Justin Bieber lately you get a temporary pass from me buddy… at least until the Miley Cyrus phenomenon, machine or whatever it is ends. I’m hoping it ends soon, for all of our sakes. My new favorite person to scrutinize for irresponsible actions is Billy Ray’s daughter, and rightfully so. Basically, all the criticism and jeering is justified. Miley Cyrus is going through a ‘shock’ phase to get attention and the saddest part is that it is working and that is sad. I understand she needs attention to give her a decent stab at a comeback, particularly after Can’t Be Tamed was pretty tame in sales from start to finish, but still, she’s taken it to a new level.
Sex always garners attention, so Cyrus has decided to sex up her image. Fine, seems the natural course of action for any teen star… good or bad. Add some hip-hop culture to the mix and now Miley has ‘swag’ (“We Can’t Stop”). Perform given breakout single at VMAs, wear provocative clothing, scar children’s minds for ever by destroying the sanctity of the teddy bear, spank someone’s butt, strip, twerk on Robin Thicke and change the purpose of a foam finger forever…Hmm…Okay… Then throw in tears, a wrecking ball, a sledgehammer, nudity, and plenty of tongue action, and you have a number one single (“Wrecking Ball”). Well, the song’s good at least.
Now Miley has taken a page out of Green Day’s book at the I Heart Radio Music Festival by making it more buzz worthy on internet traffic than it would’ve been. Congratulations, maybe? I dunno. Green Day’s Billie Joe Armstrong had a breakdown on the 2012 festival that led to a stint at rehab and certainly didn’t help propel sales of the band’s trio of albums released in the fall of the same year (they basically bombed). At the 2013 edition, it was Miley’s outrageous outfit that drew attention, though certainly didn’t have quite the disturbing effect that Billie Joe’s um issues. Still, the outfit seems so unnecessary. Why does Miley have to go so, um, trashy? That’s the aspect of the new Miley I just can’t wrap my brain around.
I mean, Miley has a song I actually like in “Wrecking Ball” and I didn’t mind “We Can’t Stop” that much (could’ve done without all the processing and that “molly” lyric). So why can’t Cyrus’s endeavors be about the music and promoting it in a more refined manner? Why does everything have to become sexual innuendo? What makes it worse is that it’s clumsy and awkward at that. I mean there’s nothing wrong with a little naughtiness, but Cyrus’s ‘means’ to achieve a successful album and reinvigorate career seem a bit irresponsible to me. Maybe it’s just hunger for stardom or renewed stardom, but still, the shock value is offensive, at least in my opinion.
- Miley Cyrus Twerks, Puts on First Live Performance of “Wrecking Ball” (thehollywoodgossip.com)
- Miley Cyrus performs at IHeartRadio music festival (thenewstribune.com)
- Miley Cyrus Performs at IHeartRadio Music Festival (abcnews.go.com)
- Miley Cyrus Wears Pasties for iHeartRadio Music Festival Performance (finejoeyoung.wordpress.com)
- Miley Cyrus poses with the Kardashians at iHeartRadio music festival (nydailynews.com)
- Miley Cyrus performs at IHeartRadio music festival (miamiherald.com)
- Miley Cyrus Breaks Down Crying During Post-Split “Wrecking Ball” Performance (finejoeyoung.wordpress.com)
- Miley Cyrus twerks yet again at the iHeart Radio Music Festival in Las Vegas (myfacehunter.com)
- Miley Cyrus Live iHeart Radio Music Festival (coreygman.wordpress.com)
- Miley Cyrus Flaunts Body at iHeart Radio Music Festival Village! (justjared.com)
Bruno Mars Bows at no. 2
Bruno Mars exceeded expectations numbers-wise as Unorthodox Jukebox bows a no. 2 with career best 192,000 copies. 192K is a far cry from the 140-150K projection for the effort. Additionally, 192,000 obliterates the 55,000 bow of Doo-Wops & Hooligans as well as that efforts best sales week of 84,000. Mars can pound his chest and have as much “Gorilla” action as he wants with those numbers.
Of course Mars found himself behind Queen Taylor Swift, who waved her magic wand and managed to post a gain in sales. A gain from a solid 167,000 to 208,000 copies. I haven’t been tallying Red‘s sale totals, but they certainly must be robust. Between these two weeks, Swift has sold 375,000 more copies of Red. And let’s not forget that a video for her dubstep infused “I Knew You Were Trouble.” just bowed. Sure she’s in too many relationships that always end up being her ex’s fault, but she’s laughing all the way to the bank.
