This week’s Scoreboard checks out Eminem’s “Revival” and resumes Grammys coverage with Childish Gambino and Bruno Mars
Billboard Artist Top 10
For the magazine dated January 13, 2018
See the full chart at http://www.billboard.com/charts/artist-100
|Billboard Artist Top 10||Name||Billboard 200 Album Rank||Billboard Hot 100 Singles||Highest Charting Single|
|1||Ed Sheeran||2||4||1: Perfect (Remix)|
|2||Taylor Swift||1||3||40: End Game|
|3||Imagine Dragons||11||3||5: Thunder|
|4||Post Malone||10||3||2: Rockstar|
|6||Sam Smith||7||1||8: Too Good At Goodbyes|
|7||Cardi B||–||5||4: No Limit|
|9||Kendrick Lamar||9||1||11: Love|
|10||Halsey||39||2||9: Bad At Love|
Last week Eminem topped the Billboard 200 with his ninth album Revival capping off new releases for 2017. This week is quieter on the charts as holiday shoppers reward Taylor Swift and Ed Sheeran. Specifically, Swift’s Reputation returns to #1 on the Billboard 200 and Sheeran is back on top of the Artist 100. Sheeran also tops the Hot 100 for the fourth week in a row with “Perfect (Remix)” ft. Beyoncé. Last week Scoreboard had a special Year in Review and this week Grammy previews are back with the spotlight on Childish Gambino and Bruno Mars.
Imagine Dragons and Khalid gain momentum this week as their “Thunder/Young Dumb & Broke (Medley)” comes out as a standalone single
Eminem, Marshall Mathers, and Slim Shady Return
When Eminem released Revival‘s first single “Walk On Water” seven weeks ago, he acknowledged the limits of his star power: “sales decline, the curtain’s drawn.” Now that Revival is out, we get nearly 80 minutes of Em contemplating his past, present, and future, and he’s not alone. Yes, there are the star collaborations with Beyoncé and Ed Sheeran (on separate songs), but there are also visits from both Marshall Mathers and Slim Shady. The more mature parts of Em’s consciousness take on the issues of police brutality (“Untouchable“) and the lowlights of the Trump presidency (“Like Home” ft. Alicia Keys). Yet Slim Shady also shows up throughout the album rapping about sex, violence, and general nihilism, diminishing the impact of the album’s political highlights. “Heat” is one such track. It advocates sexual violence and assault, and while yes, it is the real Slim Shady, it is also more than 18 years since Em shocked the world with such songs. When artists try to show their different sides, they often alternate albums (see Future‘s Future and Hndrxx from February 2017). Unfortunately with Revival, we get the good, the bad, and the ugly of Eminem at once. And the resulting product confirms that Marshall Mathers no longer walks on water.
Eminem was the subject of the December cover story in Complex
Grammys Preview: Childish Gambino vs Bruno Mars
The Album of the Year category at the Grammys features two distinct voices of 2017 R&B: the superstar Bruno Mars and the multi-talented entertainer Childish Gambino, a.k.a. the actor, writer, producer, and rapper Donald Glover. Mars’s 24K Magic is a glossy celebration of 1980s Pop-R&B championed by Prince, Michael Jackson, and Rick James. For Childish Gambino, Awaken! My Love is a trip to the Funk-Soul of the 1970s that Rick James also channeled, but whose biggest acts were Parliament Funkadelic, Zapp, and Kool & The Gang.
Between the two albums, Glover’s is the more complicated one. On it, Gambino worries about his partner being faithful. On “Baby Boy” he begs “mama…don’t take my baby boy,” a vulnerable statement about whether the narrator, a new parent, can sustain his relationship with the baby’s mother. The album’s biggest single, “Redbone,” warns listeners to “stay woke” on the chorus. Glover as Gambino also spends a track (“Boogieman“) addressing modern-day racial fears of African-Americans. Glover’s funk explosion may have been a lot to digest for average listeners – the album finished at #32 on Billboard’s year-end chart – but Grammy voters took note: besides the Album of the Year nomination, Gambino is nominated for four more Grammys (Urban Contemporary Album; Record of the Year, R&B Song, and R&B Performance nominations for “Redbone”).
Donald Glover does not have an official Instagram, but his fans do
The difference between Bruno Mars and Michael Jackson and Prince in their 1980’s prime is that Mars avoids somber topics. 24K Magic does not include reflective tracks such as “When Doves Cry” or “Man In The Mirror.” Instead, Mars’s definition of a bad day is “Calling All My Lovelies,” a song about how he has to reach out to his B list because he cannot get a hold of the woman he truly wants. Generally Mars is either getting it on with the one he wants (“That’s What I Like,” “Versace On The Floor“) or stunting with his homies (“24K Magic,” “Finesse“). Even though Mars’s music has its roots in the same sources as Glover’s, Mars presents a glossy confection of good times. Even when he’s breaking up it’s “Too Good To Say Goodbye.” In 2017, 24K Magic was an escape for a lot of people, finishing as Billboard’s #2 album of the year. @brunomars is up for five additional Grammys: the album is in the running for R&B Album,”24K Magic” is nominated for Record of the Year, and “That’s What I Like” is nominated for R&B Song and R&B Performance.
What will Grammy voters call award-winning R&B sound of 2017? Tune in to the show in three weeks to find out whether @childishgambino or @brunomars will take more trophies home.
It’s been a magical 2017 for Bruno Mars, now it’s Grammy time!