It could have gone one of three ways, really. This latest race to be Billboard's biggest finisher was close, pitting one of the world's leading rock groups against a founding grunge-rock figure and a multiplatinum boy-band icon. Chris Martin and his merry band of rockin' Brits managed to break out of the neck-and-neck run and secured a second week at #1.
According to the latest SoundScan figures, Coldplay's third LP, X&Y, moved close to 323,000 units during its second week on shelves — a 56 percent sales decrease notwithstanding — for a two-week total of nearly 1.1 million copies. But it was no easy sprint.
Threats to their Billboard crown came in two forms this week: In Your Honor, the fifth offering from former Nirvana kitman Dave Grohl's band the Foo Fighters, and Never Gone, the first studio release from the Backstreet Boys in nearly five years.
Opening-week sales of second-place finisher the Foos' In Your Honor were tallied at more than 310,000 copies — just 12,000 fewer than X&Y. It's unlikely that Grohl and his team will interpret these most recent results as disappointing, considering 1997's The Colour and the Shape opened at #10 with sales of just over 71,000, while 1999's There Is Nothing Left to Lose also debuted at #10, with more than 111,000 scans. The band's previous record, 2002's One by One, finished third with less than 122,000 copies sold during week one at retail.
Backstreet's back, all right, but Never Gone just couldn't grab the Billboard crown. With opening-week sales of close to 291,000, the Boys' latest LP marks a first for Kevin, Brian, A.J., Howie and Nick: their first non-#1 since 1997. After their debut album, the group managed to open as Billboard's #1 with both 1999's Millennium and 2000's Black and Blue, which achieved first-week sales of 1.59 million.
Mariah Carey's latest, The Emancipation of Mimi, comes in at #4, closing out its 10th week in stores with scans of more than 163,000 — a number that helped push the album's total sales over the 2 million mark. Thanks to a second-week sales dip of 47 percent, the Black Eyed Peas slip three to #5 with Monkey Business, tallying more than 154,000 scans.
The newest disc from Fat Joe, All or Nothing, debuts at #6 after selling more than 106,000 copies. Toby Keith's Honkytonk University takes the #7 spot with close to 93,000 copies sold, followed at #8 by Latin heartbreaker Shakira's Spanish-language Fijación Oral, which achieved second-week sales of 77,000 plus. Gwen Stefani's Love, Angel, Music, Baby comes in at #9 with 76,000 sold, just ahead of System of a Down, whose Mezmerize moved just 134 fewer copies to take #10.
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Get Behind Me Satan, the new disc from the White Stripes, falls eight to #11, with second-week sales of more than 75,000 — topping Kelly Clarkson's Breakaway by a mere 4,000 units. 50 Cent's The Massacre continues to sell, taking #13 slot with scans of 65,000 and change. Country trio Rascal Flatts jump two to #14 with Feels Like Today, which moved more than 60,000 copies (a 21 percent surge), just enough to edge out Audioslave's Out of Exile, the #15 finisher with close to 59,000 copies scanned.
The new chart is riddled with several unexpected debuts. The golden-voiced Erika Jo, winner of the USA Network's "Nashville Star," opens at #27 after moving more than 36,000 copies of her self-titled debut. Static-X's Start a War checks in at #29, selling more than 35,000 copies during week one. Metalcore outfit and Ozzfest 2005 performers As I Lay Dying's second disc, Shadows Are Security, opens at #35 with sales of 33,000. Hard-rocking Dark New Day score #103 with 12,000 copies of their debut disc, Twelve Year Silence, scanned. Funeral for a Friend's Hours comes in at #139, after selling over 8,000 copies, while Life of Agony's Broken Valley — the influential hardcore band's first studio recording since 1997's Soul Searching Sun — opens at #147 on sales of more than 7,600.
Following his full acquittal on 10 criminal counts stemming from allegations of child molestation, Michael Jackson got a show of support from fans. Jackson's two-year-old hits collection, Number Ones, re-emerges at #134, with sales of close to 8,700. The disc experienced a 138 percent sales boost in the week following the verdict, having sold just 3,600 copies during the previous chart week.
Split Spurs Sales
The week following Destiny's Child's announcement that the culmination of their Destiny Fulfilled ... And Lovin' It Tour would also herald the conclusion of Destiny's Child itself, sales of the trio's 2004 disc, Destiny Fulfilled, rose 16 percent. Moving just under 15,000 copies, the group's album — apparently its last — climbs eight to #86.
Reissue Triggers Resurgence
Hawthorne Heights surge a significant 52 chart positions thanks to a 109 percent spike in sales for their debut offering, The Silence in Black and White. The band, still riding on the success of its first single, "Ohio Is for Lovers," reissued the album this past week in two-disc form with bonus tracks, demos and a DVD; the disc surfaces at #62 on sales of close to 19,000 copies.
Akon Hits 1 Million
Almost a year after the release of his debut LP, Trouble, Senegal-born hip-hopper Akon finally breached the 1 million sold mark. Trouble has been a consistent seller in recent weeks and comes in at #31 thanks to a slight sales increase that yielded scans of 34,000 plus.
For an in-depth feature on Coldplay, check out "Coldplay: The Quiet Revolution." For more on Foo Fighters, see "Dave Grohl: The Gambler." And for a look at the return of the Backstreet Boys, see "Backstreet Boys: The Man Band."