The Billboard 200:
-- Cage the Elephant: As the alternative band's second album, "Thank You Happy Birthday," starts with 39,000 at No. 2 according to Nielsen SoundScan, their first self-titled set motors 171-59 with Pacesetter honors (up 113%) and also rises to No. 1 on Top Pop Catalog.
-- "Country Strong:" When it's January and early February, and the chart is especially volatile, many albums can and do earn great gains. Case in point: the "Country Strong" soundtrack rises 10-6 (29,000; up 1%) and its "More Music From..." companion set flies 48-23 (15,000; up 64%).
-- Cee-Lo Green: The artist's guest turn on the Jan. 15 edition of NBC's "Saturday Night Live" helps lift "The Lady Killer" album by 3% (moving it 46-43). That may not sound like much of an increase, but it's one of only
five non-debuting albums in the top 50 to post a gain.
-- Train: ABC's "The Bachelor" welcomed the band on Jan. 10, where they performed two songs. No surprise then to see their "Save Me, San Francisco" set chug up the list 12 spots to No. 44 with a 10% increase.
-- Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross: The duo's Golden Globe-winning score to "The Social Network" (Jan. 16) scoots with a 164% increase with a re-entry at No. 72. It also rallies up the Top Soundtracks chart 17-7.
-- Newsboys: The band's "Born Again" storms back onto the list at No. 81 (up 110%) following venue sales reported during the multi-act Winter Jam tour. Also spiking thanks to Winter Jam: David Crowder Band's "Church Music" at No. 166 (up 142%).
The Billboard Hot 100:
-- Britney Spears: With "Hold It Against Me" notching the highest debut sales week for a download by a lead female artist (411,000, per SoundScan), and a 45-million start in radio audience (per Nielsen BDS), the single
becomes only the 18th No. 1 debut in the Billboard Hot 100's history.
The first release from Spears' forthcoming seventh studio album blasts in at No. 16 on Mainstream Top 40, tying Madonna's "Frozen" in 1998 for the chart's second-best bow -- Mariah Carey's "Dreamlover" entered at No. 12 in
1993. "Hold It Against Me" concurrently enters on Dance Airplay (No. 24), Rhythmic (No. 37) and Adult Top 40 (No. 40). Spears has now barged onto Hot Digital Songs at No. 1 with the first single from each of her last four
albums, following "Gimme More" (2007), "Womanizer," (2008) and "3" (2009). (After "Womanizer," the second single/title cut from "Circus" also commenced at the Hot Digital Songs summit).
-- Avril Lavigne: "What the Hell," the first single from the 26-year-old's fourth album, "Goodbye Lullaby," due March 8, opens at No. 13, fueled by a No. 6 launch on Hot Digital Songs (163,000 downloads sold). Early signs also point to a welcome return at radio for the singer, as the track begins on Adult Top 40 at No. 32 and Mainstream Top 40 at No. 38. Lavigne had last peaked on those respective airplay charts with ³Hot² (No. 40) in 2008 and "When You're Gone" (No. 10) in 2007.
-- Kanye West & Jay-Z: "H*A*M," the first taste of the pair's forthcoming album "Watch the Throne" bows on the Hot 100 at No. 23 and Hot Digital Songs at No. 10 with 125,000 downloads. Like Lavigne's single, encouraging early radio airplay complements the collaboration's strong opening sales, as the track debuts on Mainstream R&B/Hip-Hop at No. 38. The song makes the greatest positional vault (94-48) on Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs (5.1 million audience impressions, up 403%).
-- P!nk: As if Max Martin doesn¹t dominate enough with the debuts of Spears' and Lavigne's songs, he also boasts writing and producing credit on "F**kin' Perfect," which claims dual Greatest Gainer/Digital and Airplay honors as it rockets 57-30 on the Hot 100. The second new track from "Greatest Hits... So Far!!!" following former No. 1 "Raise Your Glass" (5-8) bounds 66-25 on Hot Digital Songs (70,000, up 95%) and 68-44 (27.5 million, up 54%) on Hot 100 Airplay.
-- David Guetta featuring Rihanna: The pair's "Who's That Chick" registers the Hot 100's loftiest positional vault (85-51) courtesy of a 102% spike in downloads to 45,000. The song surges following the release of an EP sporting three mixes, all longer than the original two-minute, 47-second version available since November.
-- Coolio featuring L.V.: Here's another of the Green Hornet's powers: leaping Billboard charts in a single bound. "Gangsta's Paradise" debuts on Hot Digital Songs (47,000, up 58%) following its usage in the trailer to
"Green Hornet," the Seth Rogen/Cameron Diaz film that opened in theaters Jan. 12. The song, which topped the Hot 100 for three weeks in 1995 (and is thus not eligible to return to the current-based survey), also soars 24-12 in its third week on Rap Digital Songs.