Black Panther has broken yet another record, and this time, it’s outside the cineplex. Black Panther: The Album, the Marvel film’s tie-in soundtrack curated and produced by Kendrick Lamar, debuted at numero uno on the Billboard 200 chart, though it didn’t surpass the soundtrack for the DC movie Suicide Squad.
On Sunday, Billboard reported that Black Panther: The Album debuted at number one on the Billboard 200, launching with 154,000 “equivalent album units” earned in its release week, ending on February 15. The Billboard 200 ranks the most popular albums of the week based on “multi-metric consumption,” including album sales and streaming over online platforms like Spotify.
This is a big deal for Black Panther, however, another comic book movie maintains a bigger record: In August 2016, the soundtrack for Suicide Squad arrived at the number one spot with 182,000 equivalent album units. Still, Black Panther: The Album is the second biggest soundtrack of 2018. Previously, the biggest soundtrack was The Greatest Showman, starring Hugh Jackman, which spent two weeks at number one between January 13 to January 20.
Billboard reports that the Black Panther soundtrack was prominent in streaming, collecting 93,000 “streaming equivalent” album units. Actual sales totaled 52,000.
Black Panther: The Album, which includes new music by Grammy-winner Kendrick Lamar and a murderer’s row of other major artists like The Weeknd, Vince Staples, and SZA, is easily one of the most buzzed-about Marvel movie soundtracks ever. This is in spite of the fact that only a few songs are actually heard in the film; “Pray for Me” sets the mood for the casino scene in South Korea, an instrumental of “Redemption” plays during the car chase, and “All the Stars” plays at the end credits, before the additional scene at the U.N..
Meanwhile, most of the songs on the soundtrack for Suicide Squad, which includes original music by Imagine Dragons, Lil Wayne, Skrillex, and old hits by Eminem and Clearance Cold Water Revival, is like a schizophrenic playlist without a uniform tone. All the songs are jammed into the film, and arguably to its detriment. Previous Marvel albums are also uninspired (with the exception of Guardians of the Galaxy). The soundtrack for 2012’s The Avengers, titled Avengers Assemble, is the audio equivalent of a Hot Topic, containing songs by Papa Roach, Evanescence, Black Veil Brides, and Five Finger Death Punch.
Marvel’s Black Panther is now playing in theaters. You can stream Black Panther: The Album on Spotify now.