While sales figures are sketchy because of the holidays, look for Taylor Swift’s “Red” to top the Billboard 200 next week.
Early estimates have the superstar’s fourth studio album spending a seventh non-consecutive week at No. 1 with sales of up to 225,000, according to Billboard. The tally will include Amazon’s Christmas Eve sales price of $1.99 (Nielsen SoundScan counts the discounted sales because the album has been out more than four weeks).
“Red” stands atop the leader board this week as well, with sales of 276,000. If “Red” does remain in the top spot, Swift will have registered 24 weeks at No. 1 on the Billboard 200, tying Adele as the female artist with the most weeks at No. 1 since the launch of SoundScan in 1991. Swift’s feat spans three albums: 2008’s “Fearless,” 2010’s “Speak Now” and “Red,” while all of Adele’s 24 weeks come from “21.”
In other chart news, look for the soundtrack to “Les Miserables” to possibly vault into the top 10. The title, which is No. 1 on iTunes following the movie’s Dec. 25 opening, debuted at No. 33 this week.
Billboard also expects Bruno Mars’ “Unorthodox Jukebox” and One Direction’s “Take Me Home” to remain in the top 10.
The New Year’s Day holiday will delay the chart results until Thursday, Jan. 3 instead of Wednesday, Jan. 2.
'Les Miserables' soundtrack may surge into Top 10
While sales figures are sketchy because of the holidays, look for Taylor Swift’s “Red” to top the Billboard 200 next week.
Four-minute clip encompasses Whitney Houston to Adam Yauch to Dave Brubeck
Is he working with Ed Sheeran?
It turns out that eight isn’t enough. Justin Bieber’s “Believe:Acoustic” continues to expand. Originally slated as an 8-song EP, Bieber keeps adding new songs to the Jan. 29 release.
On Thursday night, he tweeted that he “had to write some new ones. Now I’m putting out 10 SONGS on #Believeacoustive. I’m telling u. PREORDER it now : ).”
In addition to the sales plug, the Biebs also gave more details: “Every song has a new guitar arrangement...1 w/ piano. Everything feels new.”
Idolator has speculated that Bieber may have been writing new material with “The A-Team” singer/songwriter Ed Sheeran.
As Hitfix previously reported, Bieber announced the EP earlier this month. Bieber released “My Worlds Acoustic” in 2010, which featured stripped-down versions of songs from “My World 2.0.”
Lack of blockbuster titles leads to 10% decline
Retailers received coal in their Christmas stocking this year: sales during the pivotal holiday period were down 10% from last year, according to Billboard.
Comparing Nov. 18-Dec. 23 with the same five-week period in 2011 shows sales of 54.9 million albums this year versus 61 million last year.
Billboard attributes the drop in sales to two factors: the lack of a superstar blockbuster like Adele’s “21” or Michael Buble’s “Christmas” that provided sustained sales of more than 200,000 for several weeks running, as well as the fact that last year’s figures included Dec. 24, which is one of the biggest shopping days of the the year.
The breakdown between physical and digital sales followed the shift during non-holiday periods: Digital album sales rose 5.3% during the five weeks, while physical CD sales were down 15.4%. Individual track downloads, however, were down 4.8% to 139.8 million units compared with 2011 sales over the same period.
While there were no sustained superstar sales retailers mentioned such titles as One Direction’s “Take Me Home,” Taylor Swift’s “Red,” Bruno Mars’ “Unorthodox Jukebox,” Mumford & Sons’ “Babel,” Alicia Keys’ “Girl on Fire” and Pink’s “Truth About Love” as strong holiday sellers.
Taylor Swift and Macklemore & Ryan Lewis surge on this week's chart
Bruno Mars’ “Locked Out Of Heaven” stays locked into the top spot on the Billboard Hot 100, as the tune logs a third week at No. 1.
The song is also No. 1 on Billboard’s Radio Songs chart, as well as the Digital and On-Demand Songs charts, making it the first song to top all four charts, according to Billboard. The On-Demand Songs chart bowed in March.
“Locked” is Mars’ fourth No. 1 tune on Radio Songs chart, tying him with Sean Paul and T.I. for fifth place for males on the chart. The male leader is Usher with seven chart toppers in the chart’s 22-year history. The men have a far way to go to catch up with Mariah Carey, who has 11 No. 1s on the Radio Songs chart.
Back on the Hot 100, former No. 1, “Diamonds” by Rihanna, holds at No. 2, while the Lumineers’ “Ho Hey” remains at No. 3.
Taylor Swift’s “I Knew You Were Trouble” soars 10-4 and Justin Bieber’s “Beauty and a Beat” featuring Nicki Minaj climbs 7-5, marking Bieber’s third Top 5 hit.
Rounding out the Top 10, Ke$ha’s “Die Young” falls 4-6, Maroon 5’s “One More Night” slips 5-7, Flo Rida’s “I Cry” 6-8 and Phillip Phillip’s “Home” 8-9.
