Jason Aldean's Night Train sold 409K copies in its first week. That's the second biggest opening of the year, trailing only Mumford & Sons' Babel, which opened three weeks ago with sales of 600K. But another, faster train is coming down the track. Taylor Swift's Red, which was released on Monday, is on target to sell more than 1 million copies in its first week.
Night Train is Aldean's first #1 album on The Billboard 200. It's his fourth to crack the top five, following Relentless (#3 in 2007), Wide Open (#4 in 2009) and My Kinda Party (#2 in 2010).
The tally for Night Train constitutes the biggest sales week for a country album since Swift's previous album, Speak Now, opened with sales of 1,047,000 in October 2010. It's the biggest sales week for a country album by a male solo artist since Kenny Chesney's The Road And The Radio sold 469K in its first week in November 2005.
Aldean's total is more than twice as many copies as he sold in his previous best sales week, set when My Kinda Party debuted with sales of 193K in November 2010. That album has sold 2,787,000 copies, which is more than all but one "current" album (as distinct from albums that have become catalog titles.) That album, of course, is Adele's 21 (which has sold 9,918,000 copies.)
So with such potent sales, what kept My Kinda Party from the #1 spot? Speak Now, which was then in its second week at #1.
Night Train sold 199K digital copies. Only one country album has ever sold more digital copies in one week. That's also Speak Low, which sold 278K digital copies in its opening week. Will Red set a new record next week? I'll say that's a safe bet.
Night Train also enters Top Country Albums at #1. It's Aldean's third #1 on that chart. Relentless topped the chart for one week; My Kinda Party for 12 weeks in 2012 (after Speak Now had receded).
Brandy's Two Eleven debuts at #3. It's her fourth album to reach #2 or #3; she has yet to hit #1. All six of Brandy's studio albums have made the top 20. She first cracked the top 20 in March 1995 when her debut album, Brandy, peaked at #20. Brandy, 33, has been a star most of her life. She was just 15 when she landed her first top 10 hit song, "I Wanna Be Down," in November 1994.
Scotty McCreery's Christmas With Scotty McCreery debuts at #4. It's his third top 10 album, following American Idol Season 10 Highlights (#10 in 2011) and Clear As Day (#1 in 2011). McCreery is the second American Idol alum to crack the top 10 with a holiday album. He follows Clay Aiken, who took Merry Christmas With Love to #4 in 2004. (David Archuleta's 2009 album Christmas From The Heart stalled at #30.) This is the first holiday album to crack the top 10 this season, but it won't be the last. Lady Antebellum's On This Winter's Night is due on next week's chart. Rod Stewart's Merry Christmas Baby and Trans-Siberian Orchestra's Dreams Of Fireflies (On A Christmas Night) are other upcoming releases with a shot at the top 10.
Jamey Johnson's Living For A Song: Tribute To Hank Cochran debuts at #5. It's Johnson's second top 10 album, following The Guitar Song, which reached #3 in October 2010. Hank Cochran is a renowned country songwriter whose biggest hits include Patsy Cline's "I Fall To Pieces" (which he co-wrote with Harlan Howard), Burl Ives' "A Little Bitty Tear" and Eddy Arnold's "Make The World Go Away." Many top stars, from Willie Nelson to Elvis Costello, join Johnson on the album.
Other tribute albums to songwriters that have made the top 10 include Barbra Streisand's What Matters Most: Barbra Streisand Sings The Lyrics Of Alan And Marilyn Bergman (#4 in 2011) and the Supremes' The Supremes Sing Holland-Dozier-Holland (#6 in 1967). There have also been top 10 tribute albums to songwriters who double as artists, including Common Thread: The Songs Of The Eagles (#3 in 1993) and So Amazing: An All-Star Tribute To Luther Vandross (#4 in 2005).
Adele's 21 returns to the top 10 (at #9) after a six-week absence. This is its 80th week in the top 10. Only two albums can match that since 1963, when Billboard merged separate mono and stereo charts into one comprehensive listing: The Sound Of Music soundtrack (109 weeks) and Bruce Springsteen's Born In The U.S.A. (84 weeks).
Dethklok's Metalocalpyse: Dethalbum III debuts at #10. It's the first top 10 album for Dethklok, a death metal band whose music is featured on the animated TV series Metalocalypse. The show, which premiered in August 2006, airs on the Adult Swim channel. The album is #1 on Top Soundtracks.
PSY's "Gangnam Style" returns to #1 on Hot Digital Songs (229K). This is its second week on top. Taylor Swift's "State Of Grace" debuts at #2 (209K). Will "Gangnam Style" finally dethrone Maroon 5's "One More Night" from the #1 spot on the Hot 100? You'll find out later today when we post Chart Watch: Songs.
Here's the low-down on this week's top 10 albums.
The Top Five: Jason Aldean's Night Train debuts at #1 (409K). It's his fourth top five album… Mumford & Sons' Babel dips from #1 to #2 in its fourth week (74K)….Brandy's Two Eleven debuts at #3 (65K). It's her fourth top five album…Scotty McCreery's Christmas With Scotty McCreery debuts at #4 (41K). It's his third top 10 album…Jamey Johnson's Living For A Song: Tribute To Hank Cochran debuts at #5 (32K). It's his second top 10 album.
The Second Five: P!nk's The Truth About Love rebounds from #8 to #6 in its fifth week (31K)… Miguel's Kaleidoscope Dream rebounds from #11 to #7 in its third week (22K). This is its second week in the top 10…Little Big Town's Tornado rebounds from #14 to #8 in its sixth week (22K). This is its fifth week in the top 10… Adele's 21 rebounds from #15 to #9 in its 87th week (21K). This is its 80th week in the top 10…Dethklok's Metalcolypse: Dethalbum III debuts at #10 (20K). It's the band's first top 10 album.
Eight albums drop out of the top 10 this week. Macklemore & Ryan Lewis' The Heist drops from #2 to #11, Kiss' Monster drops from #3 to #14, MGK's Lace Up drops from #4 to #22, Coheed and Cambria's The Afterman: Ascension drops from #5 to #40, All Time Low's Don't Panic drops from #6 to #58 (on second thought, maybe it is time to panic), Barbra Streisand's Release Me drops from #7 to #19, Ellie Goulding's Halcyon drops from #9 to #26, and Muse's The 2nd Law drops from #10 to #17.
Donald Fagen's Sunken Condos, his fourth studio album as a solo artist, debuts at #12. It's his eleventh top 20 album (counting eight albums with Steely Dan). Fagen first cracked the top 20 in early 1973 when Steely Dan's debut album, Can't Buy A Thrill, peaked at #17.
The Pitch Perfect soundtrack dips from #12 to #13 in its fourth week. It's the top-ranking soundtrack to a theatrically-released movie for the fourth week. The movie dropped from #6 to #8 in its fourth weekend at the box-office. (Paranormal Activity 4 debuted at #1 at the box-office over the weekend.)… Anberlin's sixth studio album, Vital, debuts at #16. It's the band's fourth consecutive top 20 album.
Carrie Underwood's Blown Away rebounds from #33 to 25 in its 25th week. The album has sold 864K copies, which makes it #6 for the year-to-date. It swaps places with Whitney Houston's Whitney: The Greatest Hits, which has sold 862K copies so far this year (almost all since her death on Feb. 11). Blown Away is the year's second best-seller by a female artist, topped only by Adele's 21, which has sold 4,095,000 copies so far this year.
Journey's 1988 album Greatest Hits leaps from #162 to #64. It's #1 on Top Catalog Albums for the 12th week; the third time this year.
One Direction's Up All Night—The Live Tour holds at #1 on Top Music Videos for the 19th week in its 21-week chart run….Speaking of 1D, their Up All Night album this week becomes the first album by a boy band to sell 500K digital copies. It has sold 1,302,000 copies total.
Coming Attractions: Taylor Swift's Red will blow in at #1 next week with sales in the 1.1 million to 1.2 million range. Kendrick Lamar's debut album, good kid m.A.A.d. city, will probably open at #2 with sales in the 225K range. Tony Bennett's Viva Duets (a collection of duets with Latin music stars), will probably sell around 27K. Also look for good debuts from Stone Sour's House Of Gold & Bones, Part One (about 24K), Gary Clark Jr.'s Blak And Blu (18K), Swedish House Mafia's Until Now (17K), Lady Antebellum's On This Winter's Night (17K) and Bridgit Mendler's Hello My Name Is…