'Now' Is Her Time: Shania Twain No. 1 After 15 Years; Maren Morris Proves Love Trumps 'Hate'

Mick Hutson/Redferns
Shania Twain

Kane Brown also celebrates a Hot Country Songs chart-topper.

Shania Twain’s Now (Mercury/Universal Music Group Nashville), her fifth full-length studio LP and her first in 15 years, flies in at No. 1 on Top Country Albums and the all-genre Billboard 200. It earns 137,000 equivalent album units, with 134,000 in traditional sales, in the week ending Oct. 5, according to Nielsen Music.

Now marks Twain’s second Billboard 200 No. 1. She previously led with her last studio set, when Up! debuted at No. 1 on Dec. 7, 2002, with 874,000 sold in a far more robust sales climate.

Now is the second country album to crown the Billboard 200 in 2017, following Thomas Rhett’s Life Changes (Sept. 30; 123,000 units). Twain is the first female country artist to rule the chart since Miranda Lambert did so with Platinum (June 21, 2014).

Twain first appeared on Top Country Albums in 1993 with her No. 67-peaking self-titled debut album. Now is her fifth No. 1 on the chart among six top 10s. Her previous release, Still the One: Live From Las Vegas, peaked at No. 2 (March 21, 2015). Her previous leaders before Now were The Woman in Me, which spent 29 weeks at No. 1 in 1995-96; Come On Over, which dominated for a record 50 weeks between 1997-2000; Up!, for six weeks, 2002-03; and her Greatest Hits, for 11 weeks, 2004-05. She adds her 97th total week at No. 1, the most among women; Taylor Swift follows with 89. Among all acts, Garth Brooks leads with 171 cumulative weeks atop the chart.

Twain penned all 12 tracks on Now on her own. Its lead single, “Life’s About to Get Good,” hit Nos. 33 and 36 on Hot Country Songs and Country Airplay, respectively.

A NEW NO. 1? ‘WHAT’? Hot Country Songs, which blends streaming, airplay and sales data, boasts a new No. 1 for the first time since Feb. 25, as Kane Brown’s “What Ifs,” featuring Lauren Alaina (Zone 4/RCA Nashville), ascends 2-1 in its 44th week.

“What Ifs” replaces Sam Hunt’s “Body Like a Back Road” (MCA Nashville), which is now No. 2 after a record 34 weeks at No. 1.

“All I can say is, ‘Thirty-four weeks, Sam Hunt? Damn.’ I’m happy to get in there,” Brown told Billboard after hearing the news.

“What Ifs” rises 2-1 on Country Streaming Songs (10.3 million U.S. streams, up 1 percent) and 3-2 on Country Airplay (44 million, up 4 percent). It ranks at No. 2 after two weeks atop Country Digital Song Sales (22,000 sold, down 7 percent).

“What Ifs” marks the first Hot Country Songs No. 1 for childhood friends Brown and Alaina. She is the only woman to rule Country Airplay as a solo lead artist this year, with “Road Less Traveled” (April 22).

MUSIC HEALS Maren Morris, who performed in Las Vegas at the Route 91 Harvest Festival on Sept. 30, the night before the shooting massacre that took 58 lives and injured approximately 500 others, released “Dear Hate,” featuring Vince Gill (Columbia Nashville/Sony Music Nashville), on Oct. 1. All proceeds go to Nashville’s Music City Cares Fund to support victims.

“Hate is everywhere, and I’m sick of not doing enough,” said Morris in a statement.

“Hate” arrives at No. 1 on Country Digital Song Sales with 27,000 downloads sold. It’s Morris’ second No. 1, following her 2016 debut single, “My Church.”

After Columbia serviced “Hate” (although without a traditional promotional push) to radio, it entered Country Airplay at No. 29 (5.5 million). It also drew 716,000 U.S. streams in the tracking week.

“Hate” starts on Hot Country Songs at No. 21, marking Morris’ and Gill’s highest career debuts.

“I was in Las Vegas broadcasting the day after the shootings, simply allowing people to call and share their stories,” says KNIX Phoenix assistant PD/music director Lois Lewis, who doubles as midday host at iHeartMedia sister station KWNR Las Vegas.

“It’s just the perfect time for ‘Dear Hate,’ a beautifully crafted song,” says Lewis. “Tons of our listeners have shared it on their personal social media pages. The country community has suffered a tremendous blow, and ‘Dear Hate’ is helping all of us.”