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On the Charts: Miley Cyrus' 'Bangerz' Finally Kicks In

Justin Timberlake's '2 of 2' falls

Miley Cyrus performs in New York City.
Peter Kramer/NBC/NBC NewsWire via Getty Images
October 16, 2013 1:15 PM ET

Pretty much every week has been Miley week in late 2013, but this week really is, as Bangerz finally shows up to rescue the record business. It sold 270,000 copies in its debut week, which is pretty solid in a week when overall track sales are still down four percent and album sales are down six percent. Looking forward, we're approaching the time of year when the charts get really good, as the blockbusters roll out for holiday season and we get to see whether Eminem, Katy Perry, Lady Gaga and Britney Spears can do better than Miley.

Miley's Rolling Stone Cover Shoot

AFTER THE BLITZ: Miley Cyrus' all-out marketing plan yielded a very respectable first-week number for Bangerz, even if it's well short of, say, the 968,000 that Justin Timberlake managed for his big comeback album back in March. And she's not done making her mark just yet: Bangerz is most likely just beginning to unload its hits, as collaborations with Spears and Future, the super-catchy "#GETITRIGHT" and my personal favorite album track, the new-wavey "On My Own," are still yet to come.

TOO MANY 2S: Speaking of Timberlake, his part-two album release seemed brilliant a week ago, as The 20/20 Experience (2 of 2) became his second Number One of the year. Not so much today, as it joins the sad-trombone list of promising albums, from Fall Out Boy to Kanye West to Bon Jovi, that have dropped precipitously after strong chart debuts. JT's album sold just 70,000 copies last week, a decrease of 80 percent, and fell from Number One to Number Five. Only West's Yeezus, which lost 81 percent in June, had a steeper sales decline. It's tempting to blame streaming for this – Spotify users streamed "Take Back the Night," from 20/20 2, nearly 6.8 million times, and YouTube users watched it more than nine million times. But it's also possible that fans just think 2 of 2 is a weaker album than the first installment, and it's easier for them to stream a song here and there than buy it whole.

BIEBER WEEKLY: Not much movement on the singles charts this week – Lorde's "Royals" (294,000 sales, down five percent) and Katy Perry's "Roar" (195,000, down 10 percent) are still at the top. In Miley Cyrus album-release week, though, how did Avicii's "Wake Me Up!" (160,000, down four percent) leapfrog her still-hot "Wrecking Ball"? It's because iTunes allows Cyrus fans who've already bought "Wrecking Ball" to complete Bangerz by expanding on their single sale to a full album sale. So "Wrecking Ball" single sales went down somewhat as Bangerz album sales went up. In other sales-gimmick news, Justin Bieber opened his Music Mondays series by putting out "Heartbreaker" 10 days ago, the first of his weekly-single plan over the next 10 weeks. With a complete sales week, it sold 127,000, climbing from Number 22 to Number Five.

Last week: Justin Timberlake Debuts at Number One Again

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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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