In the January album-release doldrums, thank goodness for little changes. Rae Sremmurd are the rare fresh faces in the upper rungs of a Billboard 200 chart that continues to be dominated by Taylor Swift.
The “No Type” rappers have proved a popular enough type for their debut album, SremmLife, to reach No. 5, the only new album in the current ranking to crack the top 10. Their full-length moved 49,000 album equivalent units in the week ending January 11, according to Nielsen Music. As a reminder, equivalent units are part of the new chart methodology that factors in streaming and individual track downloads.
Swift’s 1989, meanwhile, extends her chart rein for a ninth nonconsecutive week, shifting 244K units. That’s still her longest stretch at the top since the 13 weeks that 2008′s Fearless spent in the catbird seat. In case you missed it (though how could you?), 1989 also happened to be the biggest-selling album of 2014. The album has now sold almost 4 million copies in the United States, Billboard reports, a figure she has surpassed with each of her previous studio outings.
Elsewhere, Ed Sheeran’s x keeps rising (No. 2, 76K), Nicki Minaj’s The Pinkprint edges downward (No. 3, 60K) and Sam Smith’s In the Lonely Hour stays in place (No. 4, 57K). The Guardians of the Galaxy soundtrack slides (No. 8, 35K). And the rest of last week’s top 10 holds steady: Hozier’s Hozier (No. 6, 49K), J. Cole’s 2014 Forest Hills Drive (No. 7, 45K), One Direction’s Four (No. 9, 32K) and Ariana Grande’s My Everything (No. 10, 28K). Out of returning albums to the top 10, all but Sheeran’s x suffered a decline in units shifted.
More interesting will be to see whether — and by how much — Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars’s “Uptown Funk!” keeps its Swift-dethroning perch at No. 1 on the Hot 100. Speaking of, Ronson’s new album Uptown Special isn’t expected to top the Billboard 200, but next week we’ll see where it places alongside the likely chart-topper — Meghan Trainor’s Title — as well as new releases further down the charts from Panda Bear and Jazmine Sullivan. At least we have “Uptown Funk!” to help us through, and for more about Trainor, please check out our essay In 2014, Pop’s Social Gate-Crashers Were Already Inside.