US Chart Toppers
A selection of briliant albums that have occupied the upper echolons of the Billboard charts
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About This Box
Popular music is a constantly evolving organism, but some things are more likely than others to achieve chart success.
Sing-along and catchy choruses are a plus, as are charismatic characters that fans can latch onto and embrace like their favourite celebrities. Danceable rhythms often find their way onto the charts, as do melodies that are easy to remember.
These records do all that and more.
What you’ll be listening to...
Your box will include a handpicked selection of two or three albums from this collection of eight:
The Scissor Sisters frontman’s solo debut could’ve been a disaster: A pop star moseys down to New Orleans to find “real music.” But if you’re not a stickler for authenticity, it’s actually irresistible.
This album overflows with the opulence of orchestral Seventies pop — as if ELO and the Bee Gees got together to make a Muppet fantasia of Cajun rock.
Billowing ballads like “All for What” retain some melancholy, but mostly there’s willful elation, as if the singer got hell-bent on transcending his sorrows via old-school sonic nirvana. On greasy, brashly defiant anthems like “Sad Song Backwards,” and, indeed, most of Jake Shears, he attained it.
A1 - Good Friends
A2 - Big Bushy Mustache
A3 - Sad Song Backwards
A4 - Everything I'll Ever Need
A5 - All For What
A6 - S.O.B.
B1 - Creep City
B2 - The Bruiser
B3 - Clothes Off
B4 - Palace In The Sky
B5 - Mississippi Delta (I'm Your Man)
Kings of Leon
When You See Yourself
When You See Yourself
Kings of Leon
The riffin' and ruminatin' rockers are back with an eighth album that finds them joyful, energised and curious, the sound of growing happier in your own skin
If there was a hump between 2011’s dreary ‘Come Around Sundown’ and 2016’s poppy ‘WALLS’, they’re long past it now. We’ll be seeing the Kings for a long time to come – and if every next album is like this one, that’s a cause for celebration.
A1 - When You See Yourself, Are You Far Away
A2 - The Bandit
B1 - 100,000 People
B2 - Stormy Weather
B3 - A Wave
C1 - Golden Restless Age
C2 - Time In Disguise
C3 - Supermarket
D1 - Claire & Eddie
D2 - Echoing
D3 - Fairytale
CeeLo Green is Thomas Callaway
CeeLo Green is Thomas Callaway
This is the “Crazy” man as we haven’t heard him before: in a meditative mood, crooning rather than riffing … reflective, not rapturous.
His sixth solo album detours from benchmark sounds like the pure pop of the Pussycat Dolls’ “Don’t Cha” (the 2005 hit he co-wrote and produced), the ’60s soul of “Forget You” and the monumental, haunting electronica/hip-hop of Gnarls Barkley’s “Crazy.”
While it’s easy to label this album country-soul — that would imply Bobby Womack and Al Green — think more the former: not the twangy stuff of pickup trucks, blondes and bars but more credibly of men wrestling with their emotions, demons and dreams. It’s redemption music set against a sweeping backdrop of strings, electric piano, Hammond B3, guitars and clavinet.
A1 - For You
A2 - Lead Me
A3 - Little Mama
A4 - Don't Lie
A5 - I Wonder How Love Feels
A6 - People Watching
B1 - You Gotta Do It All
B2 - Doing It All Together
B3 - Slow Down
B4 - Down With The Sun
B5 - Thinking Out Loud
B6 - The Way
Awaken My Love
Awaken My Love
On Donald Glover’s latest project as Childish Gambino, he ditches rap for lovingly produced funk worship, resulting in his most enjoyable project yet.
On “Awaken, My Love!” Donald Glover has clearly absorbed a great deal of musical history, as the album nods to Parliament-Funkadelic, Sly and the Family Stone, Rick James, Prince, and more.
A1 - Me And Your Mama
A2 - Have Some Love
A3 - Boogieman
A4 - Zombies
A5 - Riot
A6 - Redbone
B1 - California
B2 - Terrified
B3 - Baby Boy
B4 - The Night Me And Your Mama Met
B5 - Stand Tall
Major Key is DJ Khaled’s ninth studio album in 10 years, and it’s undoubtedly his best.
All in all, DJ Khaled delivers on Major Key. At nearly an hour it runs long, but more often than not, Major Key is one big happy compilation of swag.