There’s good news for Macklemore and Ryan Lewis’s “Thrift Shop” featuring Wanz as the rappers’ independently released single rises 13-10 to be the only new entry in the Top 10.
Foo Fighters and Lenny Kravitz also pay tribute at Kennedy Center Honors
Heart fans who have seen the Wilson sisters in concert know that Ann Wilson can wail Led Zeppelin tunes like no one since, well, Led Zeppelin's Robert Plant, so it’s no surprise that the group brought the house down at the annual Kennedy Center Honors, which aired last night on CBS.
What is surprising is that the ladies’ version moved Plant, who was watching in the balcony with band members John Paul Jones and Jimmy Page, to tears time and time again at the Washington, D.C. event, which was taped last month. Or maybe he was just in awe of her ability to hit every single note with astonishing power. Or maybe seeing late LZ drummer John Bonham’s son Jason Bonham behind the drums also proved emotional.
The Wilson sisters weren’t the only ones paying tribute to whom Jack Black called “the greatest rock n’ roll band.” The Foo Fighters performed “Rock and Roll” —with Taylor Hawkins on lead vocals— and Lenny Kravitz played “Whole Lotta Love.” Watch those performances here and here. As you know, the Foo Fighters' Dave Grohl and Jones are in Them Crooked Vultures together. Turns out President Obama knows the words to "Whol Lotta Love."
The annual event honored Led Zeppelin, as well as Dustin Hoffman, Buddy Guy, Natalia Makarova and David Letterman.
We’re quite sure Washington, D.C.’s collective ears are still ringing.
Film chronicles her life and creation of her new album
Lady Gaga fans rejoice: Mamma Monster is making a film just for you with her favorite photographer at the helm.
On Christmas, she tweeted, “Merry Christmas little monsters! Terry Richardson @Terry_World is making a #LadyGagaMOVIE documenting my life, the creation of ARTPOP + you!”
She later thanked fans for being “so patient waiting for my new album,” which still has no release date. And then sent a tweet to Richardson: “I love you @Terry_World thank you for believing in me and my fans, I have looked up to you and your work for so long, its a dream come true! Lady Gaga recently tweeted that she has written more than 50 songs for the new album.
Maybe the documentary will include more footage of her doing a striptease and cavorting with two other women in a bath tub.
As for any other clue as to how Lady Gaga spent her holiday (other than on Twitter), she later tweeted, “I'm listening to @MariahCarey 's christmas album dancing in my room with my weed xmas sweater. all i need now is my box wine #bestdayever
Bruce Springsteen and Norah Jones also make the tally
It was a strong year for music with artists old and new making music that resonated deeply. Below are my top 10 albums of the year along with another 10 that could have been contenders. To see my Top 10 singles, go here. My colleague Katie Hasty prepped a video package of her top albums as well. To view that, go here.
1. “Channel Orange,” Frank Ocean: A striking debut from an artist who seemed to arrive fully formed. It’s not just his writing or singing or musicality, it’s also the unguarded emotion that he brings to every song. He examines love in all its forms. His influences, including Stevie Wonder and Prince, are along for the ride, but he still delivered a collection that felt unique.
2. "Babel," Mumford & Sons: Bolstered by Marcus Mumford’s furious guitar playing and Winston Chambers’ ringing banjo work, “Babel’s” tells of the search for grace and redemption are all the church you needed in 2012.
3. "Three Pears,"Dwight Yoakam: In his first album of original songs in seven years, the neo-honky tonk pioneer creates some of his most soaring, jangly melodies, referencing all of his idols, from the Beach Boys to Elvis Presley to, of course, Buck Owens. Beck produced two cuts to help get Yoakam started, but the album comes from a singular, still resonant voice and heart.
4. "Little Broken Hearts," Norah Jones: Working with Danger Mouse brought out a previously hidden recklessness and menace to Jones’ work. Sweet melodies are juxtaposed against murderous thoughts, such as on “Miriam.” It’s a stunningly dark album that covers betrayal, debilitating hurt, shame, the desire for revenge, and, ultimately, the ability to walk away, bowed but not broken.
5. "Wrecking Ball," Bruce Springsteen: The foremost chronicler of America once again sums up the current national zeitgeist in all its beauty and horror and gives voice to our hopes and fears. Full of cathartic anthems, Wrecking Ball” sets it sights on the devastation and destruction wrought on the middle class and increasingly growing lower class, by Wall Street and venomously takes prisoners.
6. "Some Nights," fun.: The trio sounds like Queen crossed with Barenaked Ladies. Each of the songs are several songs wrapped up in one, unified by Nate Ruess’s sweeping, supple vocals. From the big drums to the big melodies to the big vocals, fun. exemplified what’s best about pure pop music this year.
