Next week, the Billboard 200 albums chart may begin to emerge from of its doom-and-gloom fog -- though not by much.
The Decemberists' new album "The King Is Dead" is on track to debut at No. 1, with perhaps around 70,000 sold by week's ending Sunday, Jan. 23 according to industry sources. The group's last release, 2009's "The Hazards of Love," debuted and peaked at No. 14 with 19,000 in its premiere frame, per Nielsen SoundScan.
While an estimated 70,000 debut for "The King Is Dead" isn't a huge figure -- at least it'll be sexier than our last couple No. 1s.
This past week, Cake's "Showroom of Compassion" broke the SoundScan era (1991-present) record low for a No. 1 album with only 44,000 sold. (A record that was set just one week earlier, when Taylor Swift's "Speak Now" shifted 52,000 atop the list.)
Three other new releases are aiming for the top 10 next week as well: "Kidz Bop 19," the Script's "Science & Faith," Social Distortion's "Hard Times and Nursery Rhymes" and perhaps James Blunt's "Some Kind of Trouble."
Things will continue to be (mostly) low key in the coming weeks. Jan. 25 brings the "2011 Grammy Nominees" compilation, Iron & Wine's "Kiss Each Other Clean" and Amos Lee's "Mission Bell." After that we get Ricky Martin's "Musica + Alma + Sexo" and Bob Marley's "Live Forever" (Feb. 1), "Now 37" (Feb. 8) and Bright Eyes' "The People's Key" and PJ Harvey's "Let England Shake" (Feb. 15).