WINNER OF THE WEEK: Mumford & Sons. Babel, the roots-rock superstars’ follow-up to 2010’s Sigh No More (2 million in sales and counting), isn’t out for another month and a half, but its pre-orders launched it to Number One this week on iTunes. We have no sales numbers, since Billboard only counts albums that are, you know, actually out, and iTunes doesn’t make its weekly numbers public, but this still indicates superb demand. The band is setting up the album nicely, too; Babel’s first single, “I Will Wait,” made its debut at Number Four on the digital-songs chart (and Number Three on iTunes), selling 153,000. Can Babel, due out on September 25th, be the rare rock album that starts high on the charts and manages to stay there over a long period of time, Adele-style? It has a chance.
LOSER OF THE WEEK: God Forgives, I Don’t. As quickly as Rick Ross’ new LP roared to Number One last week, it plummeted in week two, with just 60,000 copies sold for a decline of 73 percent. Why the drop? Partly it’s because everybody (with the exception of Adele and a few others, possibly Taylor Swift) drops from the album charts these days. Partly because it’s a slow summer week (NOW 43 is Number One, for God’s sake, with 111,000 copies) that’s not pushing anybody into record stores or even onto iTunes these days. Partly it’s because many hip-hop albums (see: Nas) have low chart staying power. And it’s especially because the Teflon Don could use a smash single to boost the album – his new “Diced Pineapples,” despite guest spots from Drake and Wale, made its debut last week on the Billboard singles chart at Number 89.
SADLY HE DIDN’T GET TO CUT OFF AN EAR: Us to 10-year-old daughter: “Hey, you want to see Justin Bieber get punched?” Daughter: “Yeah!!!” Excuse the spoiler, but Bieber’s new video “As Long As You Love Me” stars the great Reservoir Dogs villain Michael Madsen as a grumpy, violent dad who won’t let the sad-faced Biebs or his hair near his daughter, even though the kids are obviously in luuuuurv. The song isn’t bad (check out Big Sean’s rap that rhymes “hallelujah” with “rendezvous,” sort of) and the video has racked up 23.2 million YouTube views since it came out August 1st – that’s enough for a 12-spot jump up the Ultimate Chart, which measures Internet criteria, and 130,000 digital-song sales. It perhaps fills the vacuum from American Idol winner’s Phillip Phillips’ “Home,” which surged 138 spots up the Ultimate Chart after it became an anthem for the U.S. Olympic gymnastics team, but has since dropped 7 percent in sales.
LAST WEEK: Rick Ross Is the Boss