Adele’s 30 spends a second week atop the Billboard 200 albums chart, as the set earned 288,000 equivalent album units in the U.S. in the week ending Dec. 2, according to MRC Data. That’s down 66% compared to its chart-topping debut sum of 839,000 units a week earlier.
Adele’s new album 30 blasts in at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 albums chart, debuting with the largest week of 2021 for any album, while the set is already the biggest-selling album of the year. It’s the third No. 1 for the superstar, following 25 (10 weeks on top in 2015-16) and 21 (24 weeks in 2011-12).
30 starts with 839,000 equivalent album units earned in the U.S. in the week ending Nov. 25, according to MRC Data. That’s by far the largest week of the year for any album by units earned, surpassing the debut of Drake’s Certified Lover Boy, which earned 613,000 units in the week ending Sept. 9.
According to initial reports to MRC Data, the album, which was released Nov. 19, has sold more than 500,000 copies in the U.S. through Nov. 21. That makes it 2021’s top-selling album, surpassing sales of any album over the past 11 months combined. It beats the year’s previous top-seller: Taylor Swift’s Evermore, with 462,000 copies sold through the week ending Nov. 18. (Evermore was released in December 2020 but has continued to sell well in 2021.)
Has any artist ever thrown down the gauntlet at the beginning of a year quite like Adele did with 21? Arriving on January 24, 2011 (in the United Kingdom, that is; it hit shelves in the States a month later), 21 quickly became not just the defining musical blockbuster of that year, but also of the still-young decade. No album since has had the same impact on the music world, or the world as a whole. 21 briefly made it feel like no one had ever heard another breakup album before. The mythology around the album (“Who broke Adele’s heart?” was a common question), along with the strength of the songs, made for a moment in music history that was genuinely monocultural. These days, it seems like there’s nothing everyone can share as common ground – period, let alone musically. 21 was different: a true four-quadrant classic that had something for everyone. From the pop music stans to the music critics to the songwriting classicists, Adele checked every box. Looking back, it feels like the last album that everyone could agree on. In terms of cultural significance, chart dominance, Grammy chances, and a million other metrics, every other artist who released something in 2011 was competing for second place.
While 21 dropped in January. I have never thought of it as a “winter” album. One of the (many) disadvantages to being a broke college student living in an outdated dorm in the winter of 2011 was that you had no good method to hear the latest music as it was breaking. Spotify hadn’t launched in the U.S. yet, paying for downloads via iTunes (or driving somewhere to buy a CD) wasn’t in the budget, and pirating music over the ethernet-only internet connection was both slow as hell and risky. That’s why I often went months without hearing the music that everyone else was talking about, 21 included. In this particular case, though, the delay proved to be serendipitous.Read More “Adele – 21”