She's released four albums over the course of her career, and all four have debuted at #1 on the Billboard top 200, including her most recent studio offering, As I Am, which first landed in record shops last week. What this all means, at least in sports terms, is that R&B songbird Alicia Keys has a perfect 4-for-4 record.
But a fourth #1 opening isn't the only thing Keys is thankful for this week. With 742,400 copies sold, As I Am earns the distinction of being the singer's best-performing debut. Her 2001 LP Songs in A Minor sold 235,800 copies to enter the top 200 at #1 while 2003's The Diary of Alicia Keys scanned more than 618,300 copies; her 2005 Unplugged set sold close to 196,000 units. Plus, As I Am, according to the latest SoundScan totals, walked away with the chart's peak position, with her closest competitor, Josh Groban's Christmas-themed Nëel, trailing at #2 with sales reported at 223,000.
Keys' newest was one of 24 new releases to enter next week's chart, during what was a healthy week for album sales overall. During the previous week, the records comprising the top 200 sold a total of 4.2 million and change, while next week's top 200 scanned close to 5.4 million, which can means the holiday shopping season is once again upon us.
Four albums, including As I Am, bowed in the top 10, including Celine Dion's latest, Taking Chances, at #3 with 214,400 sold, and the 26th installment in the Now That's What I Call Music! compilation franchise follows at #4, scanning around 208,000 units; this latest edition to the family features tracks by the likes of Timbaland, Justin Timberlake, Rihanna, Chris Brown, Kanye West, the Plain White T's, Daughtry, Nickelback and more. Coming in at #7, with 136,400 copies snatched up, its Mothership, a two-disc compilation set chronicling the works of Led Zeppelin.
Meanwhile, the rest of the top 10's saturated with some of music's biggest names. Garth Brooks' Ultimate Hits sits in the #5 position, with 203,600 in second-week scans, followed at #6 by the Eagles' Long Road Out of Eden, selling another 197,500 copies. Jay-Z's American Gangster drops seven spots to #8 on sales of 130,600; week-two sales of the album declined by nearly 70 percent. Carrie Underwood, fresh off her American Music Award wins, owns the #9 spot, selling 113,200 copies of her Carnival Ride, while Chris Brown's Exclusive rounds things out at #10, with 109,600 scans.
Comedian Dane Cook's latest, Rough Around the Edges: Live From Madison Square Garden, enters the chart at #11, with 90,200 copies flying off store shelves, while the Killers' Sawdust comes in at #12, with 81,900 scans. George Strait's 22 More Hits opens at #13 with 80,200 sold, and at #17 with sales of 63,000, it's James Taylor's new one, One Man Band. Boyz II Men return to the chart at #27 with Motown: A Journey Through Hitsville USA, an album that pays tribute to some of the legendary label's classic tracks; the set sold 41,700 units. Trisha Yearwood's Heaven, Heartache, and the Power of Love comes in at #30, selling 33,000 copies.
The Goo Goo Dolls' Volume 1: Greatest Hits, which implies a second installment somewhere down the line, finishes at #33 with 32,600 sold, while Seal's System follows at #35 with 30,200 scans. Duran Duran's Red Carpet Massacre bows at #36 with sales reported at 28,800, and coming in at #54 with 20,400 sold is Aretha Franklin's Jewels in the Crown: All-Star Duets With the Queen. Now That's What I Call Party Hits!, a compilation featuring contributions from Shop Boyz, Mims, Kelis, Amerie, Nelly Furtado and more, enters at #60 with 17,800 sold, followed at #65 by the Hives' Black and White Album, which scanned 17,200 copies.
T.H.U.G.S., an album of unreleased Bone Thugs-n-Harmony material, opens at #73 with 15,200 copies grabbed up, while David Gray's Greatest Hits enters at #96, selling 10,400. Aventura's K.O.B. Live comes in at #97 with sales of just over 10,300, with A.F.I.'s I Heard a Voice: Live from Long Beach Arena debuting at #133 with 7,400 scans. Meanwhile, the Dillinger Escape Plan's Ire Works enters at #142, with 7,000 sold. Ska kings Streetlight Manifesto's Somewhere in the Between opens at #154 with 6,300 scans, and finally, coming in at #173 with 5,500 sold, its Take Cover, a covers collection from American metallers Queensryche.