Justin Bieber this week becomes the youngest artist ever to top The Billboard 200 with a holiday album. Bieber, 17, achieves the feat with his album Under The Mistletoe.
The Bieb swipes the title from Elvis Presley, who was 22 when Elvis' Christmas Album hit #1 in December 1957. Two other artists were under 30 when they took holiday albums to #1. Heartthrob Eddie Fisher was 24 when Christmas With Eddie Fisher hit #1 in January 1953. Josh Groban was 26 when Noel hit #1 in December 2007.
Bieber is the first teenager to crack the top 10 with a holiday album since Charlotte Church, then 14, hit #7 in 2000 with Dream A Dream. Two of the five members of New Kids on the Block were in their teens when Merry, Merry Christmas hit #9 in 1989. All three members of Hanson were in their teens when Snowed In hit #7 in 1997. Two of the five members of *NSYNC were in their teens when Home For Christmas hit #7 in 1998.
(And, let's not forget that one pre-teen has made the top 10 with a holiday album. Jackie Evancho, then 10, rose to #2 last Christmas with O Holy Night.)
Under The Mistletoe is Bieber's third #1 album, following My World 2.0 and Never Say Never: The Remixes. Only one other artist has amassed three #1 albums at such a young age. That would be Miley Cyrus, who was just 16 in 2009 when she landed her third #1 album (on which she had front-cover star billing). Britney Spears is the only other teen-aged artist to amass three #1 albums. She was 19 when she landed her third #1 album, Britney, in 2001.
Under The Mistletoe sold 210K copies this week, which is nearly as many as Michael Buble's Christmas has sold in two weeks (230K). But I still think it will be close between these two albums for bragging rights as the year's biggest holiday album. Bieber is a bigger media star, but Buble quietly sells millions of albums.
Coldplay's Mylo Xyloto tumbles from #1 to #7 in its second week. It also lost the top spot in the U.K., where it dips to #2 behind Florence + the Machine's Ceremonials (More on that below). Unless Mylo Xyloto rallies, it will become Coldplay's first album to log just a single week at #1 in the U.S. (out of its three chart-toppers), and its first to log just a single week in the U.K. since 2000's Parachutes.
Last month, even last week, if somebody had told you that Wale's new album would sell more copies in its first week than Susan Boyle's, you would have thought they were crazy. Wale is a respected, up-and-coming rapper, but Boyle is a proven chart-topper. Her first two albums spent a combined 10 weeks at #1 on The Billboard 200.
But that's just what has happened. Wale's sophomore album, Ambition, debuts at a surprisingly strong #2. Boyle's third album, Someone To Watch Over Me, debuts at a disappointing #4.
Wale's album sold 164K copies this week, which is more than his previous album, Attention Deficit, has sold in its entire life (148K). Wale had two lucky breaks in 2010. He was featured on the Maybach Music Group compilation album MMG Presents, Self Made, Vol. 1, which reached #5 on The Billboard 200. And he was featured on Waka Flocka Flame's "No Hands," which made the top 15 on the Hot 100.
Boyle's new album sold 132K copies this week, which is less than half of the first-week sales of The Gift (318K). And that album started with less than half of the first week sales of I Dreamed A Dream (701K). This suggests that Boyle's sales were inflated by emotion stirred by her Cinderella-like back story. (Of course, one week doesn't tell the whole story. Last year, The Gift sold well through the holidays and wound up as the year's fifth best-selling album. Boyle's new album may well also have staying power.)
The title song to Boyle's album, written by George and Ira Gershwin, is one of the finest songs ever written. Gertrude Lawrence introduced the ballad in the 1926 Broadway musical Oh, Kay! She also had a big hit with it in 1927. Since 1955, it has been recorded by such "A-list" stars as Frank Sinatra, Sarah Vaughan, Lena Horne, Ella Fitzgerald, Barbra Streisand, Ray Charles, Willie Nelson, Linda Ronstadt, Elton John and Sting.
"Someone To Watch Over Me" is 85 years old (the same age as Tony Bennett). Which of today's songs will still be admired and recorded 85 years from now? I mean, besides "Sexy And I Know It"?
Miranda Lambert's Four The Record bows at #3, becoming her third top 10 album in a row. The album enters Top Country Albums at #1. All four of Lambert's major-label albums have topped the country chart. Four The Record sold 133K copies in its first week, which exceeds the first-week total of the latest album by Lambert's husband, Blake Shelton. Red River Blue opened with sales of 116K in July. (But sales are slower in the summer. That tally was enough to put Shelton's album at #1.)
Adele's 21 dips from #4 to #5. This is its 37th consecutive week in the top five. Moreover, this is the 23rd week in which the album has sold at least 100K copies. It's the first album to notch that many weeks of 100K sales since Mariah Carey's The Emancipation Of Mimi also did it for 23 weeks in 2005. But the softer market now makes it much harder to do now than it was back then.
Florence + the Machine's Ceremonials debuts at #6. It's Florence Welch's first top 10 album. Lungs peaked at #14 in September 2010, following a performance of "Dog Days Are Over" on MTV's Video Music Awards. Ceremonials also debuts at #1 in the U.K. It's the act's second straight #1 album in the U.K. Lungs topped the chart for two weeks there in January 2010.
