Adele is No 1 once again, with 'Easy on Me'

Written By: Ben Sisario c.2021 The New York Times The New York Times
New York Published: Oct 26, 2021, 06:38 PM(IST)

Adele Photograph:( Twitter )

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After a six-year wait, new music by Adele was sure to be a hit.

After a six-year wait, new music by Adele was sure to be a hit. But how big of one, especially for a song like “Easy on Me” — a classic piano torch ballad that ignores virtually all contemporary pop standards — was unclear.

Turns out it was a really big hit.

The song reached No. 1 on Billboard’s Hot 100 singles chart, with 54 million streams, 74,000 track downloads and 19,000 radio spins in the United States during its first full week out, according to MRC Data, Billboard’s tracking arm. Released at midnight on Oct. 15, British time — it landed simultaneously on both sides of the Atlantic, so was available to American fans the previous evening — it broke Spotify’s record for the most streams on a single day, with 24 million clicks around the world.

While Adele’s streaming numbers are big, they did not break records on the overall chart. When Drake’s single “Way 2 Sexy” came out last month, for example, it logged 67 million streams. But it had far fewer downloads than “Easy on Me,” and it was not nearly as popular on the radio. Billboard’s chart is a composite of all those measurements. (In a quirk that was a result of the unusual timing of the song’s release, it had opened on last week’s chart at No. 68, thanks to just a few hours of availability before the new period began last Friday. So officially, it climbed 67 spots to the top in its second week out.)

Online, YouTube musicologists have been praising “Easy on Me” as a prime example of Adele’s vocal talent and old-fashioned songcraft, and the song’s almost total absence of percussion has led enterprising drummers to audition the beats they would add. (Good luck, guys!)

As of Monday, the music video — which opens with Adele pushing a cassette tape into a car stereo and goes from wistful black-and-white to an all-the-drama color climax — has logged 112 million views on YouTube.

“Easy on Me” is Adele’s fifth song to reach No. 1 on the Hot 100. Her next album, “30,” is due Nov. 19.

On this week’s album charts, Atlanta rapper Young Thug’s new release, “Punk,” opened at No. 1 with the equivalent of 90,000 sales in the United States, including 102 million streams and 12,000 copies sold as a complete package, according to MRC Data. “Punk,” which features appearances by J. Cole, Drake, Doja Cat, ASAP Rocky and others, marks Young Thug’s third time at No. 1, the last just six months ago, with the release of “Slime Language 2,” a compilation album from the rapper’s label, Young Stoner Life.

Drake’s “Certified Lover Boy,” last week’s most popular album, falls to No. 2. A rerelease of “Faces,” a 2014 mixtape by rapper Mac Miller, who died in 2018, is No. 3. Coldplay’s latest LP, “Music of the Spheres,” opens in fourth place, and “Let It Be,” the Beatles’ final studio album, originally released in 1970, is at No. 5 thanks to a deluxe reissue.
 

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