Two weeks after Lil Wayne's "I Am Not a Human Being" bowed at No. 2 on the Billboard 200 exclusively from download sales, its CD release pushes it to No. 1 in its third chart week. The set moves from No. 16 to No. 1 with 125,000 sold (up 443%), according to Nielsen SoundScan.
It's the first No. 1 to climb to the top (as opposed to debuting there) since a year ago, when the "Twilight Saga: New Moon" soundtrack moved 2-1 in its second week on the list. (Most albums that hit No. 1 on the Billboard 200 tend to do so by bowing in the penthouse.)
"I Am Not a Human Being's" 16-1 jump on the chart is the largest leap to the top since the chart dated Jan. 19, 2008, when Radiohead's "In Rainbows" zipped 156-1. It debuted a week early on the list because retailers began selling it before its official street date.
The rise of Lil Wayne's set to No. 1 is a bit similar to the unconventional route that Pearl Jam's "Vitalogy" took to the top back in 1994. The latter was, like "I Am Not a Human Being," released on one configuration first before hitting retailers in more standard formats two weeks later. "Vitalogy" debuted at No. 55 on Dec. 10, 1994, with 34,000 sold exclusively on vinyl LP. It fell to No. 173 in week two, then vaulted to No. 1 with 877,000, thanks to the release of the set on CD and cassette.
Back on this week's Billboard 200: Hootie & the Blowfish frontman-turned solo country star Darius Rucker arrives at No. 2 with his second country set, "Charleston, SC 1966," selling 101,000. His last release, 2008's "Learn to Live," debuted and peaked at No. 5 off a 60,000-unit start.
Rucker has gone higher, but only if you count his work with Hootie. The band charted a pair of No. 1 albums in 1995 and 1996 with "Cracked Rear View" and "Fairweather Johnson," respectively.
Rucker's set is one of five new arrivals into the top 10 this week -- and the other four all earn their first top 10. He's joined by the Nickelodeon TV stars Big Time Rush with their debut set "B.T.R." (No. 3 with 67,000), the Band Perry's self-titled full-length debut (No. 4 with 53,000), Sufjan Stevens' "Age of Adz" (No. 7 with 36,000 -- his best sales week yet) and rock band All That Remains' "For We Are Many" (No. 10 with a career-high 29,000).
The Band Perry's introductory EP missed the big chart, but reached No. 32 on the Country Albums tally. Stevens had gone as high as No. 27 on the Billboard 200 -- earlier this year in fact -- with the "All Delighted People" EP. All That Remains' previous high-water mark was the No. 16 entry of "Overcome" in 2008 (just under 29,000).
Last week's Billboard 200 No. 1, Toby Keith's "Bullets in the Gun" drops to No. 9 with 30,000 (down 58%). Eminem's "Recovery" falls one rung to No. 5 (50,000; down 4%), Kenny Chesney's "Hemingway's Whiskey" drops four spots to No. 6 (40,000; down 39%) and Zac Brown Band's "You Get What You Give" slides three to No. 8 (34,000; down 22%).
Over on the Digital Songs chart, Taylor Swift's "Back to December" arrives at No. 1 with 241,000. It's the third pre-release single from her "Speak Now" album, which drops next Monday (Oct. 25). One more track, "Mean," was issued on Oct. 19, so expect another Swift debut on Digital Songs next week. "Back to December" bumps Far*East Movement's "Like a G6" down to No. 2 with 223,000 (but with a 1% gain). Meanwhile, P!nk's "Raise Your Glass" celebrates a 59-6 second-week leap (129,000; up 392%).
Overall album sales in this past chart week (ending Oct. 17) totaled 5.01 million units, up 2% compared to the sum last week (4.89 million) and down 14% compared to the comparable sales week of 2009 (5.85 million). Year to date album sales stand at 230.97 million, down 14% compared to the same total at this point last year (267.05 million).
Digital track sales this past week totaled 19.71 million downloads, up 1% compared to last week (19.60 million) and up 3% stacked next to the comparable week of 2009 (19.19 million). Year to date track sales are at 899.68 million, down 1% compared to the same total at this point last year (904.82 million).