Country music has officially taken over, it seems. On this week’s Billboard album charts, the genre boasts the Top Three albums, four of the top ten, and eight of the top twenty (nine if you count the country/folk-influenced Mumford and Sons). As far as the other genres in the Top 20 go: two albums qualify as hip-hop, five fall under the pop umbrella (a wide spectrum that goes from Rod Stewart’s standards to Katy Perry’s dance-pop), there’s one legit rock album, and three albums that skew closer to R&B than any other genre.
Leading the pack, of course, is Taylor Swift. “Speak Now” adds another 320,000 copies to it’s total, far outpacing the rest of the albums on the chart. Falling behind her at #2 is country stud Jason Aldean. His fourth album, “My Kinda Party”, bows with an impressive 193,000 units-which would take the top spot in most weeks. Sugarland completes the trifecta at a distant #3 with 60,000.
Aside from Aldean, the Top 20 welcomes four new entries this week. Mariah Carey swoops in at #4 with “Merry Christmas II You”, an album whose chart fortunes should improve as we get closer to the holidays. She’s followed by Neil Diamond, whose “Dreams” enters at #8. Brad Paisley’s new hits/live collection “Hits Alive” follows at #9, and N.E.R.D. brings up the rear at #20 with their latest, “Nothing”.
Just below the Top 20, you’ll find an interesting case of bands on the way up vs. bands on the way down. Brooklyn synth-pop duo Matt & Kim bows at #27 with their third effort, “Sidewalks”. Their previous album, “Grand”, never scanned more than 3,000 units in any single week on it’s way to over 100K scanned and an MTV VMA. Meanwhile, former MTV darlings Good Charlotte find themselves on the opposite end of the spectrum. The former multi-platinum band can only manage a #28 debut for their latest album, “Cardiology”. With just under 17,000 copies sold, it’s definitely a case of “how the mighty have fallen” going on here.
Next week’s chart should be pretty interesting. Not only will many country albums see a lift on account of the CMA ceremony from Wednesday night, but we could have as many as three albums in the 200K + range when all the dust settles. If Swift’s decline is minimal (which it likely will be), she will be battling it out for #1 with the new Susan Boyle record, which is slated to debut in the 250K range. Boyle and Swift will likely be battling it out for chart supremacy into the new year, with the only serious challenges coming from Josh Groban, Kanye West and Michael Jackson. Not far behind in third place will be rapper Kid Cudi, whose second effort is trending at just under 200K and could get a weekend boost. Wow-almost like the old days!
Here’s this week’s Top Twenty:
1-“Speak Now” Taylor Swift
2-“My Kinda Party” Jason Aldean
3-“Incredible Machine” Sugarland
4-“Merry Christmas II You” Mariah Carey
5-“I Am Not a Human Being” Lil Wayne
6-“Come Around Sundown” Kings of Leon
8-“Dreams” Neil Diamond
9-“Hits Alive” Brad Paisley
10-“The Union” Elton John & Leon Russell
11-“Fly Me to the Moon” Rod Stewart
12-“Hemingway’s Whiskey” Kenny Chesney
13-“Teenage Dream” Katy Perry
14-“Charleston, SC 1966” Darius Rucker
15-“The Band Perry” The Band Perry
16-“Passion, Pain & Pleasure” Trey Songz
17-“Merry Little Christmas” Lady Antebellum
18-“My World 2.0” Justin Bieber
19-“Sigh No More” Mumford and Sons