Nash Wednesday

It's Wednesday, and that means the Billboard Top 200 album chart has been released for the week ending Sunday night. The week was a battle of Nashville debuts, with Tennessee rockers, Kings of Leon, and country supergroup, Sugarland, each releasing their newest albums last Tuesday.

KOL performs at the DTE near Detroit earlier this year

According to Idolator, Sugarland's fourth album, The Incredible Machine, debuted on top with 203,000 albums sold. KOL wasn't too far behind, their Come Around Sundown debuting at #2 with 184,000 copies sold (the family affair's highest chart position and best sales week for any album to date).

Following the #1 debuts of Kenny Chesney’s Hemingway’s Whiskey and Toby Keith’s Bullets In The Gun, Sugarland have now become the third country act to enter at the peak of the Billboard Top 200 album chart in October. The duo’s fourth LP, The Incredible Machine, sold 203,000 copies out of the gate, enough to hold Kings Of Leon’s Come Around Sundown back at  #2.

Despite settling for the runner-up position, Billboard points out that the Followill clan still managed to post their highest position on the Top 200 and their best sales week. Come Around Sundown moved 184,000 copies…
I'm kind of torn by these results. I've heard both groups' albums, and it seems to me that KOL stomped Sugarland in quality, growth, and overall artistry. The Followill boys really put out a solid effort here with tracks like Pyro, Mary, Radioactive, No Money, and The End standing out on an overall fantastic record. While it doesn't have the rawness many long-time KOL fans crave (a rawness evident on the group's early albums), it's a great followup to the massive success of their previous album, Only by the Night.

On the other hand, I had a hard time even listening to Sugarland's album in full. Jennifer Nettles' voice is superb, as usual, yet the songs try too hard and are just lacking something. The best track is definitely Shine the Light, a bare bones Nettles-penned track featuring just her voice and piano playing.

I'm a big fan of both groups, but it's clear Sugarland has a larger core fanbase willing to buy their album regardless of content. The true test of an album's success is in its longevity, and I think KOL will win that race.

Per Hits Daily Double, it looks like Nashville is going to rule the album charts next week as well, with Taylor Swift predicted to debut with an astounding (especially in this time of declining album sales) million copies sold of her newest album, Speak Now.

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