Welcome to another week of “how low can you go” on the Billboard album charts. Cake’s Showroom of Compassion takes the #1 spot with a paltry 44,000 units sold. It’s the California band’s first chart-topper, and a notable achievement considering their six year absence, however, scoring a #1 album with a number that’s half if not a third the number of the average #1 album is somewhat dubious. Cake scores one of four debuts in this week’s Top 20. Kentucky rockers Cage the Elephant score a #2 debut with their sophomore effort Thank You Happy Birthday, country newcomers Steel Magnolia gets off to a #7 effort with their maiden effort, and contemporary Christian outfit Lecrawe starts off at #15.
Over on the singles chart, it’s a different story. When you look at the top selling tracks of the week, you’ll notice that 15 songs were downloaded over 100,000 times. Overall 49 songs were downloaded more than Cake’s album was sold. The chart is led by Britney Spears’ “Hold it Against Me”. The lead track from Britney’s upcoming studio album starts with 411,000 downloads. Add that to immediate omnipresences at radio, and the song debuts at #1 on the Hot 100 singles chart (which is based on sales as well as radio play). It’s Britney’s fourth #1 single and her second straight chart hit to debut at #1, following 2009’s “3”.
Two other songs announcing upcoming projects start with over 100,000 paid downloads. Avril Lavigne’s “What the Hell” starts at #6 with 163,000 downloads, and Kanye West and Jay-Z get off to a #10 start with their latest, “H.A.M.” That song was downloaded over 125,000 times, a relatively mediocre number that speaks to the lukewarm reception the song has received from critics and bloggers, all of whom jumped right on top of the track as soon as it was made available-myself included.
Next week? Should be more of the same. The big new releases are the new Decemberists album and the latest volume of “Kidz Bop”. I can’t imagine either album starting with over 50,000 units. Add in the fact that the weather is still crappy in many parts of the country and…yeah. It’s gonna be a long, long winter.
Here are this week’s Top 20 digitally downloaded tracks:
1) “Hold it Against Me” Britney Spears
2) “Grenade” Bruno Mars
3) “Black & Yellow” Wiz Khalifa
4) “Firework” Katy Perry
5) “Tonight (I’m Lovin’ You)” Enrique Iglesias feat. Ludacris
6) “What the Hell” Avril Lavigne
7) “The Time (Dirty Bit)” The Black Eyed Peas
8) “6 Foot 7 Foot” Lil Wayne feat. Cory Gunz
9) “We R Who We R” Ke$ha
10) “H.A.M.” Kanye West & Jay-Z
11) “Fuck You” Cee-Lo Green
12) “What’s My Name” Rihanna feat. Drake
13) “Raise Your Glass” P!nk
14) “Coming Home” Diddy-Dirty Money
15) “No Hands” Waka Flocka Flame
16) “Stereo Love” Edward Maya & Vika Jigulina
17) “Rocketeer” Far East Movement
18) “Yeah 3X” Chris Brown
19) “Hey Baby (Drop it to the Floor)” Pitbull feat. T-Pain
20) “Dynamite” Taio Cruz