The music you bought this week: Shelton, Incubus and more
Music sales may no longer be the surefire barometer of success they once were, yet the Nielsen SoundScan charts Wednesday represent perhaps an even broader snapshot of artists resonating with fans. Though the charts are no longer the providence of the mainstream, below is a snapshot of some of the music that has inspired the populace to part with cash.
No divas, just country at the top. Since Blake Shelton joined the ranks of the NBC singing competition "The Voice," his Southern toughness has been softened ever so slightly by the coddling corporate environment of a reality series. So perhaps it's no coincidence that "Red River Blue," Shelton's sixth, is his first-ever No. 1. The album sold 116,000 copies, according to Niesen SoundScan, in its first week of release. The album's homey first single is fixing to be something of a crossover hit, as "Honey Bee" has sold 1.2 million songs to date. According to the Billboard archives, this is Shelton's best sales week since 2003.
Incubus has awoken. Suburban locals Incubus have been relatively scarce the last five years, but have returned to the top of the chart this week with "If Not Now, When?" The title sold 80,000 copies, and it may have some wondering whether now was the best time for the band to resurface. The band's last studio effort, for instance, 2006's "Light Grenades," opened at No. 1 with sales that topped 165,000 copies. The title track isn't resonating as a single, having sold fewer than 10,000 digital copies.
Chris, Colbie and more: Other new arrivals in the top 10 this week include Chris Young, whose "Neon" entered at No. 4 (73,000), as well as California softee Colbie Caillat, whose "All of You" bowed at No. 6 (66,000). Caillat is coming off her surprise No. 1 "Breakthrough" in 2009, while Young is a making his first-ever entry into the top 10. Further down, rock act Theory of a Deadman lands at No. 8 with "The Truth Is . . ." (37,000), while the reconfigured Sublime (Sublime with Rome) enters at No. 9 after "Yours Truly" sold 35,000 copies.
Indies in the middle: Bon Iver and the orchestrated retro slowness of his sophomore album, "Bon Iver," is holding strong as one of 2011's most surprising success stories. The Jagjaguwar release is at No. 21 this week, and has sold more than 180,000 copies to date. A little further down one will find Washed Out's "Within * Without," which is no less textured but uses synthetics to create a psychedelic mix of laid-back grooves. The Sub Pop album debuted at No. 26 this week on the strength of 15,000 copies sold.
Locals: Electro-pop act Foster the People continues to have a charmed summer. The act's "Torches" is at No. 35 this week, and has now sold more than 112,000 copies. Lead single "Pumped Up Kicks" has sold 585,000 downloads. Meanwhile, the trust-fund party excess from hip-hop goofballs LMFAO is making a bid to score the summer. Single "Party Rock Anthem" once again leads the digital sales chart, and has sold more than 2.2 million downloads to date. This week, it added about 215,000 downloads to its total, a slight dip from its No. 1 tally of 226,000 last week. The accompanying album, "Sorry for Party Rocking," is definitely overshadowed by the single, as it has sold just 58,000 copies.
-- Todd Martens
Photo: Blake Shelton. Credit: Associated Press