Chart Beat now offers a sneak peak at chart action with a first-look edition on Wednesdays. On Thursdays, when all of our online charts are refreshed with the latest data, Chart Beat appears as always in its full form, spotlighting achievements from among our entire menu of charts.
'SOUNDS' GOOD: A little more than 27 years after Depeche Mode first debuted on the Billboard 200, the band notches its second-highest charting album, as "Sounds of the Universe" enters at No. 3.
In its storied career, the act has peaked higher on the list only once before, when 1993's "Songs of Faith and Devotion" debuted in the penthouse.
Depeche Mode first appeared with "Speak & Spell," on the Dec. 26, 1981, chart, the set peaking at No. 192. It wasn't until its ninth try that the band reached the top 10, when "Violator" rose to No. 7 in 1990, powered by the act's biggest Billboard Hot 100 single to date, the No. 8-peaking "Enjoy the Silence."
Below is a chronological look at Depeche Mode's six top 10 albums:
"Violator," No. 7 peak, 1990
"Songs of Faith and Devotion," No. 1, 1993
"Ultra.," No. 5, 1997
"Exciter," No. 8, 2001
"Playing the Angel," No. 7, 2005
"Sounds of the Universe, No. 3, 2009
The first single from "Sounds," "Wrong," reached No. 15 on Modern Rock, marking the act's first top 15 hit on the tally in eight years.
THE BOYS ARE BACK, PART 1: Coincidentally, another act long associated with hooky, danceable modern rock posts its highest-charting album since 1993. Pet Shop Boys' "Yes" starts at No. 32 on the Billboard 200, granting the U.K. duo its best rank since "Very" debuted and peaked at No. 20 on the chart dated Oct. 23, 1993.
Pet Shop Boys' Billboard 200 career dates back to 1986, when "Please" bowed on the April 19 list, ultimately peaking at No. 7, the act's lone top 10. Since, the duo of Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe has claimed 14 more charting albums on no less than six record labels in the U.S.
The pair first charted nine sets on EMI from 1986 through 1995. In 1996, it segued to Atlantic Records for "Bilingual," which reached No. 39. Three years later, the duo returned on Parlophone/London-Sire for the No. 84-peaking "Nightlife."
Pet Shop Boys went the independent route for its next two albums, issuing 2002's "Release" (No. 73) and 2003's "Disco 3" (No. 188) through Sanctuary Records. They partnered with Rhino Records for 2006's "Fundamental," which resulted in a No. 150 peak and its fourth and most recent Grammy Award nomination ("Best Electronic/Dance Album").
This time around, "Yes" finds the Pet Shop Boys on Astralwerks Records, the U.S. home of such acts as Royksopp and the B-52s.
Only in the U.S., however, have Pet Shop Boys shuffled from label to label. In their native U.K., the twosome has remained a Parlophone recording act since it signed with the company in 1985.
THE BOYS ARE BACK, PART 2: More than 60 years past their original incarnation, the iconic Oak Ridge Boys, formed as a gospel act, make chart news with a return to their roots.
The group makes its first appearance on the Billboard 200 since May 18, 1985, bowing with "A Gospel Journey" at No. 156. The live set, part of the Gaither Gospel Series, also brings the act back to Top Country Albums at No. 28, its first visit to the tally's top 40 since "American Dreams" ranked at No. 37 on the March 3, 1990, chart. That set peaked at No. 24 in October 1989 and sported the group's most recent No. 1 on Hot Country Songs, "No Matter How High."
Formed in the World War II era as the Oak Ridge Quartet, the group tweaked its name to the Oak Ridge Boys and thrived in gospel circles. While maintaining elements of gospel harmonies, the act later became a mainstay on Hot Country Songs, where it placed 48 titles - including 17 No. 1s - between 1973 and 1999.
Today comprising Duane Allen, Joe Bonsall, William Lee Golden and Richard Sterban, the Oak Ridge Boys also have a new secular studio album due May 19. "The Boys Are Back" features tunes written by Jamey Johnson, Shooter Jennings and, of all names, Jack White, as the quartet makes over the White Stripes' "Seven Nation Army."
HANNAH MONTANA MOVES TO THE COUNTRY: Wondering why the "Hannah Montana: the Movie" soundtrack suddenly debuts at No. 1 on Top Country Albums - despite the fact that it's appeared on the Billboard 200 for five weeks?
It's not entirely unusual that an album will be brought onto a genre-specific chart after its initial release, as a title's content is always subject for review by Billboard's charts department, informed by input from record labels and/or artist representatives.
In this case, about half of the album's tracks are stylistically appropriate for the country genre, therefore meeting the minimum requirements to chart. The set also sports current Hot Country Songs hits from Miley Cyrus ("The Climb," No. 33) and dad Billy Ray ("Back to Tennessee," No. 48), along with tunes from core country acts Rascal Flatts and Taylor Swift.
When was the last time a soundtrack held sway over Top Country Albums? Way back on June 29, 2002, when "O Brother, Where Are Thou?" spent its 35th and final week atop the list.
