Chart Watch

Week Ending Feb. 20, 2011: Albums: An Early Birthday Present

Chart Watch

Justin Bieber's 17th birthday isn't until March 1, but he's already gotten some amazing presents. His movie, Justin Bieber: Never Say Never, has grossed $51,237,000 in its first two weekends; he's on the cover of the current issue of Rolling Stone; and now his hit EP Never Say Never: The Remixes enters The Billboard 200 at #1. It's Bieber's second #1 album, following last year's My World 2.0. Only three other artists in chart history have landed a pair of #1 albums before their 17th birthdays. Miley Cyrus had her second #1 album (counting Hannah Montana) when she was 14 and seven months. LeAnn Rimes secured her second when she was 15. Nick Jonas of Jonas Brothers had his second when he was 16 and nine months.

All four of Bieber's albums are listed in the top 40 this week. My World 2.0 drops from #3 to #8. My Worlds Acoustic drops from #10 to #18. My World jumps from #39 to #31. Billboard's Keith Caulfield reports that Bieber is the first artist to put four albums in the top 40 simultaneously since Garth Brooks did it in January 1993.

Never Say Never is the third EP to hit #1 in the past 10 months, following a pair of Glee titles, The Power Of Madonna and Journey To Regionals. Several other EPs have made the top five in the past couple of years, as labels try to find a way around declining album sales and a flat economy. Miley Cyrus' The Time Of Our Lives reached #2. Blake Shelton's Hillbilly Bone hit #3. Usher's Versus reached #4. Bieber's My World and Lady Gaga's The Fame Monster each hit #5.

Bieber's collection is just the second EP by an individual act (as opposed to a multi-artist soundtrack) to top Billboard's pop album chart. The first was Alice In Chains' Jar Of Flies, which debuted at #1 in January 1994.

Never Say Never: The Remixes is a somewhat misleading title. The EP contains four remixes, a live recording and two previously unreleased studio tracks. (I guess Never Say Never: The Grab-bag doesn't quite work.) It's the first remix album to hit #1 since Jennifer Lopez's J To Tha L-O! The Remixes scored nine years ago.

Bieber's collection sold 161K copies this week, which is the fattest one-week sales total so far in 2011. But it won't hold that distinction for long. Adele's p21 is expected to debut at #1 next week with sales in the 275K range. (I'll have more on Adele later in the column.)

Seven of the artists in the top 10 on this week's Billboard 200 performed at last week's Grammy Awards. Four of them also took home awards. Lady Antebellum, which won five a night-topping Grammys, vaults from #17 to #4 with Need You Now. That's the album's highest ranking in more than eight months. Bruno Mars, at #5; Eminem, at #6; and Rihanna, at #10, also both performed and took home Grammys.

Below the top 10, Arcade Fire's The Suburbs vaults from #52 to #12, its highest ranking since August. The critically-hailed album was the surprise winner of Album of the Year. Esperanza Spalding's Chamber Music Society re-enters the chart at #34. This far surpasses the album's original peak of #107 last August. Spalding's 2008 album Esperanza debuts at #138, which is its first appearance on the chart. Spalding was the surprise Grammy winner for Best New Artist.

Arcade Fire's jump looks impressive, but unless The Suburbs keeps climbing next week (which is unlikely), it will become the first Album of the Year winner in five years not to make the top 10 in the wake of the telecast. The last Album of the Year winner to fail to crack the top 10 post-Grammys was U2's How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb, which re-entered the chart at #49 on Feb. 12, 2006. That was also its post-Grammy peak. (The album had been in release for 15 months at that point and was pretty much played out.)

Here's how subsequent Album of the Year winners fared in the week after the telecast. Dixie Chicks' Taking The Long Way leaped from #72 to #8 on Feb. 18, 2007. Herbie Hancock's River: The Joni Letters vaulted from #159 to #5 on Feb. 17, 2008. Robert Plant/Alison Krauss' Raising Sand soared from #69 to #2 on Feb. 15, 2009. Taylor Swift's Fearless jumped from #13 to #7 on Feb. 7, 2010.

Mumford & Sons' Sigh No More holds at #2 in the wake of the band's Grammy performance with Bob Dylan and the Avett Brothers. The album sold 133K copies this week, which is its highest weekly sales tally to date. (In fact, it's more than the album's next two highest weekly sales tallies combined.) The album has sold 948K copies. The Avett Brothers and Dylan also re-enter the chart this week:  The Avett Brothers' I And Love And You re-enters the chart at #42, its highest ranking since its second week on the chart in October 2009.

Sigh No More sold 80,000 digital copies this week, which puts it at #1 on the Digital Albums chart for the second straight week. More importantly, it pushes it past the 500K mark in cumulative digital sales. It's the ninth album to reach that plateau.

In addition to its robust ranking on The Billboard 200, Lady Antebellum's Need You Now logs its 30th week at #1 on Top Country Albums. This pushes it into 10th place for most weeks at #1 since the chart's inception in 1964. Among albums by duos or groups, it's second only to Dixie Chicks' Fly, which logged 36 weeks at #1. Both albums received Grammy nominations for Album of the Year.

Lady Gaga's "Born This Way" has sold 957,000 digital copies in its first two weeks of release. Only one song has ever sold more copies in its first two weeks. Flo Rida's "Right Round" sold 1,096,0000 in its first two weeks in February 2009. I'll have all the details in Chart Watch: Songs, which we'll post later today.

