After a relatively slow start to 2022 on the Billboard charts, the last four weeks have brought four consecutive No. 1-debuting sets on the Billboard 200 albums chart, each of which set a new mark for the best first-week performance of the year to that point — and each of which also notched double-digits’ worth of song debuts on the accompanying Billboard Hot 100.
Future started the run in the chart week dated May 14, when his I Never Liked You set debuted with 222,000 equivalent album units moved, with all 16 of its tracks making that week’s Hot 100 (led by the Drake- and Tems-featuring “Wait For U” at No. 1). The next week, Bad Bunny outpaced him with his Un Verano Sin Ti album, which bowed with 274,000 units and 22 of its 23 tracks making the Hot 100 (led by “Moscow Mule” at No. 3).
One week later, Kendrick Lamar beat that number with 295,000 units for his Mr. Morale & the Big Steppers LP, which charted all 18 of its songs on the Hot 100 (led by “N95” at No. 3). And then this week, Harry Styles trumped them all with Harry’s House, posting 521,500 first-week units and landing all 13 tracks on the Hot 100 (led by “As It Was” returning to No. 1 for a fourth week on top).
It’s a remarkable string of debut performances, in a year that had previously failed to see any albums even crack the 200,000 mark in terms of units moved in a single week. Here are five stats to help put the recent deluge of blockbuster sets in proper chart context, with all numbers courtesy of Luminate.
1. The four-weeks’ worth of stats from the four sets’ first-week performances produced a combined 1,312,000 equivalent album units moved. The EAU numbers posted by the No. 1 albums in the 17 weeks before that — dating back to the first chart week of 2022, for the chart week dated Jan. 6, which was led by the Encanto soundtrack in its first of nine total weeks atop the listing — add up to a total of 1,586,000. So in four weeks, the combined total of No. 1 albums got 83% of the way towards matching the total for the first 17 weeks of No. 1s from this tracking year combined.
2. The four consecutive debuts of over 200,000 units moved mark the first time this decade that No. 1 albums have posted over 200,000 units for four consecutive weeks — let alone via four different albums. The last time three consecutive weeks’ worth of No. 1 albums all posted over 200,000 units was from the charts dated Nov. 27, 2021 to Dec. 11, 2021, when Taylor Swift’s Red (Taylor’s Version) debuted with 605,000 units, followed by the first two weeks of Adele’s six-week run at No. 1 with her 30 album, which notched 839,000 and 288,000 in its first two frames, respectively. (It just missed a third straight week over 200,000, with 193,000 units moved the following week.)
Remarkably, it’s also the first time that a new benchmark for the year’s best single-week total has been set in four consecutive weeks of No. 1 albums, dating back to the introduction of Luminate tracking in 1991 (with the Billboard 200 being measured in album sales from 1991 to 2014, and equivalent album units in the years since).
3. With its 521,500 units moved, Harry’s House in its first week alone notched a bigger number than any run of four consecutive No. 1 albums combined dating back to the first chart week of 2022. The closest run would be the one from the charts dated Jan. 22 through Feb. 12, which encompassed the debut week of Gunna’s DS4EVER album (150,000 units) and the second through fourth weeks of the Encanto soundtrack’s run at No. 1 (104,000, 115,000 and 113,000, respectively), adding up to 482,000 total units.
4. Prior to the four-week period in question, there had been just five top 10 debuts on the Hot 100 for all 2022: Future and Gunna’s Young Thug-featuring “Pushin’ P” (No. 7, chart dated Jan. 22), Nicki Minaj and Lil Baby’s “Do We Have a Problem?” (No. 2, Feb. 19), Harry Styles’ “As It Was” (No. 1, April 16), Jack Harlow’s “First Class” (No. 1, April 23) and Morgan Wallen’s “Don’t Think Jesus” (No. 7, April 30).
In the past four weeks, however there have been a staggering 16 top 10 debuts. That number includes four each from Future (“Wait For U,” No. 1; “Puffin on Zooties,” No. 4; “712PM,” No. 8; “I’m Dat N***a,” No. 10, all May 14), Bad Bunny (“Moscow Mule,” No. 3; “Tití Me Preguntó,” No. 5; “Después de la Playa,” No. 6; “Me Porto Bonito” alongside Chencho Corleone, No. 10, all May 21) and Kendrick Lamar (“N95,” No. 3; “Die Hard” alongside Blxst and Amanda Reifert, No. 5; “Silent Hill” alongside Kodak Black, No. 7; “United in Grief,” No. 8, all May 28), as well as three more debuts from Harry Styles (“Late Night Talking,” No. 4; “Music For a Sushi Restaurant,” No. 8; “Matilda,” No. 9, all June 4). The tally is topped off by a mid-Kendrick-week debut from Morgan Wallen (“You Proof,” No. 6, May 28).
5. On the Hot 100 dated May 7 — the final chart before this recent four-album run — just four songs of the Hot 100’s top 20 were songs released in 2022, with 14 of the songs coming from 2021 and two of them (Dua Lipa’s “Levitating” and The Weeknd and Ariana Grande’s “Save Your Tears”) seeing their chart runs date all the way back to 2020. On this week’s Hot 100 (dated June 4), 2022-released songs now make up 14 of the top 20 songs, including seven from Harry Styles (the three aforementioned top 10 debuts, plus “As It Was” back at No. 1, and further debuts of “Daylight” at No. 13, “Little Freak” at No. 14 and “Grapejuice” at No. 15), three from Bad Bunny (“Bonito” at No. 10, “Preguntó” at No. 16 and “Mule” at No. 17), and one each from Future (“Wait For U,” No. 3) and Kendrick Lamar (“N95,” No. 20) — while both of the 2020-dated songs are now off the Hot 100 altogether.
Additional research by Keith Caulfield and Gary Trust.