WINNER OF THE WEEK: Britney Spears – although in historical context, she could easily be Loser of the Week. Her Femme Fatale hit Number One on the Billboard charts with 276,000 copies. (The album’s really good – it’s a bummer that her Good Morning America performance last week was so uninspired. Maybe she should have brought along her snake.) While that’s a lot for 2011 – a year in which Cake sold 44,000 copies and went to the top, and it’s Brit’s sixth chart-topping album, tied for third for women, with Mariah Carey and Janet Jackson, behind Madonna (seven) and Barbra Streisand (nine) – it’s ridiculously low compared to 2000’s Oops . . . I Did It Again, which set a first-week sales record for a solo artist by selling 1.3 million copies. Nobody does that anymore (except Taylor Swift).
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LOSER OF THE WEEK: Rock & roll. The Strokes dropped out of the top 10 after their album Angles hit Number Four last week. So has Mumford & Sons, whose Grammy afterglow seems to have worn off (at least for now). And previous charting rockers such as Rise Against, Cake and Panic at the Disco have long since slipped down the ladder. That leaves Radiohead as the only Top 10 artist in the genre at Number Six – the official U.S. release of The King of Limbs sold 69,000. This, after the highest-charting rock album in 2010 (in terms of total year-end sales) was Jack Johnson, at Number 27.
COMPETITION OF THE WEEK: The Black Eyed Peas‘ “Just Can’t Get Enough” has quietly grafted itself to the singles charts in recent weeks, hitting Number Five, possibly thanks to the poignant dedication to Japan that begins the Tokyo-filmed video. (It’s reached over 17 million views on YouTube.) But bumping just below it is Pittsburgh rapper Wiz Khalifa’s “No Sleep,” proving this guy is more than just a “Black & Yellow” Super Bowl novelty. Khalifa also landed at Number One on iTunes this week, as well as Number Two on BigChampagne’s Ultimate Chart, which measures YouTube views, Facebook hits and a bunch of other newfangled criteria in addition to traditional sales. It’ll be interesting to see who has greater staying power–- the young rapper who came from pretty much nowhere, or the veteran pop juggernaut who released a relatively weak album last year. Suffice to say, neither hit would probably be where it is were it not for the Super Bowl.