Lady Gaga, Tony Bennett Top Thom Yorke-Free Album Chart

Marc Hogan

By Marc Hogan

Lead News Writer
on 10.01.14 in News

The arguably highest-profile release of the past week is nowhere to be found on the U.S. album charts. On Friday, Thom Yorke released a new solo album, Tomorrow’s Modern Boxes, using BitTorrent, but an executive for the file-sharing technology platform told Wondering Sound the sales figures weren’t released to data-tracker Nielsen SoundScan. So it’s impossible to know how many of the BitTorrent offering’s more than 800,000 downloads to date were actually purchases, let alone how many of those came from the United States.

Without further ado, then: Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga have the No. 1 album on this week’s Billboard 200. Their inconsistent duets LP, Cheek to Cheek, moved 131,000 units in its first week, according to SoundScan. The achievement means 88 is now the age to beat if you’re looking to become the oldest living performer to top the album chart (the previous mark of 85 years old was also set by Bennett, on 2011′s Gaga-featuring Duets II). The Mother Monster has two previous No. 1 albums, with 2013′s ARTPOP and 2011′s Born This Way.

It was a squeaker. Kenny Chesney‘s The Big Revival, also in its first week, missed the top spot by less than one percentage point of sales (No. 2, 130K). Barbra Streisand‘s Partners, the previous week’s chart ruler, very nearly held onto the duet-album crown (No. 3, 127,000). Babs’s sales decline of 35 percent was the lowest second-week drop by a No. 1 debut since the Now 21 compilation back in February — and the smallest decline for an individual artist since Susan Boyle’s Christmas album in 2010.

Beyond the top three, the new alt-J album might be uneven, but that hasn’t dissuaded record buyers. This Is All Yours (No. 4, 68K) bowed with the biggest sales week for the British indie-folk trio, giving them their first top 10 album. By comparison, 2012′s An Awesome Wave has never sold more than about 6,000 U.S. copies in a given week.

Do it, a cappella: Pentatonix, who, yes, are of that instrument-less genre, saw their PTX: Vol. III EP debut with their best sales debut and chart placement yet (No. 5, 46K).

Your regularly scheduled dose of Chris Brown-enfreude comes with the drop of his X from No. 2 to No. 6, though selling 37K albums still isn’t really a misfortune in which to take much perverse pleasure (and that said, see features editor Claire Lobenfeld’s essay Rihanna Doesn’t Need Your Outrage, Chris Brown’s Struggle is His Own).

Meanwhile, in the spirit of Cassette Store Day, though not actually available yet on tape, the Guardians of the Galaxy soundtrack returned to the top 10 (No. 7, 30K).

Rounding out the top 10: Joe Bonamassa‘s Different Shades of Blue (No. 8, 26K in its first week and the first blues album to chart this high since Gary Clark Jr.‘s Blak and Blu hit No. 6 in 2012), Maroon 5′s V (No. 9, 26K for a total of 305K in four weeks) and Jennifer Hudson‘s JHud (No. 10, 24K in its first week for her third top 10 album).

Bigger than any of these, Yorke included, is an album that isn’t even set for release until October 27. Hits Daily Double projects that Taylor Swift‘s upcoming 1989 will sell 1 million copies in its first week, which would make it her third straight first-week million-seller. The follow-up to 2012′s Red, which had her best opening sales yet with 1.21 million copies, is already available for preorder. And with a mere mention, first single “Shake It Off” could, hypothetically, be stuck in your head.