The question this week wasn't whether Eminem's Recovery would debut at #1, but if it could reach the magical one million plateau, like two of his previous efforts. Well, Slim Shady fell a bit short, but his album is projected to be the year's highest debut so far, selling 741,000 in its first week, according to preliminary figures from Nielsen SoundScan.
Recovery beat the other two highest debuts of the year, from Sade and Lady Antebellum, by more than 200,000. It also easily beat the debut last year of his Relapse album, which hit #1 with 608,000.
In fact, not only is Recovery, which leaked several weeks early, the year's best debut, it had the biggest first week since AC/DC's Black Ice bowed with 784,000 back in 2008. The strong debut also gave Em his sixth-consecutive #1 album.
According to Billboard, Recovery also sold 225,000 downloads for the second-biggest digital week in history, behind Coldplay's Viva la Vida or Death and All His Friends, which clocked 288,000 downloads when it was released in the summer of 2008.
The rapper's collaboration with Rihanna on "Love the Way You Lie" also made a lot of noise on Billboard's Digital Songs chart, debuting at #1 with 338,000 downloads.
Em, who admits on Recovery that he didn't bring his "A" game the last time around, was helped by a strong first single in "Not Afraid," plus a bit more exposure than he had for Relapse, when he was still just coming out of a troubling time dealing with his addiction to prescription medications. In addition to a turn on a recent episode of the E! clip show "The Soup," in which he mistook host Joel McHale for a room-service waiter, the typically media-shy Marshall Mathers also popped up to do the top 10 on "Late Show With David Letterman" last week, where he performed with Jay-Z.
Does Eminem's Recovery live up to your expectations? Share your reviews in the comments.