Chart Watch

Week Ending May 25, 2008: David Vs. David, The Showdown Moves To The Charts

Chart Watch

David Cook and David Archuleta take their friendly competition from the set of American Idol to the national pop charts. Cook places a staggering 17 songs on the top 200 Hot Digital Songs chart. His bevy of hits includes the new #1, "Time Of My Life," which opens with a healthy total of 236,000 downloads. Cook's 17 entries have a combined total of 944,000 paid downloads. I don't think he'll need to go back to bartending anytime soon.

Archuleta places 12 songs on the Hot Digital Songs chart, topped by his cover of John Lennon's "Imagine," which opens at #16 with 71,000 downloads. Archie's songs have a combined total of 301,000 paid downloads. Thus, Cook was downloaded more than three times as often as his rival. That's an even more lopsided result than last week's voting, which Cook won by a margin of 56% to 44%. (If Archie had won the title, would he be dominating the download battle? Probably. America loves a winner.)

Cook's new entries also include "Dream Big" (#7, 111,000 downloads), his cover of U2's "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For" (#9, 98,000), his cover of Collective Soul's "The World I Know" (#14, 80,000), his cover of Aerosmith's "I Don't Want To Miss A Thing" (#21, 60,000), and his cover of Michael Jackson's "Billie Jean" (#24, 56,000).

Third place finisher Syesha Mercado isn't represented in the top 200, but fourth-place finisher Jason Castro has two entries--his cover of Jeff Buckley's "Hallelujah" (#81, 19,000 downloads) and his cover of  Israel Kamakawiwo'ole's "Somewhere Over The Rainbow" (#102, 16,000).

Fifth place finisher Brooke White opens at #136 with her cover of the Beatles' "Let It Be" (12,000 downloads). Eighth-place finisher Michael Johns bows at #187 with his cover of Aerosmith's "Dream On" (9,000).

Five of the original versions of these songs also receive a spike. Collective Soul's "The World I Know" ranks #67 (23,000), Kamakawiwo'ole's "Somewhere Over The Rainbow" is #133 (12,000), Buckley's "Hallelujah" ranks #139 (12,000), U2's "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For" is #148 (11,000) and Lennon's "Imagine" is #175 (10,000).

Several of the guests on the Idol finale, including OneRepublic, George Michael, Bryan Adams and ZZ Top, also surge this week.

This bodes well for the debut albums by Cook and Archuleta. I hereby predict that Cook will get off to a faster start than Jordin Sparks did in November, when she opened with sales of 119,000. But Sparks has slowly but surely turned her album into a hit. As of this week, it has sold 778,000 copies-which tops the Season 5 winner, Taylor Hicks, whose debut album has sold 702,000 copies.

On this week's album chart, 3 Doors Down lands its second straight #1 as 3 Doors Down debuts in the lead position. The band's previous album, Seventeen Days, achieved the same feat in February 2005. The band's tenure at #1 will, however, be brief. Usher will debut on top next week with his first album in four years, Here I Am. Usher's last album, Confessions, debuted with sales of 1,096,000. If he does even half as well this time, he'll have the biggest opening of 2008. (Hey, no pressure, Usher.)

3 Doors Down is one of those acts whose sales outstrip their fame. The rock quintet from Mississippi has sold 11,609,000 albums since it broke through in 2000. Only two rock acts that have emerged in this decade--Linkin Park (20,199,000) and Nickelback (16,561,000)--have sold more albums. Including acts from all genres, 3 Doors Down is in the top 10 among acts that first hit the album chart in this decade. Nelly heads this list with sales of 20,917,000 albums, followed by Linkin Park, Josh Groban, Rascal Flatts, Nickelback, Norah Jones, 50 Cent, Alicia Keys, Ludacris and 3 Doors Down.

Avril Lavigne, Coldplay, John Mayer, Keith Urban, Pink, Evanescence and Kelly Clarkson are next in line on the list of top-selling album acts that have broken through since 2000. Just about all of the acts in this cluster of names are more famous than 3 Doors Down, but 3 Doors Down has sold more albums.

The band's 2000 debut album, The Better Life, has sold 5,475,000 copies. But it did it the hard way. The album debuted at #104 and took 28 weeks to reach its #7 peak. The band's 2002 follow-up, Away From The Sun, has sold 3,779,000 copies. It debuted at #8, which is also where it peaked. Even though they didn't reach #1, those albums built the fan base that allowed the group's last two albums to debut in the top spot.

(One of the 3 Doors Down's founding members, Daniel Adair, left the line-up in January 2005 to join Nickelback. Since Nickelback has sold more albums than 3 Doors Down, I guess you could say he traded up.)

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

1. 3 Doors Down, 3 Doors Down, 154,000. This total is down from the first-week sales total of the band's last album, Seventeen Days, which opened with sales of 231,000. "It's Not My Time" jumps from #27 to #17 on Hot Digital Songs. "Here Without You" jumps from #193 to #153. A third song, "Train," opens at #191.

2. Bun B, II Trill, 98,000. This new entry is Bun B's first album since the death in December of Chad "Pimp C" Butler, his partner in UGK. That rap duo opened at #1 in August with its fifth album, Underground Kingz-which is what UGK is short for. Bun B's first solo album, Trill, peaked at #6 in November 2005. Bun B's "Damn I'm Cold" bows at #137 on Hot Digital Songs.

