Chart Watch

Week Ending Sept. 12, 2010: The Dulcet Tones Of Bruno Mars

Chart Watch

Bruno Mars' "Just The Way You Are" jumps to #1 on Hot Digital Songs, dethroning Katy Perry's "Teenage Dream." Mars' song sold 209,000 copies, bringing its eight-week total to 957,000. This is Mars' second #1 digital hit, following B.o.B's "Nothin' On You" (on which he was featured), which had two weeks on top in April. Mars is the first artist to step up from a "featured" credit on a chart-topping hit to a #1 hit of his or her own since Ke$ha, who was featured on Flo Rida's "Right Round" and then landed her own smash with "TiK ToK." (Proving that the current pop scene is completely incestuous, Mars co-wrote "Right Round.")

"Just The Way You Are" jumps to #3 on the Hot 100 and may yet unseat Katy Perry's "Teenage Dream," which logs its second week on top. Mars' song has already climbed as high as Billy Joel's (different song) "Just The Way You Are," which peaked at #3 in February 1978.

Mars (real name: Peter Hernandez) has brought a touch of old-school romance to the pop landscape. Thanks, Bruno, we needed that. Mars' debut album, Doo-Wops & Hooligans, is due on Oct. 5.  (Mars has also redeemed the name "Bruno," which took a hit when Bruce Willis released The Return Of Bruno in 1987. The album, released at the height of Willis' Moonlighting fame, was a pointless side project.)

Sara Bareilles' sophomore album, Kaleidoscope Heart, enters The Billboard 200 at #1. The album sold 90,000 copies. That's the fifth-lowest sales total in Nielsen/SoundScan history for an album in its first week at #1. The only albums to sell fewer copies in their first week at #1 were Sugarland's Live On The Inside (76K), Chrisette Michele's Epiphany (83K), B.o.B's B.o.B Presents: The Adventures Of Bobby Ray (84K) and Johnny Cash's American V: A Hundred Highways (88K). 

While the total for Kaleidoscope Heart was tepid, the album is selling well in the digital sphere. The album sold 59,000 digital copies, which is two-thirds of its total. Only one single-artist album has reached #1 with a higher digital percentage. Ke$ha's Animal hit #1 in January with a 76% digital share. (The multi-artist Hope For Haiti Now and two Glee soundtracks also hit #1 with higher digital percentages.)

Bareilles' debut album, Little Voice, was also a big digital hit. It has sold 318,000 digital copies out of a total of 997,000. (That's a digital percentage of 32%.)

Little Voice, which entered The Billboard 200 at #45 in July 2007, was the definition of a sleeper hit. It finally reached #7 in February and March 2008. The album included the hit "Love Song," which took off after it was featured in a Rhapsody commercial. It wound up spending 19 weeks in the top 10 on the Hot 100. It later received a Grammy nomination for Song of the Year for 2008.

Eminem's Recovery climbs from #3 to #2. It's the first album to spend its first 12 weeks in the top three on The Billboard 200 since Alicia Keys' As I Am, which spent its first 15 weeks in the top three in 2007-2008. Eminem opened the show on the VMAs on Sunday night. This could help keep the album in the top three next week. Stay tuned.

Recovery this week becomes the second album of 2010 to top the 2.5 million mark in sales. It follows Lady Antebellum's Need You Now. Recovery reached the 2.5 million sales mark in just 12 weeks. Lady A's album took 29 weeks to reach that threshold. The last album to sell more copies in its first 12 weeks was Susan Boyle's I Dreamed A Dream, which blew through 3,512,000 copies in its first 12 weeks in 2009-2010. Of course, that was during the holidays, when sales always swell. Recovery is just 110,000 copies behind Need You Now as the best-selling album so far in 2010.

Like Bareilles' album, Recovery has been a big digital hit. The album has sold 649,000 digital copies (26% of its total). It's #4 on Nielsen/SoundScan's list of the best-selling digital albums in history, behind Lady Gaga's The Fame, Coldplay's Viva La Vida Or Death And All His Friends and Taylor Swift's Fearless. Recovery is the top-selling digital album by a male artist (beating John Mayer's Continuum) and the top-seller by a hip-hop artist (topping Jay-Z's The Blueprint 3).

