WINNER OF THE WEEK: Queens of the Stone Age. Could the veteran rock band’s first Number One album (. . . Like Clockwork, with 91,000 sales) portend a long run on the charts? Not even remotely possible! The band’s first single, “My God Is the Sun,” has already peaked at Number 17 on Billboard‘s alternative songs chart two weeks ago, then dropped this week to Number 19. The video for that song has more than 1.5 million views, which is so-so for a top hit, especially since it has been out since early April. And while the album knocked Daft Punk‘s Random Access Memories out of the top spot, the reverse is true on this week’s iTunes albums chart, suggesting . . . Like Clockwork is perhaps not super-strong with the download crowd. But a Number One’s a Number One, the mighty QOTSA deserve some chart success, and fans will appreciate . . . Like Clockwork for its typical Stone Temple Pilots-minus-the-B.S. consistency.
LOSER OF THE WEEK: Daft Punk. After two weeks at Number One, Random Access Memories lost 33 percent of sales this week and dropped to Number Two, with just 62,000 sales. But the drop is a blip, at least in terms of the French electronic-dance duo’s overall career trajectory. For one thing, the band remains Number One on iTunes this week, and its total sales so far are 494,000, not an easy feat in a world where electronic-dance-music stars other than David Guetta struggle to sell albums and latch onto radio playlists. For another, Daft Punk is one of those live bands, with a reputation for showmanship (such that it is when the performers wear space helmets) and special effects. It’s likely to sell arenas, drawing Radiohead-style crowds at decent prices.
COULD AN “ACHY BREAKY HEART” COMEBACK BE FAR BEHIND?: Miley Cyrus, left for dead in the ongoing war story known as Teen Stars Who Try to Grow Up on the Charts, rises again with “We Can’t Stop,” which sold 214,000 copies this week and landed at Number Three on Billboard‘s Digital Songs chart. Will it last? Certainly longer than Queens of the Stone Age’s album. Cyrus’ mid-tempo track with a robotic, chopped-and-screwed voice to go with her AutoTuned chorus has drawn more than 8.5 million YouTube views – and that’s just for an audio version. A lot will depend on the future music she puts out, but Cyrus seems to have a familiar sort of comeback momentum; like Britney Spears a few years ago, she’s crazy but not dangerous, talented but not haughty, and still has both piles of TV money and that pop je ne sais quoi.