AJR Crosses Over, Lands First Alternative Songs No. 1 With 'Sober Up'
The song, featuring Weezer's Rivers Cuomo, become the band's first No. 1 at the genre after previously charting at Top 40 radio.
After tallying a pair of No. 27-peaking singles on Billboard's Pop Songs airplay chart since 2014, AJR has gone alternative.
The brother trio rules Alternative Songs (dated March 3) in its first visit to the airplay survey, as "Sober Up," featuring Weezer frontman Rivers Cuomo, rises 3-1.
AJR's "I'm Ready" reached No. 27 on Pop Songs in August 2014. "Weak" reached the same rank in June 2017.
"There was no hesitation at all to put 'Sober Up' immediately into rotation, especially since WSUN [97X] has a 'pop-ternative'-leaning playlist," WSUN Tampa music director Jenna Kesneck, whose station spun "Sober" more than any other alternative station in the Feb. 19-25 tracking week (98 times), tells Billboard. "Within the first week of airplay, 'Sober Up' immediately skyrocketed into the top 15 Shazams in Tampa, and WSUN was the only station in the market playing the record. That was a moment I knew AJR wasn’t going anywhere. They’re just warming up."
As Kesneck also programs pop radio, she was already familiar with the trio and remembers "wishing the label would flip the script and bring them over to alternative."
Meanwhile, the band is the second act in as many weeks to lead Alternative Songs in its first appearance, following Alice Merton with "No Roots" (now at No. 2). In 2017, three acts ruled the tally with their first charted songs: The Revivalists, Rag'n'Bone Man and Judah & the Lion.
AJR also becomes the latest band consisting solely of family members to top Alternative Songs. Most recently, Kings of Leon (three brothers and a cousin) did so with "Waste a Moment" (beginning Dec. 3, 2016), following KONGOS ("Come with Me Now," 2014; four brothers).
"Sober" rises to No. 1 in its 21st week on Alternative Songs, capping the longest trip to the top in nearly a year, since The Revivalists' "Wish I Knew You" took 26 weeks, leading at last on May 20, 2017.
Additionally, "Sober" is AJR's first No. 1 song on any Billboard chart.
Cuomo, meanwhile, earns his first solo Alternative Songs No. 1 and first overall in nearly a decade, following three in 2005-08 as frontman of Weezer; the band has banked 14 top 10s since 1994, with its latest, "Happy Hour," at No. 12 after reaching No. 9.
The combination of alternative radio airplay and increasing attention in the triple A format (it's bubbling under the Adult Alternative Songs chart) pushes "Sober" to a new No. 6 high on the all-rock-format Rock Airplay chart, up 6 percent to a new weekly high of 8.5 million audience impressions, according to Nielsen Music. It also scores a new peak on Alternative Digital Song Sales, rising 18-17 with 3,000 sold, the song's first week crossing the 3,000-download threshold.