Simpson Strikes Back: Ashlee Scores 2nd No. 1
Ashlee Simpson staves off a slew of Billboard 200 chart veterans this week, notching her second chart-topper with "I Am Me." With sales of 220,000 copies in the U.S., according to Nielsen SoundScan, SAshlee Simpson staves off a slew of Billboard 200 chart veterans this week, notching her second chart-topper with "I Am Me." With sales of 220,000 copies in the U.S., according to Nielsen SoundScan, Simpson's sophomore Geffen effort debuts ahead of new sets from Rod Stewart, Martina McBride, Stevie Wonder, Bun-B and Depeche Mode.
Though it duplicates the chart-topping success of her 2004 debut, "Autobiography," Simpson's latest falls short in sales. That effort started with 398,000 and has gone on to move 2.9 million. Nonetheless, in just six weeks, the new album's first single, "Boyfriend," is a top 25 track on the Billboard Hot 100.
"Thanks for the Memory," the fourth installment of Rod Stewart's "Great American Songbook" series (J Records), opens at No. 2 with sales of 193,000. The highest-charting and best-selling of the series remains last year's "Stardust... The Great American Songbook, Vol. 3," which bowed at No. 1 with 240,000 copies and has sold 1.5 million.
At No. 3, Martina McBride's "Timeless" (RCA) earns the country veteran a career best perch on The Billboard 200 and third consecutive No. 1 on Billboard's Top Country Albums list. With sales of 185,000 copies, the 18-track collection of classic country songs also achieves her best sales week to date. In 2003, "Martina" opened at No. 7 with 123,000 units; it has sold 1.7 million to date.
Despite a 23% fall to sales of 132,000 copies, Nickelback's "All the Right Reasons" (Roadrunner/IDJMG) is one of the few top 10 survivors from last week, dipping 2-4.
At No. 5, Stevie Wonder's "A Time To Love" (Motown) opens with 121,000 copies, besting his last studio effort, "Conversation Peace." That 1995 set debuted at No. 17 with 53,000 and has sold 361,000 so far.
Noted Houston rapper Bun-B starts at No. 6 with the solo effort "Trill" (Rap-A-Lot/WEA). Sales of 118,000 put his first release since UKG partner Pimp C was sent to prison on top of Billboard's Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart.
Rounding out this week's top tier bows is Depeche Mode's first new studio album in four years, "Playing the Angel" (Sire/Reprise/Mute). The No. 7 entry on sales of 98,000 gives the group its fifth top 10 album since first charting in 1981. Its last set, 2001's "Exciter," opened at No. 8 with 115,000; it has sold 423,000 to date.
Simpson's chart-topping entry replaces Alicia Keys' "Unplugged" (J Records), which falls from the top slot to No. 9 on a 58% slide to 83,000.
Also remaining in the top tier is the Black Eyed Peas' "Monkey Business (A&M/Interscope) which drops 4-8 despite a 4% jump to 94,000 and Kanye West's "Late Registration" (Roc-A-Fella/Def Jam), which falls 5-10 on a 6% slip to 78,000.
Although debuting outside of the top 10, Billy Currington, Thrice and Chris Botti all notch career bests on the big chart this week. Currington is "Doin' Somethin' Right" (Mercury) at No. 11 with 54,000 copies, while Thrice arrives at No. 15 with "Vheissu" (Island) on sales of 46,000 copies. Botti's "To Love Again: The Duets" (Columbia) bows at No. 18 with sales of 44,000 copies.
Other notable debuts this week include Tracy Lawrence's "Then & Now: The Hits Collection" (Mercury Nashville, No. 35) and Black Rob's "The Black Rob Report" (Bad Boy, No. 40).
At 10.8 million units, overall U.S. album sales were up 4% over the previous week, about 1% higher than the same week last year. Sales for 2005 lag behind 2004 by 10% at 447 million units.