From winning the Pawnee Battle of the Bands to headlining the Edward Philips Senior Center Valentine’s Day Dance (with gigs at Li’l Sebastian’s memorial and the Pawnee Unity Concert in between), Mouse Rat is now officially a Billboard hitmaker.
The fictional band from the NBC comedy Parks and Recreation, led by Chris Pratt’s character Andy Dwyer, appears on Billboard’s charts for the first time (on surveys dated Sept. 11), thanks to The Awesome Album. The set, released Aug. 27 via Universal Television/Dualtone Records, debuts at No. 2 on Comedy Albums, No. 11 on Heatseekers Albums and No. 17 on the all-genre Top Album Sales chart with 4,200 equivalent album units (4,100 in album sales) in the week ending Sept. 2, according to MRC Data.
The album features favorites that the band performed in the series (which reunited its cast for a special in 2020), including “The Pit,” “Two Birds Holding Hands” and “5,000 Candles in the Wind [Bye Bye Li’l Sebastian]”), along with new tracks unique to the release.
The LP also includes guest spots from Parks and Recreation’s resident saxophonist Duke Silver (the secretive alter ego of Ron Swanson, played by Nick Offerman), plus fellow Pawnee band Land Ho! and its frontman Scott Tanner (aka, Wilco’s Jeff Tweedy, who also guested in the series).
Tweedy and Wilco are, of course, no strangers to Billboard’s charts. Wilco has charted 15 albums on the Billboard 200, including four top 10s, while Tweedy has sent four solo sets onto the chart.
The Awesome Album also isn’t the first Billboard chart entry for Pratt or several other members of the show’s cast. Pratt and Offerman both appeared on the (since-discontinued) Comedy Digital Song Sales and Kid Digital Song Sales lists in 2019 with “Everything’s Not Awesome” (with Stephanie Beatriz, Ben Schwartz, Alison Brie, Noel Fielding, Charlie Day, Will Arnett, Elizabeth Banks and Richard Ayoade), from The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part. (The song is a reworking of Tegan & Sara’s “Everything Is AWESOME!!!” featuring The Lonely Island, from the franchise’s first film).
Aziz Ansari, who played Tom Haverford, has scored three No. 1s on Billboard’s Comedy Albums chart: Intimate Moments for a Sensual Evening, in 2010; Dangerously Delicious (2012); and Buried Alive!: An Evening of Bewilderment & Disillusion (2015).
Plus, Billy Eichner, who appeared in the show’s final two seasons, reached Digital Song Sales in 2019 with “Can You Feel the Love Tonight” (with Beyoncé, Donald Glover and Seth Rogen), as well as Kid Digital Song Sales with “Hakuna Matata” and “The Lion Sleeps Tonight.” All three tracks are from the 2019 remake of The Lion King, in which Eichner voices the character of Timon.