I wonder, will someone else ever take #1 on Country Albums? The Shires seem to have it down, with ‘Brave (Deluxe)’ holding onto it for weeks and the standard edition bringing up the rear at #6. Will Taylor Swift ever not dominate the top 25? She continues she sell bucket loads of back catalogue, this week with ‘Red’ at #2, ‘Taylor Swift’ at #4, ‘Speak Now (Bonus Track Version)’ at #8, ‘Fearless (Platinum Edition)’ at #10, ‘Fearless’ at #11 and finally ‘Red (Deluxe Version)’ at #16. Johnny Cash, too, retains his reputation of chart mainstay, as ‘The Man Comes Around’ charts at #3, ‘The Essential Johnny Cash’ is at #13, and ‘The Legend of Johnny Cash’ is at #14. And naturally, Lady Antebellum’s ‘Need You Now’ is at #9.
So what new ideas and releases does the chart have to offer me? Well, this week brings a couple of new releases. Firstly, Willie Nelson and Merle Haggard’s sixth duets album ‘Django & Jimmie’ has finally been released and is up at #5, while Billy Currington’s brand new ‘Summer Forever’ is at #15 for its debut. Zac Brown Band’s month-old album ‘Jekyll + Hyde’ is also present, taking #7 just as the TV show Nashville continues to capture the hearts and ears of fans. This week, ‘The Music of Nashville: Season 3, Volume 1’ dominates at #12 over ‘Season 1, Volume 2’ at #21 and ‘Season 2, Volume 2’ at #24, surrounding Lady Antebellum’s ‘747’ at #20 and other greatest hits offerings from Shania Twain, John Denver, Kenny Rogers and Willie Nelson. Finally, at the bottom of the top 25 comes Carrie Underwood’s ‘Greatest Hits: Decade #1’, a reminder of her prominence in this country.
Country Songs bears similar fruit to that of Country Albums. Although ‘State Lines’, like last week, is not helming the chart, it does come in at #4, although the fact that its double falls out of the top 25 does indicate their popularity boost is waning. The leader of Country Songs is Taylor Swift’s ‘Love Story’ (as with last week), the first of eight entries on a chart where that is a surprisingly low number. Next up is Johnny Cash’s ‘First Time Ever I Saw Your Face’, followed up by ‘Hurt’ at #9 and ‘Ring of Fire’ at #22, giving us a traditional slant over Carrie Underwood’s ‘Before He Cheats’ at #7 and Lady Antebellum’s ‘Need You Now’ at #8 and #18. Of course, the typical entries from Faith Hill, Heartland, Shania Twain and Dolly Parton are still here, dug into the stonework as permanent visitors, but we are treated to a couple of fresh tracks (or at least recurrences) this week. Tim McGraw and Gwyneth Paltrow’s ‘Me and Tennessee’ (from the soundtrack of ‘Country Strong’) has a healthy #16 placement, while Carolynne Poole’s pop track ‘I Love You But Shut Up’ sidles into #21 (remember her?). Rascal Flatts’ ‘Life Is A Highway’ does get a renaissance at #24, but most surprising, perhaps, and delightful is Little Big Town’s shoot from #25 to #17 with ‘Girl Crush’, another leap for the ‘controversial’ song.
That’s it for this week; come back next Tuesday for another iTunes UK roundup!