Harry Styles’ first solo single, “Sign of the Times,” blasts onto Billboard‘s Hot 100 at No. 4. It’s the fifth top five hit of Styles’ career. As a member of One Direction, he has reached the top five with “What Makes You Beautiful,” “Live While We’re Young,” “Best Song Ever” and “Drag Me Down.”
Styles is the third founding member of One Direction to land a top 20 hit on his own. Zayn debuted at No. 1 in February 2016 with “Pillowtalk.” Niall Horan reached No. 20 in January with (the underrated) “This Town.” These singles are very different from each other. “Pillowtalk” was a sleek pop record. “This Town” was a lovely pop/adult contemporary ballad. “Sign of the Times” is a moody and adventurous pop/rock track which shows the influence of such rock legends as John Lennon.
“Sign of the Times” sold 142K copies in its first week, which allows it to enter Top Digital Songs at No. 1. It displaces Kendrick Lamar’s “Humble.” “Pillowtalk” also topped the digital sales chart in its first week—as have three One Direction hits: “Live While We’re Young,” “Best Song Ever” and “Drag Me Down.”
“Sign of the Times” enters The Official U.K. Singles Chart at No. 1, dethroning Ed Sheeran’s “Shape of You,” which spent the past 13 weeks on top. One Direction has amassed four No. 1 hits in the U.K.—”What Makes You Beautiful,” “Little Things,” “One Way or Another (Teenage Kicks)” and “Drag Me Down.”
This is the second song titled “Sign of the Times” to become a big hit on the Hot 100. Petula Clark reached No. 11 in 1966 with a zesty song with that same title. (In addition, Prince reached No. 3 in 1987 with a song with a very similar title, “Sign ‘O’ the Times.”)
“Sign of the Times” is the first single from Styles’ first solo album, which is due May 12. Styles performed the single and a second song, “Ever Since New York,” on Saturday Night Live over the weekend.
Ed Sheeran’s “Shape of You” this week becomes the third song by an English artist to log 12 or more weeks at No. 1 on the Hot 100. It follows Elton John’s “Candle in the Wind 1997” (which spent 14 weeks on top in 1997-98) and Mark Ronson’s “Uptown Funk!” (featuring Bruno Mars, which spent 14 weeks on top in 2015).
This is the longest run at No. 1 by any song since The Chainsmokers’ “Closer” (featuring Halsey) also had 12 weeks on top last year.
“Shape of You” logged 13 weeks at No. 1 on the Official U.K. Singles chart before finally dropping this week. It’s the first song in chart history to log 12 or more weeks at No. 1 in both the U.S. and the U.K. Two other songs came close, logging 10 or more weeks at No. 1 in both countries. Whitney Houston’s “I Will Always Love You” topped the U.K. chart for 10 weeks and the Hot 100 for 14 weeks. Drake’s “One Dance” (featuring Wizkid and Kyla) topped the U.K. chart for 15 weeks and the Hot 100 for 10 weeks.
“Shape of You” is obviously a leading contender for Grammy noms for Record and Song of the Year. If it wins either award when the 60th annual Grammy Awards are presented next February, this would be the third year in a row that an English artist has come out on top in those marquee categories. Ronson’s “Uptown Funk!” and Adele’s “Hello” are the last two Record of the Year winners. Sheeran’s “Thinking Out Loud” and “Hello” are the last two Song of the Year winners.
Bruno Mars’s “That’s What I Like” rebounds from No. 3 to No. 2 its 13th week. This is its fourth week at No. 2. Unless it picks up steam, it will go down as Mars’s first single to peak at No. 2. “That’s What I Like” returns to No. 1on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart, displacing “Humble.” This is its fourth week on top. This must be one of the least soulful records ever to top the R&B chart. That’s not a knock—it’s a good pop record, but it’s a stretch to call it R&B. But then if a record as poppy as Taylor Swift’s “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together” can top Hot Country Songs for 10 weeks, as it did in 2012-13, “That’s What I Like” can head the R&B chart.
Kendrick Lamar’s “Humble.” dips from No. 2 to No. 3 in its second week. Lamar’s album, DAMN., will enter The Billboard 200 at No. 1 next week.
“Something Just Like This” by The Chainsmokers and Coldplay holds at No. 5 in its eighth week. The song has risen as high as No. 3. The Chainsmokers’ other current hit, “Paris,” dips from No. 9 to No. 10 in its 13th week. The song has climbed as high as No. 6. This is the 50th consecutive week that The Chainsmokers have had one or more songs in the top 10.
KYLE’s “iSpy” (featuring Lil Yachty) drops from its No. 4 peak to No. 6 in its 16th week.
Future lands his first top 10 hit as a lead artist as “Mask Off” jumps from No. 11 to No. 7 in its eighth week. Future was featured (along with Drake) on Lil Wayne’s “Love Me,” which reached No. 9 in March 2013. It’s the same story with Lil Uzi Vert, who lands his first top 10 hit as a lead artist with “XO TOUR Llif3” (no, that’s not a typo), which leaps from No. 16 to No. 8 in its third week. Lil Uzi Vert was featured on Migos’ “Bad and Boujee,” which spent three weeks at No. 1 earlier this year.
