FOLK TALES: Billboard's Folk Albums chart sports its first non-holiday No. 1 since its launch at the beginning of December.
"I and Love and You" concurrently returns to the Billboard 200 (No. 130) after a five-week absence. The set represents the North Carolina folk-rock band's best showing of three career chart entries, having debuted at No. 16 on October. "Emotionalism" reached No. 134 in 2007 and "The Second Gleam (EP)" peaked at No. 82 in 2008.
Additionally notable on Folk Albums is the debut at No. 14. Following the death of Vic Chesnutt at age 45, the singer-songwriter appears on a Billboard chart for the first time, as "At the Cut" bows. Chesnutt, confined to a wheelchair since the age of 18, passed away Christmas day.
Posted the founders of his label, Constellation Records, in a statement on its website, "In the few short years that we knew him personally, Vic transformed our sense of what true character, grace and determination are all about."
ALMOST, 'FAME': As reported yesterday in Chart Beat, a 2-1 coronation on Pop Songs makes Lady Gaga the first artist in the chart's 17-year history to take her first five entries to the pinnacle. ("I would like to thank all my beautiful little monsters ... for the most memorable year of my life," she told Billboard).
Lady Gaga also enjoys a new achievement on the Billboard 200. In its 62nd week on the survey, "The Fame" rises 6-2, marking a new peak for her debut set. It previously rose as high as No. 4 on the March 4 and May 30, 2009, charts.
Susan Boyle's "I Dreamed a Dream" and Ke$ha's debut album "Animal" are expected to vie for the Billboard 200's top spot next week, so it's unlikely that "The Fame" will reach No. 1 for the first time in its 63rd week. If it manages an unexpected surge in sales, however, it will tie the "O Brother, Where Art Thou?" soundtrack for longest rise to the summit since the Billboard 200 adopted Nielsen SoundScan point-of-sale data in 1991. That release debuted at No. 192 on the chart dated Jan. 13, 2001, and reached No. 1 for the first of two weeks in charge on March 23, 2002.
Lady Gaga's second effort, "The Fame Monster (EP)," has reached a peak of No. 5 to date. It rebounds 12-9 this week.
SIX-CESS: While fending off Lady Gaga at No. 1, Susan Boyle makes more history of her own on the Billboard 200.
"I Dreamed a Dream" logs a sixth consecutive week at No. 1, dating to its debut on the Dec. 12, chart. With its continued reign, the set becomes one of just five albums - and the only debut collection - by a female artist in the chart's 53-year history to arrive at No. 1 and remain on top for at least six weeks.
Here are the five such sets to begin atop the Billboard 200 and stubbornly maintain their grasps at No. 1:
11 weeks, Whitney Houston, "Whitney" (1987)
7 weeks, Taylor Swift, "Fearless" (2008-09)
6 weeks, Susan Boyle, "I Dreamed a Dream" (2009-10)
6 weeks, Norah Jones, "Feels Like Home" (2004)
6 weeks, Janet Jackson, "janet." (1993)
NEW 'WORLD': Lil Wayne claims the Billboard Hot 100's sole debut, as "Drop the World," featuring Eminem, opens at No. 18. As reported earlier, the song is the third track to reach the chart from the rapper's oft-delayed album "Rebirth." "Prom Queen" peaked at No. 15 last February and "On Fire" heated to a No. 62 peak in December.
Another song rumored to be on "Rebirth," "Hot Revolver," peaked at No. 33 in April, although it was not included on the track listing when Amazon shipped copies of the album prematurely last month.
The Hot 100's dearth of new entries is not entirely uncommon following a busy holiday shopping season. A year ago this week, no titles debuted; such a void of new songs had last occurred exactly 11 years before then, on the chart dated Jan. 17, 1998.
MUNK-Y BUSINESS: 26 years after they first appeared on the "Alvin and the Chipmunks" cartoon series, the Chipettes gnaw their way to their first No. 1 on a Billboard chart.
While it's the female 'munks' maiden leader on a Billboard list, their male counterparts have long topped Billboard tallies. "The Chipmunk Song" led the Hot 100 for four weeks beginning on Dec. 27, 1958. The Chipmunks most recently ruled when "Christmas With the Chipmunks" spent its sixth week atop the Kids Albums chart in December.
On the Billboard 200, "Alvin and the Chipmunks: the Squeakquel" charges to a new peak (20-7). "Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)" additionally rises 11-6 on Heatseekers Songs, where another cut from the soundtrack, the Chipettes' version of Katy Perry's "Hot N Cold," debuts at No. 20.
CHART BEAT BITS: The Chipettes aren't the only young-skewing act registering chart action with covers this week. Kidz Bop Kids collect their record-extending 24th top five on Kids Albums, as "Kidz Bop Sings the Beatles" debuts at No. 5. The Fab Four tribute set marks Kidz Bop Kids' first chart entry comprising remakes of just one act. The bulk of their previous albums include kid-friendly takes on songs prominent on pop radio at the time of each release ...
While David Guetta notches his third No. 1 on Dance/Club Play Songs, as "One Love," featuring Estelle, pushes 4-1, Madonna posts her 57th debut, as "Revolver," featuring Lil Wayne, starts at No. 41. She extends her lead for most entries in the chart's history, ahead of Janet Jackson's second-place sum of 39 ...
Alejandro Fernandez lands his fourth No. 1 on Latin Pop Songs, as "Se Me Va La Voz" jumps 3-1. He had last led with "No Se Olvidar" for eight weeks in 1998. Billboard Latin charts manager Rauly Ramirez points out that the new leader's climb to No. 1 is due partly due to airplay for its reggaeton remix, featuring Tito "El Bambino" ...
Israeli singer-songwriter, and playwright and theater director, Oren Lavie makes his Billboard chart debut, as "Her Morning Elegance" enters Heatseekers Songs at No. 21. The bow is fueled almost exclusively by digital sales following the song's 2010 Grammy Award nomination for Best Short Form Music Video ...
Two artists, as noted in Chart Beat last week, who've compiled musical recaps to 2009 make further strides this week. After debuting on R&B/Hip-Hop Songs at No. 100, Skillz's " '09 Rap Up" soars to No. 52. DJ Earworm's "United State of Pop 2009" concurrently grabs Greatest Gainer honors on Pop Songs, where it's bubbling under. View the latter track's video here, and keep score of how common the word 'down' was in hit music in 2009.