British rock band Muse achieves its first No. 1 album on the Billboard 200, as its seventh studio effort, Drones, bows atop the list. The set — which was released on June 8 through Helium-3/Warner Bros. Records — moved 84,000 equivalent album units in the week ending June 14, according to Nielsen Music.
The Billboard 200 chart ranks the most popular albums of the week based on multi-metric consumption, which includes traditional album sales, track equivalent albums (TEA) and streaming equivalent albums (SEA).
Drones’ first week was driven largely by traditional album sales, as the set also starts at No. 1 on the Top Album Sales chart with 79,000 copies sold.
The group had previously topped out at No. 2 on the Billboard 200, with its 2012 album The 2nd Law. It debuted and peaked in the runner-up slot. Muse formed in 1994 and charted its first Billboard hits 10 years later with the album Absolution and the single “Time Is Running Out.” In total, the band has collected eight charting albums on the Billboard 200 (six studio efforts, plus two live concert sets).
Last week’s No. 1 album, Florence + The Machine’s chart-topping debut How Big How Blue How Beautiful, slips to No. 4 in its second week, with 37,000 units (down 73 percent).
With Muse replacing fellow British rock band Florence + The Machine at No. 1, it’s the chart’s first instance of back-to-back No. 1 debuts from British acts. (The Billboard 200’s regularly published weekly chart history dates back to 1956.)
Further, the last time there were back-to-back British bands at No. 1 was nearly 30 years ago, when Dire Straits’ Brothers In Arms rose 5-1 in its 13th chart week, bumping Tears For Fears’ Songs From the Big Chair 1-2 in its 22nd week.
More Brits-atop-the-chart factoids: the last time a British act replaced another British act at No. 1 (solo, group, band or otherwise) was on Nov. 12, 2011, when rock group Coldplay’s Mylo Xyloto debuted atop the list, temporarily displacing diva Adele’s 21 from the top slot (moving 1-4). Finally, the last time two British groups went back to back was on July 19, 1997, when the electronic dance group The Prodigy bowed at No. 1 with The Fat of the Land, pushing pop vocal group Spice Girls down 1-3 with Spice.
Back on the new Billboard 200 chart, Taylor Swift’s 1989 stays put at No. 2 with 64,000 units (down 2 percent).
In the No. 3 slot is Icelandic rock band Of Monsters and Men, which debuts with its new album Beneath the Skin (61,000 units; 57,000 in pure album sales). It’s the highest charting album yet for the group, and their best sales week ever — surpassing the debut and peak of their last album, 2012’s My Head Is An Animal (which bowed at No. 6 with their previous best sales frame: 55,000).
Another British rock band, The Rolling Stones, re-enters at No. 5 with their classic former No. 1 Sticky Fingers (36,000 units; 34,000 in pure album sales). The album, which spent four weeks atop the list shortly after its release in 1971, has been absent from the tally since 1981. This is its highest rank since Aug. 14, 1971, when it was No. 5. The album was reissued on June 9 in a variety of deluxe, remastered and expanded editions, thus sparking its return to the chart. For charting and sales tracking purposes, nearly all versions of the album are merged together on Billboard’s charts and in Nielsen Music’s database. (However, one of Sticky Fingers’ new editions — dubbed the super deluxe version — tracks separately due to its additional extra content. It debuts at No. 65 with 9,000 units, nearly all from album sales.)
The Sticky Fingers redux is the third expansive reissue the Stones have released in recent years, following 2010’s reboot of its 1972 No. 1 Exile On Main St. and the 2011 reissue of the 1978 No. 1 Some Girls. The former returned to the chart at No. 2, while the latter came back in at No. 46.
Ed Sheeran’s x descends 5-6 with 34,000 units (down 7 percent) in its 51st chart week. The British singer/songwriter is one of five European acts in the top six on the chart — only American-born Swift (at No. 2) is the lone non-European act in the region.
As for the rest of the top 10: Sam Hunt’s Montevallo moves 31,000 units (up 11 percent) to grow 13-7 — its highest chart rank since its debut week (Nov. 15, 2014 at No. 3). Hunt’s rise is owed to buzz generated by the CMT Awards (June 10) where he won breakthrough video of the year (for “Leave the Night On”) and performed his single “House Party.”
A$AP Rocky dips 3-8 with At.Long.Last.A$AP (just over 29,000 units; down 42 percent), Maroon 5’s V rises 10-9 (29,000 units; down 3 percent) and Meghan Trainor’s Title drops 8-10 (27,000 units; down 10 percent).