Pop Power Ranking: After a Long, Cold Winter, Beyoncé and Drake Finally Heat Things Up
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 our last 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…
@DVNLVZU she needs to stay under Jay-z’s foot where she belongs, and stay out of the creative woman’s way.
— BRUJA DEL BLOQUE (@AZEALIABANKS) May 1, 2016
Look, enough has already been said about Azealia Banks, her bad attitude, and how her career leans so unevenly upon social media outbursts as opposed to contributing, you know, anything important or even tangible to the world. Still… This week, Banks was in Ultimate Combat Mode, lashing out (for the 4,291st time) against Iggy Azalea (admittedly pretty funny, if also kind of Too Much) and, more perplexingly, Beyoncé. Regarding the latter, Banks unleashed a torrent of vitriol aimed at both Lemonade and Beyoncé herself. Like 90 percent of Banks’ remarks, her “critique” did not land well. Whenever Banks seems on the verge of arriving at some kind of point, one that maybe someone, somewhere would find some way to cosign, she always manages to undercut herself. In this case, in a rant about feminism, she threw in a dig about Jay Z keeping Beyoncé under his foot. Ew. I get it; she’s got a free mixtape to promote while Beyoncé’s out there shattering records and having her message not only heard but discussed. The disparity is palpable and, for Banks, I’m sure, frustrating. But that’s the problem with being a social media celebrity as opposed to a bonafide recording artist: people will listen to your records, but no one really hears you shouting from the black vortex that is Twitter.
Power Rating: 2/100
Last Week: N/A
One wonders if the ANTI era peak is already behind us. As “Work” slides down to No. 6 on the Hot 100, neither one of Rihanna’s other singles (“Needed Me” [No. 22] and “Kiss It Better” [No. 67]) are moving with a swiftness to take its place. So Calvin Harris to the rescue? The two, who previously worked together on Rih’s timeless “We Found Love,” dropped a new collaboration, “This Is What You Came For,” last week. The song did, for a short time, hit No. 1 on iTunes, but it was quickly dethroned by Beyoncé’s months-old “Formation.” (It is at No. 5 as of this writing.) It was also not welcomed by critics as a worthy successor to their original smash. Time will tell if anything, either “This Is What You Came For” or anything off of ANTI, will capture the public’s attention, but until then… It’s a Lemonade world, and Bad Gal’s going to have to live in it.
Power Rating: 42/100
Last Week: No. 3
Desiigner may not (yet) be a household name, but considering he has had the No. 1 single in the country (“Panda”) for two weeks now and that that very single was sampled on Kanye West’s much-discussed The Life of Pablo, it’s very likely he will be soon. Sure, Drake’s “One Dance” may overtake him next week, but let’s give this 19-year-old his props.
Power Rating: 55/100
Last Week: N/A
Arriving to surprisingly tepid reviews, Drake’s long-awaited Views is finally here. And despite the aforementioned critical shoulder-shrug, Drake has little reason to complain. Views will undoubtedly debut at No. 1 on the Album 200 next week; estimates have him moving more than one million copies (sales and streaming combined) by the time the week ends. In two days, Views sold more than Beyoncé’s Lemonade sold in six. This will give Drake the biggest sales week of 2016 so far. He also seems poised to earn his first-ever No. 1 single as a lead artist as “One Dance” climbs to No. 2 on the Hot 100. The view from up there must look good, Aubrey.
Power Rating: 85/100
Last Week: No. 2
Not only does Beyoncé hold down the No. 1 spot on this feature for the second straight week, but she does so while maintaining a full Power Rating (below). And that should surprise no one as Hurricane Lemonade continues wreaking havoc on hearts, minds, charts, and editorials ’round the globe. With only four days of sales (Lemonade was officially released to iTunes last Monday, and the chart cutoff is Friday), Beyoncé claims her sixth consecutive No. 1 debut. She is the first and only female artist to have her first six albums debut at No. 1. (This is not even taking into account her time with Destiny’s Child.) She sold 485,000 copes (more than four times what Rihanna’s ANTI sold its first week), and with TIDAL streams factored in, she moved a grand total of 653,000 units. In four days. And then! Every single song from Lemonade debuted on the Hot 100 this week, making her the first female artist in history to score 12 or more slots on the Hot 100 simultaneously. Eight of those songs charted in the Top 40, a new record, and one she shares with Prince, who achieved the same feat this week as fans continued to purchase his hits in the wake of his tragic death. “Formation,” a two-and-a-half-month-old song that never saw official release, debuts at No. 10, giving Queen Bey her 13th Top 10 hit and her first since “Drunk in Love” more than two years ago. Given the level of artistry and some of the complicated (and, to some, controversial themes) touched upon within the project, it is truly wondrous and exciting to see the album find such incredible commercial and critical success. With discussion about the album still going strong (far eclipsing the chatter about Drake’s Views) and a physical release on the horizon, expect to be sipping Lemonade all summer long.
And a bonus: Basically everyone agrees Bey was the best dressed at last night’s Met Gala.
Power Rating: 100/100
Last Week: No. 1