How Lizzo's Truth Hurts could hit No. 1 on Billboard Hot 100 despite 2017 release

The q This music panel discusses Lizzo's rise up the charts with Truth Hurts, a sleeper hit that was released nearly two years ago.
Lizzo in the video for her 2017 song Truth Hurts. (Nice Life Recording Company and Atlantic Records)

Every Friday, the q This panel looks at the biggest stories in music news. Today, CBC arts reporter Lisa Christiansen and music journalist A. Harmony join q guest host Ali Hassan to talk about Truth Hurts, a sleeper hit that helped transform Lizzo into a huge name this summer.

Truth Hurts is currently on top of both the U.S. and R&B/Hip-Hop charts, but there's a chance that it could hit No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 very soon, despite being released nearly two years ago.

The singer/rapper/flautist has said that when she released the song back in 2017, she was devastated by the initial response — or lack thereof.

"The day I released Truth Hurts was probably one of the darkest days I've had ever in my career," she told People. "I remember thinking, 'If I quit music now, nobody would notice. This is my best song ever, and nobody cares.'" 

As it turns out, Lizzo's instincts about the song were right, but listeners were slow to catch on. So how does a two-year-old song make a run for No. 1? We reached out to Gary Trust, senior director of charts at Billboard for an official comment. Here is what he had to say.

Why is Lizzo's Truth Hurts — a song first released in 2017 — eligible to enter the Billboard Hot 100 now?

Generally, older songs are eligible for the Billboard Hot 100 (which is based on streaming, airplay and sales data) if they rank in the top 50 and/or have a noteworthy reason for their resurgence.

Is this a rare case of a nearly two-year-old song having a shot at hitting No. 1?

It's certainly a rare occurrence, but, among other examples, The Proclaimers' I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles) became a top five Hot 100 hit in 1993, five years after its original release. UB40's Red Red Wine hit No. 1 in 1988 thanks to renewed radio airplay and sales after it first reached No. 34 in 1984. And, Chubby Checker's The Twist is the only song to have hit No. 1 over two release cycles, in 1960 and again, after it grew in popularity among adult audiences, in 1962.

In the digital era, it's much easier than ever before for music fans to be exposed to older songs that might've been overlooked the first time around.

Do you think Truth Hurts has a good chance of reaching No. 1 on next week's Hot 100?

The song rose to a new No. 3 high on the Hot 100 this week, and her MTV VMAs performance this week should only add to its momentum. We'll find out next week!

Click 'Listen' near the top of this page to hear the full conversation.

— Produced by ​Emma Godmere

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