Chart Watch

Week Ending Feb. 6, 2011: Albums: Minaj Feels Like A Million

Chart Watch

Nicki Minaj has two reasons to celebrate this week. Her smash debut album, Pink Friday, jumps to #1 on The Billboard 200 and also tops the 1 million mark in sales. Pink Friday took 11 weeks to reach #1. That's longer than any album has taken to make its first appearance in the top spot since Ray Charles' Genius Loves Company finally moved up to #1 in its 25th week in February 2005 (after it had swept the Grammys). Pink Friday had climbed as high as #2 twice before going all the way this week. Minaj's turn as the musical guest on Saturday Night Live on Jan. 30 seems to be the last push she needed.

Pink Friday is the third album by a female hip-hop star to reach #1, following a pair of 1999 albums: Foxy Brown's Chyna Doll and Eve's Ruff Ryders' First Lady. (It's the fourth if you count Lauryn Hill's 1998 blockbuster The Miseducation Of Lauryn Hill, which straddled the line between hip-hop and R&B.)

Minaj is the first female hip-hop artist to land a million-selling album since Lil' Kim scored eight years ago with La Bella Mafia.

Missy "Misdemeanor" Elliott is the leader among female rappers in terms of million-selling albums. She had four in a row: 1997's Supa Dupa Fly, 1999's Da Real World, 2001's Miss E...So Addictive and 2002's Under Construction (which was a Grammy finalist for Album of the Year).

Lil' Kim had three consecutive million-selling albums: 1996's Hard Core, 2000's The Notorious K.I.M. and 2003's La Bella Mafia. Eve had two in a row: 1999's Ruff Ryders' First Lady and 2001's Scorpion.

Other female hip-hop artists to land a million-selling album are Da Brat (1994's Funkdafied), Foxy Brown (1996's Ill Na Na) and Lauryn Hill (the aforementioned The Miseducation Of Lauryn Hill.)

Minaj is up for a Grammy on Sunday with Ludacris' "My Chick Bad," on which she is featured. The song, which has sold 1,370,000 copies, has a good chance of winning for Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group. A win would have repercussions. Barring a rule change, it would knock Minaj out of contention for Best New Artist at next year's Grammys. (Artists can't compete for Best New Artist if they have won a Grammy.)

Red's Until We Have Faces debuts at #2. It's the fourth album by a Christian pop or rock group to debut (and apparently peak) at #2. It follows Underoaths's Define The Great Line, Casting Crowns' The Altar And The Door and Skillet's Awake. (Oddly, no Christian pop or rock groups have reached #1.)

Ricky Martin's Musica + Alma + Sexo debuts at #3. This is Martin's highest-charting album since Ricky Martin debuted at #1 in May 1999. It's his fourth top 10 album; his first (mostly) Spanish language album to hit the mark. Martin's previous highest-charting Spanish-language album was Almas Del Silencio (#12 in 2003). This is also Martin's first album since coming out and since the publication of his autobiography Me.

Musica + Alma + Sexo is one of the highest-charting (mostly) Spanish-language albums in chart history. Selena's Dreaming Of You, which was split almost evenly between English and Spanish songs, debuted at #1 in July 1995. Martin's album features both Spanish and English versions of the key single. The Spanish version, "Lo Mejor De Mi Vida Eres Tu" features Natalia Jimenez. The English version, "The Best Thing About Me Is You," features Joss Stone. Martin's album also features the reggaeton duo Wisin y Yandel, who, like Martin, are from Puerto Rico.

For only the second time in its 15-week run, Taylor Swift's Speak Now is not the week's best-selling country album. That title goes to Jason Aldean's My Kinda Party, which rebounds from #12 to #7 on The Billboard 200. It's Aldean's second #1 country album. Relentless topped the country chart in June 2007. (Rascal Flatts' Nothing Like This was the first album to break into Swift's run at #1 on the country chart.)

Pink's Greatest Hits...So Far!!! jumps from #11 to #9, finally breaking into the top 10 in its 12th week. Many acts have used the "So Far" formulation on greatest hits albums. Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young titled their 1974 greatest hits album So Far. Other albums who have taken this approach include Bachman-Turner Overdrive's Best Of B.T.O. (So Far) (1976), Public Image Ltd's The Greatest Hits, So Far (1992), Bryan Adams' So Far So Good (1993),  Anne Murray's The Best...So Far (1994), and Sinead O'Connor's So Far...The Best Of (1997).

Amos Lee's Mission Bell plummets from #1 to #26 in its second week. That narrowly surpasses the drop that Cake's Showroom Of Compassion took two weeks ago, when it fell from #1 to #25. Only one album has ever taken such a steep plunge from the top spot. Incubus' Light Grenades dropped from #1 to #37 in December 2006.

Depressing item of the week: Sales continue to be soft.  Six albums made the top 10 this week with sales of less than 30K. That's a record for the Nielsen SoundScan era. Until this week, there had never been a week in which more than five albums made the top 10 with sales of less than 30K.

"I Need A Doctor" by Dr. Dre featuring Eminem and Skylar Grey enters Hot Digital Songs at #1, with first-week sales of 226,000. Grey is also featured on Diddy-Dirty Money's "Coming Home," which dips from #7 to #10. How high will "I Need A Doctor" debut on the Hot 100? Check back later today when we post Chart Watch: Songs.

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

 

1. Nicki Minaj, Pink Friday, 45,000. The album jumps from #3 to #1 in its 11th week. It has been in the top 10 the entire time. Four songs from the album are listed on Hot Digital Songs, topped by "Moment 4 Life," which jumps from #27 to #22.

