Chart Watch (NEW)

Week Ending Nov. 25, 2012. Albums: Crash And Burn

Chart Watch

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This is one of those weeks where the downward moves and slow starts are more interesting than the upward moves. Susan Boyle's Standing Ovation: The Greatest Songs From The Stage drops from #12 to #31 in its second week, suggesting that her appeal owed a great deal to her compelling back story (the frumpy woman with the golden voice), a hook that is no longer fresh. The Rolling Stones' GRRR! drops from #19 to #64 in its second week, proving that a 50th anniversary hook isn't enough to sell a three-disk album in this market and/or that even with name-checks in #1 hits by Ke$ha and Maroon 5 featuring Christina Aguilera, Mick Jagger is still a distant figure to today's record buyers.

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Whitney Houston's I Will Always Love You: The Best Of Whitney Houston drops from #14 to #58 in its second week, despite the promotion of We Will Always Love You: A Grammy Salute To Whitney Houston, which aired on Nov. 16. And despite sale pricing on the album last week. (The album has sold just 57K copies in its first two weeks of release.) Likewise, Michael Jackson's Bad re-enters the chart at #142. I expected much more in the wake of ABC's Thanksgiving night airing of Spike Lee's documentary on the making of the album. It was a 90-minute commercial for the album, and it motivated only 11K people to actually buy the album this week(!). (And that tally combines sales of Bad and Bad 25, which sold 2K copies this week, too few to make the chart. The elaborate Bad 25 package has sold just 20K copies in its 10 weeks of release.)

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Soundgarden's King Animal drops from #5 to #52 in its second week, proving that the band's decision to take 16 years between studio albums wasn't, well, sound. Green Day's Dos! plummets from #9 to #75 in its second week, proving that the band would probably have been better off putting out one killer album in which they culled the best songs from Uno!, Dos! and Tre!, rather than releasing three albums in quick succession.

Here are some more drops that caught my eye. The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn, Part 2 drops from #3 to #24, even though the movie was #1 at the box-office for the second straight weekend. Lana Del Rey's EP Paradise drops from #10 to #76 in its second week. The Deftones' Koi No Yokan drops from #11 to #83 in its second week. Aaron Lewis' first full-length solo album, The Road, drops from #30 to #122 in its second week. (At least he's still got his day job in Staind to go back to.)

Here are a couple that have been out a while. Muse's The 2nd Law drops from #72 to #166 in its eighth week. The band's last album, The Resistance, logged 34 weeks in the top 100. Neil Young & Crazy Horse's Psychedelic Pill drops from #65 to #176 in its fourth week. Their last album, Americana, spent eight weeks in the top 100.

Disclaimer: As Lenny Kravitz once sang, "It Ain't Over 'Til It's Over," and some of these albums may turn around as Christmas draws closer.

Time for some good news.

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After amassing 12 #1 singles on the Hot 100, Rihanna finally lands her first #1 album on The Billboard 200 with Unapologetic. The album sold 238K copies, which is Rihanna's highest first-week tally to date. It surpasses Loud, which sold 207K in its first week. Unapologetic is Rihanna's sixth album in a row to reach the top five. Her highest-charting album before this was Good Girl Gone Bad, which reached #2 in June 2007.

Unapologetic also enters Top Digital Albums at #1, with 107K in digital sales. It's Rihanna's first album to debut at #1 on the digital chart, through her two most recent albums, Loud and Talk That Talk, hit #1 on that chart in their third weeks.

Unapologetic also enters the Official U.K. chart at #1. It's Rihanna's fourth #1 in that country, following Good Girl Gone Bad, Loud and Talk That Talk.

"Diamonds," the first single from the album, dips to #2 on Hot Digital Songs. (What toppled it? Read on.) It is expected to hold at #1 on the Hot 100 for the second week. Will it? You'll find out later today when we post Chart Watch: Songs.

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Taylor Swift's Red holds at #2 for the second week in its fifth week on the chart. In addition, the album tops the 2 million mark in sales this week. It's the first album to sell 2 million copies in as few as five weeks since Susan Boyle's I Dreamed A Dream sold 2 million in just four weeks in late 2009. This is the fastest that a Swift album has reached the 2 million mark. Her 2010 album Speak Now took six weeks. Her 2008 album Fearless took seven. Her 2006 debut album Taylor Swift took a not-so-swift 61 weeks.

Swift also tops the 20 million mark in overall album sales this week. Among female country artists, she's in fourth place behind Shania Twain (34,244,000), Reba McEntire (30,102,000) and LeAnn Rimes (20,493,000). Swift just this week pulls ahead of Faith Hill, who is in fifth place with 20,105,000. Note: McEntire sold millions more albums between October 1977, when her first album came out, and 1991, when Nielsen SoundScan began tracking sales for Billboard.

One Direction's Take Me Home drops to #3 after debuting at #1 last week. The album has sold 716K copies, which puts it at #15 for the year-to-date. The quintet has two albums in the top 15 for the year-to-date. Up All Night ranks #3. No other act has two albums in the top 15 for the year-to-date. Adele has two of the top 20.

In addition, Up All Night—The Live Tour logs its 23rd week at #1 on Top Music Videos.

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Phillip Phillips' The World From The Side Of The Moon debuts at #4. Phillips is the seventh American Idol winner to crack the top five with his or her debut album. Debut albums by Kelly Clarkson, Ruben Studdard and Scotty McCreery opened at #1. Debut albums by Carrie Underwood and Taylor Hicks bowed at #2. David Cook's first post-Idol album debuted and peaked at #3. Phillips' album includes "Home," which is the best-selling "coronation song" in Idol history. It has sold 2,582,000 copies to date.

