Steve Lacy’s Streaming Smash ‘Bad Habit’ Climbs to No. 1 – The New York Times

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A left-field hit from a 24-year-old master of alternative R&B displaces Harry Styles’s “As It Was” as the top single, while Bad Bunny logs a 12th week atop the album chart.
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Steve Lacy, a 24-year-old guitarist and producer, started the year with a reputation as a gifted innovator on the fringes of alternative R&B, best known for a D.I.Y. approach in the studio. Now he has the No. 1 song in the country.
Bad Habit,” a spacey, pensive ballad driven by a slightly warped guitar, has been a monster streaming hit since its release three months ago. After gaining traction on pop radio it finally climbs to the top spot on Billboard’s Hot 100 chart this week, with 20 million streams and 40 million “airplay audience impressions,” a measurement of a song’s popularity on radio stations, according to the tracking service Luminate.
The song, from Lacy’s second studio album, “Gemini Rights,” replaces Harry Styles’s “As It Was” at the top of the chart, after an on-and-off reign of 15 weeks since April.
The ascent of “Bad Habit” has been one of the more surprising stories in the music business this year, but for those watching Lacy’s career it has not come out of nowhere. After emerging as a teenage member of the Internet, an offshoot from Odd Future — the boundary-pushing hip-hop ensemble that gave us Frank Ocean, Syd, Earl Sweatshirt and Tyler, the Creator — Lacy collaborated with Kendrick Lamar, Solange, Vampire Weekend and others, developing a track record as an artist who could comfortably bridge R&B, hip-hop and alternative rock.
How long “Bad Habit” will hold, however, is an open question — “Unholy,” the latest from the British singer Sam Smith featuring Kim Petras, is hot on its heels.
The Billboard 200 album chart is once again dominated by a familiar face: Bad Bunny, the Puerto Rican superstar whose “Un Verano Sin Ti” is the year’s biggest album, with a gigantic stadium tour to match. This week, “Un Verano” is No. 1 for a 12th time.
Bad Bunny’s album had the equivalent of 87,000 sales in the United States in its most recent week, including 120 million streams, according to Luminate. As far as No. 1 albums go, that total is modest. So far this year, the albums reaching the top each week have had an average equivalent sales number — a composite figure that incorporates streaming, individual track downloads and old-fashioned purchases of an album as a complete unit — of about 138,000. Even so, the numbers for “Verano” this week are still nearly twice as high as any of its competitors.
The Australian pop-rock band 5 Seconds of Summer opens at No. 2 with the equivalent of 48,000 sales of its latest, “5SOS5,” which includes 36,000 copies sold as a complete package and just 16 million streams. (By comparison, in recent weeks Bad Bunny’s “Me Porto Bonito” and “Titi Me Pregunto” — just two of the 23 tracks on “Un Verano” — have each been drawing as many clicks.)
Morgan Wallen’s “Dangerous: The Double Album,” a chart mainstay for 21 months and counting, is No. 3. Last week’s top seller, Blackpink’s “Born Pink,” falls to No. 4 with the equivalent of 40,000 sales, a 60 percent drop. Styles’s “Harry’s House” is in fifth place.


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