Chart Watch Extra: Selena’s Birthday Present

Paul Grein
Chart Watch (NEW)

Just days after she turned 21, Selena Gomez is set to keep the celebration going by landing her first #1 album on The Billboard 200. She will achieve the feat with her first solo album, Stars Dance, which is expected to bump Jay Z’s Magna Carta…Holy Grail from the top spot it has held for the past two weeks. Gomez’s album will sell about 90K copies, which will constitute her biggest first-week sales tally to date.

Several factors are behind Gomez’s expected #1 debut. The first single from the new album, the frisky “Come & Get It,” became her first top 10 hit on the Hot 100. It peaked at #6. None of Gomez’s previous hits had cracked the top 20 (though several came close), which made this a genuine breakthrough.

Gomez has made headlines over the past few months, mostly due to her high-profile relationship with Justin Bieber. Gomez has confirmed that some of the lyrics on the new album address the relationship (which went public in early 2011 and ended in late 2012, with subsequent tabloid-fanned reports of a reconciliation).

Gomez co-wrote four of the songs on the album, including “Love Will Remember,” which she calls “the most personal track” on the album. “I think it’s a sweet way of releasing it,” she said. “It’s not an aggressive approach to what people are probably expecting. I’m sure he’ll love it too.”

A version of “Love Will Remember” that is widely available on line, opens with an innocuous voicemail from Bieber. The voicemail was cut from the official album version of the song.

Gomez’s three previous albums, and the hit singles from them, were credited to Selena Gomez & The Scene. But Gomez was so much the star of the act that she appeared alone on the album covers. As a result, her current solo billing seems more like a natural evolution than a departure.

Each of those earlier albums made the top 10. Each has sold in the gold range. Here are their current sales tallies, per Nielsen SoundScan: Kiss And Tell (909K), A Year Without Rain (795K) and When The Sun Goes Down (673K).

“Come & Get It” has sold 1,860,000 copies. It’s already Gomez’s fourth best-selling song. Her three best-sellers, all recorded with The Scene, are “Love You Like A Love Song” (2,486,000), “Who Says (1,964,000) and “Naturally” (1,960,000).

Gomez’s follow-up song, “Slow Down,” entered the Hot 100 at #70 in June, which is its peak to date. It will almost certainly return to the chart.

Gomez is in line to become the first female solo artist to land a #1 album since Taylor Swift wound up a seven-week run on top with Red in the Nielsen SoundScan week ending Dec. 30. In the intervening seven months, two groups that include women have hit #1: Paramore (featuring Hayley Williams) and Lady Antebellum (featuring Hillary Scott).

Like most stars these days with a new album to push, Gomez has been all over TV. She was on The Tonight Show With Jay Leno on Tuesday and will appear on both Good Morning America and Live With Kelly & Michael tomorrow (Friday).

Gomez rose to stardom in 2007 on the Disney Channel series Wizards Of Waverly Place. Another Disney Channel alum, Miley Cyrus is also on the charts right now. Cyrus’ “We Can’t Stop” rose to #2 on this week’s Hot 100 and is expected to hold at #2 next week. (The #1 spot has been locked up for the past seven weeks by “Blurred Lines” by Robin Thicke featuring T.I. + Pharrell.)

But Gomez’s songs are tame compared to Cyrus’ smash, which has stirred some controversy with its drug references.

Gomez, who turned 21 on July 22, is the first of the current crop of Disney Channel alums to reach that milestone birthday. Demi Lovato will turn 21 on Aug. 20. Cyrus will reach that birthday on Nov. 23. These other two women beat Gomez to a #1 album. Cyrus first topped the chart with the first Hannah Montana soundtrack in October 2006. (She has since returned to #1 three more times.) Lovato hit #1 with Here We Go Again in July 2009.

Gomez was named after Tejano superstar Selena. Her namesake also topped The Billboard 200—but only posthumously. Selena debuted at #1 with Dreaming Of You in July 1995, a few months after she was shot to death by the founder of her fan club.

Other albums that are due to enter next week’s chart include Marc Anthony’s 3.0. (around #5), the multi-artist Rich Gang compilation (around #10), an eponymous album by Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros (around #13), We Came As Romans’ Tracing Back Roots and the Rolling Stones’ iTunes exclusive Hyde Park Live.