First! Alicia Keys pushes Rihanna off of her pedestal, with Unapologetic falling all the way down to No. 6 (72K sold according to Nielsen SoundScan) as the more established songstress launches her Girl on Fire at No. 1 (159K). This is nothing new for Keys, who’s seen all but one of her four previous studio albums (and one live set) sit atop the 10. She shouldn’t get too comfy up there, however. Although 2009’s The Element of Freedom started at No. 2, it sold 417K that week. Even her 2005 Unplugged LP did better. Nevertheless, it’s a weird week, and Keys does hold the honor of having the only debut in the entire Top 20. Burn, baby, burn.
2 to 10: It’s bleak, people. Like, sleet and snow and sliding-cars-on-highways bleak. The only good news to report: Taylor Swift holds strong with Red coming in at No. 2 (137K). In a week where almost every album dipped considerably in sales (see more on that below), Rod Stewart’s oh-so persistent Merry Christmas, Baby lost less than one percent and climbed from No. 6 to No. 3 (117K). And at last, Stewie isn’t the only holiday huckster in the upper echelon. Nos. 7, 8 and 9 go to, respectively, Michael Buble (Christmas, 66K, up 24 percent), Lady Antebellum (On This Winter’s Night, 59K, up 13 percent), and Blake Shelton (Cheers, It’s Christmas, 53K, up 1 percent). If we told you Nos. 4, 5 and 10, you probably wouldn’t come back here next week.
Turkey Dip: So sales are always down the week after the big ass Black Friday boom. We’re working with a 23 percent dive for overall sales this time, and according to Billboard, only 13 repeat players posted a gain, and bunches that sold fewer copies than last week actually rose on the chart. Chalk it up to that infamous tryptophan lag.
Sia is Rich: Due to health concerns, singer-songwriter (and occasional dance diva) Sia famously considered retiring way back in 2010. Now she can call it quits for a much better reason: She’s riiich, biaaaatch! Ms. Furler wrote the lyrics and the melody of Rihanna’s “Diamonds,” which has now spent three weeks at the top of the Billboard Hot 100. Plus, she can be satisfied that she wore it better: