2013 Chart Trends: Top 5 Over & Underachievers

September 16th, 2013 8:00pm EDT

Tamar Braxton : Love & War “You win some and you lose some.” At least, that’s what they say.  That’s the case with numerous albums in 2013.  I have chosen five albums that exceeded sales expectations and five albums that fell short of expectations.  Let’s see who made my list…

The Overachievers 
Honorable Mention(s): Justin Timberlake, The 20/20 Experience (no. 1 bow, 968,000 copies sold it’s first week);  Ariana Grande, Yours Truly (no. 1 debut with 138,000 copies sold)


Tamar Braxton, Love & War


Selling R&B is a test in itself.  If you’d told me Toni Braxton’s little sis would move six figures (114,000 copies) and debut near the top of the charts (no. 2), I wouldn’t have believed you.  That’s just want Tamar Braxton did.  Toni’s last album Pulse didn’t come close to debuting with those numbers (no. 9, 54,000 copies).  All “love” here baby!


J. Cole, Born Sinner

Roc Nation / Columbia 

He wasn’t supposed to have a shot at no. 1 when he moved his album date to compete with Kanye West.  However,  when the final tally came in, J. Cole had ‘come up’ big time with 297,000 copies sold of Born Sinner, only 30,000 copies shy of West’s Yeezus.  Cole would win the battle though, outselling West beginning in week two (84,000 copies vs. 65,000) and eventually peaking at no. 1 on the Albums chart.  That’s an overachiever y’all!


Robin Thicke, Blurred Lines


Robin Thicke’s career looked like it was sunk following album bomb Love After War.  But the gift that kept on giving (mostly for the better) called “Blurred Lines” reinvigorated the retro-soul artist and propelled him to his first no. 1 album (177,000 copies sold).  One has to think had there been no “Blurred Lines”, ole boy would’ve been sweating when those chart numbers came out.  


Daft Punk, Random Access Memories


Talk about a ‘come up’.  Like Robin Thicke, Daft Punk can thank a popular little single that somehow missed no. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for their gargantuan success.  “Get Lucky” was also a gift, and definitely lifted album Random Access Memories to no. 1 on the albums chart selling 339,000 copies.  The cray cray thing? Daft Punk had never neared the top of the charts nor six figure sales.


Luke Bryan, Crash My Party

Capitol Nashville

Yeah, I wasn’t crazy about Crash My Party and I had my issues with Spring Break…Here To Party.  But face it folks, country’s frat boy has had a great year.  First he lands his first no. 1 with a compilation album that is an ode to college irresponsibility (Luke is in his 30s for the record), then he truly cashes in selling more than half-a-milli with Crash My Party for his second no. 1 (528,000 copies).  How big was that? Only Taylor Swift had sold more than 500,000 copies before Luke in recent times.  Additionally, only Justin Timberlake and Jay-Z sold more copies.  Luke, go on and choke down another one!

The Underachievers 
Un-honorable mentions: R&B albums in general


Kanye West, Yeezus

Def Jam

Selling 327,000 copies in a week is hardly underachieving for anybody, particularly in a huge music album recession.  But for Kanye West, it was definitely underwhelming, particularly if you consider prognostications had suggested West might sell 500,000 copies of Yeezus.  To make the underachieving worse, Yeezus only sold 65,000 copies it’s second week out…OUCH.


John Mayer, Paradise Valley 


John Mayer didn’t totally tank, but given his modest debut with only 144,000 copies sold, Johnny took a dip from his previous album sales. At least he still moved six figures…


John Legend, Love in the Future


John Legend hadn’t release a solo album in five years when Love in the Future came out September 3, 2013.  Even so, Legend’s previous solo albums all sold six figures, with 2008 effort Evolver bowing at no. 4 with 133,000 copies sold.  Love in the Future also bowed at no. 4, but with 68,000 copies.  Not to be a negative noodle, but 68,000 copies puts Love in the Future’s chart longevity into serious question.


Big Sean, Hall of Fame 

Def Jam

To me, it seems that Big Sean has been on everybody’s track.  Something about his voice makes him an ideal collaborator.  After hitting a home run with his debut album Finally Famous, I had hoped that Sean would build upon the no. 3 bow with 87,000 copies that greeted that album. However, Hall of Fame would take a step back.  It matched the no. 3 peak, but with only 72,000 copies sold.  Again, 72,000 copies leaves little wiggle room for most albums’ chart lives.


The-Dream, IV Play 

Def Jam

Talk about the ultimate epic fail.  The-Dream has been ‘cooling off’ for a minute, but IV Play showed that apparently even The-Dream’s fans weren’t in the mood.  With only about  23,000 copies moved its first week, the oversexed affair was doomed from the get-go.  It also didn’t help it wasn’t The-Dream’s most inspired work either…

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Filed under: Charts, Country, Electronic, Feature, Hip-Hop/Rap, Music, Pop, Pop Culture, R&B/Soul, Rock, Urban Tagged: "Get Lucky", Ariana Grande, Big Sean, Blurred Lines, Daft Punk, J. Cole, John Legend, John Mayer, Justin Timberlake, Kanye West, Luke Bryan, Pharrell Williams, Random Access Memories, Robin Thicke, Tamar Braxton, The-Dream, Toni Braxton

Related: Tamar Braxton, Music, CD Reviews, Rock Music, R & B, Rap/Hip-Hop, Country, Pop, Indie Music, Billboard Charts

Photo Credits: Epic Records, Interscope Records, Def Jam Records, Columbia Records, Capitol Records, Roc Nation Records,

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