More impressive is the fact there are more hits beyond the promo singles, which is always a bonus. All in all, a success.
A1 - I Got the Keys (ft Future & Jay Z)
A2 - For Free (ft Drake)
A3 - Nas Album Done (ft Nas)
A4 - Holy Key (ft Betty Wright, Big Sean, Kendrick Lamar)
B1 - Jermaine's Interlude (ft J. Cole)
B2 - Ima Be Alright (ft Bryson Tiller & Future)
B3 - Do You Mind (ft August Alsina, Chris Brown, Jeremih, Nicki Minaj)
C1 - Pick These Hoes Apart (ft French Montana, Kodak Black, Young Jeezy)
C2 - Fuck Up the Club (ft Future, Rick Ross, YG, Yo Gotti)
C3 - Work for It (ft 2 Chainz, Big Sean, Gucci Mane)
D1 - Don't Ever Play Yourself (ft Busta Rhymes, Fabolous, Fat Joe, Jadakiss, Kent Jones)
D2 - Tourist (ft Lil Wayne, Travis Scott )
D3 - Forgive Me Father (ft Meghan Trainor, Olubowale Akintimehin, Wiz Khalifa)
D4 - Progress
Nelly’s 2000 debut brought the life and sound of St. Louis to the world. It’s a syntactical maze of local culture that doubles as a flier for the greatest party you could ever imagine.
A winning combo of thick club cuts, hands-in-the-air call-outs, pop ingenuity and a perfect balance of entertainment and realism in his rhymes.
A1 - St. Louie
A2 - Greed, Hate, Envy
A3 - Country Grammar (Hot ....)
A4 - Steal The Show
B1 - Ride Wit Me
B2 - E.I.
B3 - Thicky Thick Girl
B4 - For My
C1 - Utha Side
C2 - Tho Dem Wrappas
C3 - Wrap Sumden
D1 - Batter Up
D2 - Never Let 'Em C U Sweat
D3 - Luven Me
Nothing is a well-rounded, funky, and frothy album that has Pharrell Williams, Chad Hugo, and Shay Haley dabbling in a decidedly retro bag of musical tricks.
The first singles released, “Hot -N-Fun” featuring Canadian songstress Nelly Furtado and “Hypnotize You”, aren’t entirely representative of the whole album. “Hot-N-Fun” is an accurate title for a upbeat dance track that Williams sings is “stadium music,” and one can imagine 50,000 people bouncing around.
The Daft Punk-produced “Hypnotize You” is a overtly-sexual slice of slinky 80s synth R&B, saved from tackiness by Williams’ sincere falsetto.
However, the majority of the album feels like it was plucked from 70s soul/funk recordings with working class rock riffs and Motown beats. Simple drums, an ever-present horn section, finger snaps, and hand claps are the rule with most tracks, and it works.
A1 - Party People
A2 - Hypnotize U
A3 - Help Me
B1 - Victory
B2 - Perfect Defect
B3 - I've Seen The Light / (Interlude) Inside Of Clouds
B4 - God Bless Us All
C1 - Life As A Fish
C2 - Nothing On You
C3 - Hot-N-Fun (ft Nelly Furtado)
C4 - It's In The Air
D1 - Sacred Temple
D2 - I Wanna Jam
D3 - The Man
Despite keeping one foot in the club-pop groove, commitment and maturity set the tone for settled-down Sheeran’s latest outing
Ed knows how to turn his highly personal observations into adult contemporary pop: music where the vibe matters as much as the hooks.
On this album, Sheeran's melodies are soft yet insistent, and the production glistens with flair borrowed from younger, hipper artists who mine a similar blend of retro new wave and modern R&B, but he knows how to turn this stylish sound into something cozy and reassuring.
That comforting gloss is the surest sign that Ed Sheeran has indeed grown up: he's not chasing trends, he's making music for people who have aged out of the clubs but have yet to wallow in nostalgia.
A1 - Tides
A2 - Shivers
A3 - First Times
A4 - Bad Habits
A5 - Overpass Graffiti
A6 - The Joker And The Queen
A7 - Leave Your Life
B1 - Collide
B2 - 2step
B3 - Stop The Rain
B4 - Love In Slow Motion
B5 - Visiting Hours
B6 - Sandman
B7 - Be Right Now
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