Pop Stars and Flop Stars: Lady Gaga Thunders In with ‘Perfect Illusion,’ Britney Spears’ ‘Glory’ Blows Out
Welcome back to Pop Stars and Flop Stars, which, as I explained earlier, is a revitalized (and shortened) restructuring of the feature formerly called Pop Power Ranking. Here’s the drill: each week, I’ll name a Pop Star — someone who secured the lion’s share of No. 1s, trophies, and/or other cultural gold stars (both tangible and intangible) — and one Flop Star who… well, you get the idea. And that’s about all there is to say. Let’s get into it.
This Week’s Pop Star: Lady Gaga
More than three years after releasing her last lead single as a pop artist, Lady Gaga finally dropped the very good (though divisive) “Perfect Illusion.” (That bridge! That key change!) The song quickly shot up to No. 1 on iTunes charts across the world. (Though, to be fully transparent, its sales have since slowed.) It is far too early to say whether “Perfect Illusion” has the makings of a big hit, which Gaga could certainly use in her post-ARTPOP career. Streaming and sales numbers are decent but not astounding, though both will increase if radio takes to the song, which it might. (If it doesn’t, it should not come as a huge surprise, since “Perfect Illusion” sounds nothing like anything else in the Top 40 right now.) If “Perfect Illusion” does peter out, who knows: I may be writing about Gaga a bit further down in this feature in the coming weeks. Meanwhile, though, let’s focus on the exciting stuff (#MusicNotTheBling): Gaga has been popping up on radio stations and revealing incredibly enticing information about her new album including details about a duet with Florence Welch, a dance song produced by Beck, and the inclusion of a “beautiful” song produced by RedOne, the man behind her biggest hits. The album is shaping up to be truly something special; for now, it just feels so good to have her back in the form of “Perfect Illusion.”
- Travis Scott, whose Birds in the Trap Sing McKnight debuts at No. 1 on the Album 200 chart
- The Chainsmokers and Halsey, whose “Closer” remains No. 1 on the Hot 100 for a fourth week
- Adele, whose “Send My Love (To Your New Lover)” tops the Pop Songs Airplay Chart
This Week’s Flop Star: Britney Spears
Glory may be Britney Spears’ greatest artistic success in more than a decade, but it’s time we admit it’s not a commercial one. This week, Glory falls entirely out of the Top 10 of the Album 200 in its only its second week after experiencing a huge drop in both sales and streams. That’s… ouch.
- Barbra Streisand, whose Encore also experiences a sharp drop in sales in its second week of release, falling from No. 1 to No. 6 on the Album 200