Film soundtracks hold down the top two spots for the first time in 20 years

Paul Grein
Chadwick Boseman in “Black Panther” (Photo: Marvel Studios/Disney via AP)

For the first time in nearly 20 years, soundtracks to theatrically released films hold down the top two spots on the Billboard 200. Black Panther: The Album returns to No. 1 in its fourth week on the chart. The Greatest Showman rebounds from No. 5 to No. 2 in its 13th week. This is the first time that soundtracks to theatrically released films have held down the top two spots since July 1998, when Armageddon and City of Angels ruled the roost.

Those were both rock-dominated soundtracks. Aerosmith and Journey had the key tracks on Armageddon: The Album. Goo Goo Dolls and Alanis Morissette paced City of Angels. By contrast — and very much reflecting changes in contemporary music over the past two decades — Black Panther: The Album is a rap album, while The Greatest Showman is a pop collection. 

Keala Settle performed “This Is Me” from The Greatest Showman on the Oscars (though the song came up short in what was likely a close race with “Remember Me” from Coco). Black Panther has yielded two top 10 singles on the Hot 100 — “Pray for Me” by the Weeknd & Kendrick Lamar, and “All the Stars” by Lamar & SZA.

This is the third week on top for Black Panther: The Album, which becomes the first soundtrack to log three weeks in the top position since Frozen spent 13 weeks on top in 2014. Moreover, it becomes the first soundtrack to a live-action, theatrically released film to log three or more weeks at the top since Bad Boys II topped the chart for four weeks in 2003.

Black Panther is No. 1 on Top Soundtracks for the fourth week. (Likewise, the film was No. 1 at the box  office for the fourth consecutive weekend.)

The Greatest Showman was the week’s top seller in traditional album sales, but lost out to Black Panther when digital track sales and streaming were factored in. This is the third time The Greatest Showman has been the week’s top seller but hasn’t ranked No. 1 on the Billboard 200. It is the first album to experience this fate three times.

The Greatest Showman is No. 1 on the U.K.’s Official Albums Chart for the ninth week. That’s the longest run for a soundtrack in the U.K. since Grease had 13 weeks on top in 1978.

Bon Jovi’s 2016 album This House Is Not for Sale interrupted Black Panther‘s run at No. 1 last week, when it reappeared on the chart due to a concert ticket/album sale redemption offer. Wanna know what happened to the album this week? It plummeted to No. 169. That’s the steepest fall from No. 1 since 1963, when separate mono and stereo charts were combined into one comprehensive chart. The old record for steepest fall was set last September by Brand New’s Science Fiction, which dove from No. 1 to No. 97 in its second week.

Let’s review: Two weeks ago, Bon Jovi’s album wasn’t listed on the Billboard 200. Last week, it was No. 1. This week, it free-falls to No. 169. I think Billboard needs to take another look at these concert ticket/album sale redemption promotions. This isn’t a hit album as much as it’s a tour souvenir — not much different from a concert program or a T-shirt. The Billboard 200 should be reserved for hit albums.

It sometimes takes something outlandish to make Billboard see the need to review its chart policies. Michael Jackson had best-selling album for six weeks following his death in 2009, but that album, Number Ones, wasn’t eligible to appear on the Billboard 200 because it was an older catalog album. Before the year was over, the rules were changed to make catalog albums eligible for the big chart. Unless Billboard wants to see more strangeness at the top of one of its flagship charts, it needs to review this policy too.

Top Albums

Canadian rapper Torey Lanez lands his second top-five album as Memories Don’t Die debuts at a career best No. 3. His debut, I Told You, peaked at No. 4 in September 2016.

Migos’s Culture II dips from No. 3 to No. 4 in its sixth week. The album debuted at No. 1.

Ed Sheeran’s ÷ inches up from No. 6 to No. 5 in its 53rd week. The album spent its first two weeks at No. 1.

Post Malone’s Stoney inches up from No. 7 to No. 6 in its 65th week. The album peaked at No. 4.

Imagine Dragons’ Evolve inches up from No. 8 to No. 7 in its 37th week. The album debuted and peaked at No. 2.

Camila Cabello’s Camila rebounds from No. 12 to No. 8 in its eighth week. The album debuted at No. 1.

Kendrick Lamar’s DAMN holds at No. 9 in its 47th week. The album spent four weeks at No. 1.

6ix9ine’s DAY69 drops from No. 4 to No. 10 in its second week.

As noted above, Bon Jovi’s This House Is Not for Sale plummets from No. 1 to No. 169. One other album drops out of the top 10 this week. Vance Joy’sNation of Two dives from No. 10 to No. 73.

Tech N9ne cracks the top 20 for the 11th time as Planet debuts at No. 14. The rapper’s top 20 tally includes one EP, Klusterfuk.

Kane Brown’s Kane Brown drops from No. 22 to No. 24 in its 66th week. The album peaked at No. 5. The album logs its eighth week at No. 1 on Top Country Albums.

The Coco soundtrack vaults from No. 120 to No. 39 in the week after the Oscars, where its key song, “Remember Me,” won for Best Song. This represents a new peak for the soundtrack, which previously climbed as high as No. 55.