"5 O'Clock" by T-Pain featuring Wiz Khalifa & Lily Allen and Bruno Mars' "It Will Rain" both surge into the top 10 on Hot Digital Songs. Will either or both also make the top 10 on the Hot 100? You'll find out later today when we post Chart Watch: Songs.
Here's the low-down on this week's top 10 albums.
1. Justin Bieber, Under The Mistletoe, 210,000. This new entry is Bieber's third #1 album; his fifth to make the top 10 (counting a pair of EPs). Seven songs from the album are listed on Hot Digital Songs, topped by "All I Want For Christmas Is You" (duet with Mariah Carey), which debuts at #51.
2. Wale, Ambition, 164,000. This new entry is Wale's first top 10 album. The rapper reached #21 with his 2009 album Attention Deficit (which spent just two weeks on the chart). Four songs from the album are listed on Hot Digital Songs, topped by "Ambition" (featuring Meek Mill and Rick Ross), which bows at #42.
3. Miranda Lambert, Four The Record, 133,000. This new entry is Lambert's first top five album; her third album in a row to make the top 10. Two songs from the album are listed on Hot Digital Songs. "Over You" debuts at #58. "Baggage Claim" jumps from #100 to #82.
5. Adele, 21, 108,000. The former #1 album dips from #4 to #5 in its 37th week. Five songs from the album are listed on Hot Digital Songs, topped by "Someone Like You," which holds at #3 for the third straight week.
6. Florence + the Machine, Ceremonials, 105,000. This new entry is Florence Welch's first top 10 album. Lungs reached #14 in September 2010. Ceremonials sold nearly 71K digital copies, which puts it at #1 on Top Digital Albums.
7. Coldplay, Mylo Xyloto, 104,000. The former #1 album tumbles to #7 in its second week. Two songs from the album are listed on Hot Digital Songs. "Paradise" jumps from #35 to #24. "Princess Of China" (featuring Rihanna) drops from #8 to #44.
8. Michael Buble, Christmas, 89,000. The album drops from #3 to #8 in its second week. It's the best-selling holiday album so far in 2011. Will it hold that ranking through the end of the year? Place your bets.
10. Kelly Clarkson, Stronger, 51,000. The album drops from #2 to #10 in its second week. Two songs from the album are listed on Hot Digital Songs. "Mr. Know It All" drops from #9 to #13. "What Doesn't Kill You (Stronger)" drops from #31 to #173.
Six albums drop out of the top 10 this week. Toby Keith's Clancy's Tavern drops from #5 to #13, Tom Waits' Bad As Me drops from #6 to #19, Scotty McCreery's Clear As Day drops from #7 to #12, Lady Antebellum's Own The Night drops from #8 to #14, Tony Bennett's Duets II drops from #9 to #17 and Casting Crowns' Come To The Well drops from #10 to #22.
Jackie Evancho's Heavenly Christmas debuts at #16. The album, a Walmart exclusive, is the young singer's first full-length holiday album. Her O Holy Night EP peaked at #2 last Christmas (and re-enters the chart this week at #101). The new album doesn't include any of the four songs that were on the EP.
The Beach Boys' The Smile Sessions debuts at #27. The album was intended as the follow-up to the classic Pet Sounds, which cracked the top 10 in July 1966. It was never officially released, though 1967's Smiley Smile hit #41 and Brian Wilson's Smile hit #13 in 2004.
The alternative band Angels & Airwaves has three entries in the top 100 this week. The new Love, Part Two bows at #30. Love, Part One, which was first released in February 2010, opens at #67. An edition combining the two volumes debuts at #91. Love, Part One wasn't eligible to chart at the time because it was released only as a free download.
Adele's 2008 album 19 drops from #30 to #34. It's #1 on Top Catalog Albums for the 27th week…U2's Achtung Baby re-enters the chart at #35 (just missing the top spot on the catalog chart). The album debuted at #1 in December 1991, bumping off Garth Brooks' Ropin' The Wind, which had spent the previous seven weeks on top. Achtung Baby brought the band its second Grammy nomination for Album of the Year. It spawned the top 10 hits "Mysterious Ways" and "One."
Lulu by Lou Reed & Metallica opens at #36. The album received withering reviews, which helps explain the soft debut. Reed first charted with the Velvet Underground in May 1967. He first charted as a solo artist in 1972. Metallica first charted in April 1986. Reed and Metallica aren't the first artists to chart with an album titled Lulu. The first was, appropriately, Lulu, who charted with an eponymous album in 1981. (It probably got better reviews.)
The soundtrack to the reboot of Footloose drops from #29 to #43. It's #1 on Top Soundtracks for the fourth week...Carole King's first holiday album, A Holiday Carole, bows at #71. (The debut number couldn't be more fitting. With her classic album Tapestry, King owned 1971.)
Pearl Jam's Twenty is #1 on Top Music Videos for the second week in a row.
Puss In Boots was #1 at the box-office for the second weekend in a row. The soundtrack is due Nov. 15. It will feature Henry Jackman's score and two vocal tracks by Rodrigo y Gabriela, "Diablo Rojo" and "Hanuman."
Coming Attractions: Mac Miller's Blue Slide Park is expected to debut at #1 next week, with first-week sales in the 175K range.The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn, Part 1 soundtrack and Now 40 are also expected to start with sales north of 100K. Also due: Romeo Santos' Formula Vol. 1, Il Divo's Wicked Game, Disturbed's Asylum, Tech N9ne's Welcome To Strangeland and an eponymous album by Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds.