Chart Watch

Week Ending May 31, 2009: “Boom Boom Pow” Sets Digital Record

Chart Watch

Black Eyed Peas' "Boom Boom Pow" becomes the first song in digital history to spend its first nine weeks of release as the most-downloaded song in America. This tops a record set in 2005 by "Candy Shop" by 50 Cent featuring Olivia, which spent its first eight weeks at #1 on Billboard's Hot Digital Songs chart. "Boom Boom Pow" sold 220,000 downloads this week, bringing its total to 2,381,000. This week, it surpasses "My Humps" as the Peas' song with the most paid downloads. ("My Humps" has sold 2,203,000 digital copies since its release in 2005.) "Candy Shop" was the lead single from 50 Cent's The Massacre album, which sold a staggering 1,912,000 copies in its first two weeks.  No one expects a tally remotely like that for Black Eyed Peas' album, The E.N.D. (Energy Never Dies), which is due in stores next week. But it is on target to become the group's first #1 album. The group's last album, Monkey Business, debuted and peaked at #2 in June 2005.

Besides "Boom Boom Pow" and "Candy Shop," only three other songs have spent nine or more weeks at #1 on Hot Digital Songs (which was introduced in 2004), though, obviously, these were not their first nine weeks of release. "Low" by Flo Rida featuring T-Pain had 13 weeks on top. Gwen Stefani's "Hollaback Girl" and "Gold Digger" by Kanye West featuring Jamie Foxx each had nine weeks in the lead.

Eminem's Relapse tops The Billboard 200 for the second straight week. The album sold 211,000 copies this week, bringing its total to 820,000. That's the fattest sales total after two weeks since AC/DC's Black Ice, which sold 1,055,000 copies in its first two weeks in October/November. The total for Relapse, however, pales compared to Eminem's last studio album, Encore, which sold 1,582,000 copies in its first two weeks in November 2004. You have to keep in mind three things: The music industry was healthier in 2004, the economy was stronger and Eminem was nearer his peak as a recording artist. Encore was released four years after Eminem's all-time best-selling album, 2000's The Marshall Mathers LP, and just two years after the movie 8 Mile, which gave him his biggest hit, "Lose Yourself."

While Eminem may have slipped a bit from his peak, the two-week sales tally for Relapse shows that he's still very much a dominant artist. Relapse is the first rap album to hold at #1 in its second week since T.I.'s Paper Trail in October. The album also holds at #1 in the U.K. for the second straight week. It's the first album to log two or more weeks at #1 on both sides of the Atlantic since Metallica's Death Magnetic in September.

If someone had asked you on New Year's Day to predict what would be the first 2009 album release to top the 1 million mark in sales, you might have said Bruce Springsteen's Working On A Dream, which was due at the end of January, or maybe U2's No Line On The Horizon, Kelly Clarkson's All I Ever Wanted or Rascal Flatts' Unstoppable. All would have been good guesses, but all would have been wrong. Miley Cyrus' Hannah Montana: The Movie soundtrack this week becomes the first 2009 release to top the 1 million mark in sales. The five best-selling albums released in 2009, as of this week, are Hannah Montana: The Movie (which has sold 1,004,000 copies), No Line On The Horizon (911,000), Eminem's Relapse (820,000), Unstoppable (725,000) and All I Ever Wanted (593,000). Taylor Swift's Fearless, a 2008 holdover, remains the #1 album of 2009. It has sold 1,173,000 copies since January 1.

