While the Billboard 200 album chart's top 10 welcomes six debuts, none can push Eminem's "Recovery" out of the top slot (116,000 sold according to Nielsen SoundScan; down 12%). The set thus spends its seventh non-consecutive week at No. 1 -- the most weeks atop the list since Taylor Swift's "Fearless" strung together 11 non-consecutive frames in the penthouse in late 2008 and early 2009.
"Recovery" also notches the most weeks at No. 1 for a male artist's album since Usher's "Confessions" earned nine weeks in the top slot in 2004, and the most for a hip-hop effort since OutKast's "Speakerboxxx/The Love Below" did seven in late 2003 and early 2004.
Eminem will likely relinquish the No. 1 position next week to Katy Perry's "Teenage Dream." Released yesterday (Aug. 24), industry prognosticators suggest that the singer's new set will likely sell in the range of 170,000 to 200,000 by week's end on Sunday, August 29. Beleaguered former "American Idol" champ Fantasia is looking for a big week too. Her third set, "Back To Me," is on track for a sturdy No. 2 debut with a number somewhere in the range of 150,000 to 175,000.
Over on the Digital Songs chart this week we greet at new No. 1 in the form of "Right Above It" from Lil Wayne featuring Drake as it struts in with 225,000 downloads sold. It's the first No. 1 for Wayne on this chart and it's his best sales week as a lead artist.
Wayne's debut pushes aside last week's No. 1, Eminem's "Love the Way You Lie," which slides to No. 3 with 207,000 (down 19%) behind Perry's "Teenage Dream," which jumps one spot to No. 2 (209,000; up 13%). Bruno Mars' "Just the Way You Are" slides into the top 10, rising six rungs to No. 6 (144,000; up 56%) while Nelly's "Just a Dream" debuts at No. 8 with 135,000. It's his first top 10 on the tally since "Grillz" peaked at No. 2 in early 2006.
Back on the Billboard 200 albums chart, R&B singer Kem claims his highest-charting set ever as "Intimacy" starts at No. 2 with 74,000. His last album, 2006's "Kem II," bowed at No. 5 with 140,000. His first set, 2003's "Kemistry," entered way down at No. 175 and ultimately peaked at No. 90.
Singer/songwriter Ray LaMontagne nabs his second top 10 album as "God Willin' & the Creek Don't Rise" floats in at No. 3 with a career-high sales week of 64,000. His last studio effort, "Gossip in the Grain," bowed at No. 3 with 60,000 in 2008. "God Willin'" additionally starts at No. 1 on the Digital Albums chart with 31,000 downloads -- 49% of its overall first week.
"God Willin's" download sum was likely enhanced by its selection as the Amazon MP3 store's $3.99 daily deal on its release date, Tuesday, August 17. It didn't benefit, however, from much promotion in Apple's iTunes Store. While it earned front-of-store placement on street date, that promo had vaporized by the 18th.
Most new releases are hyped throughout the week in the iTunes Store, so this one-day-only placement is out of character. According to Apple, the selection and placement of promoted titles in the iTunes Store are an editorial decision made by their staff. Though, one can't help but to imagine that the sudden lack of promotion of "God Willin'" on the 18th in the iTunes Store may have had something to do with its Amazon Daily Deal status on the 17th.
In more "best week ever" news, veteran rock act Iron Maiden celebrates its second top 10 album and best rank on the Billboard 200 with the arrival of "The Final Frontier" at No. 4. With 63,000 sold in its first week, it marks the rock band's biggest sales frame since SoundScan started tracking sales in 1991. Their previous SoundScan-era sales high came when its only other top 10 set, 2006's "A Matter of Life and Death," bowed at No. 9 with 56,000.
Continuing down the list of top 10 debuts on the Billboard 200, we next find Trace Adkins roping a No. 5 entry with "Cowboy's Back In Town" (50,000). It's his third top 10 set and first since 2006's "Dangerous Man" debuted and peaked at No. 3. David Gray grabs his first top 10 set with "Foundling," as it lands at No. 9 with 25,000, and John Mellencamp manages his tenth top 10 set as "No Better Than This" starts at No. 10 with 24,000.
There are only three non-debuts in the top 10 this week aside from "Recovery" at No. 1. Lady Antebellum's "Need You Know" flies up six spots to No. 6 (32,000; up 35%) after it was sale priced by iTunes for $7.99 last week and heavily promoted in the store. The retailer trumpeted the sale as part of the promotion of Lady A's new iTunes-exclusive "iTunes Sessions" EP, which debuts at No. 17 with 18,000. Not only does that give Lady A a pair of albums in the top 20 for the second time this year, but it's also the highest rank and best sales week for any of iTunes's "Live From...," "Sessions" or "Originals" releases.
Finally, Arcade Fire's "The Suburbs" tumbles five rungs to No. 7 (31,000; down 40%) and Justin Bieber's "My World 2.0" moves down three slots to No. 8 (30,000; down 10%).
Overall album sales in this past chart week (ending Aug. 22) totaled 5.06 million units, up 2% compared to the SoundScan-era low sum last week (4.95 million) and down 11% compared to the comparable sales week of 2009 (5.70 million). Year to date album sales stand at 190.2 million, down 12% compared to the same total at this point last year (216.8 million).
Digital track sales this past week totaled 20.33 million downloads, up 1% compared to last week (20.17 million) and down 2% stacked next to the comparable week of 2009 (20.65 million). Year to date track sales are at 742.4 million, down 1% compared to the same total at this point last year (747.3 million).