Nicki Minaj scores her second No. 1 album on the Billboard 200 as "Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded" debuts atop the list with 253,000 copies sold, according to Nielsen SoundScan. That's a slightly better-than-expected sales figure, as industry sources had suggested last week that the album was on course for a launch somewhere in the 215,000 to 235,000 range.
It follows her debut studio set, "Pink Friday," which climbed to No. 1 on the Feb. 19, 2011 chart, just as her "Super Bass" single was taking off. "Pink Friday" bowed at No. 2 on the chart dated Dec. 11, 2010 with 375,000 sold according to Nielsen SoundScan. (Its big debut was fueled by Christmas shopping as the album bowed during Thanksgiving week.)
"Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded" is not a reissue of the original "Pink Friday" album -- despite its confusing title. It's an all-new release, led by its official first single "Starships." The track has already sailed to No. 5 on the Billboard Hot 100.
The album that "Roman Reloaded" replaces, Madonna's "MDNA," falls to No. 8 with 48,000 (down 86.7%) It debuted at No. 1 last week with 359,000. Its steep drop is the largest second-week percentage decline for a No. 1-debuting album since Nielsen SoundScan began tracking sales in 1991.
It surpasses the record set by Lady Gaga's "Born This Way," when it fell 84.27% in its second week on the chart dated June 18, 2011. "Born This Way" bowed the previous frame at No. 1 with 1.11 million, and then sold 174,000 in its second week at the top of the chart.
Focusing our attention on the rest of the top 10 this week, Minaj's "Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded" is one of four debuts in the region. Next up in terms of debuts is Rascal Flatts' "Changed," which starts in the No. 3 slot with 130,000. It's the country group's eighth top 10 on the Billboard 200 and seventh No. 1 on the Country Albums chart. Their last album, 2010's "Nothing Like This" (its Big Machine debut after a career on Lyric Street), bowed at No. 6 with 165,000.
Sandwiched between Minaj and Rascal Flatts is Adele's "21" album, which rises one spot to No. 2 with 153,000 (up 26%). Lionel Richie's "Tuskegee" falls two rungs to No. 4 with 95,000 (down 52%) and One Direction's "Up All Night" is up one to No. 5 with 92,000 (up 98%). Credit the latter's big gain to their performances on "Saturday Night Live" (April 7) and Nickelodeon's "Kids' Choice Awards" (Apr. 1), plus gift-giving sales generated the Easter holiday (Apr. 8).
At No. 6, rock band Of Monsters and Men's debut album "My Head Is An Animal" starts with 55,000. The set's single "Little Talks" rises 11-6 on the Alternative Songs airplay chart this week.
"The Hunger Games" soundtrack slips 5-7 with 50,000 (down 22%) and Shinedown's "Amaryllis" slides 4-10 with 36,000 (down 66%).
Gospel singer Marvin Sapp is the final bow in the top 10, debuting at No. 9 with "I Win" (37,000). His last studio set, 2010's "Here I Am," debuted and peaked at No. 2 with 76,000.
Over on the Digital Songs chart, fun.'s "We Are Young" (featuring Janelle Monae) regains the No. 1 slot (up one) with 390,000 (up 7%) while last week's leader, Justin Bieber's "Boyfriend," falls to No. 3 with a still-big 295,000 (down 43%).
Meanwhile, Gotye's "Somebody That I Used to Know" (featuring Kimbra) climbs 3-2 (311,000; up 28%).
Thanks to a red-hot song in "We Are Young," Bieber's huge debut last week, and then Easter weekend sales, the Digital Songs chart's top two both sell 300,000 for the first time in successive weeks outside of the Christmas season.
One Direction's "What Makes You Beautiful" is up one to No. 4 (294,000; up 48%) and Nicki Minaj's "Starships" slips 4-5 despite a gain (232,000; up 14%).
Overall album sales in this past chart week (ending April 8) totaled 6.40 million units, up 4% compared to the sum last week (6.16 million) and up 9% compared to the comparable sales week of 2011 (5.87 million). Year to date album sales stand at 84.23 million, up 1% compared to the same total at this point last year (83.69 million).
Digital track sales this past week totaled 29.12 million downloads, up 9% compared to last week (26.68 million) and up 26% stacked next to the comparable week of 2011 (23.17 million). Year to date track sales are at 390.44 million, up 8% compared to the same total at this point last year (362.28 million).
Next week's Billboard 200 competes with the same week in 2011 when: Foo Fighters' "Wasting Light" gave the band its first No. 1 album, debuting in the top slot with 235,000. The previous week's leader, Adele's "21," fell to No. 2 with 93,000 (up 5%).