After waiting nearly two decades before earning its first song ever on a Billboard airplay chart, the wait for The National‘s first No. 1 ended much more quickly.
“The System Only Dreams in Total Darkness,” the lead single from The National’s seventh studio album, Sleep Well Beast (due Sept. 8), rises 2-1 on the Adult Alternative Songs airplay chart dated Aug. 12, becoming the band’s first No. 1 on a Billboard songs chart. (Among other leaders, the band boasts two No. 1s on Top Rock Albums.)
“System” is also the fourth straight No. 1 on the Adult Alternative Songs chart by an artist earning a first leader on the list and marks the sixth time in 2017 that an act has reached the top of the chart for the first time, of seven total No. 1s all year; only Spoon, whose “Hot Thoughts” ruled for seven weeks beginning March 18, had previously topped the chart.
The National is the fourth act in 2017 to reach No. 1 with its first-charting title on Adult Alternative Songs, following Dan Auerbach (“Shine on Me,” July 8; Auerbach, however, had hit No. 1 with his band, The Black Keys), Rag’n’Bone Man (“Human,” Feb. 11) and Mondo Cozmo (“Shine,” Jan. 28).
Compare 2017’s onslaught of six acts achieving their first No. 1s on Adult Alternative Songs to 2016, when six acts did so the entire year. Six first-time leaders also reigned in 2015. If another artist earns a first No. 1 on the chart this year, it would be the largest sum outright since 2014 (eight).
“System” also became The National’s first entry on Alternative Songs, having hit No. 34 in July. The track additionally reaches a new peak on the all-rock-format Rock Airplay chart, rising to No. 31 with 2 million audience impressions (up 4 percent), according to Nielsen Music.