Pink’s previous album was, by her standards, a flop in the United States.
But just as her follow-up “I’m Not Dead” seemed headed for the same fate, the slow-building single “U + Ur Hand” is breathing life into the album, almost a year after it was released.
“I’m Not Dead” (LaFace/Zomba), got off to a fair start last April, debuting at No. 6 on The Billboard 200 with first-week sales of 126,000, according to Nielsen SoundScan.
By contrast, the 2003 disappointment “Try This” opened at No. 9 with 147,000 units. But momentum stalled for the new release when “Who Knew,” the second single after the caustic “Stupid Girls,” proved a nonstarter.
Fast-forward to “U + Ur Hand,” which rose seven places to No. 29 on the latest Billboard Hot 100 singles chart, buoyed by a reversal of waning radio airplay. The album is following suit, jumping 30 places to No. 84 on the Billboard 200. Its total sales now stand at 619,000.
This long-legged success stands in stark contrast to the results for “Try This,” which garnered some 75% of its 719,000-piece count in just seven weeks, then sank behind two underperforming singles. Pink’s 2001 sophomore release “M!ssundaztood” sold more than 5.2 million copies.
Zomba Label Group executive VP of sales and marketing/GM Tom Carrabba credits strong early research and “patience” at radio, a “great” video and Pink’s ongoing tour with Justin Timberlake with helping build acceptance for “U + Ur Hand,” which in turn is “giving (people) a reason to buy the album.”
“We knew it was a hit,” he says, “because it was massive outside the States.”
Indeed. The track reached No. 8 on Billboard’s European Hot 100 Singles chart. Two other singles hit the top 10, and “I’m Not Dead” has spent 49 weeks on the European Top 100 albums chart, reaching No. 1. “Try This” stayed in Billboard’s European Top 100 for 28 weeks, peaking at No. 3.
With “I’m Not Dead,” Carrabba expects the United States to catch up. “This single is the vehicle that will reignite the U.S. marketplace,” he says. “We think we have a No. 1 record on our hands.”