On the latest Billboard charts (dated Sept. 9), Brand New caps off a 14-year rise to the top of the Billboard 200, as Science Fiction, the rock band’s fifth studio album, debuts at No. 1 with 58,000 equivalent album units (55,000 of which were traditional album sales), according to Nielsen Music.
The band’s first No. 1 on the Billboard 200 comes nearly a decade and a half after the Long Island rockers’ first appearance on the Billboard charts and is just the third chart-topper for a rock act in 2017, following Arcade Fire’s Everything Now (100,000, Aug. 19) and Linkin Park’s One More Light (111,000, June 10).
That statistic is just one of many about Brand New and/or Science Fiction, both old and new. For example:
Science Fiction Is the First Independently Distributed Album to Reach No. 1 on the Billboard 200 in 2017
It’s taken until the end of August for an independently distributed album chart at No. 1 on the Billboard 200; Science Fiction was self-released via the band’s Procrastinate! Music Traitors label. To compare, in 2016, five albums that were independently distributed hit No. 1: Metallica’s Hardwired… To Self-Destruct (Dec. 10, 2016; released on the band’s Blackened Records, distributed via Alternative Distribution Alliance [ADA]), Jason Aldean’s They Don’t Know (Oct. 1; on Broken Bow Records, distributed through RED Distribution), Frank Ocean’s initially self-released Blonde (Sept. 10; on Ocean’s own Boys Don’t Cry), Blink-182’s California (July 23; released through the band’s Viking Wizard Eyes LLC, licensed to BMG and distributed by ADA) and The Lumineers’ Cleopatra (April 30; on Dualtone via ADA).
It Took 14 Years, Two Months and Four Days for Brand New to Get to No. 1
That’s the amount of time it took Brand New to snag its first No. 1 on the Billboard 200 since its first appearance on the chart. Deja Entendu, the band’s second album, debuted at No. 63 on the Billboard 200 dated July 5, 2003, with 17,000 copies sold. The last act to wait longer for its first No. 1 was David Bowie, when Blackstar debuted at No. 1 on Jan. 30, 2016 — 43 years, nine months and 15 days after he debuted on the list with Hunky Dory on April 15, 1972. Blackstar, of course, was released two days before Bowie died on Jan. 10, 2016. Previous to Bowie, the last longer wait (than Brand New’s 14-year gap) was tallied by Tyrese, when his Black Rose bowed at No. 1 on the Aug. 1, 2015-dated list — 16 years, eight months and 18 days after his self-titled album hit the chart dated Nov. 14, 1998.
Science Fiction Garners Brand New Its Biggest Sales Week in Nearly 11 Years
The predecessor to Science Fiction, 2009’s Daisy (No. 6 on the Billboard 200, Oct. 10, 2009), sold 46,000 copies in its first week. That’s less than the 55,000 sales start of Science Fiction. The last time Brand New sold that many albums in one week? The debut week of 2006’s The Devil and God Are Raging Inside Me (No. 31, Dec. 9, 2006-dated chart), which sold 60,000. Science Fiction also logs the second-best sales week in Brand New’s career – not bad for a long-running rock band that hadn’t released an album in nearly eight years.
One Song Is Getting Radio Airplay – And That’s Not New for the Band
Brand New hasn’t charted an airplay hit since 2007’s “Jesus Christ” (No. 30 on Alternative Songs), but that could change. “Can’t Get It Out,” the second track on Science Fiction, was played 41 times on stations part of Billboard’s Alternative Songs radio airplay panel, led by 12 spins on WZNE Rochester, N.Y. – enough for 151,000 audience impressions in the tracking week (Aug. 21-27). If the song ends up making the 40-position Alternative Songs chart (full disclosure: it’d need to increase its spin count by about five times to do so), it’d be the third Brand New song to make the chart and first since 2007. “The Quiet Things That No One Ever Knows” was the band’s first chart appearance, peaking at No. 37 (Sept. 27, 2003). Then, “Jesus Christ” peaked at No. 30 a few years later (May 26, 2007). No song from 2009’s Daisy made the chart.
Science Fiction Is Also Brand New’s First No. 1 on the Top Rock Albums and Alternative Albums Charts
The album debuts at No. 1 on both genre-specific charts, marking the band’s first No. 1 on either. Granted, Top Rock Albums began in 2006 and Alternative Albums in 2007 (the latter meaning that 2006’s Devil and God could not have charted on it), but the point is that there’s always been another rock and/or alternative rock band ahead of Brand New in the album sales rankings when a new record drops. Devil and God bowed at No. 8 on Top Rock Albums, behind such heavy hitters as Daughtry’s self-titled debut (304,000 copies, by the way) and The Beatles’ Love, while Daisy debuted at No. 3 on Top Rock Albums and Alternative Albums, slotting in behind new releases from Pearl Jam (189,000 copies of Backspacer) and Three Days Grace.