Taylor Swift's Fearless tops the 6 million mark in sales this week. It's the first album to reach that level since Carrie Underwood's 2005 smash Some Hearts, which has since advanced to the 7 million mark. (It's up to 7,021,000.) Fearless won a Grammy for Album of  the Year for 2009.

Ke$ha this week becomes the second "lead artist," following Lady Gaga, to amass four million-selling downloads in 2010. She achieves the feat as "Take It Off" tops the 1 million mark. It follows "TiK ToK," "Your Love Is My Drug" and "Blah Blah Blah" (featuring 3OH!3). Lady Gaga has topped the 1 million mark in 2010 sales with "Telephone" (featuring Beyonce), "Bad Romance," "Alejandro" and "Poker Face."

Ke$ha was also featured on 3OH!3's "My First Kiss," which has topped the 1 million mark. This gives her a total of five million-sellers (combining lead and featured credits). Only one other artist has equaled that tally in 2010. That would be Ludacris, who has topped the 1 million mark with his own hits "How Low" and "My Chick Bad" (featuring Nicki Minaj) and as a featured artist on Taio Cruz's "Break Your Heart," Justin Bieber's "Baby" and DJ Khaled's "All I Do Is Win."

Two other songs top the 1 million mark in paid downloads this week: "Magic" by B.o.B featuring Rivers Cuomo and "DJ Got Us Falling In Love" by Usher featuring Pitbull. It's the third million-seller of the year for B.o.B; the second for both Usher and Pitbull.

Brandon Flowers' solo debut album, Flamingo, enters the U.K. chart at #1. (It will make a high debut on The Billboard 200 next week.) Flowers' band, The Killers, has topped the U.K. chart with three of its four albums, Hot Fuss, Sam's Town and Day & Age. Flamingo is the first solo debut album to hit #1 in the U.K. since Beyonce's Dangerously In Love reached the top spot in July 2003.

The Killers have yet to have a #1 album in the U.S. Sam's Town, the band's highest-charting album, reached #2. (Incidentally, Flamingo was named after a main street in Las Vegas, which is Flowers' home town.)

Here's the top 10 on Hot Digital Songs, as tabulated by Nielsen/SoundScan. Bruno Mars' "Just The Way You Are" jumps from #2 to #1 (209K). Katy Perry's "Teenage Dream" dips from #1 to #2 (197K). Taio Cruz's "Dynamite" holds at #3 for the third week (155K). Nelly's "Just A Dream" jumps from #7 to #4 (155K). Eminem featuring Rihanna's "Love The Way You Lie" dips from #4 to #5 (147K). Enrique Iglesias featuring Pitbull's "I Like It" holds at #6 for the third week (137K). Usher featuring Pitbull's "DJ Got Us Fallin' In Love" drops from #5 to #7 (137K). Flo Rida featuring David Guetta's "Club Can't Handle Me" jumps from #11 to #8 (119K). Ke$ha's "Take It Off dips from #8 to #9 (115K). B.o.B featuring Rivers Cuomo's "Magic" holds at #10 for the second week (108K).

Broken Record: Just 4,832,000 albums were sold in the tracking week that ended Sunday night, the lowest weekly total since Nielsen/SoundScan began tracking sales for Billboard in May 1991. The previous low, set just four weeks ago, was 4,950,000.

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

1. Sara Bareilles, Kaleidoscope Heart, 90,000. This new entry is the singer's first #1 album. Her 2007 debut album, Little Voice, peaked at #7. Three songs from the album are listed on Hot Digital Songs, topped by "King Of Anything," which jumps from #40 to #26.

2. Eminem, Recovery, 81,000. The former #1 album rebounds from #3 to #2 in its 12th week. Five songs from the album are listed on Hot Digital Songs, topped by "Love The Way You Lie" (featuring Rihanna), which dips from #4 to #5.

3. Various Artists, Now 35, 63,000. The album dips from #2 to #3 in its second week. the album has sold 169K copies in its first two weeks.

