Chart Watch

Week Ending Feb. 7, 2010: Pink Steals The Show (Again)

Chart Watch

Pink didn't win any Grammys last week, but her show-stopping, audience-drenching performance of "Glitter In The Air" makes her the biggest post-show sales gainer. "Glitter In The Air" sold 114,000 digital copies, to enter Hot Digital Songs at #8. And Pink's Funhouse album vaults from #61 to #15 on The Billboard 200. This is its first appearance in the top 20 since March 15. (Maybe now Pink, whose skimpy outfit drew much comment, can afford to buy some clothes!)

Three other albums return to the top 20 on the heels of Grammy exposure. Zac Brown Band's The Foundation jumps from #22 to #10. This is its first appearance in the top 10 in its entire 64-week run. Beyonce's I Am...Sasha Fierce leaps from #35 to #14, its first appearance in the top 20 since March. And Carrie Underwood's Play On jumps from #29 to #18.

"Glitter In The Air" wasn't the only song that was performed on the Grammys that went from being not listed on the top 200 Digital Songs chart last week to a solid posting this week. "Bridge Over Troubled Water" by Mary J. Blige and Andrea Bocelli, which raised money for Haitian earthquake relief, debuts at #44; Michael Jackson's "Earth Song" re-enters the chart at #71; Beyonce's "If I Were A Boy" re-enters at #81;  and "Blame It" by Jamie Foxx featuring T-Pain re-enters at #118.

In two cases, fans preferred the original recordings to the Grammy show versions which were made available for download. Green Day's "21 Guns" vaults from #44 to #28. The band's Grammy show version of the song, which featured the cast of American Idiot, enters the chart at #125. Lady Gaga's "Speechless" re-enters the chart at #123. Her Grammy show version featuring Elton John enters at #155.

The Black Eyed Peas' Grammy show medley of "Imma Be" and "I Gotta Feeling" boosted both songs. "Imma Be" jumps to #1 on Hot Digital Songs. "I Gotta Feeling" rebounds to #7. "Imma Be" sold 236,000 copies this week, bringing its eight-week total to 1,082,000. It's the Peas' fifth #1 on Hot Digital Songs; its third from its current album, The E.N.D. "I Gotta Feeling" sold 119,000 copies this week, bringing its 35-week total to 4,961,000.

(Next week's chart news today: "I Gotta Feeling" and "Boom Boom Pow" will both top the 5 million mark in paid downloads next week. That will give the Peas half of what will then be four songs to reach the 5 million mark.)

Lady Antebellum's Need You Now tops The Billboard 200 for the second week in a row. It's the first country album to spend its first two weeks at #1 since Dixie Chicks' Taking The Long Way in May and June 2006. (No, Taylor Swift's Fearless didn't do this. It debuted at #1, but didn't return to the top spot until its fifth week.) Lady A performed "Need You Now" on the Grammys. That exposure helped the song jump from #8 to #2 on Hot Digital Songs. It will top the 2 million mark in paid downloads next week.

Lil Wayne got both good and not-so-good news this week. The good news is that the judge in his New York gun possession case agreed to delay sentencing until March 2. The not-so-good news is that his new album, Rebirth, sold a so-so 176,000 copies in its first week. That's just 17% of the first-week sales of the rapper's 2008 album, Tha Carter III. That blockbuster opened with sales of 1,006,000, which is the biggest one-week sales total that any album has tallied in nearly five years. (Rebirth didn't even match the first-week sales of 2005's Tha Carter II, which started with 238,000.)

Album sales are down, but that doesn't fully explain the drop-off. Among albums by rap artists, Jay-Z's The Blueprint 3 started with sales of 476,000 in September. Lil Wayne's current, rock-oriented album is a departure from his usual sound, but that doesn't explain it either: Kanye West's pop-oriented 808's & Heartbreak was also a departure from his sound and it got off to a fast start (450,000) in November 2008.

A total of 12 albums have debuted with sales of 1,000,000 or more copies in the Nielsen/SoundScan era. There have been studio follow-ups to 11 of these albums. In its first week, Rebirth achieved a slightly smaller percentage of its predecessor's first-week sales than any of these other follow-ups. Rebirth takes that dubious distinction from Backstreet Boys' Never Gone, the boy band's 2005 follow-up to its 2000 smash Black & Blue. In its first week, Never Gone sold 18% of what its predecessor had sold in its first week.

Lil Wayne's widely-reported legal woes may be inhibiting sales. Also, it may be that Tha Carter III was such a phenomenon that it's unrealistic to expect him to approach those sales levels again.

Rebirth is this week's #1 Digital Album, with sales of 42,000 digital copies. Tha Carter III sold 100,000 digital copies in its first week. It has sold 348,000 copies to date, more than any other rap album in digital history.

Lady Gaga's The Fame this week surpasses Taylor Swift's Fearless as the best-selling digital album ever by a solo artist. The Fame has sold 605,000 digital copies, to 599,000 for Fearless. Only Coldplay's Viva La Vida Or Death And All His Friends has sold more digital copies (766,000). Can Gaga surpass Coldplay? At this point, I wouldn't put anything past her.

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

1. Lady Antebellum, Need You Now, 209,000. The album holds at #1 for the second week. Two songs from the album are listed on Hot Digital Songs, topped by "Need You Now," which jumps from #8 to #2.

2. Lil Wayne, Rebirth, 176,000. This new entry is Lil Wayne's eighth top 10 album (counting a 1999 album with Hot Boy$ and a 2005 collaboration with Birdman). Five songs from the album are listed on Hot Digital Songs, topped by "Knockout" (featuring Nicki Minaj), which debuts at #20.

