The obvious country-pop crossover star still reigns, and there are a handful of blockbuster releases from household names in between, but let’s pause to savor one little surprise: The charts have a new “King of the South.”
Big K.R.I.T.‘s Cadillactica debuts at No. 5 on the Billboard 200. The Mississippi rapper’s second studio album sold about 42,300 copies in the week that ended November 16, according to Hits Daily Double. That’s more than the 41,000 that 2012′s Live From the Underground sold in its first week, though a June release meant that was still good enough for a No. 1. And it’s ahead of projections that had both K.R.I.T. and Nick Jonas selling around 35,000. It’s a well-deserved honor for a hard-working MC whose greatest critical acclaim came for a free mixtape, 2011′s self-produced Return of 4Eva.
Otherwise, yes, Taylor Swift‘s 1989 is at No. 1 in its third straight week on the charts, with roughly 310K copies sold, down a modest 23 percent from last week. The ongoing publicity surrounding the fact that Swift’s music can’t be heard for free anymore on Spotify surely didn’t hurt those numbers, right?
Unlike last week, when Swift faced off against a Bette Midler covers album and Calvin Harris, this week she defeated some stiffer competition. Foo Fighters, whose Dave Grohl was among the Swift-vs.-Spotify talking heads, landed at No. 2 with 190K sold of Sonic Highways. Next were Pink Floyd’s The Endless River (No. 3, 167K) and Garth Brooks’s Man Against Machine (126K — see Caitlin White’s feature, Here Are 10 Garth Brooks Songs You Should Know). With Pink Floyd, Brooks and a band involving Grohl all on the charts, you could almost mistake the year for 1994 instead of 2014.
The rest of the top 10 is a bit more contemporary, for better and worse. The Now 52 compilation isn’t going anywhere (No. 6, 38K), and Jonas’s Nick Jonas (No. 7, 37K) did pretty well despite failing to beat out Cadillactica. Rounding out the top 10 were Pentatonix’s That’s Christmas to Me (No.8, 33K), Sam Smith’s In the Lonely Hour (No. 8, 31K) and Jason Aldean’s non-Spotify Old Boots, New Dirt (No. 10, 29K).
Outside the top 10, a couple of other albums posted notable chart placements. Azealia Banks’ Broke with Expensive Taste, which was No. 30 in its first week with 11K, slipped to No. 98 with 4K sold, according to Twitter aggregator @chartnews. And while Bobby Shmurda is a viral star with two Hot 100 singles, his Shmurda She Wrote sales don’t reflect his fame: The EP opens at No. 98 with 5K sold.
Swift’s dominance will probably come to an end next week, however. One Direction’s Four is expected to sell more than 420,000 copies, giving the group it’s fourth No. 1 and allowing Swift to be defeated by someone she has widely reported to have dated. But we’re talking about Swift here; until the final numbers arrive, One Direction aren’t out of the woods just yet.