Chart Watch: Del Rey and Smith Soar

Paul Grein
·Writer

This week marks the first time in more than nine months that three albums debuted with sales north of 100K. Lana Del Rey's second full-length album, Ultraviolence, sold 182K. Sam Smith's debut album, In The Lonely Hour, sold 166K. Linkin Park's sixth studio album The Hunting Party sold 110K.

That's a great result for Del Rey; a big disappointment for Linkin Park. It's more than twice as many copies as Del Rey's first studio album, Born To Die, sold in its first week in January 2012 (77K). But it's less than half of what Linkin Park's last studio album, Living Things, sold in its first week in July 2012 (223K).

It almost goes without saying that Ultraviolence enters The Billboard 200 at #1. It's Del Rey's first #1 album. Born To Die debuted and peaked at #2. Del Rey also cracked the top 10 with a subsequent EP, Paradise (#10 in November 2012).

Ultraviolence pulls ahead of Miranda Lambert's Platinum (180K) for the biggest one-week sales tally for an album by a female artist so far this year.

Del Rey's album also enters The U.K.'s Official Albums Chart at #1. It's the third album to reach #1 in both countries so far this year, following Bruce Springsteen's High Hopes and Coldplay's Ghost Stories. It's the first album by a female artist to reach #1 in both countries since Lady Gaga's ARTPOP scored late last year.

In The Lonely Hour debuts at #2. It just misses becoming the second #1 album by an openly gay artist. Adam Lambert's Trespassing was the first, in May 2012. Smith's album spent two weeks at #1 on The U.K.'s Official Albums Chart. Smith, a blue-eyed soul singer who has received a tremendous amount of buzz in the past few months, has a current top 10 hit on the Hot 100 with "Stay With Me." He has also been featured on two other top 20 hits: Disclosure's current "Latch" and Naughty Boy's "La La La."

Smith's 166K start is the biggest for a debut album since Phillip Phillips's The World From The Side Of The Moon opened with sales of 169K in November 2012.

In The Lonely Hour sold 127K digital copies, which allows it to enter Top Digital Albums at #1. Ultraviolence sold 125K digital copies. This marks just the second time in digital history that two albums sold 125K or more digital copies in one week. It first happened in June 2013 with Kanye West's Yeezus (186K) and J. Cole's Born Sinner (158K).

The Hunting Party debuts at #3. This breaks a string of four consecutive #1 studio albums by Linkin Park. It's the lowest-charting of the Los Angeles rock band's six studio albums. The band's debut album, Hybrid Theory, logged four weeks at #2.

Here's some good news for Linkin Park: The band has sold 24,712,000 albums in the U.S., more than any other act that has emerged since January 2000.

The last time three albums each sold 100K or more in their first week was in the week ending Sept. 8, when albums by Ariana Grande, Tamar Braxton and Nine Inch Nails achieved the feat.

The Frozen soundtrack dips from #3 to #4. This is the album's 26th week in the top five. That's the longest run in the top five for a soundtrack from a theatrically-released movie since Whitney Houston's The Bodyguard logged 30 weeks in the top five in 1992-1993. It's #1 on Top Soundtracks for the 30th week.

Willie Nelson's Band Of Brothers debuts at #5. It's his second studio album in a row to make the top 10. To All The Girls…, a set of all-star collaborations, reached #9 in October. This marks the first time in Nelson's 52-year recording career that he has had back-to-back top 10 albums. Nelson has pitched these two albums on QVC, which gave him a way to reach his fans. (Few country radio stations still play the octogenarian.)

Band Of Brothers enters Top Country Albums at #1, displacing Miranda Lambert's Platinum. It's Nelson's 14th #1 album; his first since The Promiseland in May 1986. Nelson first topped the country chart with Red Headed Stranger in October 1975, before Lambert and many of today's other chart toppers were even born.

Jennifer Lopez's A.K.A. debuts at #8. It sold 33K copies. That's the lowest first-week tally for a Lopez album to date, even lower than her 2007 Spanish-language album, Como Ama Una Mujer, which sold 48K in its first week. I explored the reasons for the disappointing showing (including sexism in the music business) in a Chart Watch preview we posted last week. If you missed it, here's a link.

Deadmau5's seventh studio album, while (1<2), debuts at #9. It's a digital-only release; the CD will impact next week's chart. It's the second top 10 album in a row for the Canadian dance music star. Album Title Goes Here reached #6 in September 2012. This is Deadmau5's second album title to contain a mathematical symbol. It follows 4X4=12.

MAGIC!'s "Rude" jumps to #1 on Hot Digital Songs (210K), displacing "Fancy" by Iggy Azalea featuring Charli XCX. Will "Rude" also bump "Fancy" from the #1 spot on the Hot 100? You'll find out later today when we post the first of two Chart Watch Songs blogs.

Here's a recap of this week's top 10 albums.

The Top Five: Lana Del Rey's Ultraviolence debuts at #1 (182K). It's her third top 10 album or EP … Sam Smith's In The Lonely Hour debuts at #2 (166K). It's his first top 10 album … Linkin Park's The Hunting Party debuts at #3 (110K). It's the band's ninth top 10 album or EP... The Frozen soundtrack dips from #3 to #4 in its 30th week (42K). This is its 28th week in the top 10 … Willie Nelson's Band Of Brothers debuts at #5 (37K). It's his third top 10 album.

The Second Five: Miranda Lambert's Platinum drops from #2 to #6 in its third week (34K) … Jack White's Lazaretto tumbles from #1 to #7 in its second week (34K) … Jennifer Lopez's A.K.A. debuts at #8 (33K). It's her eighth top 10 album … Deadmau5's while (1<2) debuts at #9 (30K). It's his second top 10 album … Brantley Gilbert's Just As I Am drops from #4 to #10 in its fifth week (26K). It has been in the top 10 the entire time.

Six albums drop out of the top 10 this week. The Fault In Our Stars soundtrack drops from #5 to #13. Now 50 drops from #6 to #11. Coldplay's Ghost Stories drops from #7 to #12. The Black Keys's Turn Blue drops from #8 to #14. Michael Jackson's Xscape drops from #9 to #17. Now Country 7 drops from #10 to #22.

David Gray's 10th studio album, Mutineers, debuts at #15 … Mali Music's Mali Is… debuts at #16. It's the third album (and first major-label album) by the contemporary soul gospel singer … Tiesto's fifth studio album, A Town Called Paradise, debuts at #18 … Led Zeppelin's 1969 album Led Zeppelin drops from #16 to #26. It's #1 on Top Catalog Albums for the third week.

The Think Like A Man Too soundtrack, featuring Mary J. Blige, debuts at #30. The movie was #1 at the box-office over the weekend … The Aladdin Broadway cast album re-enters the chart at #44. It's #1 on Top Cast Albums, displacing If/Then: A New Musical. The Aladdin movie soundtrack peaked at #6 in February 1993.

Frankie Valli & the 4 Seasons's 2005 compilation The Very Best Of… finally cracks the chart at #63. The digital-only compilation has sold 194K copies since it was released to coincide with the hit Broadway musical, Jersey Boys. The current chart breakthrough is due to the release of the film version of the show.

Justin Timberlake's The 20/20 Experience: 2 Of 2 tops the 1 million mark in its 38th week of release. JT's first 20/20 album hit 1M in its second week. But, at least 2 Of 2 finally got there.

Coming Attractions: Look for Ed Sheeran's x to debut at #1 next week with first-week sales in the 175K range. Two other albums are likely to debut in the top 10: G-Eazy's These Things Happen (about 35K) and Phish's Fuego (about 20K).

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