Chart Watch

Week Ending Aug. 4, 2013. Albums: Robin Thicke, Call Katy Perry

Chart Watch

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Robin Thicke lands his first #1 album on The Billboard 200 with Blurred Lines. The album sold 177K copies in its first week, which is nearly as many as Thicke’s previous album, Love After War, has sold in its entire run. That album has sold just 207K copies since its release in December 2011. Blurred Lines ran up the 10th biggest first-week tally so far in 2013. It’s Thicke’s biggest opening week to date.

Even so, Thicke may be just a tad disappointed. 177K is a somewhat earthbound total considering that the title track (which features T.I. + Pharrell) has sold 4,268,000 copies—and is still going strong. The sexy song this week becomes the first song in digital history to top 400K in weekly sales four times. Also, this week it surpasses Imagine Dragons’ “Radioactive” to become the #2 best-seller so far in 2013. (It trails only “Thrift Shop” by Macklemore & Ryan Lewis featuring Wanz).

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This echoes a similar situation in 2010, when Katy Perry’s Teenage Dream sold “just” 192K copies in its first week. That, too, was considered mildly disappointing number given the blockbuster success of the album’s lead-off single, “California Gurls” (featuring Snoop Dogg), which had sold 3,610,000 copies by that point (and was #2 for the year-to-date, just as “Blurred Lines” is now).

Perry, of course, had the last laugh. Her first-week tally may have been lackluster, but the album has amassed a rock-solid sales tally (2,743,000 as of this week). It famously became only the second album in history to spin off five #1 singles. Perry’s long-term result is a useful reminder that a lighter-than-expected first week isn’t the end of the world.

For the record, Blurred Lines gained strength as the week went along. Initial projections had the album selling about 135K in its first week. Thicke’s tally includes 66K digital copies, which puts it at #1 on Top Digital Albums.

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“Blurred Lines” is virtually certain to log its ninth week at #1 on the Hot 100 later today. This would mark the first time that one artist has topped both the Hot 100 and The Billboard 200 in the same week since the week ending Nov. 25, when Rihanna was in her second week at #1 with “Diamonds” as her album Unapologetic debuted in the top spot.

“Blurred Lines” spent five weeks at #1 on the U.K.’s Official Singles Chart. Thicke’s album also reached #1 on the U.K.’s Official Albums Chart. This sets up a rare, four-pronged factoid: This marks the first time that an album, and also a single from the album, have reached #1 in both the U.S. and the U.K. since Rihanna scored with Unapologetic and “Diamonds.” It’s the first time that a male solo artist has achieved this transatlantic double play since Kanye West scored in 2007 with Graduation and “Stronger.”

Thicke is 36, the same age his dad, Alan Thicke, was in 1983 when he launched the syndicated late-night talk show Thicke Of The Night. Thicke’s mom, Gloria Loring, climbed as high as #61 on The Billboard 200 with her 1986 album Gloria Loring. (That’s the album that housed her #2 hit, “Friends And Lovers.”)

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Five Finger Death Punch’s fourth studio album, The Wrong Side Of Heaven & The Righteous Side Of Hell, Volume 1, debuts at #2. This is the band’s third top 10 album and its highest-charting to date. It tops American Capitalist, which hit #3 in October 2011. (Its sophomore album, War Is The Answer, hit #7 in September 2009.) The band will probably land its fourth top 10 album in November, when The Wrong Side Of Heaven…Volume 2 is released. Five Finger Death Punch has notched just one Hot 100 single, “Under And Over It,” which reached #77 in August 2011.

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Jay Z’s Magna Carta…Holy Grail, which dips from #2 to #3 in its fourth week, becomes the best-selling rap or hip-hop album so far in 2013. It tops Macklemore & Ryan Lewis’ The Heist. Magna Carta has sold 797K copies. The Heist has sold 754K copies so far this year (and 967K overall). Magna Carta is currently #5 for the year-to-date. If it winds up in the top 10 for the entire year (which seems likely), this will be the third time that Jay Z has accomplished this feat. The Blueprint 3 was the #9 album of 2009. Watch The Throne (a collabo with Kanye West) was #9 for 2011.

