Mimi Can’t Hold Off Matchbox Man Rob Thomas

Rob Thomas' solo debut wrestles Billboard's top spot away from Mariah Carey.

He’s not crazy. Sure, there’s a slight possibility that he’s just a little unwell. But there’s certainly no denying the fact that singer Rob Thomas isn’t reliant on his Matchbox Twenty brethren when it comes to crafting chart-topping tunes.

According to the latest SoundScan figures, Something to Be, Thomas’ first batch of fresh-baked tracks as a solo artist, netted opening-week sales of nearly 252,000 and will bring Mariah Carey’s tenure as Billboard‘s pack leader to an early end. But Thomas’ first-week conquest was not a blowout.

Carey’s new one, The Emancipation of Mimi, closed out its second week in the retail realm with sales of little more than 226,000, bringing the album’s two-week total to 631,000 plus. So while Thomas manages to bump Mariah from the chart’s top spot, it wasn’t exactly an overwhelming defeat. A 44 percent slip in Mimi scans undoubtedly helped his cause.

Houston-based MC Mike Jones comes in a distant third with Who Is Mike Jones? moving 181,000 in its first week.

Turns out it was a good week all-around for debuts. Take the self-titled release from Il Divo, “American Idol” judge Simon Cowell’s boy-band amalgamation. The record scored close to 147,000 scans in its first week of release, securing the group a fourth-place Billboard finish. Farther down the chart, the soundtrack from the film “Diary of a Mad Black Woman” — which features songs from Monica, Angie Stone and Patti LaBelle — comes in at #19 on sales of more than 38,000, followed by the critically lauded debut from Californian singer/songwriter Anna Nalick, Wreck of the Day, which sold just over 37,000 copies to take #20. Much farther down, DJ Z-Trip’s Shifting Gears comes in at #90 on the strength of the hit single “Walking Dead,” featuring Linkin Park frontman Chester Bennington.

And what kind of a week would it be without a little 50? The Massacre, New York rapper 50 Cent’s sophomore delivery, rounds out the top five with sales of 127,000 and change. But finishing fifth’s not something 50′s accustomed to. Before last week, The Massacre, which has sold more than 3.2 million copies in eight weeks, was Billboard‘s big dog, taking the chart’s coveted #1 for six straight weeks. At this point, it seems that 50′s album has already started on that slow and steady decline. Then again, the rapper just released another music video — this time for the track “Just a Lil’ Bit” — so The Massacre could see a sales boost in the coming weeks.

Gwen Stefani’s Love, Angel, Music, Baby finishes at #6 on the chart, proving that time isn’t cruel to everyone. The album continues to be one of the music world’s strongest sellers despite having been released almost six months ago. Love, Angel, Music, Baby scored sales of nearly 65,000, bringing its 22-week total to just under 1.8 million.

Rockers the Killers are in the same boat as Stefani. Their album, Hot Fuss, was released 45 weeks ago, but still takes the chart’s #7 slot with scans of almost 63,000. Ditto for eighth-place finishers Green Day. Sales of the pop-punk outfit’s latest, American Idiot, fell just short of the 60,000 copies mark, bringing its 31-week total to 3.3 million.

At #9 is the 18th edition of the powerhouse Now That’s What I Call Music! franchise. The compilation disc, featuring cuts from Good Charlotte, Lindsay Lohan, Chingy and John Legend, sold more than 57,000 copies during its sixth week at retail, coming in just ahead of #10 finisher Three 6 Mafia. The Southern rap group’s latest, Choices II, achieved sales of more than 55,500 copies during its debut week, besting Mudvayne’s Lost and Found — in at #11 after a second-place finish the previous week — by less than 200 scans.

Falling one chart position to #12 is surfer-with-a-guitar Jack Johnson’s In Between Dreams, which sold slightly more than 50,000. Behind him at #13 is America’s first “Idol,” Kelly Clarkson, and her disc Breakaway, which benefited from a 7 percent sales spike to finish the week with close to 47,700 scans. Rounding out the top 15 is Will Smith’s Lost and Found at #14, followed by Beck’s new Guero.

Synth-Rock = Album Sales

The current synth-rock trend has been perhaps most kind to the aforementioned Killers. But other artists are riding high on the fad that shows no signs of cooling. The self-titled disc from the Bravery, the Hatfields to the Killers’ McCoys, finished at #69 with sales of 13,500 plus. And at #102, we find Employment, the debut disc from the Kaiser Chiefs, which climbed 33 spots on the basis of recent touring and a strong underground buzz.

On The Road Again

Lifehouse and Hawthorne Heights are both on tour at the moment, and if SoundScan numbers are any sort of indication, audiences are loving their live shows. Lifehouse’s new self-titled album experienced a 30 percent increase in sales and checks in at #33, up from last week’s #50. And Hawthorne Heights, whose latest video for the track “Ohio Is for Lovers” has become an MTV2 regular, saw their Silence in Black and White rise to #126 from #159.