Chris Martin and Gwyneth Paltrow announced their "conscious uncoupling" in March, but another of Martin's long-time relationships—with the #1 spot on The Billboard 200—is still going strong. Martin's band, Coldplay, lands its fourth consecutive #1 album with Ghost Stories. The album sold 383K copies in its first week. That's the heftiest one-week tally by any album since Beyonce's Beyonce sold 617K copies in its first week last December. It's the heftiest by a rock album since Mumford & Sons's Babel sold 600K in its first week in September 2012.
And Coldplay's album is all but assured of a second week at #1. (Next week's top new entry, Mariah Carey's Me. I Am Mariah…The Elusive Chanteuse, will probably sell in the 65K range, not enough to topple Ghost Stories.) This will mark an improvement over the band's 2011 album Mylo Xyloto, which spent just a single week on top.
Ghost Stories is the first album to sell 300K or more copies in one week in 2014. (The previous best mark for this year was set in February when Eric Church's The Outsiders sold 288K in its first week.) This is the latest in the year that an album has become the year's first to top 300K in weekly sales since Nielsen SoundScan began tracking music sales in 1991.
Ghost Stories dislodges The Black Keys's Turn Blue from #1. This marks the first time that rock bands have had back-to-back #1 albums since June, when Black Sabbath's 13 bumped off Queens Of The Stone Age's …Like Clockwork.
Coldplay is the sixth English group to amass four or more #1 albums. The Beatles are out front with 19 #1 albums, followed by the Rolling Stones (nine), Led Zeppelin (seven), Paul McCartney & Wings (five), Pink Floyd (five) and Coldplay. The Fine Print: In addition, McCartney has had two #1 solo albums. I'm not including Fleetwood Mac, which was formed in England but achieved its greatest success with the addition of two American members.
Coldplay's new album sold 245K digital copies, which allows it to enter Top Digital Albums at #1. The group's three most recent albums also topped that chart.
Ghost Stories also enters the U.K.'s Official Albums Chart at #1. All six of the group's studio albums have hit #1 in the U.K. Ghost Stories is the second album to reach #1 in both the U.S. and the U.K. so far this year. The first was Bruce Springsteen's High Hopes.
Brantley Gilbert's third studio album, Just As I Am, debuts at #2. It sold 211K copies, a tally that would have put it at #1 in all but three weeks this year. (As noted above, Eric Church's The Outsiders sold 288K when it debuted in February. The Frozen soundtrack sold 259K in its peak week in April.)
This is Gilbert's second top 10 album. Halfway to Heaven reached #4 in March 2010. The album enters Top Country Albums at #1, displacing Rascal Flatts's Rewind. Just As I Am is Gilbert's first #1 country album. (Bill Withers had an album with the same title in 1971. The album spawned the classic "Ain't No Sunshine.")
Michael Jackson's Xscape dips from #2 to #3 in its second week. It pulls ahead of The Black Keys's Turn Blue, which narrowly edged it out for #1 last week. That album drops from #1 to #5 in its second week. After two weeks, Jackson's album has sold 224K copies, compared to 218K for Turn Blue.
Frozen holds at #4 for the second week. This is the album's 22nd week in the top five. That's the longest run in the top five for a soundtrack from a theatrically-released movie since The Lion King (another Disney property) had 23 non-consecutive weeks in the top five in 1994-1995. Frozen is #1 on Top Soundtracks for the 26th week. In Japan, the album is #1 for the fifth week (under the title Anna And The Snow Queen.)
Phillip Phillips's sophomore album, Behind The Light, debuts at #7. It's his second top 10 album. The World From The Side Of The Moon debuted and peaked at #4 in November 2012. Phillips is the sixth American Idol champ to make the top 10 with both of his or her first two major-label studio albums. He follows Kelly Clarkson, Carrie Underwood, Jordin Sparks, David Cook and Scotty McCreery. (So exactly half of the first 12 Idol winners have achieved this feat.)