Tech N9ne’s 13th studio album, Something Else, debuts at #4. This ties 2011’s All 6’s & 7’s as his highest-charting album to date.

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Backstreet Boys’ In A World Like This debuts at #5. It’s the boy band’s sixth top five album; its first since 2005’s Never Gone. This is the Boys’ ninth top 10 album (counting a 2011 collabo with New Kids on the Block.) That’s their entire output.

Question: The members of Backstreet Boys currently range in age from 33 to 41. Is it time to stop calling them a “boy band”? Discuss amongst yourselves.

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The Teen Beach Movie soundtrack drops from #3 to #6. It’s #1 on Top Soundtracks for the third week. It’s the first TV soundtrack to top this chart for three or more weeks since Glee: The Music: The Christmas Album logged four weeks at #1 in November and December 2011.

Emblem3’s debut album, Nothing To Lose, debuts at #7. The trio gained fame on Fox’s The X Factor. It is set to open for Selena Gomez on her tour, which begins Aug. 14. “Chloe (You’re The One That I Want)” entered the Hot 100 last week at #98. (Note that three acts with numbers embedded in their names debut in this week’s top 10: Five Finger Death Punch, Tech N9ne and Emblem3.)

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Florida Georgia Line’s Here’s To The Good Times drops from #6 to #10. The album holds at #1 on Top Country Albums for the seventh week. This enables it to tie the all-time record for most weeks at #1 for an album by an ongoing duo. That record was set in 1996 when Brooks & Dunn’s Borderline spent seven weeks on top. (I’m not counting two collaborations. Waylon & Willie by Waylon Jennings & Willie Nelson logged 11 weeks at #1 in 1978. Pancho & Lefty by Merle Haggard/Willie Nelson logged eight weeks on top in 1983.)

Here’s To The Good Times is the first debut album to log seven or more weeks at #1 on the country chart since Taylor Swift’s Taylor Swift amassed 24 weeks on top in 2007-2008.

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“Blurred Lines” by Robin Thicke featuring T.I. + Pharrell returns to #1 on Hot Digital Songs after being displaced last week by One Direction’s “Best Song Ever.” It sold 405K copies this week. This is its ninth week at #1 on this chart. Will it also hold at #1 for the ninth week on the Hot 100? Of course it will. But you’ll find out for sure out later today when we post Chart Watch: Songs.

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

The Top Five: Robin Thicke’s Blurred Lines debuts at #1 (177K). It’s his fourth top 10 album…Five Finger Death Punch’s The Wrong Side Of Heaven & The Righteous Side Of Hell, Volume 1 debuts at #2 (112K). It’s the band’s third top 10 album…Jay Z’s Magna Carta…Holy Grail dips from #2 to #3 in its fourth week (62K). It has been in the top five the entire time…Tech N9ne’s Something Else debuts at #4 (58K). It’s the rapper’s second top five album…Backstreet Boys’ In A World Like This debuts at #5 (48K). It’s the boy band’s ninth top 10 album.

The Second Five: The Teen Beach Movie soundtrack drops from #3 to #6 in its third week (47K). It has been in the top 10 the entire time…Emblem3’s Nothing To Lose debuts at #7 (46K). It’s the trio’s first top 10 album…Selena Gomez’s Stars Dance drops from #1 to #8 in its second week (31K)…Kidz Bop Kids’ Kidz Bop 24 drops from #4 to #9 in its third week (28K). It has been in the top 10 the entire time…Florida Georgia Line’s Here’s To The Good Times drops from #6 to #10 in its 35th week (28K). This is its 10th week in the top 10.

Five albums drop out of the top 10 this week. Marc Anthony’s 3.0 drops from #5 to #13. Imagine Dragons’ Night Visions drops from #7 to #11. We Came As Romans’ Tracing Back Roots dives from #8 to #54. Rich Gang drops from #9 to #36. Justin Timberlake’s The 20/20 Experience drops from #10 to #17.

