Susan Boyle's I Dreamed A Dream sold 661,000 copies last week, bringing its four-week total to 2,461,000. It's now the second best-selling album of 2009, trailing only Taylor Swift's Fearless, which has sold 2,933,000 copies so far this year. With two chart weeks to go in 2009, will it surpass Fearless, which has a 472,000-unit lead? Place your bets.
I Dreamed A Dream is the first album to top 500,000 in sales in each of its first four weeks since December 2000, when the Beatles' 1 topped 500K in each of its first six weeks and Backstreet Boys' Black & Blue topped it in its each of its first five weeks. That was when the music business was at its peak; when CDs were flying out of record stores (remember them?). Boyle has achieved the feat in a much tougher environment for CD sales.
Norah Jones' 2003 smash Come Away With Me. Both of these women are quality artists who defy commercial trends and formulas and have strong adult contemporary appeal.
Year-end Update: As of this week, Fearless has outsold 2008's top-seller, Lil Wayne's Tha Carter III (which sold 2,874,000 copies that year). 2009 is now officially the first year since 2004 in which the year's best-selling album has outsold the best-selling album of the previous year. I Dreamed A Dream will probably top Lil Wayne's tally next week. This will be the first year since 2002 in which the year's top two albums have surpassed the #1 album of the previous year.
This is Keys' first album to fail to debut at #1. Her first four albums all entered the chart in the top spot. As you might imagine, it's extremely hard to debut at #1 with each of your first five albums. Two years ago, Britney Spears broke her string of four straight #1 debuts when her fifth album, Breakout, debuted (and peaked) at #2. DMX is the only act in chart history to debut at #1 with his first albums. The rapper's streak extended from It's Dark And Hell Is Hot in 1998 through Grand Champ in 2003.
Josh Groban's Noel, which was the best-selling album of 2007.
Robin Thicke's Sex Therapy: The Session debuts at #9. It's this week's second-highest new entry, behind Keys' The Element Of Freedom. Thicke and Keys have something in common: They both used their names in the titles of their second albums, The Evolution Of Robin Thicke and The Diary Of Alicia Keys.
Metallica's 1991 blockbuster Metallica this week surpasses Shania Twain's 1997 smash Come On Over to become the best-selling album since Nielsen/SoundScan began tracking sales for Billboard on May 25, 1991. Metallica has sold 15,490,000 copies. Come On Over has sold 15,487,000.
Metallica is the only fourth album to head Nielsen/SoundScan's "release to date" chart, which lists the albums that have sold the most copies in its history. Whitney Houston's 1992 smash The Bodyguard soundtrack was the first album to head this list, which was introduced on March 10, 1996. The Bodyguard had, at that point, sold 11,169,000 copies.
Alanis Morissette's 1995 juggernaut Jagged Little Pill bumped The Bodyguard as the best-selling album of the Nielsen/SoundScan era on Dec. 22, 1996. Jagged had sold 11,416,000 copies at that point. Jagged held the lead until March 11, 2001, when Come On Over took over. The country-pop blockbuster had sold 13,763,000 copies at that point.
As you can see, Metallica is the first hard rock album to top the "release to date" chart. The other three albums are mainstream pop, rock and country blockbusters that all but define the term "mass appeal." The Houston, Morissette and Twain albums each spawned three top 10 hits on the Hot 100 or airplay chart. Metallica didn't yield any (though "Enter Sandman" reached the top 20).
How long will Metallica hold the sales title and what, if anything, will replace it? Stay tuned.
Tik Tok" jumps to #1 on Hot Digital Songs, dethroning Lady Gaga's "Bad Romance." "Tik Tok" sold 221,000 digital copies this week, bringing its 13-week total to 1,438,000.
For the fourth week in a row, there are no groups or duos in the top 10 on The Billboard 200. The highest ranking group or duo this week is Lady Antebellum at #16. This week's top 10 consists of five female solo artists, four male solo artists and an album from Glee. Is there a deep, underlying reason that people are relating more to solo performers than to groups these days? I suspect it's just a chance occurrence. And Metallica's achievement this week shows that groups aren't completely dead!
Here's the low-down on this week's top 10 albums.Susan Boyle, I Dreamed A Dream, 661,000. This is the first album by a female solo artist to spend its first four weeks on top since Norah Jones' Feels Like Home spent its first six weeks on top in 2003. Alicia Keys, The Element Of Freedom, 417,000. This new entry is Keys' fifth straight album to debut in the top two. Nearly 58,000 copies were sold digitally, making it the week's #1 Digital Album. Four songs from the album are listed on Hot Digital Songs, topped by "Try Sleeping With A Broken Heart," which vaults from #61 to #23. Andrea Bocelli, My Christmas, 390,000. The album slips to #3 after five straight weeks at #2. This is the album's seventh straight week in the top three. "What Child Is This" falls from #135 to #180 on Hot Digital Songs. aylor Swift, Fearless, 239,000. The former #1 album holds at #4 in its 58th week. This is its 49th week in the top 10. It's #1 on the country chart for the 30th week. Three songs from the album are listed on Hot Digital Songs, topped by "You Belong With Me," which jumps from #44 to #38. Carrie Underwood, Play On, 153,000. The former #1 album holds at #5 in its seventh week. Fox has been re-running Underwood's first TV special. "Cowboy Casanova" holds at #36 on Hot Digital Songs. Lady Gaga, The Fame, 141,000. The album holds at #6 in its 60th week. This is its 26th week in the top 10. Six songs from the expanded version of the album are listed on Hot Digital Songs, topped by "Bad Romance," which slips to #2 after four weeks on top. Michael Buble, Crazy Love, 140,000. The former #1 album rebounds from #9 to #7 in its 11th week. This is its ninth week in the top 10. The album tops the 1 million mark in sales this week. It's Buble's fourth album to hit that level. "Haven't Met You Yet" dips from #60 to #62 on Hot Digital Songs. Justin Bieber, My World, 127,000. The EP holds at #8 its fifth week. This is its third week in the top 10. Three songs from the album are listed on Hot Digital Songs, topped by "One Time," which inches up from #38 to #34. Robin Thicke, Sex Therapy: The Session, 123,000. This new entry is Thicke's third album in a row to reach the top 10. The Evolution Of Robin Thicke reached #5 in February 2007. Something Else debuted at #3 in October 2008. "Sex Therapy" returns to Hot Digital Songs at #70. Barbra Streisand's "Don't Rain On My Parade," which drops from #24 to #91.
Two albums drop out of the top 10 this week. Chris Brown's Graffiti falls from #7 to #31 in its second week. Brown's last album, Exclusive, spent its first 20 weeks in the top 30. Gucci Mane's The State Vs. Radric Davis drops from #10 to #41.
Michael Jackson's This Is It rebounds from #12 to #11 in its eighth week. It's the #1 soundtrack to a theatrical movie for the eighth straight week.
Josh Groban's Noel is the top catalog album for the third straight week. It slips from #16 to #22 on The Billboard 200. This is the first time in 26 weeks that there have been no catalog albums in the top 20 (or what would have been the top 20).Leona Lewis' "I See You (Theme From Avatar)."
More Soundtrack News: The Twilight soundtrack last week topped the Chicago soundtrack in total sales. With sales of 2,377,000, Twilight is now the best-selling soundtrack to a theatrical movie since Baz Luhrmann's Moulin Rouge in 2001. Moulin Rouge, which revived the movie musical, has sold 3,011,000 copies.
Phil Vassar's Traveling Circus debuts at #198. How bad a debut is this? 2006's Greatest Hits Volume 1 and 2008's Prayer Of A Common Man both debuted in the top 10.
Black Eyed Peas this week becomes the second act to top the 4 million mark in paid downloads with back-to-back singles. They hit the mark with "I Gotta Feeling," the follow-up to "Boom Boom Pow." Lady Gaga topped 4 million with her back-to-back hits "Just Dance" (featuring Colby O'Donis) and "Poker Face."
Drake lands his second million-seller of the year with "Forever," which features Kanye West, Lil Wayne and Eminem. Drake first topped the 1 million mark in paid downloads in August with "Best I Ever Had."
"Empire State Of Mind," the second single from Jay-Z's The Blueprint 3, this week tops the sales of the first, "Run This Town." As of this week, "Empire" (with Alicia Keys) has sold 1,945,000 digital copies. "Run This Town (featuring Rihanna and Kanye West) has sold 1,835,000. It's somewhat unusual for the second single from an album to be bigger than the first, but it happens. In fact, it happened to Jay-Z's wife, Beyonce, on her current album, I Am...Sasha Fierce. The album's lead single, "If I Were A Boy," has sold a very solid 2,201,000 copies, but the monster follow-up, "Single Ladies (Put A Ring On It)," has sold 3,369,000.Mary J. Blige's Stronger With Each Tear will probably debut at #2 next week. Also due: Mudvayne's Mudvayne, Lil Wayne and Various Artists' We Are Young Money and Hurricane Chris' Unleashed. Also look for Eminem's Relapse to zoom up the chart with the release of the expanded Relapse: Refill.
Shameless Plug: December is traditionally the biggest month of the year for album sales. Yesterday I posted a Chart Watch Extra in which I list the best-selling album of every December from 1992 to 2009. The list features three greatest hits sets, two Christmas albums, two debut albums, two soundtracks and a partridge in a pear tree. Check it out.