What would it take to end the nearly three-month reign of chart queen Taylor Swift? How about a commando raid from Irish rock royalty U2? Thanks to a multimedia blitz that included a week's worth of gigs on David Letterman's show, the heavily hyped No Line on the Horizon will easily unseat Swift with 484,000 in sales, according to figures provided by Nielsen SoundScan.
Now, the total was a far cry from the more than 840,000 the band's 2004 album, How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb, moved in its chart debut, but after weeks of five-digit totals in the #1 slot, the music industry is likely breathing a sigh of relief at Horizon's sales, which were the biggest one-week total so far this year.
That means Swift's Fearless will have to settle for a distant second on sales of 52,000, followed by a surprisingly high debut from indie queen Neko Case, whose Middle Cyclone thunders into the #3 slot on sales of 44,000. Case barely held off hard-charging dance-floor diva Lady Gaga, who continues her march up the charts, hitting #4 with 42,000 more disco stick-riding converts.
The rest of the top 10 is rounded out by Nickelback's Dark Horse (#5, 36,000), Jamie Foxx's remarkably strong Intuition (#6, 33,000), the self-titled second album from the Fray (#7, 32,000), Beyoncé's I Am ... Sasha Fierce (#8, 31,000), the "Slumdog Millionaire" soundtrack (#9, 24,000) and T.I.'s Paper Trail (#10, 24,000).
Kanye West's 808s & Heartbreak falls out of the top 10 for the first time since its release in late November, landing at #11 on sales of 23,000. Lamb of God drop 10 spots to #12 with 22,000 more units moved of Wrath. And, as their movie's box-office downslide continues, the Jonas Brothers' accompanying 3D Concert Experience disc falls hard from #3 to #15, losing more than 60 percent from the previous week with sales of 19,000. Despite a slew of magazine profiles and personal appearances, Lily Allen also had another rough week, as her well-reviewed It's Not Me, It's You dropped another 13 spots to #40 with close to 11,000 units shifted.
Further down the charts, the soundtrack from "Watchmen," featuring a mix of oldies and My Chemical Romance's cover of Bob Dylan's "Desolation Row," debuts at #36 on sales of 13,000. Somalian rapper K'Naan's Troubadour takes a hard tumble in its second week, falling 55 spots to #87 on sales of 6,000.
Look for the charts to get shaken up again next week, with the debut of Kelly Clarkson's comeback disc, All I Ever Wanted, and the latest from The-Dream, Love Vs. Money.