On the previous Billboard album sales chart, Dixie Chicks' Taking the Long Way debuted on top, moving close to 526,000 copies during its first week in stores. With the field of potential competitors nothing if not slim, the Dixie Chicks managed to stay the course and will spend a second week at #1 despite a 48 percent sales drop.
According to the latest SoundScan totals, another 271,000 copies of Taking the Long Way were snapped up, bringing total sales of the album within 1,500 units of the 800,000-sold mark — a feat that's taken the Red Hot Chili Peppers twice the time to pull off. The Chilis' double LP, Stadium Arcadium, climbs two spots to occupy the chart's #3 slot, selling 87,000-plus copies during its fourth week of release. Sandwiched between the Chicks and the Red Hots is the soundtrack to the Disney Channel original movie "High School Musical," which holds at #2 and moved another 103,000 copies last week to reach 2.3 million in sales.
Rascal Flatts climb two spots to #4, with sales of their Me & My Gang reported at 79,000, followed at #5 by "American Idol" Season 5: Encores, the latest compilation inspired by the hit television series; that disc, featuring contributions by the top 10 "Idol" finalists, including this season's champion Taylor Hicks, moved close to 68,000 units during its second week at retail. The #6 spot belongs to the 21st edition of the Now That's What I Call Music! compilation series, which 55,000 scans.
Tool's 10,000 Days hasn't fallen out of the chart's top 10 since its release five weeks ago, coming in this week at #7 with just under 55,000 copies sold; look for the LP to break the 1-million-sold mark within the next week or so. Last year's "American Idol" Carrie Underwood follows at #8, selling close to 54,000 copies of her album Some Hearts. James Blunt's Back to Bedlam returns to the top 10, surging ahead 16 spots with sales of 51,000 and change (a 53 percent boon in retail interest), securing the #9 post. Rounding out the top 10 is Shakira's Oral Fixation, Vol. 2, which sold close to 51,000 copies.
And Rick Rubin must be proud, as he produced three of the albums that appear in this week's top 10 — the Dixie Chicks' Taking the Long Way, the Chili Peppers' Stadium Arcadium, and Shakira's Oral Fixation, Vol. 2.
It was a rather anemic week at retail for new releases, with a mere seven albums making their debut on this latest chart. The honor of highest-charting opener belongs this week to ex-Faith No More frontman and current Peeping Tom mastermind Mike Patton, The self-titled first offering from Peeping Tom — which features collaborations with Norah Jones, Massive Attack, Bebel Gilberto, Dan the Automator, Kool Keith, Amon Tobin, Kid Koala, and the Dub Trio — netted first week sales of nearly 10,000, earning the chart's #103 position.
In at #115, with 8,000 scans, is Of Whales and Woe, the latest outing by Primus bassist Les Claypool. Vic Latino's ThriveMix02 bows at #125 with 7,000 copies sold. Silverstein's 18 Candles: The Early Years fills the #148 hole with 6,000 scans, while Sounds of Animals Fighting open at #183 with 5,000 copies of their Lover, the Lord Has Left Us sold.