Admittedly, ‘Sob Rock’ is not my favorite John Mayer album. Far from it, in fact. As both a fan of his and the 80s ridiculously jubilant array of musical acts, my expectations may have been too high. Mayer is an incredibly talented songwriter and guitarist – but perhaps I was expecting a bit more Hall & Oates from Mayer’s version of 80s soft rock than, well, the true sob rock that ‘Sob Rock’ delivers.
This is quite the achievement. The chart is almost a relic of a bygone era – one in which people actually bought physical copies of music. So to see any album selling over 100k units in its first week is a good sign that the medium may not be dead just yet. Or it would be, if Rolling Stone didn’t clarify that only half of these sales (56,700 copies) were physical media. The rest were digital album purchases.
Still, Variety cites this as an “unusually healthy” number – so it is a good sign either way.
John Mayer Proves Physical Media Isn’t Dead With ‘Sob Rock’ Release
It’s hard to beat the convenience of streaming (I’m listening to ‘Sob Rock’ on Spotify now as I write this article), but nothing compares to holding an album by your favorite artists. Especially on vinyl, which is where John Mayer’s latest really shines in both design and composition.
On the purposefully, gloriously 80s cover of ‘Sob Rock’, Mayer promises it only costs “the nice price” of whatever retailers decide. Another throwback to a bygone era. The cover is still effective when streaming, but it isn’t the same. Still, ‘Sob” saw a whopping 26.9 million individual song streams in its first week. This is in addition to any physical and full album sales.
These numbers become far more curious when compared to the second-place holder on Rolling Stone’s chart. Coming in at No. 2 is the second posthumous release from Pop Smoke, “Faith,” which Variety cites at “84,100 album equivalent units.”
Pop Smoke’s streaming numbers “were almost four times as many as Mayer’s — 100.5 million individual song streams,” the trade adds.
As for his physical sales? At 3,600, to say they pale in comparison would be an understatement. Which only confirms for music genre fans what they already knew: When it comes to streaming, Hip-Hop is King.
As for physical media, Retro will always be Queen. Or, in this instance, John Mayer.