India.Arie Scores First Billboard #1; Dashboard Rack Up Second #2

Shawnna, Tha Dogg Pound, Lostprophets also land big debuts.

Close, but no cigar.

Chris Carrabba — the man behind Dashboard Confessional — told MTV News last month that debuting at #1 on the Billboard albums chart wasn’t a goal, but he did admit that “it would be cool to look back at, as it’s something of an accomplishment.” It was more important, he added, “to still be on the charts after a year” (see “Secrets? Dashboard Confessional’s Chris Carrabba Has A Few About Dusk And Summer ).

Still, one can’t help but wonder what’s going through the songwriter’s mind as the new SoundScan totals reveal Dashboard’s latest, Dusk and Summer, is the band’s second-straight LP to miss that magical mark — bowing at #2 with just over 134,000 first-week sales. Three years ago, A Mark, a Mission, a Brand, a Scar sold 122,000 copies to also debut at #2, behind Alan Jackson’s Greatest Hits, Vol. 2.

This time around, it wasn’t a country icon who pulled the rug out from under Carrabba’s feet, but soul artist India.Arie, who claims the Billboard crown with her third release, Testimony: Vol. 1, Life & Relationship.

India.Arie’s latest is also her first chart-topping debut. Voyage to India (2002) debuted at #6 with 110,000 discs sold, and her inaugural offering, Acoustic Soul (2001), bowed at #10 with 76,000-plus scans. Testimony: Vol. 1, Life & Relationship racked up 161,000 in week-one sales — not a runaway victory, but enough to keep Dashboard Confessional at bay.

India.Arie and Dashboard are the only newcomers to crack the top 10 on the latest chart, while a dozen other new releases make the top 200 cut.

Nelly Furtado’s Loose, which debuted at #1 the previous week, slips to #3 with 99,000 units sold, followed by the Dixie Chicks’ Taking the Long Way at #4 with more than 78,000 scans. Rihanna’s A Girl Like Me scored a 14 percent sales boost, moving 62,000 copies and climbing seven spots to #5.

Gnarls Barkley’s St. Elsewhere rises two to #6 with sales of more than 60,000, while Rascal Flatts’ Me & My Gang claims the #7 spot with 59,000 scans. Busta Rhymes’ The Big Bang slips three to #8 with 58,000 copies sold, and the soundtrack to the Disney Channel original movie “High School Musical” comes in at #9 with nearly 58,000 sales. Rounding out the top 10 is the soundtrack to the animated feature “Cars,” which sold over 50,000 copies its fourth week in stores.

Shawnna, an MC from the south side of Chicago who calls blues guitarist Buddy Guy “Dad,” notches the third-highest opening on the chart. Her Block Music takes the #13 slot with 47,000 scans, followed at #16 by Hank Williams Jr.’s That’s How They Do It in Dixie: The Essential Collection, which netted week-one sales nearing 39,000.

The Snoop Dogg-produced Cali Iz Active — the latest from Tha Dogg Pound, featuring Snoop, Daz Dillinger and Kurupt — debuts at #28, with more than 30,000 units scanned. Lostprophets follow at #33 with Liberation Transmission, racking up 27,000 sales. Ray Cash’s debut LP, Cash on Delivery, opens at #41 with 24,000 scans while II, the new one from punk quartet Billy Talent, pops up at #134 with 7,000-plus copies sold. The soundtrack to the Broadway musical “Tarzan,” which features music by Phil Collins, opens at #170 with over 5,000 copies sold.