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On the charts: Brands rule, as 'Glee,' 'Iron Man' dominate

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When first released, Madonna's "Like a Virgin" and "Like a Prayer" were controversy magnets, dealing with suggestive topics and themes that not all deemed fit for mainstream consumption. Today, the songs have been remade with Broadway-friendly arrangements and showbiz choirs, and were the centerpiece of last week's prime time Fox series "Glee." 

"Glee's" love letter to Madonna, in which the show's plot was shoehorned around a number of the pop star's hits, inspired the accompanying album, the seven-song "The Power of Madonna," to top the U.S. pop chart this week. In a relatively light sales week, "The Power of Madonna" leads the tally without breaking the six-figure barrier, selling 98,000 copies in the U.S., according to Nielsen SoundScan. 

"Glee" is turning into quite the cross-media platform for Fox and Columbia Records. Two other collections of music from the series are still in the top 50 of the U.S. pop chart. The first "Glee" compilation is at No. 39, and has sold nearly 800,000 copies to date. The second is at No. 47, and has sold about 594,000 copies. 

While Columbia execs can celebrate the power of "Glee," one of its showcase acts -- MGMT -- may be causing some concern. The act's challenging sophomore effort, "Congratulations," debuted at No. 2 last week, but suffered a heavy 70% sales decline in its second week to fall to No. 18. An adventurous collection of oddball melodies, "Congratulations" will surely be a slow build. The set hasn't yet spawned a hit, and with its 20,000 copies sold this week, it has moved a total of 87,000 copies.

Yet it's approaching summer and the season of blockbusters, and sales are helped by association with a major brand. The soundtrack to "Iron Man 2," essentially an AC/DC hits collection, lands at No. 4, selling about 76,000 copies this week. The disc is also part of the Columbia family, and should continue to hover near the upper echelon of the chart once the film opens May 7.


Also new on the top 10 this week is Jimmy Buffett's "Encores," a collection available only at Wal-Mart and Buffett's own outlets. The two-disc set moved about 31,000 copies. Just outside the top 10 is the latest from Circa Survive, "Blue Sky Noise," at No. 11 (28,000 copies) and Sevendust, "Cold Day Memory," at No. 12 (27,000 copies).

Plenty of country artists experienced sales bursts in the wake of last week's Academy of Country Music Awards. Crossover superstars Lady Antebellum are up 27%, with their album "Need You Now" at No. 2 this week; it has now sold more than 1.8 million copies. Fiery singer Miranda Lambert experienced a mighty boost from the awards. Her "Revolution" jumped from No. 36 to No. 13, selling 25,000 copies this week, up 105% over last week. To date, it's sold 527,000 copies.

Other artists who experienced gains from the awards include Carrie Underwood, whose "Play On" was up more than 50% this week, selling an additional 18,000 copies for a to-date total of more than 1.4 million, and the Zac Brown Band, whose "Foundation" jumped 27%, selling 29,000 copies this week for a new total of more than 1.8 million. 

-- Todd Martens

Photo: The cast of "Glee." In the front row, from left, Dijon Talton, Lea Michele, Amber Riley, Jenna Ushkowitz and Chris Colfer. Credit: Fox
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