The singer reigns with "Chillin' It," his debut hit. Plus, moves for Eric Church, Frankie Ballard and Scotty McCreery, while a nearly five-year-old Carrie Underwood song surges thanks to a viral video
Cole Swindell tops Billboard's Hot Country Songs chart with his debut entry "Chillin' It," which rises 3-1.
The song reaches the summit with gains in all of the chart's metrics. It shoots 5-2 on Country Digital Songs with 54,000 downloads sold (up 54%), according to Nielsen SoundScan; bullets again at No. 3 on Country Airplay (43 million audience impressions, up 1%, according to Nielsen BDS); and, despite a 7-9 retreat on Country Streaming Songs, gains by 4% to 689,000 U.S. streams, according to BDS.
Swindell is the second artist to take a debut single to No. 1 on Hot Country Songs since the chart switched from core country airplay-based formula to a sales/streaming/airplay hybrid methodology 16 months ago. It follows Florida Georgia Line's "Cruise," which began its record 24-week reign in December 2012.
Reaching the Hot Country Songs apex in its 38th week, "Chillin' It" ties Eli Young Band's "Crazy Girl" (2011) for the fifth-longest ascent to No. 1. Chris Young's "Voices" required a record 51 frames (over two releases in 2008 and 2010). David Nail's "Let It Rain," featuring Sarah Buxton, ranks second with a 49-week climb (the longest among songs over a single release cycle) in 2011-12.
Swindell will likely snare the highest debut on next week's Billboard 200 album chart. His self-titled introductory set (which includes "Chillin' It") may move around 55,000 copies in its first week, according to industry prognosticators.
INSIDE 'OUTSIDERS': As previously reported, Eric Church's "The Outsiders" easily debuts at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 and Top Country Albums charts with 288,000 copies sold in its first week, according to SoundScan. It's the largest sales week of the year and the biggest since Beyonce's self-titled album moved 310,000 in its second week in December. It's also, by far, Church's best weekly sum.
"The Outsiders" is Church's fourth studio set and his second No. 1 on each survey, following his last studio effort, 2011's "Chief." The latter title debuted with 145,000 (Church's previous best sales week).
"The Outsiders" also nets the biggest sales week for a country album since Luke Bryan's "Crash My Party" debuted at No. 1 with 528,000 on the chart dated Aug. 31, 2013.
WATCHING FRANKIE & SCOTTY GROW: Frankie Ballard and Scotty McCreery each celebrate their first top 10s on Hot Country Songs. Ballard's "Helluva Life" rises 11-9 and McCreery's "See You Tonight" improves 12-10. Ballard had previously risen as high as No. 27 with "A Buncha Girls" in 2012, while 2011 "American Idol" champ McCreery peaked at a then-career-best No. 15 with "I Love You This Big," also in 2011.
On Top Country Albums, Ballard's first full-length album "Sunshine & Whiskey" bows at No. 5 with 11,000 sold, according to SoundScan.
On the BDS-fueled Country Airplay tally, McCreery's song completes the second-longest top 10 ascent (12-10) in the chart's 24-year-history (44 weeks). Lee Brice's "Love Like Crazy" needed a record 46 weeks to reach the upper tier four years ago.
'AUTO' TUNE: Miranda Lambert claims her highest debut and best opening-week sales sum on Country Digital Songs with "Automatic," which opens at No. 3 with 51,000 downloads sold. She logged her previous bests last fall with "We Were Us" (with Keith Urban), which bowed at No. 8 with 32,000.
On Hot Country Songs, "Automatic" soars 36-14.
'BABY' LOVE: Jason Aldean collects his 11th No. 1 on Country Airplay with "When She Says Baby," the fifth single and fourth leader from his album "Night Train." Aldean's set is the first to yield four No. 1 singles since Florida Georgia Line's "Here's to the Good Times" (2013) and the first by a solo male since Blake Shelton's "Red River Blue" (2011).
Aldean's fifth studio album previously generated the No. 1s "Take a Little Ride," "The Only Way I Know" (with Luke Bryan and Eric Church) and "Night Train." (Third single "1994" peaked at No. 14 last May, marking just the second of Aldean's 20 charted singles to peak outside the top 10; "Relentless" reached No. 15 in 2008.)
'BOTTOMS' TOPS: Brantley Gilbert's first Country Streaming Songs entry becomes his first No. 1, as "Bottoms Up" steps 2-1 (1.1 million U.S. streams, up 13%, according to BDS). The song is also the top-seller for a second straight (and third cumulative) week on Country Digital Songs (61,000, up 25%).
Also noteworthy on Country Digital Songs is a No. 22 debut for Carrie Underwood's "Look at Me," which makes a union with the chart thanks to surging interest in a viral video of vocally-gifted bride Arianna Pflederer singing the song to her husband-to-be, Ryan. Underwood's original version of the love ballad, from her 2009 album "Play On," debuts on Country Digital Songs at No. 22 (18,000, up from 3,000 the week before).
("That, my friend, is called making an entrance," the wedding's officiator notes to the emotional groom afterward. "And, it was all for you.")
Additional reporting by Keith Caulfield and Gary Trust