3. Julianne Hough, Julianne Hough, 67,000. This new entry is the country singing debut by Hough, a two-time winner on ABC-TV's Dancing With The Stars. Hough's single, "That Song In My Head," bows at #70 on Hot Digital Songs. Hough will be the opening act on Brad Paisley's summer tour.

4. Frank Sinatra, Nothing But The Best, 54,000. The classy retrospective covering Sinatra's two decades on Warner Bros.' Reprise label (1961-1981) slips from #2 to #4 in its second week in the top 10. It overtakes the album that kept it from #1 last week (see #5), but a lot of good that does Frank now. The album features collaborations with Count Basie & His Orchestra, Antonio Carlos Jobim and Nancy Sinatra.

5. Death Cab for Cutie, Narrow Stairs, 53,000. Last week's #1 album slips to #5 in its second week in the top 10. "I Will Possess Your Heart" falls from #48 to #85 on Hot Digital Songs.

6. Leona Lewis, Spirit, 50,000. Lewis slips a notch to #6 in her seventh week in the top 10. "Bleeding Love" drops from #2 to #5 on Hot Digital Songs.

7. Mariah Carey, E=MC2, 45,000. This slips a notch to #7 in its sixth week in the top 10. It's just 68,000 copies away from becoming the second album to top the 1 million mark in 2008. "Touch My Body" drops from #16 to #38 on Hot Digital Songs. "Bye Bye" falls from #38 to #46.

8. Duffy, Rockferry, 44,000. The Welsh singer's debut slips from #4 to #8 in its second week in the top 10. "Mercy" drops from #13 to #23 on Hot Digital Songs.

9. Madonna, Hard Candy, 39,000. This slips a notch to #9 in its fourth week in the top 10. "4 Minutes," Madonna's smash collabo with Justin Timberlake, drops from #5 to #8 on Hot Digital Songs.

10. Neil Diamond, Home Before Dark, 36,000. This falls from #7 to #10 in its third week in the top 10. It's Diamond's first album to spend more than one week in the top 10 since The Christmas Album spent three weeks there in 1992. It's his best showing by a non-holiday album since Heartlight had four weeks in the winners circle in 1982.

Three albums drop out of the top 10 this week. Jason Mraz's We Sing, We Dance, We Steal Things drops from #3 to #11, Toby Keith's 35 Biggest Hits dips from #9 to #13 and Keith Sweat's Just Me plummets from #10 to #38.

Jesse McCartney's Departure opens at #14.  This is the 21-year old heartthrob's highest charting album to date. His first two studio albums, Beautiful Soul and Right Where You Want Me, both peaked at #15. McCartney's single, "Leavin'," dips from #9 to #11 on Hot Digital Songs. "It's Over" vaults from #125 to #77. McCartney is receiving very large checks for co-writing (with Ryan Tedder of OneRepublic) Leona Lewis' international smash, "Bleeding Love."

Donna Summer's Crayons opens at #17, becoming her highest-charting album since She Works Hard For The Money went top 10 in 1983. Summer debuted in 1975 with Love To Love You Baby, which brought eroticism to mainstream female pop and helped set the stage for Madonna. Summer was, of course, the queen of disco, which proved to be both a blessing and a curse. When disco died, circa 1980, many wrote Summer off, even though her talent transcended just one genre. What people missed back then is that many of her hits, including "Last Dance," "Heaven Knows" and "On The Radio" were deeply moving pop ballads--just set to a dance beat.

Foxboro Hot Tubs' Stop Drop And Roll!!! debuts at #21. The '60s-shaded album is a fun side-project by Green Day, which logged three weeks at #1 with its last studio album, American Idiot. (Green Day's sense of humor has been on display from the beginning. In 2001 they came up with a marvelously dry title for their greatest hits set, International Superhits!)

The soundtrack to Indiana Jones And The Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull bows at #39. It's the highest-charting soundtrack in this long-running series, which has been scored by Oscar winner John Williams. The soundtrack to the initial Raiders Of The Lost Ark reached #62 in 1981. Indiana Jones And The Temple Of Doom hit #42 in 1984. Indiana Jones And The Last Crusade failed to chart in 1989.

Flobots' Fight With Tools vaults from #183 to #15, on the strength of the hit single "Handlebars" (which climbs to #34 on Hot Digital Songs). The album's sales increased by 697%, a greater increase than any other album in the top 200. On the down side, Filter's Anthems For The Damned drops from #60 to #167 in its second week. The album's sales declined by 64%, the steepest decline of any album in the top 200.

Catalog Report: Time/Life's three-CD set I Can Only Imagine: Ultimate Power Anthems Of The Christian Faith is #1 on the Catalog Albums chart for the fifth week. It sold 17,000 copies and would have ranked #25 if older, catalog titles were allowed to compete on the big chart.

Police Work: Twenty-five years ago this week, The Police's "Every Breath You Take" entered Billboard's Hot 100. The song topped the chart for eight weeks, longer than any other 1983 single. It brought Sting the Grammy for Song of the Year--the only one of the "Big Three" Grammy Awards (Album, Record and Song of the Year) that Michael Jackson did not win that year. In 1997, Puff Daddy sampled the song for "I'll Be Missing You," his heartfelt tribute to The Notorious B.I.G., who had been killed a few months earlier. The track, which also featured Faith Evans and 112, was #1 for 11 weeks-longer even than The Police's original.

Heads Up: Due next week, in addition to Usher's Here I Stand, are Al Green's Lay It Down and the Sex And The City soundtrack. Green's album features duets with Corinne Bailey Rae and John Legend.

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