Taylor Swift nets the best week for a country album in a year as her "Fearless" set arrives at No. 1 with 592,000 . . . Her set is just one of six arrivals in the top 10 of the Billboard 200. The others? David Archuleta's self-titled debut, the "Now 29" compilation, T-Pain's "Thr33 Ringz," Enya's Christmas set "And Winter Came" and Christina Aguilera's Target-exclusive best-of "Keeps Gettin' Better" . . . In Progress Reports, we've got updates on AC/DC, Katy Perry and the return of our Holiday Songs radio airplay chart.
Taylor Swift's "Fearless" bulldozes the competition as the Big Machine album swoops in at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 with 592,000. That's the biggest sales week for a country album since Eagles' "Long Road out of Eden" started with 711,000 in November 2007. Aside from Eagles, since Nielsen SoundScan set up shop in 1991, only five other country acts have racked up bigger weeks than Swift: Garth Brooks, Shania Twain, Dixie Chicks, Tim McGraw and Rascal Flatts. If we back out Eagles' "Long Road," Swift's bow is the best for a core country act since Rascal's "Me and My Gang" started with 722,000 in April 2006.
Swift was a force of nature in the digital realm, too. "Fearless" moved 129,000 album downloads, the fourth-biggest week for a digital album since SoundScan began tracking them in 2004. Only the bows of Coldplay's "Viva La Vida or Death and All His Friends" (288,000), Jack Johnson's "Sleep Through the Static" (139,000) and Kanye West's "Graduation" (133,000) posted bigger frames.
Swift's record isn't the only major album to crash the Billboard 200 this week, as the upper reaches of the tally greet numerous debuts. Trailing Swift is "American Idol" runner-up David Archuleta with his self-titled set at No. 2 with 183,000. "Idol" winner David Cook bowed his self-titled debut in stores yesterday . . . The latest "Now That's What I Call Music!" compilation (volume 29) starts at No. 3 with 172,000 . . . T-Pain's "Thr33 Ringz" is up next on the big chart, as it enters with 167,000 at No. 4. The hip-hop singer's last album, "Epiphany," lit up the chart at No. 1 with 171,000 in 2007.
Enya's first Christmas set, "And Winter Came," drifts in at No. 8 with 92,000. Expect sturdy sales for the offering through the end of the year . . . Christina Aguilera's Target-exclusive best-of album, "Keeps Gettin' Better—A Decade of Hits," debuts with 73,000 at No. 9 ... Seal returns with a David Foster-produced R&B covers album, appropriately titled "Soul," which lands at No. 13 with 45,000. A year ago, his dance set "System" (produced by Stuart Price) crept in at No. 35 with 30,000 upon its release.
A gaggle of other significant releases enter the Billboard 200 this week, including a best-of "Now That's What I Call Music!" album (No. 32 with 22,000), Foster's all-star live set "Hit Man" (No. 46 with 15,000), the "All Wrapped Up!" EP (No. 53 with 14,000), Tracy Chapman's "Our Bright Future" (No. 57 with 12,000), the DJ Nesty-produced set "La Menta Maestra" (No. 65 with 11,000) and Enrique Iglesias' "Greatest Hits" (No. 80 with 9,000).
|The Billboard 200
Sales data provided and compiled from Nielsen SoundScan
|*1||New||TAYLOR SWIFT Fearless (Big Machine )||11||5||PINK Funhouse (LaFace / Zomba)|
|*2||New||DAVID ARCHULETA David Archuleta (19 )||12||6||JOHN LEGEND Evolver (G.O.O.D. / Columbia / Sony Music)|
|*3||New||VARIOUS ARTISTS Now 29 (UMe )||*13||New||SEAL Soul (Warner Bros. )|
|*4||New||T-PAIN Thr33 Ringz (Konvict )||14||8||ANDREA BOCELLI Incanto (Sugar / Decca / Universal Classics Group)|
|5||1||SOUNDTRACK Twilight (Summit / Chop Shop / Atlantic / AG)||15||10||RASCAL FLATTS Greatest Hits Volume 1 (Lyric Street / Hollywood)|
|6||2||AC/DC Black Ice (Columbia / Sony Music)||16||4||HINDER Take It To The Limit (Universal Republic / UMRG)|
|7||3||SOUNDTRACK High School Musical 3: Senior Year (Walt Disney )||*17||14||KID ROCK Rock N Roll Jesus (Top Dog / Atlantic / AG)|
|*8||New||ENYA And Winter Came (Reprise )||*18||15||KENNY CHESNEY Lucky Old Sun (Blue Chair / BNA / SBN)|
|*9||New||CHRISTINA AGUILERA Keeps Gettin' Better: A Decade Of Hits (RCA / RMG)||19||12||METALLICA Death Magnetic (Warner Bros. )|
|10||7||T.I. Paper Trail (Grand Hustle / Atlantic / AG)||*20||28||SUGARLAND Love On The Inside (Mercury Nashville / UMGN)|
|* indicates titles with greatest sales gains this week|
Album units, current chart week: 8.9 million units
UP 26.8% from last issue's charts: 7.02 million units
DOWN 24% from same week, 2007: 11.72 million units
This week: The top six albums each sell more than 100,000 copies.
This week last year on the Billboard 200: Alicia Keys' "As I Am" debuted at No. 1 with 742,000 while Josh Groban's "Noel" rose to No. 2 with 223,000 (up 93%). The previous week's chart-topper, Jay-Z's "American Gangster," fell to No. 8 with 131,000 (down 69%). The top 10 albums each sold more than 100,000.
The No. 50 album this week, Q-Tip's "The Renaissance" (Universal Motown/UMRG), sold 15,000.
The No. 50 album for the same week of 2007, Timbaland's "Shock Value" (Mosley/Blackground/Interscope/IGA), sold 22,000.
Average total of the No. 50 album for the same week of the year during the past 10 years (1999-2008): 23,289.
Katy Perry pounces to her first No. 1 on the Mainstream Top 40 radio chart, as "Hot N Cold" pushes from No. 2 to No. 1. The song marks Capitol Records' first No. 1 since Meredith Brooks' "Bitch" in 1997. The label has also ruled with the Heights' "How Do You Talk to an Angel" in 1992 and Duran Duran's "Ordinary World" in 1993. Perry is the third female artist to collect her first pop chart-topper this year, following Sara Bareilles and Leona Lewis.
This week marks the return of our Holiday Songs chart. The tally ranks holiday songs of all eras, based on monitored airplay data from stations on our AC panel of radio stations. (Those adult top 40 stations that switch to all-holiday music will temporarily move to the AC panel of reporters through Christmas.) The first Holiday Songs No. 1 this year is Brenda Lee's "Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree."
Stranger things have happened, we suppose, but the sight of AC/DC's "Rock N Roll Train" debuting on the Hot Dance Club Play chart is certainly up there. White-label dance mixes of the cut enable the track to bow at No. 48 this week. This is the veteran act's first Club Play hit. Some other core rock acts that have scored hits on that chart? Aerosmith with "Dude (Looks Like a Lady)," Van Halen ("Jump"), Bruce Springsteen ("Dancing in the Dark" and "Cover Me"), U2 with 11 different hits and the Rolling Stones with eight Club singles.
A LOOK AHEAD
Among the titles released this week, due on next week's charts: Nickelback's "Dark Horse," Beyonce's "I Am . . . Sasha Fierce," David Cook's "David Cook," Il Divo's "The Promise," Dido's "Safe Trip Home," Ricardo Arjona's "Quinto Piso," Blake Shelton's "Startin' Fires," Mudvayne's "The New Game" and expanded editions of Miley Cyrus' "Breakout" and Jason Mraz's "We Sing. We Dance. We Steal Things."
Next week's Billboard 200 competes with the same week in 2007 when: Josh Groban's "Noel" skipped from No. 2 to No. 1 with 405,000 (up 81%). Only one album, Jordin Sparks' self-titled set, debuted in the top 10 (at No. 10 with 119,000). The top 11 albums each sold more than 100,000.