A big ho ho ho to Michael Buble, as the Canadian crooner holds at #1 on this week’s album chart with his album Christmas. The album sells a healthy 293,000 units, easily outdistancing second weeks for the many debuts that entered last week. With no immediate challenger in site, it’s pretty easy to assume that Buble will retain pole position on the chart for the remainder of the year, and while there’s no way in hell he’ll pass Adele to score the year’s #2 album, it’s entirely possible that he’ll jump Lady GaGa to land at #2 for the year. This week, he jumps over the million-sold mark, becoming only the 7th album to scan over a million copies this year (Adele, GaGa and Buble are joined on this list by Mumford & Sons, Jason Aldean, Lil Wayne and the team of Kanye West and Jay-Z so far, with Beyonce and possibly Lady Antebellum and Justin Bieber the only titles on pace to hit that mark by year’s end.)
The week was more or less devoid of new releases, and things settled down with a quickness following a busy Thanksgiving weekend. Only three albums break the coveted six-figure mark, with Adele bouncing back to #2 from her #7 position last week (amazingly, the first time in 40 weeks that 21 had been out of the Top 5) and Bieber hanging out at #3. Nickelback sits at #5 and Drake (who will also join the million + club, my bad) sits at #4 for a second week. 4 of the artists in the American Top 5…are Canadian. And the other one is British. Go figure.
Only two albums debut in the Top 50. Inevitable, a new EP from R&B lothario Trey Songz, starts at #23 with 27,000 copies while pop band Hot Chelle Rae (you know, those guys who won the American Music Awards New Artist category a few weeks back) begin at #48 with their second album, Whatever.
With most albums taking a dip in sales, the announcement of Grammy nominations did a small part to staunch the bleeding. The biggest beneficiary of Grammy love was Bon Iver, frontrunner for Best New Artist, whose self-titled second effort jumped 142% in sales to re-enter the chart at the #131 position. It’s actually one of the few non-holiday albums to increase in sales this week. Other albums that received Grammy love that only dipped in sales slightly are Bruno Mars’ Doo-Wops & Hooligans (-4%) and Jason Aldean’s My Kinda Party (-8%.)
One thing this holiday season appears to be missing is a big pop hit to galvanize audiences. That’s reflected over on the Top Digital Singles chart, where only 6 songs pass the 100,000-download mark this week (trust me, that’s less than normal.) If you take away the various “Glee”-related songs that always seem to debut after each episode airs, the highest new entry on that chart is Nicki Minaj’s “Roman In Moscow,” which starts at #44. The biggest jump comes from Jay-Z & Kanye West’s “N***as in Paris,” which shoots from 11-6 after the twosome performed it at the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show. Dubious distinction-it is the first ever Billboard Top 10 pop hit to contain the dreaded “N” word.
Next week, expect Buble to top the charts again and possibly creep past the 300K mark with his holiday effort, while albums by The Black Keys and Amy Winehouse will crack the six-figure mark. The Keys will make a strong run for #2, immediately making El Camino their highest-charting album ever.
Here’s this week’s Top 20:
1) Christmas | Michael Buble
2) 21 | Adele
3) Under The Mistletoe | Justin Bieber
4) Take Care | Drake
5) Here & Now | Nickelback
6) My Life II: The Journey Continues | Mary J. Blige
7) Talk That Talk | Rihanna
8) Concerto: Live In Central Park | Andrea Bocelli
9) Now That’s What I Call Music 40 | Various Artists
10) Own The Night | Lady Antebellum
11) Clear As Day | Scotty McCreery
12) Mylo Xyloto | Coldplay
13) Glee: Christmas Album Vol. 2 | Various Artists
14) Break The Spell | Daughtry
15) Heavenly Christmas | Jackie Evancho
16) Someone To Watch Over Me | Susan Boyle
17) My Christmas | Andrea Bocelli
18) Speak Now: World Tour Live | Taylor Swift
19) Christmas Symphony | Mannheim Steamroller
20) Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Soundtrack | Various Artists