In the nearly seven-and-a-half months since Doja Cat released her third studio album Planet Her, the album’s place in the pop solar system has seemingly only grown and grown.
While the LP was kept from No. 1 on the Billboard 200 albums chart in its debut week by the big opening for Tyler, the Creator’s Call Me If You Get Lost, it has continued to hanging around the chart’s top 10, ranking at No. 9 this week (dated Feb. 12) in its 32nd frame. Meanwhile, the album’s Afrobeats-flavored “Woman” climbs from No. 46 to No. 37 on the Billboard Hot 100, making it the fifth top 40 hit from the album — four of which are currently sharing space in that Hot 100 region.
How has the album enjoyed such continued success? And what can other artists learn from it? Billboard staffers discuss these questions and more below.
1. We’re over seven months past the release of Doja Cat’s third studio album Planet Her, and all four of the album’s official singles — “Need to Know” (No. 10), “Kiss Me More” (No. 35), “You Right” (No. 36) and now “Woman” (No. 37) — are in the top 40 of this week’s Hot 100. What’s the biggest reason for the prolonged simultaneous success of this album’s singles on the chart?
Rania Aniftos: The Planet Her songs are all so different but still very much Doja Cat, so it doesn’t feel like the album is being over-milked. Whenever a song makes its rounds on social media, I never feel bored or “over” the Planet Her era, and her ability to shapeshift between genres but still maintain her sense of humor in the lyrics and characteristic musical style is refreshing. I can’t name another artist who has multiple singles on the same album that are equally interesting in their own way.
Katie Atkinson: It’s always been hard to pin down an exact sound or genre for Doja Cat, and I think that’s why these very eclectic Planet Her songs are all thriving at the same time. You could hear all four in one hour on pop radio and not think, “Doja, again?!” because they’re all so different.
Jason Lipshutz: The biggest reason is that Doja Cat is an unequivocal multi-sector superstar, a popular artist who collects billions of streams, is embraced by different radio formats, moves album units and boasts hits that rule the charts immediately as well as others that slowly grow into juggernauts. “Streets,” from Hot Pink, was an example of the latter prior to “Woman,” crashing the top 20 of the Hot 100 a year after the album’s release — and, as I wrote at the time, demonstrating Doja Cat’s power as an A-list hitmaker.
Heran Mamo: Doja’s chameleonic sound. Planet Her is inhabited by different sounds from the rap, bubblegum pop as well as trap pop (“Kiss Me More,” “Need to Know”), R&B (“You Right”) and Afrobeats (“Woman”) worlds, and she flawlessly tapped into all of them with a fluidity only achievable for those who can deliver infectious pop hooks and ridiculous rapid-fire bars in the same song let alone the same album. The divergent sonic architecture of Planet Her allows Doja’s fans to ease into their exploration of the album, discovering new favorites and getting acclimated to newer sounds in the span of several months.
Andrew Unterberger: Nobody excels quite like Doja Cat when it comes to have different hits popping at different platforms simultaneously — she might have one song in heavy rotation at top 40 radio, while another goes nuts on TikTok, and another has a viral music video. And then she might get onstage at a major awards show and do a knockout performance of a totally different song than any of those. That versatility, not just in her sound but in her adaptability to different avenues for pop success, is what keeps her ubiquitous without ever making her feel stale or overexposed.
2. “Woman” is Doja’s most recent entrant to the top 40, climbing from No. 46 to No. 37 this week in its 27th frame on the chart. What do you think the song owes its relatively late-arriving jump in success to?
Rania Aniftos: Partially because it’s so catchy but also, of course, because of TikTok. The viral “We Don’t Talk About Bruno” mashup from Altego lives in my head rent free and reminded me of what a great song “Woman” is, and I’m guessing other fans had a similar experience. While we’re on the topic of that mashup, I think Doja Cat should reach out to Adassa, who plays Dolores in Encanto — because their voices fit perfectly together, and we absolutely need some sort of collaboration.
Katie Atkinson: As with most music these days, TikTok is definitely part of the equation. It’s also already been a massive international hit, hitting the top 10 of Billboard‘s Global 200 Excl. U.S. chart in the fall – which makes sense, given the song’s obvious global influences – so America is just catching up.
