Music Article

Chart Champs: Who's Ruling Right Now

A look at music's current winners — from a pop-star comeback to an Academy Award-nominated actress' a cappella hit.

Justin Timberlake

Six years may be a millennium in pop music, but buyers welcomed the sexy back with open arms: The star's return single, "Suit & Tie," featuring Jay-Z, sold 314,000 downloads in its first week. Those numbers, combined with record-setting radio spins, landed "Suit" at No. 4 on the Hot 100 in week 2. And with a high-profile Super Bowl weekend performance booked, his Timberluck will likely continue.

Mackelmore and Ryan Lewis

The Seattle duo ended Bruno Mars' six-week reign atop the Hot 100 with their goof-rap smash "Thrift Shop." The song has already been downloaded more than 2 million times — which should keep them rolling in the secondhand flannel zebra jammies and built-in onesies they love for life.

A$ap Rocky

His debut didn't have quite the mixtape-to-mainstream sales impact of Kendrick Lamar or Meek Mill, but the Harlem rapper's Long.Live.A$AP. still bowed at No. 1 on the Billboard 200, with 139,000 copies sold. Not too $habby — especially considering that it leaked more than a month before release.

Pitch Perfect

The aca-mazing soundtrack for last October's big-screen song-com is enjoying a second life thanks to its Dec. 18 DVD release. Three tunes are currently charting on the Hot 100 — star Anna Kendrick's solo "Cups" is the highest at No. 66 — and the soundtrack, which has sold more than 354,000 copies thus far, leaped into third place in its 13th week.

Swedish House Mafia

For all the hype, few EDM artists have truly broken into the mainstream — until now. The trio may have announced their impending split last year (they'll play their final show in March), but they're going out with a (thump thump) bang: Their euphoric "Don't You Worry Child" finally cracked the Hot 100 top 10, some four months after its U.S. release.

The Weeknd

In 2011, the reclusive lo-fi R&B artist (born Abel Tesfaye) gave away three albums of material online that he packaged and released officially last November as Trilogy; two months later, it's already gone gold. By comparison, Bon Iver, a similarly blog-beloved indie voice who also happens to have a 2012 Best New Artist Grammy, just reached the same sales mark after 18 months with Bon Iver.

Will.i.am and Britney Spears

The lesson here: TV exposure doesn't always translate into chart success. Though the pair's "Scream & Shout" got an initial blast in November, it didn't actually bust into the top 10 until almost a month after the X Factor season finale.

Chris Tomlin

You're forgiven if you've never heard of the artist who had the No. 1 record in the country two weeks ago. The contemporary Christian worship singer (left) isn't widely known outside his genre, but his Burning Lights is the second faith album in less than a year to top the Billboard 200; TobyMac's Eye on It did the same last September.

Flo Rida

The pride of Miami has seen his last four singles — "Good Feeling," "Wild Ones," "Whistle," and "I Cry" — reach the top 10 ("Whistle" even held the top spot), and together they've sold more than 10 million downloads. Those numbers are even more remarkable considering that Wild Ones, the album they all appear on, came in at No. 186 on Billboard's year-end sales chart.

Gary Allan

JT isn't the only one taking over iTunes: The 45-year-old singer, whose "Every Storm (Runs Out of Rain)" is currently No. 2 on the country charts, quickly topped the iTunes Albums charts with his Set You Free, besting the likes of Taylor Swift and Justin Bieber — who was probably just moving from diapers to Pull-Ups when Allan released his debut in 1996.

Originally posted Feb 01, 2013 Published in issue #1245 Feb 08, 2013 Order article reprints