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Sia Scores First Number One Album as 'Frozen' Sees Resurgence

Florida Georgia Line and Magic also battle for biggest song in the country

July 16, 2014 5:45 PM ET
Sia
Sia
Noam Galai/WireImage

Slow sales continue, but at least they're consistent — tracks are down 13 percent and albums are down 15 percent, numbers that have held steady for weeks. Here's a new one, though, according to Billboard: This week's overall sales of 4.1 million represent the lowest number since SoundScan began tallying sales data in 1991.

Jimmy Kimmel Attempts Sia's 'Chandelier' Dance

THE INVISIBLE MARKETING CAMPAIGN PAYS OFF: Sia Furler, the prolific Australian singer-songwriter whose unique marketing campaign involves never showing her face, is Number One for the first time — the gloomy-yet-triumphant 1000 Forms of Fear sold 52,000 copies. But like just about every top album on the Billboard charts these days (with the exception of the Frozen soundtrack and possibly Beyonce), I have a feeling it could have achieved more. Sia's excellent "Chandelier" video, starring a kid in a wig in lieu of the singer, has scored 64 million YouTube views since it came out in early May, and the track has streamed 33 million times via Spotify. The single has jumped from Number 20 to Number 17 on the Hot 100. So why so few album sales?

YEP, SELLS IN SUMMER, TOO: While on the subject of Frozen, Jesus Christ. The impossible-to-kill soundtrack sold another 46,000 copies and resurged from Number Five to Number Two — in part due to temporary $3.99 Amazon MP3 and Google Play discounts. According to Nielsen Soundscan, the album sold 2.7 million copies in the first half of 2014, dwarfing Beyonce (Number Two, 702,000) and Eric Church's Outsiders (Number Three, 642,000). Interestingly, the top single from Frozen, Idina Menzel's "Let It Go," was just Number Five, selling 2.8 million downloads and landing behind Pharrell Williams' "Happy," Katy Perry's "Dark Horse" and John Legend's "All of Me."

THE HOT 100 WAS SO MUCH MORE FUN WHEN IT WAS IGGY VS. IGGY: With luck, Florida Georgia Line's "Dirt" — the best-selling country song on Billboard's digital charts since the band's "Cruise" came out a year ago — will knock Magic's bland-reggae-dude hit "Rude" out of Number One before long. "Rude" increased its sales 3 percent, with 185,000 jumping from Number Two to Number One, but "Dirt" is in overthrowing distance with 182,000. Sadly, Sam Smith's comparatively fascinating "Stay With Me" fell from Number One to Number Three, dropping 12 percent in sales and notching just 162,000 copies. Also losing sales: Iggy Azalea's "Fancy" (10 percent, a total of 154,000 sales) and Ariana Grande's "Problem" (15 percent, 124,000).

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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.”

More Song Stories entries »
 
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