Who Charted? Pearl Jam and Paul McCartney, Amidst Flagging Figures

Also: Have Avett Brothers jumped the banjo-strumming shark?

Pearl Jam Lightning Bolt Lorde Royals Billboard Chart
Pearl Jam's Eddie Vedder needn't cry anymore Photo by Getty Images
Chris Martins WRITTEN BY
Chris Martins

First! Those purveyors of all things grungy and keepers of the World Series score, Pearl Jam score No. 1 with Lightning Bolt. Eddie Vedder and co. sold 166,000 copies of their 10th album according to Billboard, following up 2009's Backspacer, which did 189K. In truth, this is PJ's smallest first-week sales number ever, but it's the largest for any rock act in nearly a year (Phillips Phillips hit 169K in November). Perhaps the fight to keep guitar music alive really is "life or death." Then again, Alternative is the new classic rock, as SPIN's Rob Harvilla noted in his review, so maybe this is just what a genre's retirement looks like.

2 to 10: Miley Cyrus' Bangerz lands at No. 2 on its second week following a 73 percent sales drop-off (72K). On a stronger week, that'd land her far closer to the bottom of the top 10 heap. That doesn't say a whole helluva lot for Paul McCartney, whose new album New starts at No. 3 with 67K — his last studio set, 2007's Memory Almost Full, opened with 161K. In week No. 4, Drake's Nothing Was the Same scores No. 4 (58K). The real-keeping (-it?) new LP started at No. 1 and has dipped one rung per week since. In at No. 5 are the Avett Brothers whose Magpie & the Dandelion does 58K despite the fact that last year's The Carpenter did 98K.

Did they jump the gun? Or just the banjo-strumming shark?

An American Idol bows at No. 6 — Scott McCreery with See You Tonight (52K). Meanwhile, Lorde's Pure Heroine proves addicting still, nabbing No. 7 (48K). Cher's Closer to the Truth gets a whopping 50 percent sales bump thanks to a ticket promotion, climbing from 11 to No. 8 (45K). Country icon Willie Nelson kicks up some dust at No. 9 with duets set To All the Girls (43K). Shockingly, this is only his third career top 10. And closing us out are SPIN friends the Head and the Heart, whose Let's Be Still moved 42K and hence bested the shit out of their solid, self-titled 2010 debut, which never sold more than 4,000 copies in a week.

Ugh: So that terrible "Chinese Food" song ostensibly by Alison Gold but obviously by the asshole wearing the panda suit actually charted in the Hot 100. Chalk that No. 29 slot up as another victory for Patrice Wilson, who wrote Rebecca Black's befuddling viral sensation "Friday." Of course, the attraction then was everything to do with our collective confusion. We could smell the ARK Music stink on this one from the opening moments, wafting our way like vapor tendrils streaming off of a fresh pu-pu platter. Send it back.

Spoils: Yes, Lorde's inescapable "Royals" tops the Hot 100 for the fourth week, giving the 16-year-old star the longest lady-led No. 1 streak of the year thus far. Her opulence-skewering single is so hot that even Rick Ross took a run at it — a week and a half after doing the same with "Hold On We're Going Home" — Maybach dis in the original be damned. Play us out, you money-hungry baller, you:

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