Kris Allen and Adam Lambert continue to duke it out on the charts two after their American Idol showdown. Allen has two songs ("No Boundaries" and "Heartless") in the top 20 on Hot Digital Songs, while Lambert's highest entry is "Mad World" at #21. But Lambert has nine songs in the top 200, compared to five for Allen. And Lambert's digital-only Season 8 Favorite Performances album is doing better than Allen's. Lambert's slips from #33 to #52. Allen's drops from #50 to #125. The next big test will be the release of their debut albums later this year. The debut album by the winner has gotten off to a faster start than the debut album by the runner-up in every year except Season 2. In October 2003, runner-up Clay Aiken's Measure Of A Man sold 613,000 copies in its first week. Eight weeks later, winner Ruben Studdard's Soulful bowed with sales of 417,000. Allen has taken some abuse in the press for managing to upset the press' (and the judges') favorite. It seems unfair, but that's show-biz. If you want to be an artist, you have to put up with a lot of crap.

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Wisin Y Yandel's La Revolucion enters The Billboard 200 at #7. It's the highest-charting Spanish-language album since Mana's Amar Es Combatir debuted (and peaked) at #4 in August 2006. Wisin Y Mandel is a Latin reggae duo from Puerto Rico. Mana is a Latin rock group from Mexico. Wisin Y Mandel is the third act of Puerto Rican heritage to put a Spanish-language album in the top 10 in a little more than two years. Luis Miguel's Complices debuted at #10 in May 2008. Jennifer Lopez's Como Ama Una Mujer bowed at #10 in April 2007.

Taylor Swift's Fearless returns to the top 10 this week at #9. This is the album's 26th week in the top 10. That's the longest run in the top 10 for a country album since Carrie Underwood's Some Hearts logged 30 weeks in the top 10 from 2005 to 2007. (I erred previously in saying Some Hearts had 25 weeks in the top 10.)

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

1. Eminem, Relapse, 211,000. The album logs its second week at #1. Nearly 34,000 copies were sold digitally, making this the #1 Digital Album for the second week in a row. Five songs from the album are listed on Hot Digital Songs, topped by "We Made You," which rebounds to #24.

2. Green Day, 21st Century Breakdown, 76,000. The former #1 album holds at #2 for the second week. This is the second time that Eminem and Green Day have had the top two albums. Last time, Green Day was ahead, when American Idiot dethroned Encore in January 2005. "Know Your Enemy" dips to #27 on Hot Digital Songs.

3. Miley Cyrus/Hannah Montana, Hannah Montana: The Album soundtrack, 52,000. The former #1 album rebounds from #6 to #3. This is its 10th week in the top 10. The album returns to #1 on the country chart for a fifth week. Three songs from the album are listed on Hot Digital Songs, topped by "The Climb," which rebounds to #16.

4. Marilyn Manson, The High End Of Low, 49,000. This new entry is the band's sixth top 10 album. The two-CD set is its highest-charting album since The Golden Age Of Grotesque debuted at #1 in 2003. The band's 1996 debut, Antichrist Superstar, remains its best-seller. It has sold 1,929,000 copies. (See pop quiz below.)

5. Lady GaGa, The Fame, 45,000. The album rebounds from #8 to #5. This is its 15th week in the top 10. Four songs from the album are listed on Hot Digital Songs, topped by "Lovegame," which jumps to #4. At least one song from this album has been listed in the top five for all but two weeks since before Thanksgiving.

6. Kenny Chesney, Greatest Hits II, 43,000. The album drops from #3 to #6 in its second week.

7. Wisin Y Yandel, La Revolucion, 36,000. This new entry is the Puerto Rican duo's first top 10 album. Its last album, Wisin Vs. Yandel Los Extraterrestres, debuted (and peaked) at #14 in November 2007. The duo first charted with 2005's Pa'l Mundo, which hit #30.

8. Grizzly Bear, Veckatimest, 33,000. This new entry is the quartet's first release to make The Billboard 200. It's also Grizzly Bear's biggest sales week to date. The group's previous biggest sales week came in 2007, when Friend started with sales of less than 3,000 copies.

9. Taylor Swift, Fearless, 33,000. The former #1 album rebounds from #11 to #9. This is its 26th week in the top 10. Three songs from the album are listed on Hot Digital Songs, topped by "You Belong With Me," which jumps to #34.

