Week Ending Feb. 24, 2013. Albums: Mumford Leads “Americana” Wave
“Americana” music—an industry term for rootsy, guitar-based music—accounts for three of the top six albums on this week’s Billboard 200. Mumford & Sons’ Babel holds at #1 for the fifth week, The Lumineers’ The Lumineers jumps from #6 to #5 its 47th week and Alabama Shakes’ Boys & Girls leaps from #20 to #6 in its 43rd week. (Sales of Boys & Girls jumped by 10% compared to last week. It’s the only album in the top 15 to show a sales increase.)
Babel and The Lumineers were both nominated for Best Americana Album at the Grammys on Feb. 10. (They lost, in a big surprise, to Bonnie Raitt’s Slipstream.) Boys & Girls had also been entered in that category, but it wasn’t nominated. (It doubtless would have made the finals if the voting had occurred just a few weeks later).
Babel is the first album by a British group to log five or more weeks at #1 since the Beatles’ hit-studded compilation 1, which spent eight weeks on top in late 2000 and early 2001. It’s the first studio album by a British group to remain #1 this long since Spice Girls’ Spice spent five weeks on top in 1997. That frothy female quintet has virtually nothing in common with the rootsy Mumford & Sons beyond nationality and success, but that’s the fun of the charts.
Alas, Babel is #1 with sales of just 63K, which is the lowest weekly tally for a #1 album since Zac Brown Band’s Uncaged returned to #1 in July with sales of just 48K.
Babel sold 28K digital copies this week, which puts it at #1 on Top Digital Albums. This is its fifth week on top of that chart.
Bruno Mars’ Unorthodox Jukebox inches up from #3 to #2, where it debuted in November. The album has yet to reach #1, though that may well change next week. Amazon MP3 put the album (and 19 others) on sale for just $1.99 on Tuesday (Feb. 26). The Amazon sale will probably also send Macklemore & Ryan Lewis’ The Heist back into the top 10. The album rebounds from #33 to #16 this week.
Mars’ 2010 debut album, Doo-Wops & Hooligans, jumps from #64 to #59 in its 123rd week. It’s #1 on Top Catalog Albums for the fourth week.