I’ll get to the albums chart in a minute, but I must first register my surprise at this week’s new #1 single. British newcomer Taio Cruz jumps from #53 to #1 on the Hot 100 with his new single “Break Your Heart”, which features Ludacris (who will now have an impressive three songs in the Top Ten). I’ll admit that even as I write this, I haven’t heard the song yet (bad reporting, I know…but I have the Broken Bells CD on in the background). Nevertheless, this is an impressive jump for an unknown, and as a matter of fact, it’s the biggest jump to #1 for a debut single in Billboard chart history.

I will say that Billboard’s chart methodology probably needs to be looked at, as although “Break” is the #1 selling song in the country, it only ranks at #53 on the airplay chart. I don’t know what the percentage breakdown of sales and airplay is on the Hot 100, but something smells fishy. Then again, record companies have always been able to manipulate the Hot 100, so if it turns out that this chart feat involved some shenanigans, it would be of no surprise to anyone.

Moving on to the albums chart: country trio Lady Antebellum returns to the #1 spot after a three week absence with “Need You Now”. It increases 6% in scans this week, moving a healthy 126,000 units. At least one album has scanned 100,000 units every week so far in 2010, good news for an otherwise ailing industry.

6 of this week’s Top Ten albums are new, led by country performer Blake Shelton’s EP “Hillbilly Boner” at #3 with 71K. 2009 “Idol” finalist Danny Gokey is right behind him at #4, selling 65,000 units of “My Best Days”. Seeing as 3 of the Top 4 albums are from the country genre, it’s safe to say it’s a pretty good time to be a Nashville resident. The other debuts come from the Avril Lavigne-led “Almost Alice” soundtrack (#5, 58K), easy-listening rockers Lifehouse (#6, 54K), R&B crooner Raheem DeVaughn (#9, 45K) and Easton Corbin (who is not related to Corbin Bernsen, Corbin Bleu, or Sheena Easton) at #10 with 43K. Pop/R&B singer Jason DeRulo is right behind at #11-two bad he wasn’t able to parlay his two huge hit singles into an album that people cared about.

Was Chris Daughtry on “American Idol” last week? If so, that would explain his 56-35 jump on the chart, with a 42% increase over the prior week’s sales. Although his band’s “Leave This Town” had nowhere near the chart impact that their almost 5X Platinum debut had (it’s still on the chart, too-#151 this week), it’s been a steadily quiet seller and will cross the million-sold mark in the next two or three weeks. The next biggest jump comes from R&B lothario Trey Songz, who scores a 28% increase on his latest album, “Ready”, although it only moves up one spot on the album chart.

Today’s addition to the “catching a brick” file is Peter Gabriel’s “Scratch My Back” album. The heavily publicized covers collection, Gabriel’s first album in nearly eight years, only managed an anemic #26 debut, scanning just over 20,000 units. Granted, Gabriel doesn’t release albums very regularly, but even still, it’s worth noting that a new studio album of his has not missed the Top Ten since the early Eighties. Ouch. That’s gotta hurt. Another artist probably not viewing the Billboard charts too kindly is Chris Brown. After only 13 weeks, his “Graffiti” is on it’s way off the chart, sliding down to #186. For comparison’s sake, it’s only 12 spots above Usher’s “Confessions”. Nope, not Usher’s new album or even the one before that, but “Confessions”, an album that’s now 6 years old.

Next week’s chart should continue the 100,000 + streak, with the front-runner looking to be Ludacris’s “Battle of the Sexes”, with the new Gorillaz album not far behind. I guess now would be a good time to post that Taio Cruz video. Maybe I’ll check it out after Broken Bells goes off.

This week’s Top 20 albums:

1) “Need You Now” Lady Antebellum
2) “Soldier of Love” Sade
3) “Hillbilly Bone” Blake Shelton
4) “My Best Days” Danny Gokey
5) “Almost Alice Original Soundtrack” Various Artists
6) “Smoke & Mirrors” Lifehouse
7) “The Fame” Lady Gaga
8) “The E.N.D.” The Black Eyed Peas
9) “Love & War: The Masterpeace” Raheem Devaughn
10) “Easton Corbin” Easton Corbin
11) “Jason DeRulo” Jason DeRulo
12) “Rebirth” Lil Wayne
13) “Animal” Ke$ha
14) “Victory” DJ Khaled
15) “My World” Justin Bieber
16) “The Fame: Monster” Lady Gaga
17) “Fearless” Taylor Swift
18) “I Dreamed a Dream” Susan Boyle
19) “The Element of Freedom” Alicia Keys
20) “Foundation” Zac Brown Band

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