Chart Watch

Week Ending April 11, 2010: Bieber Bounces Back

Chart Watch

Justin Bieber's My World 2.0 returns to #1 on The Billboard 200, replacing Usher's Raymond V Raymond, which debuted in the top spot last week. Bieber, 16, is the youngest male solo artist ever to top the chart for two or more weeks. Ricky Nelson was 17 in 1958 when he topped the chart for two weeks with Ricky. Bobby Brown was 19 in 1989 when he headed the chart for three weeks with Don't Be Cruel. (He had turned 20 when the album returned to #1 for three additional weeks). Stevie Wonder's Little Stevie Wonder/The 12 Year Old Genius, released in 1963 when he was 13, managed just one week on top.

My World 2.0 has sold 676,000 copies in its first three weeks. It took Bieber's My World EP seven weeks to sell that many copies. My World 2.0 has sold more copies in three weeks than Jonas Brothers' latest studio album, Lines, Vines And Trying Times, has sold in its entire run. JoBros' album has sold 635,000 copies since its release in June.

"Baby," the biggest hit from Bieber's current album, has sold 1,525,000 digital copies. Bieber owes a big debt to Ludacris, whose rap gives the light, poppy record a bit of texture and heft. "Baby" is closing in on "One Time" as Bieber's top seller to date. "One Time" has sold 1,815,000 copies in the past 40 weeks.

As a teen idol, Bieber receives both adoration and abuse. I think the "haters" should lighten up. Twenty years from now, when you ask someone in their late 20s or early 30s to name the first song they ever downloaded, or the first album they ever bought, or the first concert they ever attended, many are going to smile and say, "Justin Bieber." Young Mr. Bieber is turning people (OK, young girls) on to popular music. Many of these young fans are going to start here and move on to other things. Today, Justin Bieber. Tomorrow, Miles Davis. (OK, maybe not tomorrow.) I'm not sure this is exactly what AC/DC had in mind, but I'll borrow their line anyway: For Those About To Rock We Salute You.

Usher's Raymond V Raymond sold 92,000 copies in its second week, bringing its two-week total to 422,000. That's not bad in this day and age, though Usher's 2008 album, Here I Stand, sold more than that (443,000) in its first week. Usher was a mentor and performer on American Idol in the week of the album's release. You wonder if that TV exposure had little effect, or if the album would be selling even more modestly if he had declined the offer.

Slash debuts at #3 with his first solo album, nearly 23 years after he first charted with Guns N' Roses' Appetite For Destruction. This is one of the longest gaps between an artist's first chart appearance with a group and his first solo appearance. Mick Jagger first charted on his own nearly 21 years after the release of the Rolling Stones' first album.

This is Slash's ninth top 10 album, following six albums with Guns N' Roses and two with Velvet Revolver. Slash also released an album with the group Slash's Snakepit. The album, It's Five O'Clock Somewhere, stalled at #70 in 1995.

Slash first cracked the top 10 22 years ago this week with Appetite For Destruction. So, how does the current top 10 compare to that one? The current top 10 includes two titles by teen sensation Justin Bieber. The top 10 for April 23, 1988 included albums by teen stars Tiffany and Debbie Gibson. R&B superstar Usher is #2 on the current chart. Usher's role model, Michael Jackson, was #2 on the chart 22 years ago this week. Slash is the rock band alumnus in the top 10 on the current chart. Robert Plant was the rock band alum in the top 10 back then. As the saying goes, the more things change, the more they stay the same.

Slash plays host to a number of guest musicians on the new album. Most are artists who, like Slash, rose to prominence in groups. These include Iggy Pop, Ozzy Osbourne, Fergie, Chris Cornell, Adam Levine and Dave Grohl and Duff McKagen. The album could have been called Slash Duets (sort of like Reba Duets), but I guess that's not very rock'n'roll.

Lady Gaga's The Fame rebounds from #9 to #7 in the U.S. and returns to #1 in the U.K. It's the album's seventh week at #1 on the British chart, which is the longest run by an American artist since The Essential Michael Jackson had seven weeks on top last summer. It's the longest run at #1 in the U.K. by an American female artist since Cher had seven weeks on top in 1992-1993 with Cher's Greatest Hits: 1965-1992.  Both women have a theatrical flair, to say the least.

