June 15—a short thread by #boburnhamhistorian
Today is the one-year anniversary of Inside (The Songs) hitting number 1 on the Billboard Comedy charts!
And now, 53 weeks later, Bo is STILL at number one!
But you're probably asking yourself, what happened those two weeks when Inside wasn't at the top? What song or album could possibly supersede the cultural phenomenon of 2021?
Why, Halloween music, of course!
Yes, it's true!
For two weeks after Halloween, The Monster Mash was the no. 1 Comedy album and knocked Bo down to no. 2.
And the history of how Inside: The Songs came to be is pretty fascinating!
Basically a record executive reached out to Bo a few days after the special came out because so many people wanted the songs to listen to—Bo hadn't even planned to release an album with Inside, and now he's won a Grammy for All Eyes On Me! Crazy.
Per a Billboard article on the subject:
The best example is also perhaps Imperial’s greatest success story to date: Burnham’s Grammy-winning comedy album Inside, tied to its Netflix special of the same name. “[Republic A&R] Tyler Arnold initially reached out to Bo, who wanted flexibility [and] was looking for a distribution deal,” Mendlinger remembers. “In the spirit of being independent and nimble, we went from our first phone call and subsequent deal discussion to a release date seven days later.”
And here's that earlier article with Tyler Arnold for anyone curious.
Some great quotes in that as well:
I reached out to Bo and his team a couple days after Inside launched. I kept going back to Netflix to listen to the music. The reviews were incredible, and everyone was posting about the special, but no one realized the music wasn’t available. Within hours we assembled an incredible team internally around Bo and we created a plan to get the music out ASAP.
I was on Netflix one night and decided to watch his new special. After the first few scenes, I was so blown away that I paused it and immediately emailed his team. They didn’t have a partner for the music yet and after a few meetings, we realized that our goals and vision aligned for the project. I’ve been a fan of Bo’s work for years and he’s always had a musical element to his comedy, but nothing like this. I really believed we could make a difference.
But Inside's longevity and massive popularity would mean it would definitely be in contention for the Best Comedy Album Grammy, right?
Obviously an album that has dominated the comedy charts since its debut couldn't be disqualified, you would assume. Right?!
So, in a most ridiculous fashion, the Recording Academy deemed Inside (The Songs) to not be eligible since it didn’t include enough stand-up bits to meet their criteria.
Billboard pointed out this ludicrous position in their article about the decision.
Per the article:
Bo Burnham’s Inside (The Songs), the biggest hit of the year on Billboard’s Comedy Albums chart, will not be competing for best comedy album at next year’s Grammy Awards."
Since its June release, Inside (The Songs) has been a smash hit, earning 353,000 equivalent album units according to MRC Data and spending its entire 18-week chart run to date atop the Comedy Albums chart.
And I'm not even going to GET into what the Grammys did consider eligible and who ultimately won (cough Louis C.K. cough).
Regardless of the Grammys, Inside (The Songs) has been a career triumph for Bo, solidifying his place by creating one of the most celebrated albums of 2021.
It was even included on many end-of-year music lists, something I NEVER would have expected earlier that year!
Inside (The Songs) is chock-full of standalone, synth-pop hits both satirical and unnerving...Come for one, or both, of the songs squarely aimed at Jeff Bezos, stay for the stellar ‘80s-inspired production throughout the album that led to it charting five weeks in the top 10 of the Billboard 200. The musician-comedian’s ability to turn digitally hyper-focused commentary into sonically digestible, cover-inspiring and Grammy-nominated work is one of the most impressive efforts of the year." — J.G.
It's been an incredible year for the album (I literally own 6 copies of it in various formats), and here's hoping for a special deluxe vinyl release announcement soon!
November 2023 Update: Bo's album has achieved two incredible milestones!
First, Inside (The Songs) has broken the record for the longest time at number one on the Billboard Comedy Album charts, beating out Lil Dicky by dominating for 122 weeks. Woo-hoo!
Bo's in good company with Flight of the Conchords and Weird Al
Second, a number of Bo's songs from his masterpiece have reached PLATINUM status, including the album itself.
What an absolute RIDE it has been watching Bo's work continue to dominate the charts.
Let's keep going!
A new tote with Bo's box set—perfect for carrying your vinyls or something lol