All the bad publicity generated by the photos of "High School Musical 2" star Vanessa Hudgens that leaked on the Internet last week didn't hurt sales of the made-for-TV movie's soundtrack in the least, but interest in the LP did taper off a tad. Nevertheless, the "High School Musical 2" remains in the #1 spot on next week's Billboard albums sales chart, becoming the year's first album to spend four weeks at the top 200's apex.
To be fair, "HSM2" didn't face much competition during its fourth week of commercial release — but is expected to take a bona fide beating this week from the likes of Kanye West, 50 Cent and Kenny Chesney (see "50 Cent And Kanye West: The Main Event Is Finally Here, In New Releases"). Sure, sales dropped 22 percent — which, really, is to be expected — to 164,700, pushing total sales past 1.3 million. But there was no true threat to the soundtrack's run at #1; the chart's #2 finisher, Fergie's The Dutchess, sold just 48,600 copies, according to the latest SoundScan figures.
Overall album sales also dwindled, from 2.4 million during the previous week to 2 million-plus this week, giving lesser-known acts like Michigan post-hardcore collective Chiodos a strong shot at a top 10 opener. The band's latest, Bone Palace Ballet, sold close to 38,700 copies and debuts at #5. The disc was the only new release to crack the top 10, and becomes the best-selling and highest-charting bow of the band's career. In fact, Chiodos' previous offering, 2005's All's Well That Ends Well, didn't even chart the week after its release.
The rest of the top 10 is rounded out by the usual suspects: Hannah Montana 2: Meet Miley Cyrus climbs one spot to #3 with 47,000 sold, while Casting Crowns' The Altar and the Door falls two spots to #4, selling 40,500 copies. The soundtrack to "Hairspray" holds at #6 with 38,700 scans, followed at #7 by the 25th installment in the Now That's What I Call Music! compilation series, with 37,900 in reported sales. Nickelback's All the Right Reasons finishes at #8, with 36,200 scans, and Amy Winehouse's Back to Black sold more than 28,900 units to claim the chart's #9 slot. And coming in at #10 is Linkin Park's Minutes to Midnight, with 28,400 copies snatched up.
Metal foursome Every Time I Die's The Big Dirty is also among the eight new releases that'll make their debut on next week's chart. The disc sold 13,800-plus copies, to open at #41. Meanwhile, Christian act Israel & New Breed's A Deeper Level follows at #48, with sales of more than 11,700 units. Manu Chao's La Radiolina bows at #71, having sold more than 8,300 copies, while Patti Scialfa's Play It as It Lays finishes in the #90 position, with 6,800 scans. Saviour King, the sixteenth live album from Christian act Hillsong, follows at #114 with 5,300 sold, and Ice Cube's In the Movies lands at #169, selling 4,000 copies. Lastly, Ted Nugent's newest, Love Grenade, debuts at #186, with more than 3,600 scans.