Alicia Keys' Girl On Fire enters The Billboard 200 at #1. It's Keys' fifth #1 album out of six releases. Here's the odd part: Girl On Fire puts Keys back at #1 even though it sold less than half of what her last album, The Element Of Freedom, sold when it debuted and peaked at #2 in December 2009. Girl On Fire sold 159K this week. The Element Of Freedom sold 417K when it bowed. That album had the misfortune of debuting when there was a phenomenon at #1. Susan Boyle's I Dreamed A Dream sold 661K in its fourth week at #1.
This is the slowest start to date for a Keys album. It sold even fewer copies than Keys' Unplugged album sold (196K) in its first week in October 2005. Of course, overall sales aren't as healthy as they were in 2005. Here a positive note for Keys: The title track (featuring Nicki Minaj) is shaping up as a big hit. It surges from #17 to #3 on this week's Hot Digital Songs chart.
Only two other female R&B (or pop/R&B crossover) artists have five or more #1 albums. Mariah Carey and Janet Jackson have each had six. (Disclaimers: Beyonce has also had six #1 albums if you combine her solo and Destiny's Child albums. And of course all of these artists transcend R&B, but the music industry is built on categories.)
Girl On Fire sold 56K digital copies, which puts it at #1 on Top Digital Albums.
Christmas albums are helping the music industry keep the lights on this holiday season. There are a whopping 78 Christmas albums on this week's Billboard 200, up from 49 last week. There are four Christmas albums in this week's top 10. It's the first time that has happened in 20 years. Rod Stewart's Merry Christmas, Baby jumps from #6 to #3 (matching its highest ranking to date), Michael Buble's Christmas rebounds from #16 to #7, Lady Antebellum's On This Winter's Night rebounds from #19 to #8 (a new peak) and Blake Shelton's Cheers, It's Christmas jumps from #18 to #9 (breaking into the top 10 for the first time).
The last time four holiday albums appeared in the top 10 at the same time was in December 1992. Amy Grant's Home For Christmas was #7, A Very Special Christmas 2 was #8, Neil Diamond's The Christmas Album was #9 and Garth Brooks' Beyond The Season was #10. (Rod Stewart was 47 in December 1992, but he apparently thought, "No, not yet. Maybe in 20 years.")
Brooks went on to land a second top 10 Christmas album, Garth Brooks & The Magic Of Christmas, in 1999. Will Stewart also be a Christmas repeater? Given his five volumes of Great American Standards, I'm going to say yes.
Buble's album, the top Christmas album of 2011, is #1 on Top Catalog Albums for the fifth week. The album has sold 393K digital copies, more than any other holiday album. It's one of only two Christmas albums that are included on Nielsen SoundScan's running list of the 100 best-selling digital albums of all time. The other is Vince Guaraldi Trio's 1965 classic A Charlie Brown Christmas, which has sold 308K digital copies.
Taylor Swift's Red holds at #2 for the third straight week. It's #1 on Top Country Albums for the sixth week. The album is #2 for the year-to-date.
Adele received a lot of well-deserved attention last week when 21 topped the 10 million mark in sales. But she did something else last week that was also remarkable: Her music video Live At Royal Albert Hall topped the 1 million mark in sales. It's the first music video to sell 1 million copies since Garth Brooks' 2007 hit The Ultimate Hits, and that was a CD/DVD hybrid. What was the last music video that was not a CD/DVD hybrid to sell 1 million copies? Eagles' Farewell Tour: Live From Melbourne, which came out in June 2005. (It has sold 1,549,000 copies.) Adele and Eagles are both mass appeal artists. Both are Grammy winners for Record of the Year (he said, on the day the Grammy nominations will be announced).
One Direction's Take Me Home dips to #4 in its third week. The album has sold 808K copies, which puts it at #12 for the year-to-date. The quintet has two albums in the top 15 for the year-to-date. Up All Night ranks #3. No other act has two albums in the top 15 for the year-to-date. Adele has two of the top 20.
