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Taylor Swift and Post Malone top the charts again. How long can their dominance last?

Taylor Swift on stage in France in May, during the European leg of her Eras Tour. Since its release in April, Swift's latest album, <em>The Tortured Poets Department, </em>has been the top album in the United States for eight consecutive weeks.
JULIEN DE ROSA
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Taylor Swift on stage in France in May, during the European leg of her Eras Tour. Since its release in April, Swift's latest album, The Tortured Poets Department, has been the top album in the United States for eight consecutive weeks.

This week on the Billboard pop charts, up-and-comers hit new milestones, juggernauts perpetuate their streaks atop the charts and a veteran rock band returns to the top 10. But next week, a country star threatens Taylor Swift’s dominance.

TOP SONGS

Last year, Morgan Wallen’s “Last Night” topped the singles chart for most of the summer, including 10 weeks in a row in May-July. This year, Wallen’s inescapable duet with twice-as-inescapable Post Malone (“I Had Some Help”) sits atop the Hot 100 songs chart for a fifth straight week. If you, like Billboard, like to think in terms of “the song of the summer,” Wallen has your answer yet again.

After that, the biggest story is the continued rise of Sabrina Carpenter, who joins the top three for the first time ever — and, in fact, joins it twice, as her brand-new song “Please Please Please” makes its chart debut at No. 2 and the indefatigable “Espresso” hits a new chart peak at No. 3. Carpenter’s busy 2023 stands to take off even further as she builds toward the release of Short n’ Sweet, her new album, on August 23.

If you’re looking for an esoteric milestone to contextualize Carpenter’s success, note that she’s just the second act in the history of the Hot 100 — the first being The Beatles, and they were a pretty big deal, it turns out — to make their debut in the chart’s top three with two songs at once. (To clarify: Other artists have landed their first two singles in the top three at the same time, including Iggy Azalea and DaBaby, but all of those artists had featured performers who were also billed on at least one of the charting songs in question. Not so for Carpenter or the artist with whom she’s now synonymous, The Beatles.)

Two of the season’s other dominant new faces, Shaboozey and Tommy Richman, round out the Top 5 with “A Bar Song (Tipsy)” and “Million Dollar Baby,” respectively. Eminem’s “Houdini,” not to be confused with Dua Lipa’s “Houdini,” plunges from No. 2 to No. 8 in its second week. And the Top 10 has another new entry in the form of Billie Eilish’s frothily appealing “Birds of a Feather,” which rises from No. 11 to No. 9.

TOP ALBUMS

If you love Taylor Swift’s The Tortured Poets Department, you’re no stranger to hearing the same thing happen over and over and over again. So you’ll no doubt celebrate that, for the eighth week, The Tortured Poets Department once again rides high atop the Billboard 200 albums chart.

Still, trouble is brewing — if, by “trouble,” you mean “an album that’s likely to be more popular in its first week of release than The Tortured Poets Department is in its ninth week.” With her equivalent album units dropping this week from 148,000 to 128,000, Swift looks especially vulnerable to Luke Combs’ new album, Fathers & Sons, which came out this past Friday, just in time for Father’s Day. In fact, with Billie Eilish’s Hit Me Hard and Soft rising from No. 3 to No. 2 on the strength of “Birds of a Feather” — and picking up 106,000 equivalent album units in the process, though Eilish’s numbers have also been dipping since Hard and Soft’s release — it’s conceivable that Swift could drop all the way to No. 3 next week.

Elsewhere, the Top 10 welcomes three very different new entries, with chart debuts for Charli XCX’s fizzy gem Brat (No. 3) and Bon Jovi’s Forever (No. 5), as well as the latest boomlet of the ascendant Chappell Roan, whose The Rise and Fall of a Midwest Princess ticked up from No. 12 to a new chart peak at No. 10. Bolstered by her performance at the 2024 Governor’s Ball on June 9 — as well as the presence of three singles currently racing up the Hot 100 — Roan is the first artist to climb into the Top 10 for the first time after 12 or more weeks on the chart since Noah Kahan pulled off the feat nearly a year ago. (Yes, that’s another esoteric metric. But if you’re looking for signs that a slow rise equals a long stay, note that Kahan’s Stick Season is still in the Top 10, coming in at No. 8.)

WORTH NOTING

Talk about staying power: With the No. 5 debut of Forever, Bon Jovi has now had an album chart in the Top 10 in the 1980s, ’90s, 2000s, ’10s and ’20s. This year marks the 40th anniversary of Bon Jovi’s self-titled debut, and the band is now the fifth group to place a new album on the Top 10 in each of the last five decades, joining AC/DC, Def Leppard, Metallica and U2.

Virtually all of Forever’s chart success is derived from pure album sales rather than streaming — it’s actually the week’s top seller — so don’t expect the record to stay high on the charts in the coming weeks. But its first single, “Legendary,” has scored solid radio-airplay numbers, which is especially impressive when you consider that it’s got competition from Bon Jovi songs that have been dominating some stations’ playlists since the late ’80s. (Lookin’ at you, “Livin’ on a Prayer.”)

Copyright 2024 NPR

Stephen Thompson is a writer, editor and reviewer for NPR Music, where he speaks into any microphone that will have him and appears as a frequent panelist on All Songs Considered. Since 2010, Thompson has been a fixture on the NPR roundtable podcast Pop Culture Happy Hour, which he created and developed with NPR correspondent Linda Holmes. In 2008, he and Bob Boilen created the NPR Music video series Tiny Desk Concerts, in which musicians perform at Boilen's desk. (To be more specific, Thompson had the idea, which took seconds, while Boilen created the series, which took years. Thompson will insist upon equal billing until the day he dies.)
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