On the charts: Sade's 'Soldier' sets the tally ablaze; 'We Are the World' tops 260,000 downloads
With its first album of new material in a decade, Sade's "Soldier of Love" doesn't miss a beat. The set marches to the top of the U.S. tally, and has an impressive hold on the pole position. With 502,000 copies sold, according to Nielsen SoundScan, Sade's minimalist, slow-burning soul scores the young year's top debut.
Led by vocalist Sade Adu, "Soldier of Love" taps the same adult market Sony Music reached so well at the end of 2009 with Susan Boyle. In the week of "Soldier of Love's" release, the act had a wide-ranging array of promotional television appearances, centering on morning and midafternoon programs such as "The View," "Today" and, on Tuesday, "The Ellen DeGeneres Show."
The album's title track and leadoff single sees Sade bringing in more contemporary R&B sounds, yet the cut still contains the hallmarks that helped the act define romantic soul throughout the '80s, and here's betting Sade's album was the soundtrack to more than a few Valentine's Day dates this past weekend.
Heading into this week, the single was No. 1 on Billboard's Smooth Jazz Songs tally, but is also reaching a more pop-leaning audience. The cut is at No. 10 on the trade's Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart (Billboard updates its singles charts on Thursday).
"Soldier of Love" is Sade's first album of new material since "Lover's Rock" was released during the holiday season of 2000. That album debuted at No. 3, and sold 370,000 copies in its first week, according to the Billboard archives. "Soldier of Love," reports Billboard, is Sade's best sales tally on the charts, although some of the act's biggest were released before SoundScan began tracking data in 1991.
In addition to Sade, about half the top 10 on this week's pop chart is aimed at an older audience, be it in the country or pop genres. Sade pushes Lady Antebellum's "Need You Now" to No. 2, the Capital Nashville set adding 208,000 to its tally of 897,000, and Boyle's "I Dreamed a Dream" is hanging on at No. 10 (3.5 million to date).
Behind Turner at No. 6. is the latest from Christian pop artist TobyMac, "Tonight" (ForeFront Records). The dc Talk member sold 79,000 copies of his latest effort, and Billboard reports that it's the artist's best sales week.
Other notes from this week's chart:
Noble cause: After making its debut during the Olympics' opening ceremony Friday night, the re-recorded version of "We Are the World," now featuring a number of currently charting pop artists such as Justin Bieber, Miley Cyrus, Fergie and Lil Wayne, is not surprisingly the week's bestselling digital single. Available on iTunes, "We Are the World: 25 for Haiti" sold 267,000 downloads in just three days, as SoundScan tracks retail purchases through the close of business on Sunday.
Say Yea: Experimental Brooklyn indie rock ban Yeasayer, which is on the bill for this year's Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, tapped the sounds of Peter Gabriel and Depeche Mode for its latest effort, and the pop flourishes paid off. The buzz act, which records for Indiana-based indie Secretly Canadian, scored its first charting album with "Odd Blood." The album enters the top 200 at No. 63 with about 12,000 copies sold.
From the isles: His debut album won't be released for a few weeks, but Warner newcomer Iyaz is posting some solid digital sales numbers with his initial singles. The Auto-Tuned Virgin Islands artist, who's been recording with producer J.R. Rotem, is approaching 300,000 downloads sold of his initial single "Replay." This week, follow-up "Solo" lands at No. 24 with 64,000 downloads sold.
Make love, sell soundtracks: The pop-leaning souvenir from the hit film "Valentine's Day" enters the tally at No. 20, selling 28,000 copies this week. The album features a new song from Taylor Swift, but the star's fans are likely just purchasing the download of the single rather than the full album. "Today Was a Fairytale" has sold 550,000 downloads. Though the film is performing well at the box office, it's not the bestselling soundtrack this week. That title still belongs to "Alvin & the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel," which has sold about 455,000 copies and sits at No. 18 this week.
-- Todd Martens
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Photo: Sade Adu. Credit: Epic Records