Jason Lipshutz: Doja Cat has the uncanny ability to deliver new singles that sound nothing like the ones that preceded them, even though they’re often fashioned from the same raw materials — a sung verse, a rapped verse, a flashy hook, attitude packed into every line. “Woman” sports an Afrobeats sound with R&B and reggae flourishes, a nice sonic change-up for Doja after the shimmery disco-pop of “Kiss Me More” and the booming-bass sex jam “Need to Know,” and the structural hallmarks of a Doja Cat single pay off once again here.
Heran Mamo: The delayed release of the official music video in December, six months after the arrival of Planet Her, certainly helped give the song a late boost. She keeps the DCCU (Doja Cat Cinematic Universe) alive with the eye-popping, intergalactic visual — reminiscent of Michael Jackson’s “Remember the Time” with its ancient Egyptian setting — and supplements it with choreography and behind-the-scenes videos she posted just last month. What’s unique about Doja’s delayed hits during this album cycle is that after setting out to experiment with otherworldly sounds on Planet Her, she takes her time to show fans those other worlds and immerse them in her own.
Andrew Unterberger: To some extent, it’s just kind of its turn — pop radio has finally backed off just enough from “Kiss Me More,” “You Right” and “Need to Know” to allow “Woman” to start scaling its rankings (up two to No. 15 this week). Back in the day, this wouldn’t have seemed unusual at the slightest, but in 2022, there’s only a handful of star artists who can still garner this kind of momentum or interest with a fourth single off an already widely familiar album. This just shows that Doja is now one of them.
3. Lower on the Hot 100, another track from Doja’s latest re-enters the chart at No. 81: “Get Into It (Yuh),” aided by the debut of its official music video last week. Do you see the song ultimately joining its fellow Planet Her moons in top 40 orbit?
Rania Aniftos: Maybe I’m a bit biased because it’s not my favorite song on Planet Her, but I think if it hadn’t made its way past its Hot 100 peak of 68 last year when the song and its corresponding dance challenge was inescapable on TikTok, I’m not sure it will have a top 40 jump. On the other hand, if it’s one thing I’ve learned from watching Doja’s slow but oh-so-sure success, it’s to never doubt her ability to climb up a chart.
Katie Atkinson: Don’t forget the Taco Bell commercial bump too! I can definitely see this one climbing to the top 40. What this extended Planet Her era is proving is that there’s room for more and more Doja music in our lives. It’s not unlike Dua Lipa’s Future Nostalgia, which released its first single in late 2019 and then didn’t see its biggest hit until fifth single “Levitating” peaked at No. 2 in May 2021. The biggest could still be yet to come from Planet Her.
Jason Lipshutz: Will I forever associate the “Get Into It (Yuh)” chorus with the Taco Bell commercial in which it was featured last year? Absolutely. Does that limit its commercial ceiling, especially considering the success of every Planet Her single preceding it? Certainly not. If anything, I’d expect “Get Into It (Yuh)” to become a summer playlist staple as the weather heats up, giving Doja Cat yet another top 40 hit from this album.
Heran Mamo: Most definitely. What I learned from Sam Houston, who’s the director of visual content production at RCA Records and commissions many of Doja’s music videos, is that when they were gearing up for her Planet Her era, the “Streets” Silhouette Challenge was blowing up on TikTok around the same time. Instead of ignoring the new momentum for the old song, Doja and her team decided to devote an official visual for “Streets” where she created her own epic version of the challenge. That shows how Doja always has her fingers on the pulse of which songs of hers are hot right now and when it’s time to make a music video to either breathe new life into a promising hit or capitalize on its recent acclaim. But if you just listen to the song, the scream-a-long hook (that nods to fellow pop superstar and Doja’s “yuh” partner-in-crime Ariana Grande) and scene-stealing second verse makes “Get Into It (Yuh)” primed to get into the top 40 of the chart (yuh!).
Andrew Unterberger: Once “Woman” is done its own climb, maybe. It could be like Dua Lipa’s “Love Again,” which was a slow-growing chart hit over a year after its initial release on Lipa’s Future Nostalgia album, just because radio couldn’t get enough of the album’s singles. But even that song did very narrowly miss the top 40, so it may take a little elbow grease still for Doja to visit that region for a sixth time on this album cycle.
