It would’ve been Halsey’s week to finally land a No. 1 album, but Kanye West had other plans, and his surprise drop of “Donda” on a Sunday morning thwarted her once again. Both artists had a lot to celebrate, though, with infrequently seen six-figure album-equivalent debuts, and, in West’s case, bragging rights to the biggest album premiere of 2021 so far.
“Donda” debuted with 313,000 album-equivalent units, besting the previous 2021 mark of Olivia Rodrigo’s “Sour,” which debuted with 302,000 in June. West’s album sales were an OK 37,000, but his individual streams, which set records on several DSPS, were monumental, adding up to 341 million.
Halsey had the honor of coming in well ahead of West when it came to claiming the biggest selling album of the week, with 63,000 full copies of “If I Can’t Have Love, I Want Power” sold. Her streams, though, were less than a tenth of West’s, with 31.6 million. Altogether, Halsey arrived with a very healthy 110,000 album-equivalent units.
These two debuts pushed Rodrigo back to No. 3, followed by Doja Cat at No. 4 and the Kid Laroi at No. 5. Lil Tecca’s “We Love You Tecca 2” jumped into the last spot of the top 10 with 30,000 album units, thanks to a deluxe edition with additional tracks.
The only other debuting albums to enter the top 20 of the Rolling Stone album chart were OneRepublic’s “Human,” in at No. 11 with 29,000 units, and Chvrches’ “Screen Violence” at No. 17 with 20,000 units. An album that might have been expected to bow bigger, a new project by Aaron Dessner and Justin Vernon’s collective Big Red Machine, only made it to No. 99 in its first week, with fans of Taylor Swift — who sings lead on and co-wrote two tracks — already having streamed those numbers when they became available weeks earlier.
On the Rolling Stone songs chart, West ruled the roost with the track “Hurricane,” which got plenty of attention upon “Donda’s” release due to lyrics referencing the breakdown of his marriage to Kim Kardashian. It had 27.6 streams in its first five days out. West also grabbed the Nos. 4-8 spots in the top 10 with “Jail,” “Off the Grid,” “Moon” and “Praise God.” Besides having five songs among the top 10, West had 11 of the top 20 spots.
“Butter” by BTS and Meghan Thee Stallion landed at No. 2, followed by another longstanding collab, the Kid Laroi and Justin Bieber’s “Stay” at No. 3.
Next week, the top spot on the album chart and most of the the top songs will belong to Drake. Although they didn’t end up going toe to toe, — and West’s initial total will include only five days of a chart week, putting him at a disadvantage — any eyes will be on who ends up able to brag about the biggest numbers after Drake has fully weighed in.