When is a No. 1 album and first week sales of 350,000 considered only sort of OK? When your name is Justin Timberlake and you’re talking about sales of his new record. #SoundScanner dives in:
TIMBERLAKE IS TOPS AGAIN: Justin Timberlake is No. 1 for a second time this year, as his 20/20 Experience – 2 of 2 tops SoundScan’s Top Current Albums chart with 350,000 first-week sales. Debut sales of 350,000 should never be scoffed at, but that figure represents a 63 percent erosion from the 968,000 first-week sales of 20/20’s first part back in March. (It’s also Timberlake’s weakest opening sale frame of his solo career; FutureSex/LoveSounds kicked off with 684,000 sales in 2006, and Justified opened with 439,000 sales in 2002.) One benefactor of the new album was the 20/20 Experience’s first part, which jumps up 26 spots to No. 11 on this week’s chart on a 57 percent sales gain. To date, the album has sold 2.3 million copies, making it the year’s best selling album.
LORDE, HAIM MAKE A BIG SPLASH: Two spots beneath Timberlake, “Royals” singer and You Oughta Know alum Lorde makes a big splash with her debut album Pure Heroine, which sold 129,000 copies its first week. That’s a strong opening – it’s just off from the 138,000 first-week sales of Ariana Grande’s Yours Truly, to compare her to another young female singer – and it further proves the power of “Royals,” perhaps the year’s most unexpected hit. Two spots down at No. 5, country singer Tyler Farr rang up 29,000 sales of his debut Redneck Crazy, while L.A. trio Haim arrives at No. 6 with their debut Days Are Gone, which sold 26,000 copies its first week. A bit further down, St. Louis rapper Nelly lands at No. 14 with his new album M.O., marking his weakest chart debut to date, and signaling that perhaps it’s not so hot in herre anymore. (Side Note: Both Lorde and HAIM will be performing at the inaugural You Oughta Know In Concert special, which airs on VH1 on November 21 at 9PM/8C.)
BADFINGER BREAKS BAD: Walter White isn’t a pop star, but his sendoff on the series finale of Breaking Bad created a moment for ’70s rockers Badfinger. The group’s 1971 song “Baby Blue,” which played as (WARNING: BREAKING BAD SPOILER ALERT COMING UP) Bryan Cranston’s character met his demise and traveled up to that great meth lab in the sky (END BREAKING BAD SPOILER), sold 37,000 copies in the week following Bad’s final episode, enough to put it at No. 32 on this week’s Digital Songs chart. That doesn’t put it quite in “Don’t Stop Believin'” territory, to compare it to the Journey song that closed out The Sopranos, but that song had a bigger head start in terms of notoriety, and would eventually go on to be named SoundScan’s biggest selling classic rock digital track of all-time. But it’s not bad for a band who decided to name their fourth album Ass. (Seriously, Badfinger’s fourth album is called Ass. Look it up.)
LADIES RULE SINGLES CHART: Lorde, Katy Perry and Miley Cyrus continue to dominate SoundScan’s Digital Songs chart. It’s not just that they rule the top three – this week, “Royals,” “Roar” and “Wrecking Ball” hold at Nos. 1, 2 and 3 – but Katy Perry lands two other songs in the Top 10 as well, with her new single “Walking on Air” arriving at No. 8 this week and “Dark Horse” coming in at No. 10. (Miley’s “We Can’t Stop,” meanwhile, is just outside the Top 10 at No. 13.) Throw in Lady Gaga’s “Applause” (No. 9) and there’s a whole lot of Girl Power going on at the top of the charts. Baby, Posh, Scary, Ginger and Sporty would be proud.
LUKE’S PARTY GOES PLATINUM: While Justin Timberlake is celebrating his second No. 1 of the year, Luke Bryan – another artist who scored two No. 1 albums this year – is toasting the platinum sales of his latest, Crash My Party. The album sold 32,000 copies in its eighth week on the chart, bringing its total sales to 1.02 million. That gives Bryan his second platinum-selling album, joining 2011’s Tailgates & Tanlines, which has sold 2.16 million copies to date.