Agust D’s ‘D-Day’ Fights Morgan Wallen for No. 1 on Billboard 200 – Billboard
Written by GRB on 26/04/2023
The Contenders is a midweek column that looks at artists aiming for the top of the Billboard charts, and the strategies behind their efforts. This week (for the upcoming charts dated May 5), it’s the sales of Agust D’s debut LP vs. the streams for Morgan Wallen’s 36-track juggernaut in a race for the Billboard 200 crown.
Agust D, D Day (Big Hit): Just a few weeks ago, the top debut on the Billboard 200 came from a BTS alum: Jimin, who debuted atop the Billboard Hot 100 with his single “Like Crazy” and came one spot from doing the same on the Billboard 200 with the album FACE. This week, the biggest new release may again come from the K-pop superstars’ ranks, as Suga releases his much-anticipated first LP, D-Day, under his Agust D alias.
The album is expected to sell well – helped by a variety of physical releases, which like FACE, came out the same day as the album’s digital release. (Recent album releases from BTS groupmates RM and J-Hope initially arrived as digital-only.) D-Day is available as multiple different collectible CDs (including exclusive editions for Target, Walmart and the Weverse store) — once again with both standard elements (including a sticker, postcard and poster) and randomized photo cards — plus four digital albums (one standard, plus three alternative cover editions sold in Agust D’s official webstore).
The 10-track will have to sell very well to compete with the continued streaming dominance of Morgan Wallen’s One Thing at a Time – which posted 166,000 equivalent album units in its seventh week at No. 1, boosted by sales of a new vinyl edition of the 36-track album. But if D-Day can get in range of FACE’s first-week numbers (164,000 units), it could be Wallen’s Time to vacate the top spot.
YoungBoy Never Broke Again, Don’t Try This at Home (Never Broke Again/Motown/UMG): He’s back. Three months after his first album of 2022, January’s I Rest My Case, YoungBoy returns with his second full-length release for Motown, Don’t Try This at Home. There’s no physical release yet for the 33-track set, but the tracklist is his longest yet, and features big-name features from Nicki Minaj, Post Malone, The Kid LAROI and Mariah the Scientist — which may help the new album pass the somewhat underwhelming No. 9 Billboard 200 peak for I Rest My Case earlier this year.
Taylor Swift, Folklore: The Long Pond Studio Sessions (Republic): Taylor Swift already has two albums in the top 10 of the Billboard 200 this week with 2022’s Midnights and 2019’s Lover, and she may add another next week with the Record Store Day-only Folklore: The Long Pond Studio Sessions. The vinyl RSD release of the 17-track set — consisting of acoustic live performances of the tracks from Swift’s Grammy-winning Folklore album, previously featured in Swift’s Disney+ special of the same name and available to purchase digitally as part of the Folklore deluxe edition — is limited to 75,000 copies, but that alone would likely be enough to secure a debut in the top 10 if it to sells out, as anything Swift-related seems to do in 2023. (Other titles by the big-name likes of Pearl Jam, Elton John and The 1975 may also factor on the chart next week.)
In the Mix
Mac DeMarco, One Wayne G (Mac’s Record Label): There aren’t many albums on the Billboard 200 you could fall asleep listening to and still be hearing when you wake up the next morning – but Mac DeMarco’s nine-and-a-half hour (!!) new collection is certainly one. The epic set, mostly consisting of instrumentals and demos, is unsurprisingly unavailable for physical release and is probably unlikely to produce a breakout hit. But with 199 tracks, its streaming numbers should still be enough to make it a factor on the Billboard 200 next week.
Twenty One Pilots, MTV Unplugged (Fueled by Ramen): Alt-pop duo Twenty One Pilots are no stranger to the top of the Billboard 200, which they topped with 2015’s Blurryface and revisiting the top three with follow-ups Trench (2018) and Scaled and Icy (2021). The outfit might not get quite so high with MTV Unplugged, but the duo has maintained a devout fanbase since their mid-’10s breakthrough and may see good sales for the CD and LP-released set.
Everything But the Girl, Fuse (Buzzin’ Fly/Virgin): It’s been nearly a quarter-century since the last album from genre-bending U.K. duo Everything But the Girl, who notched a trio of acclaimed albums in the top half of the Billboard 200 in the ‘90s — most recently 1999’s No. 65-peaking Temperamental. This month’s Fuse looks to make it four in a row, with a variety of vinyl and CD options for purchase, and reviews as strong as the pair received at their commercial peak three decades ago.