Chart Watch

Week Ending March 28, 2010: Justin Bieber’s Dream Week

Chart Watch

Teen dream Justin Bieber this week becomes the youngest male solo artist to land a #1 album since Stevie Wonder scored in August 1963, at age 13, with Little Stevie Wonder: The 12 Year Old Genius. (Wonder was 12 when he recorded the album, 13 when it was released.) Bieber, who turned 16 on March 1, scores with My World 2.0.

Two other male teen solo artists have topped The Billboard 200, but they were both older than 16. Ricky Nelson was 17 in 1958 when he topped the chart with Ricky. Bobby Brown was 19 in 1989 when he led the way with Don't Be Cruel.

Bieber's album sold 283,000 copies in its first week, which constitutes the best showing for an album by a teen act since Taylor Swift's Fearless, which sold even better in two of its first six weeks in November and December 2008. It's the best showing by a teen heartthrob type of act since Jonas Brothers' A Little Bit Longer started with sales of 525,000 in August 2008. (JoBros' subsequent Lines, Vines And Trying Times sold 247,000 copies when it was released in June. I think the teen torch has been passed.)

Bieber's previous release, My World, jumps from #10 to #5 in its 19th week. This is its highest ranking to date, topping its #6 debut. Bieber is the first artist to have two albums in the top five simultaneously since Nelly scored with Suit and Sweat in October 2004. Impressively, Bieber got to this point without the tremendous promotional muscle of the Disney empire, which has boosted such past and present teen stars as JoBros, Demi Lovato, Miley Cyrus and Hilary Duff.

Four male teen stars who were part of groups or duos had #1 albums at age 16 or even earlier. The two members of Kris Kross (Chris Smith and Chris Kelly) were 13 and 14, respectively, in 1992 when Totally Krossed Out hit #1. Nick Jonas of Jonas Brothers was 15 in 2008 when A Little Bit Longer topped the chart. Joey McIntyre of New Kids On The Block was 16 in 1989 when Hangin' Tough hit the bullseye.

Four older male teens who were part of groups or duos also had #1 albums. Jordan Knight of New Kids On The Block was 19 in 1989 when Hangin' Tough topped the chart; Nick Carter of Backstreet Boys was 19 in 1999 when Millennium scored; Justin Timberlake of *NSYNC was 19 in 2000 when No Strings Attached hit #1; and Joe Jonas of Jonas Brothers was 19 in 2008 when A Little Bit Longer rang the bell.

It's not easy to make the transition from teen to adult stardom, as several of these names remind us. For every Stevie Wonder or Justin Timberlake, who succeeded brilliantly, there's a Kris Kross, which couldn't get over the hump, or a Bobby Brown, who hasn't even managed to get a studio album out since 1997.

Bieber is the second Canadian artist to top The Billboard 200 in the past six months, following Michael Buble. He's the first Canadian teen-ager to ring the bell since Avril Lavigne, who was 19 when she first topped The Billboard 200 in 2004 with Under My Skin in 2004.

In a unique occurrence, Ludacris is featured on the most popular songs on both of this week's top two albums. He is featured on Justin Bieber's "Baby" and Monica's "Still Standing."

Monica's Still Standing album starts at #2 with first-week sales of 184,000. Monica was even younger than Bieber when she became a pop star. She was just 14 in 1995 when she reached #2 on the Hot 100 with "Don't Take It Personal (Just One Of Dem Days)." Monica is just the latest in a long line of artists who have referred to their indomitable natures in album or song titles. Others include Gloria Gaynor ("I Will Survive"), Elton John ("I'm Still Standing"), Reba McEntire ("I'm A Survivor"), Pink (I'm Not Dead) and Broadway star Alexis Smith ("I'm Still Here" from Follies).

Train's "Hey, Soul Sister" this week becomes the slowest-rising #1 song in the six-year history of the Hot Digital Songs chart. The sleek pop tune finally reaches the top in its 31st week. The old record was held by The Fray's "How To Save A Life," which hit #1 in its 28th week in October 2006.

This is a significant comeback for Train, which had a smash in 2001 with "Drops Of Jupiter (Tell Me)" and then all but disappeared. I love the new song's clever '80s pop-culture references to Mr. Mister, Madonna, the TV show Love Connection and INXS' "Need You Tonight." These kind of references are usually winking and a little bit obvious, but Train plays it straight. It's a solid record and a well-deserved comeback.