FOXX ON THE RUN: In the wake of Jamie Foxx's recent ill-received comments about Miley Cyrus, for which he subsequently apologized (watch here), Chart Beat might be one of the few places where the two artists can appear side-by-side.
Things have gone better of late for Foxx. In the same week he served as mentor on "American Idol," Foxx ties the mark for most weeks a male artist has spent atop Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs with a title, as "Blame It" leads for a 12th week. That matches the dozen frames R. Kelly rang up in the lead with "Bump N' Grind" in 1994.
Here is a look at the six songs to reign the longest in the history of Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs. Notably, two - Foxx's and Beyonce's - have ruled consecutively as the chart's most recent leaders:
15 weeks at No. 1, "Be Without You," Mary J. Blige, 2006
14 weeks at No. 1, "Nobody's Supposed to Be Here," Deborah Cox, 1998-99
14 weeks at No. 1, "We Belong Together," Mariah Carey, 2005
12 weeks at No. 1, "Bump N' Grind," R. Kelly, 1994
12 weeks at No. 1, "Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)," 2008-09
12 weeks at No. 1, "Blame It," Jamie Foxx featuring T-Pain, 2009
With a lead of more than 10 million audience impressions over the current No. 2 title, The-Dream's "Rockin' That Thang," Foxx's hit could challenge Blige's "Be Without You" for the chart's longest reign. We'll certainly continue to track its progress in Chart Beat.
A 'FUNNY' THING HAPPENED: Dave Matthews Band lands its second-best Billboard Hot 100 debut, as "Funny the Way It Is" starts at No. 37.
The now digitally-available lead track from "Big Whiskey and the GrooGrux King," due June 2, marks the band's sixth Hot 100 appearance and first since "American Baby" debuted at No. 19 in May 2005. That song became DMB's biggest Hot 100 hit to date, reaching No. 16 the week following its arrival.
"Funny" concurrently storms 7-1 on the Triple A airplay chart. It's the group's eighth Triple A No. 1, good for sole possession of second-most leaders in the chart's history. Only U2, with 10, has more.
'1, 2, 3, 4' 5, 6: If Plain White T's recorded an extended version of its current hit, new lyrics could allude to its rise on the Adult Top 40 chart. The ballad "1, 2, 3, 4" moves - what else? - up to No. 5 from No. 6.
It's not the first time that numerical pattern has come up with the act. Its first Adult Top 40 top five, "Hey There Delilah," reached No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 in July 2007, completing a climb over consecutive weeks of 6-5-4-3-2-1.
CHART BEAT BITS: "Halo" ascends 12-10 on the Billboard Hot 100, extending Beyonce's reign as the female artist with the most top 10s this decade. Now with 12, she pulls further ahead of runners-up Ashanti and Rihanna, each with 10 in the 2000s. With Destiny's Child, Beyonce totaled 10 top 10s ...
After Rihanna's "Umbrella" topped the Billboard Hot 100 in 2007, the R&B/pop smash returned when Marie Digby and Taylor Swift charted on the Pop 100 with stripped-down cover versions. On the Pop 100 this week, a remake in the same vein debuts. The Fray bows at No. 100 with its organic rendition of Kanye West's "Heartless." The song appears on "The Fray Live: iTunes Pass" and received airplay in the chart's tracking week in such major markets as Chicago, Washington D.C. and Seattle ...
With the Wreckers on hiatus, half of the duo returns to the top 40 on Hot Country Songs. Jessica Harp shoots 49-40 with "Boy Like Me," her first solo chart entry. The Wreckers placed three songs on the list in 2006-07, including the No. 1 "Leave the Pieces." The pair's Michelle Branch is putting the finishing touches on her third solo set ...
Higher up on Hot Country Songs, Montgomery Gentry registers the longest run of top 10s by a duo in 13 years, as "One in Every Crowd" rises 11-8 to become the pair's ninth consecutive top 10 (and 15th overall). The streak is the longest by a twosome since Brooks & Dunn sent its first 17 chart entries (excluding unpromoted album cuts) into the top 10 from 1991 to 1996 ...
Neil Sedaka was just a kid when he earned his first Billboard Hot 100 hit at the age of 19, co-writing Connie Francis' 1958 single "Stupid Cupid." Now, nearly 51 years later, a slightly older Sedaka bows at No. 4 on the Top Kid Audio chart with his children's set "Waking Up Is Hard to Do." The album's physical packaging even includes a 12-page coloring book (take that, digital releases) ...
Another veteran makes a welcome return: Booker T., of Booker T. & the MG's fame, graces the Billboard 200 for the first time since 1972, as "Potato Hole" debuts at No. 144. The legendary multi-instrumentalist charted 14 albums (12 with the MG's, two with then-wife Priscilla, Rita Coolidge's sister) between 1962 and 1972, rising as high as No. 33 with maiden entry "Green Onions." The Rock and Roll Hall of Famer's first solo album in 20 years features guests Neil Young and Drive-By Truckers.