Mumford & Sons' sophomore album Babel sold 600K copies in its first week, which is the biggest first-week total by any album since Drake's Take Care sold 631K in its first week in November. Babel sold more copies than the next seven albums on The Billboard 200 combined. That's especially impressive because those seven albums include new releases by such heavyweight acts as Green Day and No Doubt.
"If you (had) told me in the '90s that I'd be in a chart battle with Green Day, I probably would have just laughed at you," Mumford & Sons' member Ted Dwane told the British rock publication NME. Mumford & Sons is not only in such a battle, it is winning it with ease. Babel outsold Uno! in its first week by a margin of more than four-to-one in the U.S. and more than three-to-one in the U.K.
Babel posted the biggest first-week tally for a rock album since AC/DC's Black Ice debuted with sales of 784K in October 2008. (Mumford & Sons, which blends strains of contemporary folk and alternative music, and hard rock veterans AC/DC are at opposite ends of the rock spectrum, to be sure.)
Babel also debuts at #1 in the U.K. It's Mumford & Sons' first #1 album in both the U.S. and the U.K. The group's 2010 debut album, Sigh No More, peaked at #2 in both countries. Babel is the first album by a U.K. act to reach #1 in both countries since Coldplay's Mylo Xyloto a year ago.
Babel sold 420K digital copies in the U.S., which is the second-largest one-week tally ever for a digital album. The old record belonged to Lady Gaga's Born This Way, which sold 662K digital copies in its first week in May 2011. (Gaga's record comes with an asterisk. Her digital tally includes an estimated 400K copies that were sold for 99-cents by Amazon MP3 during release week.) Babel set a new record for the highest one-week digital sales tally for a rock album. The old record was held by Mylo Xyloto, which sold 302K digital copies in its first week in October 2011.
Many music fans first became aware of Mumford & Sons when they performed on the Grammy Awards in February 2011 in a segment on contemporary folk music with Bob Dylan and the Avett Brothers. Sigh No More had sold 766K copies prior to Grammy night, but it exploded immediately afterward. The album shot to #2, where it spent two weeks.
Sigh No More is one of the best-selling albums of the past few years, with sales of 2,477,000 copies. The album has ranked in the top half of The Billboard 200 every week since June 2010. This week, it rebounds from #29 to #12 its 132nd week on the chart.
While Babel holds the first-week sales record for 2012 (at least until Taylor Swift's Red is released later this month), Adele's 21 still holds the one-week sales record for this year. 21 sold 730K copies in the week following the Grammys (a.k.a. The Adele Show) in February. But her album was in its 52nd week, not its first.
Despite their name, none of the members of Mumford & Sons are related. Marcus Mumford is the band's only member with that surname. It's sort of like the Doobie Brothers and the Righteous Brothers, who weren't really brothers.
Green Day's Uno! debuts at #2. The trio's last two studio albums, American Idiot and 21st Century Breakdown, both debuted at #1. (When I saw the video of Billie Joe Armstrong's outburst at the iHeart Music Festival, I thought he was having a "21st Century Breakdown." Then I realized he has an album to promote. For his sake, I hope it was just an attention-getting stunt and not a sign of emotional burnout.)
Uno! also enters the Official U.K. chart at #2, giving the same two acts command of the top two spots in both countries.
No Doubt's Push And Shove enters The Billboard 200 at #3. It's the group's first studio album since Rock Steady in December 2001. That album, released at the most competitive time of the year, debuted and peaked at a disappointing #9. I guess you could say it got pushed and shoved.
Both Green Day and No Doubt are chart veterans. Green Day first cracked the top 10 in August 1994 with Dookie. No Doubt first cracked the top 10 in June 1996 with Tragic Kingdom.
P!nk's The Truth About Love drops from #1 to #4, which means the top four albums are all pop or rock.
Lupe Fiasco's Food & Liquor II: The Great American Rap Album Part 1 bows at #5. The album is a sequel to Lupe Fiasco's Food & Liquor, which hit #8 in September 2006. The artist's last studio album, Lasers, debuted at #1.
Two albums in this week's top five are the first installments of planned series. Green Day's Uno! will be followed in in short order by Dos! (Nov. 13) and Tres! (Jan. 15). Lupe Fiasco's Food & Liquor II: The Great American Rap Album Part 2 is due early next year. (Why didn't the artists just put out a two-disk or three-set set? Artists are reluctant to release a sprawling, multi-disk projects at a time when it's hard to get fans to buy even an individual album.)
deadmau5's >album title goes here< debuts at #6. It's the first top 10 album for the electro-house DJ/producer, whose previous highest-charting album, 4x4=12, peaked at #47. deadmau5 (real name: Joel Thomas Zimmerman) is the second DJ to land a top 10 album in a little more than a year. David Guetta's Nothing But The Beat debuted and peaked at #5 in September 2011. (4x4=12 and Nothing But The Beat were both nominated for a Grammy for Best Dance/Electronic Album, but lost to Skrillex's EP, Scary Monsters And Nice Sprites.) >album title goes here> is deadmau5's third album that suggests a, let's say, casual approach to album titles. It follows 2008's Random Album Title and 2009's For Lack Of A Better Name.
Taylor Swift's "Begin Again" enters Hot Digital Songs at #1, with first-week sales of 299K. It's Swift's fifth #1 digital hit. It displaces PSY's "Gangnam Style," which bumped Swift's "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together " out of the top spot just last week. "Gangnam Style" and Maroon 5's "One More Night" are expected to vie for #1 on the Hot 100. Which will prevail? You'll find out when we post Chart Watch: Songs later today.
Here's the low-down on this week's top 10 albums.
The Top Five: Mumford & Sons' Babel debuts at #1 (600K). It's the group's second top five album; its first #1…Green Day's Uno! debuts at #2 (139K). It's the band's eighth top 10 album…No Doubt's Push And Shove debuts at #3 (115K). It's the group's fifth top 10 album…P!nk's The Truth About Love drops from #1 to #4 in its second week (94K)…Lupe Fiasco's Food & Liquor II: The Great American Rap Album Part 1 debuts at #5 (89K). It's the hip-hopper's third top 10 album.
The Second Five: deadmau5's >album title goes here< debuts at #6 (58K). It's the DJ's first top 10 album…Kanye West Presents GOOD Music Cruel Summer drops from #2 to #7 in its second week (55K)… Dave Matthews Band's Away From The World drops from #4 to #8 in its third week (36K)…Little Big Town's Tornado drops from #5 to #9 in its third week (34K). It's #1 on Top Country Albums for the third week…The Killers' Battle Born drops from #3 to #10 in its second week (31K).
Five albums drop out of the top 10 this week. Carly Rae Jepsen's Kiss drops from #6 to #20, Grizzly Bear's Shields drops from #7 to #32, Bob Dylan's Tempest drops from #8 to #17, Avett Brothers' The Carpenter drops from #9 to #13 and Ben Folds Five's The Sound Of The Life Of The Mind dives from #10 to #60.
As I Lay Dying's Awakened debuts at #11. The group's last two studio albums, An Ocean Between Us and The Powerless Rise, both made the top 10. The band was named after a classic William Faulkner novel, which was published in 1930. (But this next reference, I'm afraid, is more my speed: As I Lay Dying charts the same week as Ke$ha's new single, "Die Young.")
Jake Owen's Endless Summer EP debuts at #19. The Beach Boys had a #1 album with the same title in October 1974. Owen's last full-length album, Barefoot Blue Jean Night, reached #6.
Alejandro Sanz's ninth studio album, La Musica No Se Toca, debuts at #26. It's the highest-charting album to date for the Spanish singer/guitarist, who first charted in 2000…"Norteno" artist Gerardo Ortiz's El Primer Ministro debuts at #31…John Hiatt finally lands his first top 40 album with Mystic Pinball, which debuts at #39. The critically-hailed singer/songwriter first "bubbled under" the chart in 1979. He first charted in 1987…WOW Hits 2013 opens at #35.
The Pitch Perfect soundtrack debuts at #43. The movie has been dubbed "Glee goes to college," and look what this album displaces from the #1 spot on the Top Soundtracks chart: Glee: Season Four: Britney 2.0.
Michael Jackson's 1987 album Bad drops from #23 to #52 in its 97th week on the chart. This is its second straight week at #1 on Top Catalog Albums. The 25th anniversary edition, Bad 25, which is listed separately, plummets from #46 to #176 in its second week.
One Direction's Up All Night—The Live Tour returns to #1 on Top Music Videos (its 17th week on top), following a one-week interruption by Michael Jackson: Live At Wembley July 16, 1988.
Pop Quiz: How many members of One Direction were alive on July 16, 1988? Answer below.
Hotel Transylvania was #1 at the box-office over the weekend.
Coming Attractions: Mumford & Sons are sure to remain on top next week, but six albums have a good chance of debuting in the top 10. Muse's The 2nd Law will probably open at #2 with sales in the 110K range. Also look for big things from Miguel's Kaleidoscope Dream (#3, 60K), Diana Krall's Glad Rag Doll (#5, 45K), Three Days Grace's Transit Of Venus (#6, 45K), Jackie Evancho's Songs From The Silver Screen (#7, 38K) and Cher Lloyd's Sticks & Stones (#8, 30K). Next in line: Van Morrison's Born To Sing: No Plan B, Papa Roach's The Connection and Heart's Fanatic.
Heavy Hitters: The next albums that are expected to put up giant first-week numbers are Jason Aldean's Night Train (due Oct. 16), Taylor Swift's Red (due Oct. 22) and One Direction's Take Me Home (due Nov. 13).
Quiz Answer: None. Louis Tomlinson, the oldest member of One Direction, was born on Christmas Eve 1991.