Who's Number One: The number of artists who can sell more than 300,000 copies of an album -- as opposed to a single -- in a week has been dwindling mightily as record sales nose dive. But sometimes something encouraging happens on the Billboard Top 200. Like this week, when Adele earned Number One by moving 352,000 copies of her fantastic second release, "21," according to Nielsen SoundScan. That's the most anyone has pulled in since late November's pre-Christmas chart blitz. A genuinely talented artist succeeding in today's market -- The Amp is (briefly) encouraged!
Why?: For a quick answer, just watch Adele's "Live at Letterman" concert. The retro-soul market is crowded in the U.K., but Adele rose above her competitors because she's got superior vocal power, fantastic songs that appeal to a wide range of fans across nearly every demographic (she even cited Dolly Parton as an influence on this disc), and the ability to deliver a compelling quote.
So That Means ...: Justin Bieber's "Never Say Never: The Remixes" slipped (only slightly) to Number Two with 102,000, followed by Mumford & Sons, the 37th "Now!" compilation, and Bieber's "My World 2.0." The usual suspects -- Bruno Mars, Eminem, Rihanna, Nicki Minaj, and Lady Antebellum -- rounded out the Top 10.
Fun Yet Depressing Fact: Selling 3 million copies of a single sure won't guarantee your album's success. Case in point: Far East Movement, who had a monster hit with "Like a G6." Their album "Free Wired" has only sold 122,000 copies after 20 weeks on the Top 200.
Other Notable Debuts: We'll really test your definition of "notable" this week -- Destroy Rebuild Until God Shows' self-titled debut "D.R.U.G.S." sold 14,000, good for Number 29, and Bayside's "Killing Time" and G. Love's "Fixin to Die" both sold 12,000 in 34 and 35. Patrick Stump's "Truant Wave" EP, which was released with little fanfare other than a video starring Stump's hair, sold a bit over 7,000 in 63rd place.
OK, What's Destroy Rebuild Until God Shows?: Chiodos' Craig Owens' new band with members of Matchbook Romance, Underminded, From First to Last, and Story of the Year. We suppose if you add up all those band's audiences, you get a Number 29 debut.
Who's in Last Place: OneRepublic's "Waking Up," which sold a bit south of 3,000 copies last week. The good news? The band's chief pen Ryan Tedder has a songwriting credit on Adele's Number One "21"!
[Photo: Jon Furniss/WireImage.com]