First! Well, this is a far better week for chart-watchers than the dreary downward spiral that preceded it. After nearly three months of elbow grease and flirtation, pop crooner Bruno Mars has at last scored a No. 1 for his derivative-but-who-even-cares second album Unorthodox Jukebox. According to Nielsen SoundScan, he sold 95,000 copies of the thing. We're happy for the guy, truly, but we are a little bit miffed that his win kept Thom Yorke's Atoms for Peace saddled with second best. While Amok's No. 2 placement (50K) is an unexpected gift, it would have scored a spot on the throne if Bruno's camp hadn't scheduled a timely price-slashing over at Amazon. Billboard estimates that 46K of Jukebox's recent tally is a result of the $1.99 deal. Do the math. For Radiohead, "2 + 2 = 5." For Atoms, it equals 2.
3 to 10: While the view from the top of the Top 10 is nice indeed, it goes downhill from there. Mumford and Sons' Nilla Wafer of an album Babel sagged a single slot to No. 3 (43K). Also benefiting from that Amazon discount, not to mention a Saturday Night Live stint, were Macklemore & Ryan Lewis whose aptly titled The Heist was hoisted up from No. 16 to No. 4 (42K). An Australian youth ministry had the fifth highest selling album in the country (Zion, 34K, No. 5). The Now 45 compilation won't go away (34K, No. 6). Neither will the Lumineers (The Lumineers, 30K, No. 7), nor Josh Groban (All That Echoes, 29K, No. 8). We're not mad at the fact that Rihanna's Unapologetic (29K, No. 9) and Adele's 21 (27K, No. 10) close out the list, but it might've been nice to include a record or two more that, oh-I-dunno, came out this year.
Hood Rich: Baauer's "Harlem Shake" notches a third week atop the Hot 100, which is fine since it's keeping Macklemore's "Thrift Shop" at bay. That doesn't mean that awful ode to second-hand living isn't selling like a crate of deadstock Keds however. The unfortunately inescapable track has now gone quadruple platinum. Yes, that means four million people have bought it direct from the source. We're willing to bet just as many have nabbed it used.
Small Gains: Let's end on an up-note, shall we? This week's Top 5 entries from Atoms for Peace, Mumford and Sons, and Macklemore & Ryan Lewis are all stocked and sold via independent distributors. So no matter your feelings on the quality of (two of) those releases, even we've got to admit that seems like a step in the right direction. Or maybe it means that the entire industry is going to shit. Well, so much for happy endings.