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Rock band Alabama Shakes earns its first No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart as its new album, Sound & Color, arrives in the top slot. The set, which was released April 21 on ATO Records, moved 96,000 equivalent album units in the week ending April 26, according to Nielsen Music.
The Billboard 200 chart ranks the most popular albums of the week based on multi-metric consumption, which includes traditional album sales, track equivalent albums (TEA) and streaming equivalent albums (SEA).
The bulk of Sound & Color’s overall unit launch was powered by traditional album sales, as the set sold 91,000 copies — the band’s best sales week ever. The new album also debuts at No. 1 on the Top Album Sales chart.
The group’s first full-length album, 2012’s Boys & Girls, peaked at No. 6 on the Billboard 200 dated March 9, 2013 — nearly a year after its release. It spawned the No. 1 single “Hold On,” which topped the Adult Alternative Songs airplay chart on June 23, 2012 and later scored a Grammy Award nomination for best rock performance. Boys & Girls has sold 744,000.
The new album was led by the single “Don’t Wanna Fight,” which has spent the past six straight weeks in the No. 2 slot on the Adult Alternative chart. (It’s been stuck behind Mumford & Sons’ “Believe” for the last five frames.)
Sound & Color is the second No. 1 album for ATO Records, and first in seven years, following Radiohead’s In Rainbows. That set, released on TBD Records through ATO, topped the tally dated Jan. 19, 2008.
Sound & Color is also the first independently-distributed No. 1 album on the Billboard 200 since Jason Aldean’s Old Boots, New Dirt spent a week at the top (its debut frame) on the list dated Oct. 25, 2014.
Last week’s No. 1 album, Shawn Mendes’ Handwritten, falls to No. 17 with 20,000 units (down 83 percent) in its second week. It also declines by 89 percent in pure album sales (to 12,000 sold — down from its 106,000 sales start).
The Furious 7 soundtrack is a non-mover at No. 2 on the latest Billboard 200 with 62,000 units (down 21 percent).
The second and final debut in the top 10 comes from rapper Yelawolf, who sees his new album Love Story bow at No. 3 with 58,000 units. It’s the best showing yet for the artist, who previously topped out at No. 27 with his last album, 2011’s Radioactive. Love Story also logs his largest sales week ever, as the set opens with 51,000 copies sold (surpassing his previous high, when Radioactive launched with 41,000).
Drake’s If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late climbs back up the chart, rising 10-4 with 48,000 units (up 35 percent) after the CD version of the album was released on April 21. The set was previously only available as a download. The new CD edition also boasted two new bonus tracks.
In terms of pure album sales, If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late rose by 123 percent for the week (zipping from 12,000 sold to 28,000; it also climbs 20-3 on the Top Album Sales chart).
Back on the Billboard 200, the Fifty Shades of Grey soundtrack rises 6-5 with 38,000 units (though it’s down 11 percent) and Taylor Swift’s 1989 climbs 7-6 with 36,000 (down 6 percent).
Sam Smith’s In the Lonely Hour steps 8-7 (just under 36,000; down 4 percent), Ed Sheeran’s x ascends 9-8 (32,000; down 11 percent) and Sam Hunt’s Montevallo jumps 13-9 (just under 32,000; up 1 percent). The latter profits from the artist’s exposure on the Academy of Country Music Awards (April 19), where he performed “Take Your Time” and was nominated for new artist of the year.
Meghan Trainor’s Title closes out the top 10, rising two slots to No. 10 with 30,000 units (down 5 percent).
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