One country superstar follows another as Toby Keith replaces Kenny Chesney atop the Billboard 200 with "Bullets in the Gun" selling 71,000 in its debut week according to Nielsen SoundScan. Chesney's "Hemingway's Whiskey" slips to No. 2 with 65,000 (down 64%).
"Bullets" is Keith's 11th top 10 set and his fourth No. 1. His last studio effort, 2009's "American Ride," bowed at No. 3 with 90,000.
"Bullets'" 71,000-start is the smallest debut at No. 1 since SoundScan began powering the chart in May of 1991. Though it sets a new record sales low for a debuting title at No. 1, we've had penthouse-dwelling sets sell less -- just not in their first week. For example, earlier this year both the "Glee: the Music, Volume 3: Showstoppers" soundtrack moved 63,000 in its second week at the top, while Justin Bieber's "My World 2.0" shifted a little over 60,000 in its fourth frame in at No. 1.
But let's get back to this week's chart. Bruno Mars' "Doo-Wops & Hooligans" is the tally's second-highest debut this week, entering at No. 3 with 55,000. The set's lead single, "Just the Way You Are," spent its third week atop the Billboard Hot 100 last week. The song has sold 1.7 million downloads.
Waka Flocka Flame's debut album "Flockaveli" bows at No. 6 with 37,000. The rapper (given name: Juaquin Malphurs) has notched a pair of top 20 hits on the R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart with "O Let's Do It" and "No Hands."
As for the holdovers on this week's Billboard 200, aside from the previously mentioned Chesney, we've got Eminem's "Recovery" climbing one spot to No. 4 (52,000; down 12%), Zac Brown Band's "You Get What You Give" falling two to No. 5 (43,000; down 39%) and Linkin Park's "A Thousand Suns" moving up one slot to No. 7 (37,000; down 12%). Katy Perry's "Teenage Dream" rallies from No. 18 to No. 8 with 32,000 (up 17%) following sale tag pricing at both Target and Best Buy, as well as placement as one of Amazon's MP3 Store daily deals last week. Trey Songz's "Passion, Pain & Pleasure" falls two spots to No. 9 (32,000; down 24%) and Selena Gomez & the Scene's "A Year Without Rain" holds at No. 10 (27,000; down 31%).
Over on the Digital Songs chart, Taylor Swift's "Speak Now" -- the title track from her third studio set, due Oct. 25 -- debuts at No. 2 with 217,000 downloads behind Far*East Movement's "Like a G6" with 221,000 (up 2%). Swift has earned two previous No. 1s, and both came earlier this year: "Today Was a Fairytale" and her upcoming album's lead single, "Mine." Those tunes bowed with 325,000 and 297,000, respectively.
Also arriving in the top 10 this week is Kanye West's "Runaway," bowing at No. 4 with 174,000. West's last solo release, "Power," bowed at No. 14 in July off of an 80,000 start.
Overall album sales in this past chart week (ending Oct. 10) totaled 4.89 million units, down 8% compared to the sum last week (5.31 million) and down 22% compared to the comparable sales week of 2009 (6.28 million). Year to date album sales stand at 225.96 million, down 13% compared to the same total at this point last year (261.20 million).
Digital track sales this past week totaled 19.60 million downloads, up 1% compared to last week (19.44 million) and up 1% stacked next to the comparable week of 2009 (19.34 million). Year to date track sales are at 879.96 million, down 1% compared to the same total at this point last year (885.64 million).