On the charts: Linkin Park continues to give Agoura Hills something to cheer about, and Weezer has a major indie debut
Linkin Park, the hard rock pride of Agoura Hills, ushers in the music industry's busy fall and winter release schedule, leading a charge of six new albums into the top 10 of the U.S. pop chart. The act's "Thousand Suns," which showcases a moodier, gentler and more contemplative Linkin Park, sold 241,000 copies in its debut week, according to Nielsen SoundScan.
Though Linkin Park has no doubt successfully shifted out of the rap/rock-metal scene of the mid- to late '90s, becoming one of the few hybrid acts from the era to demonstrate some career longevity, it isn't immune to the general industry downturn facing the music biz. The band's 2007 effort, "Minutes to Midnight," bowed with a much-mightier 623,000 copies, according to the Billboard archives. This could be a transitionary moment for the band, as initial fan reaction to the less hard-hitting sound appears to be mixed.
Nevertheless, Linkin Park still outsold the latest from R&B artist Trey Songz, icon Robert Plant, still-rising country star Jamey Johnson and Weezer, who jumped from the Universal Music Group empire to locals Epitaph Records. The fourth effort from Trey Songz, "Passion, Pain & Pleasure," narrowly missed the top spot, selling 240,000 copies in its first week. That's actually a career-best for Trey Songz, who Billboard notes has never sold more than 131,000 albums in a single week.
Further down, mainstream country's rougher-and-tougher Johnson entered at No. 4 with "The Guitar Song," an album that sold 63,000 copies, while Plant's "Band of Joy," which continues his atmospheric explorations into the American songbook, bowed at No. 5 with with 49,000 copies.
Weezer's "Hurley" didn't arrive with quite the same fanfare as last year's "Raditude," which saw the band selling Snuggies and collaborating with Lil Wayne, yet it did see the act taking greater ownership of its career. For the album, Weezer started its own W Records and licensed the effort to Silver Lake's Epitaph. The independent move still gives the band a top 10 album, as "Hurley" opened with 45,000 copies sold. That is, however, a little less than "Raditude's" debut, as that effort bowed with 66,000 copies sold.
Other notes from this week's chart:
-- Stretching out on his own, the Killers' Brandon Flowers entered the tally at No. 8 with his "Flamingo," which is indeed named after the Las Vegas hotel. The solo effort sold 41,000 copies in its first week. The Killers are said to simply be on hiatus, and are expected to record another album soon. The act's last, 2008's "Day & Age," entered with 193,000 copies sold.
-- Florence & the Machine, which had one of the few standout performances on the MTV VMAs, earned a major sales boost from the awards show. The debut from the soulful London-based rock act, "Lungs," bolted from No. 44 to No. 14, selling 21,000 copies in the week after the telecast. The week prior, "Lungs" sold just under 8,000 copies, and has moved 151,000 copies to date.
-- Plenty of indie artists debuted on the chart this week, some of them making their first-ever appearance. Merge vets Superchunk, for instance, entered at No. 85 with "Majesty Shredding," an album that sold a little over 5,000 copies. It's Superchunk's bow on the top 200, and it's been a banner year for the indie label. The latest from the label's Arcade Fire is at No. 33 this week, and just passed the 300,000 sales mark.
-- Other notable debuts this week include the latest from theatrical indie act Of Montreal, whose "False Priest" landed at No. 34 (11,000 copies), the sophomore effort from Nick Cave's Grinderman side project, "Grinderman 2," at No. 38 (10,000 copies) and psychedelic rockers the Black Angels, whose "Phosphene Dream" bowed at No. 52 (8,000 copies).
-- Though superstars such as Eminem and Katy Perry are standing their ground in the top 10, many others are finding their stays near the pole position relatively short-lived. Last week's No. 1, Sara Bareilles' "Kaleidoscope Heart," drifted to No. 12, having sold 28,000 copies in its second week. Interpol's latest self-titled effort fell even further, entering at No. 7 and now finding itself at No. 35. It sold just under 11,000 copies this week.
-- On the other side of the equation, steady sales are propelling a few acts close to the 1 million mark. Country scorcher Miranda Lambert has steadily sold 850,000 copies of her "Revolution" and is still in the top 50 after 51 weeks. Less quietly, singles-sensation Ke$ha is now just shy of the million mark, as her debut, "Animal," has tallied 947,000 sales after 37 weeks.
-- Todd Martens
Photo: Linkin Park's Chester Bennington. Credit: Getty Images