Puns are the black holes of humor. They suck you in even as taste and intelligence try to hold you back. That's why we are forced to begin this week's column with the observation that Taylor Swift is still Red hot.
Her album of that name holds at No. 1 for the second week on both Billboard's country and all-genres charts. And her lead single from Red, "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together," is in its fifth week of residence at the top of the country songs list.
As reported by Nielsen SoundScan, Red sold 344,249 copies its second week out.
Toby Keith's Hope on the Rocks is the week's highest-debuting album, rolling in at No. 3 on sales of 48,167 units.
The other new CDs are Scotty McCreery's combined album package Clear as Day/Christmas With Scotty McCreery (No. 20) and Elvis Presley's The Classic Christmas Album (No. 56).
Three of the week's new songs were no doubt boosted by having been performed live on the recent CMA Awards show: The Band Perry's "Better Dig Two" (at No. 9, the highest debut), Kelly Clarkson and Vince Gill's "Don't Rush" (No. 25) and Tim McGraw's "One of Those Nights" (No. 29).
The other newcomers are Thompson Square's "If I Didn't Have You" (No. 26) and Sam Palladio and Clare Bowen's "I Will Fall" (No. 45).
Re-entering the chart are Swift's "Red" (No. 24), Hunter Hayes' "Somebody's Heartbreak" (No. 38) and Brantley Gilbert's "Kick It in the Sticks" (No. 46).
This week's No. 2, No. 4 and No. 5 albums are, respectively, Jason Aldean's Night Train, Little Big Town's Tornado and Luke Bryan's Tailgates & Tanlines.
The No. 2 through No. 5 songs are Florida Georgia Line's "Cruise," Carrie Underwood's "Blown Away," Hayes' "Wanted" and Lee Brice's "Hard to Love," in that order.
This is as good a time as any to cite the current country albums that, by Nielsen SoundScan's tally, have sold 1 million or more copies. And they are: Swift's Red (1,552,847), Bryan's Tailgates & Tanlines (1,529,850), Eric Church's Chief (1,130,611), Aldean's My Kinda Party (2,798,762).
And Lady Antebellum's Own the Night (1,744,095), Lionel Richie's Tuskegee (1,032,039) and McCreery's Clear as Day (1,121,658).
It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas.