SoundScanner: While The Country Harlem Shakes, Emeli Sande Is On The Rise

by (@grahamorama)

soundscanner-emeli-sande

“Harlem Shake” continues to make waves on the Digital Songs chart as Mumford & Sons retain the country’s No. 1 album. Here’s a look at this week’s Nielsen SoundScan sales figures:

EVENTS ON THE HORIZON: R&B-pop singer and VH1 You Oughta Know artist Emeli Sandé had the UK’s top-selling album in 2012, but she’s only beginning to make waves on this side of the pond. This week, her debut album Our Version of Events rises from No. 119 to No. 63 on a 72 percent sales gain, after she won two trophies —including Album of the Year— at last week’s Brit Awards. Sande’s album debuted at No. 28 when it was released last June, but is now beginning to pick up steam as the singer makes the promotional rounds in the U.S. So far, Events has sold 102,000 copies, according to Nielsen SoundScan.

MUMFORD HANGS ON: There was lots of talk about the Grammy bump, but this week is the Grammy crash, as overall album sales take a tumble and only two of the week’s Top 20 albums experience sales gains from the week prior. Despite a two-thirds drop in sales from last week, Album of the Year winners Mumford & Sons hang on to the week’s No. 1 spot, selling 63,000 copies of Babel (down from last week’s 185,000 tally). The album is now only 15,000 sales shy of the 2 million sales marker, and will cross the threshold by next week’s chart.

WHOLE LOT OF SHAKIN’ GOING ON: Alabama Shakes are one of only two acts in the Top 20 to experience sales gains from last week —the other is Macklemore and Ryan Lewis— as their debut set Boys & Girls rings up a 10 percent sales bump and leaps from No. 20 to No. 6. The Athens, Ala. four-piece followed up its Grammy week —the group was winless at the ceremony, though lead singer Brittany Howard wowed viewers during her performance in the Levon Helm tribute— with performances on both the Feb. 16 episodes of SNL and Austin City Limits. Boys & Girls has now sold 459,000 copies and hopes to soon earn gold status.

EVEN MORE SHAKIN’ GOING ON: Tired of the “Harlem Shake” meme? Consumers aren’t. Baauer’s viral smash posts a 13 percent sales gain this week, earning 297,000 sales and allowing every single person you’ve ever known to participate in a “Harlem Shake” video. (Have you seen the one all your elementary school teachers did? It’s great, you should check it out.) Still, “Harlem” couldn’t shake Macklemore and Ryan Lewis’ “Thrift Shop” from the No. 1 spot on the Digital Songs chart. The Seattle duo’s ode to bargain shopping, which has now been on the charts for half a year, hangs on to No. 1 and posts another 364,000 sales, bringing its total to 3,878,000 copies. That can buy a lot of Gucci T-shirts, if only Macklemore were interested.

WEAK WEEK FOR DEBUTS: The week’s biggest debut comes from L.A. rockers Buckcherry, whose sixth album Confessions lands at No. 20. Elsewhere, it’s a no man’s land for new releases, with Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds (No. 29), Atlas Genius (No. 34), Elevation Worship (No. 41) and Celtic Thunder (No. 51) posting the week’s top debuts. It’s been a dry season for new albums but things will pick up next month, with new albums from Justin Timberlake (March 19), Bon Jovi (March 12) and David Bowie (also March 12) due in stores.

Adam Graham (@grahamorama) is the Pop Music Critic for the Detroit News. He’s currently hard at work on his own “Harlem Shake” viral video.