For a second-straight week, it's country — not Kanye — that leads the latest Billboard top 200, following what was an unusually heavy day for new releases, with 40 chart newcomers in all.
Last week, Reba McEntire's Reba Duets trounced the two biggest hip-hop releases of the year, earning the former sitcom star the first #1 debut of her 30-year career. On next week's chart, Reba's latest slips five spots to #6, leaving the peak position open for country croonin' trio Rascal Flatts and their latest, Still Feels Good, which sold more than 546,500 copies, according to the latest SoundScan totals. The album becomes the band's third-straight chart-crowning offering, following the successes of 2004's Feels Like Today (which generated week-one scans of 201,000) and 2006's Me and My Gang (with sales reported at 721,700).
As for Kanye West and his archenemy of three weeks back, 50 Cent, both artists remain in the chart's top 10, but for one, that might change soon. West's Graduation slips three places to #5 on next week's chart with 133,300 sold, while Fif's Curtis dropped from #3 to #9, with 70,900 scans. Curtis has yet to pass the 1 million-sold mark, while West's latest has sold more than 1.3 million copies.
In between the Flatts and West are three of the five new releases to crack the top 10, but none came close to touching this week's #1. Bowing at #2 with 281,400 sold is R&B songstress Keyshia Cole's new one, Just Like You, the follow-up to 2005's The Way It Is, which debuted at #6 with 88,500 scans. Behind her is the latest from the Foo Fighters, Echoes, Silence, Patience & Grace, selling more than 168,200 copies. The band's mission for a #1 opening will continue, following failed attempts by 2002's One by One (which opened at #3 with 121,500 sold) and 2005's In Your Honor (#2 with 310,600). R&B, soul and jazz singer Jill Scott's The Real Thing: Words and Sounds Vol. 3 claims the chart's #4 position, having sold 148,500 units.
Right behind the soundtrack to Disney's "High School Musical 2," which sits at the #7 position with 84,900 sold, is the latest from R&B act Jagged Edge, Baby Makin' Project, which scanned more than 78,000 copies during its first week. Rounding out the top 10 is Kenny Chesney's Just Who I Am: Poets & Pirates, which plummeted five spots with 68,200 sold.
Debuting at #11 with 51,000 copies snatched up is Queen Latifah's newest studio offering, Trav'lin' Light, while Melissa Etheridge's The Awakening follows at #13 with 47,700 sold. Joni Mitchell's Shine claims the #14 position, selling 40,150 copies, and right behind Joni at #15 is Chaka Khan's Funk This, with sales reported at 38,500. Tony Bennett Sings the Ultimate American Songbook, Vol. 1 opens at #16 with 36,200 scans, while Atlanta rapper Gorilla Zoe's Welcome to the Zoo sits in the #18 position with 35,200 sold.
One of the week's biggest surprises occupies the chart's #21 slot: Dethklok, the animated band from the Adult Swim cartoon "Metalocalypse," and their debut disc, Dethalbum. The set sold more than 33,700 copies, which was just enough to keep the David Crowder Band's Remedy at #22 with 32,300 sold. Folk rocker Iron and Wine's The Shepherd's Dog opens at #24 with sales coming in at around 31,600, while Southern metallers Down's first album in nearly five years, Down III: Over the Under, finishes at #26 with 29,200 scans. Trumpeter Chris Botti's Italia takes the #27 position with 28,800-plus sold.
The solo debut from the Black Eyes Peas' Will.I.Am, Songs About Girls, opens at #38 on next week's chart, thanks to sales of more than 20,800. The Cheetah Girls' TGC follows at #44 with 18,900 sold, while rapper Hell Rell's For the Hell of It comes in at #55 with 15,600 scans. All Time Low's So Wrong, It's Right bows at #62 with 13,800 copies sold, and at #69, with 12,300 sold, it's Gucci Mane's Trap-A-Thon.
Steve Earle's Washington Square Serenade opens at #79, having sold close to 9,600 units, while Swedish metallers Arch Enemy's Rise of the Tyrant follows at #84 with 8,900 scans. Hurt's Vol. II just misses the top 100, coming in at #101 with 7,200 sold, while Goin' Home: A Tribute to Fats Domino, a two-disc compilation featuring John Lennon, Elton John, Joss Stone, Corinne Bailey Rae, Neil Young, Norah Jones and Ben Harper, finishes out the week at #104, selling 6,800 copies. Folk rocker Devendra Banhart's Smokey Rolls Down Thunder Canyon bows at #115 with 6,300 sold, and at #12 with 6,000 scans is The Best of Donell Jones.
The Very Best of the Doors, a career-spanning collection commemorating the band's 40th anniversary, finishes at #129, selling 5,700 units, while Swedish singer/songwriter José González's In Our Nature claims the #132 position with 5,600 scans. Wolfgang's Big Night Out, the seventh studio album from American swing revivalists the Brian Setzer Orchestra, opens at #141 with sales of 5,300 and change, while indie rockers the Weakerthans' Reunion Tour debuts at #181 with 4,100 sold. Lastly, opening at #186 with 4,000 scans, is the latest from Meshell Ndegeocello, The World Has Made Me the Man of My Dreams.