This week’s album chart saw no successful new entries and, in fact, it was so barren of fresh blood that the news has more to do with what didn’t debut well than what did — like Bebe Rexha’s new release, the low numbers for which she boldly took to Twitter to acknowledge.
Rexha’s “Better Mistakes” debuted at No. 129 on the Rolling Stone album chart. On the Billboard chart, it was a few rungs lower still, at No. 140. Responding to a tweet pointing out the latter stat, Rexha was honest in addressing it in a way few if any other pop stars recently have been or ever would be.
“Upsetting,” she wrote. “But I won’t give up. My career was built on failures and not following the mold. I won’t stop. I never have and never will. I still believe in this album. And I still will push.”
Upsetting. But I won’t give up. My career was built on failures and not following the mold. I won’t stop. I never have and never will. I still believe in this album. And I still will push. No matter what. https://t.co/eNh9vHXwy3
— Bebe Rexha (@BebeRexha) May 17, 2021
Rexha at least came in ahead of the most talked-about album of the week, Van Morrison’s controversial “Latest Record Project Vol. 1,” which inspired a lot of hate-streaming but still only came in on the RS chart at No. 132.
The top debut for the week was hardly a household name: Tea Grizzley’s “Built for Whatever” entered at No. 14 with a modest 21,500 album units. Weezer’s “Van Weezer” had the second-highest bow, debuting at No. 22 with 18,600 equivalent album units.
Also debuting in the top 50: Toosii’s “Thank You for Believing” at No. 35 (15,600 album units), and “The Marfa Tapes,” from the country trio of Miranda Lambert, Jon Randall and Jack Ingram, at No. 43 (13,500).
With so little new action on the album chart this week, it’s an easier time to assess who are the haves and who are the have-nots. Unstoppable ongoing successes include Morgan Wallen’s “Dangerous: The Double Album,” now at No. 2 after 18 weeks, and Dua Lipa’s “Future Nostalgia,” the very rare album to stick around in the upper ranks for a year-plus, currently back up to No. 4 after 59 weeks.
It’s still a bit early to tell whether Justin Bieber’s “Justice” will have anything near that kind of longevity, but the album is doing extremely well for a pop album in a hip-hop-dominated climate, currently ranked at a strong No. 5 after 8 weeks of release. Not doing as well: Demi Lovato, down to No. 101 in the sixth week for the highly publcized “Dancing with the Devil… The Art of Starting Over.”
Other enduring holdover hits on the album chart include Luke Combs’ “What You See is What You Get,” back in the top 10 at No. 9 after a whopping 79 weeks, making Combs and Lipa the king and queen of true top 10 endurance right now.
Other albums with some mileage under their belts that are holding remarkably strong include Ariana Grande’s “Positions” (No. 12 after 28 weeks), Post Malone’s “Hollywood’s Bleeding” (No. 13 after a whopping 88 weeks), the Weeknd’s “After Hours” (No. 15 after 62 weeks) and Harry Styles’ “Fine Line” (No. 18 in its 74th week).
Joining Lovato’s album as an underperformer are both of country superstar Eric Church’s nearly simultaneous releases, both of which recently bowed in the top 10 — “Soul” is down to No. 67 in its third week, while “Heart” is out of the top 200 altogether in its fourth week, perhaps establishing that sometimes it is possible to give the consumer too much choice.
Also showing not much in the way of legs after debuting in the top 10 or 20 are some albums that have already quietly made their exit from the top 200 — like Lana Del Rey’s critically hailed but strangely fast-disappearing “Chemtrails Over the Country Club,” along with the lates from Greta Van Fleet, Brockhampton, Evanescence, Selena Gomez, Nick Jonas, Rob Zombie, Chevelle, Foo Fighters and Kings of Leon.
Back to the good news: On the Rolling Stone songs chart, J. Cole’s “Interlude” bows on top after being streamed 23 million times. J. Cole is expected to have one of the largest album debuts of the year so far, maybe even the biggest… but that chart bow is still a week away. His “The Off-Season,” which just came out Friday, may have the potential to overtake Taylor Swift’s “Fearless (Taylor’s Version)” as claiming the top figures for any album premiere for 2021; we’ll see when the results for this week come in next Monday.
At the top of this week’s album chart, MoneyBagg Yo’s “A Gangsta’s Pain” returns to No. 1 in its third week, with 59,300 album equivalent units. Wallen’s indomitable “Dangerous: The Double Album” moves back up to No. 2, with 48,200 units, despite his media near-blackout.
Last week’s leader, “Khaled Khaled” by (who else) DJ Khaled, slips to No. 3 in its second week with 43,000 album equivalent units. Close behind at No. 4 is Lipa’s unstoppable “Future Nostalgia,” followed by Bieber’s “Justice.”
On the songs chart, J. Cole’s debuting single is followed by some highly familiar names: “Kiss Me More” by Doja Cat featuring SZA at No. 2, “Levitating” by Dua Lipa featuring DaBaby at No. 3 and “Rapstar” by Polo G in fourth place. The No. 5 spot finds another new entry: “Miss the Rage” by Trippie Redd and Playboi Carti, which debuts with 19.5 million song streams.
Mass exposure for Coldplay’s new single, “Higher Power,” on “American Idol” and the Brit Awards didn’t immediately translate into a higher chart position: the song debuted at No. 40, with 5.6 million streams.