Carrie Underwood sold nearly 54,000 copies of her late 2005 release Some Hearts this week, a remarkable sum for an album that’s hardly new. That sales total was good enough to land her at #18 on the pop albums chart, and #6 on the country chart. All the albums that are above her on the country chart have been released in the last two weeks, and she’s outselling newer albums by Rascal Flatts, Keith Urban, Dixie Chicks, Sugarland, Dierks Bentley, Gary Allan, and George Strait, among others.
In fact, Some Hearts has been so well-received by consumers that it now ranks as the second-biggest country studio album of the century. So far, Carrie’s debut CD has sold a stunning 5,209,148 copies. The only studio album to sell more units this century is Home, by Dixie Chicks, which has moved 5, 916,559 units to date.
Can Carrie close that 700k+ gap and have the top-selling country album of the century? If you’d asked me six months ago, I’d have said no, but now I think it’s an inevitability. The reason? “Before He Cheats.” The song revitalized the project at retail when it became a country smash, and now it’s become Carrie’s first crossover hit, soaring up the Mainstream Top 40 and Adult Top 40 radio charts. She didn’t even remix the song to get the crossover spins; it’s being played in its original form.
Add on the massive exposure she’s gotten from her Grammy wins, her probable domination at this year’s ACM Awards, plus her new #1 country hit “Wasted”, and it’s easy to imagine her selling more than six million units of her debut CD, maybe even by the end of 2007. That would place it as the top-selling country album of the century, and also make it the top-selling American Idol-related project; currently, Underwood’s debut trails Kelly Clarkson’s sophomore effort Breakaway, which has sold more than 5.7 million units to date.
Bright as the future is for Underwood, one record that looks way out of reach for her is top-selling country album of all-time. Currently, that record is held comfortably by Shania Twain, who has the top-selling album of any genre of the SoundScan era: Come On Over. As of this week, it has scanned 15,420,945 units.