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


1. Justin Bieber, Never Say Never: The Remixes, 161,000. This new entry is Bieber's second #1 album; his fourth to reach the top 10. Six songs from the EP are listed on Hot Digital Songs, topped by "Never Say Never" (featuring Jaden Smith), which jumps from #12 to #4.

2. Mumford & Sons, Sigh No More, 133,000. The album holds at #2 in its 48th week. This is its seventh week in the top 10. Two songs from the album are listed on Hot Digital Songs. "The Cave" vaults from #68 to #11. "Little Lion Man" jumps from #58 to #36.

3. Various Artists, Now 37, 95,000. The former #1 album drops to #3 in its second week. It has sold 245K copies.

4. Lady Antebellum, Need You Now, 85,000. The former #1 album vaults from #17 to #4 in its 56th week. This is its 28th week in the top 10. Three songs from the album are listed on Hot Digital Songs, topped by "Need You Now," which jumps from #42 to #14.

5. Bruno Mars, Doo-Wops & Hooligans, 61,000. The album jumps from #6 to #5 in its 20th week. This is its ninth week in the top 10. Three songs from the album are listed on Hot Digital Songs, topped by "Grenade," which jumps from #8 to #5.

6. Eminem, Recovery, 61,000. The former #1 album jumps from #7 to #6 in its 35th week. This is its 26th week in the top 10. Three songs from the album are listed on Hot Digital Songs, topped by "Love The Way You Lie" (featuring Rihanna) which jumps from #59 to #38.

7. Various Artists, 2011 Grammy Nominees, 56,000. The compilation rebounds from #11 to #7 in its fourth week. This is its second week in the top 10. The compilation has sold 149K copies, a sliver of this year's TV audience. America, you're missing out on a hit-packed CD.

8. Justin Bieber, My World 2.0., 54,000. The former #1 album drops from #3 to #8 in its 48th week. This is its 29th week in the top 10. Seven songs from the album are listed on Hot Digital Songs, topped by "Somebody To Love" (featuring Usher), which jumps from #83 to #77.

9. Nicki Minaj, Pink Friday, 46,000. The former #1 album drops from #4 to #9 in its 13th week. It has been in the top 10 the entire time. Three songs from the album are listed on Hot Digital Songs, topped by "Moment 4 Life" (featuring Drake), which dips from #32 to #35.

10. Rihanna, Loud, 45,000. The album drops from #8 to #10 in its 14th week. This is its 11th week in the top 10. Three songs from the album are listed on Hot Digital Songs, topped by "S&M," which jumps from #7 to #6.


Three albums drop out of the top 10 this week. P!nk's Greatest Hits...So Far!!! drops #5 to #14. Jason Aldean's My Kinda  Party drops from #9 to #16. Justin Bieber's My Worlds Acoustic drops from #10 to #18.

Bright Eyes' The People's Key bows at #13. This is the fifth 20 album by alternative pop star Conor Oberst. Hillsong United's Aftermath bows at #17. This is the first top 20 album by the Australian "praise and worship" band.

Glee, The Music: Season Two: Volume 4 drops from #24 to #39. It's the #1 soundtrack for the third straight week. Country Strong drops from #57 to #96. It's the #1 soundtrack to a theatrically-released feature for the sixth straight week.

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In Session by Albert King With Stevie Ray Vaughan, which was first released in 1999, enters the chart at #52. This is its first chart appearance. Both blues artists died in the early '90s. Ella Fitzgerald's Let's Fall In Love debuts at #80. The "First Lady Of Song" first made the pop album chart on her own in 1956 with the classic Ella Fitzgerald Sings The Cole Porter Song Book. (She had previously charted with a pair of collabos with Bing Crosby and Peggy Lee.) Fitzgerald died in 1996.

Adele's 2008 album 19 sold 13K copies this week, which enables it to jump from #68 to #50. It's #1 on the Catalog Albums chart.

David Archuleta, who finished second on Season 7 of American Idol, was dropped by his label, Jive Records, after two studio albums and a Christmas album. His 2008 debut, David Archuleta has sold 765K copies. His 2010 follow-up, The Other Side Of Down, has sold 67K. Season 7 winner David Cook has yet to release the follow-up to his 2008 debut, David Cook (which has sold a healthy 1,319,000 copies). I think now we may know why he's taking his time. The pressure on artists to deliver every time or risk being dropped has probably never been greater. It's a very tough business for artists.

Coming Attractions: Adele's 21 is expected to be next week's top new entry, with sales in the range of 275K. Adele's album has been #1 in the U.K. for the past four weeks, longer than any other album in 2011. It's the first album by a female artist to log four weeks at #1 in the U.K. since Susan Boyle's I Dreamed A Dream in December 2009. Also due next week: Destroy Rebuild Until God Show's D.R.U.G.S., Bayside's Killing Time and Patrick Stump's Truant Wave.

Shameless Plug: Who was the first U.S. President to appear on the Billboard album chart? To crack the top 10? To receive a Grammy nomination? To win a Grammy? To make the cover of Rolling Stone? You don't know? You will after you read my Chart Watch Extra keyed to President's Day, which was posted this past Monday. If you missed it, here's a link.

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