Chart Watch

Week Ending Nov. 2, 2008: She’s In The P!nk

Chart Watch

P!nk has been a star for nearly a decade, but until this week she'd never cracked the top five on The Billboard 200. That changes as her new album Funhouse debuts at #2. Two of Pink's previous releases, M!ssundaztood and I'm Not Dead, climbed as high as #6.

Funhouse features "So What," a recent #1 hit on both the Hot 100 and Hot Digital Songs. The song rebounds to #5 in its 11th week on the latter chart. It has sold 1,851,000 downloads over the course of its run, which puts it at #76 on Nielsen/SoundScan's all-time list of songs with the most paid downloads. It's P!nk's most successful download to date. "U + Ur Hand" is #116 (with sales of 1,473,000). "Who Knew" is #148 (with sales of 1,326,000). (P!nk's 2001 party anthem "Get The Party Started" was released before the downloading era began.)

P!nk is the last member of the sassy quartet that performed the 2001 smash "Lady Marmalade" to land a top five album. Christina Aguilera reached the top five with her debut album in 1999.  Lil' Kim first made the mark in 2000, followed by Mya in 2003. The record's producer, Missy Elliott, beat them all to the punch. She made the top five with her debut album in 1997. (This may be the oddest factoid I've ever come up with.)

Three more albums topped the 1 million mark this week. AC/DC's Black Ice reached the 1 million mark in just two weeks. T.I.'s Paper Trail did it in five weeks. And Rihanna's Good Girl Gone Bad has sold 1 million copies in 2008, on top of the 954,000 copies it sold in 2007.

This brings to 16 the number of albums that have sold 1 million copies in 2008. Last year at this time, 22 albums had reached the million mark. Two years ago at the same point, 32 albums had topped 1 million in sales.

Black Ice is AC/DC's ninth album to top the 1 million mark in the Nielsen/SoundScan era, which began in 1991. Paper Trail is T.I.'s fifth. Good Girl Gone Bad is Rihanna's second.

AC/DC's biggest album is its 1980 blockbuster Back In Black, which has sold 6,308,000 copies since Nielsen/SoundScan starting tabulating sales in May 1991. The group's 1992 album, Live, has sold 5,332,000 copies (combining sales of single-disk and double-disk editions of the album.) The band's 1990 album, The Razors Edge, has sold 2,618,000 copies. Continuing, in descending order are 1979's Highway To Hell (1,914,000), 1986's Who Made Who (1,813,000), 1981's Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap (1,741,000), 1981's High Voltage (1,552,000) and 1995's Ballbreaker (1,161,000). Note: AC/DC has changed labels, which prompts Nielsen/SoundScan to start new counts, but I combined counts on different labels for this special tally. Still, there's no way to account for the millions of albums that several of these titles sold before May 1991.

"Live Your Life" by T.I. featuring Rihanna returns to #1 on the Hot 100, dethroning T.I.'s previous smash "Whatever You Like," which has held the top spot for a total of seven weeks. "Live Your Life" also returns to #1 on Hot Digital Songs, replacing Beyonce's "If I Were A Boy." This is the second week on top for "Live Your Life" on both charts. Over the course of its five week run, it has sold 1,123,000 downloads, which puts it at #40 for the year to date. "Whatever You Like" is #15 for the year-to-date. The unstoppable Rihanna has three songs in the year-to-date top 20: "Disturbia" at #8, "Don't Stop The Music" at #12 and "Take A Bow" at #19.

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

1. AC/DC, Black Ice, 271,000. The album holds at #1 for the second straight week. The album is #13 for the year-to-date. Among hard rock albums, it's second only to Metallica's Death Magnetic. Like Kid Rock, the Beatles and a few others, AC/DC is a digital holdout. Thus, no songs from the album are listed on Hot Digital Songs.

