Saturday, May 5, 2012

The Week In Music: Jack White Hits Pay Dirt With Solo Set

It appears that Jack White has been forgiven for “Another Way to Die,” his 2008 flop James Bond theme with Alicia Keys for the movie “Quantum of Solace.” This week, the rock musician and singer’s first solo album “Blunderbuss,” debuts at No. 1 in both the U.S.—with sales of 138,000—and the U.K.

This is White’s eighth set to reach the top 10 on the Billboard 200, following three White Stripes, two Raconteurs and two Dead Weather group albums—and his first time at the top of the chart. The highest peak among any of his band’s releases was White Stripes’ No. 2 “Icky Thump” in 2007. He has won nine Grammy Awards over the course of his varied career.

Standing by at No. 2, up from 3, is Adele, whose “21” logs a 62nd week in the top 10 (which it has never left). The sales tally for her sophomore album: 8.9M, with 3.1M this year. She also commands the Top Music Video chart for a 22nd week, with “Adele Live At The Royal Albert Hall,” which now ties Whitney Houston for the longest run there by a female solo artist, with her 1986 “The #1 Video Hits.”

At No. 3 is Lionel Richie’s former No. 1, “Tuskegee,” which holds at the top of Top Country Albums for a fourth week; while One Direction’s “Up All Night” rebounds 5-4 in its seventh week. Launching at No. 5 is country singer Lee Brice, with sophomore set “Hard 2 Love.” His 2010 debut “Love Like Crazy” peaked at No. 44. Country act Kip Moore is also new, with No. 6 debut album “Up All Night” (note the same album title as One Direction!).

Boy band The Wanted’s seven-song EP “The Wanted,” enters the Billboard 200 at No. 7; while Nicki Minaj’s “Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded” falls 6-8; Gotye’s “Making Mirrors” dips 7-9; and Jason Mraz’s “Love Is A Four Letter Word” tumbles 2-10. Outside of the top 10, it’s surprising to see Train’s “California” hit the dust so quickly. After coming in at No. 4 last week, it falls hard to No. 11.

Elsewhere among new albums, Carole King—whom we highlighted a couple weeks ago for her new autobiography “A Natural Woman,” returns to the chart at No. 56, with new release “The Legendary Demos.” And speaking of the 1970s, say hello again to Barry Manilow: His “Live In London” opens at a robust No. 24.

The singles side is admittedly a slight snooze this week, as Australian newcomer Gotye spends a third week at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100, with “Somebody That I Used To Know,” featuring Kimbra. It also tops both On-Demand and Digital Songs and in fact, on the latter list, becomes the first song in digital history to top 400K in weekly sales three times. In hand, radio is embracing Gotye with a hearty hug, as it achieves Airplay Gainer status for the second week. On Radio Songs, it’s up 6-3 among all formats, while its tops Alternative for a ninth week and reaches No. 7 among Pop Songs.

There’s little excitement amid the rest of the top 10: fun.’s “We Are Young,” featuring Janelle Monae, holds at No. 2 for a third week after six weeks at 1—and leads Radio Songs, Pop Songs and Adult Pop Songs; while Maroon 5’s “Payphone,” featuring Wiz Khalifa, is locked at 3 in its second week, as it catapults from 36-19 at radio.

The Wanted’s “Glad You Came” rises 5-4; Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Call Me Maybe” moves 7-5 (with a fourth week at No. 1 in the U.K.); Flo Rida’s “Wild Ones,” featuring Sia, holds at 6; and Justin Bieber’s “Boyfriend” crumbles 4-7 (after a fairly rapid peak at radio, which could reverse course after the May 3 premiere of its music video). At No. 8, Nicki Minaj’s “Starships” is up 1; One Direction’s “What Makes You Beautiful” shifts 8-9; and Kelly Clarkson’s “Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You)” remains at 10.

Next week: * “Blown Away” is an apropos title for Carrie Underwood’s fourth album. All signs are that she’s going to do just that on the album chart, with a near-certain No. 1 debut.
* Norah Jones (the most boring artist alive) has gotten more media attention than radio love, for sure, but her “Little Broken Hearts” is expected to launch in the top 10, as is hit collection “Now 42.”
* Also on the horizon: B.o.B’s “Strange Clouds,” “The Music Of SMASH,” Marilyn Manson’s “Born Villain” and “The Avengers Assemble” soundtrack.
* And here’s one to watch: The release of new series “Now That’s What I Call Classic Rock Hits.” Why do I have the feeling this is destined to be a one-time release?
* Another oddball: Actress Rita Wilson releases her debut vanity project, “AM/FM,” comprising songs from the ‘60s and ‘70s, May 8. *