5 Seconds of Summer, the new Australian teen band, has nothing to hang their heads about; debuting at no. 2 with 143,000 copies of a four-song EP (She Looks So Perfect) is definitely notable. Settling for that no. 2 spot behind the unstoppable Frozen Soundtrack (149,000 copies sold) – well that should boost confidence even more considering no one can end Frozen’s run. After the slim margin separating album nos. 1 and 2, there is a huge gap. Chevelle’s La Gargola sold 45,000 copies, good for the no. 3 spot. Former “Jar of Hearts” pop singer/songwriter Christina Perri debuts at a familiar spot (no. 4), but does so smaller numbers for sophomore album Head or Heart (40,000 copies). Country gets its representation from Dan + Shay, who sold 29,000 copies of Where It All Began (no. 6). Nickel Creek also get a top ten berth, selling 27,000 copies of their first album following a lengthy hiatus, Why Should the Fire Die? Hey, they don’t call it lucky no. 7 for no reason, right?
On the songs chart, specifically the Billboard Hot 100, Pharrell Williams continues to make us all “Happy” for yet another week, according to Billboard. What is most shocking to me is that John Legend’s “All Of Me” is so hot, though I felt the hit potential when the underappreciated Love in the Future arrived in September 2013. For R&B and for Legend, the popularity of the rather conservative track is awesome.
Next week doesn’t seem electrifying as far as notable new releases. Still, albums arrive from Martina McBride (Everlasting), MercyMe (Welcome To The New), James Durbin (Celebrate), and SoMo (SoMo) among others. “It is what is”.
On the Billboard 200 Albums Chart this week, multiple new albums graced the top ten. Unfortunately for them, not were able to take down reigning champ Frozen Soundtrack, which once more sells six figures (161,000 copies) according to Billboard. The new releases underperformed where numbers are concerned, keeping Frozen easily ahead of them. Frozen, led by ubiquitous Academy Award winning song “Let It Go” seems unstoppable. As to what or who could kill Frozen’s vibe, I don’t know.
Shakira was unable to stop the beloved soundtrack, as Shakira. debuted in the runner-up slot with only 84,000 copies. 84,000 copies is nothing to snicker about, but for the pop diva, the numbers are underwhelming. Johnny Cash’s lost album Out Among the Stars comes in third place, selling 54,000 copies. The gap between nos. 2 and 3 is incredible, and the ride continues as Memphis May Fire land at no. 4 with 27,000 copies sold of Unconditional. The difference between the top four album totals at 161,000, 84,000, 54,000, and 27,000 is incredible. The top four albums sold approximately 326,000 copies.
Erica Campbell couldn’t squeeze her way into the top 5, but she did make it to no. 6 with her gospel solo debut Help, selling 23,000 copies (a piece off from her Mary Mary albums). Barry Manilow wasn’t far off from Campbell, as Night Songs fell one spot behind with 22,000 copies sold. My Chemical Romance’s May Death Never Stop You (Greatest Hits) sold 20,000 copies, good for a no. 9 debut. Still, examining the 20K copies of each of the aforementioned, the ceiling of each album seems incredibly low. Sure, you don’t expect a gospel album (Campbell’s Help) to go extremely far on the pop charts, but still, given the crossover appeal of Campbell/Mary Mary, you might expect slightly more enthusiastic numbers.
Judging by titles issued this week, the charts may still be only so-so come next week. Releases from MKTO (MKTO), Ronnie James Dio (This Is Your Life), Chevelle (La Gargola), Nickel Creek (A Dotted Line), or Christina Perri (Head or Heart) don’t exactly scream big-time hit potential, no offense.
Unsurprisingly, Rick Ross lands at a familiar spot on the Billboard 200 Albums Chart, no. 1. Mastermind becomes the rapper’s fifth album to debut in the penthouse, selling a respectable 179,000 copies. All of Ross’ albums have sold solidly during their debut week – totals include 187,000, 198,000, 158,000, 176,000, and 218,000 with prior albums. Mastermind, hence, gives Ross his fourth best debuting effort, behind God Forgives, I Don’t, Trilla, and Port of Miami. Regardless, Rick Ross is making bank.
