Korean boy band BTS debuts at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 albums chart with its latest effort, Love Yourself: Tear. It’s the first No. 1 for the seven-member group, and the first K-pop album to lead the tally. The set, which was released through BitHit Entertainment on May 18, launches with 135,000 equivalent album units earned in the U.S. in the week ending May 24, according to Nielsen Music. Of that sum, 100,000 were in traditional album sales.
Love Yourself: Tear’s first-week sum is a bit bigger than expected. On May 21, some industry forecasters predicted the album would bow with over 100,000 units. By May 24, that forecast grew to over 120,000.
Of Love Yourself: Tear’s starting sum of 135,000 units, 100,000 were in traditional album sales, 26,000 were in SEA units (equaling 39.1 million on-demand audio streams for songs on the albums) and 9,000 TEA units.
As mentioned earlier, Love Yourself: Tear is the first K-pop album to lead the Billboard 200. It’s also only the second top 10 for the K-pop genre, following BTS’ own Love Yourself: Her, which debuted and peaked at No. 7 on the Oct. 7, 2017-dated list.
Love Yourself: Tear also logs the biggest week yet for K-pop (both in overall units and traditional album sales). The previous high-water mark was earned by BTS' Love Yourself: Her (31,000 units in its opening frame, 18,000 in traditional album sales).
Notably, as Love Yourself: Tear is performed mostly in the Korean language, it’s the first primarily foreign-language No. 1 album in over 12 years. In 2006, classical crossover vocal quartet Il Divo topped the list with Ancora (on the chart dated Feb. 11, 2006), which blends songs performed in Spanish, Italian and French, along with a track sung partially in English.
Back on the new Billboard 200 chart, Post Malone’s former No. 1, beerbongs & bentleys, drops to No. 2 (123,000 units; down 17 percent) after three consecutive weeks atop the list. The album was the first by an artist to notch three weeks in a row at No. 1 since December, when Taylor Swift's reputation linked together three frames (of its total four at No. 1).
Rapper Lil Baby bounces in at No. 3 with his debut studio album, and first top 10, Harder Than Ever. The set earned 71,000 units, powered largely by streams (65,000 SEA units), thanks in part to the popularity of the set’s track “Yes Indeed,” with Drake. The track debuted at No. 30 on the Streaming Songs chart dated May 26, and is expected to make a huge leap up the newest tally (dated June 2). Harder Than Ever also features guest turns from Young Thug, Moneybagg Yo, Lil Uzi Vert and Offset.
Lil Baby previously hit the Billboard 200 with the mixtape Too Hard, which peaked at No. 80 on Dec. 23, 2017.
Rock band Five Finger Death Punch notches its sixth top 10 album, as And Justice for None debuts at No. 4 with 71,000 units (60,000 in traditional album sales). The band previously hit the region with Got Your Six (No. 2, 2015), The Wrong Side of Heaven and the Righteous Side of Hell: Volume 2 (No. 2, 2013), The Wrong Side of Heaven and the Righteous Side of Hell: Volume 1 (No. 2, 2013), American Capitalist (No. 3, 2011) and War Is the Answer (No. 7, 2009). The group’s only studio album to miss the top 10 was its debut effort, The Way of the Fist, which topped out at No. 107 in 2008.
Cardi B’s Invasion of Privacy climbs 7-5 on the new Billboard 200 with 48,000 units (down 9 percent), The Greatest Showman soundtrack moves 5-6 with 44,000 units (down 17 percent) and J. Cole’s KOD dips 6-7 with 41,000 units (down 22 percent).
Rapper NAV rounds out the debuts in the top 10, as his first studio album, Reckless, starts at No. 8 with 36,000 units (32,000 in SEA units). The set features his Hot 100 hit “Wanted You,” featuring Lil Uzi Vert, as well as guest turns from Quavo, Travis Scott and Gunna.
Closing out the new top 10: Black Panther: The Album is steady at No. 9 with 28,000 units (down 15 percent), while Playboi Carti’s Die Lit falls 3-10 in its second week with 26,000 units (down 57 percent).