The xx scores its highest charting album ever on the Billboard 200 chart, as the alternative band’s third studio album, I See You, debuts at No. 2. The set earned 46,000 equivalent album units in the week ending Jan. 19, according to Nielsen Music. Of that sum, 36,000 were in traditional album sales.
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 Feb. 4-dated chart (where I See You starts at No. 2) will be posted in full to Billboard’s websites on Tuesday, Jan. 24.
The xx had previously peaked as high as No. 5 in 2012 with Coexist, the act’s second album. It debuted at its peak, starting with 73,000 sold in its first week. The band has charted one other title, its self-titled debut effort, which reached No. 92 in 2010.
I See You’s 36,000 in traditional album sales enables the title to bow at No. 1 on the Top Album Sales chart, which ranks the week’s best-selling albums.
I See You is blocked from the No. 1 slot on the Billboard 200 by The Weeknd’s Starboy, which holds for a third straight week at No. 1, and collects a fourth week atop the list overall. (It debuted at No. 1 on the chart dated Dec. 17, then returned to the top on Jan. 21, where it has been since.) Starboy earned 61,000 equivalent album units in the latest tracking frame (down 3 percent). The bulk of those units were generated by streams of the songs from the album, as streaming equivalent album units for Starboy totaled 38,000 for the week (which translates to 57.2 million streams of the album’s tracks). The rest of Starboy’s overall units were powered by track equivalent album units (10,000) and traditional album sales (13,000 copies sold).
Starboy has now blocked three challengers for No. 1 in the last three weeks: the Moana soundtrack surged 6-2 on the Jan. 21 list; the La La Land soundtrack vaulted 15-2 a week ago, and this week the xx debuts in the runner-up slot. The last time one album blocked three successive ascending or debuting (at No. 2) titles from hitting No. 1 was Drake’s Views, which thwarted ScHoolboy Q’s Blank Face LP, NEEDTOBREATHE’s HARD LOVE and Gucci Mane’s Everybody Looking between July 30 and Aug. 13. (All three of those titles debuted at No. 2.)
As for the rest of the new top 10: La La Land dips one rung to No. 3 on the Billboard 200, with 42,000 units (up less than 1 percent), while Moana falls one slot as well, to No. 4, with 34,000 units (down 13 percent).
Bruno Mars’ 24K Magic falls one position to No. 5 with 33,000 units (down 10 percent), while the original Broadway cast recording of Hamilton: An American Musical, is steady at No. 6 with 28,000 units (down 4 percent). J. Cole’s 4 Your Eyez Only slips two slots to No. 7 with a little more than 27,000 units (down 10 percent), and Drake’s Views descends a spot to No. 8 with 27,000 units (down 4 percent). Post Malone’s Stoney is a non-mover at No. 9 with 25,000 units (up 7 percent), largely driven by streams (18,000 of the album’s units were generated by streams).
Rounding out the top 10 is the Trolls soundtrack, climbing four slots to No. 10 with 23,000 units (up 20 percent). The set had a big gain in traditional album sales, as it sold 14,000 for the week (up 40 percent). The album was sale-priced for $6.99 in the iTunes Store during the tracking period.