Madonna's Sticky & Sweet Tour, a CD/DVD combo, debuts at #10. This is Madonna's 19th top 10 album. That tally includes 11 studio albums, four greatest hits sets, three soundtracks and now this live album. Only one female artist in chart history has had as many or more top 10 albums. Barbra Streisand has had 30, from 1963's The Barbra Streisand Album to last year's Love Is The Answer.

Sticky & Sweet Tour is Madonna's last scheduled album through Warner Bros., thus bringing to a close one of the most successful artist/label relationships in pop music history. When "Everybody" first cracked the "Bubbling Under the Hot 100" chart on Dec. 25, 1982, the most optimistic person at Warner Bros. could not have foreseen the chart (and cultural) force Madonna would become.

Pop Quiz: Train's "Hey, Soul Sister" tops Hot Digital Songs for the third straight week. The smash sold 204,000 copies this week, bringing its 33-week total to 2,929,000. This includes 2,242,000 copies sold in 2010, making it the year's biggest hit to date. Here's my question for you. How many copies has the group's current album, Save Me San Francisco, sold in its 22 weeks of release? I'll even make it multiple choice for you: a) 1,273,000, b) 793,000, c) 513,000, d) 230,000. Answer below.

The richly melodic "Nothin' On You" by B.O.B featuring Bruno Mars rebounds from #3 to #2 on Hot Digital Songs. This is its second week at #2. Rihanna's "Rude Boy" dips from #2 to #3. It has spent four weeks at #2 but has yet to reach the top spot. (It is, however, in its fifth week at #1 on the Hot 100.)

Quiz Answer: Train's album has sold just 230,000 copies, a shockingly low number considering how big "Hey, Soul Sister" is. In 12 of the last 14 weeks, more people have paid to download Train's 2001 smash "Drops Of Jupiter (Tell Me)" than have bought Save Me San Francisco. (Well, at least they're buying something.) This is a tough business.

Here's the low-down on this week's top 10 albums.

1. Justin Bieber, My World 2.0, 102,000. The album returns to #1 in its third chart week. It's the first time an album by a teen star has reclaimed the #1 spot after losing it since Taylor Swift's Fearless. Three songs from the album are listed on Hot Digital Songs, topped by "Baby" (featuring Ludacris), which holds at #5.

2. Usher, Raymond V Raymond, 92,000. The album slips from #1 to #2 in its second week. Four songs from the album are listed on Hot Digital Songs, topped by "OMG" (featuring, which holds at #7.

3. Slash, Slash, 60,000. This new entry is Slash's ninth top 10 album. More than 23,000 copies were sold digitally, making this the week's #1 Digital Album. "Beautiful Dangerous" (featuring Fergie) enters Hot Digital Songs at #86.

4. Lady Antebellum, Need You Now, 57,000. The former #1 album rebounds from #5 to #4. This is its 11th week in the top five. Two songs from the album are listed on Hot Digital Songs. "Need You Now" slips from #9 to #11. "American Honey" inchs up from #40 to #39.

5. Various Artists, NOW 33, 53,000. The compilation drops from #3 to #5 in its third week. The album has sold 311,000 copies.

6. Monica, Still Standing, 38,000. The album holds at #6 for the second week. This is its third week in the top 10. It's Monica's first album to log three weeks in the top 10 since After The Storm in 2003.

7. Lady Gaga, The Fame, 32,000. The album rebounds from #9 to #7 in its 76th week. This is its 42nd week in the top 10. Seven songs from the expanded version of the album are listed on Hot Digital Songs, topped by "Telephone" (featuring Beyonce), which dips from #6 to #8.

8. Justin Bieber, My World, 30,000. The EP holds at #8 in its 21st week. This is its 11th week in the top 10. Three songs from the album are listed on Hot Digital Songs, topped by "One Time," which drops from #70 to #80.

9. Erykah Badu, NEW AMERYKAH: Part Two: Return Of The Ankh, 30,000. The album slips from #4 to #9 in its second week. Badu's 2008 album, New Amerykah: Part One (4th World War), logged three weeks in the top 10.

10. Madonna, Sticky & Sweet Tour, 28,000. This new entry is Madonna's 19th top 10 album. The pop icon first cracked the top 10 in October 1984 with her eponymous debut album.

Two albums drop out of the top 10 this week. Alan Jackson's Freight Train drops from #7 to #14. The Black Eyed Peas' The E.N.D. dips from #10 to #13. The Peas' album logged 30 weeks in the top 10, a career best for the group. Jackson's album had just a single week in the top 10, a sub-par showing for the country superstar.

