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On the Charts: Coldplay Takes Rock to the Top

Plus: It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas music

November 2, 2011 3:10 PM ET
coldplay
Chris Martin and Jonny Buckland of Coldplay perform at La Cigale in Paris.
ALEXANDER KLEIN/AFP/Getty Images

WINNER OF THE WEEK: Coldplay. All year, we've been criticizing rock bands, from Cake to Hollywood Undead to the Strokes, for jumping onto the charts in their debut weeks then dropping off so quickly we barely remember what their albums were even called. Coldplay is very likely to be the exception. The band didn't dignify Spotify or other means of releasing its new Mylo Xyloto for free, concentrating instead on iTunes, where the album hit Number One. It sold 447,000 copies total, landing at Number One on Billboard's overall chart, as well, although the band's previous Number Ones did far better in their respective first weeks – X&Y, in 2005, with 737,000, and Viva La Vida Or Death and All His Friends, in 2008, with 721,000. Last week the band set the table when its "Paradise" single surged 23 spots on the Ultimate Chart, after it had been dipping for the previous three or four weeks; since it came out September 10th, "Paradise" has racked up more than 13.5 million YouTube views, and it's getting serious radio play, too.

LOSER OF THE WEEK: People who think Christmas arrives way too early. It's November 2nd, and you know what that means – holiday shopping. Which also means holiday-shopping soundtracks. Crooner Michael Buble's first such album, Christmas, lands at Number Three on Billboard's album chart, selling 141,000 copies, and stakes an early claim as The Christmas Album this year. A sleeper candidate could be A Very She & Him Christmas, which placed Number Nine on iTunes' album chart this week but did not make the Billboard sales chart. Our instinct is to suggest this is a novelty-type album, one of those quaint indie-rock responses to the big mainstream carols. But then again, Zooey Deschanel, the She in She & Him, is also a gigantic TV star in Fox' hit New Girl, so what's stopping her from becoming as huge as any Buble or Groban this season? (Besides her split from Death Cab for Cutie frontman Ben Gibbard, of course.)

SECOND WINNER OF THE WEEK: We've made the mistake a few times in the past decade of underestimating Kelly Clarkson, who was almost a cornball American Idol one-hit wonder, almost committed career suicide with that ridiculous Justin Guarini movie and almost demanded too much creative control, battling with legendary record mogul Clive Davis for the right to put out 2007's My December. Her new album Stronger isn't exactly a blockbuster, hitting Number Two with 163,000 copies, but we believe the album is packed with stealth hits that could provide longevity – beginning with "Mr. Know It All," which sold 106,000 copies, jumping from Number 18 to Number Nine on the Billboard Hot 100 this week, thanks to several prominent TV appearances, including NBC's Today. The single increased five spots on the latest Ultimate Chart, topping out at Number 20.
 

LAST WEEK: Rihanna Keeps Cranking Out the Hits

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Song Stories

“Santa Monica”

Everclear | 1996

After his brother and girlfriend both died of drug overdoses, Art Alexakis -- depressed and hooked on drugs himself -- jumped off the Santa Monica Pier in California, determined to die. "It was really stupid," said the Everclear frontman, who would further explore his personal emotional journey in the song "Father of Mine." "I went under the water. Then I said, 'I don't wanna die.'" The song, declaring "Let's swim out past the breakers/and watch the world die," was intended as a manifesto for change, Alexakis said. "Let the world do what it's gonna do and just live on our own."

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