This week’s Billboard album chart features 5 new albums in the Top Ten, led by Britney Spears. Her seventh studio album, Femme Fatale, opens at the top spot with 276,000 copies sold. On the good side, that represents the second highest first week number of the year so far (narrowly edging out last week’s Chris Brown total). Also on the good side, it’s Britney’s sixth number one album (out of seven releases). On the bad side, it’s the lowest first week total for any Spears studio album, proof that the magic might finally be wearing off a little, despite Femme Fatale getting the best reviews of Britney’s career.
Wiz Khalifa scores the year’s best debut by a new artist, as his Rolling Papers starts off as the week’s #2 album, scanning an impressive 197,000 units-certainly surpassing expectations. He’s joined in the Top Ten by new albums from Radiohead (#6, 69K), Snoop Dogg (#8, 50K) and gospel duo (#10, 42K). All of those numbers are at least mildly disappointing, considering these are all million-selling artists. However, in Radiohead’s case at least, King of Limbs has been available through the band’s site for a month and change. In the case of Snoop, people are finally getting tired of hearing the same old shizzle every album, and as for Mary Mary? Who knows? I’d say folks didn’t feel like getting Jesus, but if that’s the case, they wouldn’t have bought Kirk Franklin’s album either, and he sits one spot above them on the charts and he’s in his second week.
This week’s chart has the most “urban” flavor of any chart in recent memory. 6 of this week’s Top Ten albums come from hip-hop/R&B/gospel artists, and of the four that wouldn’t necessarily fall into that category, the Songs for Japan compilation features a decent amount of R&B and hip-hop, and Adele’s album (which is hanging on impressively at #3) is more soulful than any album in the upper echelon of the chart.
On the disappointing side of things, it looks like The Strokes’ Angles isn’t going to last long at the top of the charts. After last week’s #4 debut (the band’s third consecutive studio album to debut at that position), the New York rockers tumble to #18 with a decrease of 76% in sales. To put that in perspective, both Chris Brown and Jennifer Hudson suffered declines of about 66% and retain their positions in the Top Ten.
In other news: Elton John parlays his Saturday Night Live hosting gig into chart success, as his Rocket Man: Number Ones compilation lands at #45 on this week’s chart with a 458% increase in sales. Not to be outdone, the Foo Fighters, who leaked their new album Wasting Light two weeks early, see a 482% increase in sales on their Greatest Hits compilation, landing just behind Elton at #47. Other big moves come from The Beastie Boys Solid Gold Hits comp, up 410% in light of the group’s new single being released, and Fantasia’s Back to Me, which gets a 45% lift based on her “American Idol” performance last week and is slowly approaching Gold status, standing at just about 435,000 units scanned overall.
Next week could see Britney spending a second week at the top, depending on how much sales of Femme Fatale deteriorate, or it could see the indefatigable Adele album bouncing back into the top spot with a total that will officially send her over the million-scanned mark. We won’t see a new album at the top until a week later, when it looks like the Foo Fighters will score their first-ever #1 album.
This week’s Top 20 after the jump.
1) Femme Fatale, Britney Spears
2) Rolling Papers, Wiz Khalifa
3) 21, Adele
4) F.A.M.E., Chris Brown
5) Songs for Japan, Various Artists
6) The King of Limbs, Radiohead
7) I Remember Me, Jennifer Hudson
8) Doggumentary, Snoop Dogg
9) Hello Fear, Kirk Franklin
10) Something Big, Mary Mary
11) Sigh No More, Mumford & Sons
12) Now That’s What I Call Music 37, Various Artists
13) Greatest Hits So Far, P!nk
14) Loud, Rihanna
15) Never Say Never: The Remixes, Justin Bieber
16) Lasers, Lupe Fiasco
17) Teenage Dream, Katy Perry
18) Angles, The Strokes
19) Doo-Wops & Hooligans, Bruno Mars
20) Pink Friday, Nicki Minaj