In any other week, the first-week sales of Jason Aldean’s new album Night Train would be a very big deal.
The disc, a follow up to his double-platinum smash My Kinda Party, sold 409,000 copies in its first seven days – a huge number by any measure, and the second-best debut sales week of 2012 behind Mumford & Sons’ Babel, which moved 600,000 copies in its opening frame.
Unfortunately for Aldean, news of his chart-topping feat arrives less than a day after projections for Taylor Swift’s Red blew up the internet. Swift, who sold over 500,000 copies of Red in its first day, is expected to sell over 1 million copies in her first week, which would make her the first woman in history to have two albums sell more than 1 million copies in their first weeks. Yowza.
But let’s get back to Aldean’s accomplishment. Night Train is the rocking country star’s first No. 1 album on the Billboard 200. He formerly peaked at No. 2 in 2010 with My Kinda Party, but was kept out of the top spot, funnily enough, by Taylor Swift, whose Speak Now was reigning atop the chart.
Considering My Kinda Party became an enduring hit, ultimately moving 2.8 million copies, I’m expecting Night Train to be a freight train with buyers. After all, Aldean is selling out arenas across the country, and he (along with everyone else releasing albums in the final quarter of 2012) will get a big boost from the holiday buying rush.
Mumford & Sons’ Babel dropped by 25 percent in its fourth week down to No. 2, selling an additional 74,000 copies. The set has now sold 939,000 copies, and it could surpass the 1 million mark as early as next week.
Brandy finished the week in third place, scoring her first Top 10 debut since 2004 with Two Eleven, which sold 65,000 units. It’s a nice comeback for the R&B star, whose career took a major hit following her involvement in a fatal car accident in 2006. Though the album’s first single, a Monica collab called “It All Belongs To Me,” which reunited Brandy with her “The Boy Is Mine” partner, fizzled on the chart, its followup, the Chris Brown-collab “Put It Down” reached No. 3 on the Hot R&B/Hip Hop Songs chart.
American Idol winner Scotty McCreery started at No. 4 with his holiday effort Christmas with Scotty McCreery, which jingled out 41,000 copies in its debut frame. While that number doesn’t sound too huge – it’s less than the 198,000 that his platinum debut album Clear As Day sold in its first week – don’t count out the deep-voiced crooner just yet. Christmas is still a long ways away, and holiday albums typically surge as the year draws to a close.
Look no further than last year’s chart for an example. Michael Buble’s Christmas debuted on October 21, 2011 and sold a solid 141,000 copies in its first week. Five weeks later it climbed into the No. 1 spot and held that ranking for four weeks, peaking with a sales frame of 479,000. His set ultimately sold 2.5 million copies in just ten weeks on the chart in 2012 – over 17 times what it sold in its first week. Applying the same math to McCreery’s record would give the country-lovin’ teen nearly 800,000 total in 2012. Of course, we’ll have to see if the record actually performs that well, but I’m just saying – it’s run is far from over.
And one more male country singer rounded out the Top 5. Jamey Johnson began in fifth place with Living for a Song: A Tribute to Hank Cochran, which sold 32,000 in its first seven days. Not too shabby!
Get all the chart details over at Billboard.