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No luck needed, 'Hunger Games' dominates U.S. pop chart

March 28, 2012 | 12:02 pm

The soundtrack to "The Hunger Games" debuted at No. 1 this week

The musical companion to "The Hunger Games" emerged as the clear leader on this week's pop chart, bolstered by contributions from the likes of Taylor Swift, the Arcade Fire, the Decemberists and Maroon 5, among many others. The disc, "The Hunger Games: Songs From District 12 and Beyond," sold 175,000 copies in its first week of release, according to Nielsen SoundScan, easily placing it ahead of longtime chart ruler Adele. 

However, "The Hunger Games" didn't quite dominate the music industry in the way it did the film business this past week, as the instant blockbuster debuted with a staggering $155 million take at the box office, but it is the first soundtrack to top the Billboard charts since "Michael Jackson's This Is It" did so in late 2009. Yet the soundtrack, released by Universal Republic, is something of a stand-alone set piece, as only three of its 16 tracks are actually in the film. Those that made the cinematic cut can be heard in the end credits. 

Alongside its roster of big-name artists, the soundtrack does showcase two students from the USC Thornton School of Music. Singer-songwriter Jayme Dee has a song of her own, “Rules,” on the album, and junior Rozzi Crane is featured singing with Maroon 5 on the track “Come Away.” 

The soundtrack is one of five debuts inside the top 10, but the only real contender for the top spot. Adele's Grammy-winning "21" is at No. 2 this week, adding an additional 130,000 sales to its tally of more than 8.3 million.

The major label debut from pop band the Shins, "Port of Morrow," lands at No. 3. The former Sub Pop act is now working for Sony's Columbia Records, and "Port of Morrow" sold a little more than 74,000 copies this week.The Shins' final album for Sub Pop, 2007's "Wincing the Night Away," bowed at No. 2 after selling 118,000 copies in its first week.

Controversy-courting local hip-hop outfit Odd Future is also working with Sony, partnering with the major for its own Odd Future Records, and the act scores a No. 5 debut this week with  "The OF Tape Vol. 2." The collection sold 40,000 copies this week. It's similar to where the act's creative center, Tyler, the Creator, entered the chart about one year ago. His "Goblin," released independently on XL Recordings, also landed at No. 5, having sold 45,000 copies in its first week. 

Other newcomers in the top 10 include young R&B singer Melanie Fiona, whose "MF Life" enters at No. 7 (34,000 copies sold), and jazz star Esperanza Spalding. "Radio Music Society," her first album released since winning the best new artist Grammy in 2011, enters at No. 10 after selling 25,000 copies.

Last week's top debut, "Up All Night" from One Direction, brought the boy band back to the top of the pop charts and made history while doing so. The British act became the first from across the pond to land at No. 1 with a debut effort. In Week No. 2, the lads dip to No. 4, a 69% sales drop, and sell 55,000 copies. In two weeks, "Up All Night" has sold 232,000 copies.

Fun.'s "We Are Young" featuring Janelle Monáe is once again the top-selling digital download in the U.S., according to Billboard. The cut, according to the trade publication, sold 387,000 downloads this week. Meanwhile, the act's most recent album, "Some Nights," is at No. 11 on the pop charts, having sold 21,000 copies this week. In five weeks, the album has sold a little more than 161,000 copies. 

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-- Todd Martens

Image: The album cover for "The Hunger Games: Songs From District 12 and Beyond." Credit: Universal Republic 

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