On the most recent Billboard 200 albums chart (dated March 26), Kendrick Lamar’s surprise new release Untitled Unmastered swooped in for a No. 1 debut. It bowed with 178,000 equivalent album units earned in the week ending March 10 according to Nielsen Music, with 142,000 of that sum in pure album sales.
The Billboard 200 chart ranks the week’s most popular albums based on their overall consumption. That overall unit figure combines pure album sales, track equivalent albums (TEA) and streaming equivalent albums (SEA).
Now, let’s take a closer look at some of the action on the latest Billboard 200 chart:
— Loretta Lynn, Full Circle – No. 19 — Country legend Loretta Lynn claims her highest charting album ever on the Billboard 200, as her new release Full Circle debuts at No. 19 (21,000 units; 20,000 in pure album sales). It’s only her second album to reach the top 40 on the all-genre list, following her previous high-charter, 2004’s Van Lear Rose, which debuted and peaked at No. 24.
The new album also marks her 40th top 10 on the Top Country Albums chart, where it starts at No. 4. She’s collected 11 No. 1s on the list.
— The 1975, I Like It When You Sleep, For You Are So Beautiful Yet So Unaware Of It – No. 26 — The 25-position tumble from its No. 1 debut a week ago is the second-largest positional drop from the top ever. The biggest fall from No. 1 belongs to Incubus’ Light Grenades which descended a whopping 36 rungs from a No. 1 debut to No. 37 (on the Dec. 23, 2006-dated chart).
Chart watchers note — there is one album that fell even harder from No. 1… but there’s a catch. Elvis Presley’s Elvis’ Christmas Album went from No. 1 to completely off the chart in a single week back in 1958. However, back then, the chart was only 25 positions deep, so it wasn’t surprising to see a Christmas album vaporize off such a shallow chart after the holiday season had concluded. (Back in January of 2012, for example, Michael Buble’s Christmas album dropped from No. 1 to No. 24 in a single week — after the Christmas holiday had passed.)
— Green Day, American Idiot – No. 41 — Green Day’s first No. 1 album zooms 125-41 thanks to a 99-cent sale price in the Google Play store during the tracking week. The album earned 13,000 equivalent album units for the week (up 144 percent) and sold 12,000 copies (up 189 percent). It’s the album’s highest rank in more than 10 years: it was last higher on the Feb. 4, 2006-dated chart, when it was No. 34.
— Esperanza Spalding, Emily’s D+Evolution – No. 88 — The singer/songwriter/bassist comes in at No. 88 with her latest album, which also bows at No. 1 on the Contemporary Jazz Albums chart. On the latter list, it’s her third straight chart-topper, following Radio Music Society (No. 1 for 16 weeks in 2012) and Chamber Music Society (No. 1 for 10 weeks in 2011).
— Violent Femmes, We Can Do Anything – No. 184 — The alternative band returns to the Billboard 200 chart for the first time in more than 20 years, as We Can Do Anything debuts at No. 184, and at No. 9 on the Independent Albums chart. The new studio effort is the group’s first full-length album since 2000’s Freak Magnet.
The band hasn’t been on the list since 1994, when New Times spent four weeks on the chart, peaking at No. 90. Violent Femmes debuted on the Billboard 200 in 1986 with their third album, The Blind Leading the Naked (peaking at No. 84).
Notably, the group’s biggest selling album — their 1983 self-titled debut — didn’t reach the chart until Aug. 3, 1991, peaking at No. 171 the following month.
Their debut set is full of classic alternative rock radio staples — “Blister in the Sun,” “Kiss Off,” “Gone Daddy Gone” and “Add It Up” — and was a slow-and-steady seller in the 1980s and 1990s. It earned gold certification status (500,000 copies sold in the U.S.) by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) in 1987, and then scored a platinum certification (1 million sold) on Feb. 1, 1991 — before the album had even debuted on the Billboard 200 chart. Since Nielsen Music began electronically tracking sales in 1991, the album has sold 1.8 million copies. (Blending RIAA certifications and Nielsen Music sales data, one could estimate the album has sold about 3 million in the U.S.)