Chart Watch: Britney’s Slow Start

Oops!...She Didn't Do It Again. Britney Spears' Britney Jean enters The Billboard 200 at #4, with first-week sales of 107K. That's the lowest entry position and first-week sales tally ever for a Spears studio album. Her only previous studio album to fail to debut at #1 was 2007's Breakout, which opened at #2. Her previous low first-week sales tally for a studio album was her very first, …Baby One More Time, which sold 121K in its first week in January 1999.

Spears' slide has been sudden. Circus started with sales of 505K in December 2008. Femme Fatale opened with 276K in April 2011.

Spears had a #3 hit on the Hot 100 earlier this year, "Scream & Shout," a collabo with will.i..am. Alas, that song peaked 10 long months ago. And, in any event, it's not on Spears' album. It was on will.i.am's album, #willpower. The first single from Spears' album, "Work B**ch!," peaked at #12. The second, the striking ballad "Perfume," is just getting started. It has climbed as high as #76.

Spears begins a Las Vegas residency at Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino on Dec. 27. That's what artists usually do when their hit-making years have run down; it's unusual for artists who have had recent hits. And Spears most definitely has: Femme Fatale was the first album of her now 15-year career to spawn three top 10 singles. The Las Vegas play, and the fact that Spears is now a 32-year old mother of two, may be making it harder for young fans to relate to her.

Garth Brooks' Blame it All On My Roots: Five Decades Of Influences moves up from #3 to #1 in its second week. The massive, eight-disk set, a Walmart exclusive, consists of six CDs and two DVDs. It's the third box set (consisting of four disks or more) to reach #1. It follows Bruce Springsteen's 1986 album Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band Live/1975-85 (a live album which consisted of five disks) and Brooks' 1998 album The Limited Series (a repackage which consisted of his first six CDs).

It's Brooks' ninth #1 album; his first since 2001. That extends his lead as the country artist with the most #1 albums. Among all artists, only four have had more: the Beatles (19), Jay Z (13), Elvis Presley (10) and Bruce Springsteen (10). The Rolling Stones and Barbra Streisand are tied with Brooks with nine.

One Direction's Midnight Memories dips from #1 to #2. The album held up better on the U.K.'s Official Albums Chart, where it holds at #1 for the second week.

Kelly Clarkson's Wrapped In Red jumps from #6 to #3. This ties its highest ranking to date. It's one of five Christmas albums in this week's top 10, which constitutes a new record. The Robertsons' Duck The Halls: A Robertson Family Christmas dips from #4 to #5. Pentatonix's PTXmas leaps from #29 to #7, Michael Buble's Christmas rebounds from #16 to #8 and Mary J. Blige's A Mary Christmas jumps from #15 to #10.

I have individual notes on three of these albums.

Pentatonix's album (which originally came out in 2012) moves up to #1 on Top Catalog Albums, displacing Buble's album. It's also #1 on Top Digital Albums.

This is the third year in a row that Buble's album has cracked the top 10. It spent five weeks at #1 in 2011 and climbed as high as #3 in 2012.

A Mary Christmas is Blige's 12th top 10 album, which is the most of any African American female solo artist in chart history. If you combine group and solo albums, Diana Ross is tied with Blige. Ross had eight top 10 albums fronting the Supremes and four more on her own. Blige's top 10 albums span more than 21 years (from What's The 411? in September 1992 to this week). Ross' top 10 albums spanned a little less than 16 years (from the Supremes' Where Did Our Love Go in December 1964 to Diana in November 1980).

The total number of Christmas albums on The Billboard 200 dips from 48 to 44 this week.

Eminem's The Marshall Mathers LP 2 drops from #2 to #6, but it moves up to #2 on the year-to-date chart. If Eminem stays on course, this will be the fourth time he has had an album in the top two on Nielsen SoundScan's year-end chart. He previously scored with The Marshall Mathers LP (#2 for 2000), The Eminem Show (#1 for 2002) and Recovery (#1 for 2010). No one else has put an album in the year-end two four times in Nielsen SoundScan era.

"Timber" by Pitbull featuring Ke$ha holds at #1 on Hot Digital Songs for the second week (193K). Will it move up from #4 to #1 on the Hot 100 or will Miley Cyrus' "Wrecking Ball" have a fourth week on top? Or will "The Monster" by Eminem featuring Rihanna finally move up from #2 to #1? You'll find out later today when we post my Songs blog.

