I’ve backed away from doing this column in the past few weeks, just because there hasn’t been a lot of chart news to report. However, this week’s Billboard charts have a tremendous amount of noteworthiness, much of which has to do with the Grammy Award sweep by Adele and the passing of Whitney Houston.
Adele’s sophomore album, 21, which won Album of The Year and Best Pop Vocal Album at this year’s ceremony, breaks a record by spending it’s 21st week at #1 on the album charts, marking the most weeks ever spent at the top by a female artist. The previous record-holder? Whitney Houston, with The Bodyguard soundtrack. Additionally, 21 scores the largest unit increase in history of any album not in it’s debut week, moving almost 500,000 units more than it did the previous week for a total of 730,000 albums sold. Amazing for an album that’s just celebrating it’s 1st anniversary. In the process, 21 has become the first album to sell 2 million copies on iTunes, and it has amazingly never dipped below #7 on the Billboard 200 in it’s entire year on the list. Adele’s debut, 19, zooms up five spots to #4 on the chart, making Adele the first artist to score two Top Five albums in the same week since Nelly over half a decade ago with Sweat and Suit. Remember those albums? If you have an independent record store near you, I’m sure it’s teeming with used copies of both albums for like two bucks.
The Adele juggernaut isn’t over yet! Over on the singles chart, Adele becomes the first female artist to score three simultaneous top tens as a lead artist. “Set Fire To The Rain” holds at #2, Record (and Song) of the Year “Rolling In The Deep” rebounds from 17-5, and “Someone Like You” (which won Best Pop Vocal Performance) shoots 11-7. Amazing stuff.
The Grammys were good to a lot of folks. Just about every artist who performed, presented or even scored a nomination went up in sales this week. As you may have heard, this year’s ceremony was the most watched since the Michael Jackson-dominated 1984 show. Adele scored the biggest percentage increase, but the following artists more than doubled their sales of the previous week: The Civil Wars (who were only on the show for a minute!,) Foo Fighters, Bruno Mars (who delivered one of the night’s most electric performances,) and Deadmau5. Hell, even the widely panned Nicki Minaj performance reaped rewards-her Pink Friday album mustered a 12% increase in sales to land at #61 on the chart.
…and then there’s Whitney. In the first full week following her death, her Greatest Hits album scans 175,000 units to land at #2 on the charts. Meanwhile, her diamond-selling debut lands at #37, the aforementioned Bodyguard soundtrack is #38, her most recent studio album, I Look To You, is #65, 1987’s Whitney is #87, and The Preacher’s Wife soundtrack is #90. Those numbers might go up next week, as physical product finally catches up to digital. Due to a change in Billboard chart methodology, a slew of classic Whitney infiltrates the singles chart as well. Previously, songs older than 26 weeks old that dropped below #50 were removed from the chart for good. However, they are now allowed to return if they have enough airplay and sales to re-enter the upper half of the chart. Previously, this rule only applied to songs that were being re-worked at radio. At any rate, “I Will Always Love You” stands at #7 on the singles chart, followed by “I Wanna Dance With Somebody (Who Loves Me)” at #25, “Greatest Love Of All” at #36 and “How Will I Know?” at #49.
Also on the singles chart, Katy Perry looks to challenge a record set by Whitney and kinda, sorta breaks a record previously held by Michael Jackson. “Part of Me,” which she performed at the Grammys, enters the singles chart at #1. It’s her sixth consecutive #1 single. Whitney holds the record for most #1s in a row with seven. It’s also the sixth #1 from Teenage Dream-kinda. The album is being re-released with new tracks, one of which is “Part of Me.” Seeing as “Part of Me” was not part of the album’s original track listing, Katy only swipes the record from MJ (who scored five #1s from Bad) due to a technicality. Hell, in my eyes, it doesn’t even count. And it looks like Billboard has downplayed this feat on their site for the same reason. “Part of Me” is one of three debuts in a busy Top 10. Nicki Minaj’s “Starships” starts at #9, while Chris Brown’s “Turn Up The Music” debuts at #10.
Whew. I’m tired. Here’s the top 20 albums list.
1) 21 | Adele
2) Greatest Hits | Whitney Houston
3) Now That’s What I Call Music 41 | Various Artists
4) 19 | Adele
5) 2012 Grammy Nominees | Various Artists
6) A Different Kind of Truth | Van Halen
7) Kisses On The Bottom | Paul McCartney
8) Doo-Wops & Hooligans | Bruno Mars
9) Own The Night | Lady Antebellum
10) Barton Hollow | Civil Wars
11) Mylo Xyloto | Coldplay
12) Take Care | Drake
13) Stronger | Kelly Clarkson
14) Scars & Stories | The Fray
15) My Kinda Party | Jason Aldean
16) The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Soundtrack | Various Artists
17) Talk That Talk | Rihanna
18) Sorry For Party Rocking | LMFAO
19) The Band Perry | The Band Perry
20) Kidz Bop 21 | Kidz Bop Kids