After two weeks of Pentatonix ruling the Billboard 200 with its holiday effort A Pentatonix Christmas, the vocal group steps aside, to let The Weeknd return to the top slot with Starboy. The latter set climbs from No. 2 to No. 1 (for a second week in the penthouse) with 69,000 equivalent album units (down 26 percent) earned in the week ending Jan. 5, according to Nielsen Music. Of that sum, 18,000 were in traditional album sales (down 46 percent).
The Billboard 200 chart ranks the most popular albums of the week in the U.S. based on multi-metric consumption, which includes traditional album sales, track equivalent albums (TEA) and streaming equivalent albums (SEA). The new Jan. 21, 2017-dated chart (where The Weekend jumps back to No. 1) will be posted in full to Billboard’s websites on Tuesday, Jan. 10.
The Weeknd’s Starboy debuted at No. 1 six weeks ago, fell to No. 2 in its second week, but has been within the top three of the list each week since. It’s the first album to return to No. 1 in three months, since Drake’s Views spent its 13th and (so far) final week at No. 1, jumping from No. 2 to No. 1 on the Oct. 8, 2016-dated list — after having spent the previous seven weeks not at No. 1.
Meanwhile, last week’s leader, Penatonix’s A Pentatonix Christmas, falls to No. 41 (12,000 units; down 88 percent). It is the only holiday album within the top 100 of the chart. The next highest-ranking seasonal set is Pentatonix’s previous holiday effort, That’s Christmas to Me, which falls from No. 9 to No. 112.
The Moana film soundtrack rises from No. 6 to No. 2 with 64,000 units (up 21 percent) and 44,000 in traditional album sales (up 37 percent — it is the best selling album of the week). It’s the only title in the top 10 to post a gain in either total units or sales, so, for the most part, albums with a small decline in units will rise up the list. That is typical for the first tracking week after the holiday shopping season and Christmas — when the chart adjusts to normal non-holiday business. And, soundtracks to music-heavy films popular at the beginning of the year — like Moana — tend to profit on the chart in January.
For example, two years ago this month, the soundtracks to both Into the Woods and the remake of Annie jumped into the top 15 for the first time. Back in January of 2013, the Les Miserables soundtrack rose to No. 1, while the Pitch Perfect soundtrack hit the top 10 for the first time (on its way to a No. 3 peak in February of that year). Other stunning January jumps for soundtracks include when Titanic sailed from No. 11 to No. 1 on the Jan. 24, 1998 chart and Dreamgirls zoomed from No. 31 on Jan. 6, 2007 to No. 1 just two weeks later.
Moana isn’t the only soundtrack basking in that post-holiday glow in the latest top 10: three more soundtracks populate the region: Sing (rising 21-8 with 28,000 units; though its down 9 percent), Suicide Squad (10-9 with 27,000 units; down 36 percent) and Trolls (14-10 with 26,000 units; down 28 percent). For Sing, the soundtrack hits a new peak, as it has climbed steadily since its debut at No. 113 on the Dec. 31, 2016-dated list. It then jumped to No. 70, then to No. 21 and now to No. 8. (While Moana, Sing and Trolls are all still currently in theaters, Suicide Squad was released in August and closed in November. However, the movie was issued on DVD and blu-ray on Dec. 13, which aids in its popularity this month.)
With four soundtracks inside the top 10, that’s the most concurrently charting soundtracks in the top tier in more than 18 years. It last happened on the Sept. 5, 1998-dated list when the soundtracks to Armageddon (No. 4), Dr. Dolittle (No. 7), How Stella Got Her Groove Back (No. 8) and City of Angels (No. 10) populated the top 10.
Farther up the top 10, Bruno Mars’ 24K Magic is steady at No. 3 with 45,000 units (down 44 percent) and Drake’s Views climbs 8-4 with 41,000 units (down 17 percent). J. Cole’s former No. 1, 4 Your Eyez Only, slips one rung to No. 5 with 39,000 units (down 48 percent), the original Broadway cast recording of Hamilton falls a step to No. 6 with 32,000 units (down 41 percent) and Twenty One Pilots’ Blurryface is a non-mover at No. 7 with 30,000 units (down 42 percent).