TobyMac this week becomes the first Contemporary Christian artist to land a #1 album in more than 15 years. Toby Mac, a former member of the rock/hip-hop Christian trio DC Talk, achieves the feat with Eye On It, his fifth regular studio album as a solo artist. The last Contemporary Christian artist to land a #1 album was Bob Carlisle, who scored in June 1997 with Butterfly Kisses (Shades Of Grace).
One other act that specializes in religious music has landed a #1 album: The Mormon Tabernacle Choir scored in January 1960 with The Lord's Prayer.
Two inspirational albums by superstar artists reached #1 in 1997, but they were more secular than religious in content (and the artists are far better known for their secular releases). They are LeAnn Rimes' You Light Up My Life: Inspirational Songs and Barbra Streisand's Higher Ground. Both albums included the inspirational ballad "I Believe," which was a hit in 1953 for both Jane Froman and Frankie Laine.
Eye On It is the first album since Rimes' You Light Up My Life to reach #1 on both The Billboard 200 and Top Christian Albums. Butterfly Kisses (Shades Of Grace) also topped both charts. Streisand's Higher Ground did not, I guess because she's Jewish.
Four Contemporary Christian groups debuted and peaked at #2 in recent years: Casting Crowns (with 2007's The Altar And The Door and 2011's Come To The Well), Underoath (with 2006's Define The Great Line), Skillet (with 2009's Awake), Red (with 2011's Until We Have Faces) and David Crowder Band (with Give Us Rest in January).
DC Talk's first three studio albums, from 1989 to 1992, didn't crack The Billboard 200. The band first charted in 1995 with the album Jesus Freak. It peaked with its final album, Supernatural, which went top 10 in 1998. Toby Mac (real name: Kevin McKeehan) went solo in 2001 with Momentum. Eye On It is his third top 10 album as a solo artist. It follows Portable Sounds (#10 in 2007) and Tonight (#6 in 2010).
Eye On It sold 35K digital copies this week (out of 69K total), which puts it at #1 on Top Digital Albums.
Slaughterhouse's Welcome To Our House debuts at #2. This is the rap group's first top 10 album. Two of the members have had top 10 albums in the past. Joe Budden hit #8 in June 2003 with an eponymous solo album. Royce Da 5'9" reached #1 in June 2011 with Bad Meets Evil's EP Hell: The Sequel. Royce Da 5'9" teamed with Eminem in that project. Eminem is also featured on Slaughterhouse's single, "Throw That," which entered the Hot 100 last week at #98.
Loopy item of the week: Slaughterhouse has now climbed higher than the unrelated rock band Slaughter, whose 1992 album The Wild Life reached #8.
Welcome To Our House is the second #2 album so far this year album with a title that begins with the words "Welcome To." (What are the odds?) The first was Kenny Chesney's Welcome To The Fishbowl.
Pop Quiz: Five other albums with titles beginning with the words "Welcome To" have made the top 10. How many of them can you name? Answer below.
Alanis Morissette lands her sixth top 10 album as Havoc And Bright Lights debuts at #5. Among female artists from Canada, only Celine Dion has had more top 10 albums (11). Sarah McLachlan is in third place with five top 10 albums. Diana Krall, Avril Lavigne and Shania Twain have each had four. Joni Mitchell has had three. Feist, Melanie Fiona, Nelly Furtado, k.d. lang and Alannah Myles have each had one.
Morissette and Dion had the top two best-selling albums of 1996 with Jagged Little Pill and Falling Into You, respectively.
Pill re-enters the chart this week at #198. It has sold 14,774,000 copies. It's the third best-selling album since 1991, when Nielsen SoundScan began tracking sales for Billboard. It trails Metallica's Metallica (15,814,000) and Shania Twain's Come On Over (15,520,000).
Havoc And Bright Lights is Morissette's second album with a title that alludes to tumult. The first was 2004's So-Called Chaos.
Carrie Underwood's Blown Away rebounds from #21 to #8 in its 18th week, thanks in part to a $6.99 sale in the iTunes store. It's #1 on Top Country Albums for the sixth week. That puts the album in a tie with Lady Antebellum's Own The Night for the most weeks at #1 so far this year. (Own The Night spent an additional seven weeks on top in 2011). Blown Away has sold 749K copies. It's #6 for the year-to-date. It's the year's top-selling album by a core country artist, edging out Luke Bryan's Tailgates & Tanlines.
Adele's 21 returns to the top 10 after a one-week absence. This is its 79th week in the top 10. Only two albums can match that since 1963, when Billboard merged separate mono and stereo charts into one comprehensive listing: The Sound Of Music soundtrack (109 weeks) and Bruce Springsteen's Born In The U.S.A. (84 weeks). Will 21 top Born In The U.S.A. for most total weeks in the top 10? Quite possibly. But another Born In The U.S.A. record is now beyond Adele's reach. It's the only album since 1963 to spend its first 84 weeks in the top 10.
