“We Might Be Dead by Tomorrow,” a single by atmospheric alt singer/songwriter Soko, debuts at No. 1 on Billboard’s Streaming Songs chart with 11.5 million U.S. streams, according to Nielsen BDS. The quickly-building viral hit concurrently launches at No. 9 on the Billboard Hot 100 (which measures streaming, airplay and sales).
Of the song’s streaming sum (in the week ending March 16), 99% are from YouTube, the majority of which stem from users who viewed the viral video “First Kiss,” which hit the Internet on March 10. Shot entirely in black-and-white, the 3-minute, 28-second “Kiss” clip captures 20 strangers sharing an intimate moment for the first time, along with their ensuing bashful, yet heartwarming, reactions. Throughout, Soko’s song accompanies the potential romance, its subtly-stated melody and instrumentation adding to the ambience necessary to set the video’s intended intimate mood.
Originally thought to be a purely viral creation, “Kiss,” in which Soko herself appears as one of the lip-locking strangers, was revealed to be a collaboration between Soko and Wren, a Los Angeles-based womenswear brand. “We asked 20 strangers to kiss for the first time,” the company confirmed on Twitter the day of the video’s release.
“Tomorrow” was chosen for the clip by Wren’s founder and creative director Melissa Coker. “I wanted to create something that was pure, authentic and full of emotion for the Wren Fall 2014 campaign,” Coker wrote in an email to Billboard. “When casting the video, I reached out to the most dynamic, charming and inspiring people I know in LA, including Soko. She generously agreed to be one of the performers and went one step further: asking if I would like to use some of her music in it.”
“‘We Might Be Dead by Tomorrow’ has the perfect slow, ethereal feel to match the emotional charge of the video. It was a perfect match and added so very much to the project.”
Soko first released a video for “Tomorrow” on May 25, 2012. The track originally appeared on her debut album, “I Thought I Was an Alien,” which was first released in January 2013. After the sudden rise of the “Kiss” clip, the set sold 1,000 units in the week ending March 16, from a negligible amount during the previous tracking frame, according to Nielsen SoundScan.
“Tomorrow” bows on the Hot 100 with 96 percent of its points from streaming. It also sold 10,000 downloads in the week ending March 16, up, like its parent album, from a minuscule amount the prior week.
Soko nets the year’s first top 10 Hot 100 debut and the first top 10 launch for an act’s first entry since Ariana Grande began at No. 10 with “The Way” (April 13, 2013). It’s the highest arrival for a new act since Baauer’s “Harlem Shake” bowed at No. 1 to begin its five-week command. Like “Tomorrow,” “Shake” surged to its success via viral means, as fans famously created masses of clips featuring the song and its feverish dance.