It’s a big week for women on the Billboard 200 albums chart (dated March 25), as five titles by female acts occupy the Nos. 2-6 slots. It’s the first time the top six has housed five female-led albums in over 12 years, since the Dec. 11, 2010-dated list.
On the latest chart, all-female pop ensemble TWICE debuts at No. 2 with Ready to Be, while Miley Cyrus’ latest effort, Endless Summer Vacation, launches at No. 3. Three former No. 1s are next on the chart, with SZA’s SOS, Karol G’s Mañana Será Bonito and Taylor Swift’s Midnights at Nos. 4-6, respectively.
The lone male in the top six is Morgan Wallen, whose One Thing At a Time ranks at No. 1 for a second week.
Women last had five of the top six on the Dec. 11, 2010, chart, where the Nos. 2-6 titles were all from solo women. Nicki Minaj’s Pink Friday debuted at No. 2 that week, followed by Susan Boyle’s former leader The Gift (dropping 1-3), Swift’s chart-topping Speak Now (9-4), Jackie Evancho’s O Holy Night (2-5) and Rihanna’s Loud (3-6) at Nos. 3-6, respectively.
Before that week, women last had five of the top six on the Jan. 30, 2010-dated chart, when Susan Boyle’s I Dreamed a Dream, Kesha’s Animal, Lady Gaga’s The Fame, Alicia Keys’ The Element of Freedom and Lady Gaga’s The Fame Monster were Nos. 2-6 (while Vampire Weekend was No. 1 with Contra).
One might wonder, when was the last time the entire top six were albums by women or women-led acts? That last occurred on the March 1, 1997-dated chart, when the top six were: LeAnn Rimes’ Unchained Melody/The Early Years, Erykah Badu’s Badiuzm, No Doubt’s Tragic Kingdom (fronted by Gwen Stefani), Jewel’s Pieces of You, Toni Braxton’s Secrets and Spice Girls’ Spice. For good measure, the entire top eight albums that week were female-led, as Celine Dion’s Falling Into You was No. 7 and the Madonna-led Evita soundtrack was No. 8. At No. 9 that week was the multi-artist Romeo + Juliet soundtrack, while Rimes’ Blue was No. 10, so women almost held the entire top 10 that week.
Four of the Top Five
On the March 18, 2023-dated chart, female artists also had four of the top five, with SOS, Mañana and Midnights at Nos. 2, 3 and 5, while Kali Uchis’ Red Moon in Venus was a debut at No. 4. (Wallen’s One Thing at a Time debuted at No. 1 that week.) The last time women-led albums claimed four of the top five before that was on the July 16, 2011-dated chart. That week, Beyoncé’s 4 debuted at No. 1 and was followed by Adele’s former leader 21 (3-2), Selena Gomez & The Scene’s When the Sun Goes Down (debuting at No. 4; Gomez was the frontwoman – and only female member – of The Scene) and Jill Scott’s chart-topping The Light of the Sun (1-5). The lone male-led album in the top five that week was Big Sean’s debuting Finally Famous at No. 3.
Top Two Through Eight
While we’re taking a trip down Billboard 200 memory lane, here is a recap of the last time women-led albums held the top two through eight albums on the Billboard 200. (Women-led acts have yet to occupy the top nine or entire top 10 since the chart began publishing on a regular, weekly basis in March of 1956.)
Top Two: March 11, 2023-dated chart (Karol G’s Mañana Será Bonita, SZA’s SOS)
Top Three: March 4, 2023-dated chart (SZA’s SOS, P!nk’s Trustfall, Taylor Swift’s Midnights)
Top Four & Top Five: Jan. 23, 2010-dated chart (Kesha’s Animal, Susan Boyle’s I Dreamed a Dream, Lady Gaga’s The Fame, Alicia Keys’ The Element of Freedom, Mary J. Blige’s Stronger With Each Tear)
Top Six, Top Seven & Top Eight: March 1, 1997-dated chart (LeAnn Rimes’ Unchained Melody/The Early Years, Erykah Badu’s Baduizm, No Doubt’s Tragic Kingdom [No Doubt is led by Gwen Stefani], Jewel’s Pieces of You, Toni Braxton’s Secrets, Spice Girls’ Spice, Celine Dion’s Falling Into You and the Madonna-led Evita soundtrack)