A Swift descent into Cake, Broadcasting death, and Steven Tyler’s Idol

It was a minor tragedy when blameless young TAYLOR SWIFT scored the worst-selling #1 album in recorded chart history. But the humiliation didn't end there: the poor kid's record was shattered only a week later by quasi-novelty dorks CAKE, who managed to knock her off the top spot with an even weaker chart debut.

In case you're not familiar with how the Billboard charts work: albums usually hit #1 when lots and lots of people buy them. Showroom of Compassion, Cake's fifth album (I just guessed on that, since nobody cares), hit the #1 spot despite selling just 41,000 copies. In the grand scheme of things, rounded down and adjusted for inflation and whatever, that works out to approximately zero fucking copies.

Still, the sad truth of it is that Showroom of Compassion sold more than anything else this week. We all know that nobody buys records anymore, but this is getting to be ridiculous. If I had a clean shirt and a nice pair of shoes, I could probably sell more than 41,000 records in a week going door to door.

To put it in perspective: last year's biggest chart debut was EMINEM's Recovery, which sold 741,000 units in its first week. If you do the math, that's like a million more than Cake. This has to be a clerical error. Maybe the guys at Billboard misplaced the first page of their SoundScan spreadsheet and accidentally started the chart at #37.

Elsewhere in recent events and quotations:

Kind of funny how the rave reviews of the new DECEMBERISTS album all say the same thing without coming right out and saying it. Entertainment Weekly calls it "succinctly rewarding." The Guardian tells us it's "a relatively understated delight from a band few might have suspected capable of understatement." Rolling Stone says it's "a chance to see how deep simplicity goes"; the AV Club reassures us that "there are no complicated metaphors or elaborate narratives here." And some rag called the Boston Phoenix describes it as "precisely played and really, really nice." Translation of all of the above: "COLIN MELOY is finally being slightly less of an insufferably affected little dweeby shit on this one."

Headline of the week, courtesy of billboard.com: "BRITNEY SPEARS' New Album Is 'Amazing,' PAULY D Promises." I know there was that Advertising Age story recently saying that celebrity endorsements don't work, but few can deny the clout of Pauly D's æsthetic judgments.

The world was shocked and saddened by the untimely swine-flu death of BROADCAST's TRISH KEENAN. I guess JOSH HOMME of QUEENS OF THE STONE AGE got a little jealous about all the attention she was receiving — just a couple of days later, he started bragging to NME that he, too, was dead. "I had surgery on my leg and there were complications and I died on the table. I was in bed for three months." Bad form, Josh. Not classy.

Say what you will about malevolent pop barbarian KE$HA, at least she acknowledges the violence of her art crimes. On her upcoming tour: "Visually it will just be assaulting, and sonically it will be assaulting. It's just going to be an assault of all your senses." Have mercy, you brute!

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Related: The Big Hurt: Say anything, 2010: The Year In Pop Music, The Big Hurt: Faces refaced, More more >
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