Miley Cyrus this week becomes the second-youngest artist ever to amass two #1 albums on the Billboard chart. The 15-year old star tops the chart with Breakout, her first album released strictly under her own name. Cyrus also rang the bell last year with the two-CD set, Hannah Montana 2/Meet Miley Cyrus. (I'm not counting the first Hannah Montana soundtrack toward her total, because Cyrus didn't yet have star billing.)
Cyrus is only the fifth performer to land two #1 albums as a teenager. She follows LeAnn Rimes, who was also 15 when she landed her second #1 album; Hilary Duff and Joey McIntyre from New Kids on the Block, who were both 17; and Britney Spears, who was 18. (To break the tie between Rimes and Cyrus, we have to count months. Rimes was just 15 and one month when she landed her second #1 album in 1997. Cyrus is 15 and eight months.)
Ricky Nelson was the first teenager to have a #1 album. He was 17 when his album Ricky topped the chart in 1958. Stevie Wonder is still the youngest artist with a #1 album. He was just 13 and three months in 1963 when he topped the chart with Little Stevie Wonder/The 12 Year Old Genius.
Other teen stars to land #1 albums are Tiffany (who was 16 when she topped the chart in 1988), Bobby Brown (19 when he scored in 1989), Debbie Gibson (18 in 1989), the rap duo Kris Kross (13 and 14 in 1992), Christina Aguilera (18 in 1999), Avril Lavigne (19 in 2004) and Ashlee Simpson (19 in 2004)-plus Jordan Knight from New Kids on the Block, Nick Carter from Backstreet Boys, Justin Timberlake from *NSYNC and Beyonce from Destiny's Child.
Only five of these chart-topping teen phenoms have made it back to #1 past their 25th birthdays. Brown was 27 when he returned to #1 as part of New Edition's reunion album, Home Again. Wonder was 26 when he landed his most recent #1 album, the classic Songs In The Key Of Life. Timberlake, Aguilera and Beyonce were all 25 when they scored with, respectively, FutureSex/LoveSounds, Back To Basics and B'Day. Will Cyrus one day join this roster of teen idols who made the transition to adult pop stardom? Time will tell.
Breakout sold 371,000 copies in its first week. That's Cyrus' biggest opening week to date. Hannah Montana 2/Meet Miley Cyrus started a year ago with sales of 326,000.
Hit singles, such as the sassy "See You Again," have helped give Cyrus credibility apart from the Hannah identity. Cyrus has 10 songs on this week's top 200 Hot Digital Songs chart, the most anyone has had in one week since David Cook put 17 songs on the chart in the week following his American Idol victory. All but two of the 12 songs on Cyrus' album are listed on the download chart. Her highest-ranking song is "7 Things," which dips a notch to #4.
Cyrus is a second-generation chart-topper. Her father Billy Ray Cyrus logged 17 weeks at #1 in 1992 with his debut album, Some Gave All. The Cyruses are one of only two families in which both a parent and a child have had #1 albums. The other? The Coles. Nat "King" Cole hit #1 in 1957 with Love Is The Thing. Daughter Natalie Cole reached the top spot in 1991 with her tribute to her dad, Unforgettable With Love.
Sugarland also makes chart news this week. The duo's latest album, Love On The Inside, debuts at #2, which is the highest that any country twosome has been listed in the 52-year history of Billboard's weekly album chart. The old record was held by Brooks & Dunn, which peaked at #3 in 2005 with their highest charting album, Hillbilly Deluxe. Two other country duos have reached the top 10. Big & Rich has climbed as high as #6 twice (in 2004 and 2007). Montgomery Gentry reached #10 in 2004. The Judds, still among the most famous country duos of all time, peaked at #51 in 1989 with their highest-charting album, River Of Time. (Country was underrepresented on the charts in the years before 1991, when Nielsen/SoundScan set up shop.)
Both Breakout and Love On The Inside debut with sales in excess of 300,000. It's the first time that two albums have debuted with sales above that level since November, when Jay Z's American Gangster and Garth Brooks' The Ultimate Hits both started that big. Love On The Inside sold 314,000 copies, which constitutes the biggest sales week for a country album in 2008. It tops two albums that debuted at #1-George Strait's Troubadour (166,000) and Alan Jackson's Good Time (119,000). All of Sugarland's sales were for a "deluxe fan edition." The pared-down, regular edition hits stores this week, which should give the album a very solid second week.
Katy Perry's "I Kissed A Girl" tops Hot Digital Songs for the sixth straight week. Only one other hit by a female artist has topped this chart for six or more weeks. That would be Gwen Stefani's "Hollaback Girl," which led the way for nine weeks in 2005. "I Kissed A Girl" sold 151,000 downloads this week, bringing its total so far to 1,879,000.
Here's the low-down on this week's top 10 albums.
1. Miley Cyrus, Breakout, 371,000. This is the sixth biggest first-week sales tally of 2008, following Lil Wayne's Tha Carter III (1,006,000), Coldplay's Viva La Vida Or Death And All His Friends (721,000), Mariah Carey's E=MC2 (463,000), Usher's Here I Stand (443,000) and Jack Johnson's Sleep Through The Static (375,000).
2. Sugarland, Love On The Inside, 314,000. Sugarland's strong upward trajectory is seen in the first-week sales and chart numbers posted by its three albums. Twice The Speed Of Life sold a mere 4,000 copies the week it entered the chart at #194 in January 2005. Enjoy The Ride opened at #4 with sales of 211,000 in November 2006. Of the new album's sales total, 37,000 copies were sold digitally, making this the week's #1 Digital Album. Two songs from the album are listed on Hot Digital Songs, topped by "All I Want To Do" at #20.
