For the first time ever, female solo artists occupy the top five spots on The Billboard 200. Susan Boyle's I Dreamed A Dream logs its sixth week at #1; Lady Gaga's The Fame surges from #6 to #2; Alicia Keys' The Element Of Freedom rebounds from #4 to #3; Mary J. Blige's Stronger withEach Tear drops from #2 to #4; and Taylor Swift's Fearless holds at #5.
The previous record for female domination was set on April 21, 1990, when female solo artists held down the top four spots on The Billboard 200. The albums were, in order: Bonnie Raitt's Nick Of Time, Sinead O'Connor's I Do Not Want What I Haven't Got, Janet Jackson's Rhythm Nation 1814 and Paula Abdul's Forever Your Girl.
On two other occasions, women locked up the top four spots, though, in each case, female solo artists accounted for just three of those spots. On Feb. 10, 1996, the all-female Waiting To Exhale soundtrack finished ahead of albums by Tori Amos, Alanis Morissette and Mariah Carey. On Jan. 12, 2003, Norah Jones, Jennifer Lopez and Avril Lavigne finished ahead of Dixie Chicks.
I Dreamed A Dream is the first album to spend its first six weeks at #1 since 50 Cent's The Massacre in 2005. It's the first album by a female artist to spend its first six weeks at #1 since Norah Jones' Feels Like Home in 2004. It's the first album by a British artist to spend its first six weeks at #1 since Elton John's Captain Fantastic And The Brown Dirt Cowboy way back in 1975.
I Dreamed A Dream is the first album to top the 3 million mark in sales in just six weeks since The Massacre. But this still wasn't enough for Boyle to overtake Swift's Fearless, which is officially the best-selling album of 2009. Fearless sold 3,217,000 copies in 2009, compared to 3,104,000 for I Dreamed A Dream. That gives Fearless a winning margin of 113,000 copies. That's the second closest margin between the year's top two albums in Nielsen/SoundScan history.
I have much more on the final year-end rankings in an updated Chart Watch Extra in which I count down the year's top 10 songs and albums. Here's a link.
For the record, this is the 53rd and last week of the 2009 chart year. (And yes, this means that sales that transpired on Jan. 1, 2 and 3 are recorded in 2009 sales totals.)
Both I Dreamed A Dream and The Fame are debut albums. This marks the first time that debut albums have held down the top two spots on The Billboard 200 since January 2003, when Norah Jones' Come Away With Me and Avril Lavigne's Let Go scored.
The Fame sold more than 30,000 copies digitally this week, making it the week's #1 Digital Album. The Fame this week becomes only the fifth album ever to sell 500,000 or more digital copies. The album has sold 511,000 digital copies, which trails only Coldplay's Viva La Vida Or Death And All His Friends (761,000), Taylor Swift's Fearless (568,000), the Twilight soundtrack (564,000) and Kings Of Leon's Only By The Night (533,000).
Sales routinely slip after the holidays. Boyle's tally of 137,000 copies this week is the slimmest weekly total for a #1 album since Michael Buble's Crazy Love debuted with sales of 132,000 in October. (And that based on just three days of sales; the album was released on a Friday.)
Alvin And The Chipmunks: The Squeakquel jumps from #20 to #7 in its fifth week. The soundtrack to the first Alvin And The Chipmunks movie reached #5 in April 2008, when the movie was released on DVD. David Seville and the Chipmunks first reached the top 10 with their 1959 album Let's All Sing With The Chipmunks. Here's the very unlikely bottom line: The Chipmunks have had a longer span of top 10 albums than Tony Bennett, Stevie Wonder, Barbra Streisand, Bob Dylan or The Beatles.
The Squeakquel is the week's #1 soundtrack, replacing Michael Jackson's This Is It. The first Alvin And The Chipmunks was the #1 soundtrack for three straight weeks in March and April 2008.
Glee was conceived by Fox as a music show to follow to its top-rated American Idol. It has succeeded beyond all expectations. But no one could have foreseen this: In its first season, Glee is selling more albums than Idol is. As of this week, the two volumes of Glee: Season One, The Music have sold a combined total of 1,071,000 copies. By comparison, the debut albums by Idol winner Kris Allen, runner-up Adam Lambert and fourth place finisher Allison Iraheta have, as of this week, sold a combined total of 736,000 copies.
Both Glee albums are listed in this week's top 20. Volume 2 rebounds from #16 to #11; Volume 1 rebounds from #21 to #18.
Ke$ha's "TiK ToK" is #1 on Hot Digital Songs for the third straight week. The song sold 394,000 downloads this week, bringing its 15-week total to 2,443,000. Look for Ke$ha's debut album, Animal, to make a high entry on next week's chart.
Here's the low-down on this week's top 10 albums.
1. Susan Boyle, I Dreamed A Dream, 137,000. The album holds at #1 for the sixth straight week. No songs from the album are listed on Hot Digital Songs.
2. Lady Gaga, The Fame, 82,000. The album jumps from #6 to #2 in its 62nd week. This is its highest ranking to date. This is its 28th 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 rebounds from #3 to #2.
3. Alicia Keys, The Element Of Freedom, 80,000. The album rebounds from #4 to #3 in its third week. Two songs from the album are listed on Hot Digital Songs, topped by "Try Sleeping With A Broken Heart," which dips from #81 to #82.
5. Taylor Swift, Fearless, 60,000. The former #1 album holds at #5 in its 60th week. This is its 51st week in the top 10. Six songs from the album are listed on Hot Digital Songs, topped by "You Belong With Me," which dips from #22 to #24.
6. Justin Bieber, My World, 52,000. The EP rebounds from #7 to #6 in its seventh week. This is its fifth week in the top 10. (Bieber is the top male artist on this week's chart.) Four songs from the EP are listed on Hot Digital Songs, topped by "One Time," which dips from #13 to #17.
7. Soundtrack, Alvin And The Chipmunks: The Squeakquel, 51,000. The soundtrack surges from #20 to #7 in its fifth week. Three songs from the album are listed on Hot Digital Songs, topped by the Chipettes' version of Beyonce's "Single Ladies (Put A Ring On It), which jumps from #132 to #100.
8. The Black Eyed Peas, The E.N.D., 47,000. The former #1 album rebounds from #15 to #8 in its 30th week. This is its 17th week in the top 10. This ends a rare, five-week shut-out where no groups or duos appeared in the top 10. Four songs from the album are listed on Hot Digital Songs, topped by "I Gotta Feeling," which rebounds from #14 to #7.
9. Lady Gaga, The Fame Monster, 44,000. This eight-song EP rebounds from #12 to #9 in its sixth week. This is its second week in the top 10. Two songs from the EP are listed on Hot Digital Songs, topped by "Bad Romance," which rebounds from #3 to #2.
10. Owl City, Ocean Eyes, 44,000. The album rebounds from #14 to #10 in its 25th week. This is its second week in the top 10. Three songs from the album are listed on Hot Digital Songs, topped by "Fireflies," which holds at #4.
Four albums drop out of the top 10 this week. Andrea Bocelli's My Christmas tumbles from #3 to #34, Carrie Underwood's Play On slips from #8 to #17, Young Money's We Are Young Money drops from #9 to #12, and Michael Buble's Crazy Love slips from #10 to #15.
Taylor Swift's 2007 release The Holiday Collection jumps from #34 to #29. It's this week's #1 Catalog Album ( replacing Michael Jackson's Number Ones) and #1 holiday album (replacing Andrea Bocelli's My Christmas).
At The Movies: Avatar was #1 at the box-office for the third weekend. It seems to be on track to becoming the second highest-grossing movie of all time, behind Titanic. James Cameron directed both films. James Horner scored both. The Avatar soundtrack leaps from #119 to #32 its third week on The Billboard 200. (Incidentally, Avatar is the first movie to be #1 for three weekends since Tropic Thunder in August 2008. It's the first Christmas release to be #1 for three weekends since National Treasure: Book Of Secrets in December 2007 and January 2008.)
Song Scorecard: Miley Cyrus' "Party In The U.S.A" and "Down" by Jay Sean featuring Lil Wayne both topped the 3 million mark in paid downloads this week. It's Lil Wayne's third song to reach this level, counting both lead and supporting roles. "Lollipop" (featuring Static Major) has sold 3,723,000 downloads. Kevin Rudolf's "Let It Rock" (on which Lil Wayne is featured) has sold 3,580,000.
Lady Gaga's "Bad Romance" and "Run This Town" by Jay-Z, Rihanna and Kanye West both topped the 2 million mark in paid downloads this week. "Bad Romance" did the trick in just 10 weeks, the fastest since The Black Eyed Peas' "I Gotta Feeling" did it in 10 weeks in August.
Country Queens: Reba McEntire's "Consider Me Gone" tops Hot Country Songs for the third straight week. It's Reba's (as she is billed now) 23rd #1 country hit. Only one other female artist, Dolly Parton, has had more #1 country hits. Parton has had 25. McEntire first topped the country chart with "Can't Even Get The Blues" in January 1983. Parton first scored with "Joshua" in February 1971.
U.K. Watch: Paolo Nutini's Sunny Side Up, which first hit #1 in the U.K. in June, returns to the top spot this week. It's the first album to return to #1 in the U.K. after being dislodged since Kings Of Leon's Only By The Night in February.
Heads Up: As noted above, Ke$ha will try to parlay the success of her #1 smash "TiK ToK" into a hit album with Animal, due on next week's chart. Also due: Katharine McPhee's Unbroken and Elvis Presley's Elvis 75.