With his seventh album, When the Sun Goes Down, country singer Kenny Chesney will mosey on toward the late-afternoon, orange-hued horizon with a #1 under his belt.
The LP sold more than 550,000 copies last week, according to SoundScan. The top-notch placement on the Billboard albums chart makes it two in a row for Chesney, whose last #1 album, No Shoes, No Shirt, No Problems, a 3-million seller at #81 next week, counted more than 235,000 in first-week sales.
A Crow Left of the Murder, Incubus' fifth album, will take second place with more than 331,000 copies sold, the California quintet's best week ever. Propelled by the single "Megalomaniac" and its politically charged video, first-week sales of Incubus' follow-up to 2001's Morning View bested those of many recent rock records, including Limp Bizkit's Results May Vary (more than 325,000 in first-week sales), Nickelback's The Long Road (200,000), Puddle of Mudd's Life on Display (103,000), and eponymous LPs by Kid Rock (188,000) and Blink-182 (313,000).
Chesney's impressive numbers dethrone the previous holder of the year's biggest first week, Twista. His Kamikaze will slip down to #3, having sold more than 173,000 copies for a two-week total that falls about 14,000 copies shy of half a million.
Probably thanks to his Super Bowl pre-game performance of "You Raise Me Up" as an homage to the crew of the Space Shuttle Columbia, scarf-savvy singer Josh Groban's Closer will jump up eight places to #4. Last week's sales of more than 172,000 copies more than doubled those of the previous week.
Followed by the chart debut of cocktail-hour crooner Harry Connick Jr.'s Only You at #5, Grammy winners Outkast and Evanescence felt about a 30 percent sales surge due to pre-show press. At #6, Outkast's Speakerboxxx/ The Love Below sold more than 111,000 copies, while Evanescence's Fallen immediately trails the Atlanta duo's double album by just 1,000 copies.
The pre-Grammy buzz also helped sales of Beyoncé's Dangerously in Love, at #23 with an 12,000-copy increase, and 50 Cent's Get Rich or Die Tryin', up 11 spots with a 27 percent sales increase. Luther Vandross' Dance With My Father and Missy Elliott's This Is Not a Test!, at #61 and #62, both rose by about 20 spots and 39 percent in sales; and Justin Timberlake's Justified, after more than a year on the charts, will sit at #103 after a 37-spot bump thanks to a sales increase of more than 59 percent.
If history serves, albums by Outkast, Evanescence, Beyoncé and Timberlake will continue to rise next week, as the post-Grammy sales start rolling in (see "Beyonce Wins Most, Outkast Shine, 50 Cent Shut Out At Grammys").
The remainder of the top 10: The Very Best of Sheryl Crow, moving down five spots to #8 while selling 5,000 more copies than the previous week; Toby Keith's Shock'n Y'all, slipping two places to #9, with more than 80,000 copies sold; and Ruben Studdard's Soulful falling five spots to #10 (68,000).
Three newly released albums will crack next week's top 40. The soundtrack to the #1 movie "Barbershop 2" will place at #18; Five for Fighting's third album, Battle for Everything, lands at #20; and Lostprophets' "Last Train Home"-fueled Start Something bows in at #33.