Welcome to The Contenders, a midweek column that looks at artists aiming for the top of the Billboard charts, and the strategies behind their efforts. This week (for the upcoming charts dated March 4), as SZA’s SOS goes for its 10th week atop the Billboard 200 albums chart, she’ll have to fend off pop’s most acrobatic veteran star, as well as hitmakers from the country and dance worlds.
P!nk Dances Through the Drama on New Album ‘Trustfall’: ‘If the World’s Ending, I’m Gonna Get My…
P!nk, Trustfall (RCA): While P!nk used to be one of top 40’s most ubiquitous figures, she hasn’t reached the Billboard Hot 100’s top 40 since 2017 and her most recent lead single, “Never Gonna Not Dance Again,” has so far toppedout at No. 99. Still, two decades of being a household name — and more recently, a stadium-level touring draw – ensure that P!nk remains a major threat on the Billboard 200. She’s topped the chart with each of her last three albums, most recently 2019’s Hurts 2B Human.
Trustfall will, however, be P!nk’s first album release since the 2020 elimination of ticket bundles from Billboard 200 calculations – sure to affect the first-week numbers for such a top-flight live draw. Helping to make up the sales difference will be the multiple options for physical purchase via P!nk’s webstore, including a limited-edition T-shirt box set, and a “zine-pak” including a CD.
Jordan Davis, Bluebird Days (MCA Nashville): Since Jordan Davis’ 2018 debut album, Home State, he has become one of country’s preeminent hitmakers on both radio and streaming, with four Country Airplay No. 1s and two entries on the all-genre Streaming Songs chart. Both of those latter hits are found on Davis’ sophomore album, Bluebird Days, as well as the currently rising Billboard Hot 100 single “Next Thing You Know.” Bluebird is available for sale in a variety of physical packages on Davis’ webstore.
Skrillex, Quest for Fire / Don’t Get Too Close (Owsla/Atlantic): Skrillex has been one of the most visible dance artists of the last 15 years, just about everywhere except the Billboard 200. Until last week, he’d only released one full-length album, 2014’s No. 4-peaking Recess. But after dropping Quest for Fire and then, as a surprise, Don’t Get Too Close on Saturday, that number of LPs has tripled for the no-longer-bespectacled superproducer.
Both releases came in the midst of a live Skrillex performance blitz in New York – alongside big-name collaborators Four Tet and Fred Again.. — with three surprise gigs at smaller venues (including one “pop-up rave” out of a converted school bus) leading up to the trio’s much-anticipated Saturday night performance at Madison Square Garden, where Close was first announced. The albums are currently streaming, but only available for physical purchase through preorder on the Atlantic webstore, with CDs set to arrive in March, cassettes in April and vinyl in July.
IN THE MIX
Taylor Swift, Lover – Live (Republic):Taylor Swift never got to properly tour behind her 2019 album Lover before the pandemic hit, but before heading out on her Eras Tour, she’s giving fans a taste of what might have been with this live set, taken from her one-off “City of Lover” Paris concert that September. Don’t bother searching for it on Spotify or Apple Music, though – Lover – Live was only made available for limited purchase (on heart-shaped double vinyl) via Swift’s webstore, and already looks to be sold out.
Big Scarr, The Secret Weapon (1017/Atlantic): Signed to Gucci Mane’s 1017 label, Memphis rapper Big Scarr looked to be one of the decade’s rising stars before his death from a prescription drug overdose at age 22 in December. This month, his too-brief legacy is continued with the release of posthumous album The Secret Weapon, a 17-track effort featuring appearances from Gucci, Pooh Shiesty and Key Glock.
Kylie Jenner is clearing the air after her recent posts raised a few eyebrows. When fans started accusing the makeup mogul of shading Selena Gomez‘s brow shape on Wednesday (Feb. 22), Jenner almost immediately shut it down by commenting on a TikTok about the alleged insult. Related Lady Gaga Calls Selena Gomez 'Beautiful' After Actress Wishes She Was 'As Pretty as… 02/23/2023 “This is reaching,” the Kylie Cosmetics founder wrote. […]
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