For the second time in less than a month, a whopping nine of the top 10 albums on Billboard’s Top Album Sales are debuts, as Nos. 1-9 on the chart dated May 29 are all new entries. The tally housed nine top 10 debuts just two weeks ago, on the chart dated May 15 — and that week marked the first time since last October there were nine debuts in the top 10.
Further, for the first time in 2021, the top five selling albums of the week sold at least 20,000 copies each.
J. Cole leads the chart, as his new album The Off-Season debuts at No. 1 on Top Album Sales with 37,000 sold in the U.S. in the week ending May 20, according to MRC Data. It’s the hip-hop star’s sixth No. 1 on the list, which comprises all six of his studio efforts.
At Nos. 2-9 on the new chart, there are debuting albums from The Black Keys, Alan Jackson, ENHYPEN, St. Vincent, Phoebe Bridgers featuring Rob Moose, Nicki Minaj, Yoko Yakahashi and Megumi Hayashibara and Myles Kennedy.
Billboard’s Top Album Sales chart ranks the top-selling albums of the week based only on traditional album sales. The chart’s history dates back to May 25, 1991, the first week Billboard began tabulating charts with electronically monitored piece count information from SoundScan, now MRC Data. Pure album sales were the measurement solely utilized by the Billboard 200 albums chart through the list dated Dec. 6, 2014, after which that chart switched to a methodology that blends album sales with track equivalent album units and streaming equivalent album units. For all chart news, follow @billboard and @billboardcharts on both Twitter and Instagram.
All of The Off-Season’s 37,000 copies sold came from digital album sales, as the set was not released on any physical formats. It’s J. Cole’s first studio album not to be released initially on CD.
The Black Keys’ new blues covers project, Delta Kream, bows at No. 2 on Top Album Sales with 30,000 sold. Of that sum, physical album sales comprise 22,000 (with 14,000 vinyl LPs and 8,000 CDs) while digital album sales comprise 8,000. The set also debuts at No. 1 on both the Vinyl Albums and Tastemaker Albums charts. The former ranks the week’s top-selling vinyl albums, while the latter tallies the top-selling albums at independent record stores.
Country king Alan Jackson debuts at No. 3 on Top Album Sales with his new studio set Where Have You Gone, selling 27,000 copies. Of that sum, physical album sales comprise 18,000 (all from CDs), while digital album sales comprise 9,000. Where Have You Gone is Jackson’s 16th top 10 and highest charting title since 2012’s No. 2-peaking Thirty Miles West. Where Have You Gone is also the top-selling country album of the week.
South Korean boy band ENHYPEN lands its first top 10, as Border: Carnival bows at No. 4, selling just over 20,000 copies – effectively all from CD sales. The album was available in four collectible CD editions, similar to other K-pop titles, with alternative packaging and randomized internal paper elements (liner notes, poster, photo cards, etc.).
St. Vincent lands her second top 10 on Top Album Sales, as her latest studio effort, Daddy’s Home, bows at No. 5 with 20,000 sold. Of that sum, 17,000 comprise physical albums (12,000 vinyl LPs; 4,000 CDs and 1,000 cassettes and 8-track cartridges) while 3,000 comprise downloads. Daddy’s Home was issued on multiple vinyl variants, as well as three cassette tapes and even an 8-track tape (exclusively sold via the artist’s official webstore).
As Daddy’s Home rounds out the top five on Top Album Sales, for the first time in 2021, the top five selling albums of the week sold at least 20,000 copies each. The last time the top five each sold at least 20,000 was on the Jan. 2-dated chart (reflecting the sales week ending Dec. 24, 2020). That week, every title in the top 10 sold at least 20,000, led by the No. 1 debut of Paul McCartney’s McCartney III (104,000).
The last time outside of the Christmas shopping season (generally defined as Thanksgiving through Christmas) where the top five titles each sold at least 20,000 was on the Oct. 31, 2020-dated chart, reflecting the sales week ending Oct. 22.
Phoebe Bridgers’ remix EP Copycat Killer, featuring Rob Moose, debuts at No. 6 on the new Top Album Sales chart with 11,000 sold thanks to its wide release on vinyl LP (nearly all of its sales for the week were on vinyl). Copycat was initially released in November 2020 as a digital album and a Rough Trade-exclusive vinyl EP. The four-song set contains alternative orchestral arrangements (in collaboration with arranger Moose) of songs originally found on Bridgers’ Punisher album.
Nicki Minaj’s mixtape Beam Me Up Scotty starts at No. 7 with nearly 11,000 sold (all from digital downloads). Beam Me Up Scotty was initially released for free in 2009, but was not commercially issued or distributed to streaming services until May 14, 2021. The new version of the album houses most of the tracks from the 2009 release and adds three new cuts: “Seeing Green,” with Drake and Lil Wayne, “Fractions” and “Crocodile Teeth” (remix) with Skillibeng.
Evangelion: Finally debuts at No. 8 with nearly 9,000 sold – almost exclusively from vinyl LP sales. The album features songs by Yoko Takahashi and Megumi Hayashibara as heard in the anime series Neon Genesis Evangelion and Evangelion: 2.0 You Can (Not) Advance. While the album was initially released digitally and on CD last December, it did not reach vinyl (across multiple color variants) until May 14.
Myles Kennedy’s second solo studio album The Ides of March debuts at No. 9 on Top Album Sales, selling 7,000 copies. It’s the fourth top 10 for Kennedy, following three earlier top 10s with Slash and The Conspirators.
Closing out the top 10 is Dua Lipa’s Future Nostalgia, which re-enters at No. 10 with nearly 7,000 sold (up 261%). Its surge is owed mostly to vinyl LP sales, as of its sales sum for the week, vinyl LPs represent 5,000 of that total (up 841%). The album’s expanded deluxe edition, dubbed The Moonlight Edition, was issued on vinyl on May 14.