Ladies may love James Todd Smith — better known, of course, as hip-hop icon-turned-actor LL Cool J. But apparently not enough of those ladies ventured into record stores last week to pick up a copy of LL's 11th studio LP, Todd Smith. Instead, it was Rascal Flatts' adoring fanbase — female or otherwise — that stepped up to the proverbial plate for a second straight week, ringing up another 345,000 copies of the country trio's latest offering, Me & My Gang, to keep the Flatts on top of the next Billboard albums chart.
According to the latest SoundScan totals, those Rascals have surpassed the 1 million copies sold mark, making Me & My Gang 2006's year's sole release to break that barrier within two weeks. Last week, the disc opened at #1 with nearly 722,000 scans, which earned it the distinction of being the year's healthiest week-one sales performer. And that's all great news for Rascal Flatts. For LL, on the other hand, it's not so good.
With Todd Smith selling just 116,000 copies its first week out, J finds himself debuting at the chart's #6 opening — despite the album's inclusion of guests such as Mary J. Blige, Jennifer Lopez, Jamie Foxx, Teairra Marí, 112, Ginuwine, Freeway, Mary Mary and Juelz Santana. It's not LL's finest opening; 2000's G.O.A.T. Featuring James T. Smith: The Greatest of All Time bowed at #1 with 209,000 scans, and 2002's 10 debuted at #2 with sales of 154,000 plus. The most recent of his previous outings, 2004's The DEFinition, opened as Billboard's #4 entrant, selling more than 173,000 copies.
This week's #2 spot belongs to another of country music's most beloved artists: Toby Keith. His White Trash With Money is the week's highest-charting debut, with sales nearing 330,000. Right behind Toby is the 21st chapter in the Now That's What I Call Music! compilation series, which features hits from artists including Mariah Carey, the Pussycat Dolls, Black Eyed Peas, Kelly Clarkson and Fall Out Boy. That album scored week-two sales of 293,000 and change, slipping one spot to #3.
The soundtrack to the Disney Channel original movie "High School Musical" holds the chart's #4 opening, with yet another 256,000 copies flying off store shelves — pushing total sales of the album past the 1.5 million sold mark during the disc's 14th week in stores. T.I.'s King drops two spots this week to #5, with 136,000 scans, while Tim McGraw's Greatest Hits, Vol. 2: Reflected, slides two to #7, racking up an additional 116,000 copies sold. Pink's fourth studio outing, I'm Not Dead, slips two to #8, selling close to 90,000 copies.
Canadian songwriter Daniel Powter's self-titled debut lands in the #9 slot, with week-one sales reported at little more than 89,000. Never heard of Powter? Well, his hit single "Bad Day" has become the exit theme for booted contestants on this season's "American Idol," so his top-10 debut comes as little surprise. James Blunt's Back to Bedlam follows at #10, with 83,000 scans.
There were a number of other noteworthy newcomers to the chart in what was a strong week for retail in general. Queen's Stone Cold Classics collection bows at #45 with 27,000 copies sold (The band also had an "Idol" connection, with their songs serving as the theme for last week's performances). In at #46 (selling just 77 fewer copies than Queen) is The Capitol Albums, Vol. 2, a 92-track box set featuring reissues of the Beatles' 1965 American releases The Early Beatles, Beatles VI, Help!, and Rubber Soul. The third album from Los Angeles hard rockers Buckcherry, 15, checks in at #48 with 26,000 scans.
Cam'ron Presents DukeDaGod - Dipset: The Movement Moves On, which features selections from Cam'ron, Juelz Santana, Hell Rell and the rest of the Dipset clique, opens at #53 with 23,000 units sold. MTV2 Headbanger's Ball: The Revenge, a metal-heavy compilation featuring Mudvayne, Korn, Slipknot, Opeth, Lacuna Coil and a host of others, debuts at #60 with 21,000 scans. Built to Spill's You in Reverse follows at #63, selling 19,000 copies, while Saves the Day's Sound the Alarm bows at #67 with more than 18,000 scans. The Eagles of Death Metal's second LP, Death by Sexy, owns the #113 slot with 11,000 scans, and rockers Calexico open at #156 slot, selling almost 8,000 copies of their latest, Garden Ruin.