billboard.com — Country singer Thomas Rhett is aiming for his first No. 1 on the Billboard 200 albums chart, according to industry forecasters. Those in the know suggest this new set, Life Changes, could launch with a little more than 100,000 equivalent album units earned in the week ending Sept. 14. Further, if Rhett starts at No. 1, it will give the country genre its first chart topper in 2017.
Life Changes was released on Sept. 8 through Valory Records and is Rhett’s third full-length studio effort.
The Billboard 200 chart ranks the most popular albums of the week based on multi-metric consumption, which includes traditional album sales, track equivalent albums (TEA) and streaming equivalent albums (SEA). The top 10 of the new Sept. 30-dated Billboard 200 chart (where Rhett will debut) is scheduled to be revealed on Billboard’s websites on Sunday, Sept. 17.
So far in 2017, no country title has led the Billboard 200, and the last country effort to do so was Jason Aldean’s They Don’t Know on the Oct. 1, 2016-dated tally. (Further, Aldean had the only country title to lead the list in 2016.) Rhett has never previously hit No. 1, having twice peaked at No. 6 with It Goes Like This in 2013 and Tangled Up in 2015.
Rhett will likely lead a busy Billboard 200 next week, as a bevy of new albums are on course for high debuts. (That’s in stark contrast to the current list, where LCD Soundsystem’s chart topping American Dream was the only title to start in the top 10.) Aside from Rhett, watch for high bows from The National’s Sleep Well Beast (with perhaps 60,000 units), Jack Johnson’s All The Light Above It Too (45,000 units), Dustin Lynch’s Current Mood (over 30,000), Gregg Allman’s Southern Blood and Kip Moore’s Slowheart (both with over 20,000).