7. "The Carpenter," Avett Bros.: A glorious look at life and death, with the focus on death. The North Carolina brothers run the gamut of human experiences on their seventh album, a rambunctious, largely acoustic affair, with a joy and depth missing in so much of today’s music.
8. “Unorthodox Jukebox,” Bruno Mars: This would have been higher on the list if it weren’t for Mars’ occasional lapses into bitterness and misogyny on such songs as “Natalie” and “Money Make Her Smile,” but those blights are overcome by the extremely well-crafted melodies and Mars’ song craft. Leave out the tunes about the golddiggers and focus on beauties like “When I Was Your Man,” “If I Knew” and “Locked Out Of Heaven.”
9. "Looking 4 Myself," Usher: There’s really nothing Raymond Usher can’t do, whether it’s bust out a full dance or contemplate what it means to become an adult. The reflective “Looking 4 Myself” finds Usher in a thoughtful mood about love and his life, especially on the gorgeous “Climax” (just listen to his searing falsetto). His confidence as a performer leads him to an embrace of many different music styles and adventurousness missing from some of his past work. An underrated effort that will hopefully find a more appreciative audience as years pass.
10. "Red," Taylor Swift: While not an album I go back to frequently, “Red” makes the list because of the abandon and artistry Swift took when creating it. Her musical evolution since her debut six years ago is nothing less than staggering and on “Red” she exhibits a fearlessness when it comes to embracing different styles. Almost every song features drums way upfront in the mix and an aggressiveness of purpose. Sure, the singles are catchy, but album cuts such as her atmospheric duet with Snow Patrol’s Gary Lightbody and the Cranberries-like “State of Grace” are worth rooting out.
TEN OTHER ALBUMS I GREATLY ENJOYED
“A Thing Called Divine Fits,” Divine Fits
“Blunderbuss,” Jack White
“The Truth About Love,” Pink
“The Only Place,” Best Coast
“Uno,” Green Day’
“Bloom,” Beach House
Shields, Grizzly Bear
"Lonerism," Tame Impala
“Slipstream,” Bonnie Raitt
“Born and Raised,” John Mayer
What were your favorite albums of 2012?
Would 'Wisemen' have been a good fit?
Frank Ocean has released “Wisemen,” the song that he wrote for “Django Unchained” after director Quentin Tarantino, regretfully, left it out of the film.
Ocean put the song up on Tumblr with little fanfare over the weekend. Hear it here.
The song is a midtempo, atmospheric track with a hypnotic effects-laden guitar line running through it. Lyrically, Ocean sings “I bet your mother would be proud of you” over and over again as he runs through various scenarios about evil and good men and life and death in an emotional, but restrained vocal delivery.
Just as Tarentino was gracious about not using the song, telling Pitchfork, “Frank Ocean wrote a fantastic ballad that was truly lovely and poetic in every way, there just wasn’t a scene for it.” Ocean is similarly respectful. His only text with the song is “Django was ill without it.”
"Django Unchained" includes new music from Anthony Hamilton, John Legend and Rick Ross. Below is a gallery of Tarantino's "greatest hits" from his previous works.
What do you think of "Wisemen?"
Singer's album will easily command the top spot next week
Taylor Swift’s “Red” will go into the Christmas holiday with a sure lead for the top spot on the Billboard 200 next week.
The album returned to the No. 1 spot last week for the first time since its October release and stayed there this week, despite a charge by Bruno Mars’ “Unorthodox Jukebox.”
However, it looks like there’s no doubt that Swift will remain at No. 1 next week, as “Red” is tracking to sell up to 295,000 copies. That tally gives it more than a 100,000-edge over its nearest competitors. As of Friday, One Direction’s “Take Me Home,” Mars’ “Jukebox” and “Trouble Man: Heavy is the Head,” the new album from T.I., are all too close to call for the No. 2-4 spots. They are all projected to sell between 150,000 and 175,000 copies.
The picture is a little clearer when we get to No. 5, which looks like it will be Michael Buble’s “Christmas” album, with holiday sales of up to 160,000 copies. That album is closely followed by Rod Stewart’s holiday smash, “Merry Christmas Baby,” which will sell up to 135,000 units, according to Hits Daily Double.
A compilation of tunes from “12/12/12: The Concert For Sandy Relief” will bow at No. 7, with up to 110,000 copies. The iTunes-only set features performances from such artists as Bruce Springsteen, Billy Joel and The Who. Not included on the tribute? Kanye West. Billboard tried to get to the bottom of why he is not on the tribute, but everyone they talked to declined comment. A source speculated that it was West’s decision not to be on the collection, although the magazine also posits that the fact that his contribution was 13-minute medley that couldn’t be broken up may have also contributed to the decision.
Rounding out the Top 10 are likely to be Phillip Phillips’ “World From The SIde Of the Moon” at No. 8, Mumford & Sons’ “Babel” at No. 9 and Alicia Keys’ “Girl On Fire” at No. 10.