It was a battle of rock vs. pop this week on the Billboard 200 charts ... and rock won by a nose. Linkin Park will put up their fourth #1 debut in a row next week when LIVING THINGS enters the charts at #1 on sales of 223,000, according to figures provided by Nielsen SoundScan.
That was just enough to edge out Maroon 5, whose Overexposed was hot on LP's tail with sales of 222,000. Just over 1,000 in sales separated the bands, and the figures for Park were close to the first-week numbers for 2010's A Thousand Suns, which sold 241,000 copies in its bow. Maroon, meanwhile, doubled-up on the figures for their previous album, 2010's Hands All Over, which also debuted at #2 on sales of 142,000.
Among the other debuts in the top 10 was the second volume from rapper Rick Ross's crew, MMG Presents: Self Made, Vol. 2 , which moved 98,000 copies. A bit behind them was the latest from Mr. Soulacoaster himself , R. Kelly, who landed at #5 with Write Me Back (68,000).
Last week's #1, Justin Bieber's Believe , slipped down to #3, as sales dropped by 69 percent to just under 115,000. The rest of the top 10: Kenny Chesney, Welcome to the Fishbowl (#6, 61,000), Adele, 21 (#7, 42,000), One Direction, Up All Night (#8, 39,000), Usher, Looking 4 Myself (#9, 36,000) and the "Rock of Ages" soundtrack (#10, 28,000).
After a strong #3 debut last week, piano pounder Fiona Apple slipped eight spots to #11 with The Idler Wheel ... (27,000, down 62 percent), while veteran California punks Offspring came in a #12 with Days Go By (24,000). The Smashing Pumpkins also had a rude awakening in week two for their latest, Oceania, which dipped 70 percent, falling 15 spots to #19 on sales of just under 16,000.
Katy Perry enjoyed a solid bump for Teenage Dream (up 10 spots to #21 on sales of 16,000) thanks to hype preceding the opening of the singer's "Part of Me" 3-D concert movie. With the arrival of Overexposed, people seemed interested in Maroon 5's back catalog as well, as Hands All Over shot up 78 spots and 134 percent to #37 on sales of 10,000.
They couldn't seal the deal on Billboard, but Maroon beat out LP on the iTunes album chart, taking the #1 spot, followed by Park, MMG, Bieber, Chesney, One Direction, vocal group Pentatonix's PTX, Vol. 1, "Rock of Ages," the "Project X" soundtrack and Kelly.
The song of summer, Carly Rae Jepsen's "Call Me Maybe," continued to rule the iTunes singles tally, holding off Perry's "Wide Awake," Maroon's "Payphone," Owl City's hook up with Jepsen on "Good Time" and Gotye's "Somebody That I Used to Know." British singer Ellie Goulding climbed up to #6 with "Lights," just head of the David Guetta/Sia tune "Titanium," Flo Rida's "Whistle," Usher's "Scream" and Rihanna's "Where Have You Been."
Look for top 10 debuts next week for Chris Brown, Flo Rida and the Zac Brown Band next week.