Keith Urban’s Defying Gravity Floats to No. 1

George Strait Racks Up Another No. 1 With "River of Love"

Sound the trumpets for Keith Urban as he sweeps into No. 1 on Billboard’s country albums chart this week with the aptly-branded Defying Gravity. Better news still, Defying Gravity also balances on the peak of the Billboard 200 all-genres listing. The album’s first-week sales totaled 171,525, as measured by Nielsen SoundScan.

And after a leisurely 22-week climb, George Strait’s “River of Love” moves to the top of the songs rankings.

Urban’s ascendance topples last week’s best-selling album, Martina McBride’s Shine, down to the No. 7 slot.

And what of the eternal Taylor Swift? Well, she’s doing just fine. Her Fearless CD hangs in at No. 2, the same place it was on the last report.

On the other hand, Swift’s current single, “White Horse,” slides to No. 7. Its high point was No. 2.

There are five more new albums to report: Rodney AtkinsIt’s America (debuting at No. 3), the FlatlandersHills and Valleys (No. 38), Dailey & Vincent’s Brothers From Different Mothers (No. 44), the self-titled Caitlin & Will (No. 51) and Playlist: The Very Best of Brad Paisley (No. 60).

Jewel’s Perfectly Clear returns to the fray at No. 74.

Alas, only two new songs raise their lyrical heads: Rascal Flatts’ “Summer Nights,” taking a bow at No. 57, and Lee Ann Womack’s “Solitary Thinkin’,” limboing in at No. 60.

Rounding out the Top 5 albums at No. 4 and No. 5, respectively, are the Zac Brown Band’s The Foundation and Carrie Underwood’s Carnival Ride.

A round of applause, please, for Underwood’s strong and steady sales. Carnival Ride has spent most of its 76 weeks in the Top 5 — and her entertainer of the year win at last Sunday’s Academy of Country Music Awards should keep it there a lot longer. So far, the album has sold more than 2.7 million copies.

The No. 2 through No. 5 songs, in that order, are Jake Owen’s “Don’t Think I Can’t Love You,” Darius Rucker’s “It Won’t Be Like This for Long,” Rodney Atkins’ “It’s America” and Jason Aldean’s “She’s Country.”

Defying Gravity? Now there’s a title you can take two ways. Does Urban mean he’s floating or resisting being serious?

Edward Morris is a veteran of country music journalism. He lives in Nashville, Tennessee, and is a frequent contributor to