Answers to readers' questions about Mika, Depeche Mode and Pink.

GRACE-FULL MIKA

Keith,

"Ask Billboard" and "Chart Beat" are two of my "can't-miss" sites every week. Could you make them longer?

My question is in regards to the best song of 2007 (if not the past few years!), Mika's "Grace Kelly." It's a throwback to the best top 40 pop of the '70s (much like the overlooked gem of 2006, "Ta-Dah!" by the Scissor Sisters).

I've downloaded "Love Today" and see a few other tracks available online. But can we expect a full CD release of Mika's album "Life In Cartoon Motion" in the U.S. or do I take the plunge and spend $20+ for the import version?

Thanks for such an entertaining and informative column!

Eric Schulz
Racine, Wis.


Hello Eric,

Thanks for the kudos. Can I make the column longer? Shh. Don't give my editor any ideas!

Don't fret about Mika. His debut album, "Life In Cartoon Motion," will be released on March 27 in the U.S. The set debuted at No. 1 in the U.K. recently and his "Grace Kelly" single has already topped the charts there, too.

Billboard was hot on Mika back in December, when Billboard.com's own Katie Hasty profiled him for our Breaking & Entering column.

Mika's "Grace Kelly" single slides 81-86 this week on The Billboard Hot 100 dated Feb. 24. The same week, it debuted at No. 39 on our Hot AC/Adult Top 40 chart and is bubbling under our CHR/Top 40 airplay chart.

Learn more about Mika by visiting his Web site.



DOES 'ANGEL' HAVE WINGS?

Hi Keith,

Some time back you posted the album sales for Depeche Mode's "Playing the Angel" along with New Order's "Waiting for the Sirens' Call."

And while I was surprised that "Playing the Angel" hadn't gone gold yet (certified by the RIAA as having shipped 500,000 copies in the U.S.), I was really surprised how low the sales were for New Order.

Wikipedia reports that as of October 2006, "Playing the Angel" had sold 402,000 units. Can you tell me what the number is up to now?

Thanks,
Rob Clark
Washington D.C.


Hello Rob,

Hate to break it to you, but the sales for "Playing the Angel" haven't exactly gone through the roof since the last time I wrote about it. The U.S. sales for the album now stand at 412,000 according to Nielsen SoundScan.

The sales for New Order's "Waiting for the Sirens' Call" sits at a rather slow 89,000. The group's last album, 2001's "Get Ready," has sold 153,000.

And you know that you can't always trust Wikipedia. It's a good place to start researching something, but unless there is a source cited, don't believe what you read.

Depeche Mode's most recent release, "The Best Of Depeche Mode, Volume 1," spent one lone week on The Billboard 200 at No. 148 in November 2006.

On March 20, Depeche Mode will re-issue two of its classic albums, "Construction Time Again" and "Black Celebration." The sets are part of Rhino's remaster series for the band. The albums features bonus tracks, remastered sound and other assorted bonus goodies. The final two reissues in the series ("Ultra" and "Exciter") will bow later this year. So far, the six previous reissues in the series have sold 36,000 copies total in the U.S.

For more information about the remasters series, visit its mini-site at Depeche Mode's official site.




PINK: STILL NOT DEAD

Keith,

I am a huge fan of Pink's and was disappointed that her latest CD "I'm Not Dead" and the single "Who Knew" didn't do very well.

I think the CD is outstanding. I was excited to see a great video for one of my favorite (songs) "U & Ur Hand" but never heard it on the radio or saw it on the charts. Now, over a year after the CD was released, I'm seeing "U & Ur Hand" is being played on satellite radio and on my local radio station. What's going on with this single? Why is it being released so late and is there a chance it could revive her great CD?

Thanks,
Ian Taylor
Lancaster, Penn.


Hi Ian,

Actually, "U + Ur Hand" has helped Pink's album stage a mini-comeback. While it's not doing gangbusters or anything, it's doing much better than it was a few months ago.

"U + Ur Hand" is currently spending its seventh week on The Billboard Hot 100, where it has so far peaked at No. 89. It has spent 13 weeks on the Hot AC/Adult Top 40 chart and 11 weeks on the CHR/Top 40 airplay chart. On the latter tally, it rose to a new peak (No. 31) last week (dated Feb. 24).

So far, her "I'm Not Dead" album has sold 594,000 in the U.S. according to Nielsen SoundScan. Since early January, the set has been selling an average of 5,000 per week. That's an improvement over what it was moving back in October and November of last year, when it was selling about 4,000 per week.

In fact, "I'm Not Dead" returned to The Billboard 200 chart in early January for the first time since September. Clearly, "U + Ur Hand" had something to do with the renewed interest in the album.