The Weeknd Has Another New Rising ‘Starboy’ Track — Could He Really Do It Again?
This week's Trending Up looks at a new Morgan Wallen album cut, an old Lumidee classic, and a new-old potential Weeknd hit.
Welcome to Billboard Pro’s Trending Up column, where we take a closer look at the songs, artists, curiosities and trends that have caught the music industry’s attention. Some have come out of nowhere, others have taken months to catch on, and all of them could become ubiquitous in the blink of a TikTok clip.
This week: While celebrating one cut from his 2016 album improbably topping the Hot 100 in 2023, The Weeknd sees gains from another Starboy favorite — plus a dancehall classic revived by a rap superstar’s new single, and the early standout from the 36 songs on the new Morgan Wallen album.
Another Starboy “Reminder”?
Thanks largely to its much-hyped (and well-delivered) Ariana Grande-assisted remix, The Weeknd‘s “Die for You” tops the Billboard Hot 100 this week, over six years after it first debuted on the chart in 2016. Back then, it was one of many debuts from the artist born Abel Tesfaye’s Starboy album (via XO/Republic), a Billboard 200-topping success — but one that few would’ve predicted would still be spinning off hits in 2023. At the height of the TikTok age, though, seemingly no song is off-limits from a potential revival, with “Die for You” being one of the biggest recent beneficiaries.
And wouldn’t you know it: The Weeknd may even have a follow-up hit off the same set. “Reminder” also graced the Hot 100 back in late 2016, debuting and peaking at No. 31, with a star-studded video that was even nominated for video of the year at the 2017 Video Music Awards. In the past few month or two, the song has seen new life, with a popular TikTok trend of listeners posting selfie videos to the song’s (somewhat questionable) “Got a sweet Asian chick, she go low man (lo mein)” lyric.
The song has steadily risen in official on-demand U.S. streams over the last four weeks as a result — from 1.8 million for the tracking week ending Feb. 9 to over 2.7 million the week ending March 2, a 52% gain, according to Luminate. That’s still just a fraction of the streams posted by “Die for You” in its chart-topping week, but the song does debut at No. 140 on the Global 200 this week (dated March 11) — and with the success of “Die” serving as proof of concept, it might not take much more of a foot in the door for radio and streaming audiences to get on board with embracing another new-old Weeknd hit.
“Oooh” Yeah: Lumidee Classic Gains Thanks to Nicki Minaj Sample
For her first single of 2023, rap superstar Nicki Minaj reached back two decades for assistance. Lumidee’s 2003 top five Hot 100 hit “Never Leave You (Uh Oooh)” is one of the fondest-remembered smashes from the Sean Paul-heralded dancehall explosion in the pop mainstream of the mid-’00s, and Minaj sampled both the hypnotic Diwali Riddim and the singer’s own entrancing “Uh ooooh” chorus cries for the beat to her fiery new “Red Ruby da Sleeze,” released last Friday (March 3).
Unsurprisingly, the original “Never Leave You” (released on Universal) saw a bump in listenership as a result. The song rose from just under 42,000 official on-demand U.S. streams on the Thursday before the song’s release to nearly 72,000 that day, a gain of 71%, according to Luminate. “Red Ruby” is also off to a strong start, with millions in streams and thousands in sales in its debut week — though with heavy traffic expected from the 36 tracks found on Morgan Wallen’s blockbuster new album One Thing at a Time, it might have to wait to challenge the No. 3 peak of the Lumidee classic it borrows from.
“Thinkin’ Bout” an Early Breakout From New Morgan Wallen LP
Speaking of: As we’ve already written about extensively this week on Billboard, Morgan Wallen is off to the year’s best start with his third album One Thing at a Time, a 36-track set that looks to be a streaming behemoth — even beyond the standards of his 10-week Billboard 200-topping sophomore Republic/Big Loud/Mercury set Dangeorus: The Double Album. Dozens of the tracks are expected to land on the Hot 100 next week, with the pack predictably led by previously released cuts like “Last Night” and the title track, as well as early-tracklist highlights like “Man Made a Bar” and “Ain’t That Some.”
However, one track is joining the front-runners, despite appearing deep into the set’s running order: the rueful post-breakup cut “Thinkin’ Bout Me.” Showing up 25th out of the album’s 36 tracks, the song has nonetheless outperformed most of the tracks before it, with nearly 13 million combined official on-demand U.S. streams across its first four days of release (March 3-6), according to Luminate. The song might’ve been helped by a TikTok video Wallen shared days before One Thing‘s release of an older woman dancing enthusiastically at what appears to be a silent disco — with the vid set to “Thinkin’,” though it’s unclear what music the woman’s actually grooving to — along with the caption “fav fan ever. y’all help my find this lady.”
How high will “Thinkin’ Bout Me” and the rest of the album’s heavy-hitters debut on the Hot 100 next week? Too early to say for sure — but it’s probably safe to say that in general, One Thing at a Time will not be as patient with its chart takeover as its title suggests.