Chart Rewind: Highlights from Last Week
(September 11, 2013)
Ariana Grande found her debut album Yours Truly debuting at no. 1 with 138,000 copies sold. Tamar Braxton followed behind her in the no. 2 spot with Love and War selling an impressive 114,000 copies. Nine Inch Nails returned with their first major label effort in a couple of years, selling 107,000 copies. John Legend arrives to a cooler reception as Love in the Future sells a somewhat underwhelming 68,000 copies good for a no. 4 start. Jaheim’s numbers are also modest, as Appreciation Day enters at no. 6 with 58,000 copies sold. As for others charting, Bastille’s Bad Blood bowed at no. 11, Neko Case’s Worst Things Get, The Harder I Fight… lands at no. 12, while former typical top ten R&B artist Raheem DeVaughn found his fine A Place Called Love Land debuting outside the top 20 at no. 22. Ouch!
Keith Urban Debuts At No. 1, By A Smidgen
Keith Urban debuts at no. 1 with latest album Fuse, but it was no landslide. Urban’s latest sold under its 100,000 prognostication, selling 98,000 copies. Respectable in an age where few albums are wowing with their sales figures, but certainly not ‘juggernaut’ status. The Weeknd really just needed a little more firepower behind it with its 95,000 copies to top the charts with Kiss Land. But no. 2 ain’t bad, especially when his last album the compilation Trilogy debuted at no. 4 with 86,000 copies. He came up… a little. As for Urban, well, he’s had better charting days – much better.
2 Chainz certainly didn’t make the impact on the charts that his debut Based On A T.R.U. Story did in 2012 (no. 1, 147,000 copies). 2 Chainz suffers from the sophomore slump as B.O.A.T.S. II #METIME lands at no. 3 with 63,000 copies. Those are better numbers than anticipated, but still, maybe dumbness isn’t paying off for ol’ boy. Janelle Monáe has a solid debut as The Electric Lady lands at no. 5 with 47,000 copies. The Arctic Monkeys do relatively well all things considered, landing at no. 6 with 42,000 copies sold of album AM. As for Ms. Sheryl Crow, she’s had better days as Feels Like Home debuts at no. 7 with only 36,000 copies.
Top 10 holdovers rule the rest of the chart including Luke Bryan’s Crash My Party at no. 4, Tamar Braxton’s Love and War at no. 8, Ariana Grande’s Yours Truly at no. 9, and John Legend’s Love in the Future at no. 10.
Miley Hits No. 1 on Billboard Hot 100
There is plenty to scrutinize about Miley Cyrus (like a crap-ton), but “Wrecking Ball” gives the rebellious twenty-year old her first no. 1 hit on the Billboard Hot 100. Honestly, the song itself is quite likable… yes I said it. It’s the video that raised eyebrows, specifically some tongue/sledgehammer action and the nudity. But regardless, Miley came up. I could make a Katy Perry joke in regards to “Roar”, but I won’t.
Who’s Got Next?
The fall is always rich with new albums. This week is no different. Jack Johnson seems to be leading the charge as From Here To Now To You wouldn’t be a shocking chart topper come next week. Maybach Music Group return with a third compilation set Self Made 3, while MGMT return with their third, self-titled effort. Elvis Costello and The Roots have a thing going on with collaborative album Wise Up Ghost, while a country trifecta of Chris Young (A.M.), Justin Moore (Off The Beaten Path), and Billy Currington (We Are Tonight). Johnny Lang also bows with his latest (Fight For My Soul) as does power-pop favorite Five For Fighting (Bookmarks). Need some electronica/dance? How about Avicii’s debut True? Or some alternative goodness – Grouplove’s Spreading Rumours. Jam-packed week, but Jack Johnson seems like he’ll be hard to beat.
