After Cake took the #1 spot last week by selling practically nothing, the album charts look a bit healthier this week. It took six albums, but The Decemberists have officially broken through to the mainstream, scoring the week’s #1 album with The King is Dead. The indie favorites scan an impressive 94,000 copies of their third major label effort-easily 2011’s best sales week so far. It’s also more than half of the cumulative sales of the band’s last album, Hazards of Love.
The entire top 5 this week is comprised of new releases. The Decemberists are followed by the latest Kidz Bop CD at #2. Irish pop band The Script makes an impressive entry at #3 with their sophomore effort Science & Faith, while the Top Five is rounded out by two legendary rock acts scoring their highest chart ink ever. Punk legends Social Distortion start at #4 with Hard Times & Nursery Rhymes, while Gregg Allman takes the #5 position with Low Country Blues.
Apparently, everyone that wanted to buy Cake’s new album did so last week, as their latest album, Showroom of Compassion, tumbles from #1 to #25, with a 67% drop in sales to just 15,000 units.
The remainder of the chart is still relatively quiet. Not a ton of movement in the upper reaches, and it should remain that way next week. Sales look bad enough that we might reach another low at the #1 position, with no high profile releases barring the 2011 Grammy Nominees compilation (which isn’t really that big a deal). It begs the question, why don’t record labels release albums by high-profile artists in January and February? If you take a look at the string of albums that were released in December, many of which have already begun to tumble down the charts-it’s hard not to think that the albums by Keyshia Cole and Keri Hilson, among others, wouldn’t have scored six-figure #1 debuts had they not been released in January or February. Is the best the first two months of the year can offer musically another Now That’s What I Call Music compilation? Who makes these decisions? And why?
Meanwhile, you can head on over to the digital downloads singles chart, and see that Britney Spears’ stay at the top was a short one. After making her entrance with nearly half a million paid downloads of “Hold it Against Me”, Brit cedes the top spot to Bruno Mars, whose “Grenade” strolls back up to the top spot. Britney slides to #3, with Wiz Khalifa’s “Black & Yellow” in between at #2. With the Pittsburgh Steelers in the Super Bowl, don’t be surprised if the rapper makes a run for the top spot in the next couple of weeks, especially if the Steelers win. Also on the come-up? Pink. Her latest single, “Fuckin’ Perfect”, makes a power move into the Top 20. Meanwhile, previous single “Raise Your Glass” hangs around at #15 and her album Greatest Hits…So Far jumps back into the Top 20 on the album chart. It’s also worth noting that we now have two songs with the “f” word in the title in the top 20 on the pop charts. How times have changed…
Here’s this week’s top 20 digital downloads:
1) “Grenade” Bruno Mars
2) “Black & Yellow” Wiz Khalifa
3) “Hold it Against Me” Britney Spears
4) “Tonight (I’m Lovin’ You)” Enrique Iglesias feat. Ludacris
5) “Firework” Katy Perry
6) “F**kin’ Perfect” Pink
7) “Hey Baby (Drop it to the Floor)” Pitbull feat. T-Pain
8) “Coming Home” Diddy-Dirty Money feat. Skylar Grey
9) “The Time (Dirty Bit)” The Black Eyed Peas
10) “We R Who We R” Ke$ha
11) “6 Foot 7 Foot” Lil Wayne feat. Cory Gunz
12) “Fuck You” Cee-Lo Green
13) “No Hands” Waka Flocka Flame
14) “Rocketeer” Far East Movement
15) “Raise Your Glass” Pink
16) “What’s My Name?” Rihanna feat. Drake
17) “Stereo Love” Edward Maya & Vika Jegulina
18) “Jar of Hearts” Christina Perri
19) “Yeah 3X” Chris Brown
20) “Just the Way You Are” Bruno Mars