Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Charts: Good News, Bad News for Bob Dylan — Number 1 with Few Albums — Just Bad News for John Legend, Beyonce


It’s good news, bad news for Bob Dylan, bad news for John Legend and Beyonce, and no news for Neil Young on this week’s pop charts.

Bob Dylan’s “Rough and Rowdy Ways,” a superior album, sold 57,000 CDs and downloads, had little streaming, and finished at number 2 overall for the week. As far the sales of the former, he finished at number 1. But 57,000 is a very low number, and half the amount his 2012 release sold. Does it matter? No. Dylan’s a genius, a legend, and “Rough and Rowdy Ways” is A plus.

“Rough and Rowdy Ways” comes to us from Sony’s Columbia Records, which also released John Legend’s “Bigger Love” this week. “Bigger Love” is an unmitigated disaster, selling 12,550 copies according to and Buzz Angle Music. You can’t say “Bigger Love” didn’t have a marketing push. Legend had his TV special and he is literally everywhere. He is omnipresent, ubiquitous in the culture.

But “Bigger Love” is not good. It’s a throwaway. It has no singles of any merit. Clive Davis would never have released it. John Legend is so talented, I expected better from him. He is drifting into the land of Mantovani. These songs have no hooks, no choruses, and no pizzaz. The opening track is a riff on the Flamingos’ “I Only Have Eyes for You.” How old is John Legend? 75? Who is this album for? His grandmother? (And listen, I love the Flamingos. But they are a generation and a half older than me. Kids never heard of them.)

Columbia also has Beyonce’s “Black Parade,” which I wrote about this morning. An excellent single, but it’s a dud sales and radio wise. She dropped it, and Sony Music didn’t pick it up and run. It’s one of many Black Lives Matter-centric songs that are being ignored by the market.

Over on Reprise, Neil Young, the west coast Bob Dylan, released his unreleased 1975 album, “Homegrown.” It sold 22,000 copies, which is a lot now for Neil Young, who’s turned archive releases into a business. “Homegrown” will have a life among Young fanatics. But it’s like a sketchbook, not a fully realized album, and I liked Linda Ronstadt’s version of “Love is a Rose” better. I also like Neil’s “Comes a Time” a lot better, from the same era. Anyway, Neil is like Bob and Paul Simon and Bonnie Raitt. He’s forever.

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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