Presenting Your 2011 Billboard #1s: Taylor Swift…Cake…the Decemberists?


This morning, music industry executives awoke with a sigh of relief: the third full sales week of 2011 did not end with historic Soundscan lows. After Taylor Swift set a historical nadir by selling 52,000 copies of three-month-old record during one of the slowest sales weeks of the entire year, the industry immediately topped itself, granting next week’s #1 to ’90s alt-rock gods Cake…who promptly set a new mark of despair with 44,000 copies sold, a/k/a the amount of CDs ‘N Sync used to lose in their couch cushions back in the go-go early aughts. Thankfully, the charts found an unlikely savior this week, more than doubling last week’s total with…the new album from the baroque pop aristocrats the Decemberists?

Whatever works, right? According to a press release the band sent out this morning, their sixth album, The King Is Dead, sold 93,567 copies in its first seven days of release. Needless to say, that’s an all-time high for the band and a fitting cap on a week that has already featured two sold out NYC shows, with a third and final one slated for tonight at the Beacon Theatre. Back when Arcade Fire were doing similar things this past summer, we were screaming “We made it!” to anyone who would listen. Now we’re more of the opinion that “making it” is about to become as anachronistic as going platinum. We are old; this is our music; most of the time, we don’t pay for it. (Not even online!) Somehow though, we doubt these Portland geeks are complaining about that this morning. Let’s follow their lead.

This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on January 26, 2011

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