3. Various Artists, Mamma Mia! soundtrack, 168,000. This is the fattest weekly sales total for a movie soundtrack since Idlewild (starring OutKast) sold 196,000 copies when it debuted in August 2006. Two movie soundtracks-Dreamgirls and Juno-have since hit #1 with much smaller weekly sales totals than Mamma Mia! registers this week. The high-spirited movie slipped from #2 to #3 at the box-office. Four songs from the album are listed on Hot Digital Songs, topped by Meryl Streep's "Mamma Mia" at #48.
4. Kid Rock, Rock N Roll Jesus, 93,000. The album jumps from #6 to #4, its highest ranking in 40 weeks. The album is #14 for the year to date. The radio smash "All Summer Long" still isn't available as a download.
5. Lil Wayne, Tha Carter III, 85,000. How big was Lil Wayne's chart debut six weeks ago? Add the healthy sales tallies from this week's top four albums together and you get 946,000 units-still less than the 1,006,000 copies that Lil Wayne sold in his first week. The album slips from #2 to #5. It's #1 for the year to date. Five songs from the album are listed on Hot Digital Songs, topped by "Lollipop" (featuring Static Major) at #19.
6. Coldplay, Viva La Vida Or Death And All His Friends, 75,000. The album dips from #4 to #6. It's #2 for the year-to-date. This will almost certainly be the third year in which Coldplay has had an album in the year-end top 10. A Rush Of Blood To The Head was #10 for the year in 2003. X&Y was #6 for the year in 2005. Two songs from the new album are listed on Hot Digital Songs, topped by "Viva La Vida" at #5.
7. Various Artists, Camp Rock soundtrack, 67,000. The TV soundtrack slips from #5 to #7. It's #11 for the year to date. Four songs from the album are listed on Hot Digital Songs, topped by "This Is Me" by Demi Lovato & Joe Jonas at #32.
8. Nas, Untitled, 63,000. The album tumbles from #1 to #8. That's the biggest drop from the top spot since fellow rapper Jay Z made the same move in November with American Gangster. Nas' previous album, Hip Hop Is Dead, also had just a single week on top. But his two #1 solo albums before that both had multiple weeks on top. "Hero" drops from #57 to #109 on Hot Digital Songs.
10. Taylor Swift, Beautiful Eyes, 35,000. The album, a Wal-Mart exclusive, slips from #9 to #10 in its second week. Swift's eponymous debut album holds at #12 in its 38th consecutive week in the top 20. Swift has four songs on Hot Digital Songs, topped by "Should've Said No" at #44.
Three albums drop out of the top 10 this week. John Mellencamp's Life Death Love And Freedom falls from #7 to #16. David Banner's The Greatest Story Ever Told slips from #8 to #20. Rihanna's Good Girl Gone Bad dips from #10 to #11.
Nine Inch Nails' The Slip debuts at #13. This is the band's seventh album to make the top 15; its second in a row to reach that level of success despite first being offered as a free download. Ghosts I-IV bowed at #14 in April.
Candlebox's Into The Sun opens at #32. This is the band's first album since Happy Pills 10 years ago. (They could have called this one Well Rested.) The Seattle-based band debuted (and peaked) in 1993 with an eponymous album that went top 10.Two popular bands, no strangers to live albums, enter the chart with digital-only live releases. U2's Live From Paris opens at #54. Counting Crows' Live From Soho bows at #66.
Blues legend Buddy Guy lands the highest-charting album of his career as Skin Deep bows at #68. The singer/guitarist first charted in 1991 with Damn Right, I've Got The Blues.
At The Movies: As you've no doubt heard by now, The Dark Knight has grossed $313.7 million at the box-office in just two weeks. It's already more than halfway to the mark set by the all-time box-office champ, Titanic, which has grossed $600.8 million. The soundtrack album from Titanic was also a smash. James Horner's score, augmented by a Celine Dion smash, has sold 10,117,000 copies, a total topped by only one soundtrack (The Bodyguard) in Nielsen/SoundScan history. Alas, the soundtrack from The Dark Knight is showing no signs of becoming a Titanic-style smash. The album, featuring a score by Hans Zimmer and James Newton Howard, dips from #20 to #23 in its second week on the chart. Why the disparity? Never underestimate the power of a ubiquitous radio hit. "Aggressive Expansion," the key download from The Dark Knight, is no "My Heart Will Go On."
ABBA's Gold-Greatest Hits holds at #1 on the Catalog Albums chart for the second straight week. It sold 22,000 copies this week and would have ranked #19 on the big chart if older, catalog albums were allowed to compete there. Three ABBA classics-"Dancing Queen," "Mamma Mia," and "Take A Chance On Me"-move up on Hot Digital Songs.
Ups & Downs: Two albums-the Mamma Mia! soundtrack and the Legally Blonde cast album-experienced sales increases of 84% this week, more than any other non-debuting album. Mamma Mia! was a stage musical that was turned into a movie. Legally Blonde was a movie that was turned into a stage musical. Can anyone in entertainment come up with an original idea anymore?! (Just asking.) Legally Blonde re-enters the chart at #165 with its highest weekly sales tally since October. On the down side, O.A.R.'s All Sides fell from #13 to #50, with a 67% sales drop, the steepest decline of any album in the top 200.
Heads Up: Kidz Bop Kids' Kidz Bop 14 will enter the chart next week, along with Third Day's Revelation and Scars On Broadway's Scars On Broadway, a side project by Daron Malakian, guitarist in System Of A Down.