In addition, Up All Night—The Live Tour logs its 24th week at #1 on Top Music Videos. This ties Adele's Live At The Royal Albert Hall, which spent 24 weeks at #1 from December 2011 to May 2012. The last music video to have a longer run at #1 was Pink Floyd's Pulse, which spent a total of 25 weeks at #1 from June 1995 to October 2006. (All three acts are British.)
"Scream & Shout" by will.i.am featuring Britney Spears vaults from #66 to #1 on Hot Digital Songs, displacing PSY's "Gangnam Style." "Scream & Shout" is the seventh career #1 on Hot Digital Songs for both will.i.am and Spears. For will.i.am, it follows five chart-toppers as a member of the Black Eyed Peas and one with Usher ("OMG," on which he was featured). How high will "Scream & Shout" debut on the Hot 100? You'll find out later today when we post Chart Watch: Songs.
Here's the low-down on this week's top 10 albums.
The Top Five: Alicia Keys' Girl On Fire debuts at #1 (159K). It's Keys' fifth #1 album; her sixth to make the top 10…Taylor Swift's Red holds at #2 for the third week in its sixth week (137K). This is its sixth week in the top 10...Rod Stewart's Merry Christmas, Baby jumps from #6 to #3 in its fifth week (117K). This is its fifth week in the top 10… One Direction's Take Me Home dips from #3 to #4 in its third week (92K). This is its third week in the top 10…Phillip Phillips' The World From The Side Of The Moon dips from #4 to #5 in its second week (74K).
The Second Five: Rihanna's Unapologetic drops from #1 to #6 in its second week (72K)…Michael Buble's Christmas rebounds from #16 to #7 in its 16th week (66K). This is its 10th week in the top 10…Lady Antebellum's On This Winter's Night rebounds from #19 to #8 in its sixth week (59K). This is its second week in the top 10…Blake Shelton's Cheers, It's Christmas jumps from #18 to #9 in its eighth week (53K). This is Shelton's sixth top 10 album…Kid Rock's Rebel Soul drops from #5 to #10 in its second week (46K).
Four albums drop out of the top 10 this week (but they all stay in the top 20. You will not see the word "plummet" in this paragraph.) P!nk's The Truth About Love drops from #7 to #13, Jason Aldean's Night Train drops from #8 to #14, Led Zeppelin's Celebration Day drops from #9 to #17 and Keyshia Cole's Woman To Woman drops from #10 to #15.
Timeflies' One Night EP debuts at #29. It's the electro-pop act's first chart album. This is the week's second highest new entry, after Alicia Keys' Girl On Fire. It edges out Glee: The Music, Season 4, Volume 1, which debuts at #33. Is Glee over as a potent record selling force? It's sure getting there.
The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn, Part 2 drops from #24 to #30 in its third week. It's #1 on Top Soundtracks for the third week. The movie was #1 at the box-office for the third weekend in a row.
R.I.P. Jazz great Dave Brubeck has died. He was 91. The Dave Brubeck Quartet had six top 10 albums on what is now called The Billboard 200 between 1954 and 1962. Its biggest was its 1959 album Time Out Featuring "Take Five," which reached #2 in November 1961. "Take Five" reached #25 on the Hot 100 and received a Grammy nomination for Record of the Year for 1961. The Quartet's other top 10 albums were Jazz Goes To College, Dave Brubeck At Storyville: 1954, Brubeck Time, Jazz: Red Hot And Cool and Time Further Out. Brubeck was voted a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 1996.
Coming Attractions: Wiz Khalifa's O.N.I.F.C. will be next week's top new entry, at #2 or #3, with sales in the 135K range. Ke$ha's Warrior will start around #6, with sales in the 85K range. Florida Georgia Line's Here's To The Good Times is eyeing first-week sales of about 50K. That will put it around #13. Also due: Chevelle's Stray Arrows: A Collection Of Favorites, Hinder's Welcome To The Freakshow, Paloma Faith's Fall To Grace and Gavin McGraw's Sweeter Live CD/DVD.