Sales were down across the board in a post-holiday hangover, and while the man at the top of next week's Billboard albums chart remains the same — hey, it's Eminem again! — the rest of the chart was shaken up more than a bottle of New Year's champagne.
Em's Encore sold more than 197,000 copies, according to SoundScan, to claim the #1 slot for the second week in a row (and the fourth overall), but right below him is where all the popping-and-fizzing really begins.
A number of slightly older releases showed big jumps in sales, quite possibly the result of holiday-gift money and gift certificates being spent. Green Day jump up to #2 (from #9 last week), selling more than 170,000 copies of their American Idiot album. Just behind them are Lil Jon & the East Side Boyz, who vault back into the top 10 after a month-long hiatus. Jon and the crew sold more than 144,000 copies of Crunk Juice to grab the #3 position. The total also pushed their album past the 1-million mark, giving Jon his second consecutive platinum platter.
Jay-Z and Linkin Park move on up to #4, selling more than 134,000 copies of their Collision Course collaboration, which also went platinum this week. Ludacris' Red Light District remains open for business, selling more than 125,000 copies to land at #5.
The ubiquitous Usher holds strong at #6 for the second-straight week, selling more than 117,000 copies of his Confessions album. But hot on his heels is this week's highest debut, Get Lifted, from Kanye West's good buddy John Legend. The longtime session musician (having played on albums by Lauryn Hill, Alicia Keys, Janet Jackson and West himself) sold more than 115,000 copies of his first studio album to grab the #7 position.
Legend narrowly beat out the late, legendary Tupac Shakur, whose Loyal to the Game album also sold more than 115,000 copies but finished at #8. The album returns to the top 10 after a one-week hiatus.
Rounding out the top 10 are the radio-hits comp Now That's What I Call Music! 17, which sold more than 112,000 copies to claim the #9 spot, and Destiny's Child, who sold more than 100,000 copies of Destiny Fulfilled to land at #10.
Don't look for much to change on the following week's chart, as we enter a traditional down period for the record industry — which means few big-name releases and even less promotion money spent — although the first posthumous release from Ol' Dirty Bastard, Osirus: The Official Mixtape, is coming out next week.
The Soundtrack Season
Aside from John Legend's Lifted, only 12 albums in the entire Top 200 increased their sales from the previous week. And four of them were soundtracks: two versions of the score to "The Phantom of the Opera," a collection of tunes from Wes Anderson's "The Life Aquatic" and the indie-rock-centric soundtrack to "Garden State." While "Phantom" and "Aquatic" were released in time to capture holiday audiences, the soundtrack to "Garden State" got a big boost from the film's release on DVD last week: It posted a 30-percent sales increase and jumped an eye-opening 82 spots on the chart (from #133 to #51).
Less Is More
And with sales down across the board, the door was open for a host of acts to post huge leaps up the chart. Witness, for example, New Jersey goth-rockers My Chemical Romance, whose album Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge leaped 53 spots on next week's chart — from #101 all the way to #48 — despite selling nearly the same number of albums (around 37,000). Or Xzibit's Weapons of Mass Destruction, which saw sales drop 30 percent from last week's total but still managed to move up the charts, from #81 to #54. It's one of the few weeks of the year where less can actually equal more.