While smart money would seem to dictate that Game's sophomore LP, Doctor's Advocate, was a shoo-in to top next week's Billboard albums chart, these days you just never know. Fat Joe could have pulled off an upset with his latest, Me, Myself and I — or he could have pulled a Nader and helped the mighty Akon to trump them both and run off with a #1 debut for his Konvicted.
Well, this time smart money talked, as it so often does. Fat Joe came up short and will land at #14, with Me, Myself and I selling just 60,500 copies during its first week in record stores (comparatively, his 2005 release All or Nothing debuted at #6 on the chart, selling more than 106,500 units). And in the end, Akon didn't have quite enough game to overpower the Compton-bred MC.
With more than 358,000 scans, the Game's Dr. Dre-helmed sophomore effort, Doctor's Advocate, takes this week's title with ease, lifting his record to 2-0 (his debut outing, 2005's The Documentary, also bowed at #1) and outselling Akon's Konvicted by about 67,000 copies. Akon takes the #2 spot with 284,000 sales.
Overall album sales surged over the past week as the holiday season heats up, with 24 newcomers sliding into the top 200. Tenacious D's The Pick of Destiny bows at #8 with week-one sales close to 81,000; the Jack Black-fronted band's self-titled 2001 debut opened at #33 with 42,000 scans. Rounding out the top-10 debuts is the bow from Blink 182-offshoot (+44), When Your Heart Stops Beating, which racked up 66,000-plus scans its first week at retail.
Falling two spots to #3 this week is the 23rd installment in the Now That's What I Call Music! compilation franchise, which features contributions from Fergie, Justin Timberlake, Nelly Furtado, Christina Aguilera, Jessica Simpson, and Nickelback, among others. Sales slipped 42 percent during the album's second week of release, finishing with 194,000 scans. Josh Groban's Awake follows at #4 with 150,000 copies sold, while the soundtrack to the Disney Channel original series "Hannah Montana" holds at #5 this week, putting up another 114,000 in sales.
Keith Urban's Love, Pain & the Whole Crazy Thing falls three spots to #6 with 103,000 units scanned, just in front of Sugarland's Enjoy the Ride at #7, which netted another 81,000 in week-two sales. Meanwhile, a 17 percent sales boost helped Beyoncé's B'Day surge seven chart positions to #9, closing out the week with 68,000 scans.
Returning to the chart this week is songwriter Damien Rice and his latest, 9, which sold close to 45,000 copies during its first week on record store shelves, earning him the #22 slot. Staind's career-spanning The Singles 1996-2006 bows at #41 on the chart, generating 26,800 in first-week sales interest, and An Other Cup, the newest studio release from Yusuf Islam — the artist formally known as Cat Stevens — surfaces at #52 with 20,000 scans. Neil Young and Crazy Horse's archival release, Live at the Fillmore East, follows at #55 with 19,700 copies sold (not bad for a 36-year-old recording), while the self-titled debut from Army of Anyone finishes at #56 with just under 50 fewer scans. Young singer Bianca Ryan's self-titled debut takes the chart's #57 spot with sales of 19,500, and Tamia's Between Friends opens at #66 with close to 18,000 copies purchased.
A collection of unreleased Sublime material, issued in the form of Everything Under the Sun, debuts at #97 this week, with 12,500-plus units sold. Offbeat folkie Joanna Newsom's Ys follows at #134 with 9,000 scans, while The Best of Depeche Mode, Vol. 1 claims the #148 slot with 8,100 copies grabbed up. Insane Clown Posse's The Wraith: Remix Albums opens at #158 with 7,500 copies sold, while Goth rockers H.I.M.'s Uneasy Listening, Vol. 1 follows at #162 with 7,300 scans. And finally, checking in at #188, is So Divided, the latest from ... And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead, which sold 6,000 copies its first week in stores.