On the Charts: Vampire Weekend's "Contra" Ends Ke$ha's Brief Reign

January 20, 2010 12:00 AM ET

The Big News: Vampire Weekend's meteoric rise was cemented this week as everyone and their cousins bought the New York band's second album Contra. The record debuted at Number One on the Billboard Top 200 with 124,000 copies sold, putting a swift end to Ke$ha's reign atop the charts. VW exponentially improved on the Number 17 peak position for their self-titled debut, and have now accomplished a feat the Killers and Weezer have yet to attain: a Billboard Number One LP.

Susan Boyle's I Dreamed a Dream settled into Number Two for a second consecutive week with 77,000 copies according to Nielsen SoundScan, while Ke$ha's Animal dropped to Number Three with 67,000 copies. Lady Gaga's The Fame and Alicia Keys' Element of Freedom placed fourth and fifth respectively. In fact, if not for Vampire Weekend, female artists would have been responsible for the top seven albums on the chart: Gaga's Fame Monster, Mary J. Blige's Stronger With Every Tear and Taylor Swift's Fearless placed Six through Eight.

Debuts: Vampire Weekend didn't have much competition this week as only one other new release, Omarion's Ollusion, managed to infiltrate the Top 20 (at Number 19). Further down, OK Go's Of the Blue Colour of the Sky entered at 39 thanks to 11,000 copies sold, O.A.R.'s Rain or Shine came in at 48 with 9,400 and Ringo Starr's new album Y Not finished the week at Number 56.

Last Week's Heroes: Ke$ha's Animal made a big splash in its debut last week, but despite the three-pronged assault of singles "TiK ToK," "Blah Blah Blah" and "Your Love is My Drug," the album failed to sustain more than half its first week sales as Animal dropped 56 percent. Sales of Boyle's Dream, by comparison, only fell 18 percent in its eighth week. In platinum news, Dave Matthews Band's Big Whiskey and the GrooGrux King edged past the million sold mark in its 33rd week on the charts.

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Song Stories

“Try a Little Tenderness”

Otis Redding | 1966

This pop standard had been previously recorded by dozens of artists, including by Bing Crosby 33 years before Otis Redding, who usually wrote his own songs, cut it. It was actually Sam Cooke’s 1964 take, which Redding’s manager played for Otis, that inspired the initially reluctant singer to take on the song. Isaac Hayes, then working as Stax Records’ in-house producer, handled the arrangement, and Booker T. and the MG’s were the backing band. Redding’s soulful version begins quite slowly and tenderly itself before mounting into a rousing, almost religious “You’ve gotta hold her, squeeze her …” climax. “I did that damn song you told me to do,” Redding told his manager. “It’s a brand new song now.”

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