10. Rascal Flatts, Unstoppable, 27,000. The former #1 album rebounds from #12 to #10. This is its seventh week in the top 10. "Summer Nights" debuts at #162 on Hot Digital Songs.

Five albums drop out of the top 10 this week. Dane Cook's ISolated INcident falls from #4 to #12, Busta Rhymes' Back On My B.S. tumbles from #5 to #22, Method Man and Redman's Blackout! 2 drops from #7 to #18, Tori Amos' Abnormally Attracted To Sin plummets from #9 to #44, and Kate Voegele's A Fine Mess dives from #10 to #42.

Montgomery Gentry's For Our Heroes debuts at #11. It's the country group's highest-charting album since You Do Your Thing peaked at #10 five years ago. This hits collection is sold exclusively through Cracker Barrel Old Country stores. A portion of the proceeds go to the Wounded Warrior Project...Hillsong United's Across The Earth: Tear Down The Walls opens at #21. The live album is the Christian rock group's highest-charting release to date...Mandy Moore's Amanda Leigh opens at #25.  This is Moore's third top 30 album. Her 1999 debut, So Real, remains her best-seller. It has sold 950,000 copies...The Just Dance! compilation bows at #30.

George Strait got a boost from the George Strait: ACM Artist Of The Decade special which aired on CBS on May 27. His 2008 album Troubadour vaults from #166 to #34. His 2004 compilation 50 Number Ones jumps to #1 on Top Catalog Albums. The album sold 8,000 copies this week and would have ranked #58 on the big chart if older, catalog albums were eligible to compete there. This is the first time that Strait has topped the catalog album chart.

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Steve Martin's The Crow: New Songs For The 5-String Banjo jumps from #106 to #93 in its second week. It also holds at #1 on the Bluegrass chart for the second week. Martin plugged the album Tuesday night on Late Night With Jimmy Fallon. He dryly noted that for an album top the Bluegrass chart, it has to sell "at least 700 copies." He's not that far off. But his album is doing better than that, befitting his superstar status. The Crow sold more than 5,000 copies this week.

Pop Quiz: Marilyn Manson took his name by combining the first and last names of two 1960s icons, Marilyn Monroe and Charles Manson. Monroe sang four songs on a soundtrack album that made the top five on Billboard's pop album chart in 1953. Name it. (Hint: Madonna.)

Song Scoreboard: Kanye West's "Heartless" tops the 3 million mark in paid downloads this week. It's West's second song to reach this threshold, following his 2007 smash "Stronger." West is the sixth artist to put two songs at or above the 3 million mark in paid downloads, following Flo Rida, Lady GaGa, Katy Perry, Rihanna and T.I....Black Eyed Peas' 2003 smash "Let's Get It Started" (featuring Justin Timberlake) tops the 2 million in paid downloads.

Heads Up: Dave Matthews Band's Big Whiskey And The GrooGrux King is expected to seize the top spot next week. The Matthews Band has had four #1 albums since 1998. Also due: Taking Back Sunday's New Again311's Uplifter, Rancid's Let The Dominoes Fall, Chickenfoot's Chickenfoot, Diane Birch's Bible Belt, the New Broadway cast recording of West Side Story and an eight-CD Neil Young box set, Neil Young Archives, Vol. 1: 1963-1972.

Shameless Plug: The Tony Awards will air on Sunday, which means you have just a few days to bone up on your knowledge of original cast albums. On Friday, I'll have a Chart Watch Extra in which I look at the history of original cast albums, from Camelot to Spamalot. What's the most successful cast album of all time? It's one of these three: South Pacific, The Sound Of Music or The Phantom Of The Opera. And what are the Beatles doing in the story? Check back on Friday and find out.

Quiz Answer: Marilyn Monroe sang four songs on the Gentlemen Prefer Blondes soundtrack, which reached #5 in 1953. Her big song was "Diamonds Are A Girl's Best Friend," to which Madonna paid homage in her 1985 video for "Material Girl."

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