First! Black Friday fiends did their thing and boosted album sales by about 3 million compared to the previous week. Sitting at the top of that post-Thanksgiving pile — Queen Turkey, if you will — is Rihanna. Her Unapologetic, debuted at No. 1 with 238K sold according to Nielsen SoundScan (via Billboard), despite/due to a handful of insane release-related maneuvers: charging $250 for the album’s Diamonds Executive Platinum Box version (which includes no actual diamonds), inviting her former assailant Chris Brown to record a hater-baiting track called “Nobody’s Business,” and press-ganging 250 members of the press (and fans) on board an airplane for a seven-day, seven-nation Navy jaunt dubbed the 777 Tour. Oh, and she was drunk for her “Facebook Live” interview. Is this what it takes to send RiRi to the top? For those not keeping track (and those wondering where that third “7” comes from), Unapologetic is her seventh album (!) and the first to start at No. 1 even though each of the other six made Top 10.
2 to 10: Taylor Swift’s Red (185K) reclaims its rightful place above One Direction’s Take Me Home (176K) for Nos. 2 and 3, but there’s not a whole lot of good news otherwise. American Idol champ Phillip Phillips claimed No. 4 upon his debut’s debut, The World From the Side of the Moon (169K). Kid Rock’s totes unnecessary ninth album Rebel Soul landed at No. 5 (146K) but it almost didn’t make it onto the list at all. The new set is his first to be offered digitally (Amurika!), and those newfangled numbers accounted for 57K of his sales. By contrast, Keyshia Cole’s Woman to Woman came in at No. 10 with 96K — without MP3s, this hick creep would be up shit creek. Rod Stewart’s Merry Christmas Baby (117K) is in at No. 6 again, as it is apparently the only holiday record in circulation. After her kinda disturbing but ridiculously impressive AMAs performance, Pink jumps from No. 22 to No. 7 with The Truth About Love (114K). Country man Jason Aldean returns to the Top 10 as well with Night Train (103K, No. 8), and No. 9 goes to Led Zeppelin for their live-from-2007 reunion set, Celebration Day (101K).
You Da One (Twice): RiRi not only topped the Billboard 200, but maintained her seat above all others on the Hot 100 songs chart, where “Diamonds” continues to reign as the most brightly shining song in all the land. The only other artist to simultaneously dominate both lists this year was Adele who, no offense to the Navy, has a much more interesting “diamond” story this week, so let’s move on to that …
Ten Milli-Yon Here: As reported, Adele’s 21 has hit diamond status, making it the 21st album to sell 10 million copies since Nielsen started tracking the numbers back in 1991. Perhaps more impressive is the speed at which this was achieved. With only 92 weeks in stores, 21 is the fastest forming diamond since *NSYNC’s 2000 album No Strings Attached, which moved the same number of units in only 43 weeks. A year before that, Backstreet Boys did it in 39 with Millennium. At last, indisputable proof that culture is getting better. Too bad the sky is falling.