The Taylor Swift invasion continues.
The singer’s “Red” album, released last week, officially sold 1.208 million copies according to Nielsen SoundScan, more than any other album since Eminem’s “The Eminem Show” in 2002.
And, unlike the charts’ last massive seller, Lady Gaga’s “Born This Way” in May 2011 (1.108 million), Swift did it without any severely discounted prices (Amazon famously offered Gaga’s release for 99 cents on two days during its initial week out). “Red” was released on Monday, though, a day earlier than the usual release cycle.
Swift was also a ubiquitous presence in the past week, both personally, as she made numerous TV show appearances, and musically, as her CD was sold in unconventional locations including Walgreens and Papa John’s Pizza. Yes, Papa John’s Pizza.
The accomplishments of “Red,” which will, obviously, bow at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 album chart this week, are many. According to Billboard, it’s only the 18th album to sell a million copies in a single week since 1991 and marks the second largest sales period for a female act. Ms. “X-Factor,” Britney Spears, still retains that top title from when her “Oops! … I Did It Again” sold 1.319 million copies in 2000.
“Red” also inflamed iTunes, which sold almost 465,000 copies of the album – also a record.
Swift will perform Thursday night on the CMA Awards, where she’s up for three, including Entertainer of the Year, which she’s won the past two years. She also announced the tour to support “Red” last week, including April 18-19 at Philips Arena, and her co-hosting stint of the Grammy Awards nomination concert/show on Dec. 5.
While Swift is becoming a polarizing presence as her popularity continues to swell, there is little doubt that “Red,” her unabashed embrace of the pop world, is a terrific piece of work. Filled with soaring choruses, easy-to-adore melodies and Swift’s love-‘em-or-hate-‘em diary entries of her romantic travails, it’s a portrait of a young artist in full bloom.