Madonna’s ‘MDNA’ gives artist her eighth No. 1


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Babs better watch her back. With the stellar chart debut of Madonna’s ‘MDNA,’ the Material Girl is closing in on Barbra Streisand’s record of nine chart-topping albums by a female artist. Madonna’s ‘MDNA’ will debut at No. 1 atop the U.S. pop charts Wednesday morning, having sold 359,000 copies in the U.S., according to Nielsen SoundScan stats revealed Tuesday by Billboard.

‘MDNA’ is Madonna’s best sales week since ‘Music’ topped the Billboard charts with 420,000 copies sold in 2000. ‘MDNA’ also had a hard-to-fail promotional campaign, as Madonna performed single ‘Give Me All Your Luvin’ ’ with younger stars Nicki Minaj and M.I.A. during the Super Bowl halftime show in February. Madonna’s MDNA tour will come to Staples Center in October.


Also helping Madonna’s sales, reports Billboard, was a tie-in with her tour, as those who bought a concert ticket had the option of receiving the album. Billboard tallied sales only from those who specifically requested to receive ‘MDNA’ with their ticket purchase. The tactic has been used by others, including Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers with its 2010 album, ‘Mojo.’

Madonna’s prior album, 2008’s ‘Hard Candy,’ sold 280,000 copies in its first week. ‘Hard Candy’ was Madonna’s final album for Warner Bros. Prior to the release of ‘Hard Candy,’ the artist inked a deal with Live Nation for future albums. The concert promoter partnered with Interscope Records for the release of ‘MDNA.’

Reviews of ‘MDNA’ have been mixed. Times critic Randall Roberts wrote that ‘much of the music on the new album could have appeared on any random electronica collection of the last decade,’ and added that ‘the template she helped build is ruling the charts via the work of Rihanna, Katy Perry, Lady Gaga and Kesha, each of whom not only sings about club life but also lives it.’ The Chicago Tribune’s Greg Kot was kinder, hailing the album as her best since 1998’s ‘Ray of Light,’ reasoning that ‘like few Madonna albums in the last decade, the album has an emotional center.’

Meanwhile, going country turns out to be a winning career choice by veteran pop crooner Lionel Richie. On ‘Tuskegee,’ he revisits his hit duets from the ‘80s with country stars including Shania Twain, Willie Nelson, Sugarland’s Jennifer Nettles, Kenny Chesney, Blake Shelton and others, and it gives him one of his best-ever chart showings.

‘Tuskegee’ sold 199,000 copies in its first week, his largest total since Nielsen SoundScan began tracking sales for Billboard in 1991. He follows such artists as Darius Rucker, Jewel and Staind’s Aaron Lewis in making the jump to country, but even with the help of a little twang, The Times’ Randy Lewis found that ‘Richie still never really steps away from the polished sheen that characterized his musical heyday.’


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-- Todd Martens