Sam Hunt’s “Body like a Back Road” drops from No. 6 to No. 9 in its 11th week. This is the third song that begins with the word “body” to become a top 10 hit. The first is the all-time classic, “Body and Soul,” which was a hit in the 1930s for such artists as Paul Whiteman and Louis Armstrong. The second was Public Announcement’s far less memorable “Body Bumpin’ Yippie-Yi-Yo,” which reached No. 5 in 1998. “Body like a Back Road” is No. 1 on Hot Country Songs for the 10th week.
Three songs drop out of the top 10 this week. They are: The Weeknd’s “I Feel It Coming” (featuring Daft Punk), Kodak Black’s “Tunnel Vision” and Clean Bandit’s “Rockabye” (featuring Sean Paul & Anne-Marie).
Twenty One Pilots’ “Heathens” tops the 2 million mark in digital sales this week. It still has a ways to go to become the duo’s all-time top-seller. “Stressed Out” is up to 2,826,000.
The Chainsmokers’ first full-length album, Memories…Do Not Open, enters The Billboard 200 at No. 1. It’s the first album by an EDM group or duo to reach No. 1 since Daft Punk’s Random Access Memories in June 2013. The Chainsmokers are the first duo from any genre to reach No. 1 since Twenty One Pilots debuted in the top spot with Blurryface in June 2015. (I’m not counting Drake & Future as a duo. That was a collaboration.)
Drake’s More Life dips to No. 2 in its fourth week after spending its first three weeks on top.
Ed Sheeran’s ÷ dips from No. 2 to No. 3 in its sixth week. It spent its first two weeks at No. 1. The album logs its sixth week at No. 1 on The Official U.K. Albums Chart. It’s halfway to equaling Sheeran’s previous album, x, which logged 12 weeks at No. 1 in 2014-15.
Pentatonix’s PTX, Vol. IV — Classics debuts at No. 4. This is the quintet’s fourth EP to make the top 10. They have also reached the top 10 with three full-length albums. You might say Pentatonix picked up where Glee left off, putting a fresh coat of polish on familiar pop songs. The songs on the EP are drawn from 46 years of pop music, from “Over the Rainbow” (1939) to “Take on Me” (1985). One highlight: Pentatonix’s Grammy-winning collabo with Dolly Parton on her classic “Jolene.”
Joey Bada$$ lands his second top five album in a row as ALL-AMERIKKKAN BADA$$ debuts at No. 5 The title appears to be a nod to Ice Cube’s 1990 solo debut album, AmeriKKKa’s Most Wanted (which peaked at No. 19).
Bruno Mars’ 24K Magic drops from No. 4 to No. 6 in its 21st week. The album has never ranked lower than No. 7. It logged four weeks at No. 2.
The Moana soundtrack dips from No. 6 to No. 7 in its 21st week. The album peaked at No. 2. The album returns to No. 1 on Top Soundtracks, displacing the soundtrack to another Walt Disney movie, Beauty and the Beast. This is the seventh week on top for Moana. This album’s staying power is remarkable. La La Land got more buzz and Oscar love, Beauty and the Beast was a bigger box-office hit and Fifty Shades Darker spawned a No. 2 single, but Moana is ahead of them all on the soundtracks chart.
Kodak Black’s Painting Pictures drops from No. 3 to No. 8 in its second week.
Future’s Future dips from No. 8 to No. 9 in its eighth week. The album debuted at No. 1.
Father John Misty’s Pure Comedy debuts at No. 10. “Father John Misty” is a stage name for musician Josh Tillman, who previously cracked the top 10 as a member of the group Fleet Foxes. Their Helplessness Blues reached No. 4 in May 2011.
Four albums drop out of the top 10 this week. Beauty and the Beast drops from No. 5 to No. 11. Mastodon’s Emperor of Sand plummets from No. 7 to No. 79. Migos’ Culture drops from No. 9 to No. 12. MercyMe’s Lifer dives from No. 10 to No. 42.
Keith Urban’s Ripcord drops from No. 13 to No. 23 in its 49th week. The album reached No. 4. The album returns to No. 1 on Top Country Albums, displacing Miranda Lambert’s The Weight of These Wings. This is the fourth week on top for Urban’s album. Ripcord was nominated for Album of the Year at the ACMs and the CMAs and Best Country Album at the Grammys. Urban went home empty-handed at all three shows, but the album’s longevity is just as good as a piece of hardware. The album has sold 537K copies in traditional album sales.
Kendrick Lamar’s good kid, m.A.A.d. city rebounds from No. 50 to No. 46 in its 233rd week. The album returns to No. 1 on Top Catalog Albums. This is its second week on top of the catalog chart. It first topped that chart in April 2015 (the weekTo Pimp a Butterfly was released). The album has sold 1,627,000 copies in traditional album sales.
Coming Attractions: Look for Kendrick Lamar’s DAMN. to easily debut at No. 1 next week. John Mayer’s The Search for Everything may well open at No. 2. Also due: The Fate of the Furious: The Album, the soundtrack to the movie that was No. 1 at the box-office this past weekend.