As we swing into 2009, Rascal Flatts and Taylor Swift continue to top Billboard's country albums and country songs charts, respectively. Flatts' "Here" has held the songs summit for two weeks, while Swift's Fearless has been welded to No. 1 on the albums for seven weeks.
Owing to the paucity of new album and single releases during the holiday season, there aren't any album debuts to report and only three new songs, all Christmas carols. They are Carrie Underwood's "O Holy Night" and "The First Noel," bowing at No. 39 and No. 50, in that order, and Faith Hill's "O Come All Ye Faithful," edging in at No. 60.
Two Tim McGraw CDs have staged comebacks, Let It Go, re-entering at No. 71, and Tim McGraw: Collectors' Edition, encoring at No. 74. Kristy Lee Cook's Why Wait returns at No. 75.
Albums trooping in behind Swift in the Top 5 are Taylor Swift (the singer's unsinkable first album, now on for its 114th week), Rascal Flatts' Greatest Hits, Vol. 1, Sugarland's Love on the Inside and Hill's Joy to the World (the bestselling country Christmas album of 2008).
In the No. 2 through No. 5 spots on the songs rankings are Sugarland's "Already Gone," the Zac Brown Band's "Chicken Fried," Montgomery Gentry's "Roll With Me" and the Brad Paisley-Keith Urban duet, "Start a Band."
Congrats to Taylor Swift for selling more than 4 million albums during the past year, thereby establishing herself as the bestselling artist in American popular music. Didn't we all see it coming?