A quick glance at this week's Billboard albums chart shows not only what finished on top — R&B hunk Omarion's sophomore LP, 21 — but the large number of albums that sustained painful post-Christmas sales hits.
For the second time in his brief career as a solo artist, the ex-member of B2K scores himself a chart-topping opening, selling 119,000-plus copies of his latest. Omarion's first LP, 2005's O, also bowed at #1 but sold about 60,000 more units (see "Omarion's Solo Debut Tops Albums Chart").
As is the norm, record sales during the final week of the year took a serious nose dive again in 2006 — down from 12.7 million the previous week to just 4.9 million. Comparatively, during the same week last year, Jamie Foxx's Unpredictable occupied the #1 slot with close to 200,000 copies sold and overall sales dropped to 5.8 million from 13.6 million the week before (see "Jamie Foxx Bumps Mary J. Blige From Billboard's #1").
Virtually every album on this last chart of '06 experienced some sort of sales decline, with Mos Def's Tru3 Magic being one of the sole exceptions. The album — which Geffen rushed into stores after it was leaked online — failed to chart last week after selling just 1,087 copies but finishes at #151 this time around with 10,000 scans — representing an 816 percent spike in sales, according to the latest SoundScan totals.
Omarion's 21 was one of seven new releases to crack Billboard's top 200. Switchfoot's Oh! Gravity debuts at #18 with 63,000 scans; the band's 2005's effort, Nothing Is Sound, opened at #3 with 131,000 sold, while 2003's The Beautiful Letdown took #85 with 14,000 copies snatched up.
At #100 this week is 15 Years on Death Row, a two-disc compilation that sold 14,400 copies and features classic cuts from Dr. Dre, 2Pac, Snoop Dogg, Ice Cube, Warren G and Nate Dogg. Meanwhile, Family Values Tour 2006, another collection featuring the likes of Korn, Deftones, Stone Sour and Flyleaf, follows at #102, selling 14,300 units. Rocky Balboa: The Best of Rocky, a greatest-hits comp surrounding Sylvester Stallone's epic boxing series, comes in at #109 with 13,700 in sales, while The Best of N.W.A. finishes at #143, selling 10,300 copies. And finally, Matisyahu's No Place to Be bows at #146 with 10,200 units scanned.
Following Omarion at #2 this week is Akon's Konvicted, which sold another 112,000 copies its seventh week in stores. Climbing 24 spots to #3 is the soundtrack to the motion picture "Dreamgirls," which sold 104,000 copies and features the film's stars Beyoncé, Jennifer Hudson, Jamie Foxx and Eddie Murphy. Last week's #1, Nas' Hip Hop Is Dead, falls three places to #4, with sales reported at 101,000 and change, and Young Jeezy's The Inspiration pops up at #5 with close to 92,000 sold.
The Now That's What I Call Music! 23 collection, boasting contributions from Justin Timberlake, Fergie, Snoop Dogg, Christina Aguilera and others, finished at #6 with 89,000 copies sold. That's followed at #7 by the Eminem-helmed 22-track Shady Records compilation The Re-Up, which notched 84,000 scans.
Timberlake remains in the top 10 with his FutureSex/LoveSounds, checking in at #8 with nearly 83,000 units flying off store shelves. Ciara's Evolution occupies the chart's #9 position with 79,000 scans, while the soundtrack to the Disney Channel original series "Hannah Montana" rounds out the top 10 with 78,000 copies sold. Total sales of that disc, however, were down from the previous week by 78 percent.