Fans of Trent Reznor's Nine Inch Nails were clearly famished. For six long years -- during which Reznor battled a drug addition he feared would kill him -- followers waited patiently for a fresh batch of studio material from his industrial-strength rock entity. Finally, the wait ended last week with the release of With Teeth -- and as the latest SoundScan data indicates, the faithful flooded America's record stores to put an end to those hunger pangs.
With first-week sales of nearly 272,000 copies, Reznor's With Teeth will break Billboard's thick skin to take the album chart's top spot, outselling retail powerhouses Mariah Carey, Matchbox Twenty vocalist Rob Thomas, rapper 50 Cent and Garden State giant Bruce Springsteen. With Teeth marks Reznor's second career #1 and Nine Inch Nails' biggest opening-week showing; 1999's The Fragile also debuted at #1, with sales of nearly 229,000, while 1994's The Downward Spiral opened at #2, selling less than 119,000 copies during its first week of release.
Holding the chart's #2 slot for a third straight week is Carey's latest, The Emancipation of Mimi, with fourth-week scans of more than 197,000 pushing the album's total sales over the one-million mark. Mimi is followed by last week's #4, Thomas' solo album, Something to Be, which climbs one chart position to #3 with third-week sales of 125,000 and then some. Hip-hop heavyweight 50 Cent's The Massacre hopped two places to #4, with sales of nearly 104,000; after 10 weeks at retail, Fiddy continues to prove his retail staying power.
After opening at #1 on the previous week's chart, the latest disc from the Boss (no, we don't mean Tony Danza), Devils & Dust, falls to the #5 position, thanks to a 54 percent sales dip. Despite the plunge, Springsteen had a strong second week, ending just shy of the 102,000 mark.
With the theatrical release of the final installment in George Lucas' beloved "Star Wars" franchise just around the corner, the debut of the "Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith" score -- composed and conducted by John Williams -- as the chart's #6 finisher comes as little surprise. Nearly 96,000 copies of the orchestral disc soared off store shelves. The Lucas-penned liner notes and a fold-out poster featuring a montage of images from the movie undoubtedly provided a sales boost.
An 11 percent surge in sales helped Gwen Stefani's Love, Angel, Music, Baby jump three chart positions to #7; the disc finished out its 24th week with a bang, recording sales of nearly 79,000. "American Idol" judge Simon Cowell's boy-band protégés Il Divo finish at #8, clocking sales of nearly 75,000 with their self-titled debut.
The week's biggest chart shocker comes in the form of Chicago emo-punk band Fall Out Boy. The group's latest, From Under the Cork, will debut at #9, with first-week sales of just under 68,000; the band's single, "Sugar, We're Goin' Down," is a rock-radio staple. Houston-based MC Mike Jones rounds out the top 10 with his latest, Who Is Mike Jones?, which netted third-week sales of close to 65,000.
The Fred Durst-fronted nü-metal five-piece Limp Bizkit turned in what might be the week's most disappointing debut. The band's latest, The Unquestionable Truth (Part 1), is a collection of seven songs (with a full-length price tag). Bizkit's label, at the band's behest, did not fund any pre-release promotion for the record -- and first-week sales of the disc appear to reflect that fact. A mere 37,000 copies left retail shelves, giving Limp the chart's #24.
By comparison, 2000's Chocolate Starfish and the Hot Dog Flavored Water debuted at #1 with sales of nearly 1,055,000. 1999's Significant Other also debuted at #1, with sales of close to 635,000; and 2003's Results May Vary opened at #3, selling over 325,000 copies in its first week of release.
Lost And Found -- And Found
Two artists with two very different styles and sounds who seem to have been on the same wavelength when it came time to name their records are featured on top of one another.
Coming in at #28 is the latest from heavy metalers Mudvayne, Lost and Found, which sold close to 32,000 copies during its fourth week of retail release. And selling just over 30,000 copies to secure the chart's #29 position is Will Smith's latest, Lost and Found. Could this be a sign of the apocalypse?
A trend has emerged during this season of "American Idol": songs performed by the show's contestants often help boost sales of the albums they're on -- good news for the original artists. For the most recent example of this phenomenon, look to the chart's new #147.
Before his elimination last week, ex-"Idol" contestant Scott Savol did his best with Brian McKnight's "Everytime You Go Away," a track from McKnight's latest offering, Gemini. Not surprisingly, sales of that disc jumped a whopping 46 percent, bringing the week's total to nearly 7,500.
It's A Long Way To The Bottom
R&B songstress Tweet is probably hoping an "Idol" finalist covers one of her songs real soon. Tweet's latest record, It's Me Again, has steadily slipped -- from #17 to #37 and then down to #61, #81, #110, #137 and finally hitting #200 (the bottom of the proverbial barrel) this week, when sales of the record were reported at just 5,500 plus.