If Linkin Park felt in limbo while writing "Somewhere I Belong," those feelings must have subsided by now, as they prepare to take their place at the top of next week's Billboard 200 albums chart.
The rap-rockers' second LP, Meteora, sold more than 810,000 copies in its first week, according to SoundScan figures released Wednesday (see "Linkin Park Expand Meteora's Musical Horizons ... In 40 Minutes Or Less"). By comparison, their slow-burning debut, Hybrid Theory, which wound up being the best-selling LP of 2001, took more than 12 weeks to reach that mark. The band's remix LP, Reanimation, got there in just under nine weeks last summer.
On the heels of her televised concert in Las Vegas last week, Celine Dion's One Heart takes second place on the chart, after selling more than 431,000 copies. The Canadian diva's homage to her three-year engagement with Sin City's Caesar's Place will be followed by the 12th edition of the popular Now That's What I Call Music! series. With contributions from Jay-Z, Nelly and Justin Timberlake, the disc sold more than 256,000 copies.
The three whopping chart debuts push 50 Cent's Get Rich or Die Tryin' down to #4, its lowest chart position since its February 6 release. Selling 193,000 copies last week is also a low point for the Queens rapper, though having moved more than 3.7 million copies in eight weeks, 50 can probably buoy such a dip.
R&B slow jammer Brian McKnight's sixth album, U Turn, lands at #7 after selling more than 108,000 copies in its first week out. Cam'ron protégés the Diplomats trail behind the crooner with their debut, Diplomatic Immunity (see "Cam'ron's Diplomats Packaging Mixtape Hits With Official Debut"). Fueled by the single "Dipset Anthem," the LP sold more than 91,000 copies.
Rounding out the top 10 are Norah Jones' Come Away With Me, stepping back three spots to #5; the soundtrack to "Chicago" at #6, enjoying a 25,000-copy goose after the film cleaned up at the Academy Awards; Evanescence's Fallen, dropping four to #9; and R. Kelly's Chocolate Factory, sliding down seven spots to #10.
B2K get credit for making the biggest leap, jumping from #84 to #13 with their second album, Pandemonium!, released December 10. A reissued version featuring a DVD accounts for much of the surge, as sales went from 13,000 two weeks ago to 64,000 last week (see "B2K Fans, Get Ready To Buy Pandemonium Again".)
Let 'Em Burn by Cash Money Millionaires the Hot Boys also enjoyed blazing sales last week (see "Hot Boys Plan To Burn The Competition With First LP In Four Years"). The group's third album sold more than 63,000 copies to land at #14.
Other notable debuts include the audio companion to the DVD magazine Rewind Hip-Hop, which features tracks from 50 Cent, Mobb Deep and DJ Whoo Kid, among others, at #34; female trio 702's Star at #45; Christian pop singer Stacie Orrico's self-titled second album at #59; jazzy R&B duo Les Nubians' One Step Forward at #79; Ringo Starr's latest, Ringorama, at #113; Damnation and a Day by Ozzfest second-stage headliners Cradle of Filth, at #140; Roseanne Cash's Rules of Travel at #143; New Zealand rockers D4's 6Twenty at #164; and Warped Tour staples NOFX's Regaining Unconsciousness at #187.
For a feature interview with Linkin Park, check out "Linkin Park: Pretty Boring, Pretty Huge."