‘High School Musical 2′ Makes The Grade: Soundtrack Tops Billboard Chart

Dave Matthews and Tim Reynolds, AFI offshoot Blaqk Audio also open high.

Last week, when “High School Musical 2” made its television debut on the Disney Channel, a staggering 17.2 million viewers tuned in, making the sequel to last year’s whodathunkit hit the most-watched basic cable TV movie in broadcasting history.

But the “HSM2″ madness didn’t end there. The made-for-TV film’s soundtrack also hit record stores last week, and, as predicted, sold like hot cakes, pulling in the second-largest first-week take of ’07. Linkin Park’s Minutes to Midnight still holds the title of best-performing debut of the year, having opened at #1 more than three months ago with nearly 623,000 copies snatched up during week one.

The “HSM2″ soundtrack — featuring the pipes of the film’s stars Zac Efron, Vanessa Hudgens, Ashley Tisdale, Corbin Bleu, Lucas Grabeel and Monique Coleman — racked up sales of more than 615,000, which was more than enough for a #1 opener on next week’s Billboard top 200. Comparatively, the soundtrack to the first “High School Musical” debuted at #143 last summer, selling just 6,500 units, but has since gone on to scan about 4.1 million.

Disney Channel-spawned LPs dominate next week’s chart, according to the latest SoundScan totals. Following “HSM2″ at #2 is Hannah Montana 2: Meet Miley Cyrus, the Disney teen sensation’s latest release, which climbs two spots thanks to another 82,600 scans. Right behind Hannah is the only other new release this week — of which there are 19 — to crack the chart’s top 10: Coming in at #3 with 69,800 copies sold is Live at Radio City, the latest from Dave Matthews and collaborative partner Tim Reynolds.

The rest of the top 10 is chock-full of some familiar faces. Finishing at #4 this week is the 25th edition of the ever-growing Now That’s What I Call Music! compilation family with 65,800 sold, while the soundtrack to the big-screen adaptation of the Broadway musical adaptation of John Waters’ 1988 film “Hairspray” comes in at #5, selling 63,000-plus. Last week’s #1 falls to #6 on next week’s chart, as UGK’s Underground Kingz suffered the second-week sales slump. Interest in the record waned 62 percent, resulting in sales of 60,300. Fergie’s The Dutchess rises one chart position to #7 with 53,000 scans, while the Jonas Brothers’ self-titled album claims the #8 slot with 41,100 sold.

Meanwhile, rapper Plies’ inaugural set, The Real Testament, dives seven spots to #9 with sales reported at 38,600, and rounding things out at #10 is Common’s new one, Finding Forever, which sold just 15 fewer copies.

Last year, AFI’s Decemberunderground debuted at #1 on the Billboard albums sales chart with 182,000 copies flying off store shelves. Half of that band — frontman Davey Havok and guitarist Jade Puget — returns to next week’s chart at #18, with the electronica-tinged side project Blaqk Audio. The duo’s debut disc, CexCells, sold more than 29,000 copies, making it the week’s third-highest-charting newcomer.

But 16 other artists debut on next week’s chart, including country artist Luke Bryan, whose I’ll Stay Me bows at #24 with 25,000 scans. Dean Martin’s Forever Cool sold 17,200 copies, which puts it at #39 on the chart, followed immediately at #40 by Mae’s Singularity, which sold just five fewer copies.

Coming in at #45 with yet another posthumous outing is Tupac, whose Nu-Mixx Klazzics, Vol. 2 (Evolution: Duets and Remixes) sold nearly 15,000 copies during its first week of commercial release. Below ’Pac at #49 is rapper WC’s Guilty by Affiliation, which sold more than 14,100 units. 12 StonesAnthem for the Underdog follows at #53, selling 12,800 copies, while Matt Nathanson’s Some Mad Hope claims the chart’s #60 slot with 11,300 scans.

Eisley’s Combinations bows at #70, having sold more than 9,300 copies, while country act Halfway to Hazard’s self-titled disc claims the #87 slot with 8,000 discs scanned. Lori McKenna’s Unglamorous sold more than 6,300 units, which earns the album the chart’s #109 position, while DJ Paul van Dyk’s In Between follows at #115, with 6,000 copies sold.

Chingo Bling’s They Can’t Deport Us All opens on next week’s chart at #123, thanks to sales of more than 5,700, while As Cities Burn’s latest, Come Now Sleep, finishes at #135, selling 5,400 and change. Drop Dead GorgeousWorse Than a Fairy Tale debuts at #139 with 5,300 copies sold, and finally, coming in at #174 with sales of 4,300, is the latest from rappers Ali & Gipp, Kinfolk.

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