- 2013 Chart Trends: 5 Underachievers and 5 Overachievers (brentmusicreviews.com)
- Chart Moves, September 11, 2013: Ariana Grande Tops (brentmusicreviews.com)
- Tamar Braxton take us through ‘Love and War’ (newdaymusicworld.wordpress.com)
- The Weeknd’s ‘Kiss Land’ Debuts at No. 2 (getmybuzzup.com)
- Will R&B Ever Recover From Sales Inconsistencies? (brentmusicreviews.com)
- “Love and War” is the #1 R&B Album! (theindustrycosign.wordpress.com)
- Chart Moves, September 4, 2013: Avenged Sevenfold Rock Their Way Back To No. 1 (brentmusicreviews.com)
Chart Rewind (Highlights), September 04, 2013
Avenged Sevenfold found themselves in a familiar place, no. 1, with 159,000 copies sold of Hail To The King. Hip hop had another showing, but definitely not comparable to the summer trifecta of Kanye West, J. Cole, and Mac Miller. Big Sean debuted at no. 3 with 72,000 copies of Hall of Fame while Juicy J landed right behind him at no. 4 with 64,000 copies of Stay Trippy.
By the way, what about those acts that got no love? Franz Ferdinand debuted at no. 24 with Right Thoughts, Right Words, Right Action. Mandisa’s latest Overcomer landed at no. 29. Goodie Mob’s comeback effort (Age Against The Machine) truly received nada, debuting at no. 30. I suppose you win some and you lose some.
Grande Leads The Charge
Ariana Grande debuts atop the Billboard Albums Chart with 138,000 copies of Yours Truly sold. For most of the week, it seemed that Grande would be dueling with a reintroduced Tamar Braxton for the number one spot. In the end, the young Mariah Carey-favoring singer/actress takes her rightful crown. Tamar Braxton debuts at no. 2 with Love & War selling 114,000 copies. For an adult contemporary R&B album, that ain’t bad at all folks. Honestly, I’m shocked that Braxton moved six figures… you just never know.
Nine Inch Nails debuts expectedly at no. 3 with 107,000 copies of Hesitation Marks sold. Unfortunately, the 107,000 copies is a far cry from Nine Inch Nails’ previous major label efforts. Still, six figures in this day and age is respectable. Maybe these new kiddos just don’t know about Trent Reznor. Sigh.
John Legend lands at no. 4 with with Love in the Future. Love in the Future sold only 68,000 copies, down from the 133,000 copies that graced his last solo effort, Evolver (2008). That said, Love in the Future did sell more than Legend’s collaborative album with The Roots, Wake Up! According to Billboard.com. For an artist with such soul and talent, it is sad that 68,000 copies was the ceiling. Better than the 55,000 copies prognosticated originally.
Jaheim doesn’t have his greatest sales week either, as Appreciation Day received little appreciation ultimately moving only 58,000 copies good for a no. 6 bow. Jaheim has never moved gargantuan numbers, but in 2006, Ghetto Classics did debut atop the Billboard 200 with 152,000 copies sold. 2007 effort The Makings of a Man just missed the top ten (it was a December release), but sold a career best 176,000 copies. Even 2010 effort Another Round had little to hold it’s head down about; it sold 112,000 copies good for a no. 3 bow. But 58,000 copies? That ain’t going nowhere.
Katy Perry Roars On
Really, what else is their to say… Katy Perry already told you we’d hear her roar. And she’s roaring at no. 1 a second week. Case closed.
Who’s Got Next?
Several new efforts materialized on Tuesday, September 10. This includes Keith Urban’s Fuse, 2 Chainz’s B.O.A.T.S. II, Janelle Monáe’s The Electric Lady, The Weeknd’s Kiss Land, Sheryl Crow’s Feels Like Home, Goldfrapp’s Tales of Us, Trombone Shorty’s Say That To Say This, Sean Kingston’s Back 2 Life, Kaskade’s Atmosphere, Earth Wind & Fire’s Now, Then & Forever, Gloria Estefan’s The Standards, and Arctic Monkey’s AM. Ones to watch? Keith Urban, 2 Chainz, Sheryl Crow, and possibly The Weeknd. Curious to see how the sales come out for these albums.
