WINNER OF THE WEEK: Bruno Mars. The obvious choice here is Meek Mill, the Philadelphia rapper whose Dreams & Nightmares sold 165,000 copies and was runner-up on the album chart to Taylor Swift’s Red (344,000, a drop of 72 percent, in its second week). But I’ll have more on Mill, whose sales were diminished by Hurricane Sandy, in a story later this week. Meanwhile, Mars’ “Locked Out of Heaven” single made a stealth run up the singles charts in the past week – it sold 149,000 digital singles and is Number Two to Psy’s “Gangnam Style” (perhaps, like our President, you’ve heard of it) on Billboard and iTunes. “Locked Out of Heaven” has also racked up 12.5 million YouTube views since mid-October, and it rose eight spots on BigChampagne’s Ultimate Chart, which measures Internet criteria. The single nicely sets up the onetime child Elvis impersonator’s Unorthodox Jukebox album, due on December 11th.
LOSER OF THE WEEK: Adele. Don’t get used to seeing the British chart queen’s name in this paragraph, but she isn’t having the greatest couple of weeks, career-wise. Her “Skyfall” single for the upcoming James Bond movie came and went – it dropped 17 slots, to Number 27, on the latest Ultimate Chart. Her blockbuster 21 remains the year’s best-selling album, with more than 4.1 million copies, but it hasn’t been in the Top 10 in weeks. The persistent rumors of an Adele arena tour earlier this year didn’t take into account a crucial detail – she was pregnant, and she delivered her baby in late October. And she may be in the process of giving up the World’s Biggest Pop Star title to Taylor Swift, who sold 1.2 million copies of Red in her debut week and had a strong second week.
THE FIRST TOP TEN ALBUM IN HISTORY CONTAINING A 27-MINUTE OPENING TRACK ABOUT MP3S AND HIP-HOP HAIRCUTS: Neil Young and Crazy Horse’s second album of 2012, Psychedelic Pill, may be the least commercial album of the year. The opening track is a rambling mass of guitar solos and off-the-cuff Neil diatribes; two others, “Ramada Inn” and “Walk Like a Giant,” are more than 16 minutes long; and the album is essentially unfettered Crazy Horse with no meddling producers or label execs telling Neil and the boys what songs to play or what drugs to take. And yet, here it is at Number Eight, with 34,000 copies. Records may not sell these days, but the charts are so charming.