Unstoppable debuts at #1 one week after Keith Urban's Defying Gravity opened in the top spot. This marks the first time that country albums have debuted at #1 back-to-back since Reba McEntire's Reba Duets and Rascal Flatts' Still Feels Good did the trick in September 2007. (Carrie Underwood's Carnival Ride and Eagles' Long Road Out Of Eden subsequently equaled the feat, but I'm going to follow the Grammys' lead and classify Eagles' album as pop.)Alicia Keys, who has hit that level (or better) with all three of her studio sets, Songs In A Minor, The Diary Of Alicia Keys and As I Am.
I'm sure you read that Hannah Montana: The Movie was #1 at the box-office in its opening weekend, with a gross of $32.3 million. The soundtrack has sold 421,000 copies in its first three weeks. That's substantially more than Now 30, the album that kept it from debuting at #1 two weeks ago. In its first three weeks, Now 30 has sold 332,000 copies. Timing is everything.
Black Eyed Peas' "Boom Boom Pow" holds at #1 on Hot Digital Songs for the second week. The smash sold 335,000 downloads this week, bringing its two-week total to 804,000. The digital universe has grown tremendously since the songs from the Peas' last album, Monkey Business, were hits in 2005. "Don't Phunk With My Heart" sold 52,000 downloads in its fattest week at #1 on Hot Digital Songs. "My Humps" sold 58,000 in its only week on top. Let's look at this another way: "Don't Phunk With My Heart" took 38 weeks to reach the 800,000 mark in paid downloads, compared to just two weeks for the group's current smash. "My Humps" took 22 weeks.
I told you last week that the race for #1 between Keith Urban and Prince was the closest in nearly eight months. The margin between the top two albums was less than 4,000 copies. Here's another sign of how close it was: Prince actually won the race if you count only CDs. He sold 168,000 CDs, compared to Urban's 134,000. But Prince's album wasn't available digitally, and Urban's was. As Billboard's Keith Caulfield pointed out in his column this week, Urban sold 37,000 digital albums, which pushed him ahead overall.T.I. featuring Justin Timberlake topped the 2 million mark in paid downloads this week. Two earlier T.I. hits, "Whatever You Like" and "Live Your Life" (featuring Rihanna), have hit this threshold and have gone on to sell 3 million downloads. This is the second hit on which Timberlake had featured billing to top the 2 million mark. It follows Madonna's 2008 smash "4 Minutes." (As a lead artist, Timberlake topped the 3 million mark with "SexyBack.") Also, the Pussycat Dolls notch their second 2-million-selling download this week with "When I Grow Up." It follows their 2005 hit "Don't Cha" (featuring Busta Rhymes). "Don't Cha" took 3-1/2 years to reach the 2 million mark in paid downloads. "When I Grow Up" did it in 46 weeks.