3. Nick Jonas & The Administration, Who I Am, 82,000. This new entry is Nick Jonas' first project apart from Jonas Brothers, whose last four key albums made the top five. "Who I Am" jumps from #95 to #64 on Hot Digital Songs.

4. Lady Gaga, The Fame, 79,000. The album dips from #3 to #4 in its 67th week. This is its 33rd week in the top 10. Seven songs from the expanded version of the album are listed on Hot Digital Songs, topped by "Bad Romance," which slips from #3 to #6.

5. Various Artists, 2010 Grammy Nominees, 71,000. The compilation rebounds from #8 to #5. This is its third week in the top 10.

6. The Black Eyed Peas, The E.N.D., 70,000. The former #1 album jumps from #10 to #6 in its 35th week. This is its 22nd week in the top 10. Four songs from the album are listed on Hot Digital Songs, topped by "Imma Be," which jumps from #2 to #1.

7. Taylor Swift, Fearless, 53,000. The former #1 album rebounds from #13 to #7 in its 65th week. This is its 55th week in the top 10. Three songs from the album are listed on Hot Digital Songs, topped by "You Belong With Me," which dips from #47 to #49.

8. Rob Zombie, Hellbilly Deluxe 2, 49,000. This new entry is Zombie's fourth top 10 solo album. This is a sequel to his 1998 solo debut, Hellbilly Deluxe, which hit #5. Zombie formerly fronted White Zombie, which had a top 10 album in 1995.

9. Susan Boyle, I Dreamed A Dream, 46,000. The former #1 album drops from #4 to #9 in its 11th week. It's the first album by a female artist to spend its first 11 weeks in the top 10 since Beyonce's I Am...Sasha Fierce.

10. Zac Brown Band, The Foundation, 40,000. The album jumps from #22 to #10 in its 64th week. This is its first week in the top 10. It previously climbed as high as #11. Three songs from the album are listed on Hot Digital Songs, topped by "Chicken Fried," which jumps from #77 to #47.

Hope For Haiti Now falls from #2 to #19. The digital-only album sold 29,000 copies this week, bringing its three-week total to 343,000. It's already #15 on the list of all-time digital album sellers.

Four other albums drop out of the top 10 this week. Barry Manilow's The Greatest Love Songs Of All Time plummets from #5 to #40, Michael Jackson's This Is It drops from #6 to #11, Corinne Bailey Rae's The Sea falls from #7 to #23, and Celtic Woman's Songs From The Heart drops from #9 to #35. This is the 11th week that This Is It has been the #1 movie soundtrack.

Michael Jackson's Number Ones drops from #31 to #36 on The Billboard 200. This is the 24th time in the past 33 weeks that this has been the #1 Catalog Album...Neil Sedaka's Music Of My Life debuts at #97. The pop veteran first charted 47 years ago with Neil Sedaka Sings His Greatest Hits. The album reached #55.

The Who's "Baba O'Riley" enters Hot Digital Songs at #111 in the immediate wake of the band's half-time performance at the Super Bowl. (The game was Sunday night, which is also the close of the tracking week.) The song was featured on the band's classic 1971 album Who's Next, but it wasn't released as a single ("Won't Get Fooled Again" and "Behind Blue Eyes" got the nod instead). Despite its non-single status, it has sold 1,106,000 digital copies.

USA for Africa's 1985 mega-hit "We Are The World" enters Hot Digital Songs at #184 on the strength of news reports of a remake of the song. The original has sold 283,000 digital copies to date. It will be interesting to see how well the new version does. I expect it will get off to a fast start, but will ultimately fall short of the success of the original, which topped the Hot 100 for four weeks and won Grammys for Record and Song of the Year. It's hard to repeat a "once in a lifetime" phenomenon.

Dear John was #1 at the box-office this past weekend, replacing Avatar. The Dear John soundtrack enters The Billboard 200 at #136. It features Amanda Seyfried's "Little House," which enters Hot Digital Songs at #126, and The Swell Season's "The Moon."

The Avatar soundtrack, meanwhile, drops from #91 to #104. It has sold a mere 90,000 copies to date. The movie was #1 at the box-office for seven consecutive weekends, the longest run by any movie since Titanic. So why isn't this soundtrack performing even remotely like the Titanic soundtrack did? Good question. The romance between Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet that is at the heart of that movie is a key reason, along with the presence of Celine Dion's "My Heart Will Go On," an extremely effective piece of movie music. It sold the movie, it sold the soundtrack, it sold the song. That's not easy to replicate.

Crazy World: Alicia Keys' The Element Of Freedom, which became her first album to fall short of the #1 spot in the U.S., this week it becomes her first album to reach #1 in the U.K. Can we not agree on anything? Actually, we can. Owl City's "Fireflies," which topped the Hot 100 for two weeks last fall, logs its third week at #1 in the U.K.

Heads Up: Sade's Soldier Of Love, the group's first studio album since 2000, is expected to debut at #1 next week with sales in the range of 375,000 to 400,000. R&B star Jaheim will return with Another Round, while country star Josh Turner will be back with Haywire. Also due: TobyMac's Tonight, Celtic Thunder's It's Entertainment and the Valentine's Day soundtrack.

Shameless Plug: To celebrate Black History Month, I'll have a Chart Watch Extra on Friday in which I look at African American artists who have made history on the Billboard charts, from the Mills Brothers and the King Cole Trio to Michael Jackson and Jay-Z. I'll also show key achievements by black artists at the Academy Awards and the Grammy Awards. Check it out on Friday.

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