That sounds like a sitcom. Or a cartoon. Like “Pinky & the Brain”. Right?
Anyway, Usher scores his third consecutive #1 debut. “Raymond vs. Raymond” enters the Billboard 200 Albums chart at the top, with 329,000 copies sold. It’s the third highest debut of the year, behind Sade and Lady Antebellum. However, it’s also about 100,000 copies less than Usher’s last album, “Here I Stand”, started with in 2008. This number was juiced by a number of factors including a stint on “American Idol” and 5 different songs at radio before the album’s release. With that kind of publicity mojo, if 329,000 copies is all he can manage, I’d be apt to call that something of a disappointment.
Don’t cry too much for Usher, though, because at the #2 spot is Ush’s protege Justin Bieber with last week’s #1 album, “My World 2.0”. Most albums drop by about 50% in their second week. Bieber actually goes UP in sales this week, adding another 290,000 units to his total. The teen star is closing in on 600,000 units sold in just two weeks out. Pretty damn impressive.
There are a slew of debuts in the Top 50 this week aside from Usher. Buoyed by the controversy surrounding her nekkid video, Erykah Badu’s “New Amerykah Part Two” starts at #4 with a solid 110K. Country superstar Alan Jackson opens at #7 with a so-so 72K (his last album debuted at #1), while the Method Man/Ghostface Killah/Raekwon collaboration begins at a disappointing #12 with 38,000 sold. The artists have been complaining about the promotion effort Def Jam put behind this album (which should have moved six digits on principle), and while I understand their complaints, I must admit that I saw commercials for this album several times over the past two weeks-and I don’t watch very much TV. Other debuts come from Barenaked Ladies (#23, 23K) and Gretchen Wilson (#34, 15K).
Folks were buying Easter gifts last week, so a lot of kid-oriented titles saw a big sales increase on this chart. The biggest bumps went to the “Alvin & the Chipmunks: Squeaquel” soundtrack and Selena Gomez. The DVD release of the Chipmunks movie (combined with Easter) led to a 119% increase and a 30-14 bump. Meanwhile, Disney star Gomez (whose commercial I’ve seen almost as much as the Meth/Ghost/Rae one) leaps from 35-20 with her 6-month old album, which has slowly sold over 500,000 copies.
Where the hell is rock and roll? Looking at the Top 20, there is 1 compilation, 1 movie soundtrack, 4 country albums, 1 gospel album, 2 rap albums, 4 R&B albums, and 7 albums that fall under the very loose term of pop. The highest-charting rock album comes from Jimi Hendrix, who has been dead for forty years. Although there are a few rock acts in the Top 50, most of them are either what they now call “adult alternative” (i.e. Barenaked Ladies and Train) or they’re “indie rock” (She & Him, Broken Bells). To find a legitimate living hard rock act on the chart, you have to go all the way down to #50, where Nickelback sits with their two year old album “Dark Horse”. Talk about a genre falling on hard times. Never mind metal. What the hell are beer-drinking teenagers in the midwest listening to nowadays? Have they all decided to listen to Eminem?
Next week, my money’s on Bieber returning to the top spot on the chart. With no big albums being released this week, the teen idol is probably safe until indie faves MGMT return on the 13th.
Here’s this week’s Top 20 albums
1) “Raymond vs. Raymond” Usher
2) “My World 2.0” Justin Bieber
3) “Now That’s What I Call Music 33” Various Artists
4) “New Amerykah Part 2: Return of the Ankh” Erykah Badu
5) “Need You Now” Lady Antebellum
6) “Still Standing” Monica
7) “Freight Train” Alan Jackson
8) “My World” Justin Bieber
9) “The Fame” Lady GaGa
10) “The E.N.D. (The Energy Never Dies)” The Black Eyed Peas
11) “Battle of the Sexes” Ludacris
12) “Wu-Massacre” Method Man, Raekwon & Ghostface Killah
13) “Here I Am” Marvin Sapp
14) “Alvin & The Chipmunks: The Squeaquel” Soundtrack
15) “Soldier of Love” Sade
16) “Fearless” Taylor Swift
17) “The Fame: Monster” Lady GaGa
18) “Animal” Ke$ha
19) “Foundation” Zac Brown Band
20) “Kiss & Tell” Selena Gomez & The Scene