The Billboard 200 chart ranks the most popular albums of the week in the U.S. based on multi-metric consumption as measured in equivalent album units. Units are comprised of traditional album sales, track equivalent albums (TEA) and streaming equivalent albums (SEA). The new Sept. 8-dated chart (where Love Yourself: Answer debuts at No. 1) will be posted in full on Billboard's websites on Wednesday, Sept. 5 -- one day later than usual due to the Labor Day holiday on Sept. 3 in the U.S.
BTS’ Second No. 1: Love Yourself: Answer follows BTS’ previous chart-topper, Love Yourself: Tear. The latter launched at No. 1 on the chart dated June 2 with 135,000 units earned in its first week, of which 100,000 were in traditional album sales. BTS is the only K-pop act with a No. 1 album, and obviously the first with two leaders. They were also the first (and still only) with a top 10 set, when Love Yourself: Her -- the first of the Love Yourself trilogy -- debuted and peaked at No. 7 (Oct. 7, 2017).
Love Yourself: Answer includes 14 songs previously heard on Love Yourself: Her and Love Yourself: Tear, as well as 10 new tracks exclusive to this album. The digital version of Answer also boasts an additional remix of the new track “Idol” featuring Nicki Minaj.
Love Yourself: Answer's start of 185,000 units is comprised of 141,000 in traditional album sales, 25,000 SEA units (translating to 39.01 million on-demand audio streams of the album's songs) and 19,000 TEA units. BTS' last album, Love Yourself: Tear, bowed with 135,000 units in its first week — of which 100,000 were in album sales, 26,000 were SEA units (equaling 39.14 million on-demand audio streams for the album's songs) and 9,000 were TEA units.
BTS & K-Pop’s Biggest Week Ever: Answer’s first-week totals -- in both overall units earned and traditional album sales -- gives both BTS and the K-pop genre their best week yet. The previous record for both BTS and K-pop was tallied when Love Yourself: Tear bowed at No. 1 (135,000 units; 100,000 in album sales).
Third-Largest Week of 2018 for a Pop Album: With 185,000 units earned, Answer logs the third-largest week of the year for a pop album. Only Justin Timberlake’s Man of the Woods and Ariana Grande’s Sweetener tallied bigger weeks. They debuted at No. 1 with 293,000 and 231,000 units, respectively (on the Feb. 17 and Sept. 1-dated lists).
Third-Largest Sales Week of 2018 for a Pop Album: Love Yourself: Answer sold 141,000 copies in its first week, the third-largest sales week of 2018 for a pop album. The only bigger frames were posted by Man of the Woods (242,000) and Shawn Mendes’ self-titled album (142,000; June 9). Sales of Love Yourself: Answer were likely enhanced by how the album was issued in four collectible editions of the set -- each with alternative artwork and ephemera -- where devoted fans likely bought all four copies. A concert ticket/album sale redemption offer for the group’s show on Oct. 6 at Citi Field in Flushing, N.Y. also aided sales.
First Pop Act Since 2014 With Two No. 1 Albums in Less Than a Year: Love Yourself: Answer’s No. 1 debut comes a little over three months after Love Yourself: Tear opened at No. 1. BTS is the first pop act with two No. 1s in less than 12 months since One Direction topped the list on Dec. 6, 2014 with Four, which followed Midnight Memories’ arrival on the Dec. 14, 2013-dated chart.
The last act, regardless of genre, with two No. 1s in less than 12 months was Logic. The rapper debuted at No. 1 on March 24, 2018 with Bobby Tarantino II, which came 10 months after the No. 1 arrival of Everybody on the May 27, 2017 list. What about the last act that achieved two No. 1s in a shorter amount of time than the three months between BTS’ Tear and Answer? That would be another rap artist, Future, who notched back-to-back No. 1 debuts in successive weeks with his self-titled album and HNDRXX on March 11 and March 18, 2017, respectively.
A Rare Non-English No. 1 Album: Like Her and Tear, Answer is performed mostly in Korean with a few lyrics in English. Before Tear, the last mostly non-English album at No. 1 came in 2006, when Il Divo’s Ancora topped the chart dated Feb. 11. 2006. Ancora contained songs sung in Spanish, Italian and French, along with a track sung partially in English.
Back on the new Billboard 200, Travis Scott’s former No. 1 Astroworld holds at No. 2 with 111,000 units (up 1 percent) while Drake’s Scorpion moves up one rung to No. 3 with 87,000 units (down 6 percent).
Ariana Grande’s Sweetener slides 1-4 in its second week with 75,000 units (down 67 percent). Nicki Minaj’s Queen dips 3-5 with 64,000 units (down 32 percent) and Post Malone’s beerbongs & bentleys descends 5-6 with 56,000 units (down 2 percent).
Ozuna scores his first top 10 effort, as his second studio album, Aura, arrives at No. 7. The Puerto Rican singer’s set bows with 49,000 units earned (with 7,000 of that sum in traditional album sales) -- easily the biggest week of 2018 for a Latin album in terms of units. The album’s debut frame was fueled by streaming activity, as it garnered 40,000 in SEA units. That sum translates to 55.34 million on-demand audio streams for the album’s songs in its opening week -- the largest streaming week ever for a Latin album.
Ozuna’s first album, Odisea, debuted and peaked at No. 22 (Sept. 16, 2017), and started with 18,000 units earned in its first week. The set has earned 725,000 units through Aug. 30.
At No. 8 on the new Billboard 200, XXXTentacion’s 17 jumps 25-8 with 46,000 units (up 163 percent), with 28,000 of that sum in album sales (up 7,356 percent). The surge is owed to the one-year anniversary of the set’s release on Aug. 25, 2017, and the solid sales of a number of merchandise/album bundles that were released to commemorate the occasion. The album debuted and peaked at No. 2 on the Billboard 200 dated Sept. 16, 2017.
Rounding out the new top 10 on the Billboard 200: Juice WRLD’s Goodbye & Good Riddance is steady at No. 9 with 41,000 units (down less than 1 percent) and Cardi B’s Invasion of Privacy is a non-mover at No. 10 with 34,000 units (down 1 percent).