Janet Jackson Cracks Her Whip At The Top Of The Charts

noah | March 5, 2008 2:30 am

Janet Jackson’s Discipline took the top spot on this week’s albums chart, selling 181,000 copies in its first week in stores. Which is a somewhat impressive number in recent-record-sales terms, but consider this: In October 2006, 20 Y.O. entered the chart at No. 2–and it sold 296,000 copies. Of course, trying to compare the recorded-music sales landscapes from then and now is like trying to compare a regular hunk of cheese to one that’s been gnawed by a thousand disease-infested rats, but it’s probably worth pointing out, given that I’ve heard “Feedback” a lot more in public than I heard that terrible song from 20 Y.O. that featured Khia and that served as the album’s lead single.

Biggest Debuts: Behind Janet in the No. 2 slot was Erykah Badu’s mind-blowing New Amerykah Part One, which sold 124,000 copies. Webbie’s Vol. 2–Savage Life came in at No. 4, selling 72,000 copies; Shawty Lo’s Units In The City sold 31,000 copies to come in at No. 13; Dolly Parton’s Backwoods Barbie sold 27,000 copies and entered at No. 17; and 20,000 musical-theater fans bought the soundtrack to the Broadway version of The Little Mermaid, enough for that album to come in at No. 26.

Notable Jumps: Last week’s digital-sales gains by the Oscar-winning soundtrack to Once did, in fact, serve as a portent for this week’s chart, where the album’s overall sales shot up by 143% (to 47,000 copies), propelling it from No. 31 to No. 7. (“Falling Slowly,” which captured the Best Song gold, sold 42,000 digital tracks, a 199% bump.) And the thrice-featured Enchanted soundtrack also saw something of a bump, doubling its sales totals and moving from No. 193 to No. 107; it did only sell 7,300 copies, which is a sliver of the Oscar-viewing audience, but hey, any port in a storm.

Dropping Off: Kidz Bop 13, which was last week’s top debut (it entered at No. 4), took a 54% hit and dropped to No. 22, no doubt in part because the Kidz Bop powers that be picked some really freaking terrible songs to cover this time around. (“Party Like A Rock Star”? Seriously?)

Nickelback Award For Inexplicable Durability: At this point, the upper reaches of the chart have become so static, and record sales so relatively miniscule when compared to the rest of the culture, that everyone‘s “success” is explicable in a “same as it ever was” kind of way. Sheryl Crow (No. 15)? Understandable. Nickelback (No. 52)? Sure. Daughtry (No. 20)? Oh, I get it. Buckcherry (No. 39)? I thought “For The Movies” was way better than their latest power ballad, but hey, they kick Hinder’s eyelinered asses. Even Lenny Kravitz’s recent record sales are kinda easily explained, since they’re as stagnant as his music is (It Is Time For A Love Revolution is at No. 34 after four weeks and has sold 149,000 copies so far).

The top 20, with sales totals in parentheses: 1. Janet Jackson, Discipline (181,000) 2. Erykah Badu, New Amerykah Part One (124,000) 3. Jack Johnson, Sleep Through The Static (92,000) 4. Webbie, Vol. 2–Savage Life (72,000) 5. Alicia Keys, As I Am (58,000) 6. Hannah Montana 2: Meet Miley Cyrus (54,000) 7. Once soundtrack (47,000) 8. Juno soundtrack (42,000) 9. Sara Bareilles, Little Voice (38,000) 10. Amy Winehouse, Back To Black (38,000) 11. Mary J. Blige, Growing Pains (34,000) 12. Taylor Swift (32,000) 13. Shawty Lo, Units In The City (31,000) 14. Step Up 2: The Streets soundtrack (31,000) 15. Sheryl Crow, Detours (27,000) 16. Keyshia Cole, Just Like You (27,000) 17. Dolly Parton, Backwoods Barbie (27,000) 18. Chris Brown, Exclusive (26,000) 19. Colbie Caillat, Coco (24,000) 20. Daughtry (23,000)