Ed Sheeran, "Photograph"
Sheeran's transformation from exclusively-folk troubadour to pop powerhouse on his second full-length album, 2014's X, continues. The set's fourth single, "Photograph," rises 19-15 on the Hot 100 and 12-10 on the Pop Songs airplay chart, extending his perfect top 10 streak from the release on the list. Lead single "Sing" hit No. 6 on Pop Songs, followed by "Don't" (No. 2) and "Thinking Out Loud," which became his first No. 1 in March. His first album, 2012's +, yielded one Pop Songs top 10: the No. 9-peaking "The A Team."
Fueled by its four hits, X has sold 1.7 million copies in the U.S., according to Nielsen Music; + has sold 1.1 million.
R. City, "Locked Away," feat. Adam Levine
After making their mark as songwriters, brothers Theron and Timothy Thomas are scaling the Hot 100 as artists, as "Locked Away," their new single as recording act R. City, bounds 35-25. The track, featuring Maroon 5 frontman Adam Levine, surges to the Digital Songs top 10 (18-10; 66,000 downloads sold in the week ending Aug. 13, up 30 percent) and claims the Hot 100's top Airplay Gainer award (49 million in radio audience, up 33 percent).
The siblings, from St. Thomas, rose as high as No. 2 on the Hot 100 as co-writers of Iyaz's "Replay" (2010) and Miley Cyrus' "We Can't Stop" (2013). They've also penned top 10s for Sean Kingston ("Take You There") and The Pussycat Dolls ("When I Grow Up").
"'Locked Away' means the world to us because the story is based on our parents," R. City tells Billboard. "Our dad [was] locked up for five years and our mom [held things] down while he was gone, and still to this day. We're just very happy that people are able to connect with it on different levels."
"Locked Away" was co-produced by Dr. Luke and, notably, features a writing credit for Toni Tennille, thanks to its closeness in melody to Captain & Tennille's 1980 Hot 100 No. 1, "Do That to Me One More Time." Its video premiered Aug. 17, ahead of R. City's forthcoming debut RCA album.
"We're blessed and grateful that we're finally getting a shot as artists," the Thomas brothers say. "We're living our dream."
One Direction, "Drag Me Down"
After debuting on the Hot 100 at No. 3 last week, the song plummets to No. 26, down by 82 percent from 350,000 to 63,000 sold. Such a fall is typical for high-profile singles that launch high largely from sales but haven't yet fully established at radio. Still, its Hot 100 drop is sharp: in the chart's 57-year history, only one other title has made a steeper slide from the top three: Whitney Houston's "I Will Always Love You," which fell 3-30 on the March 10, 2012 chart (after it had bounded 7-3 following her death).
"Down" could move back up going forward, given its rise at radio: it surges by 39 percent to 23 million in audience.
Shawn Mendes, "Stitches"
The 16-year-old, who first gained a following on Vine, tallies his second top 40 Hot 100 hit, as "Stitches" sews up a 42-35 climb. His debut entry, "Life of the Party," debuted and peaked at No. 24 in July 2014. "Stitches" also marks Mendes' first entry on Pop Songs, where it pushes 27-26 with a 17 percent plays gain.
Little Mix, "Black Magic"
The British quartet lands its second Hot 100 hit, following 2013's "Wings," as "Black Magic" debuts at No. 99. The track also stirs up a 32-29 jump on Pop Songs, up by 33 percent in plays.