Vampire Weekend Make History With #1 Billboard Debut

Contra marks highest indie-rock debut since 2007, and first #1 for label XL.

Score one for the indie kids. In a rather amazing turn of events, [artist id="2584573"]Vampire Weekend[/artist] — they of the piqued Polos, pan-ethnic pop stylings and proudly independent label — will snag the top spot on next week’s Billboard albums chart. And the competition wasn’t even close.

Contra, the band’s second album, sold close to 124,000 copies in its first week to debut at #1, besting runner-up [artist id="3180740"]Susan Boyle‘s[/artist] I Dreamed a Dream by nearly 50,000 albums. Released on XL Recordings, Contra is the first independent album to debut at #1 since Pearl Jam’s Backspacer bowed at the top of the charts back in September (that album was released on the band’s own Monkeywrench label but sold exclusively through mega-retailer Target, independent stores and online). Contra is also the highest indie-rock debut since both the [artist id="1163811"]Shins[/artist] and the [artist id="1802187"]Arcade Fire[/artist] released albums — Wincing the Night Away and Neon Bible — that opened at #2 back in 2007. It’s the first #1 album in XL’s 20-year history, not to mention the label’s highest debut since [artist id="1452174"]Thom Yorke‘s[/artist] The Eraser bowed at #2 in 2006.

History aside, the rest of the Billboard top 10 looks very similar to last week’s chart. Boyle is at #2, while last week’s chart champ, Ke$ha‘s Animal, is #3, with sales of just under 67,000 copies. Lady Gaga‘s The Fame is #4, with sales of almost 64,000 copies, and Alicia KeysElement of Freedom comes in at #5, with sales of about 48,000 copies.

Gaga’s The Fame Monster EP follows at #6 (36,000 copies sold), Mary J. Blige‘s Stronger lands at #7 (35,000), Taylor Swift‘s Fearless is #8 (33,000), the soundtrack to “Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel” is #9 (33,000), and the Black Eyed PeasThe E.N.D. rounds out the top 10 (32,000 copies).

Other debuts on next week’s chart include Omarion‘s Ollusion, which lands at #19 (more than 19,000 copies sold). OK Go‘s Of the Blue Colour of the Sky is #39 (11,000), and O.A.R.‘s live album Rain or Shine appears at #48, with sales of more than 9,000 copies.