UPDATED: No sophomore slump for Harry Styles: his second solo album, “Fine Line,” debuted atop the Rolling Stone album chart with a surprising 510,100 equivalent album units — the second biggest debut week of 2019.
Only Taylor Swift had a bigger bow this year, as “Lover” debuted on the RS chart in August with 991,800 album units. Styles’ debut was even bigger than the one afforded ahead of Post Malone, whose “Hollywood’s Bleeding” entered with 500,300 earlier in the year and is now knocked down to third place, as 2019 opening weeks go.
Fans wanted the whole thing, too, not just piecemeal tracks: 360,700 of those units came via traditional full-album sales. Streaming figures of more than 100 million added to its half-million-plus album-equivalent total.
The album has also already gone No. 1 in countries including Canada, Australia, Mexico, New Zealand, Ireland, Sweden, the Netherlands, Brazil and several Southeast Asian countries, his label, Columbia, reports.
Styles is the rare star who’s on a marked upward trajectory in album sales. His previous effort bowed in 2017 with less than half the numbers of the current one. At least some of the huge uptick can be attributed to albums being offered as a bundle with tickets for his 2020 arena tour.
The album also debuted atop the rankings compiled by Nielsen, which said it was the biggest bow for a male solo artist from the UK since such tallies began being kept in the early ’90s.
album has enjoyed a solid critical reception. Variety‘s review called Styles “one of the good guys, in how he’s defying blockbuster expectations by following his muse back into the classic rock era and casually claiming it as his own.”
The No. 2 album on the Rolling Stone chart lagged well behind Styles’ in numbers. Blake Shelton’s “Fully Loaded: God’s Country” came in second for the week with an opening tally of 82,100 album units. Roddy Ricch, Post Malone and the “Frozen 2” soundtrack rounded out the top five spot.
Three Christmas albums figured into the top 10: Mariah Carey’s resurgent “Merry Christmas” at No. 6 (with her “All I Want for Christmas is You” clocking in atop the RS songs chart), Michael Bublé’s “Christmas” at No. 7 and Pentatonix’s “The Best of Pentatonix Christmas” at No. 8.
Amid the competition, two albums that debuted high last week had big drops in their second frame. Camila Cabello’s “Romance,” which bowed at No. 2, fell to No. 18 this week, and the Who’s “Who,” a No. 3 entry last week, fell all the way to No. 115.