WINNER OF THE WEEK: Adele. In an era when the record business is severely handicapped from breaking new stars, with certain crucial exceptions such as Taylor Swift and Lady Gaga, the British singer-songwriter has sold roughly 1.2 million copies of her album 21. Plus, she’s establishing a rare quality – staying power on the pop charts. She returns to Number One this week, selling 153,000 copies, after giving ground to the Foo Fighters last week. So far, she’s doing everything right, particularly building buzz with a concert tour by “underplaying” venues, such as the Greek Theatre in Los Angeles, rather than abruptly jumping to summer amphitheatres that she probably is still too new to sell out. Easter Weekend helped her sales, as did Haley Reinhart’s red-polka-dotted-dress version of her unstoppable single “Rolling in the Deep” on American Idol last week. (The single also hit Number One on iTunes’ weekly chart.) In addition to being pretty great, Adele fits snugly into the void Amy Winehouse left when she disappeared to do her drugs or what-not – tough, soulful singer with a killer, Motown-style, R&B band.
LOSER OF THE WEEK: Lady Gaga, whose second single “Judas” dropped from Number Four to Number Six on Billboard’s Hot 100, and from Number Four to Number Five on iTunes’ Songs chart. Our feeling about this song is pretty much summed up in the following YouTube comment: “TUNA TUN-NA-NA, TUNA TUN-NA-NA, TUNA TUN-GA-GA, TUNA TUN-NA-NA She likes tuna’s lots!!!_” Nonetheless, it’s up to more than 11 million views, and could easily reverse direction on the charts as soon as Gaga emerges from her bunker to do more aggressive promotion in her new, improved meat dress. The current leg of her long-running Monster Ball tour concluded Wednesday in Cleveland, just in time for Gaga to shift focus to Born this Way, due May 27th.
A WORD ABOUT THE BIEBS: The traditional charts (and we include iTunes in this description) may be all about Adele, Glee, and Alison Krauss and Union Station, but Justin Bieber is clearly still King of the Internet. Billboard’s Social50 chart – which uses technology by Boulder, Colorado, startup Next Big Sound to determine the top artists on social networks such as Facebook, YouTube and MySpace – ranks the Biebs Number One for the second week in a row. (He displaced Gaga from the top slot last week.) Sales aside, which means not taking account geezers who still, you know, buy units of music at stores, this chart is a pretty good estimation of what artists are truly popular with the kids. The top 10: Bieber, Gaga, Rihanna, Eminem, Shakira, Katy Perry, Lil Wayne, Black Eyed Peas and Britney Spears.
LAST WEEK: Paul Simon Earns Highest Solo Debut