Chart Watch

Week Ending June 21, 2009: JoBros’ “Mo” Slows

Chart Watch

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Jonas Brothers land their second #1 album as Lines, Vines And Trying Times tops The Billboard 200, with first-week sales of 247,000. That's less than half of the first-week tally run up by the trio's last studio album, A Little Bit Longer, which bowed at #1 in August with sales of 525,000 copies. The decline is partly due to the troubled economy and the down market for music sales, but also, it seems safe to say, to a cooling in the brothers' popularity. So far this year, five albums have debuted with bigger first-week tallies than JoBros achieved this week. By contrast, by the time A Little Bit Longer debuted, only two 2008 albums had run up bigger first-week tallies--and that album arrived two months later in the year.

The brothers have three songs on the 200-deep Hot Digital Songs chart, but that number pales compared to the 15 JoBros songs that dotted the chart the week that A Little Bit Longer debuted. That tally included 10 songs from that album, four from the brothers' previous album and one from the Camp Rock soundtrack. (In addition, Joe Jonas had a duet with Demi Lovato and a solo, both from Camp Rock, giving him a grand total of 17 charted songs.)

Lines, Vines And Trying Times is also #1 on the Digital Albums chart, but here too the tally is down from last time. More than 33,000 copies of the new album were sold digitally, compared to 57,000 for A Little Bit Longer in its first week.

While the brothers' teen-idol hotness factor has cooled somewhat in the past 10 months, the trio has gained some credibility in the larger pop world. They received a Grammy nomination for Best New Artist (they lost to Adele). They have also received warm notices in such prestigious publications as Rolling Stone and TIME. It's rare for a teen act to gain a measure of critical respect.

By hitting #1 again, the brothers make some chart history. They're the first group or duo consisting primarily of teenagers to land two #1 albums. Joe Jonas is 19, Nick is 16. Only Kevin, 21, is post-teen. The only other group or duo consisting mostly of teenagers to land a #1 album was the teen rap duo Kris Kross, which scored with 1992's Totally Krossed Out.

Also, JoBros are the third group consisting entirely of siblings to land two or more #1 albums. The Bee Gees scored three #1 albums from 1978 to 1980-the landmark Saturday Night Fever soundtrack, Spirits Having Flown and Greatest. The Isley Brothers also had two #1 albums-1975's The Heat Is On and 2002's Body Kiss. (The Carpenters are the only other all-sibling act to land a #1 album. They scored in 1974 with The Singles 1969-1973.)

Another Disney teen titan, Miley Cyrus, fares better in this week's chart wars. The soundtrack to Hannah Montana: The Movie becomes the first theatrical movie soundtrack to spend its first 13 weeks in the top 10 since the Eminem-dominated 8 Mile, which spent its first 14 weeks in the top 10 in 2002-2003. "Lose Yourself," the big hit from 8 Mile, won an Academy Award. Will "The Climb," the big hit from Hannah Montana: The Movie, snare an Oscar nomination next year? Stay tuned.

The Black Eyed Peas have the top two songs with the most paid downloads for the second week running. "I Gotta Feeling" sold 232,000 downloads this week, bringing its two-week total to 481,000. "Boom Boom Pow" sold 183,000 downloads. This is the first time its weekly sales have fallen below 200,000 downloads. The top non-Peas hit is Drake's "Best I Ever Had," which debuts at #3 with 153,000 paid downloads.

"Low" by Flo Rida featuring T-Pain makes digital history this week. It's the first song to top the 5 million mark in paid downloads. Last June, it became the first song to top the 4 million mark. The growth in the digital song field has been tremendous. Until December 2006, no song had sold even 2 million downloads. This week, John Mayer's 2006 hit "Waiting On The World To Change" becomes the 103rd song to top the 2 million mark in paid downloads. The heartfelt ballad is Mayer's first song to reach that plateau.

There was little reason to think that Bob Marley & the Wailers' Legend would become a blockbuster when it was released in the summer of 1984. Marley, who had died three years before the album was released, had notched only one top 10 album in the U.S. But the album has become a perennial catalog seller. Legend has sold more copies since 1991 than any other album from the '60s, '70s or '80s. This week, it becomes only the 17thalbum in Nielsen/SoundScan history to top the 10 million mark in sales. On Friday, I'll have a Chart Watch Extra in which I look at how this album became pop's ultimate "sleeper" smash.

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

1. Jonas Brothers, Lines, Vines And Trying Times, 247,000. This new entry is the trio's second studio album in a row to debut at #1. Three songs from the album are listed on Hot Digital Songs, topped by "Fly With Me," which bows at #48.

2. The Black Eyed Peas, The E.N.D., 148,000. The album slips to #2 after one week on top. Three songs from the album are listed on Hot Digital Songs, including the top two entries for the second week in a row.

3. Dave Matthews Band, Big Whiskey & The Groogrux Kings, 88,000. The former #1 album slips from #2 to #3 in its third week. It's already #10 for the year to date. "Funny The Way It Is" slips to #86 on Hot Digital Songs.

4. Eminem, Relapse, 72,000. The former #1 album slips from #3 to #4 in its fifth week. Three songs from the album are listed on Hot Digital Songs, topped by "We Made You," which slips to #64.

