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On the Charts: Taylor Swift Holds Number One As Sales Slip Yet Again

January 21, 2009 11:08 AM ET

The Big News: The new year's record-sales nightmare continues — even this week's Number One album (Taylor Swift's Fearless, of course) was 37,000 albums shy of breaking the 100,000 mark. Fearless sold 63,000 copies, 12 percent less than the 71,000 she moved last week. Beyoncé's I Am… Sasha Fierce reclaimed the Number Two spot thanks to a second consecutive 49,000-selling week, while Nickelback's Dark Horse settled into third. A debut finally managed to crack the top five, as the Notorious soundtrack took fourth place. Kanye West's 808s & Heartbreak rounded out the top five. And perhaps thanks to the return of American Idol, David Cook's self-titled LP jumped from 18 to 10.

Debuts: Outside of Notorious, the only other rookies making noise on the charts were the NOW! Motown collection at 13 and the Derek Trucks Band's Already Free at 19 (read a Q&A with the guitarist here). Outside the top 20, Heather Headley and her Audience of One entered at 27, and My Morning Jacket's live iTunes record charted at 94.

Last Week's Heroes: We didn't think things could get any worse after last week's dismal sales, but somehow they did. In total, the Top 200 sold a mere 1.6 million, roughly 114,000 less than last week's combined numbers. There is hope on the horizon, however. First, we'll find out if all the hype and acclaim for Animal Collective's Merriweather Post Pavilion can translate into sales. Then next week, Bruce Springsteen's Working on a Dream will attempt to save the industry from its harsh slump.

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Song Stories

“Long Walk Home”

Bruce Springsteen | 2007

When the subject of this mournful song returns home, he hardly recognizes his town. Springsteen told Rolling Stone the alienation the man feels is a metaphor for life in a politically altered post-9/11 America. “Who would have ever thought we’d live in a country without habeas corpus?” he said. “That’s Orwellian. That’s what political hysteria is about and how effective it is. I felt it in myself. You get frightened for your family, for your home. And you realize how countries can move way off course, very far from democratic ideals.”

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