Chart Watch: BFFs Ed Sheeran, Taylor Swift Face Off in Chart Battle

Ed Sheeran and Taylor Swift have been BFFs for the past four years. They seem to be genuine pals and mutual fans and supporters. They even collaborated on a hit song (“Everything Has Changed”) from her album Red. But the chums are poised for an epic battle on next week’s Hot 100. Sheeran’s “Shape of You” returns to No. 1 on that chart this week, after being displaced for a couple of weeks by Migos’s “Bad and Boujee” (featuring Lil Uzi Vert). But right on his heels is Swift’s collabo with Zayn, “I Don’t Wanna Live Forever (Fifty Shades Darker),” which jumps from No. 5 to No. 3 in its eighth week.

This isn’t the first time that Sheeran and Swift have been locked in high-level music-business combat. Last year, they competed for Grammys for Record and Song of the Year. Sheeran was nominated for “Thinking Out Loud” (which won Song of the Year). Swift was nominated for “Blank Space” (which didn’t win either award, though she did take Album of the Year).

Interestingly, Sheeran’s song is No. 1 even though it’s not No. 1 on any of the three component charts that feed the Hot 100. It’s No. 2 on Top Streaming Songs and Top Digital Songs. It’s No. 3 on Top Radio Songs. It’s the first song to take the overall Hot 100 title without being No. 1 on any of the three component charts since Sia’s “Cheap Thrills” (featuring Sean Paul) six months ago.

“Shape of You” tops the Official U.K. Singles Chart for the fourth straight week. Sheeran also holds the No. 2 spot in the U.K. for the fourth straight week with “Castle on the Hill.” This equals the all-time U.K. record held by Justin Bieber, whose hits “Love Yourself” and “Sorry” were No. 1 and No. 2 for four weeks in November and December 2015.

By jumping to No. 3 on the Hot 100, “I Don’t Wanna Live Forever (Fifty Shades Darker)” equals the peak positions of the two biggest hits from the first movie in this steamy franchise — the Weeknd’s “Earned It (Fifty Shades of Grey)” and Ellie Goulding’s “Love Me Like You Do.”

Boosted by a 69-cent sale in the iTunes store, “I Don’t Wanna Live Forever” sold 137,000 digital copies during the week, which allows it to return to No. 1 on Top Digital Songs. This is its second week on top. “I Don’t Wanna Live Forever” is the first song by a female lead or co-lead artist to spend two weeks at No. 1 on the digital sales chart since Rihanna’s “Work” (featuring Drake) a year ago.

Top Songs

Migos’s “Bad and Boujee” (featuring Lil Uzi Vert) dips to No. 2 following three nonconsecutive weeks on top. In creating the song, Migos drew inspiration from a chart-topping 1987 Michael Jackson hit. “I feel like it’s the modern-day ‘Bad,'” Quavo, a member of the trio, told the Los Angeles Times‘ Mikael Wood. “We haven’t had that song that makes you wanna break (stuff) in a long time.” Migos has a second song in this week’s top 20. “T-Shirt” leaps from No. 37 to No. 19 in its third week. This surpasses the No. 36 peak of Shontelle’s song “T-Shirt,” from 2008.

“Bad Things” by Machine Gun Kelly and Camila Cabello holds at No. 4 in its 14th week.

The Chainsmokers’ “Closer” (featuring Halsey) drops from No. 3 to No. 5 in its 27th week. It’s the first song in Hot 100 history to spend its first 27 weeks in the top 10. It logged 12 weeks at No. 1. Moreover, this is its 25th week in the top five. It’s just the third song in the history of the Hot 100 to remain in the top five that long. The first two were LeAnn Rimes’s “How Do I Live” and Mark Ronson’s “Uptown Funk!” (featuring Bruno Mars).

Maroon 5’s “Don’t Wanna Know” (featuring Kendrick Lamar) inches up from No. 7 to No. 6 in its 17th week. It’s the most-played song at radio for the eighth week. Only one other Maroon 5 hit (“One More Night”) has spent as many weeks at No. 1 on Top Radio Songs.

The Weeknd’s “Starboy” (featuring Daft Punk) rebounds from No. 8 to No. 7 in its 20th week. The song reached No. 1.

Drake’s “Fake Love” inches up from No. 9 to No. 8 in its 15th week. This is its highest ranking to date.

Rae Sremmurd’s “Black Beatles” (featuring Gucci Mane) drops from No. 6 to No. 9 in its 21th week. The song logged seven weeks at No. 1.

