It was close, but [artist id="960856"]Linkin Park[/artist] managed to burn a bit brighter than [artist id="1838768"]Trey Songz[/artist] on the Billboard 200, earning their latest, [article id="1647836"]A Thousand Suns,[/article] the #1 spot on next week's chart thanks to sales of 241,000 and a boost from a [article id="1647704"]thrilling VMA performance[/article]. According to figures provided by Nielsen SoundScan, the Rick Rubin-produced Suns outpaced [article id="1648243"]Songz's Passion, Pain & Pleasure[/article] by just over 1,000 copies, with the R&B lover man's fourth CD sliding in right behind at #2 on sales of 240,000.
Both discs far outpaced the handful of other debuts in the top 10, which also include bearded country outlaw Jamey Johnson's two-disc Guitar Song (#4, 63,000), former Led Zeppelin singer Robert Plant's rootsy Band of Joy (#5, 49,000) and the indie label debut of [article id="1646393"]Weezer, whose Hurley[/article] comes in at #6 thanks to 45,000 units moved.
Also debuting in the top 10 at #8 is the first solo album from [article id="1641473"]Killers frontman Brandon Flowers, Flamingo,[/article] which sold 41,000 copies.
The usual suspects make up the rest of the top 10, with Eminem seemingly getting a post-VMA boost as sales ticked up 10 percent for his Recovery. The 89,000 copies sold land him at #3 and push Slim Shady just shy of the 2.6 million mark, making Em less than 40,000 copies shy of taking the 2010 sales championship crown from Lady Antebellum. Also holding in the top 10 are the NOW 35 compilation (#7, 41,000), Katy Perry's Teenage Dream (#9, 40,000) and Justin Bieber's My World 2.0 (#10, 36,000).
It was a brief stay in the top 10 for singer/songwriter Sara Bareilles, whose Kaleidoscope Heart tumbles 11 spots in week two to land at #12 as sales dropped off by 69 percent to 28,000.
One act that undoubtedly got the [article id="1647698"]VMA bump was England's Florence and the Machine[/article], with Lungs rocketing up 30 spots to #14 as sales picked up by 165 percent to 21,000 following the band's thrilling performance at the MTV awards show. Drake, Lady Gaga and Usher also saw modest post-VMA sales gains.
Godsmack singer Sully Erna makes it to #24 with his solo album, Avalon (14,000), and moody rockers the Walkmen are just behind at #27 with Lisbon (13,000). Psychedelic collective Of Montreal hit #34 with False Priest (11,000). Much further down the line, reunited indie legends Superchunk scared up nearly 6,000 buyers for their first studio album in nine years, Majesty Shredding (#85).
Linkin Park did their thing on the iTunes charts as well, taking the top spot, followed by Songz, Eminem, Johnson, Flowers, the online-only release of the latest Kings of Leon album, Come Around Sundown (#6), Bareilles, Florence and the Machine, Weezer and Mumford & Sons' Sigh No More.
Though iTunes does not release sales data, you can be sure Rihanna was celebrating her latest chart topper on the site's singles chart with the [article id="1648235"]Doritos-ad jingle "Only Girl (In the World),"[/article] which pushes Bruno Mars' "Just the Way You Are" down to #2. There was little movement on the chart, with Usher hanging around at #3 with "DJ Got Us Fallin'
in Love," followed by Perry's "Teenage Dream," Nelly's "Just a Dream," Far East Movement's "Like a G6," Eminem's "Love the Way You Lie," Flo Rida's "Club Can't Handle Me," Taio Cruz's "Dyamite" and Enrique Iglesias' fist-pumping "I Like It."
There will undoubtedly be more shuffling at the top of the Billboard chart next week with new albums from Maroon 5, Selena Gomez, John Legend and the Roots, the Zac Brown Band and Santana.