Holiday Cheer & One Direction’s Platinum Stats
Michael Bublé posts gains with Christmas (no. 3, 138,000) as does everyone’s
least favorite boy-band One Direction, Take Me Home (no. 4, 127,000). For as much grief as I give the Brit-Irish band, billboard.com confirms the band have the distinction of having two platinum albums in the same year. That machine doesn’t look like it is about to fade, unfortunately. And what about what was deemed ‘the holiday album’ Rod Stewart’s Merry Christmas, Baby? It’s sold well, but underperformed the way every assumed it would perform, but 108,000 copies tacked on is no joke – more money for Stewie.
Game’s Jesus Piece Bows
So the top five only gave birth to Bruno Mars and everyone else would bow less regally. Game‘s Jesus Piece has nothing to be too upset about, bowing at a respectable no. 6 with a decent 86,000 copies. That’s not far off from 2011′s R.E.D. Album, which did better numbers bowing at no. 1 with 98,000 copies. Game has seen better days than both affairs, with three previous albums in The Documentary (2005/no. 1 with 586,000), Doctor’s Advocate (2007, no. 1 with 358,000 copies), and L.A.X. (no. 2, 238,000 copies). But let’s be honest people, we rarely see anything these days sell huge numbers unless it’s the ultimate juggernaut (Taylor Swift, One Direction, Mumford & Sons, etc.)
By the way, I don’t endorse Fox News (let’s start with that point), particularly being a liberal, BUT I’m not surprised to see an article in relation to Game’s controversial new album. It is a conceptual album that plays on religious themes and titles, but embraces secularisms. Speaking as an open-minded individual who is also religious, it is an undoubtedly/undisputedly controversial. That said, it has some solid moments, even if you feel you may be damning yourself with some of Game’s sacrilege. If you dare read the article from the conservative network, here is the link (http://www.foxnews.com/entertainment/2012/12/14/rapper-games-gang-banger-jesus-cd-cover-offends-christians/).
Phillip Phillips hangs around with that overly wordy album title The World From the Side Of The Moon (no. 7, 68,000). Blake Shelton keeps making some cheddar with Cheers, It’s Christmas (no. 8, 68,000). Recently sued Alicia Keys‘s Girl On Fire has more staying power than initially suspected, managing to add another 61,000 to her total sales (no. 9). I believe that Girl On Fire has now sold 297,000 copies. Still, that is exactly 123,000 copies shy of the total 2009′s Element of Freedom sold in it’s first week. Lukewarm girl being sued it seems…
Lady Antebellum close the top 10 with On This Winter’s Night, with 60,000 copies. So the big question becomes, where is Green Day‘s ¡Tré!? Oh it missed the top 10, bowing at no. 13 with 58,000 copies. Not good news for the once invincible band. Each successive album has lost sales of it’s 2012 trilogy: 139,000 to 69,000 and now a mere 58,000 copies. Also that Nashville soundtrack debuted at no. 14 with 56,000. Not my cup of tea most likely, but to each his own.
Bruno Mars ‘Locked’ at no. 1
Bruno Mars stays put at no. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 with “Locked Out Of Heaven.” The bigger news may be the diminishing of Ke$ha‘s formerly popular “Die Young” following the tragic events of the Sandyhook Elementary shooting in CT. According to billboard.com, it falls only one spot (no. 3 to no. 4), but the effect will probably grow more dramatically. Undoubtedly, there will be divisive opinions whether or not Ke$ha’s song should/shouldn’t have been banned. As for me, well, I was never in love with it, but I’m not going to be a hater to the no. 2 hit.
T.I. To Debut Highly, Likely Can’t Stop Swift
T.I.‘s Trouble Man: The Head Is Heavy is slated to sell in the ballpark of 150,000 – 170,000. This is actually on par with the sales of 2010′s No Mercy, which sold 159,000 copies to bow at no. 4. As mentioned previously with Game, these also don’t represent T.I.’s best days sales wise. 2006′s King (my personal favorite T.I. album), bowed at no. 1 with 522,000 copies. 2007′s T.I. vs. T.I.P, a weaker album in my opinion, also hit no. 1 with 468,000 copies. 2008′s Paper Trail, T.I.’s bestselling overall album, hit no. 1 with his best sales week of 568,000 copies. So the 150K range is definitely a downgrade for an artist who really used to post some gargantuan numbers.
The 12-12-12 Concert arrives digitally and should also be competing against T.I.’s numbers, with billboard.com suggesting a 125-000 – 150,000 prognostication for the set. So if T.I. underperforms and 12-12-12 over-performs, we’ve got something.
But all this conjecturing aside, we all know that Taylor Swift is likely to have an even bigger week than the 208,000 she posted this week and we also know Michael Bublé has one more good week in him (also don’t count out the other Holiday albums, namely Rod Stewart).
