Even when they fail, they succeed.
British rock group Coldplay heads up this week’s Billboard albums chart, with 447,000 copies sold of their fifth album, Mylo Xyloto. Chris Martin and co. score their third #1 album, although the two previous (Viva La Vida and X&Y) debuted with numbers north of 700,000. Nevertheless, it’s the third biggest first week of the year (behind Lady GaGa and Lil Wayne) and the highest total for a rock album in nearly three years, following U2’s debut with No Line on the Horizon in early 2009. The release of the new album (aided by sales at digital retailers) brings Coldplay’s entire catalog onto the Top 100. Somewhat oddly, Viva La Vida charts at #55, Parachutes (Coldplay’s excellent debut) is at #56, and X&Y stands at #57. The odd man out? A Rush of the Blood to the Head, which lands at #66.
Coldplay isn’t the only act making chart news. Over on the Hot 100 singles list, their duet partner Rihanna scores her 11th #1 single with “We Found Love”, which takes over from Adele’s “Someone Like You”. Ri-Ri’s latest feat bumps her ahead of Janet Jackson and Stevie Wonder on the list for most #1 singles. Among female artists, she now trails only Madonna, Whitney Houston, Mariah Carey and Barbra Streisand for most chart-toppers. Impressive feat for an artist who hasn’t even been recording for a decade yet. There’s been some talk about her feat being somehow lessened by virtue of several featured artist credits, but the truth is that of her 11 chart toppers, only three were as a featured artist–T.I.’s “Live Your Life”, Eminem’s “Love the Way You Lie”, and Britney Spears’ “S&M”. Pull those out of the equation, and 8 #1s in six years is still an impressive feat.
Moving back to the album chart, five albums debut in the top 6 slots. Following Coldplay, Kelly Clarkson enters at #2 with her fifth album, Stronger. She not only sells a healthy 163,000 copies of her latest album, but scores yet another top 10 pop hit with “Mr. Know-It-All”, which jumps to #9. Canadian crooner Michael Buble is right behind, at #3 with his album Christmas. With a lofty chart position scored by the beginning of November, look for his holiday effort to sell strongly straight through the end of the year. The Top ten’s other debuts come from Toby Keith at #5 and Rock & Roll Hall of Famer Tom Waits, who debuts at #6 with Bad As Me. It’s the highest chart position ever for Waits over a career that spans nearly four decades. Quite impressive.
Also scoring high on the veteran tip, Boyz II Men. Twenty starts, appropriately, at #20 on the chart. It’s the Philadelphia trio’s highest chart position in almost a decade, even if it’s a far cry from their mid-Nineties glory days. Not quite veterans, but certainly newcomers to the upper echelon of the chart: New Englanders Deer Tick, who my buddy Pete was lucky enough to spend time with last week. Divine Providence gives the band the highest charting album of their career, entering at #65.
Other chart movers and shakers include two bands who have albums that have either just been released or are about to be released. British chanteuse Florence Welch and her Machine jump 16 spots to #70 with their Grammy-nominated album Lungs. The group’s sophomore effort, Ceremonials, was released this past Tuesday and looks to start just south of 100K. Meanwhile, The Black Keys’ breakthrough effort, Brothers, jumps over 100 notches this week to land at #86. The Keys made a ton of viral noise last week with the unveiling of their new single, “Lonely Boy”.
Next week? Justin Bieber will land the year’s first holiday chart-topper with Under the Mistletoe, while DC-area rapper Wale just might challenge J-Biebs for the top spot. Susan Boyle and the aforementioned Florence + the Machine are also expected to debut big. Not debuting big? The critically maligned new album from Lou Reed & Metallica. Lulu is expected to start with somewhere between 15-20,000, which is a failure of epic proportions.
Here’s the entire Top 20:
1) Mylo Xyloto | Coldplay
2) Stronger | Kelly Clarkson
3) Christmas | Michael Buble
4) 21 | Adele
5) Clancy’s Tavern | Toby Keith
6) Bad As Me | Tom Waits
7) Clear As Day | Scotty McCreery
8) Own the Night | Lady Antebellum
9) Duets II | Tony Bennett
10) Come to the Well | Casting Crowns
11) Tha Carter IV | Lil Wayne
12) A Very She & Him Christmas | She & Him
13) Evanescence | Evanescence
14) Guitar Slinger | Vince Gill
15) Torches | Foster the People
16) Cole World: The Sideline Story | J. Cole
17) Fire & Ice | Kaskade
18) Now That’s What I Call Music 39 | Various Artists
19) Watch the Throne | Jay-Z & Kanye West
20) Twenty | Boyz II Men