Christian rocker Chris Tomlin tops Billboard 200

"Burning Lights" by Christian rocker Chris Tomlin debuts atop the Billboard 200.
“Burning Lights” by Christian rocker Chris Tomlin debuts atop the Billboard 200.
(Mark Humphrey / Associated Press)

For the second time in less than a year, a Christian album has topped the Billboard 200.

Chris Tomlin, a singer-songwriter who earlier this month led worship services at the Passion 2013 conference in Atlanta, sold 73,000 copies of “Burning Lights,” enough to land at No. 1 on the chart in a slow post-holiday release week.

In September, former D.C. Talk member TobyMac took the top spot with 69,000 sales of his album “Eye on It”; prior to that, Billboard’s Keith Caulfield wrote in a detailed post Wednesday morning, Christian music hadn’t visited No. 1 since LeAnn Rimes made it there in 1997.

Yet Tomlin and TobyMac aren’t the only faith-based musicians making commercial waves of late: In 2012, albums by Tenth Avenue North and Lecrae (who appears on “Burning Lights” in a track you can hear below) started inside the top 10 as well.


Also debuting this week are two flamboyant -- and considerably less wholesome -- heavy-metal outfits from L.A.: Hollywood Undead, whose “Notes From the Underground” enters at No. 2, and Black Veil Brides, which landed at No. 7 with “Wretched and Divine: The Story of the Wild Ones.” “Signed and Sealed in Blood,” the latest from Boston’s appealingly rowdy Dropkick Murphys, came in at No. 9.

The rest of the chart found several recent hits -- albums by Taylor Swift, Bruno Mars and One Direction, as well as the soundtrack from “Les Misérables” -- engaged in a round of musical chairs. Expect at least one of them to get the boot next week, when ASAP Rocky’s “Long Live ASAP” enters the tally.


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