WINNER OF THE WEEK: The Lumineers. The Mumford & Sons Lite band from Denver takes advantage of yet another slow January week (country singer Gary Allan was Number One with just 106,000 sales) to jump from Number Seven to Number Two. The band's 50,000 sales were a 31 percent increase, due to exposure from a Saturday Night Live performance as well as both a $3.99 Amazon MP3 sale and a $7.99 Best Buy CD discount. Overall, sales are so slow, and hot releases so sparse, that the soundtrack to a movie that came out last September, Pitch Perfect, has been Number Three for two straight weeks (its sales were 44,000 this week, down 1 percent overall). Too bad A$AP Rocky's Long.Live.A$AP – which sold 38,000, a decline of 73 percent, and dropped from Number One to Number Seven – couldn't take advantage of the same trends.
LOSER OF THE WEEK: Justin Timberlake. For now. His "Suit and Tie" (featuring Jay-Z) arrived unexpectedly two weeks ago, and the viral buzz took it to Number Two on Billboard's digital-songs chart. In its second week, the novelty wore off, and it dropped 65 percent in sales, with just 109,000; on both that chart and iTunes' Top Songs, it landed at Number Eight. Billboard seems confident the song will rise again once it catches on with radio and Spotify-type services, but I'm not so sure. The song is slick and pretty, characteristic for Timberlake, but it has a sleepy, adult-contemporary vibe, and I'm not sure DJs add it to their club mixes in the age of Rihanna and Ke$ha.
IT'S POSSIBLE THERE MAY BE SOME INNUENDO IN THIS SONG: At some point, Prince's fantastic new-wave Dirty Mind throwback "Screwdriver" will probably come out as a bona fide release, and if the world is just, it will climb up the charts. For now, it's only available as a lyric video (a sexy and colorful one, naturally) on Vimeo and Prince's new website. Which means neither iTunes nor Spotify nor YouTube can truly quantify how popular it is, and it hasn't yet hit any of the major charts, although I understand radio stations are starting to pick it up. Stay tuned.