Pharrell has a solid week as well, moving 112,000 copies of his sophomore LP, G I R L. G I R L didn’t match the 142,000 copies that graced In My Mind, but ultimately exceeded expectations by prognosticators. Additionally, “Happy” retains its no. 1 spot on the Billboard Hot 100, which can’t hurt. Lea Michele didn’t do too shabby with Louder, which debuted at no. 4 with 60,000 copies. I haven’t personally reviewed the album, but critics haven’t been kind to the Glee star. Eli Young Band debuts at no. 5, though the drop-off between Michele and Young is steep; 10,000 Towns sold 36,000 copies.
After holdovers including Frozen Soundtrack (no. 3), Beck (Morning Phase, no. 6), Lorde (Pure Heroine, no. 7) Schoolboy Q (Oxymoron, no. 8), and Eric Church (The Outsiders, no.9), Ashanti closes out the top 10 with her long awaited, oft-delayed fifth album, BraveHeart. BraveHeart’s numbers are nothing to write home about with 28,000 copies sold, but they are better than expected, at least from a personal perspective. Still, I’m sure Ashanti would’ve loved to have sold the 86,000 copies that The Declaration moved six years ago when it became her first bomb. 28,000 copies leaves no ceiling, but the effort has been very much under-the-radar regardless.
After a top heavy top three (including Frozen), next week seems like a letdown… no disrespect to Aloe Blacc (Lift Your Spirit), Ledisi (The Truth), or Young Money (Rise of an Empire). Where these albums fall sales wise should be interesting to see. “The Man” is popular, but is it enough to lift Black up the album charts? Ledisi’s base is the adult contemporary R&B market, so expecting a monster week from her wouldn’t be wise. Young Money might have the best shot, given its top ten debut with both Young Money (2009) and Rich Gang (2013). Still, both of those albums debuted at no. 9 with 142,000 and 24,000 copies respectively. I’m not making any chart predictions for next week!
Ah, who doesn’t love a good ‘come-up’ story? Schoolboy Q has reason to celebrate as his third LP Oxymoron takes over the no. 1 spot on the Billboard 200 Albums Chart. Apparently, them “Collard Greens” were pretty potent, as 139,000 people decided to add Oxymoron to their music collection. 139,000 copies isn’t the ‘end all be all’ in regards to album sales, but its definitely sound for what could be considered an up-and-comer, even three albums into a rap career. Compared to his colleague Kendrick Lamar, the numbers are less favorable (Good Kid M.A.A.D. City missed the top spot, but sold 241,000 copies), though Kendrick also had bigger buzz surrounding him at the time, not to mention the fourth quarter to propel him.
Schoolboy Q fended off that feisty Frozen Soundtrack, which continues to put up respectable numbers. This week, the magic number for the runner up was 91,000, which according to billboard.com was an increase from the previous week. Frozen kept another new release and veteran, Beck from the runner-up spot. Beck settles for no. 3 with 87,000 copies sold of Morning Phase, his first album in six years. Even though Beck couldn’t match a previous high watermark – a no. 2 peak for 2005 effort Guero – or its robust 162,000 copies start, he managed to outperform prognostications.
Surprise albums seem to be all the rage these days, with Kid Cudi’s oddball Satellite Flight: The Journey to Mother Moon fitting right into the trend. Kid Cudi doesn’t quite have the Beyoncé effect, but does debut at no. 4 with 87,000 copies. Compared to last year’s slightly more accessible Indicud, the numbers are down for the left-field rapper. In fact, Satellite Flight is Cudi’s lowest debuting album as of yet. The next closest in terms of his discography was his debut, Man on the Moon: The End of Day, which sold 104,000 good for a no. 4 bow. Previous album Indicud debuted at no. 2 selling 136,000 copies. Indicud was a drop-off itself, specifically from Cudi’s sophomore album, Man on the Moon: The Legend of Mr. Rager, which debuted at no. 3, but sold 169,000 copies. Is Scott Mescudi just too odd for sustainable commercial success? Perhaps.
