The albums on The Billboard 200 this week accounted for 1,682,000 in sales. […] Sales of all “current” albums (those charted and those that didn’t chart) totalled 2,734,000 this week. The other 2,429,000 albums sold this week were catalog. (Those two figures add up to 5,163,000.)
It’s interesting enough that catalog sales represent almost half of total sales for the week. But even more fascinating is what a small percentage of total album sales the Top 200 represents: only about one-third of all album sales for the week. Two-thirds of the week’s album sales are outside of the Top 200.
Even looking at the “current” releases, that leaves 1.1 million current albums outside of the Top 200, or about two-fifths of total sales of current music. That’s a big chunk of low-sellers!
Confession: If it were not for the Dead Kennedys, I wouldn’t know who Harvey Milk even was. And if it weren’t for a new film starring Sean Penn about the assassinated gay city supervisor from San Francisco, I wouldn’t have thought about Harvey Milk. And if it weren’t for looking for information about the Gun Van Sant film, I wouldn’t have discovered that Harvey Milk had released an album this year. And if it weren’t for Glorious Noise, you may not know that the new album, Life…The Best Game In Town, is quite good.
I believe that every man and woman in America should know something about the life of Harvey Milk the man, just as I believe that every fan of the Melvins should know something about the band Harvey Milk. They harvest similar fields, a land where the most beautifully heavy terrains are the ones that you pass over at a combine pace. And to continue with that farming analogy, your Honda may be able to outrun that aforementioned farm implement, but the moment your vehicle’s standing still, that huge monstrosity would annihilate it.
I think we’ve seen around a few dozen Melvins albums pass by us, many underneath the radar, so you’re forgiven if you’ve lost count or it’s been a while since you’ve pondered, “I wonder what the Melvins are up to?” What they’re up to amounts to a winning streak, starting with 2006’s (A) Senile Animal and continuing with their most recent, Nude With Boots.
Stoner Witch placed the band in a precarious spot: it demonstrated to us that the Melvins were capable of some real genius when they wanted. That responsibility of following that reality was by all accounts too great to shoulder. They seemed to intentionally digress thereafter, releasing questionable forays into experimentation, an album “trilogy” that never really got of the ground, and a handful of live recordings that appealed to the faithful while suggesting to others that, perhaps, the band’s greatness had peaked.