This week Future is #1 with another new album on the Billboard 200; Little Big Town have a little big debut.
Billboard Artist Top 10
For the magazine dated March 18, 2017
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||Future||1 & 2||7||32: Cold|
|2||Bruno Mars||3||2||4: That’s What I Like|
|3||Ed Sheeran||49||2||1: Shape Of You|
|4||Weeknd||7||4||11: I Feel It Coming|
|5||Chainsmokers||34||3||5: Something Just Like This|
|6||Rihanna||19||2||6: Love On The Brain|
|7||Little Big Town||4||1||42: Better Man|
|8||Drake||18||3||16: Fake Love|
|9||Migos||6||4||2: Bad And Boujee|
|10||Adele||22||1||41: Water Under The Bridge|
Last week Atlanta rapper Future took the top of the Billboard 200 and the Artist 100 with his new album FUTURE. This week, Future Hendrix is again #1, but that is driven by another new Future album HNDRXX. This is the first time in the 61-year history of the Billboard 200 that one artist had back to back debuts with two different albums. Billboard dug deeper into chart history and found that Future is the first artist to replace himself at #1 on the albums chart since Simon & Garfunkel in 1968 (this chart phenomenon happened four times in the 1960’s prior to Simon & Garfunkel). Over on the Hot 100 the top four singles stay the same, led by Ed Sheeran‘s “Shape Of You,” and Little Big Town also make a big move on the charts with new album The Breaker, which takes them to #7 on the Artist 100.
Country artist Aaron Watson has his first top 10 Billboard 200 album this week and takes #18 on the Artist 100
Future Keeps Winning with HNDRXX
Back in 2014, @future told Britain’s The Guardian that he’s a “rock star…Future Hendrix.” Three years later, HNDRXX is the name of Future’s latest album. He has now released five #1 albums in a row, a feat more remarkable because those five albums came out in a span of less than two years. Like rap counterparts Drake and Lil Wayne, Future is all about prolificity.
His #1 album from last week had no guest appearances and did not deviate from Future’s signature trap rap. On “Mask Off,” @future reflected on his addiction to painkillers. Although it is a deep album track this week it is the highest-charting song off of FUTURE. When it comes to HNDRXX the mood is lighter and the music crosses over to R&B and pop-oriented hip-hop. There are also collaborators. On “Selfish,” @future sings “let’s no be alone” on chorus with Rihanna. This type of bedroom R&B was missing on FUTURE and over the coming months HNDRXX is likelier to get more radio play. The Weeknd, sitting at #4 on this week’s Artist 100, also joins @future on “Comin Out Strong,” a track on which both Future and @theweekend ask the haters “do you know who I am?” Scoreboard certainly knows who they are and will monitor how strongly Future will be coming on in 2017.
Future’s pushing culture forward and maintaining Atlanta’s winning streak in 2017
Little Big Town Bring The Breaker
Music careers can span decades in country music and this week Little Big Town are back in the top 10 on the Billboard 200 with their eighth album The Breaker. The origins of the group date back to 1998, when Karen Fairchild and Kimberly Roads started singing together. They were joined by Philip Sweet and Fairchild’s (eventual) husband Jimi Westbrook to form @littlebigtown. Their musical style has been defined by vocal harmonies (all four members sing) that recalls the 1970’s sounds of Poco and Fleetwood Mac, and their more recent country competitors Lady Antebellum.
It took a while for @littlebigtown to break through: their first Hot 100 hit “Boondocks” made it to the charts in 2005, their first country #1 “Pontoon” came out in 2012, and LBT got their first Grammy for “Pontoon” in 2013 followed by another Grammy for “Girl Crush” in 2016. Now that Little Big Town finally made it to the country A list, they have gotten more adventurous with their sound, releasing a pop-oriented album last year produced by Pharrell. On The Breaker, pop still comes through on “Night On Our Side” and “Lost In California,” but those tracks are an embellishment to the country ballads that serve as the main course on the album. The success of “Girl Crush,” the group’s biggest hit, has led to collaborating with Taylor Swift, who wrote lead single “Better Man,” and to more ballads such as “When Someone Stops Loving You.” Not all of the group’s slower songs succeed on The Breaker, “Free” and “Don’t Die Young, Don’t Get Old” cross over into platitude, but when they work, they go to #1. “Better Man” just became the band’s third country #1. Thank you, @taylorswift.
Little Big Town’s tour takes them to Australia this month; the group is back in Las Vegas for ACM on April 2nd