The Weeknd’s quick follow-up to last year’s Beauty Behind The Madness makes him a Starboy on this week’s Scoreboard.
Billboard Artist Top 10
For the magazine dated December 17, 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|
|3||Bruno Mars||4||1||5: 24K Magic|
|4||Drake||12||5||11: Fake Love|
|5||Twenty One Pilots||17||2||9: Heathens|
|6||Rae Sremmurd||16||2||1: Black Beatles|
|8||Ariana Grande||20||1||4: Side To Side|
|10||Rihanna||27||4||30: Love On The Brain|
Eight weeks ago when The Weeknd released “Starboy” feat. Daft Punk, I wrote on that week’s Scoreboard that the 15 month gap between @theweeknd’s albums is quite short for today’s superstars. This week the singer formerly known as @abelxo on Instagram delivered Starboy the album, while also topping the Billboard 200 and landing all 18 tracks from the album on the Hot 100. Although that is impressive, this achievement has already been accomplished once in 2016 by fellow Canadian Drake, all of whose tracks from Views also made it to the Hot 100 back in May. Although @champagnepapi is hanging out at #4 on the Artist 100, this week is all about @theweeknd. On the Billboard 200, Garth Brooks has the next new album at #25, but the Scoreboard’s feature this week highlights returning holiday tunes from years past.
Ariana Grande just notched her 29th week in the Artist Top 10 this year
The Weeknd’s Star Turn
In 2015 The Weeknd reached the top with two #1s on the Hot 100 and Album Of The Year-nominated Beauty Behind The Madness. On Starboy, @theweeknd provides even more of that beauty, though the 18 songs on the album simultaneously pursue more, often conflicting directions compared to BBTM. To get a quick glimpse of the album, you can check out M A N I A, a short film now on YouTube. It begins with dark R&B that took Abel out of obscurity in 2011 on “All I Know” feat. Future; this style returns on “Party Monster.” On “Sidewalks” feat. Kendrick Lamar he’s back to the contemplative “Tell Your Friends” vibes from BBTM. And then we go into the club, which is a time machine, at least musically, to the 1980’s. “Secrets” is based on 1983 #5 British hit “Pale Shelter” by Tears For Fears with a chorus borrowed from 1984 #3 American hit “Talking In Your Sleep” by The Romantics. As a finished product, “Secrets” is the great George Michael track that never made it on Faith and @theweeknd’s success channeling the 80’s on “Can’t Feel My Face” and on Starboy‘s “A Lonely Night” suggests that he could have created a better 80’s throwback album than the one Bruno Mars released just a week before Starboy.
Prior to the release of the album, a lot has been made about The Weeknd’s new haircut and it does seem that the arrival of Starboy was supported by a promotional plan that ensured the album would be too-big-to-fail. Indeed, it broke through the busy holiday season with the the biggest streaming week since Drake’s Views and the collaborations with Lana Del Rey and Daft Punk certainly helped the Starboy express. The question now becomes whether @theweeknd can achieve the same staying power that helped BBTM sell more than 2 million copies globally. The song that allowed BBTM to last was the very dark Hot 100 #1 “The Hills.” For Starboy, that song may be the Lite FM pleaser “I Feel It Coming,” on which Daft Punk can truly bring @theweeknd into the mainstream. Where the Starboy goes from here is anybody’s guess, but if he releases a new album every 15 months, sign me up for it.
The new hairdo, and a lot of work in the studio, took @theweeknd back to #1
Revenge Of Christmas Past
Andy Williams was a crooner and a television host from the 1950’s and 60’s. He died in 2012 having released 44 albums in his career. This week he comes in at #71 on the Artist 100 and that is thanks to only one of those 44 albums, 1963’s The Andy Williams Christmas Album, which features standards “O Holy Night” and “Happy Holiday.” However, it is most famous for a then-new track called “It’s The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year,” which sits at #6 this week on Billboard‘s seasonal Holiday 100. On the radio during this time of the year, the hits from The Weeknd, Bruno Mars, and The Chainsmokers have to make way for holiday music and thus Mariah Carey and “All I Want For Christmas Is You” ends up at #23 on the Hot 100 and puts Ms. Carey at #29 on the Artist 100.
The nostalgia for Christmas past is strong in 2016, with Elvis Presley outperforming Andy Williams at #21 on this week’s Artist 100 with 2 songs on the Holiday 100. Elvis died in 1977. If oldies from Bing Crosby (at #44 on the Artist 100) or Frank Sinatra (at #59) are not your thing, there are plenty of contemporary artists shilling their versions of the classics. One of the most successful is Michael Bublé whose 2011 Christmas album is at #8 on this week’s Billboard 200 while his non-holiday 2016 album Nobody But Me is languishing at #45. And of course, there is Pentatonix, at #2 on the Artist 100 this week with 2 albums in the top 10 of the Billboard 200 – the Christmas one from this year, and the Christmas one from two years ago. Love it or hate it, the next two weeks we will be drowning in the sounds of the season. And given the Weeknd’s domination this week in spite of the holiday music flood, here’s George Michael and Wham! with “Last Christmas,” the biggest Christmas hit of the 80’s that is at #9 on this week’s Holiday 100. It resonates with the Millennials too – covers by Taylor Swift and Ariana Grande also appear on the chart, at #62 and #100, respectively.