First! Those meddling 'droids and their blasted synthesizers aren't letting anybody get away with anything. Daft Punk's Random Access Memories tops the Billboard 200 albums chart for the second week in a row, selling and additional 93,000 copies, according to Nielsen SoundScan, and bringing their total U.S. sales for the new album up to 432,000. To put that number in perspective, the French electro-house duo's 1997 debut Homework, which included "Around the World," has sold 674,000 copies in America to date. Of course, this is a sharp dip in digits from week one — 73 percent to be exact — but that's not uncommon. The average second week decline for No. 1 debuts this year is 68 percent.
2 to 10: There have been far, far worse weeks in recently accessible memory. In at No. 2 are old SPIN friends Alice in Chains who've just released The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here, their second album to feature singer William DuVall. At 61,000, the grunge godfathers sold significantly less than with their 2009 comeback LP Black Gives Way to Blue (126K), but wound up with their highest chart position since 1995's self-titled effort. Scoring his highest chart debut of all time is Credence Clearwater Revival main brain John Fogerty with his Wrote a Song for Everyone duets set (No. 3, 51K). We've got a soft spot for that one since Dave Grohl and the Foos lend a clutch assist on a rework of "Fortunate Son." My Morning Jacket also pitches in.
No. 4 goes to British girl-pop group Little Mix for DNA (50K), the highest debut for an all-female English outfit ever. That means these X Factor babes bested even the Spice Girls' 1997 bow Spice (No. 6). From there, it's a buncha repeats — some good, some horrendous. Blake Shelton's Based on a True Story returns at No. 5 following his televised tornado benefit (42K). Darius "Hootie" Rucker is in the house with True Believers landing at No. 6 (41K). The Great Gatsby soundtrack persists at No. 7 (36K). Imagine Dragons bum us out by sticking around at No. 8 with Night Visions (33K). But Justin Timberlake and Vampire Weekend bring us back up by closing the chart with The 20/20 Experience (No. 9, 31K) and Modern Vampires of the City (29K).
Macklemania: "Can't Hold Us" spends its fifth week on top of the Hot 100, making Macklemore & Ryan Lewis the only act to keep a song in the Top 10 every. single. week. of 2013. Thanks to the runaway success of "Thrift Shop" and the radio gains of this newish prog-infused EDM-rap epic, these dudes are dominating this year in a way that Justin Timberlake's grown man swag and Daft Punk's marketing minions can't even muster. WTF.
Luckier Still: That said, competition does creep. Timberlake's "Mirrors" has climbed to No. 2 on the songs list, scoring the guy his best radio week as a solo artist ever and surpassing the placement peak of "Suit & Tie" by one key notch. And who's in No. 3 but good ol' D-Punk, champing at the bit with that invincible Pharrell-featuring "Get Lucky," which is crushing the On Demand market (2.2 million streams last week).