- Chart report: Ariana Grande’s ‘Yours Truly’ debuts at No. 1, Tamar Braxton and Nine Inch Nails take the silver and bronze (music-mix.ew.com)
- Ariana Grande Album Debuts At Number One In U.s. (contactmusic.com)
- Will R&B Ever Recover From Sales Inconsistencies? (brentmusicreviews.com)
- Music: TV’s Ariana Grande ‘Truly’ Hits No. 1 (variety.com)
American Idol, Reality TV’s vocal juggernaut, continues to age – and NOT gracefully. You could argue having the somewhat annoying (I’m being
kind) Nicki Minaj adds some spice to the judging panel – or not. Regardless, watching Thursday night’s (February 28, 2013) Sudden Death round with the last remaining guys was a testament to how weak the talent seems to be this year. It just was a mess. In fact, I wondered how they were going to find 5 guys out of the 10 that ultimately deserved to be there aside from standouts Burnell Taylor (performed John Legend‘s “This Time“), Victor Powell (went old school with Lenny Williams‘s “I Love You”) and arguably Cortez Shaw (on the potential shown by David Guetta/Sia‘s hit “Titanium“). Lazaro Arbos consistently pulls at heart strings, particularly given his backstory and ability to sing effortlessly, but his performance was mediocre at best. Tennessee bred Nick Boddington has showcased the beauty of his voice (as Keith Urban is always quick to state), but his performance definitely left more to be desired. Even so, if you had to choose, I suppose those five were as good as any.
I missed Wednesday night’s telecast with the group of girls (Survivor and Kentucky Basketball), but I was ‘treated’ to watching cray cray Zoanette Johnson‘s manic rendition of “The Circle Of Life“. To her credit, it was better than “Ba Ba Da Ba” or whatever that original was that she sung in Hollywood that had me rolling in the floor. I wouldn’t be dying to buy a potential album by her nor see her live, but I also couldn’t say that about any of these contestants. Hey, I wasn’t a Phillip Phillips fan either. But whatever.
But anyways, there isn’t much of a draw to Idol – it’s blasé. Mariah Carey and Nicki‘s bickering has taken a backseat, Keith Urban’s Aussie charm can only go so far, and Randy is predictable 12 seasons in. There may be talent, but after 12 seasons, nothing just blows you away. Maybe I’ve listened to too many albums being a music critic or seen the supreme talents of Idol come and pass in the earliest seasons, but I don’t find myself that interested. But whatever’s clever I guess.
Maybe at times I too critical of things – I chalk it up to being a liberal twenty-something male with a lot to say about everything from the ‘enjoyable’ state of Kentucky (had to get that out, sigh*). But anyways, I knew in my cerebrum and in my heart that American Idol was going to be a HOTT (with two t’s) MESS! Sho nuff, it epitomized and exceeded that benchmark times two billion. The question that might be asked if you didn’t watch last nights tepid season premiere why was it such a mess? Well being the loud-mouthed central Kentuckian that I am, I’m going to explain.
The judges are a spectacle within themselves. Mariah Carey is certainly qualified to be a judge, as me and many of my friends would agree upon. However, I have to question if Carey’s judging ‘game’ is hurt by an ‘X factor’ (no pun intended) in the unpredictably, eccentric Nicki Minaj. The bickering was present between the two to some extent, but one has to feel that producers are ‘saving up’ to provide more juice throughout the season. Believe me, I’m all about drama and occasional controversy, but what does this have to do with finding a potential gold-/platinum-selling superstar?
Another issue. Don’t you find it weird that Carey and Minaj have collaborated on a remix of Carey’s “Up Out My Face” song from Memoirs of an Imperfect Angel ? Is it show, genuine jealousy (Mariah’s sold tons more but currently it’s Nicki’s moment), or just diva tactics? Why do I start humming Beyoncé‘s “Diva” as I reflect on the two? As for Keith Urban, his Australian charm is bland as of yet and Randy Jackson, the elder statesmen is blah. Simon Cowell, come back - X Factor‘s a bust anyways!
As for the talent, there were some voices, but none that initially rivaled the likes of Kelly Clarkson. Also you know you got problems when your aspiration as a vocalist is to be the next Justin Bieber. And yes I know I have been critical of ‘his highness’, but generally, isn’t the high watermark the likes of Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston, Mariah Carey, Aretha Franklin, etc? I mean “As Long As You Love Me” is a catchy, schmaltzy pop song and all, but shouldn’t be the basis of sound artistry, am I wrong? I mean, yes, there is plenty of untapped talent in the U.S., but who’s to say it even comes and auditions for a talent show that has long lost it’s luster?
The other thing about last night – I found myself constantly switching back to college basketball. Yes, I love basketball anyways, but there were times I felt bored as shhhhh! I mean even the good singers they put through didn’t wow me after 600 seasons of this aging juggernaut. I mean I plan to partake tonight (Thursday), but much like I eventually dropped The Voice and X Factor off my TV viewing schedule, American Idol is ‘this’ close to enduring the same fate.
A$AP Rocky‘s single title “F**kin’ Problems” from the MC’s debut album Long.Live.A$AP perhaps best describes American Idol’s issues. Have a listen…CAUTION, dirty words (you should assume so from the title, right?). As for AMERICAN IDOL, as my friends and I used to say in college #EPICFAIL
American Idol is the king of singing competitions. It has been ‘tried and true’ throughout its tenure as far as having a consistent audience, even if that audience has dropped off with successive seasons. It is like what Survivor is to the extreme adventure reality shows – King. Well, the king has unveiled that the judges this season are Nicki Minaj, Mariah Carey, Keith Urban and perhaps most surprisingly Randy Jackson, following speculation he would be given another role. Dawg, what happened?!?
So my take is that American Idol is so far gone that producers are doing any and everything to keep the juggernaut still being, WELL a juggernaut. I’m now going to evaluate each of the judges as to why they were chosen for the show.
- Nicki Minaj: Nicki Minaj is this year’s Steven Tyler, only perhaps more extreme. Minaj’s filter is,
well, doesn’t exists making her primed for being unpredictable on the panel. She is both a rapper and a singer, therefore she represents the ‘NOW’ generation, which often incorporates elements of several genres. She’s an electric, although liberal performer, which is probably why producers wanted her. Some may question her ‘experience’ given releasing only two albums, BUT both ended up peaking a #1 and both have been certified platinum. VERDICT: personality and well-roundedness, as scary as that may be.
- Mariah Carey: This was a no brainer. Carey possesses arguably one of the most electric, technical voices of a generation. A proven
veteran and multi-Grammy nominee/winner, Carey is the complete package, even more so than J. Lo who she replaces. Sure, she does not dance and shake her boo-tay like “Jenny on the Block” (she’s more of a diva and she might break something, LOL), but she could out sing Mrs. Casp – eh Ms. Lopez for days, years, eons! She doesn’t click with Nicki Minaj, which could create some positive ‘ratings friction’ much like on The Voice with all the judges vs. Christina Aguilera. VERDICT: Diva-ness, Brilliant voice/Veteran experience
- Keith Urban: OK, I always thought this was going to be the weakest, most boring choice. And it is. Keith Urban is a proven country artists with gold/platinum credibility. There is always one or two country presences (much to my chagrin, no offense), so that’s
where Keith Urban comes in. Add to this that Blake Shelton holds down the country end on competing show The Voice, which will materialize for a spring season, so the country dudes can go ahead. My issue is I don’t feel I can pinpoint Urban’s personality like I can Shelton, who is a ‘character-and-a-half.’ VERDICT: Balanced/Safe Judge; Country Representative
- Randy Jackson: So basically they were about to screw a homie. Jackson was going to be demoted to a ‘mentoring’ position after being the elder statesmen of the show. My dawg was about to get screwed over. Ain’t that some $… Well I don’t know what the terms are actually of Randy’s
reappearance. I suppose he is the ‘anchor’ considering the panel is 75% new. I personally believe it goes to the format of X Factor, The Voice and Duets where there are 4 judges. In other words, Randy, DAWG, you were a ‘afterthought,’ congratulations. VERDICT: Afterthought; Filler 4th Judge
So there it is. What are your thoughts? In other vocal competition news, The Voice will get two temporary judge placeholders in Usher and Shakira in their upcoming spring season, in which X-Tina and Cee Lo are taking a ‘siesta.’ There it is. :-))