Twenty-five years into his career, tobyMac adds to his already impressive history with his first Billboard 200 No. 1.
"I'm thankful for the fans, because they're loyal," tobyMac says. "I always attribute that to, hopefully, I'm writing songs that are connecting with their lives."
Undoubtedly, he still is.
As previously reported, tobyMac (born Kevin McKeehan) celebrates his first Billboard 200 No. 1, as "Eye on It" roars in at the summit, marking the first album of Christian music to crown the list since 1997. The set has yielded his fifth Christian Songs No. 1 in first single "Me Without You."
On Christian Albums, "Eye" is tobyMac's third leader, following "(Portable Sounds)," which reigned for two weeks in 2007, and "Tonight," his last proper studio effort, which led for seven frames in 2010.
Those commands followed tobyMac's domination in the group dc Talk, which he co-founded in 1987. The act likewise topped Christian Albums with three releases: "Free at Last" (19 weeks at No. 1, 1993), "Jesus Freak" (14 weeks, 1995) and "Supernatural" (one week, 1998).
Secular audiences might remember dc Talk best for its song "Between You and Me," which rose to No. 11 on Adult Pop Songs, No. 15 on Pop Songs and No. 29 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1996.
"If you write songs that connect with people's lives, they'll stick with you," tobyMac says.
THANK U, INDIE: Alanis Morissette continues her perfect streak of reaching the Billboard 200 top with each of her U.S. studio albums, as "Havoc and Bright Lights" begins at No. 5.
Here is a recap of Morissette's appearances in the chart's top tier, which she first visited the week of Aug. 5, 1995:
1995-96, No. 1 (14 weeks), "Jagged Little Pill"
1998, No. 1 (two weeks),"Supposed Former Infatuation Junkie"
2002, No. 1 (one week), "Under Rug Swept"
2004, No. 5, "So-Called Chaos"
2008, No. 8, "Flavors of Entanglement"
2012, No. 5, "Havoc and Bright Lights"
The new set is Morissette's first since leaving Maverick/Warner Bros. (where she had spent her entire U.S. career), as it was released independently through Collective Sounds via RED Distribution. "This is the first opportunity for me to work with people from the ground up, versus having this kind of dysfunctional, disconnected relationship in which everything is a battle," Morissette says. "(My new) contracts are for short periods of time - one-record cycles - so there's not this sort of sinking feeling that if something doesn't work out, you're stuck in a harrowing marriage for 13 years."
Not that Morissette is forsaking her hit-packed past, which tended to chronicle inner struggles, whereas her more recent material her reflected life as married mother, with current single "Guardian" (a No. 27 hit on Adult Pop Songs) an ode to lasting love.
"There's this timelessness to songs like 'You Oughta Know.' Anger is anger, yearning is yearning. Some of the yearnings that I wrote about, I've actually lived my way into some of the answers, so that's fortunate."
YEAH!: Usher claims his first No. 1 as a lead artist on Dance/Club Play Songs, as "Scream" jumps 2-1. His sole previous trip to the top occurred as a guest (with Lil Wayne) on Enrique Iglesias' "Dirty Dancer" last year.
As a lead act, Usher had neared the top with "OMG" and "Climax," each of which reached No. 3 in 2010 and earlier this year, respectively.
MODERN ART: With a debut at No. 7 on Folk Albums with retrospective "The Singer," Art Garfunkel scores his first solo top 10 on a Billboard chart since 1981, when his song "A Heart in New York" climbed to No. 10 on Adult Contemporary.
The new album's title fittingly bookends his former Simon & Garfunkel partner Paul Simon's 2011 best-of collection "Songwriter," as Simon penned the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame pair's eight Hot 100 top 10s, including the No. 1s "The Sound of Silence" (two weeks, 1966), "Mrs. Robinson" (three weeks, 1968) and "Bridge Over Troubled Water" (six weeks, 1970).
KEYS STARTS: Alicia Keys earns the top new entry on R&B/Hip-Hop Songs, as "Girl on Fire" garnered 2.1 million audience impressions in less than a day (Sept. 4), according to Nielsen BDS and beings at No. 67. The song previews Keys' fifth album of the same name, due Nov. 27.
"Girl" was released in three versions: its original mix, an "Inferno" remix featuring Nicki Minaj and a stripped-down "Blue Light" version. RCA begins seeking airplay for the track at pop radio beginning on Oct. 8.
Keys performed the track at the MTV Video Music Awards last night, with assistance from two other girls on fire: Nicki Minaj and newly-crowned Olympic gymnastics hero Gabby Douglas. The latter showed off physical acrobatics after Minaj showed off vocal ones, somersaulting across the stage following Minaj's lyric, "I win the gold like Gabby!"