SoundScanner: Movie Soundtracks Les Miz And Pitch Perfect Make Their Move, While Maroon 5 Goes Platinum

by (@grahamorama)

SoundScanner: Anne Hathaway, Anna Kendrick Rule The Charts

Les Miz can finally lighten up, even as overall sales suffer a chill. Here’s a look at this week’s Nielsen SoundScan sales:

GOOD NEWS, FANTINE!: The Gloomy Gus movie of the year finally has something to cheer about: The Les Miserables soundtrack hits No. 1 on this week’s sales chart, according to Nielsen SoundScan figures released Wednesday. The album sold 92,000 copies this week, narrowly edging out Mumford & SonsBabel for the chart’s top spot (only 1,439 sales separated the two albums). Babel benefited from a big iTunes sales push, but it wasn’t enough to edge out Jean Valjean and company. For Les Mis, bad times never seemed so good.

In addition to being the first soundtrack to hit No. 1 on the chart since The Hunger Games companion album did so in April 2012, the Les Mis soundtrack —last week’s chart runner-up— gives Russell Crowe his first-ever appearance on a No. 1 album. It’s a feat he could never achieve with his outfits 30 Odd Foot of Grunts or Russell Crowe & the Ordinary Fear of God —which despite sounding made-up were both actual Russell Crowe-fronted bands (!)— although the Oscar winner was name-checked on Jay-Z and Kanye West‘s 2011 chart-topper Watch the Throne.

PITCH PERFECT RISES: Les Mis is one of two soundtracks in this week’s Top 10, as the Pitch Perfect soundtrack —fueled by the film’s Dec. 18 DVD release— hits its highest position yet, landing at No. 7 on this week’s chart. Anna Kendrick‘s Cups is the album’s hottest track, rising to No. 62 on this week’s Digital Songs chart, while also jumping to No. 40 on Spotify’s singles chart.

ALBUM SALES GET CHILLY: Overall, album sales were down 36 percent from last week, as the chart’s post-holiday deep freeze begins to settle in. The week’s highest debut came from New Jersey boy band Action Item, whose Resolution arrives at No. 71. This week marks the first time since October when the top-selling album didn’t clear more than 100,000 units. With few big albums on the horizon —this week’s biggest releases come from Dropkick Murphys and the soundtrack to HBO’s Girls— things aren’t likely to improve anytime soon.

OVEREXPOSED AND LOVING IT: Overexposure is no problem for Maroon 5, whose fourth album Overexposed crosses the 1 million sales mark this week. The album lands at No. 17 with 27,000 sales, enough to push its 28-week total to 1.023 million sales. Meanwhile “Daylight,” the album’s third single —following the smash hits “Payphone” and “One More Night”— jumps from No. 44 to No. 33 on this week’s Digital Songs chart. The album will likely get another bump with Maroon 5 frontman Adam Levine hosts SNL on Jan. 26.

GRANDPA STYLE IS THE NEW STYLE: Over on the Digital Songs chart, Taylor Swift‘s “I Knew You Were Trouble” holds at No. 1 with 326,000 sales, but bargain hunters Macklemore and Ryan Lewis are hot on her tail with their ode to ballin’ on a budget, “Thrift Shop.” The song jumps up from No. 7 to No. 2 on this week’s chart on sales of 236,000 units, as the Seattle duo (Macklemore raps, Lewis produces) make a play for No. 1. Overall, the chart suffered stiff post-holiday sales drops, but “Thrift Shop’s” 22 percent dip was smaller than any other song in the Top 10. Macklemore and Lewis might not be combing the bargain aisles for long.

Adam Graham is the Pop Music Critic for the Detroit News. You should really be following him on Twitter: @grahamorama.