Most predicted it, and now it's official: Justin Bieber's Believe scored the year's biggest chart debut, selling more than 374,000 copies and blasting the competition on the Billboard Top 200.
Believe — Bieber's fourth album to debut at #1 — slightly edged Madonna's MDNA, which sold 359,000 copies when it was released in late March, to claim the title of year's biggest bow, according to Nielsen SoundScan. It's also the best first-week number any album has posted since Adele's 21 rode a post-Grammy surge to sales of more than 729,000 copies in February.
Bieber's album also sold nearly twice the copies as its closest competition, Kenny Chesney's Welcome to the Fishbowl, which opens at #2 on the chart with an impressive 193,000 copies in its first week of release. Usually that number is more than enough to take #1, but not this week. Fiona Apple's first album in seven years, The Idler Wheel, debuts at #3, selling nearly 72,000 copies, followed by another returning alt icon, the Smashing Pumpkins, who sold more than 53,000 copies of their Oceania to take #4. The "Rock of Ages" soundtrack rounds out the top five, selling nearly 49,000 copies.
Usher, last week's chart champ (and Bieber's mentor), is in at #6 with his Looking 4 Myself album, which sold 48,000 copies in its second week. Adele's aforementioned 21 lands at #7 (more than 47,000 copies sold), followed by One Direction's Up All Night (more than 41,000 sold) and Luke Bryan's Tailgates & Tanlines (nearly 28,000 sold). Rush's Clockwork Angels closes out the top 10, selling nearly 27,000 copies.
Other debuts on the chart include the Dirty Heads' Cabin by the Sea, which opens at #18 with sales of nearly 18,000 copies, "Once" star Glen Hansard's Rhythm and Repose (#21, more than 16,000 copies sold) and the soundtrack to Pixar's "Brave," which bows at #33, with sales of nearly 12,000 copies.
And while the story of this week's Billboard chart is unquestionably Bieber, next week could be a different story. He'll face challenges from both Linkin Park's LIVING THINGS and Maroon 5's Overexposed, both of which could make his reign a short-lived one. Can Bieber make it two weeks in a row atop the charts? We'll just have to wait and see.