The Top Five: Garth Brooks' Blame it All On My Roots: Five Decades Of Influences jumps from #3 to #1 in its second week (146K)…One Direction's Midnight Memories dips from #1 to #2 in its second week (117K)… Kelly Clarkson's Wrapped In Red rebounds from #6 to #3 in its sixth week (112K). It has been in the top 10 the entire time…Britney Spears' Britney Jean debuts at #4 (107K). It's her ninth top 10 album…The Robertsons' Duck The Halls: A Robertson Family Christmas dips from #4 to #5 in its sixth week (105K). It has been in the top five the entire time.

The Second Five: Eminem's The Marshall Mathers LP 2 drops from #2 to #6 in its fifth week (84K). It has been in the top 10 the entire time…Pentatonix's PTXmas leaps from #29 to #7 in its third week (60K). This is the ensemble's second top 10 album…Michael Buble's Christmas jumps from #16 to #8 in its 26th chart week (57K). This is its 14th week in the top 10… Katy Perry's Prism drops from #5 to #9 in its seventh week (51K). This is its sixth week in the top 10. Mary J. Blige's A Mary Christmas jumps from #15 to #10 in its eighth week (51K). This is her 12th top 10 album.

Four albums drop out of the top 10 this week. Lady Gaga's ARTPOP drops from #7 to #13. Luke Bryan's Crash My Party drops from #8 to #14. Miley Cyrus' Bangerz drops from #9 to #21. NOW 48 drops from #10 to #12.

The Frozen soundtrack leaps from #18 to #11 in its second week. It's the highest-charting soundtrack to an animated movie since Cars reached #6 in 2006. Both are Disney movies. Frozen is #1 on Top Soundtracks for the second week. Two versions of a song from the movie, "Let It Go," entered the Hot 100 last week—the original by Idina Menzel at #89 and a pop cover by Demi Lovato at #64. Frozen was #1 at the box-office over the weekend, dethroning The Hunger Games: Catching Fire.

Jake Owen's Days Of Gold debuts at #15. This is his third top 15 album in a row, though it didn't chart as high as his last, Barefoot Blue Jean Night, which reached #6 in September 2011.

The Sound Of Music TV soundtrack, featuring Carrie Underwood, debuts at #17. The show aired live on NBC last week. This is the third treatment of the Rodgers & Hammerstein score to crack the top 20. The original cast album, featuring Mary Martin, logged 16 weeks at #1 in 1960. The movie soundtrack, featuring Julie Andrews, spent two weeks at #1 in 1965.

This isn't the first TV soundtrack from a Rodgers & Hammerstein musical that aired live on network TV to climb high on the Billboard chart. Cinderella, which starred Andrews, aired on CBS on March 31, 1957. The album peaked at #15 in April.

There are two more Christmas albums in the top 20. Susan Boyle's Home For Christmas jumps from #23 to #19 in its sixth week, matching its highest ranking to date…The Piano Guys' A Family Christmas leaps from #69 to #20 in its seventh week.

Jenni Rivera's Siempre En Vivo Desde Monterrey, Parte 1 debuts at #25. This is the late Latin music star's highest-charting album. It tops La Gran Senora (#29). Rivera died in a plane crash in December 2012…Sevyn Streeter's EP Call Me Crazy, But… debuts at #30. It features his current Top 40 hit "It Won't Stop" (featuring Chris Brown)…Boston's Life Love & Hope debuts at #37. This is just the band's sixth studio album in a career that stretches back to 1976.

Kid Rock tops 25 million in career album sales this week. His three best-selling albums are Devil Without A Cause (9,300,000), Cocky (5,344,000) and Rock And Roll Jesus (3,493,000).

Barbra Streisand's Back To Brooklyn jumps to #1 on Top Music Videos. It's her fifth music video to reach #1 on this chart.

Coming Attractions: R. Kelly's Black Panties is expected to be among next week's top new entries. Also due: Childish Gambino's Because The Internet, The Music Of Nashville, Season 2 Volume 1, Neil Young's Live At The Cellar Door and E-40's The Block Brochure: Welcome To The Soil Vol. 4, Vol. 5 and Vol. 6.