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On the Charts: 'Frozen' Soundtrack Rides Polar Vortex to Number One

Plus, OneRepublic returns

January 8, 2014 1:50 PM ET
Frozen Soundtrack
'Frozen'
Courtesy of Walt Disney Records

Eight days into 2014, with artists and record executives still trying to rouse themselves from holiday-season cavorting, the only serious chart news to report is the rise of the Frozen soundtrack. It’s too early, even, to lament how badly albums and singles are selling. But don’t surrender to bleakness — Miley Cyrus and OneRepublic have new singles, and Valentine’s Day is coming up. 

61 Reasons to Love 2014

COULDN'T BEYONCÉ PUT OUT A SURPRISE ALBUM EVERY WEEK?: Here's why the soundtrack to Frozen is Number One: There was nothing else to buy! It isn't a bad flick, with musical numbers every few minutes, but no way these songs hit Number One on a busy release week. The soundtrack sold a respectable 165,000 copies, displacing Beyoncé's end-of-2013 surprise album, which dropped to Number Two, selling 130,000. Beyoncé's sales dropped 58 percent and Frozen jumped 55 percent, suggesting grown-ups bought albums two weeks ago and kids bought them last week.

ONEREPUBLIC's RETURN: Eight days into 2014, the most scintillating chart move is . . . an album from last April? Thanks to a big single, "Counting Stars," pop veterans OneRepublic have stormed back into the Top 10, selling 35,000 copies of Native, and rising from Number 19 to Number Eight. Since the video came out last May, the song has scored more than 119 million YouTube views, and the single sold 237,000 last week. Will it stick around? Maybe not. Although it rose on the charts, album sales dropped 3 percent, and single sales dropped 42 percent.

FORMULA OF THE YEAR – MILEY + NAKED = HIT: The singles chart is essentially unchanged: Pitbull's "Timber" (301,000 sales), A Great Big World and Christina Aguilera's "Say Something" (241,000), OneRepublic's "Counting Stars" (237,000) – but watch out for Miley. Her new single "Adore You" jumped 171 spots on the latest Ultimate Chart, which measures online criteria in addition to the usual sales and radio play, landing at Number 12. It's possible Cyrus' writhing-on-a-bed-in-her-underwear video, which has more than 38 million YouTube views, is a factor.

Last week: Beyoncé, One Direction Want Your Gift Cards

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Song Stories

“American Girl”

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers | 1976

It turns out that a single with "American" in its title--recorded on the Fourth of July during the nation's Bicentennial, no less--can actually sell better in Britain. Coupled with the Heartbreakers' flair for Byrds jangle and Animals hooks, though, is Tom Petty's native-Florida drawl that keeps this classic grounded at home. Petty dispelled rumors that the song was about a suicidal student, explaining that the inspiration came from when he was 25 and used to salute the highway traffic outside his apartment window. "It sounded like the ocean to me," he recalled. "That was my ocean. My Malibu. Where I heard the waves crash, but it was just the cars going by."

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