Kid Rock's Rebel Soul, his first album since he belatedly joined the digital universe, debuts at #5. The album sold 146K copies, which is less than his three previous albums, which sold between 172K and 189K copies in their first weeks. Rebel Soul sold 90K CDs and 57K digital copies.

It's impossible to know how many sales Kid Rock missed out on by not being part of the digital scene before this, but I can tell you this: A cover band known as Rock Heroes sold 1,647,000 digital copies of his 2007 radio hit "All Night Long."

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Rod Stewart's Merry Christmas, Baby holds at #6 for the second week. It's the highest-ranking of 49 (!) holiday albums on this week's Billboard 200.

P!nk's The Truth About Love rebounds from #22 to #7 in its 10th week. This is its seventh week in the top 10. This is already the longest that a P!nk album has remained in the top 10 since her 2002 smash Missundaztood logged 23 weeks in the top 10. This is one of many albums that benefited from heavy discounting last week. A lot of albums were on sale for between $5 and $8. range.

Led Zeppelin's Celebration Day debuts at #9. The CD/DVD combo is the band's 13th top 10 album; its fourth since it disbanded in the wake of drummer John Bonham's death in 1980. Zeppelin first cracked the top 10 in May 1969, which gives it a 43-1/2 year span of top 10 albums. That's the record for a hard rock/heavy metal band. Celebration Day was recorded at the band's reunion show at London's 02 Arena in 2007.

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Adele's 21 performs two miracles this week. The album tops the 10 million mark in U.S. sales, a milestone that most had figured was out of reach for newer releases, given the diminished sales of recent years. And it reached the 10 million mark in less than two years (92 weeks, to be exact), faster than any other album since *NSYNC's No Strings Attached hit 10M in its 43rd week in January 2001. That blockbuster was released when album sales were at a dizzy peak. The fact that 21 has reached 10M in a markedly more challenging sales environment is extraordinary.

Shameless Plug: We're marking the occasion with a Chart Watch Extra, a list of the 21 10-million sellers of the Nielsen SoundScan era. I list them not by their total sales to date (that would be too easy), but by how long they took to sell 10 million copies. Backstreet Boys' Millennium is on top (just 40 weeks). A catalog album, Bob Marley & the Wailers' Legend, is at the bottom (more than 18 years). Be sure and check out the full list.

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PSY's "Gangnam Style" returns to #1 on Hot Digital Songs. This is its sixth week on top. That's the longest run by a song that never reached #1 on the Hot 100 since Miley Cyrus' "Party In The U.S.A." had six weeks on top of the digital sales chart in 2009. I'll have more details in Chart Watch Songs later today.

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

The Top Five: Rihanna's Unapologetic debuts at #1 (238K). This is her seventh top 10 album; her first to reach #1… Taylor Swift's Red holds at #2 for the second week in its fifth week (185K). This is its fifth week in the top 10... One Direction's Take Me Home drops from #1 to #3 in its second week (176K)…Phillip Phillips' The World From The Side Of The Moon debuts at #4 (169K). This is his first top 10 album… Kid Rock's Rebel Soul debuts at #5 (146K). This is his seventh top 10 album; his sixth to make the top five.

The Second Five: Rod Stewart's Merry Christmas, Baby holds at #6 for the second week in its fourth week (117K). This is its fourth week in the top 10…P!nk's The Truth About Love rebounds from #22 to #7 in its 10th week (114K). This is its seventh week in the top 10…Jason Aldean's Night Train rebounds from #13 to #8 in its sixth week (103K). This is its fifth week in the top 10…Led Zeppelin's Celebration Day debuts at #9 (101K). This is the band's 13th top 10 album…Keyshia Cole's Woman To Woman debuts at #10 (96K). This is Cole's fifth top 10 album.

The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn, Part 2 drops from #3 to #24. It's #1 on Top Soundtracks for the second week. Six other albums drop out of the top 10 this week. The Weeknd's Trilogy drops from #4 to #34…Soundgarden's King Animal drops from #5 to #52…Christina Aguilera's Lotus drops from #7 to #17… Now 44 drops from #8 to #15…Green Day's Dos! plummets from #9 to #75…Lana Del Rey's Paradise EP nosedives from #10 to #76.

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Kelly Clarkson's Greatest Hits: Chapter One debuts at #11. This is her sixth top 20 album, but her first to miss the top 10…Pitbull's Global Warming debuts at #14. This is his fifth top 20 album. Two have reached the top 10: Rebelution (#8 in 2009) and Planet Pit (#7 in 2011)…Michael Buble's Christmas jumps from #20 to #16 in its fifth week back on the chart. It's #1 on Top Catalog Albums for the fourth straight week.

AC/DC's Live At River Plate debuts at #66. The band's video of the same name was #1 on Top Music Videos for seven weeks in 2011.

Shameless Plug: AC/DC invaded the digital album and songs charts this week in the wake of the band's belated entry into the digital market. I'll have a Chart Watch Extra on that later today.

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Coming Attractions: Alicia Keys' Girl On Fire will be next week's top new entry, with sales in the 150K range.  Will it debut at #1 or will, say, Rod Stewart's Merry Christmas, Baby climb to the top? We'll soon see. Also due: Timeflies' One Night EP (about 25K), Glee: The Music, Season 4, Volume 1 (about 18K), Future's Pluto 3D and Rage Against The Machine's XX, a 20th anniversary re-release of its debut album.

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