Here's the rest of the top five on Hot Digital Songs: Rihanna's "Rude Boy" rebounds from #3 to #2, "Break Your Heart" by Taio Cruz featuring Ludacris slips to #3 after spending three weeks on top, Justin Bieber's "Baby" jumps from #6 to #4, and "Nothin' On You" by B.o.B featuring Bruno Mars dips from its #2 peak to #5.

She & Him's Volume Two enters The Billboard 200 at #6 this week, with first week sales of 47,000. The duo's Volume One bowed at #87 in March 2008, with first-week sales of 10,000. The improved showing is due to two factors. First, the duo of M. Ward and Zooey Deschanel has built a following in the past two years. Volume One has sold a healthy 200,000 copies. Also, Deschanel gained wider recognition when she played the female lead in last year's thoroughly winning movie, (500) Days Of Summer. Deschanel is married to Benjamin Gibbard, lead singer of Death Cab For Cutie, which has had a pair of top 10 albums.

At  the end of the first three months of 2010, Lady Antebellum and the Black Eyed Peas are the only acts that rank in the top five on the year-to-date charts for both albums and songs. Lady A's Need You Now is the top-selling album of the first quarter, with sales of 1,561,000 copies, followed by Sade's Soldier Of Love (1,023,000), Lady Gaga's The Fame (712,000), Susan Boyle's I Dreamed A Dream (562,000) and the Peas' The E.N.D. (557,000). Ke$ha's "TiK ToK" is the top-selling digital song of the quarter, with sales of 1,857,000 copies, followed by the Peas' "Imma Be" (1,843,000), Train's "Hey, Soul Sister" (1,819,000), Young Money featuring Lloyd's "Bedrock" (1,601,000) and Lady A's "Need You Now" (1,556,000).

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

1. Justin Bieber, My World 2.0, 283,000. This new entry is Bieber's second release to reach the top 10. Nearly 44,000 copies were sold digitally, making it the week's #1 Digital Album. Seven songs from the album are listed on Hot Digital Songs, topped by "Baby" (featuring Ludacris), which jumps from #6 to #4.

2. Monica, Still Standing, 184,000. This new entry is Monica's fourth top 10 album in a row. Of her five albums, only 2003's chart-topping After The Storm has climbed higher. Two songs from the album are listed on Hot Digital Songs, topped by "Still Standing" (featuring Ludacris), which debuts at #116.

3. Various Artists, NOW 33, 135,000. This new entry is the 30th consecutive regular NOW installment to debut in the top five. It's off to a faster start than NOW 32, which debuted at #5 in November with first-week sales of 102,000. The new album features Ke$ha's "TiK ToK" and Owl City's "Fireflies."

4. Lady Antebellum, Need You Now, 78,000. The album slips from #1 to #4 in its ninth week. Two songs from the album are listed on Hot Digital Songs, topped by "Need You Now," which inches up from #8 to #7.

5. Justin Bieber, My World, 50,000. The EP jumps from #10 to #5 in its 19th week. This is its ninth week in the top 10. Two songs from the EP are listed on Hot Digital Songs, topped by "One Time," which jumps from #79 to #75.

6. She And Him, Volume Two, 47,000. This new entry is the duo's first top 10 album. Nearly half of these copies (23,000) were sold digitally. Volume One has sold 88,000 digital copies, out of 200,000 total copies.

7. Ludacris, Battle Of The Sexes, 45,000. The former #1 album slips from #3 to #6 in its third week. Two songs from the album are listed on Hot Digital Songs. "How Low" debuts at #18. "My Chick Bad" (featuring Nicki Minaj) dips from #21 to #23.

8. Lady Gaga, The Fame, 41,000. The album drops from #5 to #8 in its 74th week. This is its 40th week in the top 10. Seven songs from the expanded version of the album are listed on Hot Digital Songs, topped by "Telephone" (featuring Beyonce), which dips from #4 to #6.

9. Marvin Sapp, Here I Am, 39,000. The gospel album drops from #2 to #9 in its second week. The album has sold a healthy 106,000 copies in its first two weeks.

10. The Black Eyed Peas, The E.N.D., 34,000. The former #1 album dips from #8 to #10 in its 42nd week. This is its 29th week in the top 10, a new record for the Peas. Monkey Business had 28 weeks in the top 10. Four songs from the album are listed on Hot Digital Songs, topped by "Imma Be," which dips from #7 to #8.

The Edge rock compilation plummets from #4 to #81, one of the biggest drops from the top 10 in memory. Three other albums fall out of the top 10. Sade's Soldier Of Love slips from #6 to #11, the Jimi Hendrix Experience's Valleys Of Neptune drops from #7 to #12 and Gorillaz's Plastic Beach drops from #9 to #16.