Keeping things close (and new), Romeo Santos debuts at no. 5 with Formula: Vol. 2. Formula sold 85,000 copies, awesome numbers for a Latin album. Dierks Bentley didn’t quite get in on the “80s” action (80K that is), but Riser did debut at no. 6 with 63,000 copies. 63,000 copies doesn’t have much of a ceiling itself, but Bentley isn’t exactly country’s most consistent selling male artist. Still, 63,000 copies isn’t too shabby. The Fray would’ve enjoyed being even remotely close to 63K; they settle for a no. 8 bow and 37,000 copies sold of Helios. Seems like the popularity of “Over My Head (Cable Car)” hasn’t translated to the band’s more recent efforts. Other than Frozen, the only holdovers are Eric Church (The Outsiders), Now 49, and Beyoncé (Beyoncé). Good sales week – finally!
Pharrell Williams goes into next week’s chart with the momentum of retaining no. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 (“Happy“). Pharrell’s second solo album GIRL is one of the competitive albums fighting for the top two spots on next week’s chart. Second solo album you ask? Well ole boy released In My Mind a couple of years back and snagged a Grammy-nomination for the LP. Rick Ross should have no. 1 locked up as he releases his sixth LP, Mastermind. With the exception of Ross’ best LP (in my opinion), Teflon Don, Ross has locked down no. 1 four previous times. Lea Michele wishes she could muster up the numbers expected from Ross or Williams, but according to Billboard prognostications, she won’t come close. And as for Eli Young Band, well 10,000 Towns is far behind. I won’t even mention Ashanti’s Brave Heart – it doesn’t have a shot.
Oh and going back to the Billboard Hot 100, what about my homeboy John Legend breaking into that top four (last week I believe)? Who would’ve thought that “All Of Me”, an old school, piano-driven ballad would be a hit in 2014? It remains at no. 4 this week according to Billboard. Rock on John, rock on!
The Frozen Soundtrack is sort of like winter itself – it just don’t stop! Once more, Frozen finds itself atop the Billboard 200 Albums Chart selling 89,000 copies. It is surprising that Frozen was able to rise to the top once more, particularly after Eric Church blew the competition out of the water with last weeks no. 1 debuting The Outsiders, which had sold 288,000 copies. This week, Church takes a step back to no. 2 with only 74,000 copies sold… yuck! Country newbie Cole Swindell debuts respectably with 63,000 copies of Cole Swindell, good for a no. 3 bow. Issues – an up and coming rock band – lands at no. 9 with Issues, selling 22,000 copies. Notice Candice Glover misses the top 10 with debut album Music Speaks. What a shame. Also no signs of Phantogram‘s Voices.
By the way, the “Dark Horse” has been dethroned… Pharrell Williams takes the incredibly fun “Happy” to no. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100. First he “got lucky” at no. 2 and now he’s incredibly “happy” at no. 1. Top spot baby! Who’s got next on next week’s charts? Beck (Morning Phase), St. Vincent (St. Vincent), and Schoolboy Q (Oxymoron) are all strong candidates. Where they will land, well only time will tell.
Let the “Church” say yes… Corny, I know. But one of country’s rising stars, Eric Church, just continues to rise. The Outsiders gives Church his second no. 1 album, selling a healthy 288,000 copies. Sub 100K weeks are done, at least this week. How does The Outsiders’ numbers compare to the numbers that greeted Chief? Well ole boy “Doubled Up”… or nearly doubled up (145,000 copies). In a slow weak for new releases, well, Church was the bright spot. Compilations continue to do soundly though, as Frozen Soundtrack sold another 100,000 (no. 2) and Now 49 sold 77,000 copies after a no. 1 debut. From there, the numbers are only so-so. What is notable, however, is that Toni Braxton & Babyface only see a small drop in sales of Love Marriage & Divorce (it is no. 8 this week). Go figure.
