Chart Watch (NEW)

Week Ending Nov. 20, 2011. Albums: No Sophomore Slump Here

Chart Watch

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Drake's second full-length album, Take Care, sold 631K copies last week, a handsome increase over the 447K that the hip hop star's debut album, Thank Me Later, sold in its first week in June 2010. This is the biggest opening for any act's sophomore album since Justin Timberlake's FutureSex/LoveSounds started with sales of 684K in September 2006. Both of these artists first achieved prominence as teenagers. Drake got his start at 15 on the TV show Degrassi: The Next Generation; Timberlake exploded at 17 in *NSYNC.

Drake's album rang up the third-biggest one-week sales tally so far in 2011. His tally is topped only by Lady Gaga's discount-boosted Born This Way (1,108,000) and Lil Wayne's Tha Carter IV (964,000). This proves that, for all the talk about the flat economy and depressed album sales, fans still turn out for an album by a hot artist.

Drake's first-week tally includes 265K digital copies, which constitutes the seventh highest one-week total in digital history. In addition, 16 songs from the album are listed on Hot Digital Songs.

Hits' Roy Trakin notes that Take Care is, improbably, the second #1 album in a row by a Jewish rapper. Drake follows Mac Miller, who took the top spot last week with Blue Slide Park.

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Drake, who was born in Toronto, contributes to an historic week for Canadian artists. Canadian acts account for three of the week's top five albums. Michael Buble's Christmas holds at #2 for the second week. Justin Bieber's Under The Mistletoe rebounds from #6 to #5. This is the first time that Canadian acts have held down the top two spots simultaneously since Alanis Morissette's Jagged Little Pill and Celine Dion's Falling Into You were #1 and #2 for four weeks in 1996. And Canadian acts may well hold down four of the top 10 spots next week (including a clean sweep of the top three): Buble's album  and Nickelback's Hear And Now are in a tight race for #1. Drake will probably slip to #3.

British acts also account for three albums in the top 10, thanks to Adele, Coldplay and Susan Boyle. Italy's Andrea Bocelli also holds down a spot in the top 10. American acts, however, are missing from the top 10, unless you count the cast of Glee.

Let me back up and give you a little more info about a few of these albums. Adele's album this week becomes the first album to spend its first 39 weeks in the top five in the history of The Billboard 200. It surpasses Michael Jackson's Bad, which spent its first 38 weeks in the top five in 1987-1988. Adele's album will probably be forced out of the top five next week by all the debuts, so she made it right under the wire.

Buble's album is the first holiday album to spend two weeks at #2 without (yet) hitting #1 since Andrea Bocelli's My Christmas, which logged five weeks at #2 in 2009.  Buble's album fares better in the U.K., where it moves up to #1. It's Buble's second U.K. #1, following 2009's Crazy Love.

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Andrea Bocelli's Concerto One Night In Central Park bows at #4. This is Bocelli's sixth top 10 album. The album was recorded on Sept. 15, when Bocelli performed at Central Park. The album features such guests as Tony Bennett and Celine Dion.

This is the first album recorded live in Central Park to reach the top five. Three others have made the top 30. Simon & Garfunkel's The Concert In Central Park hit #6 in April 1982. Dave Matthews Band's The Central Park Concert hit #14 in 2003. Barbra Streisand's A Happening In Central Park hit #30 in December 1968. Another album rates an honorable mention. Sheryl Crow and Friends' Live From Central Park hit #107 in December 1999.

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Glee: The Music: The Christmas Album, Volume 2 debuts at #6. This is the 12th Glee album or EP to reach the top 10. (The only major Glee title to miss the top 10 was the soundtrack to the ill-advised Glee theatrical movie, which peaked at #16.) Last year's Glee: The Music: The Christmas Album has sold 955K copies, which makes it the second best-selling Glee album ever, topped only by the inaugural album in the series (which has sold 1,213,000 copies).

This is the first time that three holiday albums have appeared in the top 10 simultaneously since last November and December, when Susan Boyle's The Gift, Jackie Evancho's O Holy Night and Glee: The Music: The Christmas Album were listed in the top 10 together for six straight weeks.

