EXO Soar to New High on Billboard 200 With 'The War'
EXO storm back into the Billboard 200 with their new album The War, marking the K-pop phenoms' best showing on the chart yet and making them one of the genre's few acts to land multiple entries on America's definitive albums ranking.
The War debuts at No. 87 on the Billboard 200, earning 7,000 equivalent album units in the week ending July 20, according to Nielsen Music. Of that sum, 5,000 were in traditional album sales. This is EXO's best Billboard 200 position as the group previously sent their 2015 Exodus album to No. 95, after selling 6,000 traditional copies. The Billboard 200 chart ranks the most popular albums of the week in the U.S. based on multi-metric consumption, which includes traditional album sales, track equivalent albums (TEA) and streaming equivalent albums (SEA).
EXO scoring a second entry on the Billboard 200 puts them in a very elite group of K-pop acts who have multiple entries on the tally. The outfit join fellow boy bands BTS (who have four entries) and BIGBANG (with two), along with solo star G-Dragon (with three). EXO sub-group EXO-K also scored an entry on the Billboard 200 with 2014's Overdose.
After five years of ruling the K-pop scene, EXO could have easily rolled out the summer single "Ko Ko Bop" to outshine their new material with its deliciously seasonal electo-reggae sound. But the high performance of The War truly indicates how this LP is a fully realized, electro-pop tour de force. The effervescent chorus in "What U Do?" rivals some of EXO's biggest earworms while "The Eve" is on a par with past EXO album intros, but there's loads more evolution here. Highlights include the guys pleading for commitment on the aggressive glitch-pop in "Forever," getting sensual over electro-funk on "Touch It" and mixing bitter heartbreak with icy synthesizers on "Going Crazy." Notably, The War marks the largest songwriting contribution from its members yet, indicating that the act has a lot more area to explore (and conquer) before getting anywhere near complacent.
EXO also snag their third No. 1 on Billboard's World Albums chart with The War, marking their third chart-topper to date. Following 2013's XOXO Repackage and 2015's Exodus, the group only trail behind B.A.P and GOT7, both which have four No. 1s on World Albums. EXO sub-unit EXO-CBX also has a No. 1 album when their Hey Mama EP took the top slot in late 2016.
Lastly, EXO conquers the World Digital Song Sales chart with three new entries on the chart debated Aug. 5, including "Ko Ko Bop" (the group's highest new entry at No. 2), "The Eve" (debuting at No. 8) and "Forever" (No. 24). These new songs bring EXO to 63 charted titles overall and 38 Top 10 hits. "Ko Ko Bop" marks the sixth EXO song to chart within top 2 positions on World Digital Songs following "Overdose," "Call Me Baby," and "Dancing King (with Yoo Jae-suk)" that all peaked at No. 2, plus "Monster" and "Lotto" that hit No. 1.
The new Aug. 5-dated chart (where EXO will debut on a slew of charts) will be posted in full to Billboard's websites on Tuesday, July 25.