On the Charts: Mamma Mia, M.I.A., Conor Oberst, The Verve

| Thu Aug. 14, 2008 2:40 PM PDT

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Various combinations of the letters "m," "i" and "a" did pretty well on the Billboard US charts this week, plus we can all celebrate the fall from #1 of the eardrum-rupturing "I Kissed a Girl." Hooray! First, on the album chart, the Mamma Mia soundtrack jumped to #1, which is a little weird since the movie is currently a weak #6 at the box office, just behind the Traveling Pants sequel. Well, as we all know, people like ABBA. The rest of the Top Ten consists of standard fare like Miley Cyrus, Kid Rock and Coldplay, although Omaha's got reason to celebrate this week, as favorite son Conor Oberst's self-titled album debuts at #15, while The Faint's Fasciination sneaks into the Top 50 at #46. Take that, Boise!

On the singles chart, Rihanna dominates, as her terrible adventure-in-autotune robo-electro number "Disturbia" climbs to #1, while the marginally better "Take a Bow" sticks around at #4. Lesson: America likes Rihanna. But holy Clash samples, ladies and gentlemen: M.I.A. is now officially a Top 5 Artist in the U. S. of A., as "Paper Planes" jumps 11 spots to #5 on the strength of online sales inspired by Pineapple Express commercials. It's like I've woken up in some strange bizarro world; what next, a #1 hit for Portishead? The track is down a bit on iTunes today, from #2 to #5, so this may be its chart peak, but hey, we'll take it.

After the jump: Richard Ashcroft explains sightlessness.

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Elsewhere in the world, The Verve's comeback single "Love is Noise" debuts at #5 on the UK singles chart this week. I've said many times I find their non-"Bittersweet Symphony" output turgid and overreaching, and this isn't a ballad, at least, but it's still a bit dull. Plus, the line "I was blind/I couldn't see" makes me cringe. Their new album Forth will be out on August 26th, and leaked copies are getting good reviews (plus it's got a pretty cover), so I'll reserve judgement until I hear the whole thing. Watch the video for "Love is Noise" below.

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