Pop Power Ranking: Iggy Returns, Ariana Debuts, Rihanna Reigns, and More
Climb to the top of the pops and dive deep down into the depths with the flops in our latest edition of Pop Power Ranking.
Welcome back to Pop Power Ranking, my attempt to make sense of the week that was in the world of pop. Please consult the inaugural Pop Power Ranking for a bit more information on how I put this together (and also check out last week’s ranking for a peek at how things have moved around), but also know that it’s pretty self-explanatory — I start with the flops and end with the week’s biggest winner — and that you can probably just jump right in… (Please note, it was a very slow week, hence why the Power Ratings are all a little low. Expect things to start kicking into higher gear in the coming weeks with releases from Zayn Malik, Drake, and, dear God, hopefully surprise Beyoncé and Lady Gaga drops.)
5) Iggy Azalea
She’s baaaaaackkkkk! After a brutal 2015, a virtually ignored “buzz single,” and a host of other problems and controversies, Iggy Azalea officially returned to the mainstream music game with “Team,” the lead single from her upcoming Digital Distortion album. Good for Iggy! Bad for Iggy: reactions to the track have been mixed, skewing toward negative. The track is currently floundering somewhere in the 20s on the iTunes chart, which does not bode well for a splashy Hot 100 debut, nor does it bode well for a particularly big album era.
Power Rating: 7/100
Last Week: N/A
Madonna drew her controversial, schizophrenic, frantic, and ultimately embarrassing Rebel Heart era to a close with a string of tour dates in Australia, and, boy, what a farewell jaunt. Following the messy “Tears of a Clown” shows (covered last week), Madonna managed to out-do herself by a cringe factor of 200 when she “accidentally” exposed the breast of a 17-year-old fan she’d brought on stage, engendering outrage and eye rolls from just about everywhere. Madonna has been begging us to pay attention to her throughout her entire career, but never has it felt as desperate as it has this last year. The good news (for her, not necessarily us) is that we are finally paying attention to the Rebel Heart era. The bad news (for all of us) is that we’re not doing it for any of the right reasons.
Power Rating: 18/100
Last Week: No. 5
3) Gwen Stefani
Welcome back, Gwen! After a decade-long wait, Stefani released her third solo album, This Is What the Truth Feels Like, on Friday, March 21. Though Truth has been met with mixed reviews — and though none of its singles have made a huge splash on the Hot 100 — it has been sitting pretty atop the iTunes album chart (or near it) since its release last week. Expect it to debut at No. 1 on the Album 200 next week, and expect her to move up a spot or two in this ranking too.
Power Rating: 39/100
Last Week: N/A
The Age of Ariana is upon us. Or it’s almost upon us, anyway. Grande’s “Dangerous Woman” debuted at No. 10 on the Hot 100, making her the first artist in the chart’s history to debut in the top 10 with the lead single from each of her first three albums. Expect the song to climb in the coming weeks. (We’ll just have to wait and see if it climbs all the way to the top, giving Grande her first-ever No. 1.) Additionally, Grande shared another new Dangerous Woman track and a pitch-perfect a cappella rendition of “Dangerous Woman.” Two months to go until the album’s out, and she’s already everywhere.
Power Rating: 52/100
Last Week: No. 2
— Dars (@rihluverx) March 20, 2016
This week, Rihanna’s ANTI returns to the top of the Album 200, dethroning Kendrick Lamar’s untitled unmastered and marking the first time (if you can believe it!) one of her albums has ever notched a second week atop that chart. (Her first album to hit No. 1, 2012’s Unapologetic, only held the top spot for its debut week.) This is, naturally, great news for Bad Gal, and that it comes packaged with the news that “Work” remains No. 1 on the Hot 100 for the fifth straight week is cause for celebration. However, it should be noted that ANTI moved only 17,000 copies in pure sales, making it one of the lowest (if not the lowest) sales tallies for a No. 1 album ever. With streaming, ANTI moved 54,000 units, which is still, honestly, disturbingly, shockingly low. Still, Rih is No. 1 on both the albums chart and the singles chart — and bonus: her world tour, so far, seems to be going well — so she has earned this No. 1 too.
Power Rating: 84/100
Last Week: No. 3