If you’ve read any music-related blog or publication in the past 24 hours, I’m sure you’ve seen the news: Madonna’s new album, MDNA, after debuting at #1 last week with an impressive 359,000 units, free-falls to #8 with the largest percentage drop in history for a #1 debut. The album moves 48K this week, a drop of 87% from it’s first week total. Albums typically drop between 60 and 80% in their second week, as the music industry has become more and more like the movie industry (relying on first week sales as a barometer of a record’s success,) and Madonna’s sharper-than-normal drop is very likely due to the fact that people who bought tickets to Madonna’s sold out tour had an opt-in that allowed them to purchase the album, inflating that first week number. Geezus, that was a run-on sentence. At any rate, I’m sure an additional factor was that the album’s received generally lukewarm reviews. Word of mouth can be an album killer, sometimes.

Nevertheless, it’s important to keep things in their proper perspective. 400,000 units in two weeks is nothing to sneeze at. MDNA has outsold Bruce Springsteen’s Wrecking Ball (if we’re going to compare ’80s icons in 40% of the time) and no one’s saying The Boss’s career is over. Furthermore, you’ve got to give Madge props for being able to score a #1 album when there’s really no precedent for an over-50 female pop star. Barbra, Cher, Tina, Madonna, Bonnie Raitt…and that’s it.

Anyhow, enough Madonna for now. Let’s talk about Nicki Minaj, who guests on two songs on Madonna’s late…oh, never mind. The rapper’s sophomore album, Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded, starts off at the top of the charts with 253,000 copies. She thus becomes the first female emcee to score multiple #1 albums on the Billboard 200. Warning sign? Roman Reloaded‘s first week number is about 100,000 copies less than the original Pink Friday‘s was. Granted, the first Pink Friday came out Thanksgiving week. Nevertheless, Nicki’s public profile has increased exponentially in the years since her debut, so I think most people were expecting comparable numbers, especially in light of the first-week totals her labelmates Lil Wayne and Drake have posted. Maybe that Grammy performance did more damage than we initially thought?

Four new albums are in the top 10 this week. In addition to Nicki, country trio Rascal Flatts starts at #3 with Changed, while rock band Of Monsters & Men and gospel act Marvin Sapp also enter in the Top Ten. Further down the charts, Wilson Phillips and Dr. John both score their highest debuts in some time. The ’90s pop trio steps in at #29 with Dedicated, a collection of songs made famous by their parents-Beach Boy Brian Wilson and Mama & Papa John & Michelle Phillips. Four spots below, you’ll find the New Orleans piano legend with his Dan Auerbach-produced Locked Down. Coincidentally, Auerbach himself is a step below with The Black Keys’ latest, El Camino.

Adele will return to the top spot for another week next week, scoring her 24th frame at the top with 21. It will become the longest-running chart topper since Prince’s Purple Rain back in 1984. The week after, she will have her chart position threatened by new albums from Jason Mraz, Neon Trees and Train.

This week’s Top 20 albums:

1) Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded | Nicki Minaj
2) 21 | Adele
3) Changed | Rascal Flatts
4) Tuskegee | Lionel Richie
5) Up All Night | One Direction
6) My Head Is An Animal | Of Monsters & Men
7) Hunger Games Original Soundtrack | Various Artists
8) MDNA | Madonna
9) I Win | Marvin Sapp
10) Amaryllis | Shinedown
11) Tailgates & Tanlines | Luke Bryan
12) Stronger | Kelly Clarkson
13) Shake It Up : Live 2 Dance Original Soundtrack | Various Artists
14) Now That’s What I Call Music 41 | Various Artists
15) Making Mirrors | Gotye
16) Boys & Girls | Alabama Shakes
17) 19 | Adele
18) Own The Night | Lady Antebellum
19) Wrecking Ball | Bruce Springsteen
20) Chief | Eric Church

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