Chart Watch Extra: Following Up A Monster
Adele's 21 this week becomes the 24th studio album to sell 9 million copies since 1991, when Nielsen SoundScan began tracking sales for Billboard. Studio follow-ups to the first 23 have achieved varying degrees of success. On the high end, Backstreet Boys' 1999 album Millennium has sold 120% as many copies as its predecessor, Backstreet Boys. On the low end, Usher's 2008 album Here I Stand has sold just 13% as many copies as its predecessor, Confessions.
I took a look at the studio follow-ups to the 23 studio albums that have sold 9 million or more copies since 1991. I focused on how well they sold relative to the sales of their predecessors. I then assigned each a letter grade.
Two follow-ups to 9 million sellers managed match the sales of (or even outsell) their predecessors.
Backstreet Boys' 1999 album Millennium has sold 12,186,000 copies, which is 120% of the tally for its 1997 predecessor, Backstreet Boys (10,122,000). Millennium even managed to snag a Grammy nomination for Album of the Year. Millennium spawned two top 10 hits on the Hot 100 or Hot 100 Airplay charts: "I Want It That Way" and "Show Me The Meaning Of Being Lonely." Backstreet Boys generated five.
Garth Brooks' 1991 album Ropin' The Wind has sold 9,571,000 copies, which is 106% of the recorded sales of its predecessor, No Fences (9,011,000). (No Fences was released in September 1990, so all of its sales aren't included in its tally.) Ropin' spawned three #1 country hits: "What's She Doing Now," "The River" and a cover of Billy Joel's "Shameless." No Fences spawned four. Both albums were voted Album of the Year by the Country Music Assn.
Three other follow-ups to 9 million sellers have achieved sales of 85% or better of their predecessors.
Eminem's 2002 album The Eminem Show has sold 10,067,000 copies, which is 95% as many as 2000's The Marshall Mathers LP (10,598,000). The Eminem Show spawned two top five hits ("Without Me" and "Cleanin' Out My Closet"), compared to just one ("The Real Slim Shady") for Marshall. Both albums received Grammy nominations for Album of the Year.
Celine Dion's 1997 album Let's Talk About Love has sold 9,575,000 copies, which is 89% as many as 1996's Falling Into You (10,791,000). Love spawned just one top 10 hit, but it was a monster: "My Heart Will Go On (Love Theme From 'Titanic')." Falling Into You generated three: "Because You Loved Me," "It's All Coming Back To Me Now" and a cover of Eric Carmen's "All By Myself." Let's Talk About Love failed to receive a Grammy nomination for Album of the Year, an award that Falling Into You won.