While it may have been a tough listen, fans showed their continuing love for Jonghyun with his posthumous album.
The late K-pop star’s posthumous release, Poet/Artist, debuts at No. 177 on the Billboard 200 (dated Feb. 3) with 5,000 equivalent album units earned in the week ending Jan. 26, according to Nielsen Music. Of that sum, 4,000 were in traditional album sales.
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). The rest of Poet/Artist‘s starting unit sum was comprised of a minimal number of TEA units and almost 1,000 SEA units.
Jonghyun is now one of the few K-pop artists to chart on the Billboard 200. To date, only 10 other K-pop acts have bowed on the ranking, with Jonghyun as just the fourth soloist to do so following BoA, G-Dragon and Taeyang. Poet/Artist is also No. 1 on Billboard‘s World Albums chart this week for his second chart-topper on that list following Base, his debut solo EP from 2015. This also puts Jonghuyn in an elite group of K-pop acts to have multiple chart-toppers on the list, and just the third soloist to have more than one No. 1 album, alongside G-Dragon and Taeyang. Jonghyun’s band SHINee also boast two No. 1s on World Albums.
Before the release of Poet/Artist, Jonghyun’s Korean record label SM Entertainment announced that profits from the sales will be given to Jonghyun’s mother, as well as a “foundation for the establishment of an organization to help those who are living in difficult circumstances.”
Artist/Poet is a fitting tribute to Jonghyun featuring songs highlights the singer’s unique, Elvis Presley-like crooning style on songs like “Shinin'” — which features the comforting hook where Jonghyun sings “Always be with you” — and his knack for experimental pop music, best heard on the ominous dance cut “Rewind.” Yet, it’s the final, jazz-inspired ballad “Before Our Spring” that gives an indication of the difficulties Jonghyun faced as he hauntingly repeatedly asks “when” he’s going to leave his metaphorical winter, enter a warmer, happier springtime and feel better.
The world took notice when the 27-year-old singer, songwriter, producer and SHINee band member took his own life on Dec. 18, 2017. Fans from around the world held tributes to the star, with many disappointed that he wasn’t honored in the Grammy’s In Memoriam segment when there was a tribute to suicide awareness (with a spotlight on Chester Bennington and Chris Cornell‘s death) followed by Logic, Alessia Cara and Khalid‘s performance of their suicide-prevention anthem “1-800-273-8255.” Jonghyun was listed on the In Memoriam page on the Grammy’s official site.