2. P!nk, Funhouse, 180,000. This new entry is P!nk's fourth straight top 10 album. She first reached the top 10 with M!ssundaztood in November 2001. More than 37,000 copies of the album were sold digitally, making it the week's #1 Digital Album. "So What" is one of six songs from the album listed on Hot Digital Songs.

3. Various Artists, High School Musical 3: Graduation Day, 162,000. The soundtrack dips a notch to #3 in its second week. It has sold 459,000 copies, fewer than High School Musical 2 sold in just its opening week (615,000). The movie was #1 at the box-office for the second straight week. Eight songs from the album are listed on Hot Digital Songs, topped by "Now Or Never," which dips from #36 to #48.

4. John Legend, Evolver, 133,000. This new entry is Legend's fourth straight top 10 album. It's his third studio album in a row to reach the top five. Get Lifted peaked at #4, Once Again hit #3. Two songs from the album are listed on Hot Digital Songs, topped by "Green Light" (featuring Andre 3000), which leaps from #54 to #28. The album also features collaborations with Kanye West, Brandy and Estelle.

5. Toby Keith, That Don't Make Me A Bad Guy, 91,000. This new entry is Keith's ninth top 10 album. His last five studio albums debuted (and peaked) at #1 or #2, so this is a sub-par showing for him. Unless the album rallies, it will go down as his lowest-charting studio set since Pull My Chain peaked at #9 in 2001. Some good news for Keith: This is #1 on the Country Albums chart, replacing Kenny Chesney's Lucky Old Sun. Two songs from the album are listed on Hot Digital Songs, topped by "She Never Cried In Front Of Me," which jumps from #107 to #86.

6. Rascal Flatts, Greatest Hits, Vol. 1., 89,000. This new entry is the group's fifth consecutive album to reach the top 10. The group's last three albums, all studio releases, hit #1. The group's 2006 hit "Life Is A Highway" re-enters Hot Digital Songs at #169. It has sold 1,843,000 downloads to date. (Is this a generic album cover or what? Are they trying to inhibit sales?)

7. T.I., Paper Trail, 77,000. The album drops from #3 to #7 in its fifth week. The album ranks #15 for the year to date. Among rap albums, it's second only to Lil Wayne's Tha Carter III. This is the fifth straight week that at least five songs from the album have been listed on Hot Digital Songs. In this regard, the album has picked up where Tha Carter III left off: At least five songs from Lil Wayne's album were listed on Hot Digital Songs for 21 consecutive weeks. This week, one of them finally fell off, breaking the streak.

8. Celine Dion, My Love: Ultimate Essential Collection, 57,000. This new entry is Dion's 11th top 10 album. The compilation, available in both single-disk and double-disk editions, features duets with Peabo Bryson, Barbra Streisand, R. Kelly and Andrea Bocelli. No songs from the album are listed on Hot Digital Songs. This is the first album to feature, in its title, both of the music biz's favorite marketing buzzwords, "Ultimate" and "Essential." Doubling up on the adjectives pushed the album into the top 10, which was the ultimate goal. You might say it was essential.

9. Snow Patrol, A Hundred Million Suns, 48,000. This new entry is the first top 10 album for the Scottish rock group. More than half of the albums (25,000) were sold digitally, largely because of a promotion at Amazon.com's MP3 service, where the album sold for just $3.99. Snow Patrol's previous highest-charting album was Eyes Open, which hit #27 in 2006. That album spawned "Chasing Cars," a top five hit on the Hot 100. "Crack The Shutters," from the new album, enters Hot Digital Songs at #74.

10. Kenny Chesney, Lucky Old Sun, 41,000. The album falls from #4 to #10 in its third week in the top 10. "Everybody Wants To Go To Heaven" (featuring The Wailers) dips from #101 to #131 on Hot Digital Songs.

Six albums drop out of the top 10 this week. Metallica's Death Magnetic falls from #5 to #12, Kid Rock's Rock N Roll Jesus drops from #6 to #13, Mary Mary's The Sound drops from #7 to #25, Ne-Yo's Year Of The Gentleman drops from #8 to #15, Jennifer Hudson's Jennifer Hudson falls from #9 to #14, and Lil Wayne's Tha Carter III drops from #10 to #20. Hudson's album registered a 10% sales gain compared to last week, but was forced down by all the debuts.

