We’d graph it, but sadly, it’s too simple for that. Your 2011 Billboard #1s, in chronological order: Taylor Swift, Speak Now, 52K; Cake, Showroom of Compassion, 44K; the Decemberists, The King Is Dead, 93.5K; Amos Lee, Mission Bell, 40K. That last number is the lowest total since Soundscan started counting; it breaks that record for the third time in four chances this year. Your 2011 debut sales champ so far? The motherfucking Decemberists. On the upside, this marks the second straight #1 record for the beleaguered imprint EMI…or should we say Citigroup, who recently bought the label for pocket change, bailing out some clowns who paid 8.4 billion for the label in 2007. That sound you hear is of thousands of men in suits, weeping.
Except for one thoughtfully smokey-eyed musician that is–Lee topped his own 16K mark for 2008’s Last Days at the Lodge by a factor of around two-and-a-half, and so is currently rubbing his stubble blissfully back and forth across Sam Beam’s majestically whiskered face: