Two years ago, Morgan Wallen accomplished an extraordinary feat on the Billboard album chart. Primed as a crossover country star, he held the No. 1 spot for 10 consecutive weeks with his 30-song “Dangerous: The Double Album,” taking a page from the hip-hop playbook by stuffing his release with tracks to maximize the streaming yield.
Now Wallen has done it again. “One Thing at a Time,” his latest release (this time with 36 tracks) has stayed at No. 1 for its first 10 weeks after release, holding off competition along the way from Metallica, Ed Sheeran and a barrage of K-pop performers. In its latest week, Wallen’s album had the equivalent of 141,000 sales in the United States, including 179 million streams and about 5,000 copies sold as a complete package, according to the tracking service Luminate. Since it came out in early March, “One Thing” has been streamed nearly 2.5 billion times.
In the 67-year history of the Billboard 200, the magazine’s flagship LP chart, only four other acts have held No. 1 for at least 10 weeks with successive albums: Adele, Whitney Houston, the Monkees and the Kingston Trio. Meanwhile, “Dangerous” remains a hit, holding at No. 5 this week, its 119th appearance in the Top 10.
Wallen’s victory comes as a vocal cord injury benches him from touring until June 22. But how much longer can he rule the chart? Last week’s new releases, which will compete with “One Thing” on the next chart, include the Jonas Brothers, Lauren Daigle and a Celine Dion soundtrack, “Love Again.” This week’s new releases include Lewis Capaldi, Kesha, Dave Matthews Band and the costumed metal band Ghost.
Coming in at No. 2 this week is Sheeran’s latest album, “-” (pronounced “Subtract”). Despite years as one of the top streaming artists in the world — as well as a new stadium tour and a widely reported copyright victory in court — Sheeran’s numbers were modest: just 38 million clicks in the United States.
His new album also sold 81,000 copies as a complete package — you may have spotted Sheeran toting his own vinyl at a pop-up shop near you — which brought Sheeran’s overall “equivalent” sales number to 112,000. “-” is Sheeran’s first studio album since “+” (“Plus”) 12 years ago not to open at No. 1.
Taylor Swift’s “Midnights” holds at No. 3 and SZA’s “SOS” — which notched 10 nonconsecutive weeks at No. 1 from December to February — is steady at No. 4.