It's all Adele at the top of the charts, but surprises lurk deeper
The music you bought this week: The weekly Pop & Hiss run-down that highlights some of what's on the charts. While the metrics for success continue to change, these are the artists that inspired folks to part with cash, from Adele to LMFAO to First Aid Kit.
Even the most skilled of scribes will struggle some when attempting to write about the weekly pop charts. The story has been largely the same for much of the last 12 months, and it revolves around British soul singer Adele. What follows is a look at some of the notables on this week's pop charts.
At the top: In its 48th week of release, Adele's "21" is once again the No. 1 album on the Billboard 200. Sales of "21" this week were just shy of 100,000 copies, at 95,000, bringing its to-date sum to 6.1 million, according to Nielsen SoundScan. With the Grammy Awards just around the corner on Feb. 12, look for "21" to maintain its grip at or near the top, regardless of whether or not the singer's medical team clears her to perform on the telecast.
Billboard reports that "21" has now spent 17 weeks at No. 1, giving it the longest run at the top since the soundtrack to "The Bodyguard" tallied 20 weeks in 1993. Making Adele's streak even more impressive is the fact that she's logging album and single sales. Her "Set Fire to the Rain" sold 185,000 downloads this week, and has now sold more than 2 million. Her "Someone Like You," meanwhile, has now sold more than 4 million downloads.
The locals: L.A. artists that traffic in the electronic/DJ world are well-represented near the top of the pop charts. Cartoonish dance act LMFAO is at No. 13 this week with "Sorry for Party Rocking," an album that has sold 582,000 copies to date, and Grammys' best new artist nominee Skrillex is at No. 25 with "Bangarang." Skrillex's seven-track set has spent four weeks on the chart and has sold 68,000 copies.
Both those artists are doing well in the single sales department. LMFAO, of course, is a single specialist, and "Sexy and I Know It" has now sold more than 3.8 million downloads. "Party Rock Anthem" has sold more than 5.8 million downloads, and both are in the top 20 on SoundScan's digital sales chart. As for Skrillex, his "Kyoto" featuring Sirah is at No. 62 on the digital sales chart, having sold a total of 124,000 downloads.
Elsewhere, Foster the People's debut full-length, "Torches," continues to perform well on the album chart. It's at No. 31 this week, having now sold 693,000 copies. Further down, Orange County's Young the Giant continues to hang in the top 200. The band's self-titled 2010 debt is at No. 192 this week and has sold 128,000 copies.
Outta nowhere: Swedish indie folk duo First Aid Kid landed at No. 90 with sophomore album "The Lion's Roar." The album's atmospheric harmonics have been winning rave reviews overseas, and the act has been winning fans in America after working with Saddle Creek's go-to-producer Mike Mogis and having previously collaborated with Bright Eyes. With just under 5,000 copies sold, the act is a long way from Mumford & Sons territory, but can still boast a top-100 debut.
From the any press is good press department: Lana Del Rey's appearance on "Saturday Night Live" is already the stuff of legend, but depsite the handwringing around it, the Brooklyn chanteuse is solidifying a relatively solid base with her self-titled EP. The four-track iTunes EP is at No. 51 this week, and has sold 21,000 copies to date. Whether that brings long-term fans or curiositiy seekers to her debut, "Born to Die," to be released Jan. 31, should be a matter of rock critic debate for months to come.
-- Todd Martens
Image: Adele in Los Angeles in 2011. Credit: Lawrence K. Ho / Los Angeles Times