On The Billboard Hot 100, Katy Perry continues to rule the roost with some help from Juicy J on “Dark Horse”. However, being “Happy” definitely helps Pharrell Williams, who’s Academy Award nominated hit sits at no. 2.
As for next week’s chart impact from new releases, Candice Glover, the American Idol season 12 victor, released her debut album Music Speaks. Unfortunately, with little fanfare behind the album, who knows how well it will sale. Otherwise, unless Cole Swindell is incredibly established as a new country force, sales might underwhelm.
From one compilation to another, Now 49 debuts at no. 1 on the Billboard 200 Albums Chart. In yet another sub 100,000 copies week, Now 49 sells 98,000 copies. Frozen doesn’t fall too far from grace – it is no. 2 and managed to sell another 88,000 copies. The big news on the charts is how much of an impact the Super Bowl had on Bruno Mars, who’s Unorthodox Jukebox returns to the top 3, with 81,000 copies sold. While his compilation contemporaries may not have near the bragging rights given their numbers, Mars should be proud. Unorthodox Jukebox was released in December 2012 and in February 2014 has managed to re-enter the top echelon of the charts. Now that’s swag.
Now 49 wasn’t the only debut. Toni Braxton & Babyface surprisingly outperform as Love Marriage & Divorce sells 67,000 copies, goo for a bow at no. 4. Sure 67,000 copies still doesn’t leave the duo a great ceiling, but it’s respectable given the status of R&B these days… well save for ‘Yoncé. Broken Bells land at no. 5 with their sophomore album, After The Disco. 44,000 copies isn’t too shabby considering Broken Bells isn’t exactly a household name. Lil Mix isn’t either, yet their sophomore album Salute lands at no. 6 with 43,000 copies. The numbers don’t exactly equate to prolonged success mind you, but in some regards, all four of the newbies on the chart performed better than I anticipated at least.
“Dark Horse” she’s not ladies and gentleman as Katy Perry continues to shine atop the Billboard Hot 100 with pal Juicy J. Changing gears though, as for who’s got next on the albums chart, put your money on Eric Church’s latest, The Outsiders. Church’s previous studio album, Chief debuted at no. 1. This is a relatively quiet release week.
It’s been an awesome winter for the Frozen Soundtrack, as it spends yet another week atop the Billboard 200 Albums Chart. This week, the album sold another 94,000 copies according to Billboard.com. On the one hand, it is good that there is an album that’s infusing the industry with some, well, sales. On the other hand – the more pessimistic one – yet another sub 100,000 copies week is amongst us with sales down. Still, close by Frozen is another compilation the Grammy Nominees 2014, which remains at no. 2, but surges in sales with 87,000 copies sold. Both albums post gains, which are pros, but the realist in me has an observation to make.
In years past, Grammy-award winning albums or nominees who performed have sold massive numbers to top-load the charts following the week after the Grammys. This time, a holdover soundtrack remains the album to beat, while the Grammy compilation itself outsells victorious albums. It definitely says something about the sales of albums in recent times. Personally, I don’t see record sales regaining their swagger, save for a blockbuster like Beyoncé’s Beyoncé, which sits at no. 5 this week.
But enough chitter chatter, what about the new albums – that’s what y’all came for right? Of Mice & Men bow at no. 4 with Restoring Force selling 51,000 copies. Casting Crowns’ latest, Thrive, starts at no. 6 with 43,000 copies sold. For Casting Crowns, a Christian band, these numbers are actually underwhelming considering the success the band has had in recent times. If this were any other Christian or gospel act, 43,000 copies and a number six bow would be remarkable. However, Casting Crowns has both peaked and sold more robustly in the past, namely 2007 album The Altar and The Door which debuted at no. 2 with 129,000 copies. Still, 43,000 in the current music economy is sound…I suppose.
Other than Yoncé’s small gain, Other Grammy winners saw some increases, though not like years in the past. The percentages are similar to the past, but the actual amount of sales isn’t. Those included in the gains are Lorde, Bruno Mars, Imagine Dragons, Katy Perry, and album of the year victor, Daft Punk. Daft Punk perhaps get the shortest end of the stick for an album of the year winner as Random Access Memories rose to no. 10, but only moved 31,000 copies. Sure, the French duo rose 300% in sales according to Billboard.com, but remember that’s relative to the current music economy, which is down. Herbie Hancock’s upset victory a couple of years back (over Kanye West and Amy Winehouse) scored him a top 5 album with 54,000 copies sold. Adele and Mumford & Sons, both album of the year winners, had huge surges following the Grammys. It is what it is though. At least Daft Punk and the rest of us were able to “Get Lucky” all summer long – no pun intended.
Ultimately, the Grammys’ influence makes this a busier chart week, even if the optimism is only short-lived and doesn’t match the same amount of sales of the past. Next week, among new albums arriving include Broken Bells (After The Disco), Now 49, and a duets album courtesy of Toni Braxton & Babyface (Love, Marriage & Divorce). Bruno Mars’ sales may still rise depending on how much impact his awesome Super Bowl halftime performance had beginning on Monday, the day once sales are tallied for the new week. His full gain in sales probably wouldn’t have been felt on Sunday, the day of the big game… well lopsided game.
The Frozen soundtrack ascends back to no. 1, selling 93,000 copies. For a soundtrack, the sales have been quite impressive. The next closest album, 2014 Grammy Nominees is nowhere near Frozen’s sales, landing at no. 2 selling 59,000 copies. Next week, however, billboard.com prognosticates the compilation could rise to no. 1, with 85,000 copies sold. Still, 85,000 copies aren’t exactly breathtaking numbers. Still below that 100,000 copies mark.
Singer/songwriting duo A Great Big World enter at no. 3 with 48,000 copies sold. For relative unknown newbies, save for the huge “Say Something” that is a top five Hot 100 hit, those are decent sales. Young The Giant bow at no. 7 with Mind Over Matter, which sales 34,000 copies. Other wise, the top ten features holdovers. The no. 1 album sells 93,000 copies vs. the no. 10 album selling 24,000 copies. Nothing too sexy, but it is what it is.
Katy Perry has added another no. 1 to her belt, as “Dark Horse” featuring Juicy J rises to no. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100. “Timber” couldn’t stay no. 1 forever… Ultimately, quite a boring week, much like January as a whole has been.
Bruce Springsteen lands at a familiar position, no.1 on the Billboard 200 Albums Chart. High Hopes didn’t exactly deliver killer numbers, but the 99,000 copies it moved was enough to give The Boss another notch in his belt… err another no. 1 album. Perhaps the more negative view of Springsteen’s latest number one is the likelihood of an unfavorable overall ceiling for the album. Folks, where are 99,000 copies going? That’s rhetorical.
Other albums debut, albeit so-so. Kidz Bop’s umpteenth album arrives at no. 3, behind the Frozen soundtrack. The 76,000 copies are actually respectable, but certainly doesn’t paint an optimistic picture for albums sales as a whole. Jennifer Nettles (of Sugarland) manages to sell 54,000 copies of her solo debut, That Girl. The album arrives at no. 5. Switchfoot proceeds at no. 6 with Fading West, selling a modest 39,000 copies. Ick! Otherwise the top 10 looks familiar: Beyoncé, Lorde, Eminem, Katy Perry, and Imagine Dragons. January is in full swing.
Unsurprisingly, “Timber” continues to rock out on the Billboard Hot 100. Hey, somebody’s gotta live it up in the dead of January, why not Pitbull and Ke$ha? As for this coming week, look for the Grammy Nominees album and A Great Big World (Is There Anybody Out There?) to make some chart noise. Just how loud that noise is… probably piano (aka soft).