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After an atypically strong start to the year in terms of high-powered new releases, we’ve hit a dry stretch. Thus, Kendrick Lamar (TDE/Shady/Interscope) and Drake (YM/CM/Republic), who have the two most recent big albums, remain on the iTunes big board despite the latest onslaught of debuts, and they’ll likely rise higher once the quick burn takes effect on the short-term occupants. The same can obviously be said for Big Machine’s Taylor Swift, whose 1989 is still selling six months after its seven-figure bow. The most intriguing new entry is the latest from critical darling and indie-rock avatar Sufjan Stevens, whose Carrie & Lowell (on Asthmatic Kitty/Secretly Canadian) is being hailed as his best since his modern-day classic Illinoise 10 years ago.

The singles chart is less subject to short-term change, which makes consistent hitmaker Rihanna (Roc Nation) and the crossing alt-rockers Walk the Moon (RCA) the big stories.

NEAR TRUTHS: OFF AND RUNNING
The lay of the land at the top of the year (1/21a)
O-ROD MANAGEMENT
IN PLAY?
America's most wanted (1/20a)
HITS LIST GETS ANIMATED
Lin-Manuel and Ken sing in harmony, inspiring industry applause. (1/21a)
MEAT LOAF,
1947-2022
The dashboard light has dimmed. (1/21a)
SONG REVENUE: SOME ENCHANTED DAWN
Winning hands in the early action (1/20a)
OOH, LAS VEGAS
You're gonna make a poor boy outta me.
HOW I WISH THAT THERE WERE MORE
...than 24 hours in a day.
PALMS SWEAT, BLACKJACK
on a Saturday night
SIN CITY
Lamborginis and caviar Dry martinis, Shangri-La
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