Snow Man’s ‘Grandeur’ Rules Japan Hot 100 With 800k Copies Sold

Snow Man’s “Grandeur” rockets to No. 1 on this week’s Billboard Japan Hot 100, dated Jan. 18 to 24, selling 800,398 copies in its first week.

The rising Johnny’s boy band’s latest offering leads physical sales, look-ups, and Twitter mentions, while also performing well in radio airplay (No. 5) and video views (No. 11) to take the top spot on this week’s tally by a large margin. While the sales figures for Snow Man’s new single fell short of its previous one, “Kissin’ My Lips” (939,589 copies), the nine-member group continues to show outstanding strength in the physical metrics of the chart’s methodology.

The close race between LiSA’s “Homura” and BTS’s “Dynamite” takes an unexpected turn this week, as the former slips three notches to No. 5 on the Japan Hot 100 while the latter holds at No. 3. This is due to the fact that although “Homura” is still ahead in downloads, “Dynamite” added points in streaming and video, coming in at No. 1 for the latter. In particular, “Dynamite” racked up 4,939,343 weekly views as “Homura” clocked in at 2,993,091 views, and this difference greatly affected the outcome of these two tracks this week.

Ado’s “Usse-wa” rises 10-6 this week. The teenaged singer’s blistering track — the unique title translates to something like “Just shut up” in English — soared in downloads and streaming after being taken up on a number of TV programs, adding points to the already-strong video views metric. The song rules downloads (increasing from 8,713 to 19,683 units), and nearly doubled its streaming figures (from 4,635,629 to 7,079,065 streams) to come in at No. 5 for the metric this week.

Yuuri’s “Dryflower” has stayed in the top 10 of the Japan Hot 100 for 10 straight weeks. The rising singer-songwriter’s heartfelt ballad rises to No. 4 this week after taking the top spot in streaming for the first time.

YOASOBI’s former No. 1 hit “Yoru ni kakeru” returns to No. 2 this week, the highest of their nine songs charting in the Japan Hot 100, three of them in the top 10. The track is regaining momentum in streaming, increasing to 11,167,667 streams from last week’s 10,929,013 to come in at No. 3 for the metric.

The Billboard Japan Hot 100 combines physical and digital sales, audio streams, radio airplay, Twitter mentions, YouTube and GYAO! video views, Gracenote look-ups and karaoke data. The full Billboard Japan Hot 100 chart, dated Jan. 18 to 24, can be seen here.

Breaking Down Guitarist Hotei’s Collaborative Album ‘Soul to Soul,’ Feat. Artists From Around the Globe

Last November, Japan’s Hotei dropped his new collaborative album, Soul to Soul, featuring a roster of international artists who joined the veteran rocker remotely from their respective locations to work together on the project.

The impressive list includes Jean-Paul “Bluey” Maunick of Incognito (U.K.), Zucchero (Italy), Nate Smith (U.S.A.), Calogero (France), Marc Lavoine (France), Carlinhos Brown (Brazil), and Yang Kun (China), plus top acts from Hotei’s home country, namely Kazuya Yoshii of THE YELLOW MONKEY, GLIM SPANKY, Kobukuro, and Kiyoshi Hikawa.

Produced via virtual sessions due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Soul to Soul is an album geared towards the times that brings the world together through music.

Hotei is celebrating 40 years in music in 2021. His career began in 1981 in the emerging Japanese punk/new wave scene as the guitarist for BOØWY, a legendary rock band that rocketed to stardom and enjoyed a huge following throughout the ‘80s. At a time when domestic rock music was still a form of counterculture, the influential group catapulted the genre into the mainstream. Their popularity was such that when they dropped their final album Psychopath in 1987, it ruled the Japan album chart while holding Michael Jackson’s Bad, released around the same time, at bay — a significant achievement considering Jackson’s ubiquitous global presence at the time.

After disbanding, Hotei broke new ground by singing all-English songs on his debut solo project Guitarhythm (1988), now a series that continues to this day with the most recent sixth installment released in 2019. He has collaborated on numerous projects with artists of varying genres throughout his illustrious career, for example, he was invited by Michael Kamen to perform at the closing ceremony of the 1996 Summer Olympic Games in Atlanta, which greatly elevated his profile outside of Japan. In 2003, his instrumental track “Battle Without Honor or Humanity” was featured in Quentin Tarantino’s feature film Kill Bill, becoming one of his best-known tunes worldwide.

The iconic guitarist has performed around the world and has often commented that he is a “live artist” first and foremost. But the COVID-19 pandemic has devastated the live rock music scene everywhere. Soul to Soul, released last November, was created during such times as Hotei’s new endeavor to collaborate with artists based around the world through remote online sessions. The evolution of technology helped to bring this diverse group of people together for a colorful album that can be described as being like a sonic world’s fair.

