The Black Keys Earn First No. 1 Album; Michael Jackson Debuts At No. 2
Rock duo the Black Keys collect its first No. 1 album on the Billboard 200 chart with Turn Blue debuting at No. 1, while Michael Jackson's Xscape starts at No. 2.
Turn Blue sold 164,000 copies in the week ending May 18, according to Nielsen SoundScan, while Xscape sold 157,000. Both albums surpassed their industry forecast, as on Friday, May 16, sources suggested they would sell around 150,000 to 155,000 each.
Turn Blue is the third top 10 album for the Black Keys, following the No. 2 debut of their last album, 2011's El Camino (206,000 in its first week). Before that, the act's previous top 10, 2010's Brothers, debuted and peaked at No. 3.
“Fever,” the first single from Turn Blue topped both the Alternative airplay and Rock Airplay charts.
Meanwhile, Xscape is Jackson's tenth top 10 effort. He previously reached the region with Ben (No. 5 peak in 1972), Off the Wall (No. 3, 1980), Thriller (No. 1, 1982), Bad (No. 1, 1987), Dangerous (No. 1, 1992), History: Past, Present and Future Book 1 (No. 1, 1995), Invincible (No. 1, 2001), and the posthumous releases Michael Jackson's This Is It soundtrack (No. 1, 2009) and Michael (No. 3, 2010).
Xscape was led by the single "Love Never Felt So Good," a duet with Justin Timberlake. It became Jackson's 28th top 40 hit on the Billboard Hot 100 when it debuted on the May 17 chart at No. 20. The song also saw its official music video, with Timberlake, debut on May 14. Four days later, a virtual Jackson appeared during the Billboard Music Awards, performing the Xscape album track "Slave to the Rhythm."
Last week's No. 1, the Now 50 compilation, falls to No. 3 with 82,000 (down 47 percent). The soundtrack to Frozen slips 2-4 with 73,000 (down 26 percent).
Rascal Flatts' Rewind enters at No. 5 with 61,000 -- the country trio's ninth top 10 album. All of Rascal Flatts' studio albums since 2002's Melt have gone top 10, in addition to a greatest hits release in 2008.
Behind Rascal Flatts is music legend Dolly Parton, with her highest charting solo album ever, Blue Smoke, bowing at No. 6 with 37,000 sold. It's also her best sales week for a solo project since 1993, when Slow Dancing With the Moon moved 39,000 copies in its fifth chart week (ending March 28).
About 55 percent of Blue Smoke's first week sales came from non-traditional sellers, like QVC. On April 27, Parton starred in an hour-long concert special for the shopping network, which sold a special edition of Blue Smoke with a bonus disc of live songs. In addition, during release week, Parton visited a number of TV shows, including NBC's Today, CBS' The Talk, NBC's The Tonight Show (May 13) and The Wendy Williams Show (May 15).
Parton, amazingly, has only visited the top 10 of the Billboard 200 once before: with the collaborative set Trio, with Emmylou Harris and Linda Ronstadt. It peaked at No. 6 on May 2, 1987, after earlier debuting at No. 38 on March 28, 1987.
In terms of Parton's solo efforts, her highest charting effort had previously been No. 11 with 9 to 5 and Odd Jobs, on March 21, 1981. That album of course featured her No. 1 Billboard Hot 100 single "9 to 5", as well as the No. 41 hit "But You Know I Love You" and the No. 77-peaking "The House of the Rising Sun."
Tori Amos collects her eighth top 10 album with Unrepentant Geraldines starting at No. 7 with 20,000. It's her highest charting release since 2007's American Doll Posse debuted and peaked at No. 7 as well.
Sarah McLachlan's Shine On falls 4-8 in its second week, selling 18,000 (down 58 percent). Hunter Hayes' Storyline also descends, moving 3-9 with 16,000 (down 76 percent).
Michael W. Smith tallies his best showing ever on the chart, as his new Sovereign opens at No. 10 with just under 16,000. The veteran Christian singer had never previously gone higher than No. 11 with 2004's Healing Rain.
Over on the Digital Songs chart, Ariana Grande's "Problem," featuring Iggy Azalea, holds at No. 1 for a third week, selling 248,000 downloads (up 5 percent). Azalea is also steady at No. 2 with her own song, "Fancy," featuring Charli XCX (234,000; up 8 percent). Both tunes were performed in a medley on the May 18 Billboard Music Awards (BBMAs) -- and May 18 was the final day of the tracking week.
Another BBMAs-performed cut, John Legend's "All Of Me," rises 4-3 with 158,000 (up 10 percent). Pharrell's "Happy" drops 3-4 with 130,000 (down 17 percent), DJ Snake & Lil Jon's "Turn Down For What" is a non-mover at No. 5 with 121,000 (down 7 percent). Nico & Vinz's "Am I Wrong" continues its climb, rising 8-6 with 115,000 (up 23 percent).
Michael Jackson & Justin Timberlake's "Love Never Felt So Good" is pushed back one spot, but increases in sales, with 110,000 (up 9 percent).
Jason Derulo's "Wiggle," featuring Snoop Dogg, is also pushed down a rung, but gains: 109,00 for the week (up 16 percent).
Pop/rock quartet 5 Seconds of Summer nets its second top 10 on the Digital Songs chart with "Don't Stop," which bows at No. 9 with 91,000. Derulo is in the top 10 once more, with "Talk Dirty," featuring 2 Chainz, staying put at No. 10 with 85,000 (up 4 percent).
Overall album sales in this past chart week (ending May 18) totaled 4.54 million units, down 2 percent compared with the sum last week (4.61 million) and down 11 percent compared with the comparable sales week of 2013 (5.11 million). Year to date album sales stand at 93.98 million, down 16 percent compared to the same total at this point last year (111.41 million).
Digital track sales this past week totaled 20.94 million downloads, up 2 percent compared with last week (20.54 million) and down 14 percent stacked next to the comparable week of 2013 (24.43 million). Year to date track sales are at 465.47 million, down 12 percent compared to the same total at this point last year (531.18 million).
Next week's Billboard 200 competes with the same week in 2013 when: Daft Punk's "Random Access Memories" debuted at No. 1 with 339,000 and Darius Rucker's "True Believes" started at No. 2 with 83,000.
This story first appeared on Billboard.com.