Remember back in April when everybody kept talking about the big Mariah vs. Madonna throwdown that was about to take place on the music charts? Well, four months after the release of their latest albums, it’s time to check in and declare a winner. So…is it Mariah? Madge? Uh, try Kid Rock.
While the ladies have grabbed headlines for their extracurricular activities this summer, the 37-year-old Detroit rocker has quietly sold 1.4 million copies of his 11th full-length album, Rock N Roll Jesus. At press time, the 10-month-old set was outperforming Carey’s and Madonna’s latest discs by an embarrassing average of 8 to 1 on a week-to-week basis, according to Nielsen SoundScan. (Over the last three weeks, Kid Rock moved 81,000 copies while Mariah sold 12K and Madonna 8K) What in the name of Pabst Blue Ribbon is going on here?
Simply put: Rock’s got legs. While Mariah bowed with an impressive 464K in her first week, E=MC2 has yielded just one real hit: ”Touch My Body” went to No. 1, but neither of her two follow-up singles, ”Bye Bye” or ”I’ll Be Lovin’ U Long Time,” has managed to catch fire. Madonna boasted her fourth consecutive No. 1 album with Hard Candy, and ”4 Minutes” became her record-breaking 37th top 10 hit. Since then, she’s suffering the same slump — ”Give It 2 Me” didn’t even crack Billboard’s Top 40.
Rock, meanwhile, debuted with a relatively meager 172K, but quickly proved to be the tortoise to their hot-pantsed hares. Jesus’ third single, the nostalgic guitar anthem ”All Summer Long,” became his biggest multi-format hit from the album to date. What’s more, in an era where physical sales are supposedly stagnant, Rock — who categorically withholds his music from iTunes or any other digital outfit — has managed to get people to buy the actual material album. So let Madge and Mimi bask in the tabloids’ attention. Kid, it turns out, is more than alright.
— Leah Greenblatt and Chris Willman