As for Chief Keef, I’d say it’s a bad week to release an album, but who knows what he’ll end up selling. He really won’t like his chart position most likely… get it “I Don’t Like”… oh well, I tried.
One Direction Bows Big @ no. 1
They went from a no. 1 debuting album at 176,000 copies sold to a no. 1 sophomore effort less than a year later with 540,000 copies sold. My prediction was only 15,000 copies off – I said they’d split the prognosticated 500,000 – 550,000 at 525,000. By anyways, One Direction may be captivated by “Little Things” as they sing on no. 1 bowing Take Me Home, but the Brit-Irish band have a lot to be excited by, landing the third biggest debut of the year behind Queen Taylor Swift (1.21 million) and alt-folksters Mumford & Sons (600K). I believe the band ought to enjoying it “…while [they're] young” as we know how quickly ‘trends’ fade. Yes, look back to Jonas Brothers or Miley Cyrus who both faded. Go back further to *N Sync, 98 Degrees, or the Backstreet Boys, who are either broken up or past their lucrative prime.
Also that Twilight soundtrack bowed at 93,000 copies a no. 3 behind one Taylor Swift, who added another 145,000 to her nearly 2 million selling Red. The Weeknd shockingly outsells a crop of more familiar acts (Soundgarden, Christina Aguilera, Green Day, and Lana Del Rey) to bow at no. 4 with his ‘compilation’ major label bow Trilogy with 86,000 copies sold (about 4,000 copies shy of projection). Trilogy is a 3-disc, 30 track affair comprised of The Weeknd’s three previously issued mixtapes (House of Balloons, Thursday, and Echoes of Silence) plus three bonus tracks.
Soundgarden gets some reunion love at no. 5 with a robust 83,000 given the lengthy hiatus prior to King Animal. Christina Aguilera finds herself underperforming at no. 7 as Lotus disappoints with 73,000 sold (about 2,000 shy of projections). Making Aguilera’s debut more lackadaisical is the fact that 2010′s Bionic brought in more enthusiastic numbers with a no. 3 bow with about 111,000 copies sold. Keep in mind that that album bombed (failed to be certified gold). Remember a little Christina Aguilera album called Back To Basics in 2006? It sold nearly twice the combination of the two’s debut weeks (346,000 compared to a combined 184,000). No, albums don’t sell
nearly as well, but Aguilera’s star seems to have, well shriveled.
Green Day underperforms much worse this go around, managing to bow at no. 9 with a weak 69,000 copies sold of ¡Dos!, the second of the trilogy of albums released by the band this fall. Compared to what was deemed an incredibly underwhelming selling first disc (¡Uno! bowed at no. 2 with 139,000 copies sold), ¡Dos! looks like the ultimate bomb for the band.
Lana Del Rey has no reason to hang her head as Paradise bows at no. 10 with 67,000 copies. Guess what? That’s only a shade less than what Born to Die bowed with at no. 2 earlier this year (77,000 copies). Born to Die also posted a gain this week. Big winners? One Direction, The Weeknd, Soundgarden, and Lana Del Rey. Big Losers? Christina Aguilera and Green Day.
Mumford & Sons, no. 1
Mumford & Sons unsurprisingly top the Billboard 200 with enormous numbers as Babel opens with 600,000 copies, outselling other superstar releases this week (Green Day, No Doubt and Lupe Fiasco) as well as outselling the year’s previous best debut, Justin Bieber‘s Believe (374,000).
Green Day underperforms at no. 2 selling 139,000 of ¡Uno! (projected to sell 150,000) while No Doubt also underperform at no. 3 with 115,000 copies sold (projected to sell 125,000). P!nk falls to no. 4 from no. 1, beating out the no. 5 bow of Lupe Fiasco with Food & Liquor II, which also underperforms with 89,000 copies sold (off 115,000 from 2011′s
Lasers and off 11,000 from initial projections). deadmau5 has a moment at no. 6 with <Album Title Goes Here>.
Angie Stone is the week’s biggest loser as Rich Girl cripples onto the chart at no. 109 with 4,000 copies. OUCH! She’s never had a top ten album, but The Art of Love & War (2007) opened at no. 11. That is a far cry from 109. Good news though: Unexpected peaked at no. 133 in 2009. It is the small things in life… sorry Angie.
