Demographically speaking, the battle for Billboard's top honor was a no-contest coup for the granola scoffers and Alpha Betas of America, putting the nation's indie rock scenesters to head-hanging shame.
Legions of Dave Matthews Band fans turned out in force last week, going on a record-buying binge that will help propel the arena-packing hippie-rock mammoth past Weezer, to the fourth chart-crowning debut of their nearly-15-year career.
Stand Up, Dave Matthews Band's latest release, opens as Billboard's #1 with first-week sales of close to 465,000, according to the latest SoundScan figures. While it's only the third-best debut showing for the Virginia-based jam band (2002's Busted Stuff netted first-week scans just shy of 622,000 while 2001's Everyday achieved week-one sales of nearly 733,000), Stand Up has earned the distinction of being 2005's best-performing rock record.
Rapper 50 Cent owns 2005's biggest debut with The Massacre, which moved over 1 million units in its first week of release. Former G-Unit sentinel the Game produced the year's second-best seller, with opening week sales of just under 587,000 for his inaugural disc, The Documentary.
Hook-heavy guitar-pop princes Weezer finish a way-distant second, with that band's first studio release in three years earning first-week scans of a little less than 193,000 copies. The dork rockers' Make Believe manages to bump pop diva Mariah Carey's The Emancipation of Mimi from the chart's #2 slot. In third place, Mimi continues to be one of the chart's more consistent performers, scoring sales of just under 173,000 during its fifth week at retail.
50 Cent's The Massacre checks in at #4, with sales of close to 90,000, followed by last week's #1, Nine Inch Nails' With Teeth, falling four spots to #5. The latest disc from the mind of industrial rock deity Trent Reznor suffered a 67 percent drop, closing out its second week with sales of little more than 89,000.
The chart's #6 ranking belongs to country hunk Dierks Bentley and his latest release, Day Drifter. The album netted first-week sales of nearly 75,000, outperforming rude-girl-turned-pop princess Gwen Stefani's Love, Angel, Music, Baby by a mere 600-plus copies; Stefani's solo debut finishes at #7 and breaks the 2-million-sold barrier after 25 weeks on the market.
Matchbox Twenty frontman Rob Thomas' first solo offering, Something to Be, takes the chart's #8 spot, with fourth-week scans of nearly 67,000 — sales of that album falling 47 percent. The pride of Houston, rapper Mike Jones, finishes ninth, as his disc, Who Is Mike Jones?, closes out its fourth week of commercial availability with nearly 59,000 copies sold. Garden State troubadour Bruce Springsteen rounds out the top 10 with his new one, Devils & Dust, selling close to 54,000. That record experiences a 47 percent week-three sales slip.
The Unquestionable Truth (Part 1), Limp Bizkit's latest, took a week-two nosedive, falling from the chart's #24 position to #82. A 67 percent slide in retail interest resulted in its paltry 12,000-plus sales showing.
The latest chart is chock full of noteworthy debuts, including WWE champ John Cena's first LP, You Can't See Me, at #15 with sales of 43,000 plus; Pennsylvanian punk-poppers the Starting Line's Based on a True Story at #18 with close to 42,000 scans; Led Zeppelin legend Robert Plant's Mighty Rearranger checking in at #22 with sales of just under 39,000; and Austin, Texas, indie rockers Spoon's Gimme Fiction finishes at #44 with sales of nearly 20,000. The self-titled debut from Deftones frontman Chino Moreno's trip-hop hybrid Team Sleep sold just over 18,000 copies, to finish at #52 on the chart.
And finally, the self-titled debut record from former "American Idol" heartthrob Constantine Maroulis' post-grunge New York rock outfit Pray for the Soul of Betty penetrated the top-200 to take the #129 position, thanks to first-week sales of close to 7,500.
Marrying Renée Doesn't Pay
One week after his marriage to actress Renée Zellweger first made headlines, sales of country beefcake Kenny Chesney's When the Sun Goes Down fell slightly, by 13 percent, resulting in a chart position loss of one. Just 18,000 plus copies of Chesney's album vacated store shelves this week, knocking him out of the top 50 to #51. Could it be that Chesney's female fan contingent is on the downturn now that the star is off the market?
Metal Can Perform
When it comes to musical genres, heavy metal isn't exactly the most commercially viable of the bunch. But Mudvayne's latest, Lost and Found, proves that a harder rockin' act can still turn a decent profit. After five weeks on the charts, Lost and Found clings to the top 40, coming in at #35 with sales falling just below the 26,000 mark. All told, Mudvayne's latest has sold 302,000 plus, which isn't too shabby for a metal band.
Experimental progressive-rock merchants the Mars Volta have surpassed the 300,000 units sold milestone with their latest, Frances the Mute. Released 11 weeks ago, the disc is still consistently selling close to 9,800 copies a week — a remarkable feat, considering the closing track clocks in at 32 minutes and change. It comes in at #99, three positions behind Queens of the Stone Age's Lullabies to Paralyze, which, similarly, has performed beyond industry expectations. The latest by Josh Homme's idiosyncratic rock act checks in at #96 with sales of 10,300 plus, for an eight-week total of more than 227,000.