Jakob Dylan's second solo album, Women + Country, bows at #12. This is Dylan's highest-charting album since the Wallflowers' 1996 debut, Bringing Down The Horse, which reached #4. Dylan first charted on his own in 2008 with Seeing Things, which peaked at #24. T-Bone Burnett produced the new album.

Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings' I Learned The Hard Way bows at #15. Based on the rave reviews, the group has a good chance of winning the Grammy for Best Traditional R&B Vocal Performance. The group gained broad exposure when its inspired 2005 recording of Woody Guthrie's "This Land Is Your Land" was featured in the opening scenes of the recent movie Up In The Air.

Alvin And The Chipmunks: The Squeakquel is the #1 soundtrack for the ninth week. On The Billboard 200, the album drops from #14 to #28... Date Night was #1 at the box-office over the weekend, bumping off Clash Of The Titans. There is no soundtrack album.

Tenth Avenue North's 2008 album Over And Underneath jumps to #1 on the Catalog Albums chart, replacing Chris Tomlin's See The Morning. Both are Contemporary Christian albums. Over And Underneath jumps from #97 to #39 on The Billboard 200.

Jack Johnson's "You And Your Heart" is the top new entry on Hot Digital Songs at #10 and on the Hot 100 at #20. It's the lead single from Johnson's fifth studio album, To The Sea, which is due in June. Johnson is primarily an album artist. His only top 40 single on the Hot 100 before this was "Upside Down," his song for the movie Curious George. The tune hit #38 in 2006. The song has sold well digitally (as Johnson does, in general). It has sold 1,327,000 copies.

The week's second highest new entry is "Winner" by Jamie Foxx featuring Justin Timberlake. It enters Hot Digital Songs at #19 and the Hot 100 at #28. Timberlake is also featured on Timbaland's current hit, "Carry Out."

Ludacris is the only artist with three million-selling songs so far this year. In addition to his own hit "How Low," he is featured on Justin Bieber's "Baby" and Taio Cruz's "Break Your Heart." Three artists trail Ludacris with two million-selling songs so far this year: Ke$ha ("TiK ToK" and "Blah Blah Blah"), Lady Gaga ("Bad Romance" and "Telephone") and the Black Eyed Peas ("Imma Be" and "I Gotta Feeling"). In all cases, these tallies count just the songs' sales in 2010.

Song Scorecard: Kanye West's 2007 smash "Stronger" tops the 4 million mark in paid downloads this week. Britney Spears' 2008 smash "Womanizer" tops the 3 million mark. These are the best-selling hits by both acts, though Spears' early hits pre-dated the digital era.

Billboard's Gary Trust reports that this is the 30th consecutive year in which George Strait has landed at least one top 10 hit on Hot Country Songs. The country superstar achieves the feat as his latest hit, "I Gotta Get ToYou," jumps from #12 to #9. Strait first reached the top 10 in 1981 with his first chart entry, "Unwound."

I've heard Whitney Houston's I Look To You dismissed as a flop. Let's take a close look at this. The album has sold 953,000 copies since its release in late August, which is, indeed, far below Houston's sales pace at her peak in the '80s and early '90s. The Bodyguard sold more copies (1,061,000) in a single week in December 1992.

But I don't think it's fair to call I Look To You a flop. The album has outsold the latest studio albums by several of Houston's superstar diva peers. These include Madonna's Hard Candy (732,000), Barbra Streisand's Love Is The Answer (491,000), Mariah Carey's Memoirs Of An Imperfect Angel (472,000) and Janet Jackson's Discipline (449,000). All of these women have been recording stars for two decades or more. Sales naturally tend to diminish over time. Houston has enough problems without holding her album up to unrealistic expectations.

Heads Up: MGMT's Congratulations is expected to vie with Usher's album for the #2 spot next week. (Mr. Bieber seems assured of a third week at #1.) Coheed and Cambria's Year Of The Black Rainbow will also debut in the top 10. Also due: Jeff Beck's Emotion & Commotion, Natalie Merchant's Leave Your Sleep, Jason Castro's Jason Castro and Gucci Mane's Burrrprint 2.

Shameless Plug: To help you get in the mood for the Academy Of Country Music Awards, which airs Sunday night, I have prepared a list of the country oldies that are the best-sellers in the digital era. Johnny Cash has four songs on the list, but he doesn't have the #1 most active country oldie. Who does? You'll just have to check back on Friday. (Hint: It's from the '70s.)

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