Chart Watch

Week Ending Feb. 8, 2009: Shady’s Back (Tell A Friend)

Chart Watch

Eminem is back in a big way. "Crack A Bottle," his new collaboration with Dr. Dre and 50 Cent, sold 418,000 downloads this week. That's the third fattest weekly tally ever, and the biggest total outside of Christmas week (when fans are feverishly redeeming gift cards). "Low" by Flo Rida featuring T Pain sold 467,000 downloads during Christmas week in 2007. "Just Dance" by Lady GaGa featuring Colby O'Donis sold 419,000 this past Christmas. "Crack A Bottle" enters Hot Digital Songs at #1 and surges from #78 to #1 on Billboard's Hot 100. It's Eminem's second #1 hit on the Hot 100, following the Oscar-winning "Lose Yourself," which logged 12 weeks on top in 2002-2003. It's also Dr. Dre's second #1, following  Blackstreet's 1996 hit "No Diggity," on which he was featured. It's 50 Cent's fourth, following "In Da Club," "21 Questions" (with Nate Dogg) and "Candy Shop (with Olivia). All three artists have upcoming albums. Eminem's album, Relapse, will be his first studio release since Encore in November 2004.

Next week marks the 10th anniversary of Eminem's first Hot 100 appearance with "My Name Is." The song made the top 40 and brought the rapper the first of his nine Grammys. His first album, The Slim Shady LP, followed in late February 1999. The album debuted and peaked at #2, but Eminem's next four albums all debuted at #1, as did the 8 Mile soundtrack, on which he had four tracks.

Eminem is the 12th best-selling album artist of the Nielsen/SoundScan era, which dates to 1991. His total album sales to date: 33,203,000. He's the #1 rap artist (Jay-Z is second, at #33 on the overall listing). He's also the top-ranking artist who first hit the album chart as late as 1999 (Britney Spears is second, at #15 overall).

Eminem has two songs in the top 100 on Nielsen/SoundScan's running tally of songs with the most paid downloads. Akon's "Smack That," on which he is featured, is #28 with sales of 2,742,000. "Lose Yourself" is #90 with sales of 1,944,000. The 2002 smash is the second-oldest song in the top 100. The only song in the top 100 that's as old or older is Journey's 1981 hit "Don't Stop Believin.'"

This is a little obscure, but that never stopped me before: The success of "Crack A Bottle" marks the first time a collaboration of three billed artists has topped the Hot 100 since "Give It To Me" by Timbaland with Nelly Furtado & Justin Timberlake rang the bell in April 2007.

The Fray's sophomore album, The Fray, boots Bruce Springsteen's Working On A Dream out of the #1 spot on The Billboard 200. The Fray sold 179,000 copies in its first week, nearly 30 times as many as the alternative band sold in its first week last time out.  How To Save A Life crept onto the chart at #156 in September 2005, with first-week sales of just 6,000. A true sleeper hit, the album took 37 weeks to reach its #14 peak. It has sold 2,370,000 copies to date.

Song Scorecard: Alicia Keys' 2007 smash "No One" tops the 3 million mark in paid downloads this week. Kanye West's "Heartless" and Beyonce's "Single Ladies (Put A Ring On It)" both top the 2 million mark. It's West's fourth song to reach this threshold, a record equaled by only one artist, Chris Brown. West previously scored with "Gold Digger" (featuring Jamie Foxx), "Stronger" and "Love Lockdown." "Single Ladies" is Beyonce's second song to top the 2 million mark. "Irreplaceable" has sold 2,588,000 downloads since its release in 2006. "Single Ladies" reached the 2 million mark before "If I Were A Boy," which was released four weeks earlier. The one-two punch of these very different tracks has underlined Beyonce's versatility and made I Am...Sasha Fierce a smash.

Taylor Swift's "Love Story" this week tops Carrie Underwood's 2006 smash "Before He Cheats" as the country song with most paid downloads in history. "Love Story" has sold 2,649,000 downloads. "Before He Cheats" has sold 2,633,000. "Before He Cheats" won Grammys a year ago for Best Country Song and Best Female Country Vocal Performance. "Love Story" won't be able to duplicate that double-play at next year's show. It was eligible for Female Country Vocal this year, but didn't have much time to make an impression and wasn't nominated. But "Love Story" may have a chance for a Grammy in the Country Song category next year. The tune, which Swift wrote, wasn't entered in this year's Grammy process in that category.

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

1. The Fray, The Fray, 179,000. This new entry is the band's first top 10 album. More than 78,000 copies were sold digitally, making it the week's #1 Digital Album. Five songs from the album are listed on Hot Digital Songs, topped by "You Found Me," which holds at #4.

2. Bruce Springsteen, Working On A Dream, 102,000. The album slips from #1 to #2 in its second week. Given the size of the Super Bowl audience, this sales tally isn't very impressive. After two weeks, the album has sold 326,000 copies, fewer than Springsteen's last album, Magic, sold in its first week (335,000). Two songs from the album are listed on Hot Digital Songs. "Working On A Dream" jumps to #68. "The Wrestler" falls to #200.

3. Dierks Bentley, Feel That Fire, 71,000. This new entry is the country singer's highest-charting album to date. It's also his fourth straight album to reach the top 10. Feel The Fire is the week's #1 country album, bumping Taylor Swift to #2 on that list after 12 weeks on top. It's Bentley's third #1 country album. "Feel That Fire" jumps to #52 on Hot Digital Songs.