One of the highlights of the album is “Find A Way” featuring Incognito All Stars, which Maunick co-wrote with Hotei and also produced. Two accomplished singers from Japan — the soulful singer-songwriter Yu Sakai and songstress Miho Fukuhara — joins Hotei to add fresh, colorful layers to the vocals in this uplifting pop number with a danceable groove.

“Lotus Flower” is an epic rock ballad featuring Italian icon Zucchero, who has collaborated with Hotei a number of times on projects and concert performances in the past. Hotei shares: “I don’t care if people call it ‘old style.’ I love Zucchero’s shout, where he lays his soul and emotions bare. I was inspired by his singing and was able to play a great guitar solo. This song is a miracle that we created together.”

The music video, though shot remotely, captures the two friends’ mellow, soulful exchange through the majestic music they perform.

The album also includes two new renditions of “Battle Without Honor or Humanity,” the instrumental track that made Hotei globally famous. The future-jazz infused “Solid Groove” version features the sought-after drummer Nate Smith, who lays down a tight beat that Hotei accompanies with an acoustic guitar from his home studio. The result is an addictive groove that makes you want to listen to over and over.

The “Battle Samba” version featuring Carlinhos Brown is an aptly titled track with a festive, speedy samba beat and four-on-the-floor rhythm, giving the familiar number a sporty groove. The original version is often used to accompany sports broadcasts, and this new rendition could become a welcome addition to such usage.

The collaboration with Calogero and Marc Lavoine from France, “Live On,” is a glittery, catchy pop tune featuring poetry reading-like deep vocals over warm, feel-good chords. “BoomBoomBoom,” the collab with China’s Yang Kun, is an upbeat track incorporating Hotei’s signature rock guitar, playfully mashing up “Battle Without Honor or Humanity” like a sample in the powerfully uplifting performance.

As mentioned earlier, several artists from Hotei’s home country have contributed to this album. “Dangerous” is a track featuring Kazuya Yoshii, frontman of the veteran rock band THE YELLOW MONKEY. The two artists have in common a deep respect for David Bowie, and their collaboration is a glamorous number reminiscent of the late Bowie’s beat tunes. Other collaborators include artists from various genres — the male-female rock duo GLIM SPANKY, veteran pop-folk duo Kobukuro, and the enka superstar Kiyoshi Hikawa — who brought some unexpected and refreshing touches to their new tracks with the iconic rocker.

2021 marks the 40th year since Hotei first stood on the stage of the historic Tokyo club Shinjuku LOFT. The veteran artist will kick off his anniversary year with two headlining concerts at the prestigious Nippon Budokan on Jan. 30 and 31. Reflecting this age of “new normals,” the shows will be held with no audiences and livestreamed in an endeavor to virtually connect the world.

The theme of the concert on Jan. 30 is “Memories” and will feature Hotei’s reinterpretations of his early works as a guitarist and music producer in BOØWY and COMPLEX.

“Adventures” is the theme of Day 2 on Jan. 31, with Hotei selecting a set that expresses his long journey as a solo artist.

As the pandemic continues to cast a shadow over many people’s lives, music is a presence that connects people to each other, and Hotei’s rock ’n’ roll dream brings hope like a ray of light cutting through the clouds. Although his milestone Budokan concerts will be held virtually without an audience, the two days will be a don’t-miss opportunity to look back over the rock guitarist’s 40-year history and take part in his anniversary celebration.

Hotei’s 40th anniversary concert “Message from Budokan” Day 1 (Memories) will be livestreamed from 5 p.m. JST on Saturday, Jan. 30. The show will be archived for a week until 11:59 p.m. Feb. 6. Day 2 (Adventures) will be livestreamed from 5 p.m. JST on Sunday, Jan. 31, and will be archived for a week until 11:59 p.m. Feb. 7. Tickets to access the stream are 4,000 yen, and are available through Hikari TV, Lawson Ticket Live Streaming, PIA Live Stream, and Streaming+. Fans outside of Japan can purchase tickets through ZAIKO.

Here’s Why Jimmy Fallon Doesn’t Want to Sing Backup on Justin Timberlake’s Next Record

Justin Timberlake’s last album, 2018’s Man of the Woods, featured high-profile collaborations with Alicia Keys, Chris Stapleton and Pharrell. And it looks like his next album just got its first collaborator: vocals from none other than Jimmy Fallon.

The Grammy-winning singer catches up (virtually) with his longtime pal on Friday night’s (Jan. 29) episode of The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, where they jokingly discuss the possibility of a Fallon feature.

“Listen, I’ll happily put you on a record if you want to be on a record,” Timberlake insists in this preview clip, exclusively on Billboard. “You want to sing backgrounds?”

