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On the Charts: Justin Bieber Thrives, Fiona Apple Falls Short

Plus: The Smashing Pumpkins storm back

June 27, 2012 2:00 PM ET
fiona apple
Fiona Apple performs at the Governors Ball Music Festival on Randall's Island in New York.
Taylor Hill/FilmMagic

WINNER OF THE WEEK: Justin Bieber. To all you Biebs-haters who hoped he'd be a temporary tween phenomenon, blowing away when the winds of pop music changed: ha, ha! Not only did his new album, Believe, arrive at Number One – selling the most copies in a debut week this year, with 374,000 – but the 18-year-old has become a talent scout of sorts, helping to break what might become the year's biggest single, Carly Rae Jepsen's "Call Me Maybe." As for his own singles, Bieber is in pretty good shape. "Boyfriend" is at Number 10 on the Billboard Hot 100 and Number Seven on BigChampagne's Ultimate Chart (which measures Internet criteria), and its video has more than 88.5 million YouTube views.

LOSER OF THE WEEK: Fiona Apple. We're sad to report this, because her new album The Idler Wheel... has the old Fiona Apple touch: a little Broadway drama, a little rock & roll energy, a little clear-eyed soul and a lot of well-written, pissed-off lyrics. But in its first week on sale, it sold just 72,000 copies. No matter how you spin that number – and it did hit Number Three on the album chart, which is impressive, relatively speaking – it's low. And we guarantee it will drop like, well, an idler wheel, next week.

PUMPKINS SMASH? We can't figure out whether to label the Smashing Pumpkins' Oceania a success or a failure. It made its debut at Number Four, selling 54,000 copies. That's a pretty low number by Justin Bieber standards, but the Pumpkins are both further removed from their hit-making heyday and blessed with low expectations. None of the original members other than Billy Corgan remain in the band, and Corgan hasn't been the world's biggest rock star in recent years. So is this album a Fiona Apple-style bust, or a pleasant Top 10 surprise? We'll go with the latter, because we really like that Apple album and are annoyed more people didn't buy it.

LAST WEEK: Usher's View From the Top

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Song Stories

“Money For Nothing”

Dire Straits | 1984

Mark Knopfler wrote this song with Sting, and it wasn’t without controversy. The Dire Straits frontman's original lyric used the word “faggot” to describe a singer who got their “money for nothing and their chicks for free.” Even though the slur was edited out in many versions, the band, and Knopfler, still took plenty of criticism for the term. “I got an objection from the editor of a gay newspaper in London--he actually said it was below the belt,” Knopfler told Rolling Stone. Still, "Money For Nothing," undoubtedly augmented by its innovative early computer-animated video, stayed at Number One for three weeks.

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