“Anti-Hero” has officially become Taylor Swift’s biggest single to date by at least one metric: It’s topped the Billboard Hot 100 for eight consecutive weeks. That’s more than his previous leader’s seven weeks in the “Blank Space” ranking in 2014-15.
“What in the world – I love you,” Swift wrote to fans in a social media message reposting Billboard’s news of breaking her personal record at the top of the Hot 100.
He also added a postscript about SZA, the artist with whom he currently shares adjacent spots at the top of both the album and singles charts. “PS — listening to SZA’s album nonstop. Absolutely adore his music. Much love and respect for him! ” It’s an acknowledgment of what is apparently a friendly chart rivalry at the moment (or at least friendly between artists, if not all fans): On the Hot 100, an SZA single is currently No. 2 to Swift’s No. 1, while their roles have reversed in the top two spots on the Billboard 200 album ranking. .
In all, nine of Swift’s songs have reached No. 1 in the past few years, all since 2012. In addition to “Anti-Hero” and “Blank Space”, he had chart-toppers with “Shake It Off” (four weeks at No. Bad Blood” (enjoying one week at No. 1 each).
Some of Swift’s most iconic numbers have stopped at No. 1 on the chart for one reason or another, including “Love Story,” an early smash that ultimately only made it to No. 4 despite eight certified-double platinum “You Belong With Me” and “I Knew You Were Trouble” both shared the honor of stopping at No. 2 and each went platinum seven times. “Wildest Dreams” went platinum four times but only peaked at number 5.
With the “Midnights” album, Swift flipped the script on the usual album rollout pattern and didn’t release a single, or even a song teaser, before the full album was released in October. At the time the album hit, it was not entirely clear what, if any, push the album would produce, videos for both “Bejeweled” and “Anti-Hero” during the release week. even diversityIts rave reviews thought “Who knows?” Guessing “Anti-Hero” could become a breakout single – but maybe not. But what at first seemed like a self-deprecating feature in Swift’s discography, with bloggers everywhere debating whether the line “Sexy Baby” was cringe-worthy or hilarious, quickly became one of the year’s biggest hits.
One thing that puts a big distance between “Anti-Hero” and other recent Swift songs is how easily radio has embraced it, with the tune now enjoying its fourth week at No. 1 on Billboard’s Radio Songs chart. (It also topped the Digital Songs Sales chart and is No. 5 on Streaming Songs after previously topping that chart.)
Singles from her more acoustically inclined “Folklore” and “Evermore” albums may be streaming fan favorites, and as indicated above, both “Cardigan” and “Willow” made it to No. 1, as did the re-recorded version. The lazy “All To Well” followed, but none of them were production-wise particularly suitable for hit radio. There was more of a more electronic take with Swifts and Jack Antonoff’s “Anti-Hero” — even if, lyrically and thematically, it still counts as odd (and, apparently, welcomely so) in the Top 40 format.
Swift and SZA have traded compliments in recent weeks, even as their respective fans have seen them compete for the top spot on the charts. Both artists released digital variations on their albums or singles which increased the cost of their releases.
“Ahhh I feel stupid that I have to say this but I see fans arguing and I hate it,” SZA tweeted on Jan. 5. “I have no beef with anyone, especially not Taylor Lamah. I really like his album and writing! Everyone is trying to do their best as we all should. Love to all. GN.” (This followed a tweet that said “1 minute left in tracking week thanks for the streaming SOS & Digital Coping,” a message that many took as encouragement to help her beat Swift’s numbers.)
SZA’s “SOS” is currently No. 1 on the album chart for the fifth week in a row, along with Swift’s “Midnights” at No. 2; The latter album spent its first five weeks on the chart. On the Hot 100, “Anti-Hero” is now No. 2 behind SZA’s “Kill Bill.”