Quiz Answer: Following up on my item about Slaughterhouse's Welcome To Our House, the other top 10 albums with titles beginning with the words "Welcome To" are Welcome To The LBJ Ranch! (#3 in 1965), Alice Cooper's Welcome To My Nightmare (#5 in 1975), Mr. Mister's Welcome To The Real World (#1 in 1986), Damian Marley's Welcome To Jamrock (#7 in 2005), Danity Kane's Welcome To The Dollhouse (#1 in 2008) and Kenny Chesney's aforementioned Welcome To The Fishbowl (#2 in 2012).
Taylor Swift's "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together" tops Hot Digital Songs for the third straight week. The song sold 253K copies this week, bringing its three-week total to 1,183,000. It's the first song to spend its first three weeks atop the digital chart since Lady Gaga's "Born This Way," which spent its first four weeks on top in 2011. Will "We Are Never Ever…" also hold at #1 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: TobyMac's Eye On It debuts at #1 (69K). It's the Contemporary Christian artist's third top 10 album; his first #1…Slaughterhouse's Welcome To Our House debuts at #2 (52K). It's the rap group's first top 10 album…. Trey Songz's Chapter V drops from #1 to #3 in its second week (41K)… Now 43 dips from #3 to #4 in its fourth week (41K). It has been in the top five the entire time… Alanis Morissette's Havoc And Bright Lights debuts at #5 (33K). It's her sixth top 10 album.
The Second Five: Maroon 5's Overexposed holds at #6 for the second week in its 10th week (31K). This is its ninth week in the top 10… 2 Chainz' Based On A T.R.U. Story drops from #2 to #7 in its third week (29K). It has been in the top 10 the entire time… Carrie Underwood's Blown Away rebounds from #21 to #8 in its 18th week (28K). This is its seventh week in the top 10….fun's Some Nights rebounds from #11 to #9 in its 28th week (25K). This is its fourth week in the top 10... Adele's 21 rebounds from #12 to #10 in its 80th week (23K). This is its 79th week in the top 10.
Six albums drop out of the top 10 this week. DJ Khaled's Kiss The Ring drops from #4 to #17, Justin Bieber's Believe drops from #5 to #13, Owl City's The Midsummer Station dives from #7 to #40, Rick Ross' God Forgives, I Don't drops from #8 to #14, Tenth Avenue North's The Struggle plummets from #9 to #49 and One Direction's Up All Night drops from #10 to #12.
Circa Survive's Violent Waves debuts at #15. This is the punk-rooted band's second top 15 album. Blue Sky Noise debuted and peaked at #11 in April 2010. The band first charted in 2005.
The quiet power of Contemporary Christian music is also seen in Chris Tomlin's And If Our God Is For Us…, which jumps from #68 to #20 in its 39th week. The album debuted and peaked at #17 in November 2010. The album jumps to #1 on Top Catalog Albums. It's Tomlin's fourth album to reach #1 on the catalog chart since March 2010. It follows See The Morning, Hello Love and Glory In The Highest: Christmas Songs Of Worship.
Tamia's Beautiful Surprise debuts at #23. The R&B singer first charted in 1998….Dwele's Greater Than One debuts at #30. The R&B singer first charted in 2003.
The Sparkle soundtrack drops from #25 to #50 in its fifth week. It's #1 on Top Soundtracks for the fifth week. The soundtrack from the original Sparkle was the top-ranking soundtrack for 20 weeks in 1976.
Lionel Richie's Tuskegee, which drops from #20 to #67 in its 23rd week, tops the 1 million mark in sales this week. It's the third album to hit that milestone so far this year. It follows Adele's 21 (3,912,000) and One Direction's Up All Night (1,158,000).
Rihanna's Loud this week becomes the 30th album to sell 500K digital copies. Rihanna has three albums on Nielsen SoundScan's running tally of the 100 best-selling digital albums in history. Talk That Talk has sold 336K digital copies. Good Girl Gone Bad has sold 312K digital copies. Rihanna is one of three female solo artists with three albums on the all-time list. The others are Taylor Swift and Lady Gaga.
One Direction's Up All Night: The Live Tour is #1 on Top Music Videos for the 14th week. That's the longest run at #1 for a video by any group since Creed's Greatest Hits held the top spot for 14 weeks from April 2006 to August 2007. Up All Night sold 7K copies this week, bringing its 14-week total to 283K.
The Possession was #1 at the box-office over the weekend.
Coming Attractions: matchbox twenty's North is expected to debut at #1 next week, with sales in the 110K range. Lecrae's Gravity and Imagine Dragons' Night Visions are expected to open at #2 and #3, each with sales in the 55K range. Also due: Two Door Cinema Club's Beacon, Melissa Etheridge's 4th Street Feeling, Animal Collective's Centipede Hz, Cat Power's Sun and Green's Day's 8-CD box set The Studio Albums 1990-2009.