Christina Aguilera's Bionic enters The Billboard 200 at #3. It's the pop veteran's fourth consecutive studio album to debut in the top five, though it fell short of her first three releases, all of which debuted at #1 or #2. Bionic sold 111,000 copies in its first week, which is less than one-third of what Aguilera's last studio album, Back To Basics, sold in its first week in August 2006 (346,000). And that was a two-disc album.
Granted, sales aren't what they were in 2006. But just in the past 12 months, 12 albums by female stars have managed bigger openings. And not all of these women are hot newcomers, such as Susan Boyle and Ke$ha. Five of the female artists who have gotten off to faster starts in the past year have been around even longer than Aguilera (Barbra Streisand, Whitney Houston, Mariah Carey, Mary J. Blige and Monica).
The disappointing showing of "Not Myself Tonight," the first single from the album, is taking a toll. The song entered the Hot 100 at #23 in the May 1 issue, but dropped out of the top 40 the following week. Last week, it dropped off the chart altogether.
By contrast, "Genie In A Bottle," the first single from Aguilera's eponymous 1999 debut album, logged five weeks at #1. "Ain't No Other Man," the lead single from her last studio album, Back To Basics, hit #6. "Keeps Gettin' Better," the single from Aguilera's 2008 hits compilation of the same name, reached #7.
A dud first single was the last thing Aguilera needed as she set out to compete with the new female stars who have emerged in the nearly four years since her last studio album. Chief among them: Lady Gaga, Katy Perry and Ke$ha.
This doesn't mean it's all over for the album. "Dirrty," the first song released from Aguilera's second album, Stripped, stalled at #48. And then "Beautiful," the second song from the album, rose to #2 and brought Aguilera a Grammy. Aguilera may have better luck with the title song, "Bionic," which enters the Hot 100 at #66 this week.
Aguilera is off to a faster start in the U.K., where Bionic debuts at #1. It's her second studio album in a row to start out at #1 in that key market.
"California Gurls" by Katy Perry featuring Snoop Dogg this week becomes the first song to top the 300,000 mark in digital sales more than once in 2010. The summertime smash sold 359,000 copies, up from last week's 318,000. "California Gurls" is the first song to top 300K more than once since Ke$ha's "TiK ToK" and Lady Gaga's "Bad Romance," both of which did it in the last two chart weeks of 2009. (Digital sales always swell over the holidays, as fans redeem gift cards.) The only songs to top 300K more than once without the built-in bump of a holiday week are Flo Rida's "Right Round" (which did it four times in 2009) and the Black Eyed Peas' "I Gotta Feeling" (which did it twice last year).
Only one song in 2010 has sold more digital copies in one week than "California Gurls" did this week. That's Eminem's "Not Afraid," which sold 379,000 in its first week in May.
"California Gurls," which combines the summery sound of Sheryl Crow's "Soak Up The Sun" with a hip-hop vibe (and more sex appeal), has sold 1,471,000 copies. It may eventually become Perry's biggest digital seller to date. That title is currently held by "Hot N Cold," which has sold 4,381,000 copies. Perry's breakthrough hit, "I Kissed A Girl," has sold 3,796,000. A third Perry hit, "Waking Up In Vegas," has sold 1,768,000 copies.
Perry's sophomore album, Teenage Dream, is due Aug. 24. I'm sure her record company is disappointed that they have a monster hit like "California Gurls" and no album out to capitalize on it. Perry's 2008 debut album, One Of The Boys (which contained the three aforementioned hits), has sold 1,232,000 copies.
"California Gurls" has been #1 on Hot Digital Songs for four of its first five weeks of release. It's way ahead of this week's #2 hit, "Airplanes" by B.o.B featuring Hayley Williams (247,000). This is the eighth straight week that "Airplanes" has ranked #2 or #3. It will be interesting to see what this smash does for Williams' group, Paramore. I think it will take them to the next level. Paramore's last album, Brand New Eyes, debuted at #2 in October, behind Barbra Streisand. Next time, Babs, watch out.
Here's the rest of the top five on Hot Digital Songs this week: #3, "OMG" by Usher featuring will.i.am (207,000), #4, "Billionaire" by Travie McCoy featuring Bruno Mars (181,000) and #5, Eminem's "Not Afraid" (157,000).