Mariah Carey's "All I Want For Christmas Is You" is covered on all three of the holiday albums in the top 10. Carey's original version of the song re-enters Hot Digital Songs this week. It will top the 2 million mark in digital sales in coming weeks. Brenda Lee also had a lot of hits, but is best known today for her wonderful 1958 recording "Rockin' Around The Christmas Tree." It's quite possible that, for all her many hits, Carey will be best known 50 or more years from now for "All I Want For Christmas Is You." If that's the case, she is well served by this spirited song that perfectly captures the excitement of the season.

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Shameless Plug: In the lead, I mentioned Lady Gaga's "discount-boosted" debut with Born This Way. That's not meant to diss Gaga, but to point out that when a fan is able to buy an album for 99 cents, it's not quite the same thing as a regular purchase. Many of those bargain hunters would have paid regular prices; many others probably wouldn't have. We'll never know. This won't be a problem going forward. Billboard announced last week that, starting next week, any album that sells for less than $3.49 during its first four weeks of release won't count on the magazine's album charts. I wrote a Chart Watch Extra about it. If you missed it, here's a link.

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Shameless Plug: We all know that Adele will dominate the Grammy nominations, which will be announced next Wednesday, but who will she face in the marquee categories? I forecast the noms for Album, Record and Song of the Year, as well as Best New Artist, in a post for the "And The Winner Is" folder. If you missed it, here's a link. I also forecast the noms in eight "genre album" categories, including R&B, rap and country. If you missed that one, here's a link.

Four songs enter Hot Digital Songs inside the top 10: "Take Care" by Drake featuring Rihanna, the Glee rendition of Adele's "Rumor Has It" /"Someone Like You," Rihanna's "You Da One" and Drake featuring Lil Wayne's "Motto." Which will also crack the top 10 on the Hot 100? You'll find out later today when we post Chart Watch: Songs.

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

1. Drake, Take Care, 631,000. This new entry is Drake's second album in a row to debut at #1. Sixteen songs from the album are listed on Hot Digital Songs, topped by "Take Care" (featuring Rihanna), which debuts at #4.

2. Michael Buble, Christmas, 165,000. The album holds at #2 for the second week. This is its fourth week in the top 10. The album has sold 518K copies in its first four weeks.

3. Adele, 21, 113,000. The former #1 album rebounds from #5 to #3 in its 39th week. It has been in the top five the entire time. Five songs from the album are listed on Hot Digital Songs, topped by "Someone Like You," which drops from#6 to #8.

4. Andrea Bocelli, Concerto One Night In Central Park, 87,000. This new entry is Bocelli's sixth top 10 album. It's Bocelli's highest-charting live album, surpassing Vivere: Live In Tuscany, which hit #22 in 2008.

5. Justin Bieber, Under The Mistletoe, 84,000. The former #1 album rebounds from #6 to #5. This is its third week in the top 10. "Mistletoe" drops from #62 to #69 on Hot Digital Songs.

6. TV Soundtrack, Glee: The Music: The Christmas Album, Volume 2, 71,000. This new entry is the 12th Glee album or EP to make the top 10. The Glee version of Mariah Carey's "All I Want For Christmas Is You" debuts at #134.

7. Various Artists, Now 40, 71,000. The album drops from #3 to #7 in its second week. The album has sold 190K copies in its first two weeks.

8. Soundtrack, Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn, Part 1, 61,000. The album drops from #4 to #8 in its second week. It's the highest-charting soundtrack to a theatrically-released movie for the second week. The movie was #1 at the box-office over the weekend. Bruno Mars' "It Will Rain" jumps from #8 to #3 on Hot Digital Songs.

9. Coldplay, Mylo Xyloto, 54,000. The former #1 album dips from #8 to #9 in its fourth week. Two songs from the album are listed on Hot Digital Songs. "Paradise" jumps from #21 to #20. "Every Teardrop Is A Waterfall" jumps from #176 to #166.

