With three chart weeks to go in the year, Noel is likely to top High School Musical 2 as the #1 CD of 2007. Noel has sold 2,110,000 copies so far, just 416,000 shy of HSM2's year-to-date total. It's also likely to surpass Kenny G's Miracles-The Holiday Album for the highest sales total by a seasonal album in a calendar year. Miracles sold 2,987,000 copies in its first year of release, 1994. To break Kenny G's record, Groban has to sell 877,000 more copies in the next three weeks. Can he do it? Bet on it.
This is the seventh consecutive week that the #1 album has sold in excess of 400,000 copies. That's the longest streak in which the #1 album has sold like a #1 album is supposed to since 2001, when, for seven straight weeks, releases by Britney Spears, Garth Brooks and Creed sold in excess of 400K. The last time the #1 album sold this well for more than seven straight weeks was at the end of 2000, when the winning streak extended to nine weeks. This may not seem like much to you, but to the shell-shocked people working in the music industry, who have endured years of cutbacks and sliding sales, it's something approaching a Christmas miracle.
The Eagles' Long Road Out Of Eden slips a notch to #3 (with sales of 204,000), five weeks after opening at #1. The album has sold 1,969,000 copies to date, which puts it #5 on the year-to-date tally. It's likely to wind up right around #3 for the year, behind just Noel and HSM2. The Eagles' album will be the #1 CD of the year by a rock artist and the #1 CD of the year by a group. It's currently second on both tallies to the eponymous debut album by Daughtry.
Now 26 holds at #4 for the second week (with sales of 158,000). Hannah Montana 2: Meet Miley Cyrus moves up from #7 to #5 (with sales of 132,000). The album is #4 for the year-to-date, with sales of 1,977,000. HSM2 holds at #6, with sales of 128,000. This is the first time that Hannah Montana 2 has ranked ahead of its fellow Disney sequel since HSM2 was released in August.
Garth Brooks's The Ultimate Hits drops from #5 to #8. Taylor Swift's eponymous debut album jumps from #12 to #9 in its 59th week on the chart. Swift won the Horizon Award at the Country Music Assn. Awards and is nominated for a Grammy for Best New Artist. Swift's album is #12 on the year-to-date list, with sales of 1,549,000. It, too, could easily wind up in the year's top 10.
It may seem unfair to constantly compare the contestants' progress, but the show is called American Idol-singular. It was set up as a competition where there is one clear winner. In reality, as we have seen, there can be multiple "winners." Clay Aiken finished second in Season 2. Daughtry ranked fourth in Season 5. Jennifer Hudson came in seventh in Season 3. All have done rather well for themselves. So while the original concept for the show was that of a winner-takes-all event like the Miss America pageant, in reality it's more like the Grammy competition for Best New Artist. In the Grammy contest, too, it's still probably better to win than lose, but many "losers" have gone on to do very well, thank you. Just ask Led Zeppelin, Elton John, the Eagles and Green Day, all of whom came up short on Grammy night.
Two albums drop out of the top 10 this week. Mannheim Steamroller's Christmas Song (which features Johnny Mathis and Olivia Newton-John) dips from #10 to #11. Celine Dion's Taking Chances drops from #8 to #12. I'm going to go out on a limb and predict that Mannheim Steamroller will move back into the top 10 in coming weeks (it's a Christmas thing). Dion's album spent just three weeks in the top 10. By contrast, her best-selling album, Falling Into You, logged 61 weeks in the top 10 in 1996-97. (Yes, gentle readers, there was a time that albums sold strongly for that long. Falling Into You is tied with Herb Alpert & The Tijuana Brass' Whipped Cream And Other Delights for eighth place on the all-time list of albums with the longest runs in the top 10. The list is headed by The Sound Of Music soundtrack, which was in the top 10 for a whopping total of 109 weeks-from 1965, when it was released, into 1968.)
Besides Blake Lewis and Scarface, four other albums debut in the top 40 this week. Trace Adkins's American Man: Greatest Hits Vol. II bows at #22, Drama's Gangsta Gorillaz arrives at #26, Wyclef Jean's The Carnival II: Memoirs Of An Immigrant opens at #28, and Godsmack's Good Times, Bad Times debuts at #35. Adkins's first hits compilation, Greatest Hits Collection, Volume 1, made the top 10 in 2003. (His optimism in tagging that set "Volume 1" has been justified.)
Looking ahead to next week, look for debuts by Wu-Tang Clan's 8 Diagrams, Bow Wow and Omarion's Face Off, Dave Matthews Band's Live At Piedmont Park, Beanie Sigel's The Solution and The Dream's Love Hate. Due the following week: Mary J. Blige's Growing Pains.
- Elvis Presley