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JoBros, YoungBoy, Daft Punk — Can Anyone Take Down Morgan Wallen on the Billboard 200?  

In this week's The Contenders, some big names release big albums. Do any of them have a chance at toppling One Thing at a Time?

The Contenders is a midweek column that looks at artists aiming for the top of the Billboard charts, and the strategies behind their efforts. This week (for the upcoming charts dated May 20), new albums from big names in the worlds of pop, hip-hop and country look to impact the Billboard 200’s top tier — along with a reissued dance chart-topper from a decade ago.


Jonas Brothers, The Album (Republic): The brothers band already had one of the century’s most successful comebacks after a decade-long hiatus in 2019, topping both the Billboard 200 and the Billboard Hot 100 with their Happiness Begins album and its single “Sucker.” Now the trio looks to do it again with The Album a set heavily influenced by ‘70s and ‘80s top 40, as well as by their lives as family men.  

The Album lacks a lead single as popular as “Sucker,” but the addictive “Waffle House” has started to scale the Hot 100, climbing to No. 82 this week. The group has also been extremely visible in its promotional lead-up to the album, performing two songs from it on Saturday Night Live in April, and kicking off its Five Albums, One Night Tour at Yankee Stadium, playing all of not only The Album, but also their other four albums before it. 

YoungBoy Never Broke Again, Richest Opp (Never Broke Again/Motown): Surprise: Three weeks after his second full-length of 2023, April’s Don’t Try This at Home, YoungBoy is back with the new mixtape Richest Opp. At just 17 tracks, it’s about half the running time of Home, and with none of its big-name features. But it does come with some drama: Opp, announced just days before its release, was set to drop the same day as a (later delayed) new album from fellow star rapper Lil Durk, who YoungBoy has been taking shots at over social media, and who is one of the rappers YoungBoy calls out in the new set’s antagonistic “F–k the Industry Pt. 2.”  

Bailey Zimmerman, Religiously. The Album (Warner Nashville/Elektra): As Morgan Wallen continues his still-uninterrupted reign atop the Billboard 200 — now at 10 weeks and counting for his One Thing at a Time — he faces a challenge from a breakout artist whose sound and ascent both mirror his own. Bailey Zimmerman has become one of the most consistently viral artists in country music — with radio success now to match, now that Hot 100 top 10 hit “Rock and a Hard Place” also topped the Country Airplay chart for six weeks — thanks to a delivery that similarly mixes power and vulnerability and lyrics that feel both personal and clever.  

Whether the student can depose the master depends on if the rest of his debut album Religiously. The Album streams as well as its advance singles, “Rock” and fellow Hot 100 hits “Fall in Love” and “Fix’n to Break,” all of which are included among the set’s 16 tracks. Zimmerman will also get a boost from several sales variants, including a signed CD (available via his web store), as well as digital and cassette releases.  

In the Mix

Daft Punk, Random Access Memories (Columbia): Though the duo of Thomas Bangalter and Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo officially went their separate ways two years ago, the robots are back this week with a 10th anniversary edition of their Billboard 200-topping, album of the year Grammy-winning 2013 album Random Access Memories. The set features a new disk of bonus cuts — including demos, alternate versions and even sequels to some of the original’s tracks – and can be purchased digitally, or as a triple-LP vinyl or double-disc CD set. 

Lauren Daigle, Lauren Daigle (Centricity/Atlantic): It’s been five years since CCM breakthrough artist Lauren Daigle crashed the charts with her No. 3-peaking Look Up Child LP and its surprise No. 29 Hot 100 hit “You Say,” but the powerhouse artist often referred to as “the Christian Adele” is now back with her self-titled third album. Lauren Daigle has yet to spawn a crossover hit like “You Say,” but lead single “Thank God I Do” topped Billboard’s Hot Christian Songs listing, and is available for sale in three CD versions and a whopping six vinyl variants, as well as digitally.