Earlier this week, Billboard announced the year-end charts in all musical genres. Billboard’s chart year runs from the first week of December (2007) to the last week of November (2008), and the country albums list provides an interesting commentary on the current state of the genre. Below is the list of the 25 best-selling country albums of the year.
1. Long Road Out Of Eden, Eagles
2. Taylor Swift, Taylor Swift
3. Carnival Ride, Carrie Underwood
4. The Ultimate Hits, Garth Brooks
5. Still Feels Good, Rascal Flatts
6. Love On The Inside, Sugarland
7. Enjoy The Ride, Sugarland
8. Raising Sand, Robert Plant / Alison Krauss
9. Just Who I Am: Poets & Pirates, Kenny Chesney
10. Reba Duets, Reba McEntire
11. Greatest Hits, Keith Urban
12. Troubadour, George Strait
13. Fearless, Taylor Swift
14. Good Time, Alan Jackson
15. American Man: Greatest Hits Volume II, Trace Adkins
16. 22 More Hits, George Strait
17. 5th Gear, Brad Paisley
18. 35 Biggest Hits, Toby Keith
19. Some Hearts, Carrie Underwood
20. Everything Is Fine, Josh Turner
21. Lucky Old Sun, Kenny Chesney
22. Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, Miranda Lambert
23. Sunset Man, James Otto
24. Living Hard, Gary Allan
25. Lady Antebellum, Lady Antebellum
*Eagles’ Long Road Out Of Eden sold 2,051,352 units in 2008. Underwood’s Some Hearts led the list in 2007 (2,288,319) and 2006 (3,721,786). As of November 30, 2008, Long Road Out Of Eden had sold 3,133,855 units.
*Thirteen of the 25 albums have sold over one million units. Otto and Lady Antebellum are under 400,000 units.
*Sugarland’s Love on the Inside is the best-selling album released in 2008. Only ten of the top 25 albums were issued in the chart year. (Adkins, Chesney (Lucky Old Sun), Jackson, Keith (35 Biggest Hits), Lady Antebellum, Otto, Strait (22 More Hits), Strait (Troubadour), Sugarland (Love on the Inside), Swift (Fearless))
*On the albums list (counting Plant/Krauss as a combined act), 20 artists are included. (Chesney, Strait, Sugarland, Swift and Underwood all have two entries.)
*Five of last year’s top ten albums are featured again on the 2008 list (Carnival Ride, Long Road Out Of Eden, Enjoy the Ride, Still Feels Good, Taylor Swift)
*Two 2006 discs (Enjoy the Ride, Taylor Swift).continued to sell well, and November 2005’s Some Hearts shows staying power.
*Only one new act (Lady Antebellum) cracked the top 25.
*The youngest artist on the list is Swift, 19. Plant, at 60, is the oldest.
*Taylor Swift owns both the youngest (Fearless, three weeks) and second-oldest (Taylor Swift, 111 weeks) albums on the chart. Some Hearts reached #1 in November 2005 and has remained on the chart for 156 weeks.
*Swift’s self-titled debut album finished at #2 in 2008, a slight improvement from its third place finish last year.
*Eighteen albums debuted at #1 in 2008. Only Good Time, Troubadour, Lady Antebellum, Love on the Inside and Fearless are in the year-end Top 25.
*Ten albums on the chart were released by acts including one female member (Lady Antebellum, Lambert, McEntire, Plant/Krauss, Sugarland (2), Swift (2), Underwood (2)).
*Five greatest hits collections made the cut (Adkins, Brooks, Keith, Strait, Urban).
*Lambert’s Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, released in May 2007, finished #41 on the 2007 chart. Her inclusion on several year-end critics’ lists (Rolling Stone, Village Voice, and Nashville Scene, among others), her ACM victory for Album of the Year and her first top ten single (“Gunpowder and Lead”) all boosted her sophomore set to gold status by the summer of 2008.
*All 2008 CMA Award winners are represented, while only two ACM victors are absent. (Best New Male Artist Jack Ingram and Top Vocal Duo Brooks & Dunn). Four of the five CMA Album of the Year nominees (Brooks & Dunn Cowboy Town) are included.
*For the first time since 1993, Tim McGraw failed to place in the year-end top 25 with either a studio album or greatest hits collection.
*Five albums are still included in the top ten of the current Billboard country album chart. (Carnival Ride, Fearless, Love on the Inside, Lucky Old Sun, Taylor Swift)