CARAS The Juno Awards catch a lot of heat for being too predictable and too…
- Posted on Feb 8th 2012 3:37PM by Joshua Ostroff
But a Tumblr image with the heading "Canada's like, 'lol idiots'" soon made the rounds, showing 14 national iTunes Top 10s with newcomer Lana Del Rey astride each one except Canada's, which instead was topped by her binary opposite Leonard Cohen, a 77-year-old icon so imbued with authenticity that he named his album 'Old Ideas.'
The pair went back and forth at No. 1 through the week, but that was just digital sales and, as it unsurprisingly turned out, Cohen's audience is more of a physical record owner. When the final SoundScan numbers came out Wednesday, Cohen stood proudly at No. 1 in Canada, with Adele at No. 2 and Del Rey down at 3.
The U.S. numbers were slightly different, with Adele on the top, followed by Lana and Leonard. Admittedly, Del Rey did take the UK chart with Cohen at No. 2 and Adele way down at No. 3, behind some dude named Ed Sheeran.
But Cohen's chart performance is far more impressive across the board than Del Rey, who was riding a wave of publicity that, even if negative, was bound to inspire a lot of curious rubberneckers. The first-week sales figures were followed by reports that Del Rey was postponing a tour -- her reps now claim she never had one planned -- amidst a backlash that will always be part of her bio whether she outlives it or not.
Dubbed "a work of genius" by critics, the 'Old Ideas' album is not only the Canadian legend's highest debut and biggest sales week ever, it blows his last effort out of the water. 2004's 'Dear Heather' debuted -- and peaked -- at No. 131. In fact, Cohen's new album hit No. 1 in a total of eight countries and hit Top 5 in nine more.
(Also, as we hinted above, Billboard reports that in the U.S. 74 percent of Del Rey's sales were downloads while only 30 percent were for Cohen, and that 35 percent of his sales were physical albums ordered online compared to 1 percent for Del Rey.)
The massive 2008-2010 worldwide tour that Cohen undertook to restock his retirement fund -- during his years in a Buddhist monastery his manager allegedly misappropriated millions -- obviously did a lot to increase anticipation for his new album.
But let's also acknowledge that Cohen is benefiting from the Age of Adele as much as Del Rey is suffering from it. Adele's almost unprecedented success -- she's now hit 19 non-consecutive weeks at No. 1 in the U.S. and this week went diamond (i.e. ten times platinum) in Canada -- has AutoTune-addled mainstream music fans looking for authentic and adorned singer-songwriters.
In other words, looking for 'Old Ideas.'