Taylor Swift stays top despite drop

Singer's 'Red' remains No. 1 after a 72% sales decline

Taylor Swift maintained her hold on No. 1 this week, as the country-pop singer’s “Red” topped the U.S. album chart for a second week despite a big percentage drop.

Swift’s fourth Big Machine studio album retained the apex with 344,000 copies sold, a decline of 72%, according to Nielsen SoundScan data for the week ending Nov. 4.

Following Swift’s record-setting debut with nearly 1.21 million sales last week, “Red” now ranks as the top-selling 2012 title with a 1.55 million tally. Its closest competition out this year is One Direction’s “Up All Night,” which has shifted 1.33 million in 34 weeks; the U.K. boy band will issue “Take Me Home,” its second U.S. release of the year, next Tuesday.

Despite its sales spike, “Red” more than doubled the first-week score of its closest competition, Meek Mill’s “Dreams & Nightmares” (Warner Bros.), which arrived at No. 2 with 165,000 moved. It’s the Philadelphia rapper’s first major-label full-length, after several attention-getting appearances on Rick Ross’ Maybach Music compilations.

No. 3 belonged to rock-pop icon Rod Stewart, whose “Merry Christmas Baby” (Verve) made seasonal noise with an 89,000-unit bow. Some 30,000 copies were sold off an October Home Shopping Network event. It’s the longtime star’s first release under a new pact with Verve, after a successful run of “Great American Songbook” albums for Sony’s now-defunct Arista.

Jason Aldean’s “Night Train” (Broken Bow), No. 1 two weeks ago, fell to No. 4 with 71,000 sold (off 39%). “Good Kid M.a.a.d. City” (Interscope), Kendrick Lamar’s No. 2 debut of last week, drifted to No. 5 with 63,000 (down 74%).

Toby Keith’s “Hope On the Rocks” (Show Dog) crashed in at No. 6 with 48,000 sold. Numbers for the country singer’s latest album are shy of those for his release of last year, “Clancy’s Tavern,” which bowed at No. 5 with 69,000.

Mumford & Son’s “Babel” (Glassnote) slid three poles to No. 7 with 44,000 (down 18%), but topped the million-selling plateau in just its sixth week. It took the U.K. folk-rock act’s debut “Sigh No More” 49 chart weeks to attain that level.

Neil Young & Crazy Horse climbed on the chart at No. 8 with “Psychedelic Pill,” which shifted 34,000. The sprawling two-disc set is Young and his longtime band’s second set of 2012, succeeding “Americana,” which peaked at No. 4 in June.

“Dreams of Fireflies (On a Christmas Night)” (Universal Republic), latest seasonal offering from Trans-Siberian Orchestra, buzzed in at No. 9, selling 32,000. Yuletide releases from the prog-rock unit have been chart fixtures since 1996.

Little Big Town’s “Tornado” (Capitol Nashville) held over at No. 10 with 29,000 (up 43%).

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