The latest installments in two lucrative soundtrack franchises waged a tight contest for the #1 spot this week. Glee: The Music, Journey To Regionals came out on top, selling 154,000 copies. The Twilight Saga: Eclipse bowed at #2 with sales of 146,000. Journey To Regionals is the third Glee album to top The Billboard 200 in the past eight weeks. The six-song EP is the fifth Glee album to enter the chart in the top five in a little more than seven months.
Songs from Journey To Regionals have already sold 298,000 digital copies. Songs from the five Glee albums combined have sold a total of 6,638,000 digital copies. (The albums themselves have sold a combined total of 2,183,000 copies.) That's a lot of Glee.
Glee is one of only two weekly series in television history to spawn three or more #1 albums (during the run of the show). The Monkees, which ran from 1966 to 1968, helped the pop group amass four #1 albums. The Monkees' first two albums held the top spot on The Billboard 200 for 31 consecutive weeks from November 1966 to June 1967. On June 4 of that year, the show won an Emmy as Outstanding Comedy Series. Glee may equal that feat when this year's Emmys are presented on Aug. 29. (Nominations will be announced on July 8.)
Journey To Regionals sold 106,000 digital copies, which makes it the week's #1 digital album. Digital accounted for 69% of its total sales.
The Twilight Saga: Eclipse is the third soundtrack in this series to debut at #1 or #2. The first Twilight soundtrack debuted at #1 in November 2008. The Twilight Saga: New Moon bowed at #2 in October 2009. It advanced to #1 in its second week. Will this third installment also move up? Stay tuned.
Lady Antebellum's Need You Now logs its 20th consecutive week at #1 on Top Country Albums, but it just barely survived a challenge from Dierks Bentley's bluegrass album, Up On The Ridge. Lady A led Mr. B. by fewer than 1,000 copies. (They appear to be tied in the top 10 list because of rounding.) Still, this keeps the trio's streak alive. Need You Now is the first album to spend its first 20 weeks at #1 on Top Country Albums since Garth Brooks' Ropin' The Wind remained on top for its first 29 weeks in 1991-1992.
Rihanna's "Rude Boy" topped the 2 million mark in paid downloads this week. It's her sixth hit as a lead (or co-lead, in the case of "Run This Town") artist to top the 2 million sales mark. This puts her in a tie with Lady Gaga and the Black Eyed Peas for the most 2 million sellers as a lead artist. If you combine lead and featured credits (which would pull in T.I.'s "Live Your Life," on which she was featured), Rihanna has seven 2 million-sellers, which puts her in a tie with West.
"OMG" by Usher featuring will.i.am also topped the 2 million mark in digital sales this week. The smash reached this milestone in just 11 weeks, faster than any song since Lady Gaga's "Bad Romance," which did it just 10 weeks. This is Usher's third song to reach this threshold, following "Yeah!" and "Love In This Club."
Here's the low-down on this week's top 10 albums.
1. Various Artists, Glee: The Music: Journey To Regionals, 154,000. This new entry is the third Glee album or EP to reach #1 in the past eight weeks. All six songs on the EP are listed on Hot Digital Songs, topped by the cast's version of Journey's "Faithfully," which bows at #18.
2. Various Artists, The Twilight Saga: Eclipse, 146,000. This new entry is the third Twilight soundtrack in a row to debut at #1 or #2. Muse's "Neutron Star Collision" jumps from #138 to #134 on Hot Digital Songs.
4. Jack Johnson, To The Sea, 91,000. The former #1 album drops to #4 in its second week. This brings its sales to 334,000, less than Johnson's last album sold in its opening week (375,000). "You And Your Heart" drops from #51 to #119 on Hot Digital Songs.
5. Plies, Goon Affiliated, 56,000. This new entry is the rapper's third top five album. 2007's Real Testament and 2008's Definition Of Real both debuted at #2. "She Got It Made" drops from #159 to #178 on Hot Digital Songs.
6. Justin Bieber, My World 2.0. 49,000. The former #1 album drops from #2 to #6 in its 12th week. This is the first time it has fallen out of the top five. Three songs from the album are listed on Hot Digital Songs, topped by "Eenie Meenie" (a duet with Sean Kingston), which drops from #21 to #29.