Five more albums entered the chart inside the top 20. Ryan Adams & The Cardinals' Cardinology debuts at #11. This is Adams' second top 20 album in a row...The Cure's 4:13 Dream debuts at #16. It's the English techno group's seventh top 20 album....Lady Gaga's debut album The Fame opens at #17...Bloc Party's Intimacy debuts at #18. It's the alternative band's second straight top 20 album...Michael W. Smith's New Hallelujah debuts at #19. It's the Contemporary Christian star's fifth top 20 album.

Michael Jackson's Thriller sold 31,000 copies last week and would have ranked #15 on the big chart if older, catalog albums were eligible to compete there. Instead, it jumps to #1 on the Catalog Albums chart. Thriller 25 topped the catalog chart for 10 weeks earlier this year. There are two principal editions of Thriller on Nielsen SoundScan's run-to-date chart. Added together, the album has sold 4,405,000 copies since 1991 (and, of course, millions more before that). The Halloween focus on the title track gave Thriller a boost. That song topped the 1 million mark in paid downloads this week. Its sales now stand at 1,019,000. A second song from the album, "Billie Jean," is also listed on Hot Digital Songs. It has sold 733,000 downloads.

Queen & Paul Rodgers' Cosmos Rocks debuts at #47. It's the group's first studio album since Made In Heaven, which hit #58 in 1995. This is the group's second release (following a live album) with new lead singer Paul Rodgers. Queen is the fourth group with which Rodgers has landed a top 50 album. He climbed as high as #17 with both Free and The Firm and made #1 with Bad Company.

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Burt Bacharach's Live At The Sydney Opera House debuts at #72. This is Bacharach's first live album to make the chart. It's his highest-charting album since Burt Bacharach went top 20 in 1971, though just barely. Collaborations with Elvis Costello (1998's Painted From Memory) and Ronald Isley (2003's Here I Am: Isley Meets Bacharach) also made the 70s on the chart. The peerless composer first charted as an artist in 1967 with Reach Out.

Ups & Downs: Brett Dennen's Hope For The Hopeless tumbles from #41 to #148 in its second week. Sales dropped by 67%, the steepest decline in the top 200. On the plus side, Chidos' Bone Palace Ballet re-enters the chart at #110. Sales jumped by 781%, the greatest percentage gain of any non-debuting album.

Heads Up: Hinder is expected to debut high on next week's chart with Take It To The Limit. It's the alternative band's follow-up to its double-platinum breakthrough Extreme Behavior, which hit #6. Andrea Bocelli and Brad Paisley are both aiming for their fourth top 10 albums. Bocelli will release Incanto; Paisley will issue Play, a mostly instrumental set featuring such guests as Buck Owens and B.B. King. The soundtrack to the upcoming horror/romantic movie, Twilight, features two songs by Paramore and songs by such other acts as Linkin Park, Collective Soul and Perry Farrell. Two more holiday albums will join the fray: Sarah Brightman's A Winter Symphony and Harry Connick Jr.'s What A Night! A Christmas Album. Also due: Q-Tip's The Renaissance, the rapper's first solo album in nearly nine years; Travis' Ode To J. Smith; Shiny Toy Guns' Season Of Poison; and Alvin & the Chipmunks' Undeniable.

Shameless Plug: The Country Music Assn. Awards, the most important awards in country music, are just a week away. You can bone up for the big show by checking out my latest Chart Watch Extra, set to run on Friday. I'll count down the top 15 country albums of the Nielsen/SoundScan era. As a bonus, I'll throw in the top 10 country songs with the most paid downloads. Sure, Garth and Shania are well represented, but how about Vince and Reba? Tim and Faith? Big & Rich? Check back on Friday and find out.

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