No one was going to beat Justin Timberlake on the sales chart, but plenty tried. Here’s a look at this week’s Nielsen SoundScan breakdown:
SECOND PLACE SWEEPSTAKES: It was a big week for artists looking to play runner-up to Justin Timberlake, as six albums debut in the chart’s Top 10. Lil Wayne is the winner — watch his “Love Me” video above!— as his I Am Not a Human Being II LP lands at No. 2 with 217,000 sales, just 100,000 and some change shy of Timberlake’s 20/20 Experience, which remains at No. 1 on 319,000 second week sales (bringing its two-week total to just under 1.3 million). Human Being is followed by Blake Shelton’s Based on a True Story (No. 3, 199,000), OneRepublic’s Native (No. 4, 60,000), Alan Jackson’s Precious Memories: Vol. II (No. 5, 55,000), Depeche Mode’s Delta Machine (No. 6, 52,000) and the Strokes’ Comedown Machine (No. 10, 41,000). A bit further down the chart at No. 31, Dido’s Girl Who Got Away got away from fans, debuting with a modest 18,000 first-week scans.
BOOB TUBE BOOST: Blake Shelton’s new album was pegged to the return of The Voice, a wise move for the artist, as he’s not the only one who got a boost from the premiere of NBC’s singing competition. Maroon 5’s Overexposed (No. 24) gets a 41 percent sales bump this week, and five of the group’s singles see sales surges, most notably “Sunday Morning,” which lands at No. 142 on SoundScan’s Digital Songs chart on a 317 percent improvement from the week prior. Shakira, who joined The Voice’s judging panel this season, also sees a sales spike for “Hips Don’t Lie,” which leaps 471 percent and re-enters the chart at No. 118. And over on American Idol,” last week’s live appearance from Colton Dixon goosed the mullet-hawked rocker’s album sales a hefty 291 percent, as his debut set The Messenger jumps from No. 107 to No. 40 on the album chart.
DRAGONS CATCH FIRE: “Just Give Me a Reason,” from P!nk and fun.’s Nate Reuss, remains at No. 1 on this week’s Digital Songs chart, selling 286,000 copies and bringing its total sales to 1.076 million. Macklemore and Ryan Lewis’ “Thrift Shop” holds at No. 2, but the big mover on the chart is Las Vegas rock outfit Imagine Dragons, whose “Radioactive” zooms up five spots to No. 3 on sales of 235,000 units. The dubsteppy song has sold nearly 1.7 million copies and has spent 36 weeks on the chart, more than any other song in this week’s top 25. Pink and Reuss should keep an eye peeled on those dragons in their rearview.
SKRILLEX GOES GOLD: Grammy-winning dubstep overlord Skrillex crosses the gold marker this week with his 2011 Bangarang EP (No. 121), which sold a little less than 4,000 copies this week and inches past the gold standard with 501,000 total sales. Also going gold this week is country-pop trio Rascal Flatts, whose 2012 effort Changed – released one year ago this week – sold sold 3,700 copies, bringing its total to 502,000 sales. Meanwhile Toronto rapper Drake is on the precipice of selling 2 million copies of his Take Care album. The set, which is No. 70 this week, is a little less than 2,000 copies shy of double platinum, and will likely cross the marker this weekend. How will Amanda Bynes celebrate?
MCKNIGHT AT A LOSS FOR WORDS: Remember last year when Brian McKnight made waves by releasing the risque “If You’re Ready to Learn,” in which he offered his expertise in showing “how your p**** works?” The excitement/ confusion/ curiosity he generated didn’t carry over to his new album More Than Words, which debuted last week at No. 61 and falls to No. 181 this week on a 63 percent sales decline. Looks like fans still just aren’t ready to learn.