Shame on those who’d written off rock as a dead genre. Rock, it seems, was just taking a little nap. But thanks to Godsmack, Tool, Pearl Jam and Taking Back Sunday, who’ve dominated the Billboard albums chart in recent weeks, it’s safe to say the genre’s sales have reawakened. The trend continues this week with Stadium Arcadium, the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ first fresh offering in four years.
What’s hard to imagine, though, is that it took the Peppers — one of the most popular rock bands to emerge over the past two decades — more than 20 years and nine studio records to debut at #1 on the Billboard 200. But according to the latest SoundScan totals, they’ve finally managed it with Stadium Arcadium, their 28-track double LP. With more than 442,000 copies sold its first week in stores, Stadium has shattered the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ previous sales successes — 2002’s By the Way racked up 282,000 in sales to finish at #2, while 1999’s Californication generated 189,000 week-one scans for a #3 opening.
The sole threat this week to the Peppers’ chart-topping opening wasn’t much of a threat at all. The second solo outing from Jessica Simpson’s ex Nick Lachey, What’s Left of Me, didn’t get within 250,000 copies of Stadium Arcadium. Lachey’s latest opens at #2 with first-week sales nearing 172,000. Tool’s 10,000 Days, which bowed at #1 on the previous chart, slides to third place, selling 157,000 copies.
The self-titled album from R&B outfit Jagged Edge — the group’s first fresh release in three years — follows at #4, debuting with sales close to 115,000. Occupying the #5 spot is Baby Makin’ Music, the new album from soul stalwarts the Isley Brothers; nearly 111,000 copies of that LP left record stores during the disc’s first week out.
The remainder of the top 10 is rife with repeat offenders. Rascal Flatts’ Me & My Gang claims the #6 slot with close to 106,000 scans, while the soundtrack to the Disney Channel original movie “High School Musical” — one of the year’s biggest chart surprises — hangs tough at #7 with 89,000 sales.
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Pearl Jam’s latest, self-titled LP slips from #2 to #8 with week-two sales of 86,000 and change, while the 21st installment in the Now That’s What I Call Music! compilation series — featuring Kelly Clarkson, Black Eyes Peas and Nickelback — claims #9 with 76,000 copies sold. James Blunt’s Back to Bedlam rounds out (and returns to) the top 10, selling close to 71,000 units, a 22 percent boost in retail interest.
The new chart is peppered with a number of noteworthy debut showings. In at #14 is the newest release from Paul Simon, Surprise, which sold close to 61,000 copies, followed by Neil Young’s Living With War at #15 with 60,000 scans. St. Elsewhere, the debut from Gnarls Barkley — a collaboration between Danger Mouse and Cee-Lo — opens at #20 with 50,000 units flying off shelves. Motown legend and current Cash Money heavyweight Teena Marie’s Sapphire bows at #24 with 44,000 copies sold.
Snow Patrol return to the chart with their latest, Eyes Open, which debuts at #34 with 36,000 in sales, and Korn’s Live & Rare finishes at #51 with close to 22,000 scans. Chris Isaak’s Best of Chris Isaak claims the #54 opening with 21,000 units sold, while MC Magic’s Magic City pops up at #155 with 6,600 in sales.
Grandaddy’s Just Like the Fambly Cat debuts at #171 with sales coming in at just under 6,000, while Pure ’80s: #1s, a compilation album featuring tracks by the Police, Tears for Fears, Survivor, Mr. Mister, Culture Club and others, claims the #182 slot, with nearly 6,000 scans. Punk Goes ’90s, a collection of classics from the grunge era as performed by Eighteen Visions, Bleeding Through, Emery, Plain White T’s and others, opens at #190 with 5,200 copies sold, and Suga Free’s Just Add Water takes #194 with 5,000 sales.
Check out “MTV News RAW: Red Hot Chili Peppers” in Overdrive for an inside look at the creation of Stadium Arcadium.