Lady Gaga’s “Artpop” predictably took top sales honors last week, as the flamboyant singer claimed her second consecutive No. 1 album with much-eroded sales.
Gaga’s Interscope album sold 258,000 copies in its first week, according to Nielsen SoundScan data for the week ending Nov. 17. Her last album, 2011’s “Born This Way,” wrested the top slot with sales of 1.1 million, but those figures were inflated by a 99-cent sale by Amazon; the lowball gambit led to the establishment of a minimum retail price at which albums would qualify to be counted for chart placement.
Last week’s dethroned No. 1 debut, rapper Eminem’s “The Marshall Mathers LP 2” (Interscope), slipped to No. 2 with a big 73% decline. It topped the million-copy mark in its first two weeks.
Three other new releases bowed in the top 10. The 48th installment in the “Now That’s What I Call Music!” hits franchise debuted at No. 3 with 114,000 sold. The Universal-distributed package contains top-selling tracks by Justin Timberlake, Robin Thicke, Katy Perry, Avicii and others.
The evergreen Beatles arrived at No. 7 with “On Air: Live at the BBC Volume 2” (Apple/Capitol), which climbed aboard at No. 7 with sales of 37,000. This new compilation of live radio shots from the early ‘60s is a successor to 1994’s “Live at the BBC,” which peaked at No. 3. Next month marks the 50th anniversary of the U.S. release of the Fab Four’s career-breaking hit “I Want to Hold Your Hand.”
R&B/hip-hop singer-songwriter Jhene Aiko’s EP “Sail Out” (Def Jam) arrived at No. 8, moving 34,000. The six-track release, a curtain-raiser for a full-length album due in early 2014, includes collaborations with such rap stars as Drake, Wiz Khalifa and Kendrick Lamar.
Holdovers included the Robertsons’ “Duck the Halls” (No. 4, 66,000 sold, off 9%), Perry’s “Prism” (No. 5, 46,000, down 25%), Kelly Clarkson’s “Wrapped in Red” (No. 6, 42,000, down 2%), Drake’s “Nothing Was the Same” (No. 9, 33,000, off 11%) and Lorde’s “Pure Heroine” (No. 10, 32,000, down 7%).
Brit boy band One Direction’s third collection should rule the chart next week in the run-up to the post-Thanksgiving Black Friday retail rush.