It took the Boss to finally unseat country-pop dynamo Taylor Swift from the top of the Billboard albums chart after eight weeks at #1. Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band's Working on a Dream will debut in the top spot next week on sales of 223,000, according to figures provided by Nielsen SoundScan, ending a two-month run by Swift's Fearless album, which will drop to #2 on sales of 55,000.
Dream is Springsteen's ninth #1 album, but despite a prominent slot at the inauguration of President Barack Obama, not to mention a rousing performance at the Super Bowl, the new album sold 100,000 fewer copies in its first week than the band's previous album, 2007's Magic.
It was a bit of a shake-up in an otherwise slow week, during which Scottish dance rockers Franz Ferdinand notched their best-ever Billboard chart debut by sneaking in at #9 with 30,000 units shifted of their latest, Tonight: Franz Ferdinand. They provided some of the only movement in the top 20 during yet another mostly down week for the business. Beyoncé's I Am ... Sasha Fierce slipped a notch to #3 on sales of 51,000, followed by Nickelback's Dark Horse (43,000), Kanye West's 808s & Heartbreak (33,000), newcomer 2009 Grammy Nominees at #6 (32,000), Jamie Foxx's Intuition (31,000), Keyshia Cole's A Different Me (30,000) and, at #10, Britney Spears' Circus, which crossed the 1.3 million mark thanks to another 28,000 copies sold.
The ninth volume of WWE: The Music hit the charts at #11 on sales of 24,000, Hoobastank's cleverly named latest For(n)ever squeezed out 15,000 in sales to debut at #26, the Rihanna remix album Good Girl Gone Bad: Remixes managed to move just under 5,000 copies to debut at #106, and smooth English singer/songwriter James Morrison popped up at #130 for the first week for his Songs for You, Truths for Me album, thanks to 4,000 in sales. MTV's favorite teen metallers, Crooked X, rocked up to #176 with their self-titled debut, which whipped up just over 3,000 in sales.
A couple of scrappy indie albums that took advantage of the January doldrums took serious tumbles, including Antony & the Johnsons' Crying Light, which dropped more than 50 percent and 84 slots to #149 on just over 3,600 sold; Bon Iver's Blood Bank EP, which fell 41 slots to #57 with 9,000 new converts; and Animal Collective, whose Merriweather Post Pavilion tripped from #13 to #52 on 10,000 copies, but was off nearly 60 percent from its debut. Also swan-diving in a similarly spectacular fashion was sensitive fiddler/whistler Andrew Bird, whose Noble Beast plunged from #12 to #50 on sales of more than 10,000.
Springsteen and Swift should be relatively safe next week, with debuts from the Fray, Red Jumpsuit Apparatus and the latest Kidz Bop album.