Taylor Swift's 1989 holds at #1 on The Billboard 200 for the seventh week. Her previous album, Red, also logged seven weeks at #1. Swift is the first artist to spend seven or more weeks at #1 with back-to-back studio albums since Garth Brooks scored in 1991-‘92 with Ropin’ the Wind (18 weeks on top) and In Pieces (seven weeks). Swift is the first female artist to achieve this feat since Whitney Houston scored in 1986-‘87 with Whitney Houston (14 weeks on top) and Whitney (11 weeks).
Swift wasn’t even born when Houston did this. She was just two—and presumably not yet plotting world chart domination—when Brooks did it.
Brooks, of course, was the biggest country star of the 1990s. Swift was the biggest country star of the past decade until she gave up that title in a daring (and ultra-successful) bid to become a total pop star.
1989 has ranked #1 in seven of its first nine weeks. It’s the first album that can make that claim since Eminem's Recovery in 2010.
Swift’s album moved 430K units this week (which includes 326K in actual album sales). (The rest reflects digital track sales and streaming activity.) The album has topped 200K in actual sales in each of its first nine weeks. It’s the first album that has done that since Usher's Confessions in the spring of 2004. (Confessions spent a total of 12 non-consecutive weeks with sales north of 200K. Will 1989 match that total? Stay tuned.)
Swift has spent a career total of 31 weeks at #1 on The Billboard 200. Among female artists, this puts her in second place behind Whitney Houston, who spent 46 weeks on top. (Houston’s tally counts The Bodyguard soundtrack, which she dominated, but which also featured other artists.)
Nicki Minaj's The Pinkprint holds at #2 in its second week.The album moved 156K units this week (which includes 105K in actual album sales).
Pentatonix's That’s Christmas to Me holds at #3 for the second week in its 10th week on the chart. The album previously spent two weeks at #2. The album moved 131K units this week (which includes 121K in actual album sales). It goes without saying that this is 2014’s top-selling holiday album. This is the fourth time in the Nielsen SoundScan era that the year’s top-selling holiday album was by a group or duo. Mannheim Steamroller's Christmas in the Aire was the top-selling holiday album of 1995. Hanson's Snowed In was tops for 1997. Il Divo's The Christmas Collection was the top holiday album of 2005.
One Direction's FOUR, which debuted at #1 last month, rebounds from #7 to #4 in its sixth week. The album moved 131K units this week (which includes 100K in actual album sales). The group starred in its own TV special, One Direction: The TV Special, which aired on NBC on Dec. 23.
Sam Smith's In the Lonely Hour, which has climbed as high as #2, inches up from #6 to #5 in its 28th week. The album moved 121K units this week (which includes 79K in actual album sales).
J. Cole's 2014 Forest Hills Drive, which debuted at #1 two weeks ago, drops from #4 to #6 in its third week. The album moved 120K units this week (which includes 104K in actual album sales).
Ed Sheeran's x inches up from #8 to #7 in its 27th week. The album, whichdebuted at #1 in June, moved 113K units this week (which includes 63K in actual album sales). x logs its 12th week at #1 on the U.K.’s Official Albums Chart. That’s the longest run at #1 for an album by a male solo artist since Bob Dylan's John Wesley Harding spent 13 weeks at #1 in 1968. It’s the longest run at #1 for an album by a British male solo artist (with no shared billing) since the chart originated in July 1956. I wrote about Sheeran’s album in a blog we posted on Monday. If you missed it, here’s a link.
Hozier's Hozier rebounds from #14 to #8 in its 12th week. The album moved 88K units this week (which includes 38K in actual album sales).
Guardians of the Galaxy: Awesome Mix, Vol. 1, which spent two weeks at #1 in August,rebounds from #16 to #9 in its 22nd week. The album moved 80K units this week (all actual album sales). The album returns to #1 on Top Soundtracks. This is its 13th week on top of that chart. Either Guardians or Frozen or has been #1 on that chart for 57 consecutive weeks. This is the first time that just two soundtracks were the top soundtrack every week for a calendar year since 1978, the year of Saturday Night Fever and Grease.
Ariana Grande's My Everything, which debuted at #1 in August, rebounds from #20 to #10 in its 18th week. The album moved 79K units this week (which includes 33K in actual album sales).
Fabolous's sixth studio album, The Young OG Project, is the week’s top new entry at #12. The album moved 71K units this week. It’s Fabolous’s first album since Loso’s Way debuted at #1 in August 2009. It’s his first album to fall short of the top 10. This is, nonetheless, the highest that an album has debuted during the last week of the Nielsen SoundScan chart year in eight years, since Omarion's 21 debuted at #1 in the week ending Dec. 31, 2006.
Garth Brooks' Man against Machine, which debuted and peaked at #4 last month, drops out of the top 10 in its seventh week. The album logs its sixth week at #1 on Top Country Albums. This is Brooks’s longest run on top of that chart since Scarecrow had seven weeks on top in 2001-‘02.
The soundtrack to Stephen Sondheim’s classic musical Into the Woods also just misses the top 10. It’s the fourth soundtrack to a film version of a Sondheim stage musical to crack the top 20. It follows West Side Story (54 weeks at #1 in 1962-‘63), Gypsy (#10 in March 1963) and Sweeney Todd—the Demon Barber of Fleet Street (#16 in January 2008). (Sondheim teamed with Leonard Bernstein to write West Side Story. He teamed with Jule Styne to write Gypsy. He wrote these two other shows on his own.) The original cast album to Into the Woods, starring Bernadette Peters, reached #126 in 1988. It won a Grammy for Best Musical Cast Show Album.
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