Even during the traditionally slow New Year's sales week, Taylor Swift reigned supreme. The country starlet will kept her stranglehold on the top of the Billboard 200 chart for the first week of 2009.
Swift's Fearless sales of about 89,600 actually represented a dip of more than 65 percent from the previous week. And, according to figures provided by Nielsen SoundScan, all but one album in the top 20 saw steep two-digit declines as the new year dawned. Holding strong right behind Swift once again was Beyoncé's I Am ... Sasha Fierce, which moved 76,900 copies, followed by Kanye West's 808s & Heartbreak, which will move up two spots on sales of just over 70,900, despite being off by more than 57 percent from the previous week.
The rest of the top 10 will be pretty much unchanged, with the players merely swapping places: the "Twilight" soundtrack (#4 with 65,800), Nickelback's Dark Horse (#5, 64,400), Britney Spears' Circus (#6, 64,100), Keyshia Cole's Different Me (#7, 53,600), Jamie Foxx's Intuition (#8, 44,600) and Now That's What I Call Music! Vol. 29 (#9, 43,500). The sole newcomer to the top 10 is the Christmas-themed Target exclusive All Wrapped Up compilation, which jumps 78 spots on sales of 40,400.
Though their sales percentages also dropped from the previous week, a number of artists still got a bump up in the charts, including Akon, whose Freedom will skip up five spots up to #16. Ludacris' Theater of the Mind rises 17 spots to #14 on sales of 31,300, and Lil Wayne's Tha Carter III climbs from #32 to #19 on sales of 26,000, pushing the album's total sales close to 3 million. Lady Gaga also has some celebrating to do, as her Fame blasted up 32 spots to #26 on sales of 22,700, giving the dance-club favorite her best chart position since the album debuted at #17 back in November.
The slow week was also good for a grab-bag of music-blog favorites, including MGMT, whose Oracular Spectacular will move up 37 spots to #57 on sales of 12,700, as well as suddenly resurgent pastoral folkies Fleet Foxes, whose self-titled debut will rocket 39 spots to #67 on sales of 11,200. Vampire Weekend leap 64 slots to #75 with their self-titled debut on sales of 9,800. The #1 pick for many in 2008, TV On The Radio's Dear Science moves 47 paces to #80 on sales of 9,400.
The news was not so hot for ringtone fave Soulja Boy Tell'em, whose, Isouljaboytellem continues to slide down the charts as sales plunged 65 percent in the album's third week, flatlining at 12,200 copies to land at #63.
With few major releases this week, the charts should stay relatively steady until efforts by Bruce Springsteen, The-Dream and Billy Ray Cyrus drop later this month.