Arcade Fire Outduels Eminem, Lands Top Spot on Billboard Charts

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Big news from last night/this morning -- The Suburbs, the third album from Montreal indie rockers Arcade Fire, landed on the top of the Billboard 200 this week.

The Suburbs sold 156,000 copies in its initial week, edging out Eminem's Recovery by 4,000 units. Thanks to a lofty $3.99 pricetag at Amazon's MP3 store, The Suburbs bested Arcade Fire's previous best debut on the charts when their second album, Neon Bible, debuted at No. 2 while pushing 92,000 units in March of 2007. The Suburbs joins Vampire Weekend's Contra and the Hope for Haiti compilation as the only independently released albums to debut at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 this year. 

You know what? Thank god Arcade Fire were No. 1. The rest of the Billboard 200's top 10 is pretty standard fare -- Drake, Justin Bieber, Avenged Sevenfold (gross) and Buckcherry (even grosser) round out things out. It's encouraging to see that a band on an independent label like Merge can capture the top spot on a list dominated by Top 40 and hip hop. I know Vampire Weekend already did so in January, but The Suburbs -- unlike Contra -- isn't annoying as shit and actually has some substance to it. I know, I know -- that was a cheap shot. The consumption of horchata is a very pressing issues these days. 

I didn't think, when I wrote about the album on its release date, that The Suburbs would top the Billboard 200. Frankly, that doesn't really matter and shouldn't matter to a band like Arcade Fire. However, once an album released by an independent label such as The Suburbs tops that same list, then eyebrows become raised and people take notice. Hopefully this will spur even more album sales for a much-deserved effort by Arcade Fire.

Congratulations are in order for the band and more so for their fans -- without their rampant support, Arcade Fire wouldn't have nearly the widespread appeal and profile to outsell Eminem and Justin Bieber. 

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