Now 50 enters The Billboard 200 at #1, displacing the Frozen soundtrack. Does that sound faintly familiar? There's good reason for that. Now 49, the previous installment in this long-running franchise, bumped Frozen out of the #1 spot in February. Will Frozen still be going strong when the inevitable Now 51 comes out in a few months? Stay tuned.
This marks the first time that back-to-back Now releases have hit #1 since Now 30 and Now 31 scored in 2009. Now 50 sold 153K copies in its first week. That's the best first-week tally for a Now album since Now 31 started with 169K in July 2009.
Now 50 is the 18th volume in this series to reach #1. Only one artist has amassed as many as 18 #1 albums. The Beatles notched 19 #1 albums.
All 50 regular Now volumes have made the top 10, as have five non-numbered Now albums.
The best-selling album in the franchise's history is Now 5, which has sold 4,789,000 copies since its release in 2000. (Ironically, that album isn't one of the 18 Now volumes to reach #1. It peaked at #2.)
Frozen dips from #1 to #2. With sales to date of 2,655,000 copies, the album is the best-selling album since Taylor Swift's Red. That blockbuster has sold 4,032,000 copies since its release in October 2012.
Also this week, Frozen becomes the best-selling soundtrack to a theatrically-released animated movie since The Lion King (7,875,000). It pushes ahead of Tarzan (2,586,000). Note: I’m not counting Space Jam (4,767,000), which blended live action and animation. I'm also not counting A Charlie Brown Christmas, which has been a TV perennial since 1965. That album has sold 3,409,000 copies since 1991.
This is the 20th week in the top five for Frozen. 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 24th week. The soundtrack holds at #1 in Japan for the third week under the title Anna And The Snow Queen.
Hunter Hayes' sophomore album, Storyline, debuts at #3. It's his second top 10 album. Hunter Hayes peaked at #7 in June 2013. Storyline also enters Top Country Albums at #1, displacing Luke Bryan's Crash My Party. Both of Hayes's studio albums have reached #1 country. Storyline sold 39K digital copies this week, which allows it to enter Top Digital Albums at #1.
Sarah McLachlan's seventh studio album, Shine On, debuts at #4. It's her sixth top 10 album. Several albums with similar titles have been successful. Martina McBride reached #10 in 2009 with Shine. Grand Funk hit #5 in 1974 with Shinin' On. In addition, John Ono Lennon had a top five single in 1970 with Instant Karma (We All Shine On).
Tech N9ne Collabos's fifth album, Strangeulation, debuts at #5. It's Tech N9ne's first top 10 album in his Collabos series. It's the rapper's third top 10 album overall, following his solo releases All 6's And 7's (#4 in 2011) and Something Else (#4 in 2013). Tech N9ne has had 14 total studio releases. The new album features guest appearances from the entire Strange Music roster, as well as such outside collaborators as Serj Tankian of System of a Down.
Atmosphere's seventh studio album, Southsiders, debuts at #8. It's the band's second top 10 album, following the memorably titled When Life Gives You Lemons, You Paint That Sh*t Gold (#5 in 2008).
Santana's 23rd studio album, Corazon, debuts at #9. (That tally doesn't include seven studio albums that Carlos Santana has released on his own.) This marks a recovery from the band's last studio album, the mostly instrumental Shape Shifter, which stalled at #16 in 2012. Corazon features such guest artists as Gloria Estefan and Ziggy Marley. This is the band's 13th top 10 album (again, not counting an album that Carlos Santana released apart from the group—a 1972 live album with Buddy Miles). The band first cracked the top 10 in October 1969 with Santana.
"Problem" by Ariana Grande featuring Iggy Azalea holds at #1 on Hot Digital Songs for the second week (235K). Will it also move up to #1 on the Hot 100 or will John Legend's "All Of Me" grab a second week on top? 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: Now 50 debuts at #1 (153K). This is the 55th Now volume to make the top 10 … The Frozen soundtrack dips from #1 to #2 in its 24th week (99K). This is its 22nd week in the top 10 … Hunter Hayes' Storyline debuts at #3 (69K). It's his second top 10 album … Sarah McLachlan's Shine On debuts at #4 (42K). It's her sixth top 10 album … Tech N9ne Collabos's Strangeulation debuts at #5 (36K). It's Tech N9ne's third top 10 album.
The Second Five: Pharrell Williams's G I R L hold at #6 for the second week in its 10th week (24K). It has been in the top 10 the entire time … Luke Bryan's Crash My Party rebounds from #9 to #7 in its 39th week (24K). This is its 18th week in the top 10 … Atmosphere's Southsiders debuts at #8 (23K). It's the band's second top 10 album … Santana's Corazon at #9 (22K). It's their 13th top 10 album … Lorde's Pure Heroine rebounds from #13 to #10 in its 32nd week (19K). This is its 23rd week in the top 10.
Lindsey Stirling's Shatter Me dives from #2 to #17 in its second week. Stirling's eponymous debut album drops from #42 to #63 in its 76th chart week. It's #1 on Top Catalog Albums for the second week. It's the first album by a female solo artist to top the catalog chart two weeks running since Adele's 19 in 2012.
Whitechapel's Our Endless War plummets from #10 to #141 in its second week. But that's nothing. Timeflies's After Hours nosedives from #8 completely off the chart. Four other albums drop out of the top 10 this week. Ray LaMontagne's Supernova drops from #3 to #16. Passion: Take It All (Live) dives from #4 to #51. Iggy Azalea's The New Classic drops from #5 to #15. Future's Honest drops from #7 to #23.
Lily Allen's third album, Sheezus, debuts at #12. All three have made the top 20. Sheezus enters the U.K.'s Official Albums Chart at #1. It's her second #1 in that country. The title of the new album is a play on the title of Kanye West's Yeezus, which debuted at #1 in both the U.S. and the U.K. in June 2013.
The Music Of Nashville, Season 2 debuts at #13. It's the fourth Nashville album to make the top 20 … Natalie Merchant's sixth studio album, Natalie Merchant, debuts at #20. It's her fourth top 20 album.
Neighbors was #1 at the box-office over the weekend. The soundtrack sold 2K copies, too few to make The Billboard 200.
Metallica's Through The Never is #1 on Top Music Videos for the 10th week. It's the first video by a rock band to log 10 weeks at #1 since Rush's Beyond The Lighted Stage in 2010-2011.
Coming Attractions: The Black Keys's Turn Blue and Michael Jackson's Xscape are locked in a tight race for #1 next week. Turn Blue is expected to sell about 145K copies; Xscape about 140K. Look for Rascal Flatts's Rewind to debut at #5 with sales of about 60K copies. Dolly Parton's Blue Smoke looks good for #6 (35K). Also due: Tori Amos's Unrepentant Geraldines (16K), Michael W. Smith's Sovereign (14K) and Chromeo's White Women (13K).