Alessia Cara’s “Scars to Your Beautiful” holds at No. 10 in its 23rd week. This hit helps to make up for the fact that Cara was surprisingly passed over for a Grammy nomination for Best New Artist.

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For the record, this is the 26th consecutive week that more than half of the songs in the top 10 on the Hot 100 have been collaborations.

Top Albums

Migos’s second full-length album, Culture, enters the Billboard 200 at No. 1, displacing the Weeknd’s Starboy. Migos’s first album, Yung Rich Nation, peaked at No. 17 in 2015.

Brantley Gilbert lands his third top five album as The Devil Don’t Sleep debuts at No. 2. It is the week’s No. 1 album in traditional album sales, but Culture came out on top when streaming and digital track sales were factored in. This is the seventh time that a country album has been the week’s top-seller but has been edged out on the Billboard 200 by an album that had more overall “consumption,” to use the industry term. Previous country albums that have experienced this fate are Don Henley’s Cass County, Joey & Rory’s Hymns, Chris Stapleton’s Traveller (which topped the Billboard 200 for two weeks, but would have had more weeks on top if the chart were based strictly on sales), Blake Shelton’s If I’m Honest, Aaron Lewis’s Sinner, and Kenny Chesney’s Cosmic Hallelujah.

The Devil Don’t Sleep enters Top Country Albums at No. 1, displacing Chris Stapleton’s Traveller (which has spent 28 nonconsecutive weeks on top). It’s Gilbert’s second studio album to top the country chart. Just As I Am topped that chart for five weeks in 2014-2015.

Kehlani’s first full-length album, SweetSexySavage, debuts at No. 3. The title echoes TLC’s CrazySexyCool, which peaked at No. 3 in July 1995. (Kehlani was three months old at the time.) A Kehlani mixtape, You Should Be Here, reached No. 36 in 2015. That mixtape received a Grammy nomination for Best Urban Contemporary Album (it lost to the Weeknd’s Beauty Behind the Madness). This bodes well for this album’s Grammy chances next year. Stay tuned.

The Weeknd’s Starboy drops from No. 1 to No. 4 in its 10th week. The album spent five nonconsecutive weeks on top.

Now 61 debuts at No. 5. It’s the 60th consecutive regular, numbered volume in this series to debut in the top 10.

The La La Land soundtrack drops from No. 3 to No. 6 in its eighth week. The album has climbed as high as No. 2. The album features the Oscar-nominated “City of Stars,” sung by stars Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone. La La Land rises to No. 1 on the Official U.K. Albums Chart.  It’s the first soundtrack to top the U.K. chart since Les Miserables four years ago. (Les Mis also reached No. 1 in the U.S. Will La La Land follow suit if the film wins big at the Oscars — as expected?) Stay tuned.

Bruno Mars’s 24K Magic drops from No. 4 to No. 7 in its 11th week. The album peaked at No. 2.

Train lands its sixth top 10 album as A Girl A Bottle A Boat debuts at No. 8. For all its success, Train has yet to land a No. 1 album or single. Its highest-charting album, California 37, peaked at No. 4. Its highest-charting single, “Hey, Soul Sister,” reached No. 3 on the Hot 100.

Post Malone’s Stoney drops from No. 7 to No. 9 in its eighth week. The album peaked at No. 6.

The Moana soundtrack drops from No. 6 to No. 10 in its 11th week. The album peaked at No. 2. Moana includes Auli’i Cravalho’s rendition of the Oscar-nominated “How Far I’ll Go,” which was co-written by Hamilton mastermind Lin-Manuel Miranda.

AFI’s AFI (The Blood Album) plunges from No. 5 completely off the Billboard 200. Now that’s a bloody drop. Four other albums drop out of the top 10 this week. John Mayer’s EP The Search for Everything: Wave One dives from No. 2 to No. 63. Hamilton: An American Musical drops from No. 8 to No. 12. Drake’s Views drops from No. 9 to No. 13. J. Cole’s 4 Your Eyez Only drops from No. 10 to No. 15.

Bell Biv DeVoe lands its fourth top 20 album (out of five releases) as Three Stripes debuts at No. 18. The trio’s 1990 debut album, Poison, reached No. 5.

New Edition’s 2000 compilation All the Number Ones enters the chart at No. 37 in the wake of BET’s airing of The New Edition Story over three nights, Jan. 24-26. This compilation didn’t crack the Billboard 200 when it was first released.

Coming Attractions: Look for Big Sean to land his second consecutive No. 1 album next week with I Decided. Reba McEntire’s Sing it Now: Songs of Faith and Hope will also open in the top 10.

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