Friday, March 30, 2012

The Week In Music: Massive 'Hunger' For Hit Flick’s Soundtrack

"The Hunger Games" soundtrack makes a satiating launch at the top of this week’s album chart, as expected, moving 175,000 copies—100,000 of which were digital sales. The last film ST that reached No. 1 on the Billboard 200 was back in November 2009: Michael Jackson's This Is It.” A month before that, "The Twilight Saga: New Moon" did the trick in October 2009; obviously, "Hunger" and "Twilight" share a lot in common, as young adult novels turned into hit flicks.

Multi-artist "The Hunger Games: Songs From District 12 And Beyond" includes new songs from Maroon 5, Miranda Lambert, the Civil Wars, The Decemberists, Kid Cudi, Arcade Fire—and Taylor Swift, whose soundtrack contribution "Eyes Open," is the highest debut on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart, at No. 4. Of course, the film—which stars hottie Liam Hemsworth—easily came in as last weekend’s North American box office champ, lapping up $152.5 million.

"Hunger" is one of five debuts among this week’s top 10 albums, according to Nielsen Soundscan. The Shins' "Port of Morrow" enters at No. 3, its second top 5 album; rappers Odd Future's fourth CD "The OF Tape Vol. 2," debuts at No. 5; Canadian R&B singer Melanie Fiona's sophomore "The MF Life" enters at No. 7; and 2011 Best New Artist Grammy winner Esperanza Spalding's "Radio Music Society" comes in at No. 10—a tepid showing considering the hype surrounding her post-Grammy return. The set includes guests Q-Tip and Lalah Hathaway (daughter of Donny Hathaway).

Elsewhere in the top 10: Adele (again) holds at No. 2 (her 57th week in the top 10); last week’s No. 1 from new U.K. boy band One Direction, "Up All Night," eases down to No. 4  (while debut single "What Makes You Beautiful" hops 19-11 on the Hot 100); and Bruce Springsteen’s “Wrecking Ball” continues to tank, 1-4-6, with a total of 292,000 sold. Whitney Houston's 2000 "Greatest Hits" falls gently 6-9, its seventh week in the top 10 following her death in February. That album also returns this week to No. 1 on Top Catalog Albums.

On the singles side, fun.'s "We Are Young" (featuring Janelle Monae) logs a fourth week atop the Billboard Hot 100—becoming the longest-running chart topper of the year, to date—with a sixth week at No. 1 on Digital Downloads. So far, it is also the year’s top-selling single, with sales of 2.39 million. Next in line is "Stronger (What Doesn't Kill You)" from Kelly Clarkson, with sales of 2.25 million. That title spent three weeks at No. 1 on the Hot 100, for second place among most weeks.

Radio is at last catching up with fun.'s consumer momentum, as it soars 14-4 on Billboard’s Hot 100 Airplay. Meanwhile, Clarkson’s former No. 1 "Stronger" moves 2-1 at radio. This is her first time at the summit of the all-format airplay-based chart.

Next week: After months of pre-release promulgating, Madonna’s "MDNA" at last sees a ray of light. While it is expected to debut at No. 1 on the Billboard 200, there’s formidable competition from Lionel Richie’s country collaboration "Tuskegee"—comprising duets with Shania Twain, Blake Shelton, Kenny Rogers, Willie Nelson, Tim McGraw and more. That album is already ranked No. 1 on iTunes and Amazon—while Madonna is No. 4 at both digital stores.

And Justin Bieber’s new single "Boyfriend"—already No. 1 on iTunes—is destined to make a top 5 entry on the Hot 100 singles. Yahoo! Music’s Paul Grein notes in his Chart Watch that it would be the 18 year old’s second top five hit, following "Baby" (featuring Ludacris). He adds that it could top Katy Perry's "Part Of Me" for biggest one-week sales total so far in 2012. The number to beat: 411K.