Ask Billboard: Is Taylor Swift's '1989' the Next 'Teenage Dream'?
Could Swift's blockbuster be just the third album, following smashes by Michael Jackson and Katy Perry, to yield five Hot 100 No. 1s? Or ... more?
As always, submit questions about Billboard charts, as well as general music musings, to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include your first and last name, as well as your city, state and country, if outside the U.S. Or, tweet @gthot20
IS '1989' THE NEW 'TEENAGE DREAM'?
As Taylor Swift just scored her third Billboard Hot 100 No. 1, "Bad Blood," from her 11-week Billboard 200-topper 1989, it's got me wondering about the set's place historically. Specifically, could the album become the next Teenage Dream?
I guess it's clear what I mean, but if not I'll shortly explain: Katy Perry's 2010 album Teenage Dream famously produced five Hot 100 No. 1s, tying Michael Jackson's Bad for the most leaders from one album. To recap: Perry's "California Gurls" stayed on top for six weeks, followed by the title track (two), "Firework" (four), "E.T." (five) and "Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.)" (two). (The deluxe Teenage Dream: The Complete Confection contains another No. 1, "Part of Me," but since it's not on the original album, I know that it's not generally considered a sixth No. 1 from it.)
Back to Taylor: her "Shake It Off" spent four weeks at No. 1 and "Blank Space" led for seven, prior to "Blood." Could she lead (at least) two more times from 1989? Let's remember that it will likely take a long time until her next album will be released: she's always waited two years in between releases. Her first was in 2006 and since, she's offered new studio albums in 2008, 2010, 2012 and 2014. So, maybe October/November 2016 will bring her next one. In other words, she probably still has a long span in which to release singles from 1989. In my opinion, great picks for No. 1s from it could be "All You Had to Do Was Stay," "Out of the Woods," "New Romantics" or "Wonderland."
My question is: do you believe that 1989 has enough to offer to become the next Teenage Dream? Or, could it even become bigger and generate a record six Hot 100 No. 1s?
By the way: Kind of ironic that Taylor could pass Katy, who "Bad Blood" is rumoured to be about.
Dresden, Saxony, Germany
Not only is "Bad Blood" widely considered to be about Perry, but it also has "Bad" in its title, so those could be two signs that Swift is on her way to joining Perry and Jackson in vaunted chart history.
With Swift notching her third No. 1 on the Hot 100 from 1989, she now needs just two more from the album to tie the record for most leaders from a single set. But, as bright as Swift's star power is, the fact that only two albums in the Hot 100's 56-year history have yielded five No. 1s each shows how difficult the feat is. Plus, beyond Teenage Dream and Bad, only seven sets have housed four No. 1s apiece: the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack (1977-78), Whitney Houston's Whitney (1987-88), George Michael's Faith (1987-88), Paula Abdul's Forever Your Girl (1989-90), Janet Jackson's Rhythm Nation 1814 (1989-91), Mariah Carey's self-titled debut album (1990-91) and Usher's Confessions (2004).
So, that's nine albums in the last five-and-a-half decades that have contained four or more Hot 100 No. 1s each, an incredibly exclusive club. It's just so tough for an album to earn the honor, no matter how high its quality or commerciality. Most notably, it's hard to maintain fan excitement about a set months after its arrival, after so many fans have heard, bought or streamed its songs. "Style" was the third single from 1989 and, while it became the third No. 1 on the Pop Songs airplay chart, it stopped at No. 6 on the Hot 100. Even "Blood" benefited from the buzz of its high-profile video premiere to kick off the Billboard Music Awards (May 17), along with the addition of Kendrick Lamar.
And, even a smash hit can stop shy of the Hot 100's top spot. While Rhythm Nation 1814 turned out four leaders, for instance, two more – the title track and "Come Back to Me" – peaked at No. 2, narrowly denying the set a record six No. 1s.
Of course, since her arrival in 2006, Swift has been essentially unstoppable in her career, so if anyone can tie – or break – such a record, Swift would seem to be the safest bet to do so. As to what songs could be future 1989 No. 1s? I'd pick these five as having the most potential: "New Romantics," "How You Get the Girl," "I Wish You Would," "Wildest Dreams" and "This Love."
Those are Norman's and my choices. What are yours? Sound off in the comments section below, email email@example.com or tweet @gthot20. "Bad Blood" has just begun its No. 1 run, so no next single from 1989 has yet been announced. But, in the meantime, it'll be fun to speculate if 1989 can tie or break history first set in 1988 (by Jackson) and 2011 (by Perry).
TAKE (ANOTHER) FIVE
Hey there, Gary,
I hope this finds you well. I've enjoyed the recent attention Chart Beat has devoted to successful fifth singles (prompted by the recent success of Ariana Grande's "One Last Time"), and the concept/strategy behind sequencing the release of many singles from an album.
