Susan Boyle logs fourth week at No. 1; Alicia Keys debuts at No. 2
Alicia Keys’ new album “The Element of Freedom” logged impressive first-week sales of 417,000 copies, enough to put her at No. 1 just about any other week of this year. But she has to settle for a debut in the runner-up slot this week, as Susan Boyle’s “I Dreamed a Dream” continues at the top of the national sales chart for a fourth consecutive week.
Boyle’s collection posted a 14% sales increase over last week, logging 661,000 copies heading into the final days before Christmas, according to Nielsen SoundScan. That puts the album’s four-week total at 2.4 million, placing her ahead of Michael Jackson’s “Number Ones” and behind only Taylor Swift’s “Fearless” on the list of the biggest-selling albums of 2009.
Swift’s 13-month old CD also is showing a surge into Christmas, with sales last week of 239,000 copies, up 42% over the previous week. She’s on track to top total sales of 3 million by next week, but given the pace Boyle’s album has been on, the young country-pop star will have a fight on her hands to finish the year ahead of the British adult-pop singer.
If Boyle can overtake Swift, it will be the first time a debut album has been the year’s best-seller since 2001, when Linkin Park’s “Hybrid Theory” pulled it off. And no matter whether Boyle or Swift finishes the year at No. 1, veteran chart analyst Paul Grein notes that this will be the first year that women have posted the year’s two biggest sellers since 1996, when Alanis Morissette’s “Jagged Little Pill” and Celine Dion’s “Falling Into You” topped the year-end tally.
Meanwhile, Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli’s “My Christmas,” the top-selling holiday album this season, sold another 390,000 copies, dropping to No. 3 behind Keys' album, but giving him a year-to-date total just shy of 2 million copies, a number the album should easily surpass next week.
The only other new album to debut in the Top 100 is Robin Thicke’s “Sex Therapy: The Session,” which enters the chart at No. 9 with sales of 139,000 copies. That’s a shade ahead of the first-week figure for his sophomore outing, “Something Else,” which sold 137,000 copies in its first week and debuted at No. 3.
Despite the gangbuster numbers at the top of the chart, overall music sales were down 12% last week compared to the same week last year, and year-to-date sales are down 13% compared to 2008.
-- Randy Lewis
Photo: Susan Boyle. Credit: NBC Universal