“I Remember Everything,” a Kacey Musgraves-featuring cut from Zach Bryan’s August 25 self-titled album, has debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. It marks the fourth consecutive song — following Jason Aldean’s “Try That in a Small Town,” Morgan Wallen’s “Last Night,” and Oliver Anthony Music’s “Rich Men North of Richmond” — to top both the Hot 100 and Hot Country Songs charts, a first in Billboard history.
2023 is by far the biggest year for country music in the 65-year history of the Hot 100 chart. “Last Night” has topped the chart five separate times for a cumulative 16 weeks, including a 10-week stretch from early May to mid July, making it the best-performing country song in the chart’s existence. Only one other year (1975) has seen more than two country songs top the chart.
Of the four consecutive country songs that have topped the charts for the past six weeks, two have been politically polarizing: The left has roundly rejected “Try That In a Small Town” for its perceived racial undertones and largely condemned “Rich Men North of Richmond” for a lyric deriding people on welfare. Conversely, both tracks have been championed by conservative politicians and media personalities, many of whom have actively urged their supporters to help push the songs to No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100.
Morgan Wallen’s career suffered a brief hiccup in February 2021 when his label, Big Loud Records, temporarily suspended his contract after footage surfaced of him saying the n-word during a night out in Nashville. (Big Loud dropped the suspension before the release of One Thing at a Time, the hugely successful album featuring “Last Night,” this past March.)