Meghan Trainor Steals Charts ‘Title’ from Taylor Swift

Marc Hogan

By Marc Hogan

Lead News Writer
on 01.21.15 in News

If that’s a look of surprise on Meghan Trainor‘s face, it’s poetically appropriate. The “All About That Bass” ukulele-popster has bumped Taylor Swift, she of the famously astonished “you really like me!” expression, out of the top spot on the Billboard 200.

Trainor’s debut album, Title, moved 238,000 album equivalent units in the week ending January 18, according to Nielsen Music. As a reminder, the units take into account streaming and individual track downloads and are the result of a recent chart rules change.  Title also did well when it comes to pure album sales, shifting 195,000 copies.

Considering “All About That Bass” spent eight straight weeks atop the Hot 100 last year, Trainor’s chart success may have been foreordained, so let’s look at the milestones Title has achieved. The last album released in January to sell more copies in its first week was by no less a famous name than Justin Bieber, in 2013, with an acoustic version of the prior year’s Believe (211K). The last debut album by a female artist to have a bigger start was Susan Boyle’s I Dreamed a Dream in 2009 (701K). The last debut album by a solo artist to begin larger was Scotty McCreery’s Clear as Day in 2011 (197K). Unlike Boyle and McCreery, Trainor hasn’t had the benefit of being a contestant on a TV singing show, though she did start with serious industry connections (see our year-end essay, In 2014, Pop’s Social Gate-Crashers Were Already Inside).

Trainor doesn’t look to be letting up her hold on pop’s commercial zeitgeist. She recently told a BBC Radio 1 interviewer that she wrote a song with Harry Styles of One Direction, the only other group to steal the Billboard 200′s No. 1 spot from Swift’s 1989, which has spent nine non-consecutive weeks at the top. Also on BBC Radio 1, she covered 5 Seconds of Summer’s “Don’t Stop.” As for Swift, she sent a message of solidarity last September, adding her own lyrics to a cover of 1989‘s “Shake It Off.”

Swift’s album is still No. 2, with 131K units. And the chart doesn’t get any more exciting after that, with the Kidz Bop Kids’ latest effort, Kidz Bop Kids 27, opening at No. 3 (80K; kid-targeted covers of “Shake It Off” and “All About That Bass” are included). Ed Sheeran’s x drops a couple of spots to No. 4 (77K).

Aside from the Trainor and Kidz Bop Kids albums, the only other new release in the top 10 is Mark Ronson’s Uptown Special (No. 5, 77K). The U.K. producer’s first top 40 album is a beneficiary of the new, streaming-friendly chart system, boosted by Hot 100 chart-topper “Uptown Funk!” (his collaboration with Bruno Mars). On the Top Album Sales chart, which ranks albums only by pure sales, the LP is a spot lower at No. 6.

Rounding out the top 10: Nicki Minaj’s The Pinkprint slides (No. 6, 54K), as do Sam Smith’s In the Lonely Hour (No. 7, 50K), Hozier’s Hozier (No. 9, 42K) and J. Cole’s 2014 Forest Hills Drive (No. 10, 38K), while Maroon 5′s V returns to the chart’s upper rungs thanks to the video for single “Sugar”  (No. 8, 48K).

If this chart isn’t congenial to your tastes, Billboard has now made its full weekly chart archives available online, going back decades. Pick a chart, any chart, and remember, the postmodern electro-funk pastiche of “Uptown Funk!” proves time travel is a very real possibility.