Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Pop Irony: Barbra Streisand’s “Walls” Kept From Being Number 1 This Week by New “A Star is Born” Album


The votes are in, and in album sales this week, Barbra Streisand’s new “Walls” album is not number 1. It’s number 2. The number 1 album? Ironically, it’s the soundtrack to “A Star is Born.”

Streisand knew last year that the new “A Star is Born” was coming in the fall, along with a new Lady Gaga soundtrack. So she hustled to get a new album out around the same time, lest the public would only be talking about her in the context of ‘Lady Gaga succeeds Streisand’. Streisand, of course, had had a major career victory in 1976 in the theaters and on the charts with her “A Star is Born.”

And so we have “Walls,” a mix of new songs and old with some muddy production and political overtones that are right headed but will rankle a few right wingers. For a contemporary sound, Streisand has never been able to get back to her best pop album, “Stoney End,” produced by Richard Perry. On record, she always sounds like she needs Baywatch to come rescue her from strings.

But what a delicious irony that waiting a month after Lady Gaga, Barbra still couldn’t come in on top. That must be frustrating. On the BuzzAngle/HitsDailyDouble chart for sales and downloads, “Walls” sold 33,327 to Star/Gaga’s 45,343. And the latter actually moved UP to number 1 from number 2.

Barbra did less well on the chart that includes streaming, coming in at number 11. Her streaming was nil– just a thousand. Star/Gaga was number 2 with about 25,000 more copies from streaming.

The “Star” CD does have the upper hand– it’s attached to the movie. And of course Gaga is the star of this generation. She is now to Barbra what Barbra was to Judy Garland when they sang together. Of course this means that soon we will have a Barbra/Gaga duet recording and maybe a performance — if everyone’s smart– on either the Oscars or Grammys.

Remember– you read that here first.

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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