Here's the low-down on this week's top 10 albums.Rascal Flatts, Unstoppable, 351,000. This new entry is the trio's fifth consecutive studio album to debut in the top five. The winning streak started with Melt in 2002. More than 58,000 copies of the new album were sold digitally, making it the week's #1 Digital Album. Five songs from the album are listed on Hot Digital Songs, topped by "Here Comes Goodbye" at #49. Miley Cyrus, Hannah Montana: The Movie soundtrack, 196,000. The album rebounds from #5 to #2 in the wake of the movie's opening. Nine songs from the album are listed on Hot Digital Songs, topped by "The Climb," which climbs to #3. Jadakiss, The Last Kiss, 135,000. This is the rapper's third solo album in a row to debut in the top five. It follows Kiss Tha Game Goodbye, which bowed at #5 in August 2001, and Kiss Of Death, which opened at #1 in June 2004. Jadakiss also had two top five albums with The Lox and two more with Ruff Ryders. That's seven top five albums since 1998. Why isn't this man a bigger media star? No songs from the album are listed on Hot Digital Songs. Jason Aldean, Wide Open, 109,000. This new entry is Aldean's second album in a row to debut at #4. First-week sales are up compared to the last album. (How often do I get to say that?) Relentless bowed at #4 in June 2007, with sales of 98,000. "She's Country" jumps to #51 on Hot Digital Songs. Taylor Swift, Fearless, 82,000. The former #1 album jumps from #10 to #6. This is its 21st week in the top 10. That's the longest stay in the top 10 for a country album since Carrie Underwood's Some Hearts logged 25 weeks in the top 10 in 2005-2006. Three songs from the album are listed on Hot Digital Songs, topped by "Love Story," which rebounds to #24. Keith Urban, Defying Gravity, 72,000. The album slips from #1 to #7. That's the biggest dive after a #1 debut since Nas' untitled album slipped from #1 to #8 in July. Two songs from the album are listed on Hot Digital Songs, topped by "Sweet Thing," which jumps to #76. Paramore's "Decode" dips to #93 on Hot Digital Songs. Prince/Bria Valente, Lotus Flow3r/MPLSoUND/Elix3r, 66,000. The album slips from #2 to #9. No songs from the album are listed on Hot Digital Songs. Lady GaGa, The Fame, 56,000. The album slips from #9 to #10. This is its eighth week in the top 10. Four songs from the album are listed on Hot Digital Songs, topped by "Poker Face," which holds at #2. MercyMe's 10 bows at #18. This is the pop group's fourth top 20 album, following Undone, Coming Up To Breathe and All That Is Within Me. Smokie Norful's Live bows at #55. This represents a new high for the gospel singer/songwriter/organist, who reached #56 in 2006 with Life Changing. Third Day's Live Revelations opens at #144. The Christian rock group has had two top 10 albums, Wherever You Are and last year's Revelation.
Neil Young's Fork In The Road debuts at #19. This is Young's 16th solo album to reach the top 20. Young has been a steady presence on the charts since the Buffalo Springfield's 1967 album Buffalo Springfield (which spawned the classic single, "For What It's Worth (Stop, Hey What's That Sound)." Young charted on his own for the first time in 1969 with Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere, the first of 14 charted albums with his band, Crazy Horse. Young has been inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall of Fame twice--as a solo artist in 1995 and as a member of the Buffalo Springfield two years later.
Billy Ray Cyrus' Back To Tennessee starts at #41.The title track of the new album is also featured on the Hannah Montana: The Movie soundtrack. Cyrus' last album, Home At Last, got off to a better start. It debuted at #20 in July 2007...MIMS is in the same boat. His new Guilt debuts at #53. The rapper's last album, Music Is My Savior, debuted at #4 in April 2007. That album contained the #1 single "This Is Why I'm Hot."...Grateful Dead's To Terrapin: Hartford 1977 debuts at #59. The iconic rock band started at #35 in October with a similar live album from the vaults, Rocking The Cradle, Egypt, 1978.Ray Charles' Genius: The Ultimate Ray Charles Collection, bows at #90. This is the eighth Charles album to chart in which he is dubbed "Genius" in the album title. This wave started with The Genius Of Ray Charles in 1960 and continued with such albums as The Genius Hits The Road, Genius + Soul = Jazz and Genius Loves Company. I normally dislike this kind of self-serving hype, but in Charles' case, I'll make an exception. This great artist who so effortlessly blended elements of R&B, jazz, blues, pop and country, really was a musical genius.
Last fall, James Taylor spent three weeks in the top 10 with a collection of covers titled Covers. This week, he debuts at #121 with a collection of other covers titled Other Covers. (I guess he figures, why knock yourself out coming up with clever titles?)Day26's Forever In A Day is expected to be next week's top new entry. The R&B group's eponymous debut album opened at #1 in March 2008 with first-week sales of 190,000. Also due: Pastor Troy's Feel Me Or Kill Me (not your ordinary sermon topic) and Silversun Pickups' Swoon.
- Rascal Flatts