Flannel is back, and not just because it’s fall and there’s a chill in the air. Pearl Jam rules this week’s Nielsen SoundScan sales charts, proving that they’re still aliiiiiii-iiiive and kicking. Elsewhere, Eminem crashes Lorde’s party on the singles chart and the Great Gatsby soundtrack has a sales milestone to celebrate. So let’s get on with it, shall we?
Pearl Jam tops chart: Grunge forever, dude! Pearl Jam tops this week’s Nielsen SoundScan Top Current Albums chart, after selling 166,000 copies of their latest album Lightning Bolt. It’s the group’s fifth career No. 1 album, following the No. 1 debuts of 1993’s Vs., 1994’s Vitalogy, 1996’s No Code and 2009’s Backspacer. The debut is on par with 2002’s Riot Act, which also opened with 166,000, but falls below the band’s recent efforts; Backspacer kickstarted with 189,000, and 2006’s self-titled release (a.k.a. The Avocado Album) opened with 280,000. Outside of the band’s monster releases Vs. (which sold 950,000 its first week) and Vitalogy (which sold 877,000 its first week on CD, after being available two weeks earlier on vinyl), Pearl Jam’s biggest opening came with 1996’s No Code, which began its chart run with 367,000 first week sales.
McCartney, Avett Brothers debut: Pearl Jam splashes the chart pool this week, while 11 others debut inside the Top 25. Paul McCartney’s New arrives at No. 3 on 67,000 sales; Macca’s 2012’s mostly-covers release Kisses on the Bottom, started at No. 5 with 74,000, while his last full studio set Memory Almost Full began at No. 3 with 161,000. North Carolina folk rockers the Avett Brothers drop in at No. 5 with Magpie & the Dandelion, which sold 57,000; last year’s The Carpenter started stronger, at No. 4 and with 98,000. The rest of the week’s top debuts: Former American Idol winner Scotty McCreery’s See You Tonight (No. 6, 52,000), Willie Nelson’s To All the Girls (No. 9, 43,000), the Head and the Heart’s Let’s Be Still (No. 10, 42,000), Gavin DeGraw’s Make a Move (No. 13, 25,000), Trivium’s Vengeance Falls (No. 15, 17,000), Chase Rice’s Ready Set Roll (No. 16, 17,000), Natalie Grant’s Hurricane (No. 17, 16,000), Mary J. Blige’s Mary Christmas (No. 23, 12,000) and Fall Out Boy’s PAX AM Days (No. 24, 12,000).
Eminem tops singles chart: Eminem’s rapid fire “Rap God” tops SoundScan’s Digital Songs chart this week, breaking Lorde’s four-week stranglehold on the chart’s top spot. (“Royals” drops one spot to No. 2.) “Rap God” sold 270,000 downloads this week, better than last week’s “Survival” debut (112,000), but not as good as last month’s “Berzerk” arrival (362,000). But “Berzerk” wasn’t able to top the chart – it arrived and peaked at No. 2 – so “Rap God’s” chart dominance is significant. Between the three singles, Eminem sells 433,000 downloads this week, a good sign for next month’s release of The Marshall Mathers LP 2. The “Rap God” has still got it.
Bieber’s Monday experiment continues: Justin Bieber is doing his own version of Kanye West’s “G.O.O.D. Fridays” with his “Music Mondays” campaign, which sees the Canadian heartthrob releasing a new single every Monday for 10 consecutive weeks. Last week, the Biebs’ “Heartbreaker” was No. 5, but this week “Heartbreaker” drops 71 places on an 84 percent sales nosedive to land at No. 76. The good news for Biebs: He’s back in the Top 10 this week at No. 6 with “All That Matters,” which sold 127,000 downloads this week, which is about what “Heartbreaker” sold last week. The bad news: The pattern might continue to repeat itself, with a new single debuting high but the others plummeting each week. We shall see.
Gatsby goes gold: Fueled by material from Jack White, Beyonce and Lana Del Rey, the Jay Z-curated soundtrack to Baz Luhrmann’s 2013 remake of The Great Gatsby crosses the gold sales plateau this week, its 24th week of release. The album sold 3,600 copies this week, down 17 percent from last week, but enough to bring its total sales to 503,000. The set comes in at No. 114 on this week’s chart. The film didn’t do so bad either, raking in around $145 million in North America and another $200 million overseas, according to boxofficemojo.com, and that’s plenty to flap to.