As I thought about the topic this past week, these instances came to mind in addition to the ones you previously mentioned:
Singles 1-5 all hit Top Five on the Hot 100
Milli Vanilli, Girl You Know It's True: its fifth single was "All or Nothing" (No. 5 peak)
Singles 1-5 all hit Top 10
Bruce Springsteen, Born in the U.S.A.: "Glory Days" (No. 5), plus two more top 10s via sixth and seventh singles: "I'm Goin' Down" (No. 9) and "My Hometown" (No. 6)
Huey Lewis & the News, Fore!: "Doing It All for My Baby" (No. 6)
Lionel Richie, Can't Slow Down: "Penny Lover" (No. 8)
Bobby Brown, Don't Be Cruel: "Rock Wit'cha" (No. 7)
Singles 1-4 all hit Top 10, fifth single peaked in Top 20
Huey Lewis & the News, Sports: "Walking on a Thin Line" (No. 18)
Wilson Phillips, Wilson Phillips: "The Dream Is Still Alive" (No. 12)
Amy Grant, Heart in Motion: "I Will Remember You" (No. 20)
A twist on this category:
Jennifer Lopez, J.Lo: "I'm Gonna Be Alright" (No. 10). Four of this album's five singles hit the top 10; second single "Play" stalled at No. 18.
Singles 1-4 all hit Top 10, fifth single peaked in Top 40
Prince, Purple Rain soundtrack: "Take Me With U" (No. 25).
Singles 1-4 all hit Top 10, fifth single peaked outside Top 40
Heart, Heart: "If Looks Could Kill" (No. 54)
A twist on this category:
Pointer Sisters, Breakout: this album contained four top 10s, but they came from singles 2-5. The fifth single was "Neutron Dance" (No. 6). Lead single "I Need You" sputtered at No. 48; sixth single, "Baby Come and Get It," climbed as high as No. 44.
Singles 1-5 all hit Top 20
Bryan Adams, Reckless: "One Night Love Affair" (No. 13), followed by a sixth single, "It's Only Love" (Adams' gritty duet with Tina Turner), which also climbed into the top 20 (No. 15)
Paula Abdul, Spellbound: "Will You Marry Me" (No. 19)
Singles 1-5 all hit Top 40
Bryan Adams, Waking Up the Neighbors: "Do I Have to Say the Words?" (No. 11)
Tina Turner, Private Dancer: "Show Some Respect" (No. 37)
En Vogue, Funky Divas: "Love Don't Love You" (No. 36)
Whitney Houston, My Love Is Your Love: "I Learned from the Best" (No. 27)
Thus, it would appear that the true champs of the "Five Major Hit Singles from an Album" derby – which I would define as all five singles peaking inside the top 20 – would be appear to be the small handful of artists who have earned that honor more than once, namely: Huey Lewis & the News (the first act to do so), Madonna, Paula Abdul, Fergie (including her fare with the Black Eyed Peas) and Michael Jackson (who's done so three times).
The all time champ, however, is Janet Jackson, who has not only enjoyed the achievement three times, but has actually generated on each of those occasions at least six singles reaching such heights.
P.S. I'd like to send out an honorable mention to Jody Watley's eponymous debut album. Three of its five singles hit the top 10 on the Hot 100, but its chart performance was even better on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart: the first four singles all sailed into the top 10, while the fifth, "Most of All," came this close, peaking at No. 11 (and stalled at No. 60 on the Hot 100). "Most of All" is a lovely song, and has the same sprightly feel that distinguishes the syncopated bounce of Grande's "Time," so it came to mind immediately. It also has a gorgeous David Fincher video which suitably showcases Watley's astonishing beauty and inimitable sense of style. Great song, great artist, great video – what's not to like?
Great stuff, Christopher!
Given the first question in the mailbag, let's also look at Swift's impressive showing from each of her albums (including charted songs from deluxe editions, similar to Perry's Confection; and, could Swift eschew trying to release five No. 1s from the original version of 1989 for an eventual previously-unreleased new single from a deluxe version of the set? Something to consider going forward, given her history of deluxe releases).
Taylor Swift: five top 40 Hot 100 hits
Fearless: 13, her favorite number, of course, top 40 hits, including five top 10s (and one No. 11 hit, the should've-been-a-radio-single "You're Not Sorry")
Speak Now: nine top 40 hits, including four top 10s (and another No. 11: her country classic "Mean")
Red: seven top 40 hits, including four top 10s
1989: five top 40 hits, including four top 10s … three of which have now hit No. 1.
@gthot20 Time for another personal charts feature? @RachelPlatten jumps from #6 to #4 with her amazing #FightSong.
Brian Brostek @BOSBrian
Here are my top songs of the week:
20, "Sugar," Maroon 5
19, "Go All Night" (radio edit), Gorgon City feat. Jennifer Hudson
18, "I Bet My Life," Imagine Dragons
17, "Love Me Like You Do," Ellie Goulding
16, "About You Now," Shayne Ward
15, "Take My Number," Melissa Etheridge
14, "Night Changes," One Direction
13, "Keep On Lovin You" (Georgie's Original Radio mix), Georgie Porgie
12, "Forever for You" (2014 acoustic version), Sam Harris
11, "Dear Future Husband," Meghan Trainor
10, "Ex's & Oh's," Elle King
9, "Honey, I'm Good.," Andy Grammer
8, "Fall," Dude vs. Big China
7, "Travesty," Jimmy Somerville
6, "Disco in Space" (radio edit), Blake Lewis
5, "Burn Again," Tristan Thompson
4, "Heartbeat Song," Kelly Clarkson
3, "Living for Love," Madonna
2, "Uptown Funk!," Mark Ronson feat. Bruno Mars
1, "Reason" (single mix), Erasure
Dave "Muzicbuff" Geib