“Indie Rock” is kind of a stupid term. “Indie” technically is shorthand for “independent” (as in not distributed by a major label), but most people see the word “indie” and think “hipster”. This leads to a bit of confusion. I mean, The Mars Volta record for a major label, and technically, Taylor Hicks and Elliott Yamin are “indie”. It should also probably be noted that most indie companies are actually owned by major labels. So we should probably think of another word to use for non-mainstream music and toss the term “indie” out.
Anyway, the reason I bring this up is because Canadian band The Arcade Fire’s third album, “The Suburbs”, becomes the second independently-distributed album to debut at #1 on Billboard’s album chart in 2010 (following Vampire Weekend’s “Contra”). This isn’t TOTALLY a surprise, considering the Arcade Fire’s critically-acclaimed debut “Funeral” sold over 500,000 copies, and their sophomore effort “Neon Bible” charted in the Top 5. What’s more eye-popping to me is that out of the 5 albums that debut in this week’s Top 20, 4 of them are independently distributed. Arcade Fire are followed by Southern rap stalwart Bun B at #4, a new one from rockers Buckcherry at #10, and a live effort from the Black Crowes at #13. The only major-label release to infiltrate all those debuts is Lady GaGa’s remix album, which starts at #6.
There’s action on a few different Billboard charts in addition to the news on the albums list. Over on the singles chart, Taylor Swift pops onto the Hot 100 at #3 with her new single, “Mine”. The track is also the most downloaded song in the country with only 5 full days of sales. Taylor becomes only the second artist in history to have two songs debut in the Top 5 in a calendar year. The first artist to do that was Mariah Carey back in 1995, with “Fantasy” and “One Sweet Day”, both of which debuted at #1. Meanwhile, Linkin Park makes some noise over on the rock chart. Their new track, “The Catalyst”, explodes onto the Rock Singles chart at #1. It’s the first chart-topping debut on that chart in it’s entire history, and it puts an exclamation point on LP’s victory in the nu-metal sweepstakes, having commercially outlasted every other band that came up during that era.
Back to the album charts for a second, Train finally cracks the Top 20 with “Save Me, San Francisco”, which jumps into the #20 slot in it’s 39th chart week. There are also a few sales milestones in sight for some of this year’s hottest records. Eminem’s “Recovery” is a week away from being only the 2nd album this year to cross the 2 million sold mark, while Usher’s “Raymond v Raymond” should vault over the million mark next week. He will most likely be followed a week after that by Drake’s “Thank Me Later”.
Next week’s chart should be relatively quiet, with Eminem very likely being the only artist to cross the 100,000 sold barrier (again) with “Recovery”. The following week will bring a likely #1 debut from Ray LaMontagne, while Katy Perry’s new one hits stores the week after, officially shaking the charts out of their summer doldrums.
Here’s this week’s Top 20:
1) “The Suburbs” Arcade Fire
2) “Recovery” Eminem
3) “Nightmare” Avenged Sevenfold
4) “Trill O.G.” Bun B.
5) “Teflon Don” Rick Ross
6) “The Remix” Lady GaGa
7) “My World 2.0” Justin Bieber
8) “Thank Me Later” Drake
9) “Need You Now” Lady Antebellum
10) “All Night Long” Buckcherry
11) “Kidz Bop 18” Kidz Bop Kids
12) “The Fame” Lady GaGa
13) “Croweology” The Black Crowes
14) “Now That’s What I Call Music 34” Various Artists
15) “Foundation” Zac Brown Band
16) “100 Miles from Memphis” Sheryl Crow
17) “Raymond v. Raymond” Usher
18) “The E.N.D.” The Black Eyed Peas
19) “Jonas L.A.” Soundtrack
20) “Save Me, San Francisco” Train