First! Let's hear it for the boy. After making the world wait seven whole years, former 'N Sync star, decent actor, and Myspace maybe-savior Justin Timberlake has brought his music career back and this time we're the slave. His first album since 2006's FutureSex/LoveSounds sold just shy of a million copies on its debut. Yes, The 20/20 Experience is No. 1 with a bullet — 968,000 of them, according to Nielsen SoundScan — and the victory brings with it a handful of chart-geek footnotes. This was JT's best solo sales week ever by nearly 300K. It was the third largest sales week for a male singer in the SoundScan era (since 1991), with only Garth Brooks and Usher ranking higher. It was the also third largest sales week for a digital album ever, with only Lady Gaga and Taylor Swift doing better. And only 11 long-players moved more units in all of 2012 than Experience has in a single week. Oh, and it's trounced Mumford and Sons' Babel handily for the title of best-selling record of 2013.
2 to 10: The downside? No one wanted to go up against Timberlake's return, so the rest of Billboard's Top 10 is pretty familiar. The sole other ranking debut this week comes from country upstart Kasey Musgraves. Good news since her Same Trailer Different Park is a SPIN Essential, but a little disheartening when you realize she sold 43K — not even a 20th of 20/20's haul. The rest of the chart ... oh why even bother fluffing it up: No. 3 goes to Bruno Mars' Unorthodox Jukebox (41K). No. 4 goes to (ugh) Luke Bryan's Spring Break ... Here to Party (38K). No. 5 goes to Pink's The Truth About Love, benefiting from her new single "Just Give Me a Reason" featuring fun.'s Nate Ruess. No. 6 goes to Imagine Dragons' Night Visions (29K), who also had a new song. No. 7 goes to last week's No. 1, Bon Jovi's What About Now (29K). No. 8 goes to the Les Misérables soundtrack thanks to a reissue featuring bonus songs. No. 10 goes to Rihanna's Unapologetic (26K). Did we skip No. 9? Yeah, we did.
In Sync: The Five-Timers Club isn't the only exclusive crew Timberlake joined of late. As Billboard reports, he is only the sixth artist to have scored two or more No. 1s both with a group and as a solo star. He's in frankly ridiculous company: John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, Eminem, and Beyoncé. Oh, and 'N Sync still has the all-time best-selling week in SoundScan history: 2000's No Strings Attached did 2.42 million upon its debut.
It Could Be Worse: Ha ha. No, it couldn't. Macklemore & Ryan Lewis are back on top of the Hot 100 with that abominable "Thrift Shop." Thanks to the idiotic wobbling of however many millions of YouTubers, Baauer's "Harlem Shake" did a lovely job at chart-blocking these dweebs for five (kinda) glorious weeks, but memes all eventually die while awful songs you never want to hear again live forever, absolutely. We're really ready for that new single, PSY.