As far as contests go, this one was the very definition of lopsided.
A margin of nearly 306,600 separates next week's #1 album, the soundtrack to the Disney Channel original movie "High School Musical 2," from next week's #2, Brooklyn rapper Talib Kweli's Eardrum. A trouncing if there ever was one, but not an unexpected development. The soundtrack sold 615,000 units the week before and is the follow-up to one of last year's biggest sellers.
Remarkably, in just two weeks, "HSM2" fell just shy of clearing 1 million in total sales, landing it atop the Billboard albums chart for the second week. According to the latest SoundScan figures, the album — featuring the film's stars Zac Efron, Vanessa Hudgens, Ashley Tisdale, Corbin Bleu, Lucas Grabeel and Monique Coleman — sold another 367,000 units, despite suffering a 40 percent drop in sales, for a total of 982,500.
Meanwhile, Kweli will have to settle for the chart's #2 position, having generated week-one sales of 60,500 for his latest studio offering. While it marks the highest-charting debut of Kweli's career, his previous outing, 2004's The Beautiful Struggle, sold more than 62,000 units to bow at the chart's #14 slot. Following him at #3 is Hannah Montana 2: Meet Miley Cyrus, the Disney teen sensation's latest opus, which slips one spot on next week's chart with 57,700 scans. And coming in at #4 with 52,900 sold is the soundtrack to "Hairspray," which is closing in on 500,000 in total sales, a mark it should surpass on next week's top 200.
Ending the week at #5 with 52,500 sold is the 25th edition in the ever-growing Now That's What I Call Music! collection, followed at #6 by Fergie's The Dutchess, which sold another 50,400 copies.
As far as new releases go, Kweli's in good company in next week's top 10. One Man Band Man, the new album from hip-hopper Swizz Beatz, opens at #7, having generated 45,200 in first-week sales, while San Diego metallers As I Lay Dying's An Ocean Between Us bows at #8 with 39,500 copies scanned. The remainder of the top 10 is rounded out by two repeat offenders: Nickelback's All the Right Reasons, which claims the #9 slot with 39,200 in sales, and UGK's Underground Kingz, which sold 35,000 units for the #10 spot.
In all, there were 20 new additions to next week's Billboard chart, including Kala, the latest from M.I.A., which debuts at #18 with 28,800 scans. Cartel's self-titled new one follows at #20 with 28,100 sold. Rilo Kiley's Under the Blacklight takes the chart's #22 position, selling 26,600 units, while country crooner Joe Nichols' Real Things trails in the #23 slot, scanning 25,800 copies. Travis Tritt's The Storm opens at #28 with 22,600 copies snatched up, while the New Pornographers' Challengers debuts at #34 with sales reported at 20,000 and change.
Just missing the top 50 cut is Aiden and their new one, Conviction, which takes the chart's #55 spot with 12,300 copies sold. The Devil Wears Prada follow at #58, selling 11,600 copies of their latest LP, Plagues, and coming in at #62 with 10,600 sold is The Heroin Diaries, the debut disc from Mötley Crüe bassist Nikki Sixx's Sixx: A.M.
Planet of Ice, the latest from Minus the Bear, makes its debut at #74 with sales of 9,300 and then some, while Josh Ritter's The Historical Conquests of Josh Ritter comes in at #79 with 8,800 sold. The soundtrack to Rob Zombie's upcoming "Halloween" flick bows at #82 with 8,400 scans; and with 7,000 copies flying off store shelves, Blaze Ya Dead Homie's Clockwork Gray claims the chart's #100 position. Joe Bonamassa's Sloe Gin opens at #184 with 4,160 in sales, while the Flaming Lips' U.F.O.'s at the Zoo: The Legendary Concert in Oklahoma City MVI album sold 4,100 copies, for a #186 opener. And finally, debuting at #193 with 3,900 copies scanned, is Andorra, Caribou's latest.
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