Week Ending July 21, 2013. Albums: Different Paths For Jay-Z, Kanye

Paul Grein
Chart Watch (NEW)

Jay Z’s Magna Carta…Holy Grail logs its second week at #1 on The Billboard 200. It’s the first rap album to stay on top for two weeks since Lil Wayne’s Tha Carter IV in the summer of 2011. Magna Carta sold another 129K copies this week, bringing its two-week total to 658K. That’s the biggest two-week total for a rap album since Drake’s Take Care sold 804K copies in its first two weeks in the fall of 2011.

Jay Z has logged 23 weeks at #1 on The Billboard 200 over the course of his career, which is the third highest tally among rappers. He’s behind Eminem (29 weeks) and M.C. Hammer, who spent 24 weeks at #1 in 1990—all with one blockbuster album, Please Hammer Don’t Hurt ’Em.

The news isn’t as good for Jay Z’s frequent collaborator Kanye West, whose Yeezus drops from #6 to #18 in its fifth week. Unless the album returns to the top 10, its four-week run in the top 10 will stand as West’s briefest. My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy had held that title, with five weeks in the top 10.

Ironically, many music critics have raved about West’s album and have dismissed Jay Z’s. Entertainment Weekly’s Ray Rahman gave West’s album an A- and Jay Z’s album a C+. (EW’s Kyle Anderson took an even dimmer view of Jay Z’s album, giving it a D.) Rolling Stone gave West’s album 4-1/2 stars and Jay Z’s album just three stars. Of course, this isn’t the first time that music critics and album buyers have seen things differently.

Jay Z’s album sold 70K digital copies this week, which puts it at #1 on Top Digital Albums for the second week. It has sold 419K digital copies to date. It’s already Jay’s third-best-selling digital album, following Watch The Throne (with West, 778K) and The Blueprint 3 (464K).

Sara Smiles: Sara Bareilles’ third major-label album, Blessed Unrest, debuts at #2. All three of these albums have made the top 10. Little Voice peaked at #7 in February 2008. Kaleidoscope Heart debuted at #1 in September 2010.

Kidz Bop Kids’ Kidz Bop 24 debuts at #3. This is the 17th volume in this series to reach the top 10. Only one franchise in music history has spawned more top 10 albums. That’s the Now franchise, which has sent 51 volumes into the top 10. The first Kidz Bop installment to reach the top 10 was Kidz Bop 7 in February 2005. All but one installment since then has made the top 10.

Ace Hood’s fourth studio album, Trials & Tribulations, debuts at #4. It’s his second top 10 album in a row. Blood, Sweat + Tears hit #8 in August 2011.

Florida Georgia Line’s Here’s To The Good Times dips from #4 to #5. It holds at #1 on Top Country Albums for the fifth week. It’s the first album by a duo to log five or more weeks at #1 on the country chart since Sugarland’s Love On The Inside, which spent six weeks on top in the summer of 2008. It’s the first debut album to log five or more weeks at #1 on the country chart since Scotty McCreery’s Clear As Day, which spent six weeks on top in 2011.

J. Cole’s sophomore album, Born Sinner, which drops from #3 to #7, tops the 500K mark in sales in its fifth week. J. Cole’s first album, Cole World: The Sideline Story, took 16 weeks to reach 500K. Born Sinner is the 18th album to sell 500K copies in 2013. (I want to reach out and change that title to Born Winner.)

The Teen Beach Movie soundtrack debuts at #8. It’s #1 on Top Soundtracks. The made-for-TV movie drew 8.4 million viewers Friday night, making it the Disney Channel’s most watched original movie in four years. The musical is the Disney Channel’s fifth-most-watched original movie. (The channel’s ratings champ is High School Musical 2, which drew a remarkable 17.2 million viewers in its 2007 debut.)

Cody Simpson’s second studio album, Surfer’s Paradise, debuts at #10. It’s the 16-year old Aussie heartthrob’s first top 10 album. An EP, Coast To Coast, hit #12 in 2011. His first full-length, Paradise, reached #27 in 2012. Surfer’s Paradise is the first album with a variation of the word “surf” in its title to crack the top 10 since The Beach Boys scored in 1963 with Surfin’ U.S.A. (#2 in July) and Surfer Girl (#7 in November.)

Incidentally, Simpson is the third artist with that surname to crack the top 10, following sisters Jessica Simpson and Ashlee Simpson.

