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It may have been a disastrous week for Morgan Wallen in most ways, but you wouldn’t know it from looking at the album chart, where country’s newest superstar — and, for now, its most famous pariah — remains at No. 1 for a fourth consecutive week.
Wallen’s “Dangerous: The Double Album” remained on top of the Rolling Stone album chart with numbers that were both up and down. In the overall picture, it had 144,200 album-equivalent units for the week, an increase from 127,600 in its third week. But that reflected an uptick in sales even as the album trended downward in streams. Album sales were at 28,400 (up from 10,800 last week) and individual song sales came in at 55,500 (up from 33,000). However, its streaming numbers, at 135 million individual song streams, were down a bit, from the previous week’s 139 million.
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One significant thing to keep in mind here, for anyone looking for tea leaves about Wallen’s future? It would be hard to judge much of anything from these numbers, simply because five out of the seven days in the chart reporting period came before the racial-slur scandal broke last night, and the album clearly would have been on a path to a fourth week at No. 1 even if his fans abandoned him completely in the two days that followed before the charts closed.
However, it’s clear, both anecdotally and in chart numbers, that Wallen was not abandoned by many of his most diehard fans, who spent those last two days of the chart period (and the ones that have already followed) trying to run up his numbers, as a way of saying “we’ll show you” to what they consider “cancel culture.” The fact that Wallen’s sales numbers went up a bit in a week where they should naturally have declined a bit shows that that fan campaign to boost him worked, to some degree, in those couple of key days. But with most consumption happening in the streaming sphere now, that’s a much harder figure to directly impact, and will be the one to watch in a week when the first numbers from a full week of Wallen being in media exile are seen.
What everyone should prepare for next week — defenders and detractors alike — is the very real possibility that Wallen will top the album chart for a fifth week when those results come in, even with a full seven-day charting period that will have come after the scandal. His numbers could drop off very significantly and still leave him at No. 1, given the fact that no other candidates for that position are debuting (although a Foo Fighters release could do well), and that there is a huge gulf separating “Dangerous” this week from the No. 2 album, Lil Durk’s “The Voice,” which, at 84,400 album units, collected less than two-thirds of Wallen’s total.
Likely further reflecting the effort of his fans to boost numbers in the couple of days following the scandal breaking, Wallen’s previous album, “If I Know Me,” moved back up the chart from No. 30 to No. 15, with 23,300 album-equivalent units, up from last week’s 15,800.
With no debuting albums of any chart significance premiering on the chart, the rest of the top 10 was rounded out by familiar albums from Lil Durk, Pop Smoke, the Weeknd, Juice WRLD, Luke Combs, Taylor Swift, Ariana Grande, Lil Baby and Harry Styles.
The top debuting album of the week was all the way down at No. 69: “OK Human” by Weezer, dropping in with a modest 9,800 album units. No other albums premiered in the top 100.
Wallen had two songs finish in the top 10, “Wasted on You” and “Sand in My Boots” at Nos. 4 and 5, the same number that he landed there last week.
Rounding out the top 10 songs, which saw no debuts, were recurring tunes by SZA, Doja Cat, the Weeknd (at Nos. 6 and 8), 24goldn, Ariana Grande and Cj.
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