The Twilight Saga: New Moon soundtrack jumps from #23 to #17 in its 24th week. The album got its second wind two weeks ago when the movie was issued on DVD. The album returns to #1 on the Top Soundtracks chart, dethroning the White Stripes' Under Great White Northern Lights. This is New Moon's third week atop the Soundtrack chart.

How To Train Your Dragon was #1 at the box-office this past weekend. The soundtrack sold about 1,000 copies, too few to make The Billboard 200.

The Scorpions' Sting In The Tail opens at #23. This is the veteran hard rock band's highest-charting album since 1990's Crazy World, which hit #21. It's also reputedly its last album. The band landed its first top 40 album 28 years ago this week with Blackout. Sting In The Tail is the Scorpions' second album title to play on the band's name. It follows 1984's Love At First Sting.

Snoop Dogg's More Malice debuts at #29. This is a sequel to Malice N Wonderland, which bowed at #23 in December. Snoop is slipping as a chart force, though he remains a media star. He bantered this past week with Jon Stewart and Larry King. Snoop amassed eight top 10 albums between 1993 and 2008.

Chris Tomlin's 2006 album See The Morning jumps from #37 to #32. It's the #1 Catalog album for the third straight week. Another noteworthy Contemporary Christian album enters The Billboard 200 this week: Now That's What I Call Faith! opens at #143. Billboard's Keith Caulfield reports that this is the 56th NOW album to chart, which combines the 33 in the regular series and 23 extra editions.

The Bird And The Bee's Interpreting The Masters Vol. 1: A Tribute To Daryl Hall and John Oates bows at #75. The Bird and the Bee consists of Greg Kurstin and Inara George. This is a rare instance of one duo paying tribute to another. A prime example is Simon & Garfunkel recording two Everly Brothers classics. Paul and Art featured "Bye Bye Love" on Bridge Over Troubled Water and "Wake Up Little Susie" at their 1981 reunion concert in Central Park. Hall & Oates first hit the Hot 100 in February 1974 with "She's Gone." They amassed six #1 singles between 1977 and 1984.

Song Scorecard: OneRepublic's 2008 hit "Stop And Stare" tops the 2 million mark in paid downloads this week. It was one of the follow-ups to "Apologize" (a 2007 collabo with Timbaland) which has sold 4,629,000 digital copies to date..."Telephone" by Lady Gaga featuring Beyonce is #1 in the U.K. for the second straight week.

Useless Information: I have two pieces of useless information related to Justin Bieber. You decide which is more useless. Bieber is the third Justin to land a #1 album, following Mr. Timberlake and Justin Hayward, who helped lead the Moody Blues to two #1 albums a generation ago. That's got to be the winner, right? Not so fast. This next item is pretty useless too. My World 2.0 isn't the first time that an artist has used the phrase "2.0" in the title of their sophomore release. Others include Garbage's Version 2.0, which hit #13 in 1998, and Lauryn Hill's MTV Unplugged No. 2.0, which reached #3 in 2002.

Remember Extreme's 1991 smash "More Than Words"? The song was featured on the band's album Pornograffiti. A Japanese band liked the title so much they adopted it as their band name. Porno Graffiti (the band) hits the #1 spot on the Japanese album chart this week with Trigger.

Heads Up: Usher's Raymond Vs. Raymond is expected to enter next week's chart at #1, with first-week sales in the 300,000 to 350,000 range. It will be his third album in a row to debut in the top spot. Also due: Erykah Badu's New Amerykah Part Two, Alan Jackson's Freight Train and Meth Ghost and Rae's Wu-Massacre. The latter album is a collaboration by Method Man, Ghostface Killah and Raekwon, performing together for the first time since Wu-Tang Clan.

Shameless Plug: Lady Gaga's The Fame logs its 40th week in the top 10. That's an unusually long run, but what makes it even more unusual is that the album has yet to reach #1. It peaked at #2 in January. The Fame is one of only 10 albums to log 37 or more weeks in the top 10 without hitting #1 since 1963, when Billboard combined its separate mono and stereo charts into one comprehensive listing. On Friday, I'll have the full list. It may be the only list on which you'll ever find both Iron Butterfly's psychedelic-era smash In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida and TLC's contemporary R&B classic CrazySexyCool. Dig your parents' lava lamp out of the garage and check it out on Friday.

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