Chart Beat

Keith Urban's No. 1 'Ripcord' ?Leads Parade of Top 10 Debuts on Country Albums Chart

Keith Urban
Russ Harrington

Keith Urban

Keith Urban's eighth studio album, Ripcord, bounds in at No. 1 on Billboard's Top Country Albums chart (dated May 28), selling 93,000 copies in the week ending May 12, according to Nielsen Music. On the all-genre Billboard 200, it arrives at No. 4 (106,000 equivalent album units).

Urban earns his fifth No. 1 on Top Country Albums, all of which have debuted at the summit. His first four were Be Here, released in 2004 with a debut sales week of 148,000; Love, Pain & the Whole Crazy Thing (2006, 270,000); Defying Gravity (2009, 172,000); and Fuse (2013, 98,000).

Keith Urban Talks New Album 'Ripcord,' Wrapping Up 'Idol' & His Love for 'Citizen Kane'

Urban co-wrote five of the new album's tracks and co-produced the set, which features collaborations with Carrie Underwood (featured on "The Fighter"), as well as Nile Rodgers and Pitbull ("Sun Don't Let Me Down").

"I went into the making of Ripcord with a real creative liberation," Urban tells Billboard. "My dad was a drummer, and I feel like that rhythmic DNA in me drove so much of the energy and spirit in the recording sessions. It's an incredible feeling to see it hit No. 1."

The current single from the set, "Wasted Time," is its third, following "John Cougar, John Deere, John 3:16," which peaked at No. 2 on both Hot Country Songs and Country Airplay, and "Break on Me," which reached Nos. 6 and 1, respectively.

Concurrently, "Wasted Time" enters the Country Airplay top 10, lifting 11-10 (26.7 million in audience, up 3 percent), becoming Urban's 36th consecutive (and total) top 10 on the survey (counting only promoted and non-seasonal singles). The run started with "Your Everything" in 2000.

How does Urban remain relevant? "I grew up with equal parts contemporary country and top 40 influences," he says. "I've always loved hooks, riffs and melodies you can sing along with. Universal themes seemed to be present in a lot of the songs I heard as a kid, so it has influenced the way I write.

Watch Keith Urban and Nicole Kidman's Karaoke Car Duet for 'The Fighter'

"When I moved to Nashville, I just hoped I could hear a song of mine on the radio one day. The fact that country radio and the listeners have been so good to me is beyond anything I could've imagined."

Urban's streak of 36 Country Airplay top 10s is the longest active run (as well as the longest in the chart's 26-year history). Underwood boasts the second-longest active top 10 streak: 23 in a row starting with her 2006 debut, "Jesus, Take the Wheel."

'HERE' HE IS: Cole Swindell's sophomore studio album, You Should Be Here, debuts at No. 2 on Top Country Albums with a career-best 65,000 sold. His debut, Cole Swindell, also opened at No. 2, in 2014, with 63,000.

CYNDI, CHAPIN CHART: Cyndi Lauper makes her first visit to Top Country Albums, as Detour starts at No. 4 (16,000). Recorded in Nashville, the set, produced by Lauper and Tony Brown, sports covers of such country classics as "Walkin' After Midnight" and "Heartaches by the Number." Guests include Vince Gill, Emmylou Harris, Jewel, Alison Krauss and Willie Nelson.

Also arriving in the Top Country Albums top 10 is Mary Chapin Carpenter's The Things That We Are Made Of  (Lambert Light), at No. 8 (6,000). It's the singer-songwriter's ninth top 10 and first since The Age of Miracles (No.  6) in 2010.

DUETS DEBUT: Blake Shelton's "Go Ahead and Break My Heart," featuring Gwen Stefani, bows on Hot Country Songs at No. 14, marking Stefani's first entrance on any Billboard country chart. After the couple, who co-wrote the song, performed it on NBC's The Voice on May 5, it enters Country Digital Songs at No. 2 with 58,000 sold. The collab is from Shelton's 12th studio album, If I'm Honest, due May 20.

Also making her country chart debut is Demi Lovato, who is featured on Brad Paisley's "Without a Fight," which enters Country Airplay at No. 27 (9 million impressions) and Hot Country Songs at No. 48. The song previews Paisley's upcoming 12th studio set.

This article first appeared in Billboard's Country Update -- sign up here.