First! If only for ire’s sake, it was inevitable that an artist would come along to cream Mumford and Smug’s 2012-topping debut, so we’re thankful that it’s someone we actually, truly like. Recent SPIN interview subject Taylor Swift not only beat the tar out of Babel, she bested every first-week sales record in a decade. Red sold 1.21 million, according to Nielson SoundScan — which, as Billboard points out, is the largest initial haul since The Eminem Show in May of 2002. Hers is only the 18th album to break a million upon debut since SoundScan started taking note in 1991, and it makes this the eighth biggest sales week for music (period) in that time as well. She burst Lady Gaga’s bubble twofold, not only handily crushing 2011’s Born This Way (the last LP to immediately go platinum) but becoming the first woman to clock two million-selling weeks.
2 to 10: More good news as Kendrick Lamar’s SPIN Essential good kid, m.A.A.d. city lands firm at No. 2 with 241K units moved. The last dude with a buffer debut was Drake with Thank Me Later (447K) in 2010. Our rap savior also nabbed No. 1 on the R&B/Hip-Hop and Rap charts — a solid win for his major label debut. Another of our faves had a great Week One as well — Gary Clark Jr., whose Blak and Blu came in at No. 6 (35K). Pink’s The Truth About Love stays in the running at No. 8 (25K). Shouts out to Brandy for sittin’ up in the 10 still with Two Eleven (No. 10, 22K). Everything else sucks, including Mumford and Sons, clinging to No. 4 (53K).
Chart Toppings? Tay outdid Mother Monster in another way as well. While Gaga’s last one was helped along by Amazon MP3 offering the entire thing for 99 cents, Swift didn’t deep-discount her new platter, because she knew that shit was fine china. You know, the kind of dish you’d eat Papa John’s pizza off of. Yes, for a limited time, you can (still) order a large single-topping pie and get Red thrown in for $22 total. The ‘za would be $12 normally, so it’s not much of a price break, and it didn’t actually result in many sales — about 8,000 all told. Still, she set sales records for iTunes (465K) and Target (396K), and makes cute dubstep noises in interviews.
Mark of the Beast: For six straight weeks, Maroon 5 and PSY have been deadlocked at the top of the Hot 100 chart for their respective, um, songs, “One More Night” and “Gangnam Style.” The latter has now racked up over 600 million YouTube clicks and once again handily topped the Digital Song Sales chart with 225K downloads last week, so we’re pretty sure Billboard is willfully blocking the Korean star’s improbably huge, increasingly popular horse-schlock. Of course, the industry insiders say Maroon 5’s radio dominance is to blame.