Justin Timberlake (‘Man of the Woods’) has the biggest first-week sales since Taylor Swift, but he’s done better before

Justin Timberlake‘s “Man of the Woods” received somewhat mixed reviews — scoring 54 on MetaCritic — and so did his Super Bowl Halftime Show, which 44% of our readers thought was just “okay.” But that didn’t stop him from debuting at number-one on the Billboard 200 albums chart. Not only that, it’s the biggest bow for an album since Taylor Swift moved more 1.24 million album units in November 2017.

Okay, so Timberlake’s latest album wasn’t the blockbuster that Swift’s “Reputation” was, but it was still the best week for a male artist since Kendrick Lamar dropped “Damn” last spring. “Man of the Woods” topped the chart in its debut week with 293,000 equivalent album units, which are calculated by combining traditional album sales with individual track sales and online streams. Timberlake’s impressive total includes 242,000 in traditional sales.

That’s actually a modest some compared to some of his previous chart-toppers. His first number-one album on the Billboard 200 as a solo artist was “FutureSex/LoveSounds” (2006), which debuted with 684,000 albums sold. “The 20/20 Experience” (2013) followed with a whopping 968,000 sold. The second part of “20/20 Experience” (also 2013) sold 350,000. And of course he had a couple of massive debuts with the boy band N Sync when they were in their heyday: “No Strings Attached” (2000) sold an astronomical 2.4 million in its first week, and “Celebrity” (2001) sold 1.8 million, which place them second and third on the list of the biggest album debuts since Nielsen SoundScan started keeping track in 1991. Adele broke N Sync’s record in 2015 when “25” sold more than 3.3 million upon its debut.

So far “Man of the Woods” has charted two top-10 singles on the Billboard Hot 100: “Filthy,” which debuted and peaked at number-nine, and “Say Something” with Chris Stapleton, which debuted and so far has also peaked at number-nine.

So what do you think of Timberlake’s latest? Was it worth the wait?

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