Week Ending Aug. 11, 2013. Albums: The Civil Wars, On Hiatus And On Top
The Civil Wars’ eponymous sophomore album enters The Billboard 200 at #1. The folk-rock duo (Joy Williams and John Paul White) has been on hiatus as a touring act since last November, citing “internal discord and irreconcilable differences of ambition.” The act isn’t even making TV appearances to promote the album, though Williams done some press interviews on her own.
The Civil Wars is the second duo to reach #1 this year, following Daft Punk.
The album sold 116K copies in its first week, which is nearly five times as many as its debut album, Barton Hollow, sold in its first week (25K) in February 2011. That album debuted at #12. It didn’t crack the top 10 until more than a year later, following the 2012 Grammy Awards. The Civil Wars won two awards on the show: Best Folk Album and Best Country Duo/Group Performance for the title track. The duo also performed the title track on the show.
The duo can give much of the credit for its success to two of the two hottest women in music, Adele and Taylor Swift. Adele sent out a helpful tweet last week: “Please go and get the new Civil Wars album. They're my absolute favourite and the new record is beautiful! X.” Swift teamed with the duo to write and record last year’s hit “Safe & Sound,” which gave the duo its only Hot 100 single to date. The song, from The Hunger Games: Songs From District 12 and Beyond, reached #30 in and brought the duo a third Grammy—Best Song Written For Visual Media. (T-Bone Burnett, who produced the single, also co-wrote the song.)
Barton Hollow rebounds from #111 to #60 in its 101st week on The Billboard 200. (It jumps to #1 on Top Catalog Albums, displacing The Essential Billy Joel.) Here’s an odd chart fact: Barton Hollow has spent just five weeks in the top 40 on The Billboard 200, but has sold a healthy 623K copies. (Explanation: It has sold steadily over time but has rarely been hot enough to rack up big chart numbers.)
The Civil Wars sold 80K digital copies this week, which puts it at #1 on Top Digital Albums. Also, the album debuts at #2 on the U.K.’s Official Albums Chart. Barton Hollow reached #8 in the U.K.