4. Despite never hitting No. 1 on the Billboard 200 albums chart, Planet Her is unquestionably now one of the most successful pop LPs of the early ’20s. Is there anything other artists can take from its slow-burning blockbusterdom, or is it just Doja Cat being Doja Cat?
Rania Aniftos: I don’t think any artist has quite understood the power of connecting with Gen-Z and the things they’re interested in the way Doja Cat has. You see other artists try to post on TikTok and Instagram in a relatable way, but it often comes off as out of touch and cringy — or it’s painfully obvious that their label made them join social media in an attempt to promote a new song. Doja has nailed not only the authenticity in a digital space, but also music that feels as fun and sassy as today’s music listeners are. As long as she maintains that formula, she’ll have many more slow-burning successes in her future.
Katie Atkinson: The trick is stacking your album with undeniably fun pop songs that will eventually all bubble up and have their moment. Seriously, though, I think the biggest lesson is to not write off an album in week one. It didn’t need to be No. 1 to be an eventual blockbuster.
Jason Lipshutz: It’s a little bit of both: obviously general demand for Doja Cat music is sky-high, but she’s also been incredibly smart about how she rolls that music out, dating back to Hot Pink. The string of singles from Planet Her have showcased her skill set over the course of several months and sounds, ranging from pop to R&B to hip-hop to Afrobeats, and she’s deliberately spaced out her single promotions and music videos to drum up excitement for songs that have been available on streaming services for a long time. The marketing of Planet Her has veered toward the old-school, but Doja Cat is such a new-school star that the rollout has felt fresh at every turn.
Heran Mamo: Artists should take note of how she’s successfully staggered the release of music videos for songs she’s noticed perform well on online platforms (e.g., TikTok) — a sign Doja’s a pop star born of the digital age. And while COVID continued sweeping through the DC crew and ultimately led the singer to cancel multiple performances in the last few months, the ones she actually pulled off at festivals and award shows continued raising the profile of certain cuts, like “Woman” and “Get Into It (Yuh),” that strategically informed her audience which will become her next singles and/or which songs they need to pay closer attention to. But absolutely no one could replace Doja Cat, who’s maintained the same level of infamous, charismatic eccentricity throughout her skyrocketing ascent to pop superstardom since her start on the internet. Paired with her dance background that’s informed her exhilarating and mesmerizing performances, Doja Cat hasn’t become a new person but has become an elevated version of who she always was.
Andrew Unterberger: Its success shows the importance of maintaining a relatively consistent aesthetic and/or thematic through-line for an album’s whole promotional era — a lesson recently re-confirmed by Dua Lipa and The Weeknd, among countless other stars throughout pop history — while also keeping the songs from ever feeling sonically uniform. None of the big cuts from Planet Her are mistakable for one another, and a half-dozen fans of hers might each pick a different favorite from the bunch. That’s how you get an album in the mainstream’s center for seven months and not just seven weeks.
5. You’re the music director for the 2037 reboot of Euphoria, and you have permission and budget clearance to secure one Planet Her hit for the season premiere. Which song do you use and why?
Rania Aniftos: “Ain’t S–t,” because Nate Jacobs truly ain’t s–t.
Katie Atkinson: I’m going to go straight for irony and choose “I Don’t Do Drugs” featuring Ariana Grande.
Jason Lipshutz: “Kiss Me More” — which has already aged very well since its release last spring, and will continue to do so over the years. In 15 years, hearing Doja Cat and SZA’s infatuation jam will have a similar effect to hearing 2007 smashes like “Umbrella” or “Irreplaceable” today… and who wouldn’t love it if either of those popped up in next week’s Euphoria?
Heran Mamo: There would be an interesting irony in placing the Ariana Grande-assisted “I Don’t Do Drugs.” Rue has spent this entire second season lying to everyone she loves about being clean, but I’d hope for the best and say she finally gets to be in the future reboot of the series. But considering the song makes the storied “being in love feels like being on drugs” analogy, a grown-up Rue might be seeking her fix through a mature relationship, one that reminds her of how she felt when she was with Jules (if she isn’t still with her, that is), and one that patches the hole in her heart after her father’s passing.
Andrew Unterberger: “Need to Know,” definitely. I can see the strobe-lit party montages (and/or fantasy sequences) now.