“Swift”-Selling Red Posts Biggest Billboard Week Since Eminem

Taylor Swift and Eminem in the same sentence? Only when it comes to album sales — in this week's Billboard recap

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Taylor Swift

Unhindered by storms, we’re happy to welcome you to TIME’s weekly recap of Billboard activity, highlighting the singles and albums that are selling and streaming their way into your hearts and onto the charts. Here we go:

  • Red All Over. It took Taylor Swift all of one week to achieve the third biggest selling album of the year to date, as unsurprisingly, Red debuts in the top position with sales of over 1.2 million — posting the biggest sales week since The Eminem Show back in 2002. The unstoppable force also has six songs in the Hot 100 and the current No. 1 on the country singles chart with “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together.”

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  • What Can Brown Do for You? It’s another stagnant Top 10 this week, with Maroon 5, Psy and fun. maintaining their 1-2-3 positions yet again. Just two new entries in the upper echelon: Bruno Mars’ “Locked out of Heaven” sails from 15 to 7, while Chris Brown scores his second Top 10 hit of the year (and 12th overall) with “Don’t Wake Me Up.” His chart revival suggests that his past misdeeds have been not merely forgiven but revered, unless one actually thinks the song is a hit purely on its sonic merits.
  • Redundantly Redundant? A bit further down in the 40, there’s a bit of recycling going on. The Lumineers’ “Ho Hey,” a complete lift of Mumford & Sons’ sound, is now a bigger hit than Mumford & Sons have ever had, as it jumps from 27 to 19. Meanwhile, Owl City and Carly Rae Jepsen are facing a lawsuit regarding their current hit “Good Time,” which slides a notch from 12 to 13: singer-songwriter Allyson Nichole Burnett alleges the tune’s hook was cribbed from her composition “Ah, It’s a Love Song.” Which makes many a jaded listener wonder: Why would someone willingly admit to writing songs that sound like “Good Time”?

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  • Monsters of Rock. Over on the Rock Songs tally, a survey with next to no movement, Mumford & Sons have eight of its 25 songs, suggesting a staid state of affairs in rock radio and purchasing and streaming habits. (Amusingly, the Lumineers’ “Ho Hey” is outcharting all eight of them.) If this is evidence at all, rock isn’t dead; it’s just unpopular.
  • Liner Notes. The album charts are proving to be the last bastion of eclecticism in popular music. Where else can you find the following artists, all of whom debut in the Top 10 with new releases, standing side by side: hip-hop upstart Kendrick Lamar, elder statesman of standards Tony Bennett, retro-fueled blues guitar man Gary Clark Jr., reunited hard-rock outfit Stone Sour and country harmonizers Lady Antebellum? Our kingdom for a radio station or stream on which one could be introduced to all these new tracks and more.

Got questions about the charts, past and present? E-mail me at Joseph_McCombs@timemagazine.com

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