Jimmy looks off-camera, shocked, before saying (obviously), “Yeah!”

“OK, done,” Timberlake said.

“What? Did this just happen? We can’t edit this out! We have to leave this in the show!” Fallon says.

“But I’m going to treat you the same way that I did right before we did the first Bee Gees sketch we ever did,” Timberlake says of their beloved “Barry Gibb Talk Show” skit on Saturday Night Live.

Watch the clip below to see exactly what that means, and you can watch the full interview on NBC at 11:35 p.m. ET on The Tonight Show, where Ozuna and Anuel AA are the night’s musical guests.

Every Justin Timberlake Single Ranked: Critic’s Picks

Since his 2002 solo debut following a blockbuster breakout run in *NSYNC, Justin Timberlake has released nearly two decades of music and almost 2 dozen singles — and, of course, some have been better than others.

To celebrate Timberlake’s landmark 40th birthday on Sunday (Jan. 31), we’re ranking every one of his singles so far.

So where does your favorite fall? Check out our list below to find out. (Note: We’re only counting Timberlake’s U.S. singles that hit Billboard’s Pop Airplay chart.)

22. “Take Back the Night”

This carefree cut had the unfortunate distinction of sharing a title with a campus sexual assault awareness group, and the controversy ended up overshadowing the song itself. Timberlake did his best to make the best of the situation, telling Radar in 2013: “It is my hope that this coincidence will bring more awareness to this cause.”

21. “Love Never Felt So Good” (Michael Jackson & Justin Timberlake)

How could the combo of MJ and JT be anything but pop gold? Unfortunately, this song — the first single from Jackson’s second posthumous album, Xscape — failed to capture the energy of either megastar.

20. “TKO”

This one loses us almost immediately with Timbaland’s opening line: “She kills me with that coo-coochie-coochie-coo.” OK. And the metaphor for getting “knocked out” by love seems overplayed. It has a cool beat, but we were not knocked out by this one.

19. “Filthy”

After his buttoned-up 20/20 crooner era and a new album title promising a pastoral pastiche, we were not expecting a return to the disco pop of 2006’s FutureSex/LoveSounds for the lead Man of the Woods single. But the funky Timbaland beat and tongue-in-cheek lyrics were a loose surprise.

18. “Summer Love”

This FutureSex/LoveSounds single is perfect for “ridin’ in the drop-top with the top down,” but it’s also ultimately not incredibly memorable on an album full of standout cuts.

17. “SoulMate”

This one-off single definitely delivers on the breezy summertime mood promised by its “summer starts now” intro line, and it almost feels like a cousin to Drake’s similarly relaxed “Passionfruit.” Ultimately, though, it falls into solid-but-forgettable territory next to other entries in JT’s catalog.

16. “The Other Side” (SZA & Justin Timberlake)

This vibrant Trolls World Tour single, with its disco-drenched production and shimmery keyboard line, looked like it would easily dance up the charts like its Hot 100-topping predecessor “Can’t Stop the Feeling!,” also from the animated series. But the SZA duet never caught fire, despite being one of JT’s catchiest and poppiest releases in years.

15. “What Goes Around … Comes Around”

The subject matter felt a little “been there, done that” after his earlier hit “Cry Me a River,” and with a whopping 7:28 running time, it was a very long single. But there are a lot of great pieces to this too-big puzzle.

14. “Suit & Tie” (feat. Jay Z)

After a nearly seven-year gap between JT albums, this song was a blessing from above back in 2013. But with some distance from its release, we can say it might not have been the perfect single we thought it was then.

13. “Can’t Stop the Feeling!”

Timberlake happily splashed back on the scene in 2016 with an upbeat (and eventually Oscar-nominated) song-of-summer-worthy track about wanting to just keep dancing — a message we can all get behind.

12. “Mirrors”

In this reflective midtempo track, Timberlake appears to sing directly to his wife, Jessica Biel. For someone who is so private about his non-music life, it was an intimate glimpse into their marital world.

11. “Until the End of Time”

This song is a total tribute to Prince ballads, complete with Linn drums. And then Justin went and added Prince favorite Beyoncé (his very own Apollonia) to the track to take it to the next purple level.

10. “Say Something” (feat. Chris Stapleton)

Ever since they teamed up on the CMA Awards stage in 2015 for an electric “Tennessee Whiskey”/”Drink You Away” duet, fans were begging for an official release from Timberlake and Stapleton — and they got it in this grooving, roots-driven third single from Man of the Woods. The whole song is a laid-back vibe, feeling like these two Southern stars just let fans listen in on a soulful jam session.

9. “Rock Your Body”

The third Justified single is where the MJ comparisons began, since it would have fit in perfectly on Michael Jackson’s Off the Wall. (We’re not complaining.)

