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Carrie Underwood's 'Greatest' Is Doing Great

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Carrie Underwood's Greatest Hits: Decade #1 enters The Billboard 200 at #4. That’s the highest ranking for a greatest hits album since Frank Sinatra's 2008 collection Nothing but the Best rebounded to #3 in August 2012. It’s the highest ranking for a newly-released greatest hits album since Kenny Chesney's Greatest Hits II debuted and peaked at #3 in May 2009.

The Fine Print: Michael Jackson’s This Is It, which debuted at #1 in November 2009, was essentially a greatest hits set, but it was marketed as a movie soundtrack.

Greatest hits albums are less vital in the iTunes era than they used to be. In a previous era, Underwood’s album would probably have vied for #1. The album moved 102K units this week (including 94K in pure album sales; the rest reflects on-demand streaming and digital track sales.)

The double-disk collection is Underwood’s fifth top 10 album, following four studio albums that peaked at #1 or #2.

Many previous artists have marked their first decade in the music business with compilations that had the word “decade” in the title. Underwood’s is the fourth to make the top five. Celine Dion's All the Way…A Decade of Song hit #1 in November 1999. Motley Crue's Decade of Decadence – ‘81-‘91 reached #2 in October 1991. Janet Jackson's Design of a Decade 1986/1996 hit #3 in October 1995.

Underwood’s album enters Top Country Albums at #1, displacing Garth Brooks's Man Against Machine. It’s the first greatest hits album to top the country chart since Brooks & Dunn's #1s…and Then Some in September 2009; the first by a female artist to do this since Shania Twain's Greatest Hits had 11 weeks on top from November 2004 to January 2005.

Watch Shania’s best videos above

J. Cole lands his third consecutive #1 album with 2014 Forest Hills Drive. The album moved 371K units this week (including 354K in pure album sales). That’s the fourth-biggest first week tally of 2014, trailing Taylor Swift's 1989 (1,287,000), One Direction's FOUR (387K) and Coldplay's Ghost Stories (383K). It’s the biggest first-week tally by a hip-hop album since Eminem's The Marshall Mathers LP 2 opened with sales of 792K in November 2013. Remarkably, it’s also the biggest first-week tally by an album by a male solo artist (from any genre) since Eminem’s opus. I wrote a separate blog about J. Cole’s album which we posted last week. If you missed it, here’s a link.

Taylor Swift's 1989 dips from #1 to #2 in its seventh week. It has spent five of its first seven weeks at #1. It’s the first album to achieve that feat sinceEminem's Recovery in 2010. 1989 moved 324K units this week (including 278K in pure album sales).

Pentatonix's That’s Christmas to Me dips from #2 to #3 in its eighth week. The album moved 218K units this week (including 207K in pure album sales).

AC/DC's Rock or Bust drops from #3 to #5 in its second week. The album moved 94K units this week (including 93K in pure album sales).

K. Michelle's sophomore album, Anybody Wanna Buy a Heart?, debuts at #6. Her debut album, Rebellious Soul, debuted and peaked at #2 in August 2013. The new album moved 87K units this week (including 84K in pure album sales).

K. Michelle was born Kimberly Michelle Pate. Remarkably, two of this week’s top three new albums are by artists who go by their first initial. If a certain country star went by C. Underwood, we’d have a clean sweep!

One Direction's Four drops from #5 to #7 in its fourth week. The album moved 83K units, (including 72K in pure album sales). The album debuted and peaked at #1.

Sam Smith's In the Lonely Hour drops from #4 to #8 in its 26th week. The album moved 82K units this week (including 60K in pure album sales). The album has climbed as high as #2.

Ed Sheeran's x, which debuted at #1 in June,rebounds from #11 to #9 in its 25th week. The album moved 65K units (including 36K in pure album sales). The album returns to #1 on the U.K.’s Official Albums Chart. This is its 10th week on top of that chart. That’s the longest run at #1 for an album by a male artist since James Blunt's Back to Bedlam spent 10 weeks on top in 2005-2006. The two other albums since 2006 that have spent 10 or more weeks at #1 in the U.K. have been by female artists: Adele's 21 (23 weeks) and Emeli Sande's Our Version of Events (10 weeks).

Garth Brooks's Man Against Machine drops from #8 to #10 in its fifth week. The album moved 62K units (all pure album sales). The album debuted and peaked at #4.

Michael Buble's Christmas drops from #7 to #11 in its 36th chart week. It’s #1 on Top Catalog Albums for the 20th week. Since 1991, only one holiday album has had a longer run at #1 on this chart. That’s Kenny G's Miracles: the Holiday Album, which topped the catalog chart for 27 weeks from 1995 to 1998.

Guardians Of the Galaxy: Awesome Mix Vol. 1 rebounds from #34 to #13 in its 20th week. It’s #1 on Top Soundtracks for the 11th week. Either Frozen or Guardians has topped this chart for 55 consecutive weeks.

Smashing Pumpkins's eighth commercially-released studio album, Monuments to an Elegy, debuts at #33. It’s the band’s first commercially-released studio album to fall short of the top 10 since its debut album, Gish, which was released in 1991.

Coming Attractions: Nicki Minaj's The Pinkprint is on track to sell about 170K copies next week. Also look for big debuts by Black Messiah by D’Angelo and the Vanguard (100K),  5 Seconds Of Summer's LIVESOS (55K), the Into The Woods soundtrack (30K) and Charli XCX's SUCKER (27K).

To My Readers: I’ll look at the best-selling albums and songs for the year-to-date tomorrow. I may mention the words “Frozen” and “Happy.”

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