5. Incubus, Monuments And Melodies, 70,000. This new entry, a greatest hits set with five new tracks, is the hard rock group's fourth album in a row to debut in the top five. That's the band's entire output dating back to Morning View in 2001.

6. Lady GaGa, The Fame, 47,000. The album dips from #5 to #6. This is its 18th week in the top 10. Four songs from the album are listed on Hot Digital Songs, topped by "Lovegame," which dips to #5.

7. Chickenfoot, Chickenfoot, 43,000. The album slips from #4 to #7 in its third week.

8. Miley Cyrus, Hannah Montana: The Movie soundtrack, 42,000. The former #1 album slips from #6 to #8. This is its 13th week in the top 10. Hannah also tops the country chart for the eighth week. Three songs from the album are listed on Hot Digital Songs, topped by "The Climb," which dips to #18.

9. Green Day, 21st Century Breakdown, 40,000. The former #1 album slips from #7 to #9 in its sixth week. Two songs from the album are listed on Hot Digital Songs, topped by "Know Your Enemy," which dips to #43.

10. Taylor Swift, Fearless, 39,000. The former #1 album rebounds from #11 to #10. This is its 28th week in the top 10. Three songs from the album are listed on Hot Digital Songs, topped by "You Belong With Me," which climbs to #15.

Three albums fall out of the top 10 this week. Aventura's The Last slips from #5 to #18, Mos Def's The Ecstatic dives from #9 to #29 and Pleasure P's The Introduction Of Marcus Cooper plummets from #10 to #40.

Michael Buble's Michael Buble Meets Madison Square Garden bows at #14. This CD/DVD combo is by far the highest-charting of Buble's three live albums. 2004's Come Fly With Me reached #55. 2005's Caught In The Act reached #82. Buble is also featured on David Foster's Hit Man: David Foster & Friends, which has sold a healthy 206,000 copies. Foster's album has been boosted by a much-aired (and first-rate) PBS concert special.

Hank Williams Jr.'s 127 Rose Avenue opens at #19. It's his second top 20 album in three years, following the 2006 compilation, That's How They Do It In Dixie: The Essential Collection. Williams was just 15 when he first hit the top 20 in April 1965 with the Your Cheatin' Heart soundtrack, on which he sang his father's classic hits. 127 Rose Avenue joins a long line of albums that have used street addresses as titles. Others include Eric Clapton's 461 Ocean Boulevard, Julio Iglesias' 1100 Bel Air Place and the Jacksons' 2300 Jackson Street.

Will Downing's Classique opens at #22. This is the R&B veteran's highest-charting album to date, surpassing After Tonight, which hit #37 in 2007. Downing first charted in 1993.

George Harrison's Let It Roll: Songs Of George Harrison bows at #24. This is the ex-Beatle's third hits compilation to make the chart. The first was released in 1976. Harrison's biggest hit, "My Sweet Lord," enters Hot Digital Songs this week. The 1970 smash has sold 136,000 downloads to date. That's about as many as Sean Kingston's current hit "Fire Burning" sold this week alone (129,000), but what do you want from an oldie?

Music fans in the U.S. and the U.K. don't always agree. Kasabian's West Ryder Pauper Lunatic holds at #1 in the U.K. for the second week, but tumbles off The Billboard 200 after debuting and peaking last week at #126.

Two albums that follow up on memorable albums from the mid-'80s debut this week. Spinal Tap's Back From The Dead opens at #51, instantly surpassing the #121 peak position of the 1984 soundtrack for This Is Spinal Tap. Chess In Concert bows at #83. Josh Groban and Idina Menzel are the top stars on this two-CD set. The original album of this work (which spawned Murray Head's hit "One Night In Bangkok") reached #47 in 1985.

99 Essential Chants debuts at #133. Evidently, this album is less essential than 99 Essential Beethoven Masterpieces, which debuted at #29 in January, or 99 Most Essential Mozart Masterpieces, which opened at #34 in March. (Frankly, this item isn't all that essential either.)

Tobymac's Portable Sounds tops the Catalog Albums chart for the second week in a row. It's the first album to top the catalog chart for two weeks running since Pearl Jam's Ten in April. Portable Sounds sold 9,000 copies this week and would have ranked #63 on the big chart if older, catalog albums were eligible to compete there.

Heads Up: Regina Spektor's Far will do battle on next week's chart with the Mars Volta's Octahedron and Ginuwine's A Man's Thoughts. Spektor's 2006 album Begin To Hope made the top 20. The Mars Volta and Ginuwine have each had three top 10 albums. Also due: Paulina Rubio's Gran City Pop, Dream Theater's Black Clouds And Silver Linings, John Mellencamp's live set Life, Death, Live And Freedom, Michael Johns' Hold Back My Heart, Fast Life Yungstaz's Jamboree, Bob Marley's B Is For Bob and the soundtrack to Transformers: Revenge Of The Fallen.

Shameless Plug: It's way too early to know what the biggest song of the summer of 2009 will be, but I think you'll enjoy scrolling back through the biggest songs of summers past. Here's a link to a Chart Watch Extra I posted yesterday which recaps the #1 song of each summer, from last year's "I Kissed A Girl" all the way back to 1955's "Rock Around The Clock."  These are the songs you heard over and over at the beach, at backyard barbeques and on road trips. I hope it brings back a flood of favorite summer memories, whether your favorite summer song is "Summer In The City" or "Umbrella."


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