4. Katy Perry, Teenage Dream, 59,000. The former #1 album holds at #4 in its third week. Four songs from the album are listed on Hot Digital Songs, topped by "Teenage Dream," which dips from #1 to #2.

5. Disturbed, Asylum, 57,000. The former #1 album drops from #1 to #5 in its second week. "Warrior" falls from #56 to #144 on Hot Digital Songs.

6. Stone Sour, Audio Secrecy, 46,000. This new entry is the second top 10 album in a row for the metal band. Come What(ever) May hit #4 in 2006. "Say You'll Haunt Me" re-enters Hot Digital Songs at #195.

7. Interpol, Interpol, 38,000. This new entry is the second top 10 album in a row for the rock band. Our Love To Admire hit #4 in 2007.

8. Justin Bieber, My World 2.0, 35,000. The former #1 album holds at #8 in its 25th week. Four songs from the album are listed on Hot Digital Songs, topped by "Baby" (featuring Ludacris), which jumps from #81 to #79.

9. Anberlin, Dark Is The Way. Light Is A Place, 31,000. This new entry is the first top 10 album for the alternative band. Its two previous albums, Cities and New Surrender, made the top 20.

10. Various Artists, Camp Rock 2: The Final Jam, 31,000. The soundtrack dips from #9 to #10 in its fifth week. This is its third week in the top 10. It's the #1 soundtrack for the fifth week. Nick Jonas' "Introducing Me" jumps from #58 to #49 on Hot Digital Songs.

Four albums drop out of the top 10 this week. Fantasia's Back To Me drops from #5 to #11, Lyfe Jennings' I Still Believe drops from #6 to #22, Goo Goo Dolls' Something For The Rest Of Us drops from #7 to #33, and Heart's Red Velvet Car drops from #10 to #36.

Celtic Thunder's Christmas debuts at #27. If you think this is a little early in the year for a holiday album to enter the chart, this is nothing. At this point in 1992, Garth Brooks' Beyond The Season was in its third week on the chart.

Jerry Lee Lewis' Mean Old Man enters The Billboard 200 at #30. It's Lewis' second album in a row to crack the top 30, following Last Man Standing, which hit #26 in 2006. That remains the highest-charting album of his career. With a few exceptions, such as Elvis Presley, rock 'n' roll was primarily a singles medium in the '50s. Lewis didn't crack The Billboard 200 until March 1964, nearly seven years after he landed his first smash hits, "Whole Lot Of Shakin' Going On" and "Great Balls Of Fire." Lewis was in the first group of inductees into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1986. He received a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 2005.

Casting Crowns' 2007 album The Altar And The Door jumps from #36 to #34. It's #1 on Top Catalog Albums for the third straight week.

Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World is the #1 soundtrack to a theatrically-released movie for the fourth straight week. On the Billboard 200, the album drops from #69 to #91. That's the lowest ranking for the week's most popular soundtrack to a theatrically-released movie since Happy Feet claimed the title in May 2007, when it ranked a dismal #116.

Resident Evil: Afterlife was #1 at the box-office over the weekend. The soundtrack, composed by Tomandandy, will be released on Sept. 28.

"Feel Good Inc" by Gorillaz/De La Soul tops the 2 million mark in paid downloads this week. The hit was a Grammy finalist for Record of the Year for 2005. Madonna and Gorillaz memorably performed the show on the Grammy telecast in February 2006.

Alexandra Burke's "Start Without You" (featuring Laza Morgan) debuts at #1 in the U.K. It's the third #1 in that country for the 2008 winner of The X Factor.

Heads Up: Linkin Park's A Thousand Suns is expected to debut at #1 next week with first-week sales in the range of 260,000. The band's last album, Minutes To Midnight, bowed at #1 in May 2007. Trey Songz' Passion, Pain & Pleasure will probably bow at #2, with first-week sales in the range of 225,000. Four other albums are likely to debut in the top 10: Jamey Johnson's The Guitar Song, Weezer's HurlyRobert Plant's Band Of Joy and Brandon Flowers' Flamingo. Also due: Will Downing's Lust, Love & Lie (An Audio Novel).

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