Taylor Swift's folklore made its debut atop the Billboard 200 albums chart this week, with its lead single "Cardigan" skyrocketing straight to No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 songs chart.
The achievement makes Swift the first artist ever in Billboard chart history to simultaneously launch to the No. 1 spots on the Hot 100 and Billboard 200 tallies.
And though the Swifties showered their favorite star in congratulatory messages (and even baked goods), the best reaction of the day came from Swift herself, who replied to a tweet of her charts milestone with a simple, but effective GIF of Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson in the San Andreas film saying, "Oh My God."
Taylor Swift’s Folklore holds atop the Billboard 200 albums chart for a second week, earning 135,000 equivalent album units in the U.S. in the week ending Aug. 6, according to Nielsen Music/MRC Data. The set is down 84% from its opening of 846,000 units – the biggest week for any album in 2020.
The Billboard 200 chart ranks the most popular albums of the week in the U.S. based on multi-metric consumption as measured in equivalent album units. Units comprise album sales, track equivalent albums (TEA) and streaming equivalent albums (SEA). Each unit equals one album sale, or 10 individual tracks sold from an album, or 3,750 ad-supported or 1,250 paid/subscription on-demand official audio and video streams generated by songs from an album. The new Aug. 15-dated chart (where Folklore remains at No. 1) will be posted in full on Billboard's website on Aug. 11.
A pair of former No. 1s are next on the Billboard 200, as Pop Smoke’s Shoot for the Stars Aim for the Moon climbs 4-2 with 97,000 equivalent album units (though down 9%) and Juice WRLD’s Legends Never Die is steady at No. 3 with 88,000 units (down 18%). The original Broadway cast recording of Hamilton: An American Musical rises one spot to No. 4 with 66,000 units (down 7%). Lil Baby’s former leader My Turn ascends 7-5 with 50,000 units (down 5%).
DaBaby’s Blame It on Baby returns to the top 10, skipping 11-6 with 43,000 equivalent album units (up 47%), after the album was reissued on Aug. 4 with 10 additional tracks. The LP debuted at No. 1 on the May 2-dated tally.
The U.K. chart week was a game of two halves as Taylor Swift’s Folklore started slow but pulled away to snag a second successive week at No. 1.
Folklore fell to No. 3 in the first half of the week, with Irish rockers Fontaines D.C. looking well set for their first No. 1 with A Hero’s Death (Partisan).
However, Swift and her U.K. record company EMI changed the course of the race by bringing forward the release of Folklore on CD, and the LP dashed to the finish line in first position.
When all streams and sales were tallied up, Folklore finished 3,500 chart sales ahead of Fontaines D.C.’s second set, which starts at No. 2 on the Official U.K. Albums Chart and is the market-leader in vinyl sales.
Folklore is now Taylor’s longest-reigning No. 1 album in the U.K., according to the OCC, as her previous chart-topping albums, Red (2012), 1989 (2014), Reputation (2017) and Lover (2019) all held the chart crown for just one week.
The pop singer also revealed which albums by her fellow female pop stars she's currently obsessed with. Katy Perry detailed her long road back to happiness and creating her forthcoming album Smile in a new profile with the Los Angeles Times on Wednesday (Aug. 12).
In the feature, the pregnant pop star opened up about how her disappointment with the performance of her 2017 album Witness set her on the road to a spiraling depression and eventual creative rebirth.
"I think the universe was like, ‘OK, all right, let’s have some humble pie here,’” Perry told the paper. “My negative thoughts were not great. They didn’t want to plan for a future. I also felt like I could control it by saying, ‘I’ll have the last word if I hurt myself or do something stupid and I’ll show you’ — but really, who was I showing?"
According to Sia, who was also interviewed for the story, her pal and fellow pop star had a "real breakdown" following the failure of Witness to reach the stratospheric heights of her previous, chart-topping records like 2010's Teenage Dream and 2013's Prism.
"She’s on stage with 10 candied lollipops and clowns and dancers, selling the dream, the joy, the happiness — and that’s really hard sometimes when you’re not feeling it yourself," Sia said. “I knew she was driven and ambitious, that was clear from the beginning. But I didn’t realize that she was so reliant on that validation for her psychological well-being. She did say ‘I feel lost.’ I think it was a big kick to her ego, but it was the best thing that could have ever happened to her, really, because now she can make music for the fun of it. Getting number ones does nothing for your inside."
Just a few weeks after suddenly announcing and dropping her eighth studio album folklore, the star packed up a bunch of signed CDs and shipped them to indie record stores across the country.
"Yesterday, I got an email from our Universal rep that we were one of the stores that had been chosen to receive 30 autographed Taylor Swift CDs," Angie Roloff, owner of Strictly Discs in Madison, Wisconsin, told Billboard. "We weren't permitted to talk about it until the CDs were in hand, and then we could post socially about it so folks could come and find us. And the other requirement was it has to be just local customers, not just shipping them to people outside of our immediate area. So today has been the day of Taylor Swift frenzy, which was actually quite fun."
Roloff went on to note that at press time, the signed CDs were gone "for hours," and after posting about it around 11 a.m., "all 30 were gone by about 11:40. You realize just how popular she is when you see something like that."
"I've been getting messages on Instagram, 'Your phone is busy.' And it's like, 'Yes, cause I think there's probably 100 people trying to call us right now,'" she continued, sharing that many customers called to place an order over the phone, and then came to pick up the CD curbside.
A number of lucky fans who managed to cop one of the signed discs took to social media to share photos in excitement.