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The Essential Billy Joel re-enters the chart at #15, thanks to a $6.99 sale on catalog albums at iTunes. This is the album’s highest ranking to date. It originally peaked at #29. The album has sold 1,658,000 copies since its release in 2001. Of the dozens of Essential albums that have been released over the years, only one has outsold Joel’s. That’s The Essential Michael Jackson, which has sold 2,120,000 copies since its release in 2005. Five other albums in this star-studded series have sold 1 million or more copies. They are the ones by Johnny Cash (1,461,000), Bob Dylan (1,314,000), Journey (1,156,000), Bruce Springsteen (1,079,000) and Neil Diamond (1,063,000).

The Essential Billy Joel vaults from #127 to #1 on Top Catalog Albums. This marks the first time it has led that chart. The only other Essential album to reach #1 was The Essential Michael Jackson, which scored in the week ending March 15, 2009, three months before Jackson’s death. (That was the last time Jackson would see himself at #1 on a Billboard chart.)

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That iTunes catalog sale boosted many other albums, including three others which also reach new chart peaks this week: Creedence Clearwater Revival’s Chronicle (The 20 Greatest Hits) (which jumps from #133 to #22), The Essential Johnny Cash (which re-enters the chart at #35) and The Essential Elvis Presley (which re-enters at #42).

The sale also boosted, though not to new chart peaks, the Rolling Stones’ Hot Rocks 1964-1971 (which re-enters at #18), Fleetwood Mac’s Greatest Hits (which vaults from #172 to #29), Queen’s Greatest Hits (which re-enters at #33) and Red Hot Chili Peppers’ Greatest Hits (which re-enters at #37).

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Pitch Perfect dips from #18 to #19 in its 41st week. It’s the highest-ranking soundtrack from a theatrically-released movie for the 23rd week. The album has sold 838K copies since its release in late 2012. That makes it the best-selling soundtrack since Glee: The Music: The Christmas Album, which has sold 1,080,000 copies since its release in late 2010. It’s the best-selling soundtrack to a theatrically-released movie since a pair of hit soundtracks was released in the fall of 2009: The Twilight Saga: New Moon (1,305,000) and Michael Jackson’s This Is It (1,735,000).

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Bakersfield by Vince Gill & Paul Franklin debuts at #25. The album is a salute to the music of Buck Owens and Merle Haggard, the architects of the Bakersfield, Calif. music scene. Neither of those country legends ever cracked the top 30. Owens’ highest-charting album, I’ve Got A Tiger By The Tail, peaked at #43 in 1965. Hag’s highest-charting album, the aforementioned Pancho & Lefty (a collabo with Willie Nelson), peaked at #37 in 1983. (As I’ve said before, country was under-represented on the charts before 1991.) Bakersfield isn’t the first salute to Bakersfield to gain chart traction. Dwight Yoakam reached #1 on Hot Country Songs in 1988 with “Streets Of Bakersfield” (a collabo with Owens). Gill previously teamed with Franklin, a top steel guitarist, in the group the Time Jumpers.

Grateful Dead’s Dave’s Picks Volume 7 bows at #26, six notches higher than Volume 6 debuted and peaked in May. The three-CD live album contains a complete concert from April 24, 1978. The Dave’s Picks series is named after the Dead’s tape archivist, David Lemieux. The legendary band first cracked the top 30 in the summer of 1970 with Workingman’s Dead.

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Buddy Guy has the highest-charting album of his career as Rhythm & Blues debuts at #27. That’s not bad for a 77-year old blues legend. Guy’s previous highest-charting album was his previous album, Living Proof, which reached #46 in 2010. Guy is a late bloomer. He was 55 when he first charted in October 1991.

Mindless Behavior’s Mindless Behavior: All Around The World returns to #1 on Top Music Videos. This is its third week on top.

2 Guns was #1 at the box-office over the weekend.

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Coming Attractions: The Civil Wars’ The Civil Wars is expected to debut at #1 next week with first-week sales in the 105K range.  Now 47 will probably start at #2 with sales in the 85K range. Asking Alexandria’s From Death To Destiny will probably open at #8 (28K); Tye Tribbett’s Greater Than at #9 (25K); Brett Eldredge’s Bring You Back at #13 (16K).

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