Robin Thicke’s Blurred Lines album debuts at #1 on the U.K.’s Official Albums Chart. It’s his first #1 in that country. His only previous album to make the U.K. chart was The Evolution Of Robin Thicke, which peaked at #30 in 2007. The Blurred Lines album is due for release in the U.S. on July 30. The title track, which features T.I. + Pharrell, holds at #1 on Hot Digital Songs for the eighth week. It sold 340K copies this week. Will it also hold at #1 for the seventh week on the Hot 100? Count on it. But you’ll find out for sure out later today when we post Chart Watch: Songs.

Here’s the low-down on this week’s top 10 albums.

The Top Five: Jay Z’s Magna Carta…Holy Grail holds at #1 for the second week (129K)…Sara Bareilles’ Blessed Unrest debuts at #2 (68K). It’s her third top 10 album…Kidz Bop Kids’ Kidz Bop 24 debuts at #3 (62K). This is the 17th volume in this series to reach the top 10…Ace Hood’s Trials & Tribulations debuts at #4 (34K). It’s his second top 10 album… Florida Georgia Line’s Here’s To The Good Times dips from #4 to #5 in its 33rd week (31K). This is its eighth week in the top 10.

The Second Five: Imagine Dragons’ Night Visions dips from #5 to #6 its 46th week (28K). This is its 15th week in the top 10…J. Cole’s Born Sinner drops from #3 to #7 in its fifth week (27K). It has been in the top 10 the entire time… The Teen Beach Movie soundtrack debuts at #8 (25K)…Justin Timberlake’s The 20/20 Experience rebounds from #13 to #9 in its 18th week (24K). This is its 15th week in the top 10…Cody Simpson’s Surfer’s Paradise debuts at #10 (24K). It’s his first top 10 album.

As noted above, Kanye West’s Yeezus drops from #6 to #18. Five other albums drop out of the top 10 this week. Ciara’s Ciara drops from #2 to #20. Wale’s The Gifted drops from #7 to #15. Skylar Grey’s Don’t Look Down plummets from #8 to #69. Daft Punk’s Random Access Memories drops from #9 to #14. Macklemore & Ryan Lewis’ The Heist drops from #10 to #12.

Matt Nathanson’s eighth studio album, Last Of The Great Pretenders, debuts at #16. It’s his second top 20 album in a row. Modern Love hit #17 in 2011. (Oddly, the Pretenders had a hit album in 1994 titled Last Of The Independents.)…Sick Puppies’ third U.S. album, Connect, debuts at #17. It’s their first top 30 album.

Pitch Perfect drops from #12 to #19 in its 39th week. It’s the highest-ranking soundtrack from a theatrically-released movie for the 21st week. Anna Kendrick’s sleeper hit “Cups (Pitch Perfect’s When I’m Gone)” has ranked #10 on the Hot 100 the last two weeks.

Pet Shop Boys’ Electric debuts at #26. It’s the veteran pop/dance duo’s 12th studio album. All have had one-word titles. (Two had one-syllable titles: Please and Yes.)

Ronald Isley’s This Song Is For You debuts at #27. It’s the highest-charting of his three solo albums. Here I Am (a collabo with Burt Bacharach) reached #73. Mr. I hit #50. The Isley Brothers first charted in September 1962 with Twist & Shout. The title song became a #2 hit for the Beatles in April 1964. The Isleys first cracked the top 30 in May 1969 with It’s Our Thing. That album contained the #2 hit “It’s Your Thing.”

Bob Marley & the Wailers’ 1984 compilation Legend drops from #33 to #57 its 277th week on the chart. Legend holds at #1 on Top Catalog Albums for the fourth straight week. This marks the first time it has been #1 for four or more weeks in a row since 2004. This is its 118th week on top of that chart (in the Nielsen SoundScan era). The album has sold 11,374,000 copies since January 1991, which makes it the #9 best-seller of the Nielsen SoundScan era. CDs account for 77% of that total. Cassettes account for 16%, digital sales for 6%. Vinyl accounts for less than 1%.

Mindless Behavior’s Mindless Behavior: All Around The World holds at #1 on Top Music Videos for the second week.

The Conjuring was #1 at the box-office over the weekend.

Coming Attractions: Selena Gomez’s solo debut album Stars Dance is expected to debut at #1 next week, with first-week sales in the 90K range. Other key debuts 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.