During a time in which Green Day should be promoting their first album in three years, 2012’s !Uno!, frontman Billie Joe Armstrong has a very public breakdown (supposedly related to substance abuse issues?). Not that the stakes for the multiplatinum band are so lofty given their veteran status, but valuable promotional opportunities certainly are placed on the back burner, which could certainly implicate upcoming efforts of the trio-series (¡Dos! Is due in November while !Tres! Is due in January). The numbers are looking off from 2009’s 21st Century Breakdown, which bowed at no. 1 with 215,000 on the Billboard Albums Chart. Additionally, single “Oh Love” has not impacted the likes of say “Boulevard of Broken Dreams” (no. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100) or more recently “21 Guns” (no. 22). Regardless, unless next week’s potential no. 2
album somehow far surpasses its projected 150,000 copy opening (like by 500,000 copies), it still wouldn’t reach the no. 1 spot next week thanks to juggernaut Babel by British folk revivalists Mumford & Sons.
So with Armstrong seeking rehab, !Uno! Is being promoted on Green Day’s substantial popularity. Things happen and it is important that Armstrong curbs his substance abuse issues, even if the forum for breaking down was, well, tacky and embarrassing. The album itself is solid and a definite return to the band’s roots. While 2004’s American Idiot was a bona fide masterpiece (nominated for multiple Grammys and won Best
Rock Album), 2009’s 21st Century Breakdown (also a Grammy winner) ‘tickled my fancy’ less – still solid though. Maybe it was because of how great American Idiot was and the snarling, clever “subliminal mind-f*ck America” line in the title track or the chilling “Wake Me Up When September Ends” that was never toppled by the somewhat annoying “21 Guns.” Regardless, !Uno! Does not dare eclipse American Idiot, but it does restore Green Day’s past sensibilities with quick tempo, pointed
lyrics, and full-on punk-revivalist mode.
At twelve tracks and just over forty minutes, !Uno! Is compact with no ‘filler.’ That is not to say that all cuts are each other’s equals (they’re not), but there is no huge miss to be found. Well written and produced, !Uno! Is a treat.
P!nk Earns First No. 1 Album
Christina Aguilera has topped the charts. Britney Spears has done so on each studio album save for Blackout, which bowed at no. 2. P!nk had only come as close as no. 2 with 2008′s Funhouse prior to The Truth About Love exceeding expectations to debut at no. 1 with 280,000, the pop singer’s largest bow EVAH! P!nk always has seemed to be in the shadow of Aguilera and Spears, but seems as of late to have truly solidified her pop crown. Congratulations to one of my favorite pop artists.
Kanye West/G.O.O.D. Music also exceed initial expectations, selling 205,000 copies of Cruel Summer to debut at
no. 2 and no. 1 on the Billboard R&B/Hip-Hop Chart. West has missed the top spot previously, back when 2004′s The College Dropout debuted at no. 2. The rest of his solo albums and his joint album with Jay-Z have topped the charts.
The Killers settles for no. 3 with Battle Born; Carly Rae Jepsen doesn’t quite capitalize on “Call Me Maybe” with Kiss debuting at no. 6 with 46,000… Ouch.
So folks we are firmly planted in the busiest release season of the year. As a music lover, critic, and musician, I am in ‘heaven’ with all the new music being presented and OVERWHELMED to listen/review it all! While my list of listening is slimming down some, save for a few albums left behind (sorry Lecrae, Imagine Dragons, Dwele), it is also growing. Today, I just finished listening to The Killers exceptional new album, Battle Born, which will likely appear here in an analysis and definitely upon my amazon reviewer page. Of the new crop of Tuesday’s releases, I just finished listening to Mumford & Sons highly anticipated Babel. But in addition to Babel (Glassnote), there are several other notable releases – something for everybody (or almost, sorry country folks)!
- Mumford & Sons, Babel [Rock/Folk/Indie]
- Lupe Fiasco, Food & Liquor II: The Great American Rap Album, Pt. 1[Rap]
- No Doubt, Push And Shove [Alternative/Pop]
- Green Day, Uno! [Rock]
- deadmau5, <Album Title Goes Here> [Electronic/Dance]
- Angie Stone, Rich Girl[R&B/Soul]
Also so that your shopping experience is easier fiscally, Amazonmp3 is offering Green Day’s Uno! for $5. Additionally, No Doubt’s Push And Shove, notably their first new album ‘in a minute’ is $5.99 for the standard and $7.99 for the deluxe. Also if you are like me and have too many different favorite artists and you are dying to listen before buying or deciding which one you are most eager to add to your collection, there are usually streams available, particularly with rdio.com and Spotify. On rdio.com before I subscribed as a member ($4.99/mo for web-based listening, more for mobile device/app), I was allowed to listen free with limited listening etc. So take advantage.
Hopefully I’ll give my impressions of some of the above mentioned albums…