MAYER RULES: John Mayer returns to the summit of the Billboard 200 after six years, as "Battle Studies" launches at No. 1. His "Heavier Things" opened atop the chart dated Sept. 27, 2003.
The new set also starts atop Digital Albums and Rock Albums.
Here is a look at the peak positions of Mayer's eight entries on the Billboard 200. He first appeared on the chart dated Oct. 6, 2001, when "Room for Squares" arrived at No. 194:
No. 8, "Room for Squares" (2001-03)
No. 22, "Inside Wants Out (EP)" (2002-03)
No. 17, "Any Give Thursday" (2003)
No. 1 (one week), "Heavier Things" (2003-05)
No. 34, "Try! Live in Concert" (John Mayer Trio) (2005-06)
No. 2, "Continuum" (2006-08)
No. 5, "Where the Light Is: John Mayer Live in Los Angeles" (2008-09)
No. 1 (one week to date), "Battle Studies" (2009)
The new album's duet with chart titan Taylor Swift is, unsurprisingly, its most-downloaded track. "Half of My Heart" opens at No. 25 on the Billboard Hot 100 and No. 12 on Digital Songs.
Swift's count of career top 40 hits on the Hot 100 now stands at 21, as her other current collaboration, "Two Is Better Than One," with Boys Like Girls, advances 48-40. Since her first week in the top 40 on the chart dated Jan. 13, 2007, Swift boasts almost twice as many as top 40 titles on the Hot 100 as the runners-up among women, Rihanna and Carrie Underwood, each with 11 such entries in that span.
MANY HAPPY RETURNS: As previously reported, the Billboard 200 this week segues from a current-exclusive survey to an all-encompassing list, now housing titles of all eras, regardless of release date.
As a result of the change, several landmark sets show on the Billboard 200 after lengthy absences. Four returnees belong to Michael Jackson, including "Thriller" (No. 85) and "Bad" (No. 181).
The Beatles also re-enter with "Abbey Road" (No. 118), "The Beatles" (No. 152) and "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" (No. 189).
At No. 16, Paul McCartney returns additional standouts of the Fab Four's catalog, as "Good Evening New York City" bows. McCartney culled the album from his set of inaugural concerts at New York's Citi Field in July. The collection is McCartney's eighth non-Beatles live album to grace the Billboard 200.
Other venerable albums revisiting the Billboard 200 this week include Casting Crowns' "Peace on Earth" (No. 15), Josh Groban's "Noel" (No. 24), Faith Hill's "Joy to the World" (No. 74), Journey's "Greatest Hits" (No. 159), and Bob Marley and the Wailers' "Legend: the Best of Bob Marley and the Wailers" (No. 196).
NIFTY FIFTY: After early sales impacted last week's data, 50 Cent's "Before I Self-Destruct" charges 48-1 to become the rapper's fourth No. 1 on R&B/Hip-Hop Albums. The effort starts on the Billboard 200 at No. 5.
The R&B/Hip-Hop Albums tally is now compiled from overall album sales. Formerly, the chart's ranks were based on the Nielsen SoundScan R&B Core panel, an array of retailers that specialize in urban music.
With the shift in methodology, certain albums sport notable changes in chart placement. Mass-appeal artists such as the Black Eyed Peas (10-4) and the Jackson 5 (32-20) experience sizeable upward movement, while genre-specific acts, such as LeToya (20-29) and the Whispers (39-48), dip despite recording sales gains.
R&B/Hip-Hop Albums additionally welcomes back rap pioneer Rakim with "The Seventh Seal," his first set of new material in a decade, at No. 9. The album is his third top 10, following "The 18th Letter" (No. 1, 1997) and "The Master" (No. 7, 1999).
THAT'S FOLK, ALL: Billboard this week proudly unveils the 15-position Folk Albums chart.
The first No. 1 on Folk Albums belongs, fittingly, to one of the founding fathers of modern folk music, Bob Dylan ("Christmas in the Heart"). Rounding out the top five are sets by Rosanne Cash, the Swell Season, Dave Rawlings Machine and Monsters of Folk.
The Folk Albums chart will serve as a spotlight for current releases by traditional folk artists, as well as appropriate titles by acoustic-based singer-songwriters.
View the inaugural list's top 10 on billboard.com's chart menu.
"Sexy Chick," which topped Dance/Club Play Songs in October, concurrently returns to the No. 1 slot on Hot Dance Airplay (viewable at billboard.biz) for a fourth week.
Guetta first debuted on a Billboard chart six years ago this week, when "Just a Little More Love," with Chris Willis on vocals, entered Dance/Club Play Songs, eventually peaking at No. 15.