While American indie band fun. (featuring Janelle Monae) logs a fifth consecutive week at the top of the singles chart with “We Are Young,” it’s Justin Bieber who is likely having the most fun at the beginning of 2012’s second quarter. His new single “Boyfriend” sold 521,000 thousand copies in its first week to launch all the way up at No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100.
“We Are Young” maintains the lead—for now—at radio, at No. 2 on Hot 100 Airplay, while “Boyfriend” hops onto that list at No. 24. It’s the Biebs’ highest-charting hit ever, surpassing his No. 5 “Baby,” featuring Ludacris, in 2010. The song also amps the texture for the 18 year old, with a more sensual R&B groove than his tweeny-sounding “Baby.”
This guy is beating the odds, for sure, in terms of enduring fame for a teen act: It’s his third top 10 and first without a featured artist, it tops the Digital Sales and Social 50 charts, while Bieber has sold 8 million albums, according to Nielsen SoundScan—and has 19 million Twitter followers. In addition, Justin debuts at No. 1 on the Canadian singles chart, his first time at the summit in his native nation.
Reminiscent of the late-1990s when kid-friendly groups ‘N Sync and Backstreet Boys ruled the chart roost, Brit boy band One Direction, whose debut album “Up All Night” started at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 (and is No. 6 this week), also ranks in this week’s top 10 singles, as “What Makes You Beautiful” hops from No. 11 to No. 9. The song reached No. 1 in the U.K. last September. Meanwhile, teen act The Wanted is at No. 3 with “Glad You Came.”
On the long-play side, as expected, Madonna debuts at No. 1 with “MDNA”—her eighth No. 1 album and 20th top 10. It also tops the U.K. album chart. Lionel Richie’s country duets “Tuskegee,” enters at No. 2, selling 199,000 copies, to Madge’s 359,000. It’s Richie’s highest-charting album since October 1986 with “Dancing On the Ceiling.” Moreover, he enters Top Country Albums at #1—only the fourth black artist to top that chart, alongside Charley Pride, Ray Charles and Darius Rucker.
It’s important to note that Madonna’s entry was undoubtedly boosted by a promotion in which U.S. fans that bought a concert ticket for her world tour were given a code that could be redeemed for either a physical or digital copy of “MDNA.” Billboard estimates that 185,000 of her total sales were tied to the ticket promotion.
Rounding out the top 5 albums: Adele, in its 58th week in the top 10, drops from No. 2 to No. 3 with “21”; “Shinedown, Amaryllis” from Shinedown debuts at No. 4; and last week’s No. 1 “The Hunger Games” soundtrack dips to No. 5.
Next week, the talent pool shallows out dramatically, as gimmick-loaded Nicki Minaj’s sophomore “Pink Friday” is expected to debut at No. 1. *