Overall, Help Us Stranger’s opening frame of 88,000 equivalent album units is comprised of a little more than 84,000 in album sales, less than 1,000 in TEA units and 3,000 in SEA units.
The Raconteurs visited the top 10 twice before, with a pair of No. 7-peaking efforts: Consolers of the Lonely in 2008 and Broken Boy Soldiers in 2006. Jack White, who leads the four-man band, has now visited No. 1 as both a soloist (three times) and in a band (with The Raconteurs). He’s also notched top 10s as a member of both The White Stripes and The Dead Weather.
Help Us Stranger’s debut unit sum was supported by a concert ticket/sale redemption offer with The Raconteurs’ summer tour, as well as solid sales at independent music stores and strong vinyl LP sales of the album (not surprising, as White and his Third Man Records company are supporters of both indie record stores, as well as vinyl).
The new set launches with 25,000 vinyl LPs sold, marking the largest sales week for a vinyl album in 2019, and the sixth-largest since Nielsen Music began tracking sales data in 1991. Three White projects are among those six weeks, as the largest vinyl weeks belong to the debut frame of Jack White’s Lazaretto (40,000; 2014), Pearl Jam’s Vitalogy (34,000 in 1994, when it was exclusively initially released on vinyl), the 2015 Christmas week for Adele’s 25 (31,000), and the debut frames of White’s Boarding House Reach (27,000 in 2018), Panic! at the Disco’s Pray for the Wicked (26,000 in 2018) and now The Raconteurs’ Help Us Stranger (25,000).
During release week, The Raconteurs played a series of in-store performances at record stores (including Rough Trade in New York and Amoeba Music in Los Angeles). They also sat down for an interview with NPR’s Weekend Edition Sunday (June 23), did a two-night stand on CBS’ The Late Show With Stephen Colbert (June 20 and 21) and even garnered some supportive tweets from a pair of Colbert’s colleagues, Jimmy Fallon and Conan O’Brien.
Help was led by a trio of tracks that dented Billboard’s Adult Alternative Songs airplay chart: “Sunday Driver” (No. 31), “Now That You’re Gone” (No. 19) and “Help Me Stranger” (climbing 22-15 on the most recently published list, dated June 29).
At No. 2 on the new Billboard 200, Lil Nas X arrives with his debut effort, 7. The eight-track effort boasts his phenomenally successful single “Old Town Road,” both in its original form and its Billy Ray Cyrus-assisted remix version.
7 starts with 77,000 equivalent album units earned, of which 4,000 were in album sales (all from digital downloads, as the set was not available in any physical format). The release was driven largely by streaming activity, having collected 8,000 in TEA units and a sizable 66,000 SEA units. The latter sum equates to 90.4 million on-demand audio streams of its songs during the tracking frame, which makes the effort the most-streamed album of the week.
“Old Town Road” has spent the last 12 weeks at No. 1 on the all-genre Billboard Hot 100 chart (as of the most recently published list, dated June 29). It’s just the 20th single to spend at least 12 weeks at No. 1 since the chart launched in 1958.
A trio of former No. 1s are up next on the new Billboard 200, as Billie Eilish’s When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go? holds steady at No. 3 (57,000 units; down 3%), Jonas Brothers’ Happiness Begins is a non-mover at No. 4 (40,000 units; down 23%) and Khalid’s Free Spirit climbs 6-5 (36,000 units; down 2%).
Lizzo’s Cuz I Love You returns to its debut and peak position, as the set rises 9-6 with 33,000 units (up 23%). The album continues to find new fans thanks to its hit single “Truth Hurts” (which is found on the deluxe edition of Cuz), as “Truth” climbed 17-14 on the most recently published Hot 100 chart. Lizzo also performed the song in a well-received performance on the BET Awards (June 24) during the tracking week.
Debuting at No. 7 on the Billboard 200 is Gucci Mane’s Delusions of Grandeur, with 32,000 equivalent album units earned (with 3,000 of that sum in album sales). The effort, powered by streaming activity, grants the hip-hop artist his sixth top 10 effort, and 22nd chart entry overall.
Rounding out the new top 10: DaBaby’s Baby On Baby (holding at No. 8 with 28,000 units; down 3%), Ariana Grande’s Thank U, Next (10-9 with 26,000 units; down 4%) and Polo G’s Die a Legend (7-10 with 24,000 units; down 15%).