Although there are still a few hours of 2011 left on the calendar, the numbers cited in this week's chart column are from Billboard's Jan. 7, 2012 charts, a circumstance that suggests the trade publication has the power to hasten the earth's turnings. And who are we to argue?
Anyway, the No. 1 album and song for the first week of 2012 are the same as for the last week of 2011 -- Lady Antebellum's Own the Night and the Zac Brown Band's "Keep Me in Mind."
But a few changes occur farther down the charts.
There is one new album to report: Icon: Conway Twitty, which arrives at No. 67, and four re-entries: Icon: Johnny Cash (back at No. 58), Icon: Hank Williams (No. 62), the various artist package Country Strong: More Music From the Motion Picture (No. 71) and Sunny Sweeney's Concrete (No. 72).
Five new songs raise their timorous heads: Little Big Town's "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" (No. 49), Miranda Lambert's "Over You" (No. 53), Blake Shelton's "Drink on It" (No. 56), Justin Moore's "Run Rudolph Run" (No. 58) and Edens Edge's "O Holy Night."
(Note, please, that Lambert co-wrote "Over You" with Shelton, her royal consort. This should mitigate any sting he might feel from having entered the chart three places below his missus.)
The No. 2 through No. 5 albums are Scotty McCreery's Clear as Day, Jason Aldean's My Kinda Party, Toby Keith's Clancy's Tavern and Luke Bryan's Tailgates & Tanlines.
Trooping in behind "Keep Me in Mind" within the Top 5 songs are Aldean's "Tattoos on This Town," Rascal Flatts' "Easy" (featuring Natasha Bedingfield), David Nail's "Let It Rain" and Eric Church's "Drink in My Hand," in that order.
Let us end on this happy note: According to Nielsen SoundScan, the Top 75 country albums sold a total of 1,085,698 copies the final week of 2011, a jump of more than 300,000 copies over the week before.
Quick! Red Solo Cups for everybody!