The Billboard 200:
John Mayer was the big news on the Billboard 200 this week as his Born and Raised album debuted at No. 1, selling 219,000 copies according to Nielsen SoundScan. It’s the singer/songwriter’s third chart-topper and could hold the No. 1 slot next week as well, so say industry sources.
Mayer’s set was one of four new albums that debuted in the top 10, which also included arrivals from Slash, MercyMe and Sara Bareilles.
Now, let’s look at some of the movers and shakers farther down this week’s list:
— Kimbra: The singer takes a bow at No. 14 with her debut full-length album Vows, selling 22,000 in its first week. The artist is the featured guest on Gotye’s smash single “Somebody That I Used to Know,” which is sitting at No. 1 for a seventh week on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. The bulk of Kimbra’s album sales came from downloads, as 67% of the set was sold via digital retailers. Over on the Digital Albums chart, Vows arrives at No. 6.
This isn’t Kimbra’s first visit to a Billboard album chart, however. She spent 18 weeks on the Heatseekers tally with the four-song EP Settle Down, going as high as No. 16 in April. It has so far sold 25,000 since its release last October.
— Paul & Linda McCartney: Paul McCartney’s second album — and only to co-bill his then-wife Linda — returns to the chart this week, reentering at No. 24 with 17,000 (up from 1,000). The set was reissued in an array of glitzy deluxe packages last week, including a mono vinyl LP version and a two-CD special edition. The priciest is a $154.99 set that boasts a multitude of bonus tracks, a book, T-shirt and a membership to McCartney.com.
Ram contains McCartney’s first No. 1 single on the Billboard Hot 100 away from the Beatles: “Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey.” Ram is the latest in a series of reissues for the legend, who also rereleased Band on the Run (2010), McCartney and McCartney II (2011) in recent years.
Ram peaked at No. 2 on the Billboard 200 chart for two weeks in August of 1971. It was stuck behind Carole King’s massive Tapestry album, which spent 15 weeks at No. 1.
— Kris Allen: The winner of the 2009 edition of “American Idol” sees his second album, Thank You Camellia, make a low-key debut at No. 26 with 17,000. That’s off quite a bit from his debut self-titled effort, which arrived at No. 11 with 80,000. It has sold 331,000 to date.
The new album’s current single, “The Vision of Love,” rises 36-32 on the Adult Top 40 airplay chart this week. It’s his third hit on the tally, following “Live Like We’re Dying” (No. 3) and “The Truth” (No. 16).
As with many “Idol” finalists, once the buzz dies down from the TV show, it’s hard to sustain momentum. His debut album arrived just a few months after he won, so it was bound to have a decent first-week. Thus, it’s hard to compare how the two albums did when the first stands in the enormous publicity shadow that is “American Idol.”
(Ok, not all “Idol” winners are guaranteed big debuts. 2010 champion Lee DeWyze’s “Live It Up” debuted and peaked at No. 19 with 39,000. It remains the lowest debut of any “Idol” winner’s first post-show album.)
— Joe Bonamassa: The blues guitarist/singer scores his best week ever on the Billboard 200 as Driving Towards the Daylight debuts at No. 23 with 18,000 sold. That trumps his previous best frame, when Dust Bowl launched with 14,000 at No. 37 in 2011. Over on the Top Blues Albums chart, the new set is his eighth No. 1, the second-most leaders in the tally’s history. Only B.B. King and Stevie Ray Vaughan, both with nine, have earned more.
— Gossip: The pop/rock band debuts at No. 100 with its latest set, A Joyful Noise, entering with 5,000 sold. The album also starts at No. 20 on the Alternative Albums chart. To support the set’s launch, the band played the “Late Show With David Letterman” on May 22 — the same day the music video for its single “Move In the Right Direction” premiered.
A Joyful Noise instantly surpasses Gossip’s previous best week on the Billboard 200, when Music For Men peaked at No. 164 in 2009. Music For Men also happens to be the only other album to chart from the group, which has been releasing music since 1999.
Note: This story was updated on June 5, 2012 to correct Kimbra’s nationality. She is from New Zealand, not Australia.