Drake’s Take Care rebounds from No. 55 to No. 48 in its 262nd chart week. The album debuted at No. 1 in December 2011. The album returns to No. 1 on Top Catalog Albums, displacing Ed Sheeran’s x. This is its second week on top.

Coming attractions: Look for Logic’s Bobby Tarantino II mixtape to debut at No. 1 next week. Lil Yachty’s Lil Boat 2 will probably open right around No. 3. Jimi Hendrix’s Both Sides of the Sky may squeeze into the top 10.

Top Songs

Drake’s “God’s Plan,” which entered the Hot 100 at No. 1 six weeks ago, sits tight in its seventh week. “God’s Plan” is the first song to spend its first seven weeks at No. 1 since Adele’s “Hello” spent its first 10 weeks on top in 2015-16. It’s the first song by a male artist to spend its first seven weeks at No. 1 since Elton John’s “Candle in the Wind”/”Something about the Way You Look Tonight,” which spent its first 14 weeks on top in 1997-98.

“God’s Plan” seems likely to log 10 or more weeks at No. 1. It would be Drake’s second song to do so, following his 2016 smash “One Dance,” which spent 10 weeks on top. Drake is vying to become the second male solo artist with two singles that have logged 10 or more weeks at No. 1. Pharrell Williams was the first, but only combining lead and featured roles. He was featured on Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines” (12 weeks on top in 2013) and followed up with his own “Happy” (10 weeks in 2014).

“God’s Plan” sold 57K digital copies last week, which allows it to return to No. 1 on Top Digital Songs after being displaced last week by Post Malone’s “Psycho” (featuring Ty Dolla $ign). This is its fifth week on top.

“God’s Plan” logs its seventh week at No. 1 on both the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart and The Official U.K. Singles Chart.

Ed Sheeran’s “Perfect” rebounds from No. 3 to No. 2 in its 28th week. The song logged six weeks at No. 1.

Bruno Mars & Cardi B’s “Finesse” rebounds from No. 4 to No. 3 in its 10th week. This matches its highest ranking to date.

Post Malone’s “Psycho” (featuring Ty Dolla $ign) drops from No. 2 to No. 4 in its second week.

“Meant to Be” by Bebe Rehxa & Florida Georgia Line jumps from No. 7 to No. 5 in its 20th week. This is Florida Georgia Line’s second top five hit, following “Cruise” (featuring Nelly), which reached No. 4 in July 2013. FGL is the first core country act to notch two top five hits on the Hot 100 since Taylor Swift amassed five top five hits while she was a core country artist, before she went pop. “Meant to Be” holds at No. 1 on Hot Country Songs for the 15th consecutive week.

Camila Cabello’s “Havana” (featuring Young Thug) dips from No. 5 to No. 6 in its 30th week. The song reached No. 1.

BlocBoy JB’s “Look Alive” (featuring Drake) dips from No. 6 to No. 7 in its fourth week. The song peaked at No. 5.

“The Middle” by Zedd, Maren Morris & Grey jumps from No. 11 to No. 8 in its sixth week. It’s Zedd’s fourth top 10 hit, following “Clarity” (featuring Foxes), “Stay” (a collabo with Alessia Cara) and Ariana Grande’s “Break Free,” on which he was featured. It’s the first top 10 hit for both Morris and Grey.

This marks the first time that there were two songs in the top 10 by core country artists since May 2000, when Faith Hill’s “Breathe” was No. 3 and Lonestar’s “Amazed” was No. 10. (“The Middle” is a pop/EDM track not being promoted to country radio, but Morris is a core country artist nonetheless.)

This is the second time in recent months that a core country artist has released a track aimed squarely at pop radio. Carrie Underwood’s “The Champion” (featuring Ludacris) debuted and peaked at No. 47 on the Hot 100, but didn’t chart country. The lines between genres are getting fuzzier all the time.

“Pray for Me” by The Weeknd & Kendrick Lamar holds at No. 9 in its fifth week. The song peaked at No. 7.

Migos’ “Stir Fry” rebounds from No. 12 to No. 10 in its 11th week. The song has climbed as high as No. 8.

Two songs drop out of the top 10 this week—Post Malone’s “Rockstar” (featuring 21 Savage) and “All the Stars” by Kendrick Lamar & SZA.

“Rick Flair Drip” by Offset & Metro Boomin’ vaults from No. 36 to No. 16 in its 19th week.

XXXTentacion’s “Sad!” is the week’s highest new entry at No. 17. It (surprisingly) debuts ahead of DJ Khaled’s superstar-laden “Top Off,” which opens at No. 22. The track features Jay Z, Future and Beyoncé (credited simply as B).

Camila Cabello lands her fourth top 20 hit as a solo artist as “Never Be the Same” jumps from No. 24 to No. 19 in its 12th week. By comparison, Cabello landed two top 10 hits as a member of Fifth Harmony.

Ed Sheeran’s “Perfect” tops the 2 million mark in digital sales this week. It’s the second song from his current album  ÷ to top 2 million in digital sales. “Shape of You” is up to 2,670,000.