Droll Sacramento, California, rockers Cake might never again have the chance to snatch away one of the umpteen records held by platinum darling Taylor Swift.
But next week, the group can say they bested Swift, even if it is, in this case, a somewhat dubious distinction. The good news is that Cake's Showroom of Compassion marks the band's first #1 debut on the Billboard 200 albums chart and their first album to chart in the top 10. The bad news is that their total sales of 44,000 also mark the poorest-selling #1 debut figures for a new album in the modern SoundScan era. (Swift had set the new standard last week, when her Speak Now moved just 52,000 copies.)
Another indie band took advantage of the slow new-release traffic to notch a career high. According to figures provided by Nielsen SoundScan, Cage the Elephant's Thank You, Happy Birthday will come in at #2 on sales of 39,000, an impressive feat for the hard-touring band's second major-label album. The only other new face in the top 10 is country act Steel Magnolia, whose self-titled effort lands at #7 (28,000).
The rest of the top 10: Swift, Speak Now (#3, 35,000), Bruno Mars, Doo-Wops & Hooligans (#4, 32,000), Nicki Minaj, Pink Friday (#5, 32,000), the "Country Strong" soundtrack (#6, 29,000), Rihanna, Loud (#8, 28,000), Mumford & Sons, Sigh No More (#9, 26,000) and Kanye West, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy (#10, 25,000).
Otherwise, it's mostly single- and double-digit dips for the majority of the albums in the top 50, with just a few exceptions, including Cage the Elephant, whose self-titled debut surges back onto the charts at #59 as sales spiked by 113 percent to more than nearly 7,000.
Over on the iTunes singles chart, Britney Spears sprints to the top with "Hold It Against Me," which pushes Mars' "Grenade" down to #2, followed by Enrique Iglesias' randy "Tonight," Katy Perry's "Firework," Wiz Khalifa's "Black and Yellow," Avril Lavigne's "What the Hell," the Black Eyed Peas' "The Time (Dirty Bit)," Ke$ha's "We R Who We R," Lil Wayne's "6 Foot 7 Foot" and Kanye West and Jay Z's "H.A.M."
Gwyneth Paltrow's well-received "Saturday Night Live" hosting gig surely helped the second collection of "Country Strong" songs hit #1 on the iTunes albums chart (the company does not release specific sales data). Right behind are Mumford & Sons, Cage the Elephant, the first "Country Strong" disc, Cake, the Black Keys' Brothers, Christian act Lecrae's Rehab: The Overdose, Kanye West, Daft Punk's "Tron: Legacy" soundtrack and Mars' debut album.
It should be another modest week next time around, with new releases from the Decemberists, the Script, James Blunt and Social Distortion, as well as the latest Kidz Bop collection.