4. Taylor Swift, Fearless, 64,000. The former #1 album slips from #2 to #4. This is the album's 13th consecutive week in the top five. The album tops the 2.5 million mark in U.S. sales this week. It took Swift's debut album 69 weeks to reach that same plateau. Taylor Swift is now close to the 4 million mark (3,934,000 to be exact). Three songs from the new album are listed on Hot Digital Songs, topped by "Love Story," which dips to #11.

5. Beyonce, I Am...Sasha Fierce, 51,000. The former #1 album slips from #3 to #5. This is the album's 12th straight week in the top five. Four songs from the album are listed in the top 50 on Hot Digital Songs, topped by "Single Ladies (Put A Ring On It)," which dips to #10.

6. Nickelback, Dark Horse, 47,000. The album slips from #4 to #6. This is the album's 12th straight week in the top 10. Two songs from the album are listed on Hot Digital Songs. "Gotta Be Somebody" dips to #26. "Something In Your Mouth" dips to #148.

7. Kidz Bop Kids, Kidz Bop 15, 38,000. This is the ninth consecutive regular installment in this series to reach the top 10. I bet you didn't think the franchise was that big. (You obviously don't have kids under the age of eight.)

8. Jamie Foxx, Intuition, 37,000. The album dips from #7 to #8. This is the album's eighth straight week in the top 10. Two songs from the album are listed on Hot Digital Songs. "Blame It" (featuring T-Pain) jumps to #36. "Just Like Me" (featuring T.I.) dips to #131.

9. Kanye West, 808s & Heartache, 34,000. The former #1 album falls from #5 to #9 in its 11th week on the chart. This is the album's 10th week in the top 10. That's West's longest run in the winners circle since his 2004 debut The College Dropout held on for 11 weeks. Two songs from the album are listed on Hot Digital Songs. "Heartless" dips to #7. "Love Lockdown" dips to #33.

10. Keyshia Cole, A Different Me, 34,000. The album dips from #8 to #10. This is the album's eighth straight week in the top 10. No songs from the album are listed on Hot Digital Songs.

Three albums drop out of the top 10 this week. Grammy Nominees 2009 drops from #6 to #12, Frank Ferdinand's Tonight: Franz Ferdinand plummets from #9 to #59 and Britney Spears' Circus dips from #10 to #11. The Grammy compilation will probably return to the top 10 in the wake of Sunday's telecast.

Several albums that won big on Sunday's Grammy telecast surge on this week's chart. Since Sunday is the last day of the sales tracking period, these moves are mostly a reflection of the breathless anticipation leading up to the big show. The full impact will be felt next week. Adele's 19 vaults from #56 to #27. Adele won two Grammys, including Best New Artist. Coldplay's Viva La Vida Or Death And All His Friends jumps from #45 to #31. The album won three awards, including Song of the Year. The Robert Plant/Alison Krauss collaboration Raising Sand re-enters the chart at #69. The album won five awards, including Album and Record of the Year. In the week following last year's Grammy telecast, Amy Winehouse's Back To Black (which won five awards including Record and Song of the Year) shot from #24 to #2. Herbie Hancock's River: The Joni Letters (which was voted Album of the Year) vaulted from #159 to #5.

The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus' second major-label album, Lonely Road, opens at #14. The band's 2006 album, Don't You Fake It, hit #25. The track "Represent" enters Hot Digital Songs at #129...Day To Remember's Homesick opens at #21. The band's last album, For Those Who Have Heart, was a true sleeper hit in 2007. It has sold 84,000 copies without ever cracking The Billboard 200.

Wynonna's Sing, Chapter 1 bows at #37. Wynonna has been turning out hit albums since 1984, first as half of the Judds and since 1992 on her own. But that's nothing compared to Willie Nelson and Asleep At The Wheel, whose collaboration, Willie & The Wheel, bows at #90. Nelson first hit the country album chart in 1966. Asleep At The Wheel first hit the pop and country album charts in 1975.

Dean Martin's Amore jumps to #1 on the Catalog Albums chart, just in time for Valentine's Day. It sold 12,000 copies and would have ranked #50 on the big chart if older, catalog albums were eligible to compete there. The key track is "That's Amore," which was a #2 hit in 1953. The song got a tremendous boost in 1987 when it was memorably featured in the film Moonstruck. Martin was a star from the late '40s to the mid-'70s. The entertainer, whose greatest gift was to make everything seem effortless, died on Christmas Day 1995. But, as we've seen again and again, top recording stars live on.

A few months ago, who had even heard of Lady GaGa? This week, she's the only artist with two songs in the top 10 on Hot Digital Songs. "Just Dance" (featuring Colby O'Donis) slips to #6. "Poker Face" surges from #14 to #8...Here's the top five on that chart. "Crack A Bottle" enters the list at #1, Kelly Clarkson's "My World Would Suck Without You" slips to #2 after two weeks on top, the All American Rejects' "Gives You Hell" dips to #3 after three weeks at #2, The Fray's "You Found Me" holds at #4 for the third straight week, and Lil Wayne's "Prom Queen" jumps from #7 to #5.

Heads Up: India.Arie's Testimony: Vol. 2, Love & Politics is due on next week's chart. This is the follow-up to Testimony: Vol. 1, Life & Relationship, which debuted at #1 in July 2006....Bobby Valentino is vying for his third top 10 album with The Rebirth. The 2005 album Disturbing Tha Peace Presents Bobby Valentino reached #3. Valentino followed that up with a #3 album of his own in 2007, Special Occasion...Lily Allen returns with the wonderfully-titled It's Not Me, It's You, her follow-up to Alright Still, which cracked the top 20 two years ago. Also due: Lonely Island's debut album Incredibad, Dan Auerbach's Keep It Hid and a 20th anniversary reissue of Beastie Boys' Paul's Boutique.


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