Arm an immensely charismatic talent with catchy, radio-friendly songs, and you have everything you need for a chart monster.
That country-pop artist Luke Bryan is pacing for another stint atop the Billboard 200 should surprise no one. But the amount of copies his “Crash My Party” will move this week will force everyone to welcome music’s newest phenom.
The album has not been a critical favorite, but with a hit lead single in “Crash My Party” and an explosive follow-up in “That’s My Kind of Night,” it is moving like hotcakes. Based on opening day sales data, Billboard predicts the album will sell at least 450,000 copies this week, making for one of the biggest country bows in years.
Since 2008, only four country albums (three by Taylor Swift, one by Lady Antebellum) have moved more than 450K copies in their debut weeks, and none came from a male solo act. To find a male solo performance like that, one would have to look back to 2005, when Kenny Chesney moved 469,000 copies of “The Road and the Radio.”
Performing like a hit pop album on iTunes, “Crash My Party” has also launched several of its individual tracks into sweet chart positions. “That’s My Kind of Night” and “Crash My Party” are in the overall iTunes top 10, while “Dirt Road Diary” (24), “Play it Again” (48), “I See You” (67), “Beer in the Headlights” (76) and “Roller Coaster” (100) are also connecting with downloaders.
— Among new releases, K. Michelle’s “Rebellious Soul” will net the next best debut. Billboard forecasts a launch in the 65K range.