Make it five straight weeks at No. 1 now for Taylor Swift's skyrocketing debut album. The self-titled collection is nearing sales of 2.5 million copies, according to Nielsen SoundScan, and it just keeps going, fueled by Swift's heavy touring, a Grammy nomination for best new artist and incessant media appearances. A lot of the country music's hope for widening its audience rides on her shoulders.
Across the way, Swift's recent tourmate, Brad Paisley, commands the Billboard songs chart for the second week with "Letter to Me." There are two new titles among the Top 5 tunes this time around. Gary Allan's "Watching Airplanes" leapfrogs from No. 7 to No. 3, and Billy Ray and Miley Cyrus' "Ready, Set, Don't Go" glides from No. 8 to No. 4. Rascal Flatts' "Winner at a Losing Game" keeps its niche at No. 2, while Montgomery Gentry's "What Do Ya Think About That" slips from No. 3 to No. 5.
The albums chart is more sluggish as a couple of last week's Top 5 titles merely shift spots. Garth Brooks' The Ultimate Hits holds steady at No. 2. Sugarland's Enjoy the Ride advances from No. 4 to No. 3. The Eagles' Long Road Out of Eden winds from No. 3 to No. 4. And Robert Plant and Alison Krauss' Raising Sand bobs in place at No. 5.
RCA artist Chuck Wicks makes the biggest splash on this week's albums chart. His debut album, Starting Now, hits solidly at No. 7 while the song that launched it, "Stealing Cinderella," climbs to No. 13. (The prognosis is good for "Stealing Cinderella" since country fans seem to love the dad-daughter-boyfriend triad. Heartland's "I Loved Her First," which exploited the same theme, went No. 1 in 2006.)
The only other new album to break through in this edition of the charts is the multi-artist anthology, Ultimate Grammy Collection: Classic Country. It bows in at No. 72. Gretchen Wilson's One of the Boys re-enters at No. 74.
This week's new songs are the Eagles' "Busy Being Fabulous" (Love that title! No. 48), Randy Owen's "Braid My Hair" (No. 54), Phil Stacey's "If You Didn't Love Me" (No. 55) and Blake Shelton's cover of Michael Bublé's "Home" (No. 60).