Can you believe that Luke Bryan's breathlessly anticipated Crash My Party debuts this week at a pallid No. 68 on Billboard's country album chart? Wait, Lukeophants, don't hurl yourselves off those beachfront balconies. It's an anomaly we'll explain later.
Now back to the workaday world: Florida Georgia Line's Here's to the Good Times is turning into Here for a Lifetime as the sunny collection continues its weeks-long residency on the top floor of the Billboard country albums chart. As of this week, by Nielsen SoundScan's count, the duo's sunny CD has sold 942,824 copies.
Brett Eldredge has causes for elation, too, although not ones involving such high volumes. His first album, Bring You Back, vaults into the No. 2 spot on first-week sales of 21,119 units. And ... his current single, "Don't Ya," coasts into No. 1 on the country airplay chart after an arduous 43-week climb.
Yes, yes, we'll get to the Lukeopalypse in just a moment.
Apart from Eldredge's and Bryan's, there are three other new albums to acknowledge. Clint Black, one of country music's fabled Class of '89, resurfaces at No. 30 on the Cracker Barrel label with When I Said I Do. Rusty Truck rattles into No. 45 with Kicker Town and Michael Martin Murphey bows at No. 74 with Red River Drifter.
Two songs appear for the first time: Sugarland's Jennifer Nettles' "That Girl" (at No. 57) and Brad Paisley's "I Can't Change the World" (No. 60).
Now here's what happened with Bryan's Crash My Party. Somebody jumped the gun and sold their copies of the album a week before it was officially released for sale on Aug. 13. That's according to Billboard's country chartmeister, Wade Jessen.
"[It] happens frequently on big releases," Jessen says. "The sales are legit, so SoundScan counts them."
Let the record show that Bryan sold 586 copies of Crash My Party to gain his No. 68 berth. His accommodations should be substantially better next week -- almost certainly the penthouse. So watch out, Florida Georgia Line.
The No. 3 through No. 5 albums are Blake Shelton's Based on a True Story, the eponymous Hunter Hayes and -- sound the trumpets -- Luke Bryan's Tailgates & Tanlines, which rockets back from No. 10 to No. 5 in its 105th week on the charts.
Bunching up right behind Eldredge's "Don't Ya" on the airplay list are Randy Houser's "Runnin' Outta Moonlight" (No. 1 for the past two weeks), Hunter Hayes' "I Want Crazy," Keith Urban's "Little Bit of Everything" and Carrie Underwood's "See You Again," in that order.
Do you suppose we've finally made it through the summer doldrums? Or are you still nursing that sunburn you got at CMA Fest?