Taylor Swift is making this look too easy. The singer will make it an even eight weeks at the top of the Billboard 200 next week, when her Fearless album once again holds its iron grip on the #1 spot on sales of close to 62,600, according to figures provided by Nielsen SoundScan.
That tally will bring the sales to date for the singer's second album to a hair under 2.4 million. And while the rest of the top 10 was virtually unchanged from the week before (and the week before that, and the week before that), a trio of unusual suspects almost managed to sneak in, thanks to the continuing January sales doldrums.
Lauded indie violinist/singer/songwriter Andrew Bird's Noble Beast debuts in the #12 slot on sales of 25,700. And three weeks after the vinyl version was an instant sell-out, didgeridoo-loving trio Animal Collective will hit #13 with their critic-magnet Merriweather Post Pavilion album, which sold of 24,700 in its first week out in CD format. A few slots behind, at #16, Bon Iver moved 22,600 copies of the Blood Bank EP. Fleet Foxes also continue their unlikely march up the charts with their eight-month-old self-titled debut — helped no doubt by an appearance on "Saturday Night Live" — bumping up 10 spots to #36 on sales of 13,500 for their highest chart position and third-best sales week to date. The news was not quite as sunny for perpetually gloomy falsetto drama king/queen Antony Hegarty, whose latest Antony & the Johnsons album, Crying Light, debuted at #65 with 7,800 in sales.
But back to the top 10: Beyoncé's I Am ... Sasha Fierce will hold steady at #2 (50,900), as will Nickelback's Dark Horse at #3 (45,000). Fashionista Kanye West clicks up a spot to #4 with 808s & Heartbreak (39,200). The "Twilight" soundtrack settles in at #5 (33,100), followed by Keyshia Cole's Different Me (31,300) and Britney Spears' Circus (30,800), which is circling in on 1.3 million total copies sold.
The top 10 is rounded out by Jamie Foxx's Intuition at #8 (30,300), the "Notorious" soundtrack (29,000) and the only new entry, Mariah Carey's Ballads collection (28,700).
Jam rockers Umphrey's McGee boogie in at #62 with their latest, Mantis (8,100). Meanwhile, the missile-like descent of Guns N' Roses' Chinese Democracy continues unabated, as the once eagerly awaited album will plunge nearly 25 spots to #75 on sales of 7,200 for a two-month total of just over half a million copies.
With a Super Bowl appearance and a full-court media blitz, Bruce Springsteen has a chance to shake up the chart next week with the debut of his latest E Street-assisted effort, Working on a Dream. Finally!