On the charts: Sade holds, Lady Antebellum tops 1 million and the XX sees an Olympic bump
In a slow week for major releases, R&B's smooth operator Sade holds at No. 1 on the U.S. pop chart, adding 190,000 in sales in the U.S., according to Nielsen SoundScan. That gives the act's long-awaited new album "Soldier of Love" a two-week total of 694,000 copies sold.
Sade's Epic effort holds off another strong sales week from country trio Lady Antebellum, which is experiencing a crossover breakout with sophomore effort "Need You Now." With 144,000 copies sold this week, the album crosses the 1-million sales threshold, reaching that pinnacle in just four weeks.
"Need You Now" (Capitol Nashville) is the first album in 2010 to reach 1 million in sales. The act's grown-up country pop continues to represent the strength of the adult market that the the likes of Susan Boyle and Sade are also hitting, as well the further mainstream encroachment of country. If Taylor Swift is for the kids, think of Lady Antebellum as the album for mom and dad, and the self-titled track itself continues to perform well, racking up 157,000 downloads sold this week to top 2.2 million total.
Lady Antebellum wasn't the most hyped release of 2010, but the act has built a steady touring base on the strength of its self-titled 2008 debut, and had a well-received performance on this year's Grammy Awards. That album is still performing well, at No. 26 this week, and has sold more than 1.5 million copies.
The top debut on the chart this week is down at No. 42, coming from Midwest-raised hard rock group Story of the Year. The Epitaph act's fourth full-length album, "Constant," sold 14,000 copies this week. The Silver Lake-based label should have another solid album next week with the latest from Alkaline Trio penetrating the tally.
Further down, English minimalist trio the XX bolts back onto the chart with its self-titled indie debut for Young Turks. The set sold just under 5,000 copies this week, but has now topped 91,000 copies sold. The group, which will appear at the Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival, has no doubt benefited from the use of its "Intro" in a telecom commercial featuring Olympic speed skater Apolo Ohno.
The top-selling digital song of the week remains the benefit "We Are the Word: 25 for Haiti." This week, its first full week of release, the song sold 208,000 downloads, bringing its total to 475,000.
Overall album sales, according to Billboard, are down about 12% from the comparable period in 2009.
-- Todd Martens
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Photo: Dave Haywood and Hillary Scott of Lady Antebellum. Credit: Axel Koester / For The Times