Still getting back into the swing of things after being away for most of the week. Here’s what’s going on in the world of the Billboard album charts.
Last week marked the second week in 2010 when no album managed to reach the 100,000 mark in sales. Justin Bieber’s “My World 2.0” notches a third non-consecutive week at the #1 position, selling another 92,000 copies. Things go into freefall from there, as the #2 album, MGMT’s sophomore effort “Congratulations” only manages to sell 66,000 units. While a massive improvement over any of the sales weeks that the indie-pop duo’s previous album enjoyed, it’s still sort of a disappointing number. Their performance on last night’s “SNL” should hopefully breathe some life into the album and contribute to a second week drop-off that’s less alarming than normal.
MGMT’s album is one of six debuts in the Top 20. You’ll find new albums from prog-metal outfit Coheed & Cambria at #5, guitar legend Jeff Beck at #11, former college rock radio queen Natalie Merchant at #17, “Idol” 2008 finalist Jason Castro at #18, and presently incarcerated rapper (why do I feel like I should put the word rapper in quotation marks?) Gucci Mane at #19.
The chart’s most notable jumps can all be attributed to the power of the boob tube. Ke$ha’s performance on the April 17th episode of “Saturday Night Live” propels her “Animal” up from 16-8, while 2009 “American Idol” runner-up Adam Lambert returned to the show as a guest judge and saw his debut scoot from 77-35 in the week following. Someone might want to give Kris Allen a call about a guest judgeship-his debut album is completely absent from the Top 200 sellers this week.
Speaking of the boob tube, “Glee” came back, and it’s return not only leads to jumps for Vol. 1 (57-39) and Vol. 2 (64-47) of the soundtrack, but will likely lead to a #1 debut for the third volume of music from the series-a collection of songs previously recorded by Madonna.
While Usher’s “Raymond v. Raymond” is by no means a flop, things aren’t looking good for the project. The album stands at #4 on last week’s chart (although it’s the country’s #1 R&B album for a third week), but it sold a fairly underwhelming 64,000 copies. After three weeks, “Raymond” has sold 486,000 units. Not too shabby-the album will have passed the Gold mark by the time next week’s numbers come out on Wednesday, but considering that there were FIVE singles that went to radio before this album hits stores, the sales totals have to be considered disappointing. Of course, the album could turn around and prove me wrong (hell, look at John Mayer’s latest album. After a somewhat slow start, it’s now less than 100,000 copies away from being his fourth consecutive platinum studio album), but I don’t know what tricks Usher and his label folks have left in their collective hat.
Here’s some chart history for you: 20 years ago, the #1 album in the country was Sinead O’ Connor’s “I Do Not Want What I Haven’t Got”. Bolstered by it’s lead single, a cover of an obscure album track by Prince side project The Family called “Nothing Compares 2 U”, “I Do Not Want…” turned the Irish lass into a superstar-at least temporarily. It turned out to be her only Top 40 hit, and her chances of a follow-up smash disappeared in the Pope picture-ripping “SNL” controversy. Despite that, Sinead has gone on to make plenty of interesting music in the years since. Recent pics suggest that Sinead has let herself go, which is a shame because I kinda had a crush on her back in the day. I had to smile, though, after reading something recently that suggested Sinead now comes across as more of a prophet than a pariah.
Anyhoo, before “Nothing Compares 2 U”, she became one of the first rock artists to collaborate with a rapper when she featured MC Lyte on the 12″ version of her single “I Want Your (Hands on Me)”. I was totally unaware that the song had a video, but lo and behold: here it is. You gotta love YouTube.
Oh, before the video, here’s this week’s Top 20:
1) “My World 2.0” Justin Bieber
2) “Congratulations” MGMT
3) “Need You Now” Lady Antebellum
4) “Raymond v Raymond” Usher
5) “Year of the Black Rainbow” Coheed & Cambria
6) “Now 33” Various Artists
7) “The Fame” Lady GaGa
8) “Animal” Ke$ha
9) “Still Standing” Monica
10) “My World” Justin Bieber
11) “Emotion & Commotion” Jeff Beck
12) “Soldier of Love” Sade
13) “Battle of the Sexes” Ludacris
14) “The E.N.D. (The Energy Never Dies)” Black Eyed Peas
15) “Foundation” Zac Brown Band
16) “Slash” Slash
17) “Leave Your Sleep” Natalie Merchant
18) “Jason Castro” Jason Castro
19) “Burrrprint 2 HD” Gucci Mane
20) “New Amerykah Pt. 2” Erykah Badu