This week Scoreboard takes a deep dive into the country charts, where Sam Hunt has been king
Billboard Artist Top 10
For the magazine dated August 26, 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||Bruno Mars||12||2||7: That’s What I Like|
|2||Ed Sheeran||7||2||9: Shape Of You|
|3||Imagine Dragons||8||2||4: Believer|
|4||Kendrick Lamar||1||4||16: Humble|
|5||Shawn Mendes||25||1||6: There’s Nothing Holdin’ Me Back|
|7||DJ Khaled||3||2||2: Wild Thoughts|
|8||Charlie Puth||158||1||5: Attention|
|9||Justin Bieber||117||3||1: Despacito (Remix)|
|10||Sam Hunt||51||1||11: Body Like A Back Road|
Action on the charts slows down in August, which means that this week Kendrick Lamar‘s DAMN. returns to #1 on the Billboard 200 after last being in the top spot 14 weeks ago. Speaking of 14 weeks, that is the mark “Despacito (Remix)” by Luis Fonsi, Daddy Yankee, and Justin Bieber reaches on top of the Hot 100. The undisputed #1 of summer ’17 is on the verge of history, tying seven other hits that stayed at #1 on the Hot 100 for 14 weeks, the second-longest tenure ever achieved at #1. The record stands at 16 weeks, and “Despacito (Remix)” has a path in front of it to get there, as long as no surprise superstar release pops up over these two weeks. On the Artist 100 Bruno Mars returns to #1. It is the fifth non-consecutive week this year that @brunomars has crowned the chart; the 24K Magic keeps him in the running for Bilboard’s #1 Artist of the year.
Bruno Mars hopes that his third single of 2017 keeps him on top of the Artist 100
Sam Hunt’s Winning Country Pop
Sitting at #10 on this week’s Artist 100 is country star Sam Hunt, who finished as Billboard’s #47 Artist of 2016 and #23 Artist of 2015. The Georgia native played football in college and briefly tried out to play quarterback for the Kansas City Chiefs. Although Hunt’s pro football dreams never came true, he persevered on the Nashville music scene, first writing songs for stars like Kenny Chesney before releasing his first solo tracks in 2014. His debut album Montevallo was released in October 2014, five of its singles made the top 2 on the Country charts, and nearly three years later the album is still at #51 on the Billboard 200.
Hunt’s success blending pop and R&B sounds into country music set up high expectations for his second album and while that release does not have a name or a launch date, it already has the biggest country hit of 2017. “Body Like A Back Road” was released on February 1st and became an instant smash even without a music video. As of the latest charts, the song has been #1 on the Hot Country Songs chart for 27 weeks (!!), breaking all previous records and also reaching #1 on the more competitive Country Airplay chart, where it stayed on top for three weeks in May. The track also crossed over to Pop and Adult Contemporary formats, peaking at #6 on the Hot 100 (and currently sitting at #11). So how did @samhuntmusic do it? He used a driving metaphor to describe PG-rated sexual pleasures on a country song with a pop beat. Kind of like R. Kelly‘s classic Remix to “Ignition”, but more country. And given the song’s continued reign on the charts who knows when the back road at #1 will come to an end.
Sam Hunt’s taking his time before releasing his sophomore album
Brett Eldredge & Other Country Charts in 2017
The biggest new album this week comes from another country crooner, Illinois native Brett Eldredge. His self-titled set is his fourth studio album, which enters the Billboard 200 at #2. Although the album’s performance is solid, Eldredge’s lead single “Somethin’ I’m Good At” did not make the top 10 on either of the major country charts. He was more successful earlier this year with the final single from his previous album Illinois, “Wanna Be That Song,” which took #1 on Country Airplay and #3 on Country Songs.
The 27 weeks at #1 by Sam Hunt on Country Songs also blocked five different songs at #2. The first one of those songs was Little Big Town‘s “Better Man,” a former country #1 and the last country #1 before “Body Like A Back Road.” Scoreboard spotlighted the band back in March. Other songs whose runs ended at #2 included the high-powered duet “The Fighter” by Keith Urban and Carrie Underwood and the current #2 by Tennessee’s Dustin Lynch, “Small Town Boy.” Then there are the two Californians. Jon Pardi is from the north of the Golden State, but his “Dirt On My Boots” was a very country #2 blocked by @samhuntmusic in March and April. The other one is newcomer Brett Young, from Orange County, who took the brunt of not being #1, spending 16 weeks at #2 from April through August with “In Case You Didn’t Know,” a tender country ballad that may end up being the year’s #2 country song and win more awards than “Body Like A Back Road” given its more traditional subject. @brettyoungmusic in time may be a bigger country star than @bretteledredge. Check out the video for “In Case You Didn’t Know” below and check Scoreboard every week to see who will knock Sam Hunt from #1 on the Hot Country Songs chart.