Second generation stars hold down two of the top three spots on The Billboard 200. Colbie Caillat, the daughter of Grammy-winning record producer Ken Caillat, debuts at #1 with her sophomore album, Breakthrough; Miley Cyrus, the daughter of country hit-maker Billy Ray Cyrus, bows at #3 with The Time Of Our Lives. (Cyrus' EP, a Wal-Mart exclusive, debuted a week earlier than expected because its release date was moved to Friday Aug. 28. Thus, it had only three days to ring up sales.)
Breakthrough sold 106,000 copies this week, which is more than twice the first-week sales (51,000) of Caillat's 2007 debut album, Coco. That album has sold an impressive 1,961,000 copies and spawned two top 20 hits on the Hot 100: "Bubbly" and "Realize."
The first-week tally for Breakthrough includes nearly 43,000 digital copies, which makes it the week's #1 Digital Album. Coco topped the Digital chart twice. Coco has sold 334,000 digital copies, which puts it in 12th place on Nielsen/SoundScan's all time list. Among albums by female artists, it's in third place, behind Taylor Swift's Fearless and Amy Winehouse's Back To Black.
Caillat, 24, is the second member of her family to top The Billboard 200. Ken Caillat, who co-produced Breakthrough, previously co-produced a pair of #1 albums for Fleetwood Mac-Rumours and Mirage. Rumours topped the chart for 31 weeks, longer than any other album of the 1970s. It also won a Grammy as Album of the Year.
The Caillats are the third case of a father and daughter each landing a #1 album on The Billboard 200. The Cyruses have also achieved the feat. So, too, have Nat "King" Cole and Natalie Cole. In all three cases, the daughters followed their own paths to stardom. Where Nat "King" Cole was the master at smooth pop and jazz, Natalie gained fame, at least initially, with contemporary R&B. Where Billy Ray Cyrus was a country star, Miley hit the bullseye with teen pop. And where Ken Caillat specialized in mainstream pop/rock, Colbie has found her niche with mellow California pop.
Miley Cyrus' seven-song EP The Time Of Our Lives opens at #2, with first-week sales of 62,000 copies. This is the teen megastar's second album entirely on her own. Her first completely solo effort, Breakout, debuted at #1 in July 2008. Cyrus' single, "Party In The U.S.A." logs its third week at #1 on Hot Digital Songs. It sold 190,000 downloads this week, more than any other song, but still the slimmest tally with which a song has been #1 on this chart in 2009.
The Time Of Our Lives is the seventh album by or starring Cyrus to reach the top three on The Billboard 200 in less than three years, following three Hannah Montana TV soundtracks, a Hannah movie soundtrack, a Best Of Both Worlds Concert soundtrack and the aforementioned Breakout. That's a tremendous feat and an impressive sign of Cyrus' popularity. But that's an awful lot of product in a short space of time. I understand the concept of "strike while the iron's hot," but I also know that artists who have long careers pace themselves and don't flood the market.
Skillet's Awake enters The Billboard 200 at #2, becoming the third album by a Contemporary Christian rock band to climb this high on the chart. All three have achieved the feat in a little more than three years. Underoaths's Define The Great Line debuted at #2 in June 2006. Casting Crowns' The Altar And The Door bowed in the runner-up slot in September 2007. Skillet is a four-member band fronted by a married couple, John and Korey Cooper.
A Thought: If Casting Crowns went out on tour with Iron Maiden and Skillet, would it be called the Cast Iron Skillet tour? Sorry.
Incidentally, two of the top three albums on The Billboard 200 feature borrowed album titles. Mary J. Blige debuted at #1 in December 2005 with The Breakthrough. Josh Groban bowed at #2 in November 2006 with Awake. I'm all for recycling, but shouldn't artists wait at least wait five years before they sift through the pile of used album titles?
