The summer's big hits – Robin Thicke's "Blurred Lines," Imagine Dragons' Night Visions, Daft Punk's Random Access Memories, Miley Cyrus' "We Can't Stop" – continue to crystallize into chart fixtures. But overall sales are dropping: Albums are down six percent compared to last year, and singles are down two percent, which suggests iTunes' market is finally flattening out after more than 10 years of growth. In short, it's a lazy summer week – which is great news for Wale, who takes the top spot easily.
REMEMBER THE BIG 50 CENT-KANYE CHART RIVALRY? GOOD TIMES: The Summer of Hip-Hop continues this week as Wale's The Gifted hits Number One, selling 158,000 copies and displacing Kanye West's Yeezus, which dropped 80 percent in sales (to 65,000 copies), landing at Number Three. Interestingly, rapper J. Cole, who took the bold step of pushing Born Sinner up a week so it could compete with Yeezus, sticks to Number Two, which suggests that even though he lost to Kanye in Week One, he may win in the long run. But the truth is that none of these albums are putting up huge numbers (Born Sinner dropped 72 percent in its second week, selling 84,000). If this were 2004, all these albums would have sold one or two million copies by now.
HER LATEST ROLE – ONE-HIT WONDER: Anna Kendrick's "Cups" is familiar in my household – my 11-year-old and her friends have been practicing the actress' cup-stacking moves from the Pitch Perfect movie for months. It's to the point where clickety-clack, clop-clop, click-click airs in an earworm loop every time I wake up at night. The song increased download sales this week by 19 percent and jumped from Number 21 to Number 10 on Billboard's digital-songs chart, although it's unranked on iTunes; BigChampagne's latest Ultimate Chart, which measures online criteria and often predicts future hits, ranks it Number 23. The overall soundtrack, too, returned to iTunes' Top 10, hitting number nine on the Top Albums chart. Why the boost now? The movie is nine months old, but it premiered June 22nd on HBO, and "Cups" is undergoing a fierce Facebook promotion.
FALLING UP: I thought Fall Out Boy's album Save Rock and Roll was pretty much done on the charts after it dropped 76 percent in sales in its second week two months ago. But their single "My Songs Know What You Did in the Dark (Light 'Em Up)" popped back up on the iTunes Songs Chart this week, hitting Number 10, in part thanks to the band's mid-June appearance on NBC's The Voice. The band's arena tour begins in September, so don't count them out quite yet.
Last week: Kanye's 'Yeezus' Dethrones Black Sabbath