted at No. 1.

Neill Horan’s Flicker drops from No. 1 to No. 20 in its second week.  Five other albums drop out of the top 10 this week: P!nk’s Beautiful Trauma drops from No. 3 to No. 18. Chris Young’s Losing Sleep drops from No. 5 to No. 50. Gucci Mane’s Mr. Davis drops from No. 6 to No. 14. Darius Rucker’s When Was the Last Time drops from No. 8 to No. 46. Demi Lovato’s Tell Me You Love Me drops from No. 10 to No. 16.

Weezer’s Pacific Daydream debuts at a disappointing No. 23. This breaks a string of eight consecutive top 10 albums by the group.

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers’ Greatest Hits drops from No. 17 to No. 26 in its 239th chart week. The compilation holds at No. 1 on Top Catalog Albums for the fifth consecutive week (and the sixth week overall). This is the only album to spend five consecutive weeks at No. 1 on this chart so far this year. In terms of total weeks at No. 1 so far this year, it’s second only to Ed Sheeran’s (six weeks).

The Moana soundtrack drops from No. 38 to No. 44 in its 50th week. The album peaked at No. 2.  It’s No. 1 on Top Soundtracks for the 28th week.

Coming Attractions: In addition to the aforementioned albums by Sam Smith and Maroon 5, look for high debuts next week by Kelsea Ballerini’s Unapologetically, Blake Shelton’s Texoma Shore, and Kid Rock’s Sweet Southern Sugar.

Top Songs

Post Malone’s “Rockstar” (featuring 21 Savage) logs its fourth week at No. 1 on the Hot 100. That’s the longest run at No. 1 for a rap song since Rae Sremmurd’s “Black Beatles” (featuring Gucci Mane) topped the chart for seven weeks late last year into early this year. “Rockstar” also logs its fourth week at No. 1 on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart.

Camila Cabello’s “Havana” (featuring Young Thug) vaults from No. 7 to No. 2 in its 12th week. It’s Cabello’s highest-charting hit to date, either solo or with Fifth Harmony. She had climbed as high as No. 4 with Fifth Harmony’s “Work from Home” (featuring Ty Dolla $ign) and her own “Bad Things,” a collabo with Machine Gun Kelly. “Havana” moves up to No. 1 on The Official U.K. Singles Chart, displacing “Rockstar.” It’s Cabello’s first No. 1 in the U.K., either on her own or with Fifth Harmony. That girl group climbed as high as No. 2 in the U.K. with “Work from Home.”

Cardi B’s “Bodak Yellow (Money Moves)” dips from No. 2 to No. 3 in its 18th week. The song logged three weeks at No. 1.

Logic’s “1-800-273-8255” (featuring Alessia Cara & Khalid) dips from its No. 3 peak to No. 4 in its 27th week.

Imagine Dragons’ “Thunder” holds at No. 5 in its 27th week. The sold 54K digital copies this week, which allows it to return to No. 1 on Top Digital Songs. This is its third week on top. It also hits No. 1 on Top Rock Songs, displacing Portugal. The Man’s “Feel It Still.” It’s the band’s third No. 1 on that chart, following “Radioactive” (which topped the chart for 23 weeks) and “Believer” (which led for 29 weeks).

Portugal. The Man’s “Feel It Still” drops from No. 4 to No. 6 in its 20th week.

Lil Pump lands his first top 10 hit as “Gucci Gang” leaps from No. 14 to No. 7 in its eighth week.

Demi Lovato’s “Sorry Not Sorry” drops from its No. 6 peak to No. 8 in its 17th week.

J Balvin & Willy William’s “Mi Gente” (featuring Beyoncé) dips from No. 8 to No. 9 in its 18th week.  Four weeks ago, it tied Lady Gaga’s “Telephone” as Beyoncé’s highest-charting featured credit. “Telephone” reached No. 3 in April 2010.

Sam Smith’s “Too Good at Goodbyes” dips from No. 9 to No. 10 in its eighth week. The song peaked at No. 5. Smith’s sophomore album, The Thrill of It All, will debut at No. 1 next week.

Ed Sheeran’s “Perfect” drops out of the top 10 this week.

Nicki Minaj lands her 81st Hot 100 hit as “MotorSport,” a co-equal collabo with Migos and Cardi B, debuts at No. 14. This extends Minaj’s record as the female artist with the most Hot 100 hits. Aretha Franklin and Taylor Swift are tied for second place with 73 chart hits each.

Selena Gomez lands the 18th top 40 hit of her career as “Wolves,” a collabo with Marshmello, leaps from No. 88 to No. 35 in its second week. Gomez’s tally of top 40 hits includes five hits with her old group, Selena Gomez and the Scene.

“What Ifs” (featuring Lauren Alaina) logs its fifth week at No. 1 on Hot Country Songs. This is the longest that any collaboration has stayed on top since Florida Georgia Line’s “This Is How We Roll” (featuring Luke Bryan) spent six weeks on top in 2014.

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