First! Justin Timberlake is back a mere 28 weeks after his return album The 20/20 Experience scored the year's biggest No. 1 to date. While that platter did nearly a million (968,000, if we're picking nits), its surprise sequel The 20/20 Experience (2 of 2) starts at 350K, according to Nielsen SoundScan via Billboard. The drop-off was to be expected, of course, and the stats are plenty impressive. JT is only the 20th artist in chart history to nab two No. 1s in a 12-month span, and the first to do it with two different studio albums since, um, System of a Down in 2005. Those were far more frenetic days. Thanks in no small part to Timberlake, 2013 shall be remembered as exceptionally smooth and positively "grown-ass."
2 to 10: Okay, but let's skip ahead for a second because SPIN's current cover stars Haim debuted at No. 6! The trio of Los Angeleno sisters delivered a stone-cold Essential with their debut album Days Are Gone, a "canny, calculated burst of '80s art-pop perfection," in case you didn't know (26K). More on that below. Drake's Nothing Was the Same slips a single rung from its chart-topping premiere last week, landing at No. 2 with 148K sold. Our young friend Lorde started at No. 3 with Pure Heroine — significant for an artist with so much promise, even if the album has a ways to go. Nos. 4 and 5 go to the ever-present Luke Bryan and newcomer Tyler Farr — two country stars whose respective albums Crash My Party (32K) and Redneck Crazy (29K) are reviewed in SPIN Country. Kings of Leon slip down to No. 7 with their totes pro Mechanical Bull (26K), and Cher slides with 'em down to No. 8 with Closer to the Truth (25K). Meanwhile Jack Johnson gets closer to the edge with From Here to Now to You landing at No. 9 (20K), while Elton John's The Diving Board closes us out selling 19K.
Haim Higher: The ladies of Haim made waves on the other side of the Atlantic as well. In fact, they dominated Justin Timberlake outright, nabbing the No. 1 on the UK albums chart. It was, as you'd guess, a close battle. But all of the boxing metaphors in the world weren't enough to give 20/20 part deux the win. On Tuesday, that album was beating Days Are Gone by 700. By Thursday night, the number was down to 28. By the time the tally wrapped on Saturday night, Haim led by 2,100.
Good Lorde: Her album Pure Heroine may be only "aggressively okay," but Lorde's "Royals" is an across-the-board success. The single now notches a second week on top of the Hot 100 with a healthy lead over Katy Perry's "Roar." Furthermore, the pop-skewering pop-song breaks the 2 million-sold mark this week, actually gaining 5 percent (309K) in the process. She hits No. 1 in On-Demand (subscription services) and tops digital sales for a third frame, though Ylvis' "The Fox" wins on streaming.