7. Various Artists, Glee: The Music: Showstoppers, 41,000. The former #1 album drops from #3 to #7 in its fourth week. Five songs from the album are listed on Hot Digital Songs, topped by "Poker Face" (featuring Idina Menzel), which drops from #44 to #73.
8. Lady Antebellum, Need You Now, 39,000. The former #1 album drops from #4 to #8 in its 20th week. Two songs from the album are listed on Hot Digital Songs. "Need You Now" drops from #27 to #34. "American Honey" drops from #64 to #80.
10. Lady Gaga, The Fame, 31,000. The album drops from #6 to #10 in its 85th week. This is its 47th week in the top 10. Six songs from the expanded version of the album are listed on Hot Digital Songs, topped by "Alejandro," which jumps from #9 to #7.
Five albums drop out of the top 10 this week. Usher's Raymond V Raymond drops from #5 to #12, Carole King/James Taylor's Live At The Troubadour drops from #7 to #13, Taio Cruz's Rokstarr plummets from #8 to #49, Clay Aiken's Tried & True dives from #9 to #46, and Ke$ha's Animal drops from #10 to #21.
Jewel's Sweet And Wild enters The Billboard 200 at #11. Unless it moves up in a subsequent week, it will become Jewel's first regular studio album to fall short of the top 10. This is Jewel's second country album. It debuted at #3 on Top Country Albums. (When the chart was first released on Wednesday, Jewel's album was listed at #10 and Lady Gaga's album was listed at #11. The chart was "re-processed" on Friday, which resulted in those two albums switching positions, among other changes.)
Clay Walker's She Won't Be Lonely Long enters The Billboard 200 at #16. It's his second album in a row to debut in the top 20. The Fall debuted and peaked at #15 in April 2007...An eponymous album by Grace Potter & the Nocturnals bows at #19. This is a huge improvement over the act's previous highest-charting album, This Is Somewhere, which debuted and peaked at #119 in August 2007.
The Rolling Stones' Exile On Main St. is the #1 Catalog album for the fourth straight week. (On The Billboard 200, it drops from #21 to #33.) The reissue has sold 134,000 copies in its first four weeks. How does this compare with other deluxe reissues of the past 2-1/2 years? It's right in the middle of the pack. After four weeks, Michael Jackson's Thriller 25 had sold 315,000 copies, the Beatles' Abbey Road had sold 189,000, Pearl Jam's Ten had sold 100,000 and Billy Joel's The Stranger (30th Anniversary Edition) had sold 30,000.
The Broadway cast album to The Addams Family enters The Billboard 200 at #139. That's a little consolation for the show being overlooked for a nomination for Best Musical (and its stars Nathan Lane and Bebe Neuwirth being passed over for acting noms) at this year's Tony Awards. Memphis won the Tony for Best Musical on Sunday, beating American Idiot, Fela! and Million Dollar Quartet. But none of those shows have a cast album on The Billboard 200. Of course, the chart tracking week closed just as the last awards were being handed out. Check back next week and see if the telecast makes an impact on the charts.
Raw Numbers: A total of 5,641,000 albums were sold last week, the highest tally in five weeks.
The Karate Kid, a remake of a 1984 smash, was #1 at the box-office over the weekend. A song from the movie, Justin Bieber's "Never Say Never" enters the Hot 100 at #33 this week. The song features Jaden Smith, the star of the movie. The original Karate Kid was never #1 at the box-office, though it remained in the top 10 all summer and wound up as the fifth highest-grossing film of 1984.
R.I.P. You probably know Jimmy Dean best for his line of sausages, but he was a big star in the '60s. His spoken-word hit "Big Bad John" reached #1 on both the pop and country charts in 1961. It won a Grammy for Best Country & Western Recording and was nominated for Record of the Year. Dean also headlined two network variety series. Dean died on Sunday. He was 81.
Heads Up: Drake's Thank Me Later is expected to debut at #1 next week with sales in the range of 425,000 to 475,000. Now that's a debut! Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers' Mojo, NOW 34 and Sarah McLachlan's Laws Of Illusion, are also looking good for debuts in the top five. Also due: The Gaslight Anthem's American Slang, Kevin Rudolf's To The Sky, the Steve Miller Band's Bingo!, Devo's Something For Everybody, Robyn's Body Talk, Pt. 1 and Lewis Black's Star Raving Black.