This week One Direction became the first-ever group from the U.K. to debut atop the Billboard 200 albums chart with its first LP. Up All Night moved 176,000 units, which bested Adele's 21 in the No. 2 slot by about 30,000. Which prompts the question: Who in the hell is One Direction? Formed in 2010 on the British edition of X-Factor, One Direction is a boy band that's been ripping up the charts overseas and now, it appears, seems poised to do the same in the United States. Along with the big sales for Up All Night, the album's introductory single, "What Makes You Beautiful," entered the chart at No. 28, the best first-showing for a single by a British group since the Spice Girls' "Wannabe" in 1997.
So, are we on the verge of a full-scale boy-band renaissance? One Direction certainly has gained traction in the media in recent weeks, appearing on the Today show for its first ever U.S. TV performance before doing the requisite tour of clubs and shopping malls. If the momentum continues, it might not be long before our nation's beaches are once again filled with shaggy-haired hunks filming music videos. You've been warned.
Another debut this week spotlights a less obvious recent chart trend: The resurgence of Christian rock. A compilation album recorded live earlier this year at a religious conference that includes acts like David Crowder Band and Chris Tomlin, Passion: White Flag comes in at No. 5 with 48,000 units, and is the best showing ever for a Passion album. David Crowder Band landed in the top 10 back in January with its album Give Us Rest, joining other Christian rockers like James Fortune & FIYA and Casting Crowns with recent top 10 debuts.
The rest of the top 10 includes: Guns N' Roses' Greatest Hits, which comes in at No. 3 after it was priced at 25 cents on multiple digital sites; Bruce Springsteen's Wrecking Ball (No. 4, 57,000); Whitney Houston's The Greatest Hits (No. 6, 45,000); Drake's Take Care (No. 7, 36,000); Now 41 (No. 8, 29,000); Gotye's Making Mirrors (No. 9, 24,000), and fun.'s Some Nights (No. 10, 22,000). [via Billboard]