It’s a world of hurt. Perhaps you may become king one day, but your kingdom will inevitably fall and take you with it. We live in a time of unprecedented prosperity, but every empire falsely believes in immortality. And just as empires rise and fall, so do album charts: Only two top spots from last week remain. We mourn the dead but remember a time when, not so long ago, they ruled the world. (Yes, I’ve been watching Game Of Thrones.)
It takes a lot to slaughter Black Lips’ Arabia Mountain off the Radio 200 chart’s No. 1 spot—which is why it’s no surprise that Bon Iver’s self-titled sophomore album accomplishes that feat, after hitting pretty much every other milestone in its campaign to bring sexy sax to the masses, with lyrics so oblique they fall off the page. Leaving Battles’ Gloss Drop at No. 2, Justin Vernon’s bonny young project boinks Black Lips to No. 3, which boinks Cults to No. 4. YACHT and Thievery Corporation soar from No. 183 and No. 136 to No. 25 and No. 26, while Shabazz Palaces’ well-received weirdo-rap saga Black Up debuts at the admirable No. 29.
In Loud Rock, Brazilian metal gods Sepultura claim their divine right to a top spot debut with the album-art-perfect Kairos, exiling the Devin Townsend Project from No. 1 last week, all the way to No. 8 (Alas, so fall the mighty!). Hip-Hop, too, dethrones Atmosphere’s The Family Sign, which had been at No. 1 since Littlefoot stepped into the Great Valley. Replacing the Rhymesayers legend is the also-from-Rhymesayers Are You Gonna Eat That? by Hail Mary Mallon, up from No. 2 last week. The saga is repeated in RPM, with a hostile takeover from Thievery Corporation pushing Junior Boys to No. 2.
The one ray of hope for a continuing dynasty comes from the eternal throne in the kingdom of Jazz, where the triumvirate of Corea, Clarke and White rules over the land with an iron trumpet and has done so for many weeks. The kings are dead; long live the kings!