U2 lands its eighth No. 1 album on the Billboard 200 as Songs of Experience dislodges Taylor Swift’s Reputation from the top spot. Only two other bands in history have had eight or more No. 1 albums. They are the Beatles (19) and the Rolling Stones (nine).
U2 stands alone as the only band in history to have reached No. 1 in four successive decades. U2 topped the chart in the ’80s with The Joshua Tree (1987) and the Rattle and Hum soundtrack (1988). It led in the ’90s with Achtung Baby (1991), Zooropa (1993), and Pop (1997). It reached the top in the 2000s with How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb (2004) and No Line on the Horizon (2009).
(The Beatles had No. 1 albums in the ’60s and ’70s and resumed their chart-topping ways in the ’90s and ’00s. They fell short in the ’80s. Their highest-charting album in that decade was the compilation Reel Music — a collection of their movie songs — which peaked at No. 19 in 1982.)
U2 is one of only four artists to have had No. 1 albums in each decade since the 1980s. The other three — all solo artists — are Bruce Springsteen, Barbra Streisand, and Janet Jackson. (Streisand beats them all: She has had No. 1 albums in each of the last six decades.)
How about Michael Jackson? He hasn’t had a No. 1 album since 2009, the year of his death. How about Madonna? She didn’t land a No. 1 album in the 1990s (though she came close, with five No. 2 albums in that decade). How about Prince and Bon Jovi? They also failed to top the chart in the 1990s.
Songs of Experience moved 186K “equivalent units” this week, which includes 180K in traditional album sales. Those are the best tallies for a rock album since Metallica’s Hardwired… to Self-Destruct launched at No. 1 a year ago with 291K units, of which 282K were in traditional album sales. U2’s album benefits from a concert ticket/album bundle sale redemption promotion in association with the band’s 2018 Experience + Innocence Tour, which begins in May.
The No. 1 debut for Songs of Experience represents a return to form after the band’s last studio album, the similarly-titled Songs of Innocence, debuted and peaked at No. 9 three years ago. That album was initially released as a free download through Apple’s iTunes program on Sept. 9, 2014. It wasn’t eligible to chart until it was commercially released on Oct. 14. By that time, interest in it had already peaked.
Chris Stapleton lands his third top five album as From a Room: Volume 2 debuts at No. 2. This matches the peak position of his last album, From a Room: Volume 1.
Stapleton’s album enters Top Country Albums at No. 1, displacing Garth Brooks’s The Anthology: Part 1: The First Five Years. Both of Stapleton’s previous solo studio albums had long runs at No. 1 on the country chart. Traveller was No. 1 for 29 weeks. From a Room: Volume 1 was on top for eight weeks. All three of these albums have logged time at No. 1 in 2017. Stapleton is the first artist to amass three No. 1 albums or EPs in one calendar year since Taylor Swift scored in 2008 with her first two albums, Taylor Swift and Fearless, and an EP, Beautiful Eyes (a Walmart exclusive). Stapleton is the first artist to achieve the feat with three full-length albums since Garth Brooks topped the country chart in 1998 with Sevens (a 1997 carryover), The Limited Series, and Double Live.
Taylor Swift’s Reputation slips to No. 3 in its fourth week. The album spent its first three weeks at No. 1.
Ed Sheeran’s ÷ inches up from No. 5 to No. 4 in its 40th week. The album spent its first two weeks at No. 1.
Pentatonix’s 2016 album A Pentatonix Christmas drops from No. 2 to No. 5 in its 19th chart week. The album spent two weeks at No. 1 in its first holiday season. It holds at No. 1 on Top Catalog Albums for the fourth time in the past five weeks. (Billboard has gone back and forth on whether this title qualifies as a catalog album.)
Demi Lovato’s Tell Me You Love Me rebounds from No. 21 to No. 6 in its 10th week, aided by a concert ticket/album bundle sale redemption promotion with Lovato’s upcoming tour with DJ Khaled.
Sam Smith’s The Thrill of It All drops from No. 3 to No. 7 in its fifth week. The album debuted at No. 1. The album returns to No. 1 on the Official U.K. Albums Chart. This is its second week on top in Smith’s home country.
Michael Bublé’s 2011 album Christmas inches up from No. 9 to No. 8 in its 61st chart week. The album logged five weeks at No. 1 in its first holiday season. This is the seventh consecutive holiday season that Bublé’s album has cracked the top 10. Bublé’s album is the first album — of any description — to appear in the top 10 in seven consecutive years.
Miguel lands his third top 10 album as War & Leisure debuts at No. 9. It follows Kaleidoscope Dream (No. 3 in 2012) and Wildheart (No. 2 in 2015).
Garth Brooks’s five-CD boxed set The Anthology: Part I: The First Five Years drops from its No. 4 peak to No. 10 in its third week.
Four albums drop out of the top 10 this week. Post Malone’s Stoney drops from No. 6 to No. 11. P!nk’s Beautiful Trauma drops from No. 7 to No. 23. Lil Uzi Vert’s Luv Is Rage 2 drops from No. 8 to No. 13. A Fabolous/Jadakiss collabo, Friday on Elm Street, dives from No. 10 to No. 59.
The Vince Guaraldi Trio’s 1965 classic A Charlie Brown Christmas rebounds from No. 41 to No. 32 in its 62nd chart week. The album has climbed as high as No. 23. The album is No. 1 on Top Soundtracks for the second week in a row (and the fourth week overall). This week’s top soundtrack to a theatrically released film is Moana, which drops from No. 43 to No. 45 in its 55th week.
Coming Attractions: Luke Bryan’s What Makes You Country will vie for No. 1 next week. Big Sean & Metro Boomin’s Double or Nothing and Quality Control: Control the Streets, Vol. 1 also appear headed for top 10 debuts.
Ed Sheeran and Beyoncé’s “Perfect” jumps from No. 3 to No. 1 in its 15th week on the Hot 100. (This is the first week that Bey is credited.) It’s Sheeran’s second No. 1, Beyoncé’s sixth (not counting four No. 1 hits with Destiny’s Child).
This marks the second instance this year of a song reaching No. 1 after a megastar was added to a recording that had already charted in its original version. Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee’s “Despacito” hit No. 1 in the fourth week after the arrival of the version that featured Justin Bieber. The original, Bieber-less version had climbed as high as No. 44. “Perfect” is the first song to hit No. 1 in the first week following the addition of a guest since Taylor Swift’s “Bad Blood” shot from No. 53 to No. 1 in June 2015, following the addition of Kendrick Lamar as featured artist.
“Perfect” is the first No. 1 hit where the credit is shared equally by a solo male artist and solo female artist since Jay-Z and Alicia Keys’s “Empire State of Mind” in late 2009.
Sheeran’s is the first artist to land two No. 1 hits in 2017 as a lead artist. Justin Bieber has had two No. 1 hits this year as a featured artist.
“Perfect” is Beyoncé’s second top five hit of 2017. It follows J Balvin and Willy William’s “Mi Gente,” which reached No. 3 in October. This is the first time that Beyoncé has had two top five hits in a calendar year since 2009, when she scored with “Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)” (a 2008 carryover) and “Halo.”
“Perfect” sold 181K digital copies this week, which allows it to hold at No. 1 on Top Digital Songs for the second week.
“Perfect” also rises to No. 1 on the Official U.K. Singles Chart. It’s Sheeran’s second transatlantic No. 1, following “Shape of You.” (Oddly, the song is credited only to Sheeran in the U.K. Beyoncé is a big star over there too. She has had five No. 1 hits in the U.K. as a solo artist.)
Post Malone’s “Rockstar” (featuring 21 Savage) dips to No. 2 following eight weeks at No. 1. “Rockstar” has spent each of its first 12 weeks at No. 1 or No. 2. The smash logs its ninth week at No. 1 on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart.
Camila Cabello’s “Havana” (featuring Young Thug) dips from its No. 2 peak to No. 3 in its 17th week.
Lil Pump’s “Gucci Gang” holds at No. 4 in its 13th week. The song peaked at No. 3.
Imagine Dragons’ “Thunder” holds at No. 5 in its 32nd week. The song peaked at No. 4. “Thunder” logs its sixth week at No. 1 on Top Rock Songs.
Sam Smith’s “Too Good at Goodbyes” holds at No. 6 in its 13th week. The song peaked at No. 4.
G-Eazy’s “No Limit” (featuring A$AP Rocky & Cardi B) inches up from No. 8 to No. 7 in its 13th week.
This ties “Me, Myself & I,” a collabo with Bebe Rehxa, as G-Eazy’s highest-charting hit to date.
Halsey lands her first top 10 hit as a lead artist as “Bad at Love” jumps from No. 11 to No. 8 in its 14th week. Halsey was featured on the Chainsmokers’ “Closer,” which logged 12 weeks on top in late 2016.
Cardi B’s “Bodak Yellow (Money Moves)” drops from No. 7 to No. 9 in its 23rd week. The song logged three weeks at No. 1.
Maroon 5’s “What Lovers Do” (featuring SZA) dips from its No. 9 peak to No. 10 in its 15th week.
Portugal. The Man’s “Feel It Still” drops out of the top 10 this week.
Mariah Carey’s 1994 classic “All I Want for Christmas Is You” vaults from No. 21 to No. 11 in its 21st chart week. This matches its highest ranking to date. Will it finally crack the top 10 this holiday season? Stay tuned.
G-Eazy and Halsey debut at No. 21 with their collabo, “Him & I.”
Bebe Rexha & Florida Georgia Line’s “Meant to Be” entered Hot Country Songs at No. 1 last week, displacing LANCO’s “Greatest Love Story.” This marks the first time that a single with a pop artist in the lead (or co-lead) position has topped the country chart since May 2006, when Bon Jovi’s “Who Says You Can’t Go Home” (with Jennifer Nettles) spent two weeks on top. Obviously, the presence of Florida Georgia Line and Nettles (then and now one-half of Sugarland) boosted these hits on country radio, but their No. 1 rankings also show how country is more open to pop artists than it used to be.