Please Adele Don't Hurt 'Em. Just after we related reports that Adele would surely be spending another week on top of the albums charts with 21—her 20th, tying Whitney Houston's Bodyguard soundtrack—now HitsDailyDouble also has first-day projections from this week that says that 21's run will match its title next week. Not only that, but with an assist from Adele's obvious added exposure thanks to her performance and general ownage at the 54th Grammy Awards, 21 is in for its best sales week yet—meaning that at the very least, it should top 400k for the first time in the album's year-plus run of release. In doing so, it becomes the longest-running album on top of the charts since the SoundScan era began in 1991, and the longest of any album since MC Hammer logged 21 weeks in 1990.
This begs the obvious question: When will it all end? The next benchmark for Adele comes at 24 weeks, at which point she ties the run of Prince's Purple Rain (1984) and the Bee Gees and friends' Saturday Night Fever soundtrack (1977). Will anyone else catch her before that happens? Tyga probably won't break 200,000 next week—which we figure to be the minimum Adele should sell for the next few—and as much as we love them, Sleigh Bells don't stand a chance either. The week after that, Ja Rule might have had a shot if this was ten years ago, but probably not today, while Estelle would be forever doomed in competition with lady A.
The only artist with a real shot of unseating Adele in the next three weeks comes with Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band's Wrecking Ball, out March 6th. Bruce's last album, Working on a Dream, sold 224,000 in its first week, and you could say that between the Grammy performance, the upcoming world tour and the press "We Take Care of Our Own" has gotten for being seemingly written explicitly for the Obama administration, he might have a shot at matching whatever numbers Adele would put up three weeks from now. If not, it's a crap shoot after that—Adam Lambert? The Shins? Shinedown? One Direction?—until you get to April 3rd, at which point you'd have to think that Nicki Minaj's Roman Reloaded should be able to take it down pretty easily. But at that point, Adele could have anywhere from 24-28 weeks on top already, and at that point she'd be staring down Fleetwood Mac's Rumours and the 31 weeks that album spent at #1 in the late '70s.
Another milestone worth considering: After the sales are tallied from this week and the next, Adele should have about seven million total in US sales for 21. Is there actually a chance that this album...could go diamond? No album has done it since 2004's Confessions, and with across-the-board sales down dramatically every year since—well, except for this year, thanks almost entirely to Adele's contributions to the effort—we were pretty sure no album would again. But with only about three million to go, and 21 still only on its third single (the excellent "Rumour Has It" was just announced as the eventual #4)...well, stranger things have happened.
This Adele thing gets more impressive every week, huh?