Fall ’16 Election Week featured chart moves by Jeezy and Kenny Chesney, while the passing of Leonard Cohen dominated music headlines.
Billboard Artist Top 10
For the magazine dated November 19, 2016
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||Drake||7||5||10: Fake Love|
|2||Kenny Chesney||2||1||29: Setting The World On Fire|
|3||Twenty One Pilots||14||2||3: Heathens|
|4||Meek Mill||3||7||49: Litty|
|5||Lady Gaga||5||1||57: Million Reasons|
|10||Ariana Grande||16||1||6: Side To Side|
The American Presidential election and Donald Trump‘s upset Electoral College victory over Hillary Clinton is not only the story of this week, but also the story of the year. This week nearly all Electoral Scoreboards wrongly predicted a Clinton win and ended up with egg on their faces. No website tries to predict the Billboard chart every week, but if one did, then perhaps it could learn something and apply it to the political sphere. And years from now there may be a bar trivia question about who was #1 on the charts when DJT was elected. The answers are below:
- The #1 single on the Hot 100 was “Closer” by The Chainsmokers ft. Halsey, becoming only the 17th song ever to make it to 12 weeks at #1 in the 58-year history of the chart
- Drake returned to #1 on the Artist 100. @champagnepapi is bound to get Billboard’s Artist of the Year honor for 2016. Justin Bieber is in a tight race with Twenty One Pilots for #2 and if he gets it, the top 2 artists of election year in America may be Canadian. Drake’s resurgence is due to new singles released from upcoming project More Life. “Fake Love” leads the way, taking #10 on the Hot 100 this week and returns @champagnepapi to the familiar hip-hop subject of calling out untrustworthy “friends”
- On the Billboard 200, Lady Gaga dropped from the top to #5, and the new #1 album in America is Jeezy‘s Trap Or Die 3. Find more on Jeezy below and on Kenny Chesney, who came in at #2 with Cosmic Hallelujah
Speaking of hallelujah, the music world lost the great poet and singer Leonard Cohen on Monday, one of the most distinctive voices of the last 50 years. He released his latest album just eight weeks ago and his passing joins a long list of others in the music obituary list of 2016. You can find more on the “master of erotic despair” at the end of this week’s Scoreboard.
@meekmill comes in at #3 on the Billboard 200 with new album DC4, but fails to beat archrival Drake on the Artist 100
A Bittersweet Week For Jeezy
Jay Jenkins, the rapper first known as Young Jeezy, first made a splash in 2005 with Let’s Get It: Thug Motivation 101, an album that featured track “Trap Or Die.” 11 years later, Jeezy, who has not been Young since 2010, is back with Trap Or Die 3, a “back to basics” album resurrecting the mid-2000’s sound that first made him popular. Similar to The Game, Jeezy is suddenly an elder statesman of rap and on the new album he does his best to keep his raps ageless. Though that does not stop Pitchfork from calling him an “old T. Rex.”
Jeezy’s week must be bittersweet as despite getting his third #1 album, Donald Trump’s victory also foreshadows a sharp transformation for America away from the accomplishments of Barack Obama. Back in 2008 Jeezy authored the most popular hip-hop song celebrating Obama’s rise, “My President” (ft. Nas). The song’s enthusiasm feels remote in 2016, and Jeezy himself struggled in a recent interview to reconcile the excitement that DJT has brought to the Republican base and the horrifying things he said. @jeezy has been quiet since the election results came in, though when he is back on the scene we expect him to stay true to the trap or die mantra.
@jeezy is full of gratitude to those who helped him back to #1
Kenny Chesney Goes Cosmic
Kenny Chesney’s latest album Cosmic Hallelujah fits the crowd-pleasing country music formula built over his previous 16 releases. This time around, he brings in Pink on “Setting The World On Fire,” which is his first non-country collaboration since getting together with Dave Matthews on 2009’s “I’m Alive.” The duet is a bit fast-paced for Chesney but fits Pink perfectly and arrives on pop radio as a grown-up version of the Hot 100 #1 “Closer.” Not all is joyful on the new album with the low point coming in on “Rich And Miserable” where he sings about how “American Dream never wakes up” and how “we’re born, we work, we die, it’s spiritual.” Even the cosmic hallelujah has to come down to earth sometime.
@kennychesney has been providing commentary on tracks from his new album on Instagram
R.I.P. Leonard Cohen (1934-2016)
Leonard Cohen, who passed away this week in Los Angeles at age 82, has not been a dominant force on the charts in his career, but had significant impact on popular music through his songwriting that often veered into epic, myserious, and biblical. Montreal-born Cohen was first a poet and a writer before releasing his first album in 1967. He was not particularly prolific, releasing 11 albums in 40 years, but financial troubles (“I didn’t even know where the bank was,” he told The New York Times in 2009) forced him to go on tour and led to a spurt of three new albums released starting in 2012, with You Want It Darker coming out this September. His “Hallelujah,” first released in 1984, has become not only a standard, but for some strange reason, also a holiday standard, and just this week the Pentatonix version sits at #77 on the Hot 100. To pay tribute to him, I leave this week’s Scoreboard with “Famous Blue Raincoat,” off of his 1971 release Songs Of Love And Hate. Because Cohen is most devastating on songs that are unclear whether they’re of love or hate.