Michael Jackson's Number Ones sold 68,000 copies this week and would have held at #2 if catalog albums were eligible to compete on The Billboard 200. Thriller sold 39,000 copies and would have rebounded from #16 to #9. The Essential Michael Jackson sold 29,000 and would have dropped from #9 to #16. This is the 10th straight week in which Jackson has had two or more of the 10 best-selling albums in the U.S. That's a tremendous showing, but it's no match for Herb Alpert & the Tijuana Brass, which had two or more albums in the top 10 for 49 consecutive weeks from Nov. 20, 1965 through Oct. 22, 1966. As this illustrates, the TJB was one of the most phenomenally popular acts in recording history.
As of this week, Thriller has sold 1 million copies in 2009. Number Ones has sold 1,687,000 copies since Jan. 1. Jackson is the only artist who has sold 1 million copies of two different albums so far this year.
There is so much turnover near the top of The Billboard 200 that Kings Of Leon's Only By The Night is the only album that was in last week's top five to remain in the top five this week. The album holds at #4 in its 49th week. Only By The Night is the first album to appear in the top five after this many weeks on the chart since Kid Rock's Rock N Roll Jesus, which was #3 in its 49th week in September. Both albums had debuted in the top five and tumbled down the chart before turning around on the strength of hit songs. Kings of Leon's "Use Somebody" is a top five hit on the Hot 100. Kid Rock's "All Summer Long" was never released as a single, but was a radio smash nonetheless.
Imogen Heap's 2005 breakthrough album, Speak For Yourself, never sold more than 7,000 copies in any one week and it never climbed higher than #145 on The Billboard 200. But it made a strong impression on critics, as well as the Grammy committee that nominated her as Best New Artist of 2006. Speak For Yourself eventually caught on with fans, racking up sales of 431,000 copies. It set the stage for Heap's follow-up album, Ellipse, to make a strong debut this week. Ellipse opens at #5 with first-week sales of 52,000 copies.
Here's the low-down on this week's top 10 albums.
1. Colbie Caillat, Breakthrough, 106,000. This new entry is Caillat's second top five album in a row. Coco debuted and peaked at #5 in July 2007. "Fallin' For You" leaps from #31 to #11 on Hot Digital Songs.
2. Skillet, Awake, 68,000. This new entry is the Christian rock group's first top 10 album. The band's previous best mark was set by its 2006 album Comatose, which reached #55. "Awake And Alive" enters Hot Digital Songs at #53.
3. Miley Cyrus, The Time Of Our Lives, 62,000. This new entry is Cyrus' seventh album to make the top three in less than three years. "Party In The U.S.A." heads Hot Digital Songs for the third straight week.
4. Kings Of Leon, Only By The Night, 52,000. The album holds at #4 in its 49th week. This is its eighth week in the top 10. Three songs from the album are listed on Hot Digital Songs, topped by "Use Somebody," which dips from #5 to #6.
5. Imogen Heap, Ellipse, 48,000. This new entry is Heap's first album to make the top 100, much less the top 10. (See above item.) Most of the copies of the new album (29,000) were sold digitally. "First Train Home" enters Hot Digital Songs at #197.
6. Reba McEntire, Keep On Loving You, 42,000. The album slips from #1 to #6 in its second week. (Reba Duets made the same second-week move in September 2007.) It's #1 country for the second week in a row.
8. The Black Eyed Peas, The E.N.D., 36,000. The former #1 album slips from #5 to #8 in its 12th week. Two songs from the album are listed in the top 15 on Hot Digital Songs for the 13th straight week. "I Gotta Feeling" holds at #2.
9. Taylor Swift, Fearless, 34,000. The former #1 album dips from #8 to #9 in its 42ndweek. This is its 36th week in the top 10. Two songs from the album are listed on Hot Digital Songs, topped by "You Belong With Me," which dips from #8 to #10.
10. Various Artists, NOW Country 2, 33,000. This new entry is the second NOW Country volume to reach the top 10. The initial one hit #7 in August 2008. That album, which re-enters the chart at #197, has sold 372,000 copies.
Five albums drop out of the top 10 this week. Third Eye Blind's Ursa Major plummets from #3 to #45, Neil Diamond's Hot August Night NYC dives from #6 to #23, the Hannah Montana: The Movie soundtrack dips from #7 to #11, Daughtry's Leave This Town drops from #9 to #13 and NOW 31 falls from #10 to #14.
LeToya's sophomore album, Lady Love, debuts at #12. LeToya's eponymous solo debut album bowed at #1 in July 2006.
Arctic Monkeys' Humbug bows at #15. Favourite Worst Nightmare debuted and peaked at #7 in April 2007. Humbug debuts at #1 in the U.K. It's the band's third #1 there, following Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not (2006) and Favourite Worst Nightmare.
Queen Latifah's Persona bows at #25. It's hard to believe, but it's been nearly 20 years since Queen Latifah first hit the album chart in December 1989 with All Hail The Queen. Latifah is an interesting case. None of her albums has (quite) cracked the top 10 or sold a million copies. But she is a household name; one of the biggest multi-media stars to have emerged from the recording field in the past couple of decades. Chalk it up to versatility and charisma. (In case you're wondering, Latifah's highest-charting album, Trav'lin' Light, peaked at #11. Her best-selling album, The Dana Owens Album, has sold 731,000 copies.)
Willie Nelson's American Classic opens at #43. This is the latest in a long line of albums in which Nelson dives into the "Great American Songbook." With Stardust in 1978, Nelson became one of the first contemporary artists to explore this marvelous repertoire. The success of Stardust showed the commercial and artistic potential of these projects, if done right. It paved the way for such albums as Linda Ronstadt's What's New, Barbra Streisand's The Broadway Album, Natalie Cole's Unforgettable and Rod Stewart's It Had To Be You...The Great American Songbook. All four of these albums, come to think of it, spawned hit sequels. That's an indication of just how rich this material is.
Smokey Robinson's Time Flies When You're Having Fun opens at #59. It's a fitting title. In October, Robinson will mark the 50th anniversary of his first Hot 100 single, the Miracles' "Bad Girl." Time Flies... is Robinson's 21stsolo album to make The Billboard 200, which equals the number of albums Robinson and the Miracles put on the chart from 1963 through 1974.
Cheap Trick's Sgt. Pepper Live debuts at #83. This is the second time that The Beatles' 1967 classic, Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, has been revisited with a chart album. In 1978, Peter Frampton and the Bee Gees starred in a movie version of the album, which yielded a star-studded soundtrack. The double-disk album, which also included some non-Pepper Beatles songs, made the top five. (Despite its high ranking, the album is widely believed to have flopped. The saying in the industry for albums like this was "they shipped gold and returned platinum.")
The soundtrack to the remake of Fame debuts at #90. The original Fame soundtrack spent five weeks in the top 10 in the summer of 1980, peaking at #7.
R.I.P.: It's fitting that Neil Diamond was back in the top 10 last week when Ellie Greenwich died. Greenwich and her then husband Jeff Barry produced 13 Hot 100 hits by Diamond, including the top 10 smashes "Cherry, Cherry" and "Girl, You'll Be A Woman Soon." Greenwich was among the hottest songwriters of the '60s. She co-wrote such classics as "Be My Baby," "Chapel Of Love," "Leader Of The Pack," "Da Doo Ron Ron" and "Do Wah Diddy Diddy," among many others. Greenwich was 68.
Heads Up: Look for Whitney Houston to debut at #1 next week with I Look To You, her first studio album since Just Whitney... nearly seven years ago. Also due: Trey Songz's Ready, Chevelle's Sci-Fi Crimes, Pitbull's Rebelution, the Black Crowes' Before The Frost...Until The Freeze, The Used's Artwork, John Fogerty's The Blue Ridge Rangers Rides Again, and Insane Clown Posse's Bang! Pow! Boom!.