Whether you are an active Twitter user, movie goer, or music listener, you’ve probably heard about the music charts drama recently. A chart battle between Twenty One Pilots’ new album, Trench, and Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper’s soundtrack for their film, A Star Is Born, took place across social media platforms and various top 100 charts. Both albums were released on the same day, and both climbed straight to the top two spots on the chart.
Fans of Gaga and Pilots foresaw this issue with the similar release date and took to social media to voice their opinions, hyping the situation up into what they now call the chart ‘battle’.
After almost two weeks of being released, A Star Is Born continues to take the #1 and #2 spots while Trench has already sunk down to #10 (the Greatest Showman soundtrack has even surpassed it) on the iTunes album chart. Twenty One Pilots released their singles for their new album back in August to help hype the release. However, A Star Is Born waited to release all their music until the day of the film entered in theaters. The exception is the song “Shallow”, which dropped just a few days prior. “Shallow” continues to sit at #1 on the iTunes charts with various other songs from the film sitting at #2, #7, #13, and so on. Billboard predicted “Shallow” to reach number one this week, but it currently stands at #5. They’re pretty sure it’ll climb next week as well, but we’ll have to keep an eye out for that. The soundtrack itself did hit #1 on the Billboard 200.
The instant success that A Star Is Born received definitely seemed to stir some controversy within Twenty One Pilots’ fan base. If you’re on Twitter, you might’ve seen Twenty One Pilots recreate the Star Is Born poster but with Tyler Joseph and Josh Dun in place of Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper with the new title, A Trench Is Born. This joke didn’t bode over well with fans due to the plot of the film and how unsportsmanlike it was to the viewers and listeners. However, neither Pilots, Gaga, nor Cooper responded to said tweet, so it’s safe to assume there really isn’t much bad blood here. However, both audiences were still very passionate for these releases. For Gaga fans, the movie was definitely a climax in her career, for she loved Judy Garland and has wanted a chance to act in a big blockbuster for a long while. For Pilots, they’ve been on an extreme hiatus for the past year and been radio silent until they announced Trench back in July. Fans have been itching for both artists’ returns, and they just so happened to get them on the same day.
So, where is A Star Is Born’s album success coming from? Well, the blockbuster itself is a raging success, just topping $200 million. The film itself is a recreation of previous versions of A Star Is Born. The first film was released in 1937 with Janet Gaynor (in her only Technicolor film) and Fredric March (his Technicolor debut). The 1954 version was written by Moss Hart, and Judy Garland played the female lead, Esther Blodgett. The third rendition was released in 1976 and starred Barbara Streisand and Kris Kristofferson. Cooper’s new interpretation brings in various listeners, from his and Gaga’s fans, to country music and pop lovers. The rest of the cast includes Anthony Ramos (best known for his work in Hamilton on Broadway) and a few drag queens that were on Rupaul’s Drag Race named Willam and Shangela. All three of these actors have music careers of their own, which really adds to the narrative. This remake utilized various strategies to appeal to a wide audience.
The soundtrack for A Star Is Born is very unique in comparison to most music soundtracks. They took a format similar to Stranger Things when it came to music. Stranger Things changed the game for Spotify listeners, particularly when they fused music from the show with sound bites from classic moments in the series. Listeners really supported this concept, for it made them feel that they were more immersed in the world just from playing the soundtrack through their earbuds.
As you begin listening to the album, you hear the intro to the film and get thrown into the narrative with Cooper’s performance of “Black Eyes.” Then, we hear heels click as Gaga begins to hum the tune of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow”. If you have seen the movie and know its history, this moment gave you chills when watching. It was brilliant and is even more brilliant to include on the album.
Overall, I suggest going and checking both albums out, especially A Star Is Born. I’d recommend you give just the songs from the film a listen beforehand and hear the whole thing after you’ve watched the film. This album is definitely upping the music standards on the charts and is giving all of the other pop artists and musicians a run for their money.