It's not all that surprising that Madonna's Confessions on a Dance Floor — the Material Mom's first collection of fresh music in more than two years — opens atop the next Billboard albums chart, but it is something of a symbolic conquest. A top player in the game for more than two decades, Madonna has secured a spot among the most resilient pop-culture icons. But icon or not, bubbly "American Idol" victor Carrie Underwood and sultry diva Mariah Carey weren't about to just step aside and hand Madonna the Billboard championship belt. She was going to have to earn the win.
While Underwood came close, the latest "Idol" winner simply couldn't take the heat as Madonna scores her third-straight #1 debut (2000's Music took the top spot with close to 420,000 scans, while 2003's American Life finished at #1 with 240,000 plus). According to the latest SoundScan figures, Confessions sold close to 350,000 copies during its first week on record-store shelves, besting Underwood's debut, Some Hearts, by about 35,000 albums. Carey's The Emancipation of Mimi - Ultra Platinum Edition boosted the disc to #4 with 185,000 copies sold, right behind last week's #1, Kenny Chesney's The Road and the Radio, which slips to third with 191,000 plus scans.
The 20th installment in the Now That's What I Call Music compilation franchise finished at #5 with sales of 169,000 while the soundtrack to 50 Cent's gritty "Get Rich or Die Tryin' " sold just 167 fewer copies to land at #6. Nickelback's All the Right Reasons also drops four spots to #9 with week-seven sales of more than 91,000.
The rest of the chart is rife with debut discs, most of them live collections, reissues and retrospective best-ofs. After Madonna, Underwood and country duo Big & Rich's Comin' to Your City — which takes the #7 spot with sales of 157,000 — the biggest debut performance belongs to perennial punks Green Day, who score the #8 spot with Bullet in a Bible, a CD+DVD live set featuring tracks from the band's 4.6 million-selling opus American Idiot (which slips to #29 slot with close to 40,000 scans). Ginuwine's Back II Da Basics opens at #12 with a week-one showing of 74,000, while the 30th anniversary three-disc edition of Bruce Springsteen's classic Born to Run finishes at #18 with 53,000 in sales.
Pitbull's new one, M.I. Still A.M.I.: Money Is Still a Major Issue, debuts at #25 with close to 45,000 scans, while Jimmy Buffett's Live in Fenway Park takes #41 with nearly 28,000 copies sold. Wilco's Kicking Television: Live in Chicago opens at #47 with sales nearing 25,000 while The Collection, a career-spanning selection of Alanis Morissette's work, takes #51 with 23,000 discs sold. The soundtrack to the film "Walk the Line" comes in at #54 with close to 23,000 in sales, followed at #55 by Crunk Hits, a compilation featuring Trick Daddy, Lil Jon, the Ying Yang Twins, T.I., Ludacris, Chingy and more.
R. Kelly's Remix City, Volume 1, with reworked versions of his hits "Bump N' Grind," "Down Low" and "Step in the Name of Love," pops up at #72 with close to 18,000 copies flying off store shelves while the Insane Clown Posse's Forgotten Freshness, Volume 4 takes the chart's #88 spot with 15,000 copies sold. Sales of Staind's Chapter V, which was reissued with new material last week, experienced a 12 percent sales increase, though the disc falls three chart positions to #103.
The "Rent" soundtrack debuts at #127 with nearly 11,000 copies sold, while Three 6 Mafia's Most Known Hits opens at #154 with sales nearing 9,000. Two best-of collections from the Roots made the chart: Home Grown! The Beginner's Guide to Understanding the Roots Volume One appears at #161 with over 8,000 in sales while Volume Two takes #187 with 7,000 scans. Jesse McCartney's Live: The Beautiful Solo Tour sells 8,000 discs to land at the chart's #168 spot, while Gold, the third official Sublime retrospective — following 2002's 20th Century Masters and 1999's Greatest Hits — opens at #182 with 7,500 copies sold.
For more on Madonna's Confessions, check out the feature "Madonna: Dancing Queen."