SoundScanner: Can The Lumineers Reach The Top Of The Pop Charts?

by (@grahamorama)


Sadly, the answer to that question is “No.” Or, if you’re an optimist, “Not yet!” Country singer Gary Allan stormed the album charts at No. 1 this week, while You Oughta Know alumni the Lumineers are clapping and stomping right behind him at No. 2. Here’s a look at this week’s Nielsen SoundScan sales figures:

“HO HEY,” LET’S GO: The self-titled debut album from folky jangle-pop upstarts the Lumineers hits No. 2 on this week’s chart, a new high for the Denver trio. The sons of Mumford‘s performance on the Jan. 19 SNL certainly didn’t hurt, nor did “Ho Hey”’s prominence in all those Silver Linings Playbook TV ads. The band is up for Best New Artist at next month’s Grammy Awards, and they also landed a prime slot on this year’s Coachella bill. Meanwhile, “Ho Hey” has now crossed the 3 million sales mark, after selling 141,000 digital copies this week (good for #3 on the singles chart). No matter how big they get, we’ll always remember when they came by our office last summer for a You Oughta Know Live set.

SINK “FRIDAY”: While the beef between Mariah Carey and Nicki Minaj continues to be this year’s most propulsive American Idol narrative, it hasn’t done anything for Ms. Minaj’s sales. Her second album Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded freefalls 29 spots on this week’s chart to No. 115, after falling seven spots the week prior. The set has sold 805,000 copies to date, which is certainly nothing to scoff at, but hearing Nicki bicker with Mimi hasn’t exactly sent new fans running to the stores to pick up her album. Neither Carey nor auxiliary judge Keith Urban —we keep forgetting he’s even on the show!— have current products they’re pushing, so their Idol sales impact has yet to be felt.

“FIRE” GOES GOLD: After nine frames on the chart, Alicia KeysGirl on Fire (No. 24) goes gold this week, selling 16,000 copies and pushing its total to 510,000 (now that lonely dude from the Citi commercial has an extra accolade to rub in his ex-girlfriend’s face). Keys had to work a little harder than usual to get there —two of her albums, 2007’s As I Am (which opened with 742,000 sales) and 2003’s The Diary of Alicia Keys (which started with 618,000) went gold their first week— but she made it, despite that questionable performance at last week’s Presidential Inauguration (“Obama’s on Fire?” Really?). Keys may be in for a sales boost this Sunday when she sings some song before some football game.

Also crossing the 500,000 sales marker on this week’s chart are Vegas rockers Imagine Dragons, whose Night Visions —which debuted at No. 2 back in September— is at No. 12 on this week’s chart. The album sold 21,000 copies its 21st week in stores, bringing its total to 519,000.

FINDING “SUGAR MAN”: Last week’s DVD release of Searching for Sugar Man, the Oscar-nominated documentary about 70-year-old Detroit folk musician Rodriguez, has spurred sales of the film’s accompanying soundtrack. The album jumps up 77 spots on this week’s chart to No. 108, with a 128 percent sales increase from the week prior. The soundtrack has sold 64,000 copies to date, which isn’t bad for a collection of 40-plus-year-old songs. Visibility from the Oscars, plus word-of-mouth from the movie’s you-have-to-see-it-to-believe-it true story, will likely continue to drive sales.

THE CHARTS SHALL “SET YOU FREE”: Country veteran Gary Allan earns his first No. 1 album this week with Set You Free, his ninth studio album, which sold 106,000 copies its first week in stores. The 45-year-old Allan made his debut with 1996’s Used Heart for Sale and has been chipping away at the charts since, earning three Top 5 albums (2005’s Tough All Over and 2007’s Living Hard both debuted at No. 3, 2010’s Get Off on the Pain debuted at No. 5) but never reaching the chart summit. Set You Free was assisted by lead single “Every Storm (Runs Out of Rain),” which has sold 814,000 copies to date and rises 12 spots to No. 18 on this week’s Digital Songs chart.

Adam Graham is the Pop Music Critic for the Detroit News. If you’re not following @grahamorama on Twitter, you’re missing out.

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