Linkin Park notches its fourth No. 1 album on the Billboard 200 as its "A Thousand Suns" album debuts atop the list with 241,000 sold, according to Nielsen SoundScan. The rock band beats out R&B singer Trey Songz, as the latter's fourth album, "Passion, Pain & Pleasure," arrives at No. 2 with 240,000 copies.
For Linkin Park, its "A Thousand Suns" opener is off from the 623,000 that greeted its last studio album, 2007's "Minutes to Midnight," when it debuted at No. 1. However, "Passion" represents Songz's best sales week yet and his highest-charting album. His previous high-water marks came when last year's "Ready" started at No. 3 with 131,000.
The first single from "Suns," "The Catalyst," will rise to a new peak of No. 27 on the Billboard Hot 100 this week. The first offering from "Passion," "Bottoms Up" (featuring Nicki Minaj) also hits a new high, as it will climb four rungs to a new peak of No. 13. The new Hot 100 chart will be refreshed on Billboard.com on Thursday (Sept. 23).
Last week's Billboard 200 No. 1, Sara Bareilles' "Kaleidoscope Heart," slides to No. 12 in its second week with 28,000 (down 69%). It's the second No. 1-debuting set to tumble out of the top 10 in its sophomore week this year, following B.o.B's "The Adventures of Bobby Ray," which fell from No. 1 to No. 12.
As predicted last week, the Sept. 12 MTV "Video Music Awards" goosed sales both on last week's chart and this week's. Eminem, who opened the show with a medley of "Not Afraid" and "Love the Way You Lie," sees his "Recovery" album post a gain of 10%, though it slips one rung to No. 3 (89,000). Another VMA performer earns a gain in the top 10: Justin Bieber's "My World 2.0" at No. 10 (down two slots with 36,000; up 3%).
The chart's largest unit gain comes from a VMA performer's album that earned last week's biggest percentage increase: Florence and the Machine's "Lungs." It vaults from No. 44 to No. 14 with its best sales week: 21,000 (up 13,000 units and 165%).
Over on the Digital Songs chart, beleaguered singer Bruno Mars, who also performed on the VMA show, falls from No. 1 to No. 2 with "Just the Way You Are" (194,000; down 7%). He's bumped from the top slot by fellow VMA performer Rihanna, who debuts atop the list with "Only Girl (In the World)," selling 249,000. It's her eighth No. 1 on the tally and sixth to debut atop the list.
Back on the Billboard 200 chart, four more albums -- in addition to the aforementioned sets from Linkin Park and Trey Songz -- arrive in the top 10. Country singer Jamey Johnson notches his best sales week as "The Guitar Song" opens at No. 4 with 63,000. It's also his highest charting set, as 2006's "The Dollar" cashed in at No. 87, while 2008's "That Lonesome Song" warbled its best week at No. 28. Johnson's latest also crowns the Country Albums chart -- his first No. 1 on that tally.
Rock titan Robert Plant starts at No. 5 on the Billboard 200 with his latest, " Band of Joy," selling 49,000. It ties with Plant's 1982 solo debut "Pictures at Eleven" as his highest-charting solo set. Plant has gone higher with collaboration albums with his Led Zeppelin band mate Jimmy Page on "No Quarter" (No. 4 in 1994) and the Grammy winner for album of the year, "Raising Sand," with Alison Krauss (No. 2 in 2007).
Weezer grabs its sixth top 10 set with "Hurley" debuting at No. 6 with 45,000. The album is the band's Epitaph Records debut, and the act's sixth studio set in a row to debut in the top 10 as well. Their last release, 2009's "Raditude," was their last for DGC/Interscope, and it arrived at No. 7 with 66,000.
Finally, the "Now 35" compilation descends four slots to No. 7 with 41,000 (down 35%) while Katy Perry's "Teenage Dream" drops from No. 4 to No. 9 with 40,000 (down 31%).
Overall album sales in this past chart week (ending Sept. 19) totaled 5.35 million units, up 11% compared to the sum last week (4.83 million) and down 17% compared to the comparable sales week of 2009 (6.43 million). Year to date album sales stand at 210.7 million, down 13% compared to the same total at this point last year (242.1 million).
Digital track sales this past week totaled 19.89 million downloads, down 1% compared to last week (20.02 million) and up less than 1% stacked next to the comparable week of 2009 (19.87 million). Year to date track sales are at 821.73 million, down less than 1% compared to the same total at this point last year (827.62 million).