Kendrick Lamar’s “We Cry Together,” a harrowing enactment of an ugly argument between lovers, is not a song most people will want to hear more than once. And even though it is expected to be the next video from Lamar’s brilliant and challenging new album “Mr. Morale & the Big Steppers” and premiered at No. 16 on the Billboard Hot 100, it plummeted a record-setting 81 points in its second week — well, record-setting with an asterisk.
XXL which noted the drop on Wednesday, cited unofficial sources, so we went to Billboard’s chart department to see if it was accurate — and it is, kind of: The drop is the biggest in Hot 100 history for a song that remained on the Hot 100 chart.
A rep for the Billboard charts team noted that in January of 2020, Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas Is You” nosedived from No. 1 straight off of the chart the week after the holiday, along with four other seasonal favorites that had been in the Top 10 the previous week — which makes perfect sense, because who but someone who really loves Christmas songs, or a supermarket that forgot to update its in-store music, would still be playing those songs the week after the holiday? (Variety and Billboard are both owned by Penske Media Corporation.)
It seems likely that “We Cry Together” — an alarmingly realistic duet between Lamar and actress Taylour Paige — dropped because it’s a really, really upsetting song, and something many people would want to hear once and maybe not be in a hurry to hear again. It’s one of many examples of Lamar challenging his audience, and boldly with “We Cry Together,” which he placed smack in the middle of the album, forcing listeners to act in order skip it. On Spotify, the song has a higher number of streams than many tracks on the album, but that may be due to its placement; songs that are toward the end of an album’s tracklist commonly have fewer streams.
It will be interesting to see whether he performs the song on his global tour in support of the album, which starts next month.
With its 81-rung fall on the Hot 100, “We Cry Together” breaks the record for the biggest one-week positional drop within the chart, previously held by A$AP Ferg’s “Move Ya Hips,” featuring Nicki Minaj and MadeinTYO: 80 positions (No. 19 to No. 99, in August 2020). Among falls from No. 1, Taylor Swift set the record when “Willow” plunged from its debut at the top spot to No. 38 in January 2021.