10. Susan Boyle, Someone To Watch Over Me, 52,000. The album drops from #7 to #10 in its third week. The album has sold 254K copies in its first three weeks.

Mac Miller's Blue Slide Park plummets from #1 to #24 in its second week. It's the first album to fall from #1 straight out of the top 10 since Amos Lee's Mission Bell tumbled from #1 to #26 in February. Two other albums drop out of the top 10 this week. Romeo Santos' Formula Vol. 1 drops from #9 to #19 and Il Divo's Wicked Game drops from #10 to #21.

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Pop Quiz: In the last 50 years, three acts have amassed 11 top 10 albums without ever reaching #1. No acts have had more top 10 albums in this time frame without reaching the summit. Try and guess who these three acts are. Answer below.

Childish Gambino's Camp debuts at #11. Childish Gambino is the hip-hop alter ego of actor Donald Glover, who co-stars on the NBC series Community. His "Heartbeat" enters Hot Digital Songs at #193.…Scotty McCreery's Clear As Day rebounds from #14 to #13 in its seventh week. It's #1 on Top Country Albums for the fourth week. That's the longest run at #1 on the country chart for an album by an American Idol contestant since Carrie Underwood's 2005 debut Some Hearts stayed on top for 27 weeks. McCreery is starting to look like a real country star in the making.

Webbie's third album, Savage Life 3, bows at #17. The first two Savage Life albums both made the top 10.

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Frank Sinatra's Best Of The Best opens at #23. This gives Sinatra an unsurpassed 65-year span of hit albums. (The chart was just a top five list when Sinatra first charted in March 1946.) This is Sinatra's 22nd greatest hits set or compilation to crack the chart. His first charted compilation was 1956's This Is Sinatra!, which made the top 10. Two Sinatra compilations have reached the top five: 1961's All The Way (titled after his 1957 Oscar-winning smash) and 2008's Nothing But The Best.

Susan Boyle's 2010 album The Gift rebounds from #36 to #32. It moves up to #1 on Top Catalog Albums. All but three of the albums in the top 20 on the catalog chart are holiday albums. The only exceptions are Adele's 19, Florence + the Machine's Lungs and Michael Jackson's Number Ones.

Gym Class Heroes' The Papercut Chronicles II opens at #54. This is a very disappointing debut, given the success of the album's 2-million-selling single "Stereo Hearts" (featuring Adam Levine)…R.E.M.'s Part Lies, Part Heart, Part Truth, Part Garbage 1982-2011 debuts at #55. That's also a disappointing debut, given the amount of publicity the group received when it announced it was calling it quits.

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Quiz Answer: Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers, Rush and James Taylor are the three acts that have amassed 11 top 10 albums, but have never reached #1. (All have climbed as high as #2.) In the last 50 years, no acts have had more top 10 albums without reaching the summit. However, if you go all the way back to 1955, one act has had more: orchestra leader Ray Conniff had 12 top 10 albums without ever striking the top spot. (His highest-charting album was Somewhere My Love, which hit #3 in 1966.) How do I know all this? I checked out Joel Whitburn's latest paperback book, Top 10 Albums 1955-2011. The book will make you smarter, better informed and more popular at parties. Here's a link to Joel's site.

Rush's Time Machine 2011 is #1 on Top Music Videos for the second straight week.

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Coming Attractions: Nickelback's Here And Now will be next week's top new entry at either #1 or #2. Five other albums will probably debut in the top 10: Rihanna's Talk That Talk, Daughtry's Break The Spell, Mary J. Blige's My Life II…The Journey Continues (Act 1), Big Time Rush's Elevate and Taylor Swift's Speak Now World Tour Live. Also due: Michael Jackson's Immortal, Bob Seger and the Silver Bullet Band's Ultimate Hits Rock And Roll Never Forgets, Yelawolf's Radioactive, Landau Eugene Murphy Jr.'s That's Life, James Durbin's Memories Of A Beautiful Disaster and a reissue of the Rolling Stones' Some Girls.

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