2. Red, Until We Have Faces, 43,000. This new entry is the first top 10 album by the Christian rock band. The band's previous highest-charting album, Innocence & Instinct, hit #15 in 2009. 51% of the albums were sold digitally. "Lie To Me" enters Hot Digital Songs at #169.

3. Ricky Martin, Musica + Alma + Sexo, 32,000. This new entry is Martin's fourth top 10 album. It's his first Spanish language album to make the top 10. "Lo Mejor De Mi Vida Eres Tu" (featuring Natalia Jimenez) enters Hot Digital Songs at #187.

4. Bruno Mars, Doo-Wops & Hooligans, 32,000. The album jumps from #5 to #4 in its 18th week. This is its seventh week in the top 10. Three songs from the album are listed on Hot Digital Songs, topped by "Grenade," which drops from #3 to #5.

5. Rihanna, Loud, 29,000. The album jumps from #13 to #5 in its 12th week. This is its ninth week in the top 10, which equals the mark set by Rihanna's 2007 smash Good Girl Gone Bad as her personal best. Three songs from the album are listed on Hot Digital Songs, topped by "S&M," which vaults from #67 to #20.

6. Kidz Bop Kids, Kidz Bop 19, 28,000. The album jumps from #9 to #6 in its third week. It has been in the top 10 the entire time. The album has sold 129K copies to date.

7. Jason Aldean, My Kinda Party, 27,000. The album jumps from #12 to #7 in its 14th week. This is its fourth week in the top 10. Two songs from the album are listed on Hot Digital Songs. "Don't You Wanna Stay" (featuring Kelly Clarkson) drops from #28 to #30. "My Kinda Party" drops from #88 to #104.

8. Taylor Swift, Speak Low, 27,000. The former #1 album dips from #7 to #8 in its 15th week. It has been in the top 10 the entire time. Two songs from the album are listed on Hot Digital Songs. "Back To December" drops from #26 to #32. "Mine" drops from #92 to #119.

9. Pink, Greatest Hits...So Far!!!, 25,000. The album jumps from #11 to #9 in its 12th week. This is its first week in the top 10. This is P!nk's fifth top 10 album. Two songs from the album are listed on Hot Digital Songs. "F**kin' Perfect" drops from #1 to #3. "Raise Your Glass" drops from #18 to #25.

10. Eminem, Recovery, 25,000. The former #1 album rebounds from #16 to #10 in its 33rd week. This is its 24th 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 drops from #60 to #66.

Six albums drop out of the top 10 this week. As noted above, Amos Lee's Mission Bell plummets from #1 to #26. Iron & Wine's Kiss Each Other Clean drops from #2 to #35, 2011 Grammy Nominees drops from #4 to #15, Mumford & Sons' Sigh No More drops from #6 to #11, Wisin Y Yandel's Los Vaqueros: El Regreso drops from #8 to #42, and the Decemberists' The King Is Dead drops from #10 to #19.

The Civil Wars' first full-length album, Barton Hollow, debuts at #12. A whopping 94% of the albums were sold digitally. The album sold 23K digital copies, which puts it at #1 on the Digital Albums chart.

Bob Marley and the Wailers' Live Forever: September 23, 1980 * Stanley Theater * Pittsburgh, PA bows at #14.  This is the late reggae legend's second-highest charting album, topped only by Rastaman Vibration, which hit #8 in July 1976. Marley has had put more albums on the chart since he died (13), than he did while he was alive (10). Marley recorded Live Forever in September 1980, less than eight months before he died of cancer in May 1981. He was just 36.

Glee, The Music: Season Two, Volume 4 is the week's best-selling soundtrack for the first time in its 10-week run. The album jumps from #37 to #36 on The Billboard 200. Country Strong is the week's top soundtrack to a theatrically-released movie for the fourth straight week. The album drops from #25 to #38 on the big chart.

The Black Eyed Peas' The E.N.D. jumps from #55 to #41 in the immediate wake of the group's half-time performance at the Super Bowl. The album is #1 on the Catalog Albums chart for the second week. The album sold 11,000 copies this week, which isn't bad for an album that has been out for 20 months, though it is a bit below Super Bowl's average audience of 111 million viewers.

Crystal Bowersox's The Farmer's Daughter has sold 143,000 copies. That's more than Lee DeWyze's Live It Up, which has sold 116K. Assuming that Bowersox's lead holds, this will be the second year in a row that the American Idol runner-up outsells the winner. From Season 8, Adam Lambert's For Your Entertainment has sold more twice as many copies as Kris Allen's eponymous album (794K to 325K).

Adele's 21 tops the U.K. chart for the second straight week. It's the first album by a British female singer to log two weeks at #1 on that chart since Florence + the Machine's Lungs achieved the feat a year ago. Florence + the Machine is the stage name of singer Florence Welsh.

Pink's "F**kin' Perfect" and Cee Lo Green's "F** You (Forget You)" have both become top 10 singles on the Hot 100. Soon, we'll find out if an album that contains the "F word" in its title can become a smash hit. Green Day's Awesome As F**k, a live CD/DVD combo, is due March 22.

Mick Jagger and Barbra Streisand will both perform on the Grammys on Sunday. It will be Jagger's first time ever on the Grammy stage. It will be Streisand's first Grammy performance in more than 30 years. I was so caught up in Grammy fever, I wrote about both bookings. Here's Mick. Here's Babs.

The Roommate was #1 at the box-office over the weekend.

Coming Attractions: Now 37 is expected to be next week's top new entry, with sales north of 100K. It would be the first album to hit that magic number in weekly sales in 2011. Also due: Thompson Square's Thompson Square and the digital debut of the Beatles' Love.

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