8. “Not a Bad Thing”

It’s not a bad thing that this song sounds a lot like a throwback *NSYNC ballad — like “I Drive Myself Crazy” or “God Must Have Spent a Little More Time on You,” but with better lyrics.

7. “LoveStoned/I Think She Knows”

This FutureSex/LoveSounds single starts as a dance track before slowing down into a contemplative number, twisting the identical lyrics into something far more ominous — kind of like what a drug does to you at the start of a party versus the end.

6. “Drink You Away”

The Tennessee native’s first foray into country got a huge spotlight at the 2015 CMA Awards, where his performance of the sudsy song with a then-under-the-radar Chris Stapleton (see the “Say Something” entry above) put both “Drink You Away” and the bearded country crooner on the map.

5. “SexyBack”

Remember when this song first came out? Justin’s fuzzy vocals were hardly recognizable and the driving beat was brand-new to radio. That was just JT and Timbaland setting new trends — and inventing a new catchphrase.

4. “Cry Me a River”

The song’s tabloidy subject matter could have overshadowed the music, but this Timbaland production masterpiece definitely stood on its own.

3. “My Love” (feat. T.I.)

This is JT’s falsetto at its very best, delivering the loverboy lyrics that made fans from his boy-band days swoon. But then he added a verse from T.I., and suddenly it was OK for dudes to dance along too.

2. “Señorita”

The Justified intro track was made for performing live — with its many spoken-word breakdowns and the male-female call-and-response section — but somehow Justin and Pharrell were also able to bottle that energy into a perfect five-minute radio package.

1. “Like I Love You” (feat. Clipse)

This is quite possibly the best post-boy-band debut single of all time. He booked the hottest producers (The Neptunes) and a bubbling-under hip-hop duo (Clipse) to show that the bubblegum had officially popped. There couldn’t have been a better introduction to Justin Timberlake, solo star.

Kesha Battles Herself in Empowering Sam Feldt Collaboration ‘Stronger’

Kesha is no stranger to uplifting anthems, with songs like “High Road” and “Praying” under her belt. On Friday (Jan. 29), the singer teamed up with Dutch DJ and producer Sam Feldt for the powerful new song, “Stronger.”

As the title suggests, the accompanying video finds Kesha fighting herself in a boxing ring, with Feldt as the judge and announcer. As the two well-dressed warrior Keshas battle it out, the rounds get increasingly intense, culminating with the duo shooting each other in a classic duel.

“You gotta take it day-by-day / Keep moving forward, no matter what they say / And when the thieves try to steal your faith / Keep pushin’ through ‘em ’cause there ain’t no other way / If you wanna get stronger,” the singer proclaims against a sultry dance production.

“Back in the days I listened to all Kesha’s track [sic], so when she approached me with the idea for the track Stronger I was very excited,” Feldt wrote in the video’s description. “The message Kesha sends with the track is really inspiring and super relevant in these turbulent times. That’s why I knew I had to be part of this message. I started on the production right away and tried to create the right balance between the emotional but so inspiring message and the uplifting and hopeful beat.”

Watch below.

T.I. & Tiny Address Sexual Abuse Allegations

T.I. and his wife Tiny have issued a formal response to Sabrina Peterson, who accused him of putting a gun to her head and shared dozens of accusations from other women against the couple.

Peterson took to Instagram earlier this week to speak out about the instance and discuss the larger issue of Black women being villainized for doing so, writing, “you PUT A GUN TO MY HEAD IN FRONT OF CHILDREN & I NEVER CALLED THE POLICE ON YOU! But for years you have painted me as the VILLAIN!”

She also posted more than 30 detailed accounts on her Instagram Story from women who claimed T.I. and Tiny force-fed them drugs and then had sex with them.

A spokesperson for T.I. (real name Clifford Joseph Harris Jr.) and Tiny (Tameka Dianne Harris) responded to the sexual abuse allegations in a joint statement to Billboard on Friday (Jan. 29).

“Mr. and Mrs. Harris want to be on record and more importantly want the public to know they emphatically deny in the strongest way possible the egregiously appalling allegations being made against them by Sabrina Peterson,” their statement reads. “The Harrises have had difficulty with this woman for well over a decade. They are taking this matter very seriously, and if these allegations don’t end, they will take appropriate legal action.”

Tiny also defended T.I. from Peterson’s claim on Instagram by posting old images from Peterson’s Facebook of T.I. hugging her sons and captions where she described him as an “uncle.”

“He was just uncle 2 years ago … now when did you say my husband assaulted you? Did you change your mind or change it back? What’s up wit you today Pooh?” Tiny wrote. “I’m confused. Stop Harassing My Family.”

Peterson seemingly responded to T.I. and Tiny’s denial on Friday via Instagram by offering to take a lie detector test.