Tim McGraw is living it up on top of The Billboard 200 as his latest Curb set "Live Like You Were Dying" notches a second week at No. 1. Although the title suffered a 70% sales decline, according to N

Tim McGraw is living it up on top of The Billboard 200 as his latest Curb set "Live Like You Were Dying" notches a second week at No. 1. Although the title suffered a 70% sales decline, according to Nielsen SoundScan, a U.S. sales total of 227,000 copies is enough to stave off three top 5 debuts.

Three months after his death, Ray Charles' final studio set debuts at No. 2. With opening week sales of 202,000 copies, "Genius Loves Company" (Concord/Hear Music) is the chart's top debut and the R&B legend's first top 10 album in 40 years. Charles last appeared on the big chart in 1993 with "My World" (Warner Bros.), which peaked at No. 145.

Four years after her introduction, Jill Scott's "Beautifully Human: Words and Sounds, Vol. 2" (Hidden Beach/A Touch of Jazz) bows at No. 3 with the best SoundScan week of her career. First week sales of 193,000 copies also lands the neo-soul songstress atop Billboard's Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart.

Scott's Grammy-nominated debut, "Who Is Jill Scott? Words and Sounds, Vol. 1," opened at No. 168. The set went on to peak at No. 17 and has sold 2.3 million copies to date.

Rap mainstay LL Cool J is back with a No. 4 entry on The Billboard 200 with his latest studio set "The DEFinition" (Def Jam). Sales of 173,000 copies bests the opening week of 2002's "10," which bowed with 154,000 copies and a No. 2 entry; it has sold 968,000 to date.

With the exception of Prince's "Musicology" (NPG/Columbia), which slips 7-9 despite an 11% sales increase to 87,300, the rest of the top 10 saw significant sales declines.

The 16th installment of the "NOW That's What I Call Music" (Universal/EMI/Sony Music/Zomba) series manages to hold onto No. 5 despite a 13% drop to 162,000 copies. R. Kelly's latest Jive/Zomba album "Happy People/U Saved Me slides 2-6 on a 69% decline to 127,000 copies, while Young Buck's "Straight Outta Ca$hville" (Interscope) drops 3-7 on a 56% fall to 114,000 copies.

Ashlee Simpson's Geffen debut "Autobiography" slips 6-8 on a 16% drop to 113,000 copies and Mase's "Welcome Back" (Bad Boy) rounds out the top tier, falling 4-10 on a 58% drop to 79,000 copies.

Rap/metal duo Insane Clown Posse debuts at No. 12 on the chart with 73,000 units sold of their CD/DVD set "Hell's Pit" (Psychopathic), which also tops Billboard's Top Internet Albums and Top Independent Albums charts. The Detroit-based act's previous release, "The Wraith: Shangri-La," had a similar opening week in 2002, wrangling a No. 15 berth with sales of 76,000 copies. The set has sold 284,000 to date.

The latest Elektra effort from Icelandic pop singer Bjork lands at No. 14. Sales of 65,000 copies were no doubt boosted by a grandiose performance of the album's "Oceania" at last month's opening ceremony of the Olympics in Athens.

Papa Roach's third album, "Getting Away With Murder" (El Tonal/Geffen/Interscope), enters at No. 17 on sales of 52,000 copies. That's a substantial slip from the pop/rock group's 2002 release, "lovehatetragedy," which opened at No. 2 on the strength of 136,000 copies sold. The group's 2000 debut, "Infest," peaked at No. 5 and has sold 3.3 million to date.

Featuring songs by Lauryn Hill and former Creed singer Scott Stapp, Lost Keyword's "Passion of the Christ: Songs" compilation bows at No. 37 on sales of 28,000 copies. Also debuting in the top 50 this week is Lamb of God's "Ashes of the Wake" (Epic, No. 27) and the "Resident Evil: Apocalypse" soundtrack (Roadrunner, No. 43).

With a 46% bump to 32,000 copies, Kanye West's "The College Dropout" (Roc-A-Fella/Def Jam) is the chart's Greatest Gainer. The set, which debuted at No. 2 on The Billboard 200 in February, makes a 48-29 rebound, and leads a crop of improving titles from artists who performed or won at last week's MTV Video Music Awards.

Sales of Usher's "Confessions" (LaFace/Zomba) rose 8%, yet the album falls 9-11 on the chart; "The Diary of Alicia Keys" (J) saw sales jump 21% to fuel a 28-25 move; a 21% sales surge for Yellowcard's "Ocean Avenue" (Capitol) pushes the album 38-31; sales of Terror Squad's "True Story" (Universal) were up 10%, facilitating a 65-56 move; and 7% gain for Jet's "Get Born" (Elektra) gives it a 81-78 chart bump.

Following an Aug. 29 rebroadcast of his appearance on "CBS News Sunday Morning," Michael McDonald's "Motown" (Motown) re-enters The Billboard 200 at No. 103 on a 113% increase to No. 103. The set previously peaked in February, when it reached No. 14.

Overall U.S. album sales were down about 5.6% from the previous week to 11.4 million units, but about 12% ahead of the same week last year. Year-to-date sales are beating 2003 by about 7.3% with 421 million units.

Questions? Comments? Let us know: @billboard

Print