Score one for the indie kids. In a rather amazing turn of events, [artist id="2584573"]Vampire Weekend[/artist] — they of the piqued Polos, [article id="1629106"]pan-ethnic pop stylings[/article] and proudly independent label — will snag the top spot on next week's Billboard albums chart. And the competition wasn't even close.
[article id="1629081"]Contra,[/article] 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 [article id="1622656"]Pearl Jam's Backspacer[/article] 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 Keys' Element 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 Peas' The 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.