Kanye West, Taylor Swift Top Guns N' Roses On Billboard Albums Chart

In its third week, Swift's Fearless beats the long-awaited Chinese Democracy.

After nearly 17 years in the studio, one truly odd MTV VMA appearance, a failed world tour, a riot in Philadelphia, a lot of defensive talk from Sebastian Bach, a leak facilitated by Mike Piazza and DJ Eddie Trunk, a much-ballyhooed exclusive deal with Best Buy, a lawsuit involving the Offspring, the apparently empty promise of free Dr Pepper for all, innumerable and mysterious delays, $13 million in reported production costs, a Greatest Hits album, a change in managers, five possible producers, five guitarists, two bassists, three drummers, the invention of the iPod, a guy with a KFC bucket on his head, zero promotion from the album's mastermind, and now, rumors of a potential reunion of the original lineup, [artist id="846"]Guns N' Roses[/artist]' sixth studio album, Chinese Democracy, sold a whopping 261,200 copies its first week on store shelves.

That's right, just 261,200 copies.

Two weeks ago, it seemed like the #1 position on Billboard's weekly albums sales chart could have gone to either Guns or Kanye West. Chinese Democracy was released on November 23, and West's 808s & Heartbreak dropped November 24. It was a battle that pitted one of hip-hop's biggest stars against one of rock's most enigmatic ringleaders, and in the end, GN'R just couldn't contend.

When Nielsen SoundScan issued the latest national album sales data on Wednesday (December 3), it was West's latest at #1, opening with sales of more than 450,100, leaving the #2 slot wide open for Guns ... or so it seemed. Unfortunately, no one factored country crossover cutie [artist id="2389485"]Taylor Swift[/artist] into the equation. In its third week out, her new one, Fearless, climbed from #4 to #2, thanks to sales of close to 267,400 — meaning GN'R's first appearance on the chart in close to 20 years will be at #3.

Whether it was to pick up Kanye's new one or Axl Rose's magnum opus, consumers made their presence felt at record retail last week — one of the biggest shopping weeks of the year. Virtually every album in Billboard's Top 200 experienced either increased or stronger sales, with 22 new efforts cracking the chart. Beyond 'Ye and GN'R, two other albums debut in next week's top 10: [artist id="961097"]Ludacris[/artist]' Theater of the Mind bows at #5, selling 213,500 units, with [artist id="1244299"]The Killers[/artist]' Day & Age following at #6, scanning 193,400 copies.

Among the other newcomers to next week's chart are Coldplay's Prospekt's March EP, which enters at #15 with 76,700 sold. Entering at #41 with 30,900 scans, is [artist id="960856"]Linkin Park[/artist]'s Road to Revolution: Live at Milton Keynes. [artist id="6431"]E-40[/artist]'s Ball Street Journal follows at #42, with sales clocked at 30,400 and change. The Fireman, the moniker given to electronic music experiments created by [artist id="969"]The Beatles[/artist]' Paul McCartney and producer [artist id="19465"]Youth[/artist], open at #67, selling 17,300 copies of their new one, Electric Arguments, while [artist id="1968732"]Paramore[/artist]'s live CD/DVD set The Final Riot! comes in at #88 with 12,100 sold.

Kevin Rudolf's In the City bows at #93, with 10,800 copies snatched up, while Linkin Park's Songs from the Underground EP follows at #95, scanning 10,600 copies. [artist id="1020"]Stone Temple Pilots[/artist] frontman [artist id="150106"]Scott Weiland[/artist]'s new solo offering, Happy in Galoshes, opens at #96, with 10,500 copies sold. [movieperson id="269624"]Stephen Colbert[/movieperson]'s A Colbert Christmas enters the chart at #119, having sold nearly 8,200 units, while [artist id="440"]Weezer[/artist] frontman Rivers Cuomo's Alone II: The Home Recordings of Rivers Cuomo pops up at #174 with 5,600 sold.