The Fault In Our Stars soundtrack debuts at #8. It enters Top Soundtracks at #2. The album includes tracks by Ed Sheeran, Kodaline, Birdy, Ray LaMontagne and Charli XCX, among others.
"Fancy" by Iggy Azalea featuring Charli XCX moves up to #1 on Top Digital Songs (336K), displacing Azalea's other current smash, Ariana Grande's "Problem," on which she is featured. Azalea is the sixth artist—and just the third female solo artist—to have back-to-back #1 hits on this chart. Will either of these songs be able to dethrone John Legend's "All Of Me" on the Hot 100? You'll find out later today when we post my first of two Chart Watch Songs blogs.
Here's a recap of this week's top 10 albums.
The Top Five: Coldplay's Ghost Stories debuts at #1 (383K). It's their fifth top 10 album … Brantley Gilbert's Just As I Am debuts at #2 (211K). It's his second top 10 album … Michael Jackson's Xscape dips from #2 to #3 in its second week (67K) … The Frozen soundtrack holds at #4 for the second week in its 26th week (65K). This is its 24th week in the top 10 … The Black Keys's Turn Blue drops from #1 to #5 in its second week (54K).
The Second Five: Now 50 drops from #3 to #6 in its third week (51K) … Phillip Phillips's Behind The Light debuts at #7 (41K). It's his second top 10 album … The Fault In Our Stars soundtrack debuts at #8 (34K) … Iggy Azalea's The New Classic rebounds from #14 to #9 in its fifth week (22K). This is its third week in the top 10 … Rascal Flatts's Rewind drops from #5 to #10 in its second week (22K).
Five albums drop out of the top 10 this week. Dolly Parton's Blue Smoke drops from #6 to #36. Tori Amos's Unrepentant Geraldines tumbles from #7 to #65. Sarah McLachlan's Shine On drops from #8 to #20. Hunter Hayes's Storyline drops from #9 to #23. Michael W. Smith's Sovereign dives from #10 to #48.
The Roots's …And Then You Shoot Your Cousin debuts at #11. (That's one of the strangest album titles I've ever come across.) This is the group's 13th studio album (counting collabos with John Legend and Elvis Costello). It's the group's ninth album to crack the top 20.
Conor Oberst's ninth solo album, Upside Down Mountain, debuts at #19 … R.E.M.'s third live album, Unplugged: The Complete 1991 and 2001 Sessions, debuts at #21 … Kenny Wayne Shepherd's seventh studio album, Goin' Home, debuts at #25.
Michael Jackson's 2003 compilation Number Ones drops from #28 to #33 in its 177th chart week. The album is #1 on Top Catalog Albums for the 30th week.
Metallica's 1991 album Metallica rebounds from #155 to #144 in its 307th chart week. The blockbuster becomes the first album to sell 16 million copies since 1991, when Nielsen SoundScan started tracking music sales. Whitney Houston's The Bodyguard soundtrack was the first album in the Nielsen SoundScan era to reach both the 10 and 11 million sales plateaus. Alanis Morissette's Jagged Little Pill was the first to reach both 12 million (in February 1997) and 13 million (in August 1998). Shania Twain's Come On Over was the first to reach both 14 million (in September 2001) and 15 million (in August 2004).
X-Men: Days Of Future Past was #1 at the box-office over the weekend. The soundtrack featuring John Ottman's score sold 1K copies, too few to make The Billboard 200.
Rob Zombie's Zombie Horror Picture Show enters Top Music Videos at #1, displacing Barry Manilow's Live From Paris Las Vegas.
Coming Attractions: As noted above, Mariah Carey's Me. I Am Mariah…The Elusive Chanteuse will be next week's top new entry at #2 or #3 (60K). Austin Mahone's The Secret will debut around #5 (45K). Crowder's Neon Steeple (22K) and Cher Lloyd's Sorry I'm Late (18K) will either just make or just miss the top 10. Also due: Neil Young's A Letter Home (12K), Royksopp & Robyn's Do It Again (12